Tuesday 21 August 2018

Little stitches and still in the garden.

Autumn, my very soul rejoices in it but not just yet!

A few people have said to me that they can feel Autumn on its way,  and you all know its my favourite season but I am so not ready yet.  Firstly we have an annual airshow in our home town and the beach is packed and people flock to see the Red Arrows and it is always hot and sunny.  I know with the hot summer and the lack of water some of the trees look like they are changing and a few leaves lay on the ground but I believe it is just that - lack of water.

My first sign of Autumn/Fall is the arachnids that make webs everywhere and they have a stripe on them, there is dew on the grass every morning and these things are just not present here right now, for a start we do not have grass just hay like sprigs!  It is 23 degrees here on the South Coast today and that is such a great heat.  I keep thinking people think summer is over because its not 32 degrees as it was ( then they were all fading from heat exhaustion) No I have decided its still summer just now .....

It has got me thinking of Autumn though and those gorgeous pumpkin soups I make and the apple crumbles ( apple crisp if you are reading in the States) also the pumpkin and Cinnamon spices .. now see they have got me at it!!

My stitching this week however may turn that way to Autumnal designs and my journal will be looked at for things I have sketched and ideas in the margins but very possibly I will want to add to it so that may happen very soon.

I also feel cinnamon is not just for Autumn/Winter as I drink cinnamon tea on a regular basis and I love it.

There is a time in the last few days of summer 
when the ripeness of autumn fills the air.

 Rudolfo Anaya

I have not yet got to the above stage but I am getting ready for it by the end of this month.  Although
we have another fabulous vintage fair to go and our last summer bank holiday yet.  It is the Dorset Brocante and it is held at the wonderful Deans Court in Wimborne.  The lovely Sally runs this and I can not wait to catch up with her and see how her summer has been.

We had a most lovely  weekend in the Cotswold's and stayed in Bumble Bee cottage which was outstanding.  Everything had been thought of even down to fresh jug of milk in the fridge and a container of fresh coffee beans as well.  There was bottles of water and biscuits along with some tea. The cottage was beautiful and the bed was so very comfy, it is always important because all love our own beds and pillows and when we go away we sometimes struggle with being somewhere different.  We slept so well although the Saturday evening we probably could have slept on a log as it was a fun
and late night with a little bit of falling down water .... I mean just look at these fresh peach Bellini's how can you resist!

The fair was really beautiful as it always is and meeting up and catching up with dear friends is what I did mostly I can tell you.  I will collate the photos that I remembered to take and let you have a little visual wander around later in the week.

The drive there was really lovely and the Cotswold's is truly England at its best.  The houses and cottages and countryside just so very relaxing and truly beautiful to look upon.  I did not want it to end and could have very easily stayed there for a week..

We also visited Stow on the Wold and it is a beautiful Cotswold town with such gorgeous architecture and beautiful shops and cafes.  We went into a few cafes to have drinks and in one there was a little courtyard and there were baby robins coming up to get some food crumbs from tables... of course
who ordered a piece of cake just to crumble up for them... yes you guessed it!  not to say my husband and I did not have a mouthful each to try the delicious apple and almond cake, it was divine .. so say us and the robins!

A garden must combine the poetic and the
mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.
 Luis Barragan

We are still in the 21 degrees and above here on the South Coast and it is a nicer heat than the early thirties that we had for months.  It is warm and inviting in the garden and I just have to get back into work mode.  It is another long weekend coming up as well because is is our final summer bank holiday weekend coming up so another short week again.  This time though we are at home.  The Dorset Brocante is just down the road for us so around 8 miles away.

Maybe I will do a little more in the way of treasure hunting this time, you will be shocked at what I actually bought, well shocked at how little on what it was I found when I did a little truffling.
Mostly talking and catching up.

Still I will talk about that later in the week when I have collated the photos ready to do a Cotswold's special!

That is it for today and my birdies were pleased to see me, they did get fed but it is always a shock to them when it is not me doing the feeding or sat at the table with them.

Have a wonderful day and Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 16 August 2018

My scattering moments .... and a dress!

All my scattering moments are taken
up with my needle and thread.

Ellen Birdseye Wheaton 1851

Oh the delight of doing some slow stitching on two of my dresses, to make the dress unique to me. The pattern of the dress is very simple and I just sketched it for Debbie.  I have covered my own buttons and the dress button up at the back.  They are larger buttons so you can clearly see the gorgeous vintage fabrics used.  It is all part of the detail.  One of the dresses has a monogram on the bodice of the dress and of course it is a very old and ornate 'S' for obvious reasons and I am so happy with how they are coming along.  Letting my work speak for its self I am stitching something and then hanging the dress up to look at for a few hours to see if more is just enough ... grin!

The other one has vintage linen bodice and the the skirt part is the vintage cabbage and roses fabric I bought at a vintage fair this summer, some of you will remember it from the show and tell.

This is the one that I will where first and the little bit of stitching and applique that I have done will have to do for its first outing, I am very pleased with the dress and it is lined and very comfortable indeed.  I have hand covered the large 6 buttons at the back of it and can not wait to start wearing them.  The other dress with the monogram is in the middle of having some embroidery completed and a further two dresses are being made by Debbie.... so by the end of the year I will have four beautiful and totally unique dresses to me hanging in the wardrobe.

The applique on this dress is a large bee and the words are as follows:
 ' Leave room in your garden for bee's to dance' 
So totally me .  I think there will be more embroidery on the back of the dress but not this side of this
fair.  The back has the covered buttons as you can see but a little something else is needed in the way of words .. yet to be decided upon. Sorry about the plastic in the photos but it was hung up safely and pressed so I did not want to disturb it too much.

We are off to the Cotswold fair and I can not wait.  It will be a lovely weekend and a friend is staying at ours to feed the birds and have time by the sea, and we are making a long weekend of it and staying in a little cottage.

I will take some photos for you all to see the fair and the cottage and of course the Cotswold's and report on it sometime next week for you.

So today I am off to see my mum and keep wondering if she will have had a wonderful dream last night to tell us about in her way.  I hope so as I love to think of little memories coming into her clouded mind and she then dreams wonderful things about them like it has just happened and she smiles ..... which is infectious because it makes my sister and I smile back.

