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July 2010
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September 2010

Repurposing and mopping up


Today we quickly whipped up three easy items from one leg of an old pair of Gracie's jeans.

It started when I used the old jeans to make a coaster. I simply sewed two denim discs together then stitched on a vintage doily. I liked the way the denim went with the natural colour of the linen thread the doily was crocheted with.

Secondly, noticing the left-over long, sturdy seam that was scrap, I trimmed the seam close on both edges. Then sewed (with my machine) a buttonhole on one end and an orange, glass button on the other to make an ankle bracelet for Gracie. No need to even take this one off at bath time :)

And lastly, a new bone for Pippi. Denim is a great, sturdy fabric for dog toys. I made a simple bone shape with chalk on the remaining scrap, double-stitched around the shape and turned it. Then the kids stuffed it tightly with fabric scraps. After ladder-stitching up the opening she enjoyed a little chew time. This will be her craft room toy, no dragging it into the garden to hide it from us.

Denim will always be one of my favourite fabrics to sew with, it's uses are endless. Which reminds me, I love this denim necklace and this little denim number too.

Lichen liken the weather

And yay! The sun peeped through this afternoon. We've had very little let up from the rain until today. It rained so hard two nights ago that the chimney above our stove had water pouring down it puddling under the oven, splashing over the stove into our dinner which was cooking away and also into a pool on the kitchen floor (it ended up being a perfect opportunity to give that grimy area a good clean).

Thistles showered

Having a week of heavy rain makes me feel even more sadness for people in Pakistan who are living in the floods and rain with no homes. I know the British people have been big supporters of the relief efforts, I hope it continues.

On another note, a couple of Gracie's favourite summer reads have been The tail of Emily Windsnap by, Liz Kessler and Kensuke's Kingdom by, Michael Morpurgo. She also whizzed through one of the Wimpy Kid books and howled all the way. Tristan isn't a lover of reading, never has been, but he does enjoy Chris Ryan books, lots of action.

Back to school soon. Hopefully the sun will keep on shining and we'll have a chance to hit the beach a few more times before going back.

Happy weekend to you!

Tiny stitches and pink linings

Tiny doodle stitches 

What we've been up to while it's rained cats and dogs.
Back to stitching with no pattern, just doodling away with needle and thread, feels good. And the small scale does too. That's the edge of a 10p coin; same as a 50 cent Euro or a 25 cent dollar.

Collaging 2
Cut paper collages

A little collaging with cut up magazines. The image is blurry, but it works anyway I think.

Check-in desk (picture by Tristan)

Hotel building with every cushion, pillow and blanket (small table and chairs too) in the house.

Hotel currency, Pippi Bux (picture by Tristan)

This hotel was amazing, 5-star service. If it didn't fill our entire family room I'd have extended my stay there.

Moon over field
Pink clouds and bright moons

And after four straight days of hard rain last night the skies cleared, the moon shone bright and pink clouds edged the horizon. Too pretty for my camera to capture, but it tried. 

I hope the week brings you all good things. 

Giving in

Summer + Autumn
As mush as I love autumn I've been clinging on to the last vestiges of summer for dear life; the few buttercups and daisies in the grass, and every drop of sun. Maybe it's because of the long and bitter winter we had, but probably it goes deeper. As children we had so much freedom to disappear and do and play what we liked; always outdoors. Summer to me is still freedom. When we went back to school it meant buttoned-up uniforms and days indoors, a little like prison for kids like us. I don't think that feeling has left me and not until autumn is in full force do I fully embrace it.
Very lucky I guess, that our children get more than average outdoor time and freedom at their school.

No more words, just a few images from me trying to welcome autumn and one last one of some tiny stitches Gracie and I have been making. I've started a lot of new projects lately but put each down as a new whim takes over, perhaps the sign of a cluttered mind, more than likely the sign of cluttered house. Still planning a de-stash sale, perhaps that will help.

Dewy Grass and Gift from a Wood Pigeon 

Hedgerows Changing

Elderberries Ripening 

Fairy Parasol 

Nearly Pie Ready 

Tiny Love Stitches

Happy Thursday to you! 

Inspired by the sea


What seems like yesterday but was actually many, many months ago I promised a revisit to friend Fi's house. I've been helping her with a website and she's been painting like a mad woman so now seems a good time.

