24/02/2016 § 6 Comments
This morning it was still there, wrapped around my home just waiting for me to walk into a pole, bang my head and spoil my view – I really don’t like scaffolding!
then, when I returned from a short but necessary excursion …
Unveiled on a beautiful sunny winter’s morning and at last I can enjoy the new extension clad in a horizontal cloak of weatherboard that’s both practical and pleasing. There’s a Juliet balcony to be fitted tomorrow but it wouldn’t fit behind the scaffold poles so we’ve had to wait until the structure was removed. I’m SOooo pleased with it. Absolutely thrilled!
There’s Trevor-the-Builder doing some sawing for the new raised platform and steps that he’s constructing for the outside of the new back door – it’s a stable door and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that too …
You can see the problem I’d have getting in or out of it at the moment!
When I opened the studio curtains this morning, this was my view from the studio…
and now …
and the view from my little office window …
I just love sitting at my desk overlooking the farm and watching the trains speeding back and forth along the line from London through the wooded embankment – there’s something quite magical about movement in a landscape, even if it is engine-driven. I’m looking forward to capturing a glimpse of the steam engines later in the year.
We’re almost at the end of this long home renovation and extension project. I needed a ‘project’ and I certainly got one. I’ve enjoyed it though – very much. I’ve been involved in every detail and know every inch. I’ve worked with T-t-B every day for almost 6 months and it’s been a great experience. His work is immaculate, such attention to detail and he does love working with wood using his old-school boat-building skills to great effect.
I walked outside onto the patio this afternoon and waved my arms around with delight – no scaffolding and SUNSHINE! YaY!!!!!
31/12/2015 § Leave a comment
I’m not going to do a full round up of 2015 – I’ve made quilts, made commission quilts, been out and about to new venues, built a new studio, renovated our home and landscaped the garden! The renovation works are still underway but not for too much longer.
My motto for 2015 ‘Onwards and upwards – I’m heading for the light’ was appropriate for the whole year and I mentally revisited it quite regularly.
I’m yet to decide on 2016’s motto – but I am making a New Year Resolution (which is something I never usually do). Having moved what seems like a ton of fabric and sorted out a ton more …
“I’m not going to buy any fabric for the first 6 months of 2016”
(unless a quilt order specifically requires something that I don’t have)
There … it’s in print so I’ll have to stick to it!
I’m going to start the year with a bloggy photoshoot of the newly renovated rooms (or most of them) and I may start tomorrow with my new studio.
Best wishes to all my family, friends, readers and customers
~~~ Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy 2016 ~~~
26/12/2015 § 4 Comments
Earlier on in December, the boys and I journeyed west to celebrate Dad’s 90th birthday. I’d organised a tea party in a local hotel and invited his younger brother, my cousins and then all we had to do was turn up. I almost had a proper Mary Poppins moment with those balloons – it was blowing a gale when I collected them and with them all stuffed into a huge plastic bag, I really did almost take off! C, my daughter, had the dreaded lurgy and was really disappointed to miss the party.
The cake was baked in my old kitchen and iced as the kitchen was dismantled around me (to make way for the new kitchen, before Christmas). There were party bags and cakes galore, stories and memories to be treasured for ever. I’m going to make a photo book for Dad, as a reminder of his special day.
Here’s a sneaky peek at my new kitchen – grouting, cupboard door painting, pipes to be boxed in and a whole lot of sorting out and decorating still to do – ah well, got to keep busy!
Happy Days and Happy Birthday Memories
02/10/2015 § 19 Comments
I’ve come away to spend some time by the sea and the collies and I have been blessed with the most amazing week of weather – high tides, sunshine, fishing boats and beach walks, wide blue skies and magical sunsets …
A quilt has been finished – I sat outside overlooking the harbour whilst hand-stitching the binding and then promptly took the quilt for a walk up onto the coastal path, for a late afternoon photoshoot …
and I’m hoping to link up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday later on today. The quilt is a commission and perfectly captures the colours of the waves, sky, sails, white horses and seagulls.
Walks along the coastal path every day have meant that precious memories have been revisited and laid peacefully to rest …
there’s no better place to be.
~ ~ ~ please leave a comment, it’s one of the best bits about blogging ~ ~ ~
15/09/2015 § 2 Comments
This afternoon, the clouds cleared …to reveal views that took my breath away and remind us that Autumn’s golden cloak, jewelled with berries sweeps ever closer –
only a breath away until the end of the summer …
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and to mark the occasion Spitfires and Hurricane aircraft from WWII flew a series of routes over the south of England. I was lucky enough to catch just a glimpse as I walked the collies.