Then later on I am going to get on and try and stitch more on my other dress, it is a totally me sewing few days until I go off a  adventure into the countryside and the gorgeous fair that is one of my favourites in the vintage social calendar.  In addition there is a wonderful bulldog who greets us at
this fair named Winston and he is a handsome and very loving boy indeed.

The weather looks like the sun will be shining and it is not too hot either, around 22/23 degrees and that suits us all I think.  There is always a large marquee with stalls around the perimeter and then tables and chairs with flowers on them in the middle for people to sit and have a drink or something to eat, whilst still looking at all the goodies that are on offer.  There is the hall full of stalls and other little individual marquees as well.  The views are outstanding so it is all set for a great time.  We are out in the evening for a meal and a catch up ..... yes I am totally excited to be there and very lucky.

I am not packing any stitching at all and having a total break, I adore stitching and my job but feel a complete 'no needle' in my hand will do me some good and I can come back refreshed and revived.

However a sketch journal will be coming with me in case I get an idea walking around the countryside and something pops into my head ... I know I would like to pick a wild flower and press it for my personal journal to remind me of this time and indeed the great summer of 2018 as its now known in our home!

So I must away and get on so that I can get some stitching in today before I pack this evening and of course sort my project baskets out for my return next week so that I can ' ht the ground running' ( one of my husbands favourite sayings I have to add and I have kind of adopted it!)

I hope you all have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday 13 August 2018

HI HO! ... its off to the garden to sew!

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as
 I used to think.  It's splendid to find out
 there are so many of them in the world.” 

L.M Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables

Since I started writing this blog and indeed pen paling I have happily discovered the truth in the quote above.  Without the use of social media I would not have found so many gorgeous new friends that are so like me it is unreal and from all across the globe. Those of you who love to stitch and talk about your projects and what you do and sew.  The nature lovers of you who enjoy my garden adventures, people who I write letters to on a regular basis, word smiths like me who love quotes and sayings and those of you that are all of the above ... I am truly blessed with some wonderful kindred spirits.

The weeks has seemed to just fly, It is already coming towards the middle of August and I do not know where it has gone.  My days do go by quickly when I am sewing it is true and when I am writing in my journals as well. I have really achieved lots in the last two weeks as well and pleased with the bits for publication.  Truly enjoying the summer of 2018 and garden slow stitching, it certainly has been wonderful to be outside so much this year.

It is only 5 sleeps until the fabulous Cotswold's Fair and I am so looking forward to it, one of my favourites on the vintage calender and wonderful to meet up with lots of our lovely friends who are like minded.  The Cotswold's is stunning and where the fair is held is so pretty.  The Broadway is the town where we stay and go out for the evening ... also really beautiful.  In addition our friend Ali has her shop there Betty and Violet and she will also be attending the fair.  She and her husband are one of the couples that we go out with later that night.

Sorry about last week and me not putting my blog onto the Homespun face book page it was a rush
day with going to mum and other bits happened.  Anyway I put a little something on Friday about a vintage fabric sale so I will let you know when this week it will be happening ...

My Mum was very sleepy last week and she she kept dozing on and off until the lunch was served.  She loves her lunch, or more to the point she adores her deserts ...
When we were talking to the manager of her care home she said that Mum had woken up that morning and walked down to her office.  She sat in with her and had a coffee and was telling her she
was tired as she had been out last night with myself and my sister and we had been skating together and we had so much fun.  It was so lovely to hear that she had the most wonderful dream.  I should explain that my Mum was once an Ice Folly and skated very well and taught my sister and I to do the same.  So it was a memory of sorts and she was so happy ... she was tired as she thought we had kept her out very late skating! Oh how I wish that had been so.

I'm a dreamer. I have to dream and
reach for the stars,and if I miss a star
 then I grab a handful of clouds.

Well I have got back two of my dresses and I am going to be doing some of the embroidery on at least one of them this week.  I am over the moon with them and the other two are about to be started
but I have been told they could be 6 weeks or so as she is so busy at the moment.  Debbie made the pattern for my dresses from a drawing of mine and we have tweaked them together over things that I have asked for.  The fabrics for the next two went in last Friday and so I am so very pleased they will be started at least in the next few weeks..... I am so pleased with them. So today It is working on a dress for me.  I have almost decided what to stitch and so that is my day sorted to a point as I want to wear one of them to the Cotswold's fair on Saturday.

Last Friday we had lots of rain and so I was inside working and it felt so strange, I was pleased for the garden mind and it needed it because it was parched, I water the flowers but it is not enough for the ground to become nice and soft and the grass to be green and lushes ... I am so pleased however that the weather today is back and I can sit in my garden office ( table and chairs outside with large umbrella ) once more, I am not ready for Autumn and Winter just yet although sadly they are just around the corner.

My basket of sewing is ready for this week of work along with the dresses and I will be happily here for today and tomorrow with no errands to run and so two whole days stretch before me with my slow stitching.  I hope that you all have a wonderful day today and as always .....

Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 9 August 2018

Words evoke the imagination ..

“I like good strong words that mean something…”

Louisa May Alcott
Little Women.

Words! to me they are very important to me and even one word can evoke a memory or the imagination and can be powerful, sad or happy.  Quotes and poems too I search out  and I suspect it is because I am a avid reader, I am really not sure.  The thing is they are important to me as I love to read and write  along with using them in my stitchery.

In Little Women with Jo who loves to write I can fully understand her character and it is one of my favourite books ( also used to press my flowers from the garden!) .....   When I bought my much treasured antique copy of this book I found a pressed flower in it.  It is what got me wondering about who it may have belonged to and what significance the flower held to that person.  It is why the flower is still tucked in that book in which it belongs and why I use that book to press my flowers in.

“I'd rather take coffee than compliments just now.” 

Louisa May Alcott 
Little Women.

I put the above quote in for good measure as it is one of my absolute favourites and one I can wholeheartedly relate too of an early morning, when I like my quiet time sat in the garden with my first coffee of the day in my hand watching nature go about its daily routine ..... Its my ponder time
and to think about what I need to achieve that day and write my list.

