Remember the wicker basket that followed me home from the last flea market? I am truly a sucker for them as, in spite of the not insignificant number already cluttering up Dove Cottage's spare room, I cannot seem to stop picking them up whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The largest of my baskets are true workhorses and have been roped in as storage for belts, scarves and holiday brochures, to name but a few. In fact, my latest buy has already been put to work and is currently holding my stash of long-sleeved t-shirts. The others, unfortunately, were crammed into every available nook and cranny, so that sadly enough it was a case of out of sight, out of mind!
Note my use of the past tense, though, as on Friday last week - we were the 10th of March by then - I woke up with a fully formed idea: what if I displayed them on a coat stand? Not wanting to be left deflated by a long-winded and possibly fruitless search in the charity shops, I went online and searched IKEA's website. And hey presto, there it was: I instantly fell for its classic design and, what's more, I knew that the sturdy steel it was made of would most definitely be up to the job.
So, right after lunch that day, we did something we hadn't done in well over ten years. We went to our nearest IKEA store. We expected it to be a lot busier, but apparently we'd picked the right time of day, as it was actually quite alright.
By the time we'd paid for our purchases (almost inevitably, we also ended up buying a couple of smaller things, such as some laundry bags and a new laundry basket) the weather, which had been reasonably sunny, with 10°C, had changed for the worse. Strong gusts of wind were rattling the IKEA flag poles in the parking lot, and I had to hold on to my beret and scarf to keep them from making their escape. The temperature had dropped several degrees as well, and would be more than halved by the end of the afternoon.
But we made it home in one piece and, after Jos had put the thing together and we'd done a reshuffle in our bedroom to make space, I had fun collecting all my baskets and arranging an eye-pleasing display.
As a bonus, here are some of the baskets in my collection. All but one in the above collage were charity shop finds - the one on the top left was picked up in Bridgnorth, Shropshire in 2018 - but I bought the green-striped and raffia embellished beauty from a vintage shop which unfortunately is no longer trading.
Both the crab basket on the top right and the tourist souvenir basket which probably started its life in Menorca (bottom left) were charity shopped as well, the latter quite recently last November. I'm in a quandary about the origins of the other two, though. I seem to remember that one of them - I think the blue one - came from Think Twice, but my mind draws a blank for the yellow one.
By now, the weather had deteriorated even further, the temperature slowly but surely making its way towards freezing point and with rain followed by sleet and hail lashing our windows.
As weather conditions prevented us from taking outfit photos, I decided to follow in Vix's
footsteps, and try my hand at a flatlay, for which I used the only uncluttered bit of floor space in our bedroom.
The dress, which is a rich chocolate brown rather than black, is vintage and another Think Twice purchase. The label reads Ralph dress, and proclaims it was made in West Germany. The three buttons at the cuffs echo those decorating each shoulder.
Picking up the colours of the floral pattern, I added a turquoise belt and orange beaded necklace, then layered it with a blue, charity shopped Zoë Loveborn cardigan with orange buttons, to which I pinned the orange flower brooch which was a gift from Kezzie
Saturday's weather was the complete opposite of Friday's, having a frosty start but, courtesy of the delicious all-day sunshine, warming up to a reasonable 7°C during the day.
It was still chilly enough to wear this as yet unworn pink and green patterned wool-blend dress. Charity shopped back in October, it's from the French Le Gaillard label, its shoulder pads a testimony to the 80s.
I enhanced the green bits in the dress's pattern by adding a stretchy belt, ring, necklace and huge bird-on-a-branch brooch in shades of my favourite colour.
Note that, in anticipation of the afternoon's adventure, I was already wearing my chocolate brown, fleece lined walking boots. Although, in hindsight, I would have been better off wearing a pair of wellies!
The weather gods having conspired against us somewhat lately, we hadn't ventured any further than the cluster of city parks in the last couple of months. This time, however, the capricious deities were kind enough to treat us to a sky painted the most delicate of blues rippled with whirls of white cloud.
Our destination for the afternoon, a leisurely drive of about half an hour from home, were the enchanting wetlands known as Blaasveldbroek.
Regular readers of my blog are well acquainted with this magical place, as they've tagged along on my walks here at least a dozen of times in the past 7 years. It's an all-seasons favourite whenever the weather allows, but my blog tells me we hadn't been here since November.
The relentless rainfall of the intervening months had turned this watery paradise, most of which is a mere two to three metres above sea level, into a half-drowned landscape. The jetty I am standing on was almost level with the mirror-like water of the pond so that it felt as if I was walking on water.
