Wednesday, 11 May 2022

The gentle art ... of little tiny stitches.







Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Love the life you have imagined.

Thoreau 1817 - 1862











It is May already and I am not sure where this year is going, the world needs to slow down a little in my opinion. Although the days of the beginning of May are a little warmer the evenings are still chilly here in Dorset.

Thimble has under gone the yearly transition from Winter to Summer in the colours of the throws and different cushions.  There are always plenty of throws around and candles to light.  Cosy is the word along with my mind set of Hygge as well.  "There's no place like home" - Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. The early Summer months can still bring a chill of an evening as I said, not cold
enough for an open fire but you need something.  

The porch at Thimble is rather large and so I am lucky enough to have a wardrobe out there to

hang all my coats along with a beautiful Lloyd loom chair with a blanket across it and a patchwork cushion made of antique quilt.  There is a small piece of quilt hanging on the wall over a hanger and some framed in a battered but beautiful frame.  There is a lamp out there and candles too.  It welcomes all who step inside.  The quilt has changed to different piece with a lighter feel to it but to me it feels happy and cosy.

The little wall hanging that says Thimble Cottage that my beautiful

friend Vintage Dahling had made for me by the equally beautiful  Suzy Hearts who stitched it for me.  It has pride of place and was the first thing that was put up when I moved in.  When I got the keys to Thimble there was the post and there it was.  It is beautiful and very precious to me indeed.  There are always fresh flowers in a jug, sometimes picked or sometimes bought depending what's available at the time, I always have a smile when I open my door because I feel its such a welcoming sight.


Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.
Voltaire.

I had a beautiful long weekend and went truffling in Honiton and also to the Dorset Brocante, which was a stunning venue in Wimborne.  The treasures that were found and came home with me! The weather was kind on the Bank Holiday, which made it all the better.
It was in Wimborne at the magnificent Deans Court and there were rows upon rows of marquees outside to loose yourself in.  I might of bought a quilt and a new cupboard, painted, chipped and gorgeous which has been put into my porch with the lamp on and the other one has been put into my bedroom. and that has now got books on it and candles..  When I got it all home a bit of a Spring clean went on to move things about.  You will see the photos above.

Of course there were some fabrics, well linens actually and I bought some beauties.  All at some point will be cut up and stitched upon.

One of my most beautiful pleasures is having my first cup of coffee in bed.  The curtains are pulled the window wide open and my pillows all plumped up.  I sit and listen to the bird song and stare out of the window sipping at my coffee.  I have a pen and notepad and if my mind wanders to things I must do or remember or indeed an idea for a project jumps into my thoughts, I write it down as I go.  That half hour is so precious to me and a real treat in my eyes.  The  new/old little table with a drawer and a bottom plinth, now in my bedroom has books on it that I am in the middle of reading and that frees up my bedside table a bit too.  There is a little coloured glass vase with flowers in and I light the candle and it brings a beautiful warmth to a corner of the chimney breast that is in there.

Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom.

Benjamin Franklin.

The cottage now is has had a bit of a re-arrange and spring clean and my sewing that had spread to my dinning room has been tidied up and is back in my studio and so today there is some sorting to do out there and then the gentle art will begin once more.

I want to get my watercolour paints out as well and do a little design work for a picture for myself

so I need to get a shake on and tidy up a little. I have often said it but to be an octopus with lots of hands would be great some days..  I found that with carrying around a little note book I can write things down and then do them later, without running off to sort something whilst being in the middle of something else!!

It will not be long now and I will be able to sit and stitch at the garden table as well and take in all the beautiful scents of the summer that fill the air with my roses starting to bud and my hanging sweet pea basket starting to sprout, its something else to look forward to.

Yesterday I was sorting through my little stash of hand dyed ribbons and writing down shades that I thought I might need.  I have to tell you I bought a beautiful old green enamel bowl, which now hangs in the utility.  It is just the right size to dye small batches of linen and I love it ..  anyway next week I think a little natural dyeing might take place as well.

This coming weekend I am off to Eridge Park to the Decorative Living Vintage Fair on Saturday, its a fairly long way a way from me so going on Friday evening and staying over night.  It is always such a beautiful fair to be sure.  It is on Friday and Saturday and I will be on the Saturday, hoping that there still will be some beautiful treasures to be found.