Well this morning whilst doing just that I was looking through another basket of mine with bits and bobs in that I have got out for projects and then decided against using for one reason or another and I came across this beauty.  I am very pleased with this little piece of patchwork with tiny hexagons and with such gorgeous colours too.  I bought it back in May at the Dorset Brocante at The Larmer Tree.  

Anyway it is time it was used on something so I have it with me now and so whilst slow stitching today I can decide what to put it on to or what to stitch around it ... It is just too gorgeous to actually leave in a basket do you not think.?

In addition I found this little Victorian calling card tucked in there and that I re discovered was because I was going to do some digging around and investigating.  Now I do not know if I will find out much because I do not know where it actually heralded from in England but It is not a very common name and for the person to have a calling card in the first place, well they are of the higher classes of the time....

You can not see the name in in this photograph but if you gently pull back the hand on the right underneath in beautiful script you can read the name Edward Alth.  It has got me all fired up again and I needed to have a little look into it.  So before I came on here I did a little search of the name on 'find my past' and to my pleasure there were only 32 with that name.... now I know 32 may seem like a lot but not so, some names you pop in may come up with thousands so I am very happily going to look into this in the next few evenings.  I am not sure I will ever be able to be sure which gentleman this belonged to out of the 32 but it is a calling card and only the more affluent will be in the running.

So you see my ponder time can be dangerous as I find things to sort through and then I am like a dog with a bone.

For now though I just have this gorgeous calling card by my laptop to remind me to do some searching at the end of each day.  Now it is about today and I have my basket full ready to do some
slow stitching before I visit my mum.  I am hoping that we will find her in great spirits again this week and that the medication juggle is working.  We will go for a few hours and then I will come back and continue with my stitching.

We have had a few cooler starts to the mornings but it has been up to 23 degrees by mid morning.  It is still gorgeous and warm but not the high temperatures we have been experiencing and to be honest with sitting and stitching this weather is just right.

I did not see baby 'bobbin' robin this morning and I am still hopeful he will return back again as he enjoyed being fed the other morning early.  I was a little later this morning and that could have been why.

Yesterday was a great day with sketching, journaling and stitching away in the garden.  I had the company of my gardener for a few hours and that is always lovely too, although Miss Muddy Beak would not agree with me.  She disappears when he is about.  She particularly hates the electric blower!

Anyway that is it for me today and I hope that you all have a wonderful day today.  Whatever you are up to and as always  Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday 7 August 2018

The garden is alive with summer and tiny stitches in the shade..

Live in each season as it passes,
breathe the air and resign yourself
to the influence of the earth.

The beauty of this summer is that you can basically plan ahead, the weather has been outstanding for months and you can decide a week in advance if you would like to do this or that.  I am living the season and breathing in all the beautiful warm air daily and happily sitting in the garden of an evening after the sun has set and basking in the evening warmth with a little welcome sea breeze. The floral scents of the hot garden after a good water is wonderful too and I love all my seasons as you all know by now but I shall be sad to see the summer of 2018 leave us, although what is my savour,  is that I adore autumn so I will have that to comfort me.

I just hope next summer is as good as this one is ... Slow stitching in the garden every week has been just wonderful and as I take my inspiration from what is around me it is the perfect place to be .... I have not stitched in my work room since April.

Today is another beautiful day and other than go to my dress maker and deliver some fabric covered buttons that were needed I can be here and sat in the garden with my basket of stitching for company. Oh and of course Miss Muddy who has started to come more often again.  She likes to come where I am because of the shade.  I loose the shade there around 4 pm and that is full sun then until the sun goes to bed and I turn on the fairy lights.  So that is my day finished now for stitching and I go inside to other things.

I can not believe that is just under two weeks until the Cotswold's Fair at Toddington and it is that time of year when we get together with friends and have a really lovely weekend.  I am really looking forward to it as well.  My basket is ready to pack already and with this weather I will probably take
my sunhat with me too.

Whilst sat in the early morning in my favourite spot with my warm drink I saw a little twitching of leaves in one of our borders.  I wondered what it might be.  In a split second I had decided if it was the mother of all arachnids I would be dropping my cup and doing a 3 second sprint to the kitchen door ... Then a happy surprise it was a baby robin! Oh my so very lovely.  When I go out I take some mealy worms with me in a little bag and I was able to feed it.  Then I noticed he had a stained beak and that he had been nibbling at our blackcurrant bush! it made me laugh;

Autumn birds speak cheerful poetry 
from their berry-stained beaks.
 ~Terri Guillemets

 I was so enthralled I forgot to take a photo and as it happened later when I came in to write to you all I had discovered I did not have my phone or camera with me anyway. Never mind Autumn this little fella was helping himself to the summer berries and staining his beak!

This said tomorrow I am going to make sure that I do have my camera  because should this little fluffy barely red breasted beauty come back I would love to capture it on film to show you all.  It is probably one of Mr Robbins babies and oh so tiny and pretty.

Thus that inspired me with the top photo that I snapped this morning at the top of this blog. Our garden really is alive with Summer this morning.

So today I have the fabrics cut out for appliqué, I have the hand dyed threads that I need and some rather gorgeous buttons and I am going outside to create.  I have my journals with me ready to to take to my spot and all that is left to do is pop the kettle on and make my herbal tea. 

I am hoping to achieve so much today and so without further a do I am going bid you all farewell for now and of course I will be back here on Thursday morning.  Wednesday is my stitching and sketch day and sometimes it turns in to all sorts of a day....

Hope you all all have a wonderful day and the sun shines for you all wherever in the world you are reading this from.

Happy Stitching! XX

Monday 6 August 2018

A bee charmer and slow stitcher

I shall take my morning tea with the
birds, the trees and the bumbling bees.

Amelia Dashwood.

What a most beautiful sunrise it was this morning and what promises to be a warm and gorgeous August day.  I have the day before me to sit in the garden with nature and slow stitch to my heart and souls content.  To sit there and have my first warm drink of the day is a pleasure and a privilege and I never take it for granted. I am a little later this morning as I just sat in the garden and drank coffee and did not want to leave nature and after the start to the day I felt I had earned it...