While in Kent last week I was able to see a whole slew of new paintings and I was lucky enough to receive one of my own. Most of Fi's art is inspired by the sea. The painting is based on an image of Tristan and Grace when they were seven and four. I can't tell you how much we love it.

Try as I may, just couldn't get a photo that does it justice.

Fi's family home is full of photo opportunities, no staging ever needed or wanted. In fact, if I was a photo-stylist I would want to raid their place for objects of beauty.


Just pretty.


More prettiness. 

Visit her site and enjoy a look at her paintings. On my next visit I want to get inside her studio and hubby Tom's. 

Tom is amazing too. A heraldic artist with a special eye for nature painting. He ties the two together so well. The image below is painted with 24 carat gold and real lapis, this one was sweetly painted for Fi.

Remaining on the seaside theme. Sonia is offering up a very pretty pin-cushion as a giveaway. Click over to Cozy Homemaking before next Friday to be included in the drawing.

Photo by Sonia, Cozy Homemaking

I hope you're all enjoying the weekend. Ours is having a real autumnal feel to it but I can't help wanting to cling on to summer. 



Reconnecting & recharging

Clockwise: Dirty feet, hollyhocks, Rufus

The week before last Tristan spent a few days with Lukey and Henry, good friends in Kent. Their baby brother Rufus is nearly one already, oh my!

Pretty willow, new painting, Iris, hydrangea

In Kent again this past week visiting with more friends and lovely Auntie Jen, my sister-in-law. While there I was surprised with the gift of a painting from friend Fi. She's been painting up a storm and I can't wait to share more of her with you. I also had a chance to steal a cuddle from gorgeous baby Iris, a real treat.

Pippi & Coco, tabletop jardiniere, orange!, curly bench

I wish I could show you more of these beautiful gardens, they're all so inspiring. I didn't really take many photos while away, sometimes my camera just feels like an intruder.

Thank you Auntie Jen, Dianne, Mads, Claudia, Fiona and Liz for having us (or our children). We had a wonderful time catching up, playing hard, laughing loads and gently unwinding. Can't wait to see you all again soon :)


Seeking space

1950's embroidery/applique on linen

We can no longer walk into our spare room (more like a cupboard). We have no closets so it houses clothes, winter coats and everything else that can't go in a damp shed; I guess "spare" is the wrong term. 

I'm thinking of parting with some of my collection of antique textiles. I don't want to but with very little dry storage space and the fact that I haven't had time to put them to good use I really should send a few things to other textile lovers who might have a little more room.

One of my favourites is the 50's aqua coloured panel above. It's appliqued with felt and netting with white, black and silver embroidery. I'm picturing a mum in a dress with full skirt sitting down to work on this piece after the children are in bed and the dishes are all done. Her husband reads his paper, the wireless is on and as she stitches she daydreams about someday owning an automatic dishwasher.

Airing out a collection of needlework panels 

Most of these are finished tapestries (needlepoint panels). I bought them from an antique textiles dealer a few years ago. My plans for them were many: make handbags, cushion covers with pom-pom trim, wall art, door stops, and, and, and... 

Traditional floral 

This floral panel was a chair seat cover, I have several like this. They must have been on chairs that were rarely used because there is no wear to the stitching, just fading here and there.

We're off to see friends and family for a few days but I'll continue piling items up for a sale when I return. Probably some fabrics, other antique textiles, buttons and vintage trims. 

I'm not sure the best way to go about a sale. Etsy, ebay, here on the blog? Items on Etsy often seem undervalued to me but would ebay have the right buyers, too broad? Any thoughts or suggestions would be really appreciated.


All of the early planting we did and hard graft put into the garden is now paying off. We have our first courgette (zucchini) ready for tonight's dinner and some of our flowers are blooming. I'm thinking we've had only about 50% success with everything; bunnies haven't helped and poor soil has played a hand. Our three rose bushes have all been destroyed by bunnies and until Pippi came along these lavender plants nearly didn't make it either, nearly nibbled to the ground. These aren't the showiest lavender plants but their scent is fantastic. More garden shots at Flickr.

I must go because apparently my family require feeding. I hope you're all enjoying summer!