Monday, 4 March 2013

Buttons, birds & blooms

Although it was the first day of Spring last Friday, the ducks have been under that impression for the past week or so. Most of the year they stay pretty close to the lake but, come Spring, they start to wander around the neighbouring streets looking for nesting sites. I love to watch them wandering in and out of each garden in turn, sitting on walls, fences and hedges, and sometimes cars. There were four on my drive this morning as I left for work and more in the street.

I was also in the mood for wandering on Saturday and went to Manchester to meet my friend, Bernie. Before leaving though, I hung out the washing and watched the steam rising from the clothes in the heat of the sun. Yes, heat! My garden faces North and gets very little sun during the winter so it really does feel like spring when I can finally hang out the washing.

I met up with Bernie at the Art Gallery and spotted this arrangement of branches and flowers attached to the railings all along the front of the building - stunning. I only discovered later that it's part of the exhibition by the artist Raqib Shaw. However, we were only at the Gallery to eat in the cafe as our destination was actually the Gallery of Costume at Platt Hall.

And this is what greeted us there: a sea of crocus. So, so pretty. It made my heart lift to be out in the sunshine and see the drifts of flowers spread around the park. <contented sigh>

I also got quite excited when I spotted an unusual bird rummaging around in the dead leaves which turned out to be a Redwing - probably not unusual at all where you live but it was the first time I'd seen one. Some of my best memories are of birdwatching with my Dad when I was younger. We had a caravan at Blackpool and would spend hours on country walks trekking across fields and crawling in the undergrowth in pursuit of a glimpse of feather. <more contented sighs>

However, back in Manchester...

Inside the Gallery there were beauties of a different kind on show. There are lots of pictures of the collection on their web site though only a small part of it is on display in the Gallery. These are some of the things which caught my eye and that I could get a decent picture of. I'm not a hat person but I loved the big buckle on the black hat, and doesn't the black and white one just scream '60s? And, oh, the bags! I could quite happily have taken this one home - Christian Dior biker chic! The button lovers amongst you would have been drooling over the cases and cases filled with buttons of all description.

Talking of buttons, how gorgeous are these? Can you believe they date from the 1780s? This was a formal court suit and would have only been worn on special occasions which probably explains why it's in such superb condition. And don't you just love the embroidered narcissus and lily of the valley? Just the kind of coat to be wearing in the Spring!

An afternoon well spent and we'll go again next time the collection has been changed around.

So did I come away from Manchester empty-handed? What do you think? ;-)

I couldn't resist this gorgeous bird tile by Lee Page Hanson at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre. There were so many to choose from that I spent ages deliberating but I think it was the little heart which won me over in the end.

It hadn't been a good week for frugality and resistance as I also succumbed on Wednesday and bought these button beauties...

My heart skips a beat every time I look at them! I'd seen these Avoca designs on the internet and had a serious case of the wanties but hadn't been able to track any down in the shops (I do shop on the internet but much prefer to see things in reality). Then, on Wednesday, I spotted the green butter bell. As I was paying, I chatted excitedly to the shop assistant and told her how I really loved the allover button pattern but it was hard to find around here. She disappeared into the back for some bubble wrap and came out holding these two, the only ones left in stock! I did try to decide between them, honestly I did! But they just all looked so happy together!

Sunshine, buttons, birds and blooms, and the company of a good friend. It truly was a lovely weekend. x


  1. Wonderful pictures and sounds like a lovely weekend! Love the ducks, how funny that they wander around the neighbourhood, my wee girl would just love that. Your new birdie tile is beyond gorgeous. I love love love your new button things - there is no way I could have chosen between them either!
    M xxxx

  2. I love your purchase. And I am so looking forward to being able to hang washing outside too!

  3. Gorgeous Spring flowers and I love the bird tile - no wonder you couldn't resist!