The secret gardens of …

18/06/2017 § 2 Comments

Broad Street, Alresford

Today, on the hottest day of the year so far in Alresford – a pretty market town just a few miles from Winchester – many residents of the aptly named Broad Street opened their garden gates and WOW was it a surprise just what hides behind those elegant facades.

It was extraordinary and a wonderful way to spend Sunday afternoon.  Many gardens are incredibly long with different ‘rooms’ to meander through.  Towards the lower end of the street, the gardens back onto the river and 12th century bridge.  There are courtyards and terraces, summerhouses and thatched outhouses.  So much to see and then of course, there are the plants and flowers – so beautiful and so many different styles of planting.

In one back garden, there was a covered walkway between the house and annexe with a chain downpipe linked up to a water feature.  I definitely want one of those next time I build a summerhouse!

I have enjoyed the afternoon though it was mighty HOT.  During the week I spent an evening at Mottisfont in the world famous walled rose gardens.  More pictures next time. Hampshire is a wonderful county, with so much to see and enjoy.  I’m jaunting west next week so expect some more photos with boats!


PS :: Thank you Clare for reminding me about the cake – how could I forget?  Yes, there were lots of cake stalls and plant stalls as well as a duck race at a local very large house, though that wasn’t officially part of the Open Gardens.  My friend and I had 2 slices of Victoria Sponge, both were outstanding.  We fairly waddled around those gardens after that!

Strawberry Moon

09/06/2017 § 1 Comment

June’s full moon is called the Strawberry Moon.  I’ve been out, down to the headland overlooking Mounts Bay here in Cornwall tonight, but there’s thick cloud and a bit of drizzle in the air so it seems the full moon is shy tonight.

I’ve named my new crochet blanket Strawberry Moon as the colours are like crushed strawberries and cream (clotted of course), with blues and soft misty greys, warm reds and soft pinks.

Earlier on this evening before the drizzle set in, I took Strawberry Moon for a short walk from the seaside cottage where she’s been hooked up this week, to the harbour for some photos. She attracted quite a bit of attention!  I used Sirdar Aura in shades 130, 131 and 132  where the soft colours blend and flow through the yarn like the ebb and flow of the waves under a summer sunset.  A 6.5 hook and corner to corner crochet meant the first rows grew fast then as I reached just over 1.8m on the 2 sides, progress was slower but just as relaxing and enjoyable.

I’ve loved making this blanket that will forever remind me of my June holiday in Porthleven, when the Strawberry Moon hid behind the clouds but my memories kept me warm!


Golden days …

01/11/2016 § 1 Comment

Today is the first of November and feels SO different from yesterday. October left us in a blaze of golden sunshine, with carpets of crisp leaves underfoot and the warmth of the sun on our faces.  Both yesterday and today I gently strolled around Farley Mount – the local country park – with the collies, but how different the atmosphere between those two days.  Today was dank, gloomy and quite chilly in contrast to the glorious gold of yesterday.

Gentle strolls are all I can manage as I’ve had/still got a horrible ‘bug’ that is laying me quite low.  I have no energy and a killer sore throat that just won’t go away.  In truth, I think the past few weeks with the boys going off in opposite directions around the world and the exhausting trip to Wales has taken its toll and I probably need to rest and recuperate.  I haven’t even done any sewing – for a whole week – oh dear!

So homemade chicken broth with homemade bread and stewed apples from the garden with comforting custard are on the menu with a constantly topped up mug of my mother’s special drink.

Whenever anyone felt under the weather when I was growing up, Mum would make one of her ‘special drinks’.  They consisted of melted jam and honey in hot water, fresh lemon juice, cloves, matchsticks of fresh ginger and a teaspoon of cider vinegar all swirled around by a cinnamon stick.  I made them for the boys (who both had this bug when they were home recently) and now I’m making them for myself.  It has been known that for a dash of whisky to be added at bedtime!!

I’ve been having a bit of a jelly-fest over recent weeks, trying to use up all the apples from the garden and so I’ve been delving into jars of Rosehip Jelly, Hedgerow Jelly, Bramble Jelly and Rosemary Jelly for my drinks.  Rosehip jelly is the gentlest pink colour – quite beautiful.


I’ll line up and label all my jars of preserves very soon, as hopefully it won’t long until I’m feeling more energetic again.

Take care


Creativity …

23/10/2016 § 2 Comments

Yesterday, in a village hall near Stockbridge, I met up with a lovely group of ladies who had asked me to run a Patchwork Day.  The brief was to actually ‘make something’!

Well, that’s my kind of a day and here are a few moments from our wonderful day filled with creativity, colour and chatter …


We quickly arranged the big tables, ironing boards and assorted sewing machines inside the hall, as the heating warmed us up to the rafters.  There was a LOT of fabric and everyone had fun choosing colours that would make either a bag or a cushion, from a traditional Log Cabin design.

Soon the sewing machines were humming happily and everyone was chatting and stitching their chosen project …





Everyone had brought something for lunch – a delicious break in the middle of our patchwork log cabins.  And at the end of the afternoon, everyone had a Ta Dah moment …

Drum roll please …. …. ….