28/06/2015 § 8 Comments
Many, many years ago growing up in rural west Wales, my first boyfriend was the farmer’s youngest son from over the field. His mother was a real matriarch – 4 strong boys she raised – she was ambitious and scary and loved me like a daughter.
She ran the farmhouse like clockwork – and knew all that was happening on every inch of the farm. Pet lambs followed her into the huge cool kitchen, with its dark flagstone floor and black coal-fired range that blasted out heat even on the hottest summer day. Dogs were chased out of the kitchen with the broom – as were the hens. The boys devoured everything she cooked – and she was an awesome cook. Mostly it was good, straightforward food – nothing fancy, but lots of it. Beef, eggs, potatoes, veg from the garden and fruit from the hedgerows and kitchen garden. But when there were visitors or a fete at the village hall, she always produced the most amazing sponge cakes. I remember her telling me her secret – WEIGH THE EGGS!
Well, she left her kitchen and her sons some years ago when she was well into her 80’s. I think there was a little part of her that still loved me, at least that what she said when I last spoke to her, but I never got over the feeling that she never forgave me for marrying someone else and producing his amazing children instead of her own grandchildren. She was in tears one night, when we were visiting the village on holiday and my little brood had won some prizes in the local village fete – she sniffed into her hankie whilst sitting next to my mother and said “your grand-children should have been ours to share”! Oh dear. That’s life, I suppose and some things aren’t meant to be.
I remembered her today when I saw the little collection of eggs that Flora’s been laying over the past few days. I’ve had a dreadful lurgy/flu-like bug and haven’t been up to doing or cooking anything much. Truth to say – I’ve spent a few days in bed with a temperature and feeling very wobbly. Feeling a bit chirpier this morning, I decided to make a sponge and I followed Mrs P’s advice from all those years ago – I weighed the eggs!
Three eggs came in at 5 oz (I have imperial weights on my old scales still, which is fine because everything had to weigh the same) – butter, flour and sugar. A spoonful of freshly boiled water after mixing, to relax the mixture and WOW – a perfect sponge …
Oh, it was lovely – still is (I haven’t eaten all of it)! I know it won’t last long once my sons J1 and J2 descend tomorrow. Thank you Mrs P – I’ll always love you a little bit too, and that youngest son of yours, and your secret for the perfect sponge. Thanks too, to Flora for producing the most amazing eggs!
16/05/2015 § 4 Comments
to spend a late Spring afternoon …
If I said “Say the first things that come into your head when I say … English Village Fete. What would you say?”
village green or manor house lawns
oodles of sunshine
stalls – plants, bric-a-brac, toys, bottle stall, raffle
lots of laughter
games for the children – coconut shy, bowling, face painting
tea stall with homemade cakes
What about teas served in the stable block with a huge choice of delicious homemade cakes and cookies, wheelbarrows full of goodies being raffled, amazing bric-a-brac and acres of orderly gardens to wander through and admire?
Here you have one of the best from a local village in Hampshire …
This is the third village fete I’ve been to this year. The first two were really disappointing, despite some valiant locals turning out and rallying support. Today’s village fete more than made up for it – the entire village had turned out and judging from the car park, many had travelled to visit. The cake stall was groaning with freshly baked cakes, people were turning up with cakes almost still warm from the oven! I found a Le Creuset kettle, a little china horse, a marble clock and a cast iron blini pan on the bric-a-brac stall and wished I hadn’t so much to carry as I wandered up through the gates at the top of the lawn, into the biggest walled garden ever! Espalier fruit trees trained up the walls, ornamental hedges, orderly rows of bean poles, rhubarb larger then I’ve ever seen – oh it was glorious. After exploring in wonder, I discovered the avenue leading up to a clock tower and then wound my way back through the wild garden full of bluebells to the sanctity of the tea stall, in the stable block. Never have I enjoyed a good strong cuppa and lemon drizzle cake so much! Then a final wander around to buy some raffle tickets and home again with my treasures to sit on the patio and enjoy another large cuppa with boiling water straight from my new kettle!
Do you enjoy village fetes? They’re right up there at the top of the things I love most about living in England.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
14/02/2015 § 8 Comments
It’s wonderful to be in love, or to have been loved, to give love, to feel love …
We often gave each other hearts – Himself and me. They were dotted around the house hanging here and there from a cupboard or hook so I decided, after decorating the bedroom that I’d like to group them together.
