26/08/2016 § Leave a comment
enjoying the sunshine …
If I’m in the garden, Flora is never far away. She loves my pink slippers and given any opportunity, and if I’m still for long enough, will waddle over and comfortably settle herself next to them!
She is a rather plump duck who has, for a week or so, been spending a generous part of each day sitting on an egg. I left it in her ‘nest’ (a leafy bower by the pond) as it’s been a shady spot for her during these long hot, humid days that we’ve been having recently. However, I relieved her of her nesting duties last week and now she’s totally forgotten about it all and is back to being a busy presence around the garden, gobbling up slugs and snails.
I can’t quite believe that she’s over 5 years old. That tiny scrap of feather and beak that followed me back to the cottage we were staying in by the sea in Cornwall, with such an instinct to follow and make herself heard so that I would rescue her from the seagulls. To this day, I’ve never seen any domestic ducks in that village!
Here are a few posts that follow her progress over the years …
I’m busy quilting – I know, as my daughter says ‘Same old, same old’! But I LOVE it and am trying a new technique, so will take some photos when the quilt’s all done. I can’t put it down, so hopefully it won’t be long before there’s another quilt finished. I’ve posted some photos of recently finished quilts over on my Patchwork Quilts page (look left) and am trying very hard to keep up-to-date with all the photographs as I make them here. Such fun!
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, this weekend and the weather’s set fair. I think the roads will be packed, so I’m going to put my feet up in the garden and enjoy watching Flora as she snuggles up to my slippers!
Enjoy the sunshine …
05/08/2016 § 2 Comments
This week has passed quietly and slowly. No major events (always a good thing), a leisurely lunch with friends at a village pub, long wanders with the collies, gentle quilting, a bit of gardening and some cushion-making …
Soft china blues and pale aqua screen-printed birds – how I love these fabrics.
I’ve had a last minute space allocated to me at the annual Stockbridge Summer Festival – Trout’n About -for this Sunday. So the cushions will be making their first appearance on my stall.
Stockbridge is an ancient drovers’ town in Hampshire, famous for its proximity to the River Test and fly-fishing. On the outskirts of Stockbridge is Drovers House, a former inn that specialised in accommodating Welsh drovers and their livestock as they walked from the green fields of Wales with their flocks, all the way to London. There’s an inscription on the front wall which reads in Welsh ‘GWAIR- TYMHERUS-PORFA-FLASUS-CWRW-DA-A-GWAL-CYCURUS’ which translates as ‘Seasons Hay, Rich Grass, Good Ale, Sound Sleep’! Sounds like the recipe for a good life!
Trout are usually to be seen in the main street where a channel of the river is open by the pavement. Some of those fish are huge and the water is crystal clear as it’s a chalk stream and pure. If you’d like a look, click over to the Stockbridge Pocket Guide.
I’ve finished the aqua, pink and white quilt …
and I’ve made some bunting for my stall …
I was so pleased with how it turned out, I’ve made up some Bunting Kits with printed instructions too!
Well, that sounds like quite a lot – and I thought I was taking it easy! There are a few clouds gathering overhead so I’d best make tracks and take those collies out and about.
Enjoy your weekend and if you’re in Hampshire, come along to Trout’n About and say hello.
29/07/2016 § 4 Comments
Yesterday it was my friend’s birthday so we went to one of my favourite places – Bath! It was an easy drive but hunger had set in by the time we arrived so we had a wonderful ‘brunch’ at Cafe Rouge in Milsom Street. Suitably refreshed, we set off to wander around some old haunts, taking in the sights and a few fabric shops along the way …
Country Threads is well known amongst the quilting community and someone somewhere is missing a trick – a tearoom in Pierrepont Place would be stacked out – with husbands! But back to the fabrics – wow – what a great selection. I did have a few treats in there! We didn’t visit Wool yesterday, I must do some stash-busting yarn work before treating myself to any more, so I didn’t look.