The weather has been so very warm and then has turned colder and wet today.  However on

Monday my Sister came to stay for a couple of days and it was warm and beautiful.  She brought with her Peanut her beautiful boy dog and we went for amazing walks through woods and by rivers.  We were able to have lunch and dinner in the garden and I had picked a large bunch of cow parsley and popped it in a jug on the table outside.  We had some wine and a Italian platter and sat there in the warmth.  Caught up on all things girly and tried not to talk Mum as we adore her but sometimes its just nice to be care free - for a while anyway.  Peanut was so happy and always cuddled up.  I took a photo of his paws in the air.  My gorgeous niece calls his pads "beans"  so his feet are called toe beans!!  Just take a look at how adorable they are!  It was a real tonic to have some time together just us and oh yes Peanut too.


As I said today is a very wet day, such a contrast.  Its cold and the rain is going sideways! So the fairy lights, lamps and candles are aglow.  I have decided today I am going to do small pieces of slow stitching and sat in the lounge in a cosy chair with a quilt over me.  A cinnamon tea is in order and that is where you will find me.  

So for today these are my ramblings and you have been brought up to date with Thimbles comings and goings.  The slow stitching basket is out and the kettle is on.  Its time to do some serious work.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead and the weather changes for the better.  Take great care of yourselves and as always Happy Stitching All!

Sarah XX







Friday, 29 April 2022

Adding to a story stitch by stitch.

 





To be creative is to let little pieces of your heart go and place them into each project you make.


Pat Bravo.





I am reminded every day I have the chance to pick up a needle and some thread and add to the story. To stitch together something beautiful and unique, to patch a small scrap of fabric to a piece, that I am truly blessed and happy.  It is true what they say that sewing mends the soul and the mind.  Happy am I to create and let my imagination go wild, a whimsical world in a way but the happiness and tranquillity that is felt is so wonderful.  I do count myself very lucky, it is a very happy place.

It has been very busy of late with stitching for workshops and putting together packs for those on each particular course.  I have spread myself everywhere from the studio into the dinning room table so that
everything can be checked and wrapped beautifully and its been supper on my lap in front of the log burner for a week.... not that I can complain but not so good for the posture! 

Recently I have been to some vintage fairs and I went to two at the Malvern show ground.  The first one was antiques inside so smaller items and I found some gorgeous silver antique pin cushions for my collection.  The first is this most gorgeous and fairly rare bear.  He makes me smile.  The seller cleans all of his stock and there are two camps on this, to clean and polish or to not.  I am not sure what I feel and probably sit on the fence on this one. Sometimes it makes them look newer than they really are. I love this little chap and so happy that he has come home to live with me.


The second find was this beautiful silver frog and I photographed him on my antique hexagon pincushion as I thought it looked like a beautiful vintage and whimsical lily pad!

He makes me smile too, what is so lovely is that they all sit in one of my antique printer boxes that are hung on the wall in my office.  Each has its own little cubby hole and my collection is growing.  I am lucky enough to own some beauties and I have 7 of them.  I was looking for the silver chick with the yellow fabric in the body.  I was so shocked at the price they reach, between £200 and £495 .... The ones that have red or green fabric are cheaper by a long way but to me, do not look like chicks at all.


Then a few weeks later, Easter Monday in fact I went to Malvern again and this time it was inside and out, the sun was shinning and warm and I met so many friends there too.  At one point I had a bundle of goodies in my arms and a basket full,  Apparently they could just see my feet scurrying along with vintage fabrics and a welsh blanket and three old fire buckets running about!  It must of looked like Paddington bear on the loose!

Last weekend I made my way to the Vintage Bazaar in Frome and again met up with some dear dear friends, one of which I had not seen in person since 2018! I think when we saw one another we squealed! The VB is one of my absolute favourites,  Not huge, never over priced both to get in or to purchase and boy do you find some great things. Some fairs now are around £35 - £65 just to walk through the door, which is somewhat eating in to your spendies.