Three cushions and two totes completed and big smiles all around.

For me, the day marked a return to the ‘classroom’ since I left teaching in 2013.  I can’t wait for my Garden Studio to be completed so that classes can run right here, surrounded by fabrics with Flora Puddleduck quacking along in the garden as we sew!

Enjoy the awesome Autumn colours – here are a few photos of our White Birch tree in the garden and the farm where I walk the collies – I definitely feel a russet-inspired quilt coming on.



I’m off to pick more rosehips and hawthorn berries to make some Hedgerow Jelly – the collies for company, of course.  It’s a beautiful day and I can’t bear to be inside – Autumn is most definitely my favourite season of the year.

Enjoy the rest of October – and all that Autumn brings.


Workshops in Winchester – taught by Adaliza.  Max 5 per group.

Welsh Cottages and harbours …

18/10/2016 § 4 Comments

Pembrokeshire Cottage

Pembrokeshire Cottage Abercastle

Pembrokeshire Cottage - Abereidy

Both J1 and J2 are here in the UK for a week or so.  J1 having returned from Thailand for the school holidays and J2 inbetween various trips here and there.  It’s great to have their company and listen to their banter – their conversations are always hilarious as they are both great mimics and have inherited their father’s black sense of humour and quick wit.  We took a trip to Wales so they could both spend a few days with their grandfather – my Dad who is 91 in December.

A jaunt to Pembrokeshire on the most perfect day last week, had me clicking away at some beautiful coastal cottages – I just love that pink roofed little home and the russet walls and cemented roof of the little house.  My grandfather’s home in Trefin used to be the village Post Office where my great aunt was postmistress and her sister ran a smallholding with a few cows, some hens and ducks …

Trefin, Pembrokeshire

My father remembers spending his holidays here and being sent out to the village pump to fetch water for his grandmother.  His best memories though are of Withy Hill, a small farm up a long and fairly inaccessible lane a few miles from Trefin, where his mother’s parents farmed.  The Withyl, as it’s affectionately known nestles into the landscape and we stopped, as always, a few fields away where the road takes a turn and if you stand on the gate, you can look over and see the farmhouse roof …

Withy Hill

We had lunch in Trefin, where the locals at the village pub still remember his family, and then on to Porthgain where slate was quarried and tunnelled out through the headland.  My grandfather, as a young man worked at the quarry and is in this photo (Dad has an original copy) …


in the 2nd row from the top, in the middle, is a young man in a cap with a white muffler and a stick – this is my grandfather in 1908.  The local pub The Sloop, has walls full of photos of barges lined up in the small harbour at Porthgain, waiting for the slate to be brought through the tunnels on little trains.

Porthgain harbour

Porthgain harbour

Just over the headland from Porthgain is a little cove called Abereidy.  The headland bears the scars of the slate industry – abandoned quarry workers’ cottages and industrial buildings.  But one amazing result of blasting to extract slate – when the quarry closed, they blasted out the tip of the headland to let the sea into the quarry – and it’s formed The Blue Lagoon – the colour is incredibly blue and caused by chemicals in the water which is over 25m deep and extremely cold (so I’m told)!

The Blue Lagoon, Abereidy

The Blue Lagoon, Abereidy

After our Pembrokeshire day, we jaunted all around some local towns – Newcastle Emlyn, Cardigan, Lampeter and Aberaeron – I treated myself to some yarns and can’t wait to get started on some awesome wool from the local country market – the same stall that I bought this wool from a couple of years ago and made this shawl.

So now we’re back at home and by the end of the week it’ll be just me and the collies – and Flora Puddleduck, of course.  Back to Skype calls and emails as they explore the world and tell me all about it!

The new studio is coming on fast and I’ll soon be able to share some photos of it, all clad out and with a pretty tiled roof.  In fact, I think I’m creating my own little cottage-like structure right here – I just need a view of the sea!!!

Have a great week.



A week away …

26/09/2016 § 2 Comments

is a very good thing!

We’re back home now, me and the collies.  Last week was spent overlooking our favourite harbour in Cornwall – same house, same village, same long walks out along the coast path, same strolls around the harbour – it was the ‘same’ as many other holidays that have been enjoyed there over many years – same and different.  I love going back and the weather was amazingly good.  I did a bit of knitting whilst sitting out in the sunshine, overlooking the busy harbour, but had a whole week away from patchworking!

That’s not to say I didn’t have a stroll around my favourite fabric shops and of course, didn’t come away empty-handed!  I’m itching to get on with new projects now – it’s good to be back home.

Autumn officially arrived last week with the Autumn Equinox and the summer annuals in the garden have all had their day so I spent yesterday doing a bit of sorting out with Flora greedily rummaging around looking for worms.  I did miss her, she’s such a character.

Today, I’m back in my studio, new fabrics in hand and away to go …

patchwork here I come! 

have a great week …


Lovely Lainston House …

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!

wedding day

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.

terrace 2


I wasn’t just visiting yesterday though, a Family Food Festival had been organised and I was a stallholder …

stand 7

stand 4

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 …

garden 5

garden 4

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.


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