Creatures of habit, we almost always do the same circuit, skirting the big pond the jetty juts out into, and then taking a left turn towards the heart of the domain.
Imagine our dismay when we found the path partly submerged by floodwater (below, top left). We briefly considered trying to navigate the puddles by walking on the grass edges, but these turned out to be saturated by flood water as well. Not surprisingly, as the path is hemmed in by swollen brooks on both sides.
There was nothing for it but to continue walking straight on along a winding path which would eventually take us to Hazewinkel, a 2000 meter rowing and regatta course. In order to re-enter the domain without retracing one's steps, there's a rather boring walk on a long and straight concrete path along the water's edge, which is why we tend to avoid taking this route at all.
It's a shame, really, as before reaching the course, the woodland path meanders through an otherworldly, almost primordial landscape, eerily quiet in spite of the fact that it isn't all that far from what we call, for want of a better word, civilization. There's an orchestra of birdsong, and a frog chorus in season, the rhythm section supplied by the resident woodpeckers.
The woodland floor was submerged here, some of the trees left stranded on islands in an impenetrable swamp. And no, there was no need for the No Entrance sign at the bottom left, as we would have been rooted to the spot by tangles of brambles, if the marshy underground hadn't got to us first. The No Entrance signs, by the way, are placed at regular intervals to protect the kingdom of fauna and flora, which are the true rulers here.
Eventually, the course, and its boring concrete path was reached. Apart from a single rower, the expanse of water was empty, just the sky reflected in the water which was gaily festooned with the red and yellow buoys marking the lanes.
When the exit into the domain beckoned, we walked along a broad semi-surfaced woodland path which took us to the heart of the domain, the delightfully named otter and beaver island.
Here we sat ourselves down on one of the available picnic benches for a breather, just sitting and staring and eating the waffles we'd brought with us, before continuing our journey.
On the final stretch of our walk, before we rejoined our car, we passed a large expanse of meadowland which was completely waterlogged except for the narrow path bisecting it.
It looked for all the world as if the cotton wool clouds were caught in the grasses and reeds which were desperately trying to keep their heads above water.
And I think I finally caught one of those elusive marsh spirits on camera ...
I love your flat lay, Ann! As someone who commented on my post the other day said, you can really appreciate the colours, prints and textures when clothes are laid out like that - even though I like seeing you wearing your clothes!
All three outfits are fabulous. I wonder how long we'll be waiting till we can cast those scarves, boots and mittens aside? I can't wait!
I'm glad I'm not the only one obsessed with baskets! I absolutely love your display idea, it's a work of art. You can see what you've got at a glance now.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful walks - those big skies are just glorious, aren't they? xxx
You were, well done :-)Delete
Can't wait to ditch my Winter stuff either. The sun might be shining at the moment, but it's still quite nippy in the shade! xxx
That is a great collection of straw bags! I have one currently in use behind a bench in the kitchen. It holds assorted tea trays.ReplyDelete
I did pickup one, in Jamaica, years ago. It has some basic folk embroidery on it.
There is one holding resusable bags in my lair (OK, my lair is the smallest bedroom that I turned into a room for clothes, craft supplies after our last child left home).
Enjoy your weekend.
Ooh, I'd loving having a lair myself :-) xxxDelete
All I can say Ann is, it’s a good job we don’t live next door to each other as I would be in your house pinching all those beautiful baskets.ReplyDelete
Looking at your walks I’m sure you would enjoy the countryside near to us and the peace and beauty of our local water reservoir trail. It’s so good for the soul
Sending our love xxx
Hahaha, I can imagine! But I'll be in your house pinching some of your stuff as well :-) xxxDelete
i hope lynn shares some of the bounty with me ;-DReplyDelete
the watery landscape is so beautiful and serene - and looks different every time you making photos there....
greetings from the sunny spring garden!
I'm sure she will if you ask her nicely :-) but beware of the dangerous cat! xxxDelete
I love the flat lay (and Kezzie's brooch) and almost gasped when I spotted your basket display on Instagram the other day. What a splendid idea!ReplyDelete
Saturday's outfit was also a stunner. I'm possibly going to an antiques fair tomorrow and I shall be looking for a brooch. As I said to Vix, I love them, but the good ones always seem to evade me.
Your watery landscape photos are beautiful. I think we're following suit here. The barriers have been erected again in Bewdley along the River Severn.