Then joy of joys this Bank Holiday Monday there is a fair just down the road from me in Wimborne in Dorset and I am very much looking forward to attending this one.  Beautiful big house, marquees and stands outside too.  After not attending any for years due to Covid they are all opening their doors once more.  It is so wonderful to see things in the flesh and not online, there is something about sorting through antique fabrics.  Looking at the patterns up close and of course the feel or worn fabric so soft and gentle. Always I wonder if it could speak and the history of its life, who owned it and what it used to be.  Soak in the atmosphere and of course bump into great friends, make new ones and have a coffee and a chat with some as I did in


Frome... there is nothing quite like it ...

The last time I wrote a blog  the first week of this month I said I was off out somewhere special and promised to tell you about it.  It is in Dorchester which again is just down the road from me and called Sculptures by the Lakes.  It is outstanding. Set in 26 acres of land there are lakes and they have 50 sculptures dotted around it is breath taking. It is owned by Simon Gudgeon and his wife Monique.  Simon is the main sculpture there.  The photo were you can see my feet at the edge of a bridge over a lake has a sculpture in the water which are words and they say .. " Love builds bridges where there are none"  This place is magical.  Walking around all the amazing sculptures you realise that the plants are outstanding the colours and the hundreds of different plants .. Then when you are looking at the map they give you and the information that Monique is a Holticulturist and that makes total sense.

There is also the Art Gallery there and it represents works by a number artists both local and international including over 30 by Simon.

There is the Cafe by the lakes which has a relaxed and cosy feel to it and  all food is freshly prepared by


a team of chefs.  It is very much a seasonal menu and most of the produce is grown in their kitchen garden, which you can wander around in as well.  Homemade cakes and great coffee.  It is licenced so you can have a glass of wine or gin and tonic whilst waiting.

Then they have there the Artisan's Pantry which stocks fantastic food and drink. It also offers a service of build your own Picnic in the park with a tempting selection prepared by the team at the Cafe.  There are little places to rent for the day by the lakes including a shepherds hut, The Island and Pavillon.  You can of course bring your own picnics and drinks and pop it all in one of the above if you have hired it for the day.  Then wander back for your lunch.

Finally there is the Artisan's Bazaar which is a gift shop and predominantly local artisans and producers. Candles, throws, gardening tools and antique garden tools with wire worked birds on them for ornaments in the garden .. stunning.  I bought two beautiful throws and some candles which smell divine and a antique spade with a wire blackbird on top.  It now sits in one of my pots.  It caused a stir for a few days as Mr and Mrs Blackbird would not go near it.  I have already decided at Christmas ( I know its not Summer yet however ..) I will put a red ribbon bow around its neck.

It was a beautiful day with gorgeous weather a great coffee and a outstanding lunch.  The walk around the lakes and seeing nature with sculptures that complimented the country side was a real treat and I highly recommend this as  full day out.  No dogs are allowed and no children under 14 because of obvious reasons.  They do not want to be responsible for young children and deep waters.  It was


peaceful and cultural rolled into one. Wonderful walk and  wherever you looked there was beauty and nature entwining effortlessly ...

In the second lot of photos on the top left is a face and it was mirrored into the water moving gently with the ripples of the clear lakes. In addition all plants are labelled so you can take a photo of them and their name if you would like to put them in your garden at home, you can remember their name to go to your garden centre and purchase but some of them are for sale at Sculptures by the lake as well.



So this long weekend here I have some fairs to go to and I will also be making packs for workshops.  Wrapping each one individually for each person to unwrap and begin the workshop and the fun and laughter of the day.  There will be a meet and greet with a drink and biscuits and then off to Threads of time studio.  We will be stopping for lunch in the dinning room and in the afternoon there will be a tea break with homemade cake served.  Every person will also get a bottle of water to sip throughout the day.

I am having fun designing and stitching a sample for each course, hunting down the fabrics, ribbons,
buttons etc, this does take time as you can imagine.  The fun doing it though does not seem like work to me at all.  Finding enough of something is tricky on occasions.  Enough for me to make a sample and for 6 others to stitch as well.

