Tag Archives: inspiration

Guest Post :: Talk A Walk in England With Melanie Grimes

Today I’m SUPER excited to share a special guest post by my good friend Melanie Grimes, aka Britgirl, whose work and blog I’ve been following for years. I think I first started following her around 2007, when I became enamored with her crazy-good digital scrapbooking skills. The woman is a fantastic photographer and storyteller!  Even after the DS world fell by the wayside for me, I continued to trade blog comments (and eventually emails) with her because it gave me a regular peek into English life – plus seeing a mom of four handle life with such humor and grace is inspiring. Melanie moved to the countryside last year, which thrills this Anglophile’s heart even more. I just love to live vicariously through her photos! (Seeing as I spent the summer of 2004 in London and miss England terribly.) We’ve never met in real life, but it’s one of those connections that we both know we have guaranteed places to stay if we’re ever in the area. So without further ado, I’ll let Mel take us on a tour of her neighborhood!

I live {okay we live – there at least four of us at home, not including the absent big kids, nor the chickens and the cat}, in a pretty little rural area called Wellow. It’s just outside a small town, which in itself is just outside a big city called Southampton, on the south coast of the UK.:) I’m not a city girl, despite my shoe collection and coffee habit, I’m a country girl, and it does my soul good to have moved back to the fields and lanes after a chunk of time in the suburbs.

Now you know all that, would you like to come for a walk along our lanes with me? Its nearly-sort of-maybe spring and I’d love to show you what’s changing along with the seasons around here.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

Our lane is always inviting to me, covered in snow, half flooded with rain or finally, after a weeks of atrocious weather, looking like it does here.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

The daffodils are out, taking over from the snowdrops and paving the way for the bluebells. I love daffodils, they are so very cheery.

The hedges are looking springlike too. I know, they are still bare of leaves and might not look very springlike to you, but you see they have been cut, by the big noisy tractor and hedge trimmer combination that takes over the lanes at this time of year. This happens for the first time each year in early spring.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

The primroses are out, suddenly appearing everywhere along the lane. And for a change this view across the fields isn’t flooded!

I did try to get a picture of a pheasant. But they are super speedy when you point cameras at them – being target practise a lot of the year makes you nervy like that.;)So just take my word for it, you can see and hear a lot of pheasants along here.

Let’s take the lefthand turning…

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

past this little house, its very small with slightly aged curved walls, and it sits half hidden by the hedgerow. I call it the hobbit house, because thats what it reminds me of, but don’t tell the owners, I’m not sure they’d be flattered.;)

I’m sure this just looks like a muddy lane to you, but I can see a real difference along here, spots of greenery to start with. And once you get to the corner, you can see road instead of water.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

This is the ford, where a river crosses the road. In the winter water comes up to where I stood to take the picture –  up to 7 foot deep. Today its back to less than two feet and just in the dip. The white bollard you can just see in the shot, is one of many the locals drag across the road once the water rises, to stop tourist traffic from ‘just seeing’ if they can get across. Because usually they can’t, and the locals probably don’t want to come tow them out every ten minutes.;)

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

Luckily, we can use the footbridge. If you don’t mind waiting for a quick stick race or two….

I notice a mass of new green leaves, and shout to my daughters “look! buds! how exciting!”

Yes; I am a bundle of fun;)and prone to being excited by any greenery after this long long winter. No; my daughters aren’t quite as impressed as I am.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

All the farm houses around here look like Mr Darcy will come striding out of the them any minute. {Sadly, he doesn’t, no matter how long I stand and wait.}

This piece of land is for sale, and I’ve already asked Santa for it. Yes, true, Santa was not very encouraging and did not say yes, but to be fair he didn’t say no either….;)

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

Turning off the village road on to grass track. Again, I’m noticing the change in the weather here, there is only ankle deep mud here usually. It’s our route home tho, down here and across the bridge…there’s quite a few little rivers and streams around us. This is the river Blackwater. The path after the bridge takes you through a field. Often this field is empty, but right now there are quite a few large sows in here! Don’t worry, we are divided by an electric fence.  They are huge… and they breed the ‘free range pork’ on all the local restaurant menus.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

Finally, at the bottom of the field we get a glimpse of our house again – see the roof with the two skylight windows in? We are pretty glad to see it, as the sun has definitely gone in now and it’s rather chilly. This is why its still referred to as nearly-sort of-maybe spring….

Back on to our lane and we reach our house. Time to put the kettle on; Trude anyone for tea?

I can’t thank Melanie enough for taking the time to share her work and words! If you want to see more, I suggest starting with these hilarious photos of feeding time for otters, or of a classic old English town, or this one showing how great her eldest son is with his little sisters.


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Happy Weekend!