I rescued a silver birch branch from a local wood and on the grey feature wall in my calm and tranquil room, I gathered them together with a couple of special photographs and now I have a Wall of Hearts. The woodland theme brings me peace and the gentle fairy lights woven around white twigs, with one of my fairy light lanterns, create the softest light.
Wishing you all a LOVEly day … on Valentine’s Day.
11/02/2015 § 14 Comments
400 posts – W O W …
By far the most popular post on my little blog followed my progress with Gypsy Rose, a colourful crochet blanket made of granny squares and a wide multi-coloured border, back in 2012. I remember finishing the final shell border whilst sitting in the car, waiting for Himself to stock up at the local supermarket, after we’d travelled down to Cornwall for the half-term holiday. It seems like a lifetime away.
The border in what I called Tweed Stitch, has attracted SOoooo much attention from when it was first photographed in this post “Between the Lines” …
Gypsy Rose now lives in one of our bedrooms, where I have my desk, and makes me smile every day. Life is nothing without colour!
Four hundred posts – Four Happy Things …
***1*** The Garden – I’m ultra excited about rediscovering the garden, following the recent landscaping team’s efforts! Today I treated myself to a rambling rose called Albertine. I’ve wanted one for years and for no particular reason had never got round to actually making the purchase. The collies and I took a short jaunt this afternoon, to Pococks Roses. Out went a poor old rose that I’ve never particularly liked, in front of the house and now, my beloved Albertine is planted to one side of the porch where I’m hoping it will thrive and scramble over the front of the house, like this one!
***2*** House Number – nobody seems to be able to see the little slate house number that’s on our gatepost. So, having picked up the numbers in the Homebase sale, I’ve been on the lookout for a piece of wood to put them on. I wanted something rustic rather than just screwing them into the wall. Yesterday, on my walk through the woods with the girls, I found a perfect offcut left over from some forestry clearance and today I drilled (with my new cordless drill), screwed and hammered (when in doubt, use a hammer) – and here’s the new house number …
***3*** Quilt commission – I’m working on a couple of quilt commissions at the moment and today I met up with a lovely lady to chat about her dream quilt – pinks and roses – oh boy, I can’t wait to get started! One very happy way to spend a morning, surrounded with fabrics and having a good ‘ol chat! I’ll let you see the finished quilt in a couple of months!
***4*** Feeling OK-(ish) and not unhappy – some regular readers will know that my life changed dramatically last October … here … I haven’t blogged about the day to day challenges but family and friends have never been more important and I think I’m doing OK. One tip I’ll share is that if you ever have a friend who’s going through a difficult time, bake them something. Everyone asks if they can do something to help and I hope I’ve thanked everyone on whom we all leaned so very heavily in those first early days and weeks.
When one of my friends asked what she could do, I said “Please make us a shepherd’s pie”. It was enormous and despite not feeling hungry, we all cut slabs and enjoyed some good old-fashioned comfort food. My best friend kept us supplied with teas and coffees, bread and essentials then arrived with a wonderful homemade Victoria Sponge. Never have I been so grateful for friends who are awesome cooks! It’s easy to feel a bit guilty about feeling happy – or at least not unhappy.
Well, that’s a long 400th post. Well done if you’ve got this far and do, please let me know you’re out there by leaving a comment – I love to read your comments. I’ll hand back to Flora to do a picture-post next time!
Lots of love
01/02/2015 § 1 Comment
Keeping up with the theme of pretty pinks and reds in the kitchen, Mother Duck made herself a teacosy to fit in with her colour scheme … “Very pretty MD!”. She showed it to me this morning and said that she’s looking forward to warmer days and cups of tea out in the garden, with me and the collies. “Won’t be long Mother Duck – Spring is on its way, the snowdrops are in full bloom around my pond and green shoots are appearing, despite the chill”.
She was also super excited about something that was delivered yesterday …
Square business cards from Moo – to advertise MD’s Adaliza Patchwork Quilts. They look amazing – even to a duck like me! They feature lots of her favourite quilts and blankets and are almost like little artworks of their own.
It’s absolutely freezing here today and I’ve taken up my chilly-day spot sheltered from the wind, on the verandah of the summerhouse – beak tucked under one wing and feathers fluffed out!
Keep warm and snug in your duck-houses.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
PS – February already … it’ll soon be time for me to start laying eggs again.