This morning started with a bit of frantic chasing about, as a huge bumble bee flew in and was a little dozy and bumping around walls and falling to the floor.  I was trying to get a glass over and some paper to get him out, without to much distress to the poor fellow!  Well it took a while.  I popped him out on the garden table and got him some water and a little very good manuka honey... he loved it and then whilst I sat with my warm drink and watched over him he sat for a while and then flew off.  I am sure he tipped his little bumble hat at me!  So as you see I did take my tea with a bumbling bee today and then I had the company of Miss Muddy who was thrilled I was so early ...

Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they
don't they should, for their feet are dusted
with spices from a million flowers of summer.

Ray Bradbury 

We had a lovely weekend and I hope that you did as well.  The weather was perfect and it was just us and we had a lovely walk and breakfasts in the garden and generally relaxed and were content in each others company.  Spending time and not clock watching is one of the joys of time off and to have a coffee brought to me in bed was a lovely way to wake on the Saturday morning.
On Saturday night we went out for dinner in the evening with our lovely neighbour, this is the lady who lost her husband who used to work for Coates all those years ago and whom I used to talk to about threads and sewing and I miss so very much.  Anyway we went out had a lovely meal and then came back here and sat with a bottle of wine in the garden until 11.30pm and it was 27 degrees out there but there was a slight breeze and the sun had gone to sleep.  It was a beautiful evening and cool but warm in the garden.  The fairy lights were on and we happily chatted away.

The weather all weekend has been hot and beautiful and it was lovely spending time in the garden and just not having to be anywhere or do anything...

So now it is a start of another very busy week for me and I am happy in my work.  Today I am going to be at home and doing some housework and lots of slow stitching.  I have some appointments on Tuesday but again mostly home sewing.  Wednesday I am hoping to stitch but also sketch and journal so that is nearly my week sorted already, but happily so ..

The other week when I was in the garden I saw a plant and I did not know what it was by our pea
r tree.  I could not remember planting it and I did not know what is was.  I was not sure to begin with if it was a weed.  Anyway I have been watching it closely and then last week all these big flower heads appeared and to my amazement and joy it is a sun flower and it is gorgeous.  There are 7 heads on there one that has opened and is big at the top right now.  I do not know if the birds bought me a present or indeed it was in some compost that we spread down ... who knows but it has been a really happy surprise indeed. So I have taken a photo for you to see.!  My gift of the garden.

My little wire basket is ready here for me to take to the garden and the sun is shinning, the birds have been fed and the garden watered.  A day of slow stitching mostly and being one with nature.
I know it is going to be a hot day today as there was this little tiny mist of the garden and as the sun peeped out it rose off ... the grass ( well dried grass) had no dew and the was a little steam as well.  It was beautifully eerie some how.

Anyway that is me for today and I am happily going to wander back into the garden whilst it is still cooler yet it is already 21 degrees.... My basket of happiness is ready on the kitchen table to take with me and there is just the little matter of making a warm drink to go with it.  Oh and some breakfast too.  Miss Muddy Beak has had hers, Mr Bumble has a little fine dinning too and the other birdies have been busy eating theirs.. so yes it my turn I guess.

Have a wonderful day whatever you are doing and I will see you tomorrow, hopefully with no shenanigans before hand.

Happy Stitching! XX

Friday 3 August 2018

Hand stitching and gathering lavender in ....

The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden
aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender and
with the brightest roses blushing in tufts
 all  over the meadows .....

William C Bryant.

Everything this year is early with the hot summer days and our watering system keeping the earth damp and healthy.  It is only the start of August but our lavender is drying so it was time to start picking it in and cutting back the lavender bushes for next years growth.  Our roses are on there third budding and with the winds at the weekend some rose petal blew around the garden like confetti at a wedding.... the smell in the air in our garden is what summer should always smell like.  It is peaceful and tranquil and a pleasure to spend time in.

This morning early I went gathering in some lavenders and I will do some more later.  We have four big lavender bushes and they all need to be picked it.  I will get it all off and put it in a bag to use in pillows but some will hand in its dried state on its stems on our airier in the kitchen .... with rosemary and mint to keep it company...

Today is Friday can you believe and I have some errands to run, post office, photographer and dress maker.  This will not be too long and I am going early so the rest of the day will lie before me with some wonderful slow stitching to complete.  The weather is gorgeous if not hotter again but in the shade of our umbrella it is pleasant and I can watch the antics of the wildlife after the midday sun has gone.  Late afternoon I will feed them again and refill their water baths and they come down for a splash about and it is wonderful to watch.

Also I really need to finish covering some buttons for two dresses.  I have embroidery to do on them
but Debbie thinks I should complete that when they are finished so I will go with her knowledge, dress making and me do not gel so I go with her expertise.  It seems I may be wearing one to the Cotswold's vintage fair but without embroidery this time.... Still I am so pleased one will be ready from her in time for a summer outing.

Sitting covering buttons is a very calming and lovely pastime so I will be doing that out of the midday sun myself today.

With my list, journals and basket of slow stitching the rest of the day has a plan after the errands and I
can not wait to sit and be productive. Yesterday I went through my hand dyed shaker threads as I like to do.  I got them out and then sat happily with the box on my lap in my cosy chair in the sewing room.  I could sit there for ages doing that.  Still I got out what I needed and and lovingly put back what was not needed this time.  I have a list sellotaped in the inside lid and I cross off what I take out and so I know what will be needed to be ordered when the time comes.

Life in the slow lane is good right now with long summer days and warm summer nights and so good to sit and stitch and sketch.

I want to go and stretch my legs after work and walk down by the sea, when the hoards of holiday makers are leaving then I go down and watch the ocean and the quietness that come over the beach ... apart from seagulls who wander around looking for discarded sandwich crusts for their supper.

This weekend unlike the last one is set to be gorgeous weather and that pleases me as my husband being in an office all week gets to have fresh warm summer air.  I have planned breakfasts in the garden and hopefully we can go out for a bumble along in the forest or the beach . I am looking forward to being able to do more myself this weekend as my back is easing nicely and a lovely stroll will do it the world of good.