It’s Friday! Woohoo! Anybody else feel like this week dragged ass? No? Okay, well, fine. I’ll still wish you a wonderful weekend. I’m off to lecture Dante that this is not the way to get mama’s attention (even though it really works, the smart bugger).

Ellingsen Photography Dantes New Sheets

Here’s some useful / entertaining links I stumbled across this week:

Also, for some reason this keeps cracking me up, no matter how many times I look at it (from We Know Memes):

Hope your weekend is lovely!


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Etsy Loves :: July

Here we are, barreling towards August, and all I can think about is moving! So I apologize if the subject has been coming up a lot lately. Not that I haven’t moved before, but this time it’s finally not an apartment and we can actually change things. Even though I’m technically just renting a room, I have an in with the owner and she’s graciously allowing me to plan with her.:)Speaking of which, escrow closes this week! After some fresh paint, new carpet upstairs and a re-glazed shower we’ll be all set to move in mid-August. (Fingers crossed it goes as easy as that sounds.) Woohoo!

So join me in admiring some Etsy pretties in the meantime…

Pretties To Wear

Ellingsen Photography Etsy Loves July 2011-Fashion

1. Vintage Red & White Striped Dress, $72, from Bohemian Bisoux Vintage. Would I look too much like a big top in this? I’m in love!

2. Midnight Blue Sunstone Gold Necklace, $62, by Friedasophie Jewelry Design. On second thought, I’d be staring at my chest all day if I had this.

3. Mischief Managed Cuff Bracelet, $18, by Spiffing Jewelry. Where my HP fans at?

Pretties For the Home

Ellingsen Photography Etsy Loves July 2011-Home

4. Mason Jar Quart Soap Dispenser, $20, by Tickled Pink. These will be going next to every sink. So perfect!

5. Stavangerflint Triangular Plate, $25, from Lalimamma. This shows a part of Norway including where the viking kings lived and Bergen, where I was born!

6. Vintage Note Pad Holder, $14, from Cheeky Chic Vintage. So much cuter than a Post-it pad, and I could just cut old paper to fit.

Pretty Planters

Ellingsen Photography Etsy Loves July 2011-Planters

7. Vintage Haeger Mod Egg Planter, $15, from Meadowview Vintage. This shape make me giggle every time I look at it.

8. Scribble Hanging Planter, $58, by Pigeon Toe Ceramics. When you don’t have a ton of space, this is a great way to incorporate greenery!

9. Ceramic Pig Planter, $29.99, by Fruit Fly Pie. I’ve featured her work before, and I’m in love with this latest piece! She bases all her work off of vintage designs – this is adapted from a piggy bank.

Pretties For Dante

Ellingsen Photography Etsy Loves July 2011-Pets

10. Moe Custom Pet ID Tag, $12.75, by The Copper Poppy. A new home means a new address tag for Dante!

11. If You Can Read Pet ID Tag, $10, by BowWowzerZ. Love the cheekiness of this – and it’s so Dante, he’s a ninja with his kisses!

12. A Little Rough Around the Edges Tag, $10, by Make Your Dog Smile. Sweet and simple.

So what are you loving right now? Any favorites out of these? I think I’m leaning towards the middle tag for Dante – thoughts?


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Planning for a Real Home

{Also known as: In Which Nikki and I FREAK OUT About Becoming Adults}

So the big news of the week is that the bank finally approved Nikki’s paperwork, so she’s officially in escrow!! (For those of you just joining us, it’s been an epic adventure for my BFF trying to purchase her first home, a short sale condo. Dante and I will be renting a room.) The place is about as perfect as we could have asked for and we absolutely love the neighborhood.

Shout it with me now: Wooohooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Ellingsen Photography Trude and Nikki Freak Out

(Or aaaaaaaahhhhhhh run for your liiiiiiiiiiiiife!!)

If all goes well, we close escrow at the end of July. She already had the home inspection done last weekend, which found super minimal things that needed to be done to bring it up to code safety-wise, but other than that it’s looking good! So after a fresh coat of paint all around and new carpet upstairs, it looks like we’ll be moving in around mid-August or so. (You know I’ll be sharing photos then!)

Of course we couldn’t be more excited, but as this will be the first time for either of us actually owning instead of renting (well, she’ll be the owner, but you get what I mean), it’s now time for us to freak. out. about everything that needs to be done and all that we’ll need to stock up on. Even though we’ve both been reading up online and planning and researching since she officially started looking, I think everyone would get that feeling of “OhMyGodIHaveSoMuchToDo!” now that we’ve reached this point. And then, being late-twenty-somethings, we’re both constantly going “Good lord we’re discussing water heaters and sofa fabric. We’re adults!”:)

Between the two of us we’re doing well on some supplies, but others are definitely lacking. At least she found a couch and chair she likes, after we wandered into La-Z-Boy just to butt-test. We’ll also need a fridge, vacuum, new bed and mattress for Nikki, and a grass box for Dante, among other things.

