I've been re-arranging the mantelpiece again, changing the displays, celebrating the seasons. I love this time of year when you can buy peonies and stocks in the supermarkets so easily. Peonies are one of my favourite flowers, so showy and extravagant, and extra special as their season seems to be so short.
I was given this stunning Ken Eardley jug recently and filled it with cow parsley I picked on my way home from the school run yesterday morning. The flowers are past their best now - more green than white - but I picked some all the same and I love their cloudy, lacy texture. The combination of frothy white and pale pink reminds me of stawberry Crusha milkshakes.
I enjoyed putting this display together, all the different shades of green and white, the warmth of the copper vase and wood against the cool marble. The cow parsley I picked is echoed in the David Hockney postcard of a Yorkshire hedgerow in spring that I have propped up there.
Our fire surround is quite monolithic and stark, and needs a bit of softening I always think, and I decided to change the garland. My favourite rainbow one felt too bright and I wanted something more subtle. I found an old, out of print Ordnance Survey landranger map of the Leeds and Bradford area that we've had knocking around for years and decided to make a paper map garland. I wanted circles (for the softer shape and to echo the flowers) and so I got an egg cup from the kitchen and drew 14 little circles all over the map and cut them out. I chose places with meaning, like where we live now, where our old house was, our local woods and Leeds city centre (where the children were born) and some of our favourite places. like Salt's Mill, Ilkley, Otley Chevin, Harewood House, Bolton Abbey and Harrogate.
I threaded them together with two strands of embroidery thread and a big needle (I tried a sewing machine but found it just shredded the paper) like so:
Then hung them across the fireplace.
I love maps and could look at them for hours, poring over the details. Place names fascinate me and we have some great ones in Yorkshire. I like the way this mantel display celebrates Yorkshire, the outdoors and spring. And it only took an hour to make.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway! It closes this Friday night, and I'll announce a winner over the weekend.