The visit to my mum went well as my sister, niece and I walked into mums room with a armful of goodies for her she was sat on her sofa and the double doors into the garden were open, she turned her head and smiled at us ... good start, and the relief on our faces must have been apparent.
We said hello and gave her kisses.  She kept looking at what we had with us.  She smiled as she had a
bunch of roses for her vase, more bird seed and peanuts for her bird feeder and squirrel feeders and we set about filling those up.  Then her favourites we filled up her sweet jar and opened up some shortbread biscuits.  We had been to Costa and bought us all drinks and she loves a latte so it was a great start.  I then said I had bought her a new toothbrush in and she was very pleased.... she has always looked after her teeth and that has not stopped at all.  More shower gel and body lotion came out and face creams as we had known she was getting low... she was happy and content and although we spoke to her she answered but it was jumbled.  We smile at her and say of course mum or ok we can do that for you if you like.... and she then relaxes and is happy.  The two hours with her was a good and lovely visit and the medication is working it seems.  It was a relief.  Also my sister had picked her up two new summer skirts and tops to match and she liked those as well.

I feel better for seeing mum in high spirits and not as confused, it made the two hours happy and by the time we left she had started to have enough she was tired and so we said we would be back soon and she smiled and was happy with her one to one carer and going to watch some television.

This has set me up for a good weekend and knowing her siblings are visiting this weekend she will be happy and content herself.

So today is about stitching in the garden in this gorgeous weather and just popping out later to the post office again.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and the sun shines for you wherever in the world that you live. I will see you back here on Monday to catch up and as always ........

Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 2 August 2018

Threads, fabrics, slow stitches and sketches ....

Creativity is contagious
pass it on! .....

Albert Einstein 

The most wonderful few days have passed here and I have achieved some great things and the list has gone down.  It has been the perfect weather as well and sitting in the garden and listening to the birds chatter has been so cathartic and productive indeed. Much Cinnamon tea has been consumed here as well as blackcurrant ... I have been told to drink copious amounts of liquid so that is what has been happening ( anything to get back to normal)

Baskets of threads have been sorted through and fabrics have been looked at.  I found sat on my little stool in the sewing room I was able to get to the bottom shelves without too much back or kidney pain and was able to sort through some bits on Wednesday which will enable me to make up a new project basket.

Buttons have been gone through as well and I found some that I had forgotten about which was a really beautiful and happy surprise.  Gorgeous fabrics have been once again truffled through all be it on a stool and not with my head stuck in a cupboard muttering to myself.  My back will not allow me to almost climb in as I usually do but I have had a great and fulfilling rummage!

Sketches and doodles have been made and decided upon and I am down to two fabrics which I need to choose between ... It was a great day yesterday indeed. It was lovely and hot yet in the shade it was cool and warm.  I had company for 3 hours as our gardener was there and it was lovely to watch the transformation from a wind swept garden ( the storm on Sunday) to a much more pleasing and well kept and ordered garden.  Things were tied up and the grass that has become fairly green was trimmed slightly to make it neat and help it recover.  The birds sang and the bees were happy once more.  I also took some sewing out and did two hours with a needle and threads .... I have had the perfect few days.

Tuesday I was able to sit out in our garden with my sewing laid out on the table and sat under the
umbrella.  The warmth of the day was perfection and my needle did not slip once so it was a great slow stitching few hours ...

I feel that I am getting better and that pleases me although apprehension fills me today with visiting my mum, we will see how it goes today and I will do as advised if she is a bit feisty ... I just want to wrap her in my arms and tell her its ok because her family are here and she is not going through this
on her own.  The biggest thing I dislike about her illness is she would have no understanding of those words .. it is such a hard thing to watch and hard for us to handle but most of all I am sure it is frightening for her.

Thursday already and we are in August, it really does not seem possible at all.  Where is 2018 going and why does it go there so fast? This summer really go down in my journal as one of the best ever and the flowers have been gorgeous and enabled me to do lots of flower pressing to be used in designs and letters to pen friends ... enough to take me through until next spring which is wonderful.

The desire to create is one of the deepest
yearnings of the human soul....

With my fix of rummaging and truffling for this week and the fact that I found some fabrics that I had not remembered I had it has been a great time here and productive as well.  Creating is in my soul and it is what make me tick so I have had a happy and productive two days ...

I am hoping to spend some quality time with my mum today for a couple of hours and then get home and sit in the garden again with my slow stitching.  I wish to start my Miss Muddy Beak sampler in the next two weeks if possible.

This month there a few gorgeous vintage fairs to attend and here in England at the end of the month it
is our last Bank Holiday of the year, so a wonderful three day weekend with my husband and a short
working week, just before we head into September.  Oh dear I do not want to even think about that just yet.  I adore Autumn and September it starts here, you see the change over night with colder mornings and the spider webs with dew on them .... But its apple and pumpkin pie time too and lots of cinnamon things to drink and eat so it has huge compensations and of course its my most favourite season.

Well that is it for me today and I will be back here tomorrow and hopefully my mum will let us have a lovely visit with her.  One can only hope.

Have a wonderful day whatever you are up to and I will see you back here tomorrow.

Until then as always Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Wee little stitches in the sun ....

Your mind is a garden
your thoughts are the seeds
you can grow flowers
or you can grow weeds .......⚘⚘⚘⚘⚘


Whilst stitching in the garden and taking in this most beautiful summer of 2018, my thoughts turn to all sorts of arty things.  What if I did a sampler with this or what if I put these words on a sampler etc etc .... With the saying above I always feel I have to actually weed my mind on occasions to make room for more thoughts to filter through, thus my journals...

I had my journal with me as I always do and Miss Muddy Beak decided to join me, and an idea just popped into my head so I had to put down my stitching and write down the ideas I had with her as the leading lady...  Tomorrow I am going to get sketching to see if it looks any good on paper as it looks fabulous in my head !! I am going to enjoy some sketch and journaling time. I feel it is so nice to be creating new ideas and projects to have in waiting ... It is exciting to have ideas come along.  Playing with colours with different mediums both water colour paints and fabrics that things might be made in.  It is a happy creative time indeed.  I can not remember when I had a design Wednesday of late... I love to mix water colours and change a hue of the original, make it lighter or darker, brighter or muted and then when they are dried on the paper I like to try and match antique old paisley or eiderdown fabrics to to colours that are my choices ... It is a design technique I always use.