I’ve been pinning and blog reading and reading through my parents’ Consumer Reports like nobody’s business, so here’s some things I’ve found especially helpful or inspiring for n00bs like us (read: newbies in gamer speak), in the hopes that my hours of research will maybe help someone else too.:)

Design Sponge Sneak Peek Alissa Walker

I think Nikki and I would both love to move in to this gorgeous 1940s Silver Lake home (a super cute neighborhood in LA)

Dewdrop & Dahlia Coffee Table Makeover

My New Zealand friend Kathryn did amazing things with this $12 coffee table she found

Live Creating Yourself Home Tour Living Room

Alaina, the blogger behind Live Creating Yourself, recently shared her own home tour and I especially loved how she layered textures and mixed patterns in her living room. The kitchen is gorgeous too!

Smile and Wave Home Tour Master Bedroom

You can’t go wrong with Rachel Denbow’s gorgeous vintage style that’s also budget-friendly. Seriously love her home! And I’m completely addicted to her blog.

Design Sponge Mantel Makeovers

We’ll have a fireplace with a mantle (not so common in sunny Southern California!), so these two mantle makeovers are making me drool

Filing Cabinet Planter Baldmanmod

I don’t know why but I’m dying to do this old-filing-cabinet-into-a-planter DIY

I also have about 496 blog posts from Young House Love saved (as I testified to on Twitter – and they responded!). Seriously, I cannot get enough of their blog because they’re so down-to-earth and self-deprecating and spare no details! Their true step-by-steps and rationale is pretty much exactly the way I think. The following are the ones I keep going back to:

Young House Love Drawer Lining DIY

Lining dresser drawers with pretty wrapping paper and Mod Podge. Lots of great less-permanent ideas in the comments too!

Young House Love Office Progress Getting Wired

Getting wired in the office. The surge protector they went with looks awesome. (Mom! Look at me all adult-y!)

Young House Love Bedroom Curtains

Their big window treatment Q&A post is helping me SO much. The bedrooms in the new place are wide but short, so I’ve been researching options on pretty ways to play those up without losing light. (Fellow photogs will empathize with me – we’re the opposite of vampires. Light! Give me liiiight!”)

Young House Love House Crashing Courtney Little Glass Box

This house walk through they did of the home of blogger Courtney of Little Glass Box, had me super inspired! Love when design doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Sorry for using “of” too many times in one sentence.)

Okay, I’m already exhausted. But still inspired and can’t wait to get this party started! And I have to say a super big thank you to my mom, whom we’ve already started abusing for her interior design training and may-jah skillz. We would be lost without her!

So, homeowners, any tips or insights for us?


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Etsy Loves :: April

While we’re in a holding pattern on finding out about the condo (oh, the joys of short sales), I’m left daydreaming about decor and drooling over all that Etsy has to offer. So no theme to this gathering of my recent favorites, it’s just a mishmash of pretty things!:)

Ellingsen Photography Etsy Loves April 2011

  1. 10 Mil Besos Block Print, $20, by the big harumph. Besos is kisses in Spanish! And how great is that shop name?
  2. Rustic Handpainted Chalkware Vase, $8, from Restless General Store. Love the idea of this sitting in the kitchen window.
  3. Red Cotton Twill Lines Bag, $39, by Tippy Thai. The clean lines and bright color make a killer combo.
  4. Rooftop Garden Planter, $15.99, by Sparkly Pony. Brilliant + adorable = awesome.
  5. Vintage Chad Valley Tin Globe, $18, from Restless General Store. I gave Mindy a vintage globe for her birthday and now I’m craving one for myself! This wee one would fit perfectly on a shelf or on my desk.:)
  6. Vintage Milk Glass Bowl, $12, from Our House Vintage. A classic. Would love this to brighten up the coffee table.

Ellingsen Photography Etsy Loves April 2011

  1. Lester the Lion Planter & Succulent, $18, by Plaid Pigeon. These are genius!!
  2. Tear Drop Cut Green Jade Ring, $75, by Too Sis Jewelry. I tend to wear just one big ring at a time, and this one is too lovely for words.
  3. Geek Recycled Wood Sign, $42, by William Dohman. All too appropriate for me.:)
  4. Vintage Green Glass Lidded Pedestal Bowl, $15, from Adventures in Vintage. If I eat candy out of something like this, it’s not as bad for you, right?
  5. Take Courage Print, $12, by Arian Armstrong. Absolutely a reminder I need!
  6. 1950s Heathered Thistle Dress and Jacket, $64, from Small Earth Vintage. Now THIS I will lose weight for!

What have you been wishing for lately? Find anything cute?


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