Had to choose a favourite from the vintage sewing machines displayed in the fashion shop window – I chose this one because of the folk-art style paintwork – amazing …
We enjoyed tea and cookies from Ben’s Cookies then sampled lots of different handmade fudge. Our Christmas lists were filled up at Shannon, the Scandinavian Home Shop – ahhhh, such wonderful style. Then back home for fish & chips – a celebration with style! My Redcurrant Gin was also consumed with our meal so maybe everything tasted that bit better … just because!
Today’s been a bit blustery with the threat of heavy showers but little rain – I actually would love a heavy shower for my runner beans, that need a good soaking. I know what I have to do – set out for a long walk with the dogs but without an umbrella – that should do it! Then me and the runner beans can have a soaking!
There’s been lots of quilting this week …
Red Courthouse Steps – a sizeable double quilt and a proper scandi red & white colour combination. I never tire of these colours – here it is again!
A while ago I found some magical fabric called Guess How Much I Love You inspired by the books about Big Brown Hare and Little Brown Hare. I love this fabric – absolutely love it!
and there’s one more quilt that’s almost done … a lovely combination of aqua, pinks & white – it’s going to be a classic!
More on the Quilt Kits too with a newly printed front sheet to match my banner …
and 2 new kits in production :: Soldiers (with vintage Laura Ashley fabric) and Little Bird …
Now listed in my Etsy shop.
Now – off out with those collies – umbrella/no umbrella – that’s the question!
Enjoy your weekend.
PS I’ll be teaming up with Finish it up Friday too.
22/07/2016 § 2 Comments
Woodland Quilt (80 cm square) – I just love those little foxes with their babies all snuggled up. Lots of swirls and leaves and ditsy blooms in this quilt. Backed with a chocolate brown fleece, it’s very practical for little people, me thinks!
Peace Quilt (156 cm x 125 cm) – what we all wish for, some peace and calm in our lives. Think leafy prints, little birds and feathers … … … and relax!
City Bright (1m square) – a quilt designed for modern living! Vibrant colours and jolly city prints, with pretty houses, stylised flowers and calm pools of polka dots.
There’s another quilt that’s almost done too – with little brown hares, called Guess How Much I Love You! I hope to spend this afternoon sitting out in the garden, hand-stitching the binding on that one. And then it’s the weekend – yay! I must get to grips with the vegetation that’s beginning to take over in the garden, dead-head the roses in the hope of a second blooming and maybe stain my little deck with preservative. That’s boring though – I’d much rather be quilting or stitching in the sunshine!!
Enjoy your weekend – what have you got planned?
PS – I’ll be joining up with Finish it Up Friday later on this afternoon.
18/07/2016 § 5 Comments
Yesterday, I relived some of the happiest memories ever when I revisited Lainston House Hotel in the village of Sparsholt, near Winchester. Happy memories – indeed – it’s where we held our wedding reception many years ago and it was a day I hold right up there amongst the best in my life!
Gosh, I was a skinny thing in those days! The avenue of trees stretches down from the front lawn of the house with spectacular views of the Hampshire countryside.
I wasn’t just visiting yesterday though, a Family Food Festival had been organised and I was a stallholder …
Flora came too – on a cushion!
A stage had been set up on the front lawn and the Military Wives Choir and Military Band entertained the crowds. On the South Lawn a demonstration area had been set up for cookery demonstrations throughout the day. It was SO busy – everyone had a wonderful time and on my way home, I had a wander around the grounds and discovered a wonderful garden, planted since our special day with borders in full and glorious bloom …
Oh, it was a good day! So many lovely people to talk to, friends popping by to say hello throughout the day too. Hope you had a lovely Sunday – we’re having a mini heatwave here at the moment and I’m cutting out quilt kits on the patio in the sunshine. What a way to spend a day!
I’ll be back with photos of my latest quilts, very soon.