We had some rain over the weekend and it has done the garden some good, the temperature has dropped to a manageable 21 degrees today and the all the birdies are much more alert and active.  I saw Mr Robin today and I have not seem him in weeks.  I wondered where he and his family had gone but it seems all were sheltering in leafy trees and bushes to escape the heat. Miss Muddy is back daily right now and I have seen her partner and also hear him sing in our elderflower tree as well.  The chuckle brothers ( magpies) are back too and still up to their antics... and to my relief butterflies again as there have been too many casualties in this heat so I heard on the news the other day...

Butterflies are self propelled flowers
R H Heinlein 

The sun has returned once more and today I am going to sit in the garden and stitch for as long as the back will allow me... It is a long process getting it all sorted and I am afraid my patience does not extend to being ill myself... I am a terrible patient ( my husbands words and I am in full agreement with him) The weather is set to rise again this week so I am going to make the most of sitting in the garden with the birds all being happier in the cooler few days...

I had an exciting time at the photographers as well with dressing some of the things I wanted him to take photos of for me.  It is a different world really with the technology they have at their finger tips and lenses of all shapes and sizes.  I have also opened a drop box with his help and that means he can take shots and up load them there and I have my pass word to get in.  I can see the photos and then tell him what I think or if I like this or that .... technology you have got to love how things are that instant haven't you.

Anyway back to the here and now.  I have a basket full of gorgeous things to stitch and I am going to enjoy today very much.  Where our garden furniture is there is a wall mounted fountain and it trickles away in the background.  It is soothing and peaceful sat there and the smell of the freshly rain
watered borders and grass fill the air with its scent that only rain can give the earth.  I have much to achieve over the next few weeks and I am glad to be back stitching again.

Our garden was a bit battered in the storms over the weekend but it is bouncing back as the plants seem to do and me well I am going to sit and take wee little stitches in the sun and get my creative juices flowing today.

I have some really beautiful French antique silk embroidery threads and one is pictured at the top of this page.  It is the most gorgeous of blues and I want to incorporate some of the precious thread in the Miss Muddy Beak new design.  I am very much looking forward to how it might turn out.

I have my week sorted out ( in principal anyway) and I have another appointment with the photographer at the end of the week.  Also going to see Mum and hope that the meds are working for her and of course the cooler weather may have cheered her some what.

For now though I have a whole day planned out to slow stitch and tomorrow planned for design and probably more sewing as well so I am happy and content. To be able to connect with the fabric and thread is very satisfying and calming.  I am going to take out a warm herbal tea ( I might have a blackcurrant one) and then start my day in earnest.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and I will see you back here on Thursday.

Happy Stitching! XX

Monday 30 July 2018

Treasures of Honiton visit.......

Truffling around an antique shop is
one of my favourite pass times and
my husband is as happy as I am
doing the same thing ..... treasure
hunting can happily go on for hours.

A few weeks ago we were in Devon as you know at our friends cottage and one of the mornings we ventured into Honiton and went to my favourite antiques shop there.  I have photographed the bits that I picked up for you to look at.  I love walking around Honiton and particularly in this Fountain Antique shop on the lower hill of the high street.

There is also a little museum in Honiton high street that is  dedicated to Honiton lace but unfortunately it was closed when we went that day.  They sell little bits of antique lace there in a basket by the till and have a lovely 20 minutes or so truffling about in there and bringing home some little gems.

Firstly my husband found this gorgeous desk blotter made from wood and with raised painted wood flowers on it.  I have given it a clean up with a damp cloth as I did my precious box a few weeks ago with wood soap and see how it come alive. This is the first clean and it will be cleaned once more just to get the rest of the dust of time out of the wood.  It is so pretty and will also be used.  My husband has cut bits of blotting paper to size to fit it for me and they are in my desk drawer ready for use as and when.

A little bit of writing history on my desk and again I can not help but wonder who owned this originally and what letters were written.  It says to me a lady that is for sure, it is not something I believe would have graced a mans writing desk.  So letters to family and friends or to her hat maker or indeed a love letter or two ... you see how my mind works!!! I get so carried away with my little stories from my truffled treasures ..   

I am very happy with it and it now sits with my calligraphy pens, wax seals and coloured inks.  It really is very vibrant and beautiful.

Then I think you may remember I bought two lace collars and on of them is Edwardian and it my
favourite of the two.  The detail and the work that went in to making that little collar is immense. I am not sure how to use it yet but it may be fashioned into one of the dresses that are being made, we will see.

In addition I purchased a bag of vintage embroidery transfers as well and it was lovely as their was a transfer in the books with the date on it as 1933 so I know when most of them were manufactured and probably in magazines or books of them sold in haberdashery shops of that year.

So with all the photographs now taken I can start to put it all away safely, but my back is preventing me still from having a good sort out and put away.  There is nothing that I can do but let it mend and keep exercising my back and going on walks to our beach slowly ... It is a good thing to go slowly as you see more than you would when you get a move on.  It may not be as good for the cardiovascular system but it yields lots of little wild flowers growing and butterflies along the way.

I try not to bend down though, my back is easing but it sure is hanging around too long for my liking so I had it checked out and it appears there is a bit of a kidney problem as well and its probably bruised and that is what is hurting more.  So plenty of water and fluids and be a little careful for a few more weeks... I am cross because I do not have time for this! Oh well....

The first thing I am going to do when it is fully recovered is go have a good rummage and truffle in my stitchery room in all the cupboards and drawers of gorgeous fabrics, linens and embroidery threads along with mother of pearl button stash, I have missed it and it has to be done! sniff and stroke all the fabrics and coo over the threads ... why is it when you can not bend so readily, everything you need seems to be at ground level!

 Anyway we had a wonderful weekend bumbling around and I did get some more little stitches done. We had no where to be in particular and so it was a relaxing time with lots of laughter and fun - just the two of us.

