30 May 2015


It is no secret that I love my garden, when we moved here almost 4 years ago it was terribly neglected and overgrown. We have worked hard and are now beginning to enjoy the results. One of my ambitions is to have something to cut for the house each week throughout the year. My small collection of Old English Roses are just starting to flower.  This week I have cut a single spray of the gorgeous 'Boscobel'
The buds are a dark salmon colour when tightly closed, but then open to reveal various shades of salmon pink.
It has a lovely myrrh fragrance, exactly the smell I imagine roses should have, sadly a lot of the modern tea hybrids are grown for colour and have little or no scent. The Old Roses are shrub roses with beautiful dark green glossy leaves. 'Boscobel' is a particularly beautiful example. I buy my roses from David Austin, who specialise in the Old English Varieties. This is how it will look in another week or so.

Boscobel was named for the House in Shropshire owned by English Heritage.
It is famous for the fact that Charles II hid there in an oak tree, whilst being pursued by Cromwell's soldiers during the English Civil War in 1651. The tree still stands in the grounds.

22 May 2015

The May Garden

Late Spring in our cottage garden is all pinks and purples. The showy tulips have given way to some beautiful clematis.

And my favourite the Granny's Bonnets (Aquilegia) I was delighted to find several plants in our overgrown garden when we moved in plus lots of seedlings. I moved all the seedlings around and created lovely beds of Bonnets for the Spring; however they were having none of it! They refuse to grow where I sow seeds and happily self seed themselves in the strangest places. I have decided to stop trying to fight nature - she always knows best! I leave them to come up where they will and if they are in the 'wrong' place I cut the flowers for the house so I can enjoy their delicate beauty close up.

19 May 2015

Not just for colouring...

I don't know about the rest of the world, but here in the UK it has become really trendy for grown ups to indulge in a spot of colouring in. I used to love to colour and draw as a child, as a teenager I bought Altair design books, which were basically tessellated line drawings. I spent hours on rainy afternoons with coloured pens, designing graphic patterns. They went out of fashion for years but now they are back! They would make brilliant patterns for hand pieced quilts! you can find them in stationery shops and at Amazon HERE
The current craze has resulted in lots of adult aimed books, with lovely line drawings, I especially love these two
they are full of great drawings that are perfect for embroidery, I think this would be stunning in Goldwork
Mary Corbett over at Needle n Thread has stitched the hummingbird design from Johanne's Book 'The Secret Garden' you can see it HERE

Life is crazily busy for me just now, and I wanted a project that I could stitch without too much thought! I want to make a padded zipped pouch to carry my in progress embroidery to class, and so I decided to make an embroidered one. I have chosen the Scarecrow pattern also from 'The Secret Garden' book.
I have appliqu├ęd the clothes and I will embroider the rest
I stitched the birds in split stitch, it is a stitch that I have only ever used as an outline for satin or long and short, but I think it is lovely as a filling and one I will use again
I don't know why I decided the birds had to be blue! possibly because I heard Vera Lynn signing 'There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover' on TV - which of course is impossible as we don't have bluebirds in England! Next up the strawberry patch and some yummy reds.

13 May 2015

Thatches is having her hair done!

I often get emails asking if the house in the header is where I live. The answer is yes, we are fortunate enough to live in a beautiful thatched cottage on the river. Thatch is a wonderful roofing material, cool in summer and warm in winter, it has a very comforting, nurturing feeling, it doesn't matter how wild the weather is outside, we never hear the storm, as the sound is muffled by the thatch.  However it is necessary every so often (about 15 years) for our cottage to have the ridge (the decorative top part) replaced. The ridge is the sacrificial top layer that protects the integrity of the rest of the roof. The main roof is made of Norfolk Water Reed, but the ridge is straw. A few weeks ago a giant haystack appeared in our front garden, today there is only a little left.
some parts of the cottage look pitiful with bits of the roof missing...
while others have their new ridge in place (if a little untidy at present)
It amazes me how a few pieces of ash and hazel, can hold together a bundle of straw, that will make a watertight roof. We have a lovely Master Thatcher at work, glad of this beautiful weather...
The excitement of so much scaffolding, and thatchers around willing to play ball, proved too much for Jasper, so he decided to have a doze in the shade...

08 May 2015

Look what I found...

I have spent the best part of this week, cleaning and sorting out my small sewing room; I have lots of things half-done or not started and I am trying to be a little ruthless in deciding what I will realistically ever want to finish. Quite a few pieces of fabric have gone back into my stash; now I am learning embroidery I seem to have less and less time for patchwork and quilting. However one project I did come across, and one which I most definitely want to finish, is my version of the Welsh quilt, the original of which is held in the V & A. I saw this quilt at the quilts exhibition a few years ago and came home and drafted my own version, I am hand quilting this with wool wadding/batting. I don't know when I will finish it, but it feels good to be hand quilting again!

01 May 2015

A Little Bit of Fun

I bought this kit from Material Obsession in Australia last week, it came with the pre made bag and all the wool felt needed to make any one of several designs. Wendy used perle cottons on her sample, but as I didn't want to have to buy anything else, I used DMC cottons that I already had. It was lots of fun to stitch and I hope I will get lots of use out of it too.

EDITED - I am linking up to Supermom this week