10/07/2016 § Leave a comment
Well, it’s raining and yesterday in Alton, it was blustery (but very warm and dry, thankfully). So good to meet up with such lovely folk from Alton and the surrounding villages, at the monthly market when us ‘Makers’ team up with those ‘Farmers’ and set up our stalls on and around the High Street, whatever the weather!
Everything in my garden is growing like crazy – I thought you may like a few photos …
The Dublin Bay rose is in full and glorious bloom, as is the red rose over the archway down to the pond.
One of my favourite places to sit and enjoy the afternoon sun (so I haven’t been sitting there very much recently)!
The veg plot is very green – runner beans, peas, broad beans, sunflowers, lettuce, radishes and tomatoes in the greenhouse – I can’t wait for the runner beans to be ready. My friend introduced me to a stunningly simple but delicious meal – freshly boiled runners topped with crispy bacon rashers, to be enjoyed on their own or with a hunk of bread and butter. Do try it – it’s amazing!
But possibly my garden favourites this week are the sedums in my miniature gardens, planted up in galvanised trays, and made into outdoor coffee tables with an upturned baker’s rack and a couple of concrete pots. I love this little feature on the lower patio. Here it was in May before those sedums started to bloom …
and now …
Mrs Quacky, aka Flora Puddleduck, is very vocal at the moment. She’s guarding her nest and hides her eggs so effectively, I sometimes don’t catch up with her latest secret nesting spot for a few days!
Flora says ‘Hello’, in a rare moment of sunshine last week!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend – I have LOTS of sewing to do …
PS – I’ve just been notified that my Carnival Blanket has been featured on Houzz, in an article about the benefits for those of us who knit and crochet (and I suspect sew, too).
01/07/2016 § 2 Comments
I’m looking after my neighbour’s garden, whilst they’re off on their travels for a few weeks. There are a couple of perks – firstly, and you’ll be surprised at this – the weather! As it’s raining almost every day, I don’t have to spend a huge amount of time watering their wonderful garden, with colourful flowers in huge pots and their brimming-with-goodness veg plot. Only the greenhouses need a drink every day or so, as it’s not even that warm during the daytime here.
The other perk is ‘Help yourself to whatever ripens’! Well now, that’s very kind and obviously I’ll leave everything I can for them to enjoy on their return but yesterday I had to harvest their crop of redcurrants. They won’t keep on the bushes so I filled freezer bags and popped them into my neighbour’s freezer and kept some for myself …
Oh – the glorious absolute red of these berries. The way they glisten and positively sparkle – they’re quite magical!
I set about to preserve some of that summer lusciousness and to enjoy some as well …
Firstly, I made a Redcurrant Yoghurt Cake – yummy or what? The Cake Monster (aka son J2) flew back to the UK yesterday morning and so I’m lucky to find some cake still in the tin to enjoy with a mid-morning cuppa! Such a simple recipe and those red berries in the middle of the cake give a wonderful sprite flavour. I also mashed some up to make cordial that I enjoyed there and then – refreshing and thirst-quenching.
And then, with long winter evenings in mind, I thought I’d pop some into a bottle of gin, with some sugar, so we can enjoy some festive, rosy G&T’s later in the year.
The kitchen is an absolute joy to work in. It’s decorated now and I’m delighted with it. I work hard not to clutter up the cupboards and keep those beautiful work surfaces free from ‘stuff’. The antique pine dresser (which is in fact a wall-mounted plate rack and separate sideboard) adds a honey-coloured glow against the calm blue feature wall and I love moving my treasures around. (Wall Paint – Oval Room Blue FB, a tone or two darker than the John Lewis of Hungerford Townhouse Blue base units).
There’s more to life than kitchens though. Today would have been my beloved man’s birthday and I’d happily trade everything I own to have him here again beside me. I’m lucky to have such amazing children and my dear friends who keep me going whatever the weather. Be positive is a good motto for this year.
Enjoy your weekend