The weather is again beautiful and summer fills the air.  After I have finished chatting to you all I am going to make a cup of coffee and get my project basket and my journal and go and sit in our garden under the shade of our umbrella and start my day.  Fresh air and the garden with all the wildlife early before the sun makes them retreat.  Its not a bad work environment and I know how lucky I am believe me.
I am enjoying being in the garden stitching and something else we had a thunder storm with an hour of rain the other day, it did the garden some good.  The air and garden smelt fresh when it was over and the sun shone throughout! very unusual indeed.  It was the first rain we had here since April.  It has been forecast but never arrived until last week.

So on to this week well as I said last Friday I have a good amount of time to stitch which I am pleased with but also an appointment at the photographers later in the week.

Whilst sat stitching I gather my thoughts and sip at my coffee happily being proactive.  I have to say that I will have to get up every hour and have a wander other wise my back gets a bit sore.

Can you believe it is nearly August already?  August to me means one thing and it is the gorgeous Cotswolds fair and our annual get together with friends and dinner and laughter in the evening when we stay over.  I love this fair and it is only two weeks away so I am getting very excited about it.  When I look back though it does not seem like a year ago, where oh where has that gone?
Still until then my work has to be my focus.

Although more slowly than I personally like things are getting done and ticked off the list so I can see that there is progress, even though some days I feel that there has not been enough.  That is the great thing about list, you see the line through something completed and feel immense gratification, or at least I do anyway.

Well that is me for today and I will be back here tomorrow and update you on my antics, I can here Mr blackbird singing outside which is unusual in the morning at this time.  He must be happy.
Have a wonderful day today and as always ...   Happy Stitching! XX

Friday 27 July 2018

Pressed flowers and slow stitches .. perfection

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” 
Gérad de Nerval

This perfect summer, all be it a dry one for our gardens still produces some gorgeous gifts of nature. I had a lovely hour opening all the little paper towel envelopes of flowers that I have picked from our garden and have pressed in my old books on the mantel.  

Each hand made envelope I opened had me delighted with the results and they will be used in some great mixed media pieces that I am going to be working on as well as popped into wax seals on letters yet to be written to friends.  Some of them will nestle contently in the pages of my journals for future generations to discover and wonder over, although if they read the journal their questions will be answered for them.

As you know I love our seasons here in England and everyone has a joy contained in it for me, I can help being over joyed at what each one brings to my life and my work in general.

Yesterday I also picked some more buds from our beautiful rose bush and there were some more buds on our hydrangeas as well so they are now in their own little paper towel envelopes and tucked into the books to press and dry and to be used through our Autumn and Winter months ahead. In the Autumn other flowers and leaves are about and that is when I am out hunting for acorns and their cups.  I like to use their cups for some of my works and the acorns, well they are not wasted as I put a bowl out for the squirrels who can not believe their eyes and scurry back and forth greedily to hoard them for the winter to come.  Although they do stand in the garden and have a feast first.. nothing is wasted.

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for a moment.” 
 Georgia O'Keeffe 

Time for me that is spent with nature is not only good for my work and my thought patterns but also for my well being.  I love looking closely at a flower and its interrogate details that for the petals and leaves.  Getting up close to butterflies and bees and watching them dance from flower to flower.  It fills me head with ideas and my soul with happiness.

Whilst wandering around our garden snipping at some more little flowers I noticed that one of our pots of mints had got a bit seedy and had little flowers on the top so I cut them all off so that the mint can get back to feeding its precious mint leaves that taste so good in cold drinks this time of the year but they did not go in the compost they have been presses as well.  When I tucked them up in their little paper towel envelope they smelt divine!  and they will forever remind me of the summer of 2018 that has been so warm and allowed us to make plans for b b q's and picnics without worrying what the weather might be like in a few days or a weeks time.

I got a little haul of delicate flowers and I have taken a photo for you to see it so that when they are pressed I can show you the wonderful results ....  As long as you do it right you can get some beautiful flowers that keep their wonderful colours and hues.

You can see from the photo the mint stalks with little white flower heads on.  Having never pressed these before I am not sure what the result will be but what fun it will be to open the packages in a few weeks and see for myself what they look and smell like ....

I have started to catch up with my journaling on the personal side and also writing a couple of pages in my family history journal as well to get that up to date and complete.  There is so much to write up as well.  When I got my journals out the other day I had forgotten that I had picked some flowers in my friends garden in Devon and it was such a lovely surprise.  They had all pressed beautifully and are now with my growing collections that I have to use through the autumn and winter months .... I chose some beauties as well and ones that I do not have growing here in our garden.

Also yesterday I went to visit my mum with my sister and she was OK for a little while but we left when she got agitated.  We can tell because her hands start to shake a little and we had my niece with us so we got out of there fairly quickly. It is a shame but hoping she will calm again soon.  There seems to be no apparent reason for it unless the heat is getting to her as well.

So I was back here earlier than expected and was able to continue in the shade in the garden on a new
project.  The first few wonderful little stitches always is exciting for me.  It is like a adventure and adding to a piece of history on some gorgeous antique fabric.  I love the whole process of what I do so much and have missed it with my back issues and tiredness as well. 

I seem to be coping with the heat better as well and my body is not getting so warm, therefore my hands are not as hot and the needle seems to behave its self more and there is less of the pricking of my fingers...  Miss Muddy Beak is pleased I am back that is for sure.  She normally visits me closely in the morning but I was astonished that she came back to sit in the shade with me around 4pm and was there a good half hour.  I chat away to her and I often wonder exactly what she does think.  The thing is she seems happy and I am more than happy and privileged to have her company daily for a while.

It is Friday all ready and my working week is nearly over before it actually begun but next week is a full one for me apart from my visit to my mum on Thursday.  I have lots that I would like to achieve and it will be another few days of back healing under my belt as it were so I am hoping I can report it is much better.

This Sunday we are having lunch with great friends in there beautiful garden and I am looking forward to that and to catching up with them.  Also being able to sit and be comfortable which gets better each day thank goodness.