Stay warm and dry! xxx
Thank you Claire! I actually woke up with that idea in my head, and it was well worth braving IKEA for! xxx P.S. You'll have to give me an idea of the kind of brooch you love, and I'll see what I can do!Delete
I already saw the wicker bags like that on IG and really like it. What a good solution. And they are very pretty.ReplyDelete
Brown and blue, such a gorgeous combination, I always love it. The flatlay worked out perfectly. Your walk is in a beautiful area. I love to walk where there is water. So much more interesting, flora and fauna wise. Enjoy your weekend!
Thank you Nancy! I do love walking somewhere where there's water as well! xxxDelete
I can't blame you for picking up wicker pieces when you see them. They are so gorgeous! Plus, as you said, it is possible to use them to store different accessories. The idea to display them on a coat stand was genius! What a fabulous end result. IKEA is a great place to find those essential items. Your nature photos are so beautiful! Despite all of the water, you still managed to capture lots of beautiful images.ReplyDelete
the creation of beauty is art.
Thank you Shannon! Even now that they're on display on the coat stand, some of them have been roped in as storage! xxxDelete
I always enjoy tagging along on your walks Ann and viewing the scenery , its looks so lovely . Well worth the effort despite the boggy conditions.ReplyDelete
Your basket collection is most impressive .
Thank you and it's my pleasure to take you along on my walks! xxxDelete
You've made me smile ... :-) Have a lovely week! xxx RegulaReplyDelete
And your comment made me smile too Regula! xxxDelete
Great idea to use a clothes rack for the basket bags, a real eye-catcher!ReplyDelete
I love the green accessories with the red dress and your flat lay is great. 😁
The photos from your trip are so beautiful. 💕
with a huge hug Tina
Thank you Tina! It's definitely an eye-catcher and I cannot stop looking at it! xxxDelete
What a marvelous collection of wicker bags/baskets you have. They are worthy of display.ReplyDelete
Thank you Hena, I'm so pleased I came up with that solution so that all my wicker bags are now out in the open :-) xxxDelete
Isn't it frustrating when the weather interferes with your plans and your walks? I often walk to and around our marina but frequently when there has been a lot of rain the path around the marina is water logged and one has to divert...ReplyDelete
Loved all your outfits and the flat lay looked marvellous. It's a good idea to use a flat lay if you forget to take OOTD photos which I sometimes do - must remember that in future.
The baskets on the hat rack was a brilliant idea and you have a wonderful collection of straw and wicker baskets. I had to stop buying them due to lack of storage but I still have a couple of the rigid wicker ones up in the loft. At one time they housed my wool collection but that has grown so much I had to find a bigger alternative!
Hope you have a great week.
Thank you Vronni! It's frustrating indeed when the weather plays spoilsport. I guess I've got to stop buying wicker baskets as well, there's only so much space for hanging them on that coat stand ... xxxDelete
Shocking wet and windy weather but you'll be ready for the sunshine with all your charming baskets. A wonderful collection.ReplyDelete
Thank you Jean, and I can't wait to give them all their due outing soon! xxxDelete
That's a gorgeous dress. Love the pica from the walk.ReplyDelete
I've never actually been to IKEA but that kind of bag would surely tempt me to visit one.
P.S. Those rushes of wind seem dreadful. Don't you just hate when weather changes suddenly like that!
Thank you Ivana. We used to go to IKEA regularly, as we've got one within 20 minutes or so from our home. I don't really like the crowds though, so it was a relief to be able to go on a working day! xxxDelete
Hee, look at you hiding in the marshes! I love the pics, especially that one of Jos near the water.ReplyDelete
I loved seeing all your straw bags! What a great idea for a display! Fantastic outfit, as always. I like that big bird brooch. I have never been in an Ikea!
Ah, I see that you've spotted the marsh spirit :-) xxxDelete
This is lovely and the tittle made me remember when I walked of iced river with a friend. Crazy we were just at the edge of the river.ReplyDelete
Oh, it must be quite scary walking on an iced river, I'm glad you just stayed at the edge! xxxDelete
I think I want a coat stand for hanging clothes on now!ReplyDelete
Love your flat lay and the pretty brooches!
"There's an orchestra of birdsong, and a frog chorus in season, the rhythm section supplied by the resident woodpeckers."- what beautifully poetic description! I love it!
Your baskets are so pretty. I LOVE the crab one- their pose is very Flamenco castanets!
Your walk sounds great despite the water!x Kezzie x
I just LOVE that you love my writing, Kezzie! xxxDelete
Oh what a wonderful straw bag collection Ann! & what a great idea to display them in that way. I am wondering if Bess enjoys them too? Don't cats enjoy a good basket to hide in ;) xReplyDelete
So far, thankfully, Bess has just sniffed them. I don't think any are accommodating enough for her to hide in :-) xxxDelete