I am not sure what we are up to on Saturday but if my husband has bits to do then I will happily sit in the garden and continue my sewing, I know it is work but it never actually feels like it at all - unless I am late for a deadline then it gets a bit tricky and less enjoyable.

Next week also sees me have an appointment with the photographer for some photos of some pieces as well so I am looking forward to a professional shoot and quiet excited about the prospect.  I am not just there as a spectator but also to dress it how I think it should look for my work so it will be fun to work with someone and get their thoughts and ideas too.  Then there is a dress fitting I believe later in the week ... so it will be all go.

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend yourselves and that you have enjoyed the two blogs this week ... next week full service will be activated.

Until then have a great few days and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 26 July 2018

Oh La La !

He who marvels at the beauty of the world
 in summer will find equal cause
 for wonder and admiration in winter.

 John Burroughs

It is good to be back, I am sorry to have been quiet on here but last week was another particularly difficult week with my mum and my back got hurt.  I could not sit properly at my laptop even in my gorgeous comfy chair so I gave into it.  At the weekend my husband took me out in the car as I was going a little stir crazy and I managed to get into a vintage fair in a church hall in Bridport for the last 50 minutes.  It was a tiny but good affair.  I did not take photos but I did make a few cheeky purchases whilst there.  Our great friends Liz and Jack were there and they always have amazing things from France so it was lovely to catch up with them as well.  They are of The Washerwoman fame. Also we managed to make a date to catch up together so it was a great time. 

This week has been a little bit of a struggle as my back is still not fully recovered but with pain killers it is manageable.  I did meet up with a pen friend on Tuesday as she was over from Belgium and I was not going to miss the opportunity to see her and her family in person.  So armed with pain killers I went to meet up with her and I am so glad that I did.  She loves all sorts of crafts and we had a wonderful few hours together.  It is lovely to meet pen pals, you know them already in a way but it just makes the friendship stronger and more special if you get to say hello face to face.

I can now sit and with a straight back and some cushions I am stitching as well so it is not too bad.  Thank you all for your messages on here and on Face book of concern and well wishes, truly you are a gorgeous caring bunch.  Not much housework has got done but hey ho!....

Today I am going to visit my Mum but if she is in a mood, I am turning about and going I am afraid as I can not afford any more time off and hopefully with a review of her medication she will be calmer in herself.

So what did I manage to purchase whilst at the talent for textiles fair in St Mary's Church Hall in Bridport ....

Well the most gorgeous piece of paisley that there ever was I feel, it is faded and soft with gentle
colours and the most tactile of fabrics.  There is history within its threads and I am so very pleased, yet a little surprised it was still there when I got there as the fair had been open since 9.30 in the morning and it as after 2pm when we arrived  ( late decision to go and a slow journey for the back)..

Also I bought a beautiful piece of old lace and it is crying out to be used on something lovely I think. You can see the paisley behind it and on the all the photos.  It is a large piece as well around half a metre I think so I will be able to do lots with it.

Then there was a French piece of check fabric and the colours are so pretty.  I kept looking at it as it is not normally something I might pick up readily but I thought in the Winter months as a border for some form or sampler it would be just the ticket.

Then there was a lady selling antique Eastern European linen and they were used in kitchens for hand towels I think but it is really lovely linen with a red stripe top and bottom.  It is very long and was only £10 unbelievably so I purchased one of those as well.  I was only in there about 40 minutes and mostly catching up with friends but it did my back good to be walking around a little.

My back is still sore but I am only taking tablets morning and night as before it was every four hours
and it was more than uncomfortable.  In addition I was so tired yet could not sleep for pain.  This week I have been able to sleep and that is a relief in its self I can tell you.

I have finished two pieces of work this week so that is good and I am going to start a new piece of slow stitching this week. I can not wait.

Later today I am going to open up lots of packages of my pressed flowers and see what has become of them.  I am hoping there will be some really beautiful surprises awaiting me.

Tomorrow I will report on it for you and start to get back to my slow stitching stories.

The summer here is really hot and dry and both my husband and I have been making sure the wild life has plenty of water and food.  The birds are suffering dreadfully.  The ground is too hard to hunt for juicy worms and I know there are lots of casualties which distresses me.  So this is a little reminder to all who read this, even if you do not feed the birds normally, to put out some water for them and any bacon scraps or things they might eat.  They are loving  the mealy worms we put out and loving bathing in the bird bath and drinking.

Miss Muddy is well and happy although she could not seem to understand why I have not been sat outside with her in the shade last week.  I just could not sit properly but she is happy that this morning I did sit with her for a while and normal service is well on its way to being resumed.

I am looking forward to getting all my new work baskets out and starting some more projects, luckily the baskets are all made up ready - well three of them and that will do for now.  My back is not up to getting down and rooting through drawers and cupboards just a while yet ...

As it is such a dry summer we have not much grass left but the borders are watered regularly so the
flowers are doing fairly well.  One of my rose bushes is so beautiful and I will be taking a few more cuttings for pressing.  This  rose bush has a story.  I found it in a little bargain shop and it was £1 and twiggy.  There was no label and so I decided to just plant it at the side of the bird table in our border ( this was three years ago) and had I have know how large it would get I would have planted it at the back of the border.  It is gorgeous and is loving this weather and it nightly soaking .... So more of those will be pressed later today.

The other thing in our garden that loves the Mediterranean weather is our grape vines ... Oh my with the watering system watering the ground  three times a day look at the fruit they have produced and the size of our grapes.  They are going to be as sweet as sweet and I will be delivering bunches of them to our neighbours on vine leaves .... When they are picked in by September.  Although this year is will be early I think looking at them.

It was time yesterday to cut away lots of the leaves so the sun could get to them to colour and ripen up.  The gardener we have now has been a god send and with his help the garden has kept its beauty in these unusually dry English summer.

Friends have said about making wine with these beauties but I have to say they are great with a good cheese and biscuits as our supper with a bottle of wine from the fridge .... so no wine making here for us.

Well that is me caught up a little with you all and I will be back here tomorrow morning and normal service is resumed I am glad to say.

I hope that you all have a wonderful day and as always ......

  Happy Stitching! XX