If you are coming from afar I have found a most beautiful farmhouse bed and breakfast, which has a sewing theme going on and you can try and book in there.  There is parking and it is literally a five minute walk from Thimble Cottage.  The Town of Blandford is a beautiful market down with coffee shops and little independent shops and of course you have the River Avon that you can wander along and watch otters playing and plenty of Kingfishers, along with other wild life.

This Sunday is the Frome Independent which see the Town full of stalls from Artisan makers to antique and vintage stalls.  That is where I will be wandering around and it looks like the weather is going to be beautiful this Bank Holiday weekend, no matter what the weather it is beautiful there but is is so much more enjoyable when the sun is out and you can sit outside a cafe and have a coffee and watch the world go by, I always think.

Today is a little tidy up, because as I mentioned above I have rather spread around and then some slow stitches for me.  It rather looks like a bomb has gone off, an antique bomb of threads, fabrics and journals ..grin!

Anyway that is you all up to date with my ramblings.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend whatever you are doing and as always stay safe and HAPPY STITCHING!


Sarah XX


























Friday, 8 April 2022

Threads of life...

 



A gentle heart is tied with an easy thread.





It is already April and the weather here in beautiful rural Dorset has been very changeable to say the least.  One day it was cold and snowing with snow clouds looming over the entire sky as far as the eye could see.  It was cold and dark and then the clouds blew away towards the sea and bright warm sunshine dominated in the afternoon..  I had lit candles and cosied up to stitch and then as if by some divine intervention the brightness and the warmth of the sun shone down and the candles were blown out and the natural light filled my work room.

I have mostly been working on covering journals and a beautiful little book of pressed flowers as well.  Some of these will be workshops here at Thimble this summer.  The pressed flower journal is coming along beautifully and covered with gorgeous beautiful antique and vintage goodies.  Each beautiful hand made paper pages will one day be filled with pressed flowers and there name both everyday and Latin names and some will have a quote or poem hand written in sepia ink.  I do believe that the course will be a really beautiful day ... I have pressed some beautiful flowers to put in my book and it will be on show at the course.  If you are interested in course dates and information please message me on here or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog.

As you will see at the top of this page a stunning array of antique threads in the most wonderful colours and hues, these too will be used by all on such days.  I bought them from the lovely Sue Meager who now sells when she has a destash in her work room.


I have also been busy in the kitchen as well and making more of the little leaf cinnamon cookies and as you can see on the photo they look good enough to eat! they are really rather moreish I must warn you... So here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS


1 1\4 Cups (250g) sugar

3\4 Cup(170g) of room temp butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

21\4 Cups (335g) of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1\2 teaspoon of baking powder

1\4 teaspoon of sea salt or use salted butter.


METHOD



1. Add the butter and the sugar to a mixing bowl and whisk until it is fluffy and paler in colour.

2. Add the egg and the vanilla and whisk again until well combined.

3. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt if using.  Mix again this time with your hands        and make sure it is well incorporated, it will be slightly crumbly but hold when pinched                  between fingers.

4.Turn out dough on to a well floured board, bringing it all together.  Then wrap in clingfilm and       put in the fridge for half hour. It is now time to pre heat the oven to 350 F, 180 C.

5. Put grease proof paper on a baking tray ready and choose your cookie cutter, my choice is a            small leaf shape.  

6. Get the dough out of the fridge and now the choice come roll it all out or cut in half and wrap        half in cling and pop in the freezer ( it is happy there for 3 months)

7. Roll the dough out at around 6mm thick.

8. Cut out cookies and place on the baking tray.  The importance of resting dough in the fridge is        so the cookies do not loose their shape in the baking.

9.Place cookies in the oven and bake for 9-11 minutes until the edges are just slightly golden.

10. When cooked place on a cooling rack.  Place on a plate and dust with icing sugar.


Make a warm drink and enjoy!!

I can not tell you how lovely they are.  A friend came to stay here a week ago and I made a fresh batch for afternoon tea.... they went down really well indeed.  

It has been busy here at Thimble not only with visitors but my sewing.  My fabric shelves are all of


a dither with messy piles where I have been looking for just the right antique fabrics and button etc.. So next Monday there is to be a fair few hours first thing tidying up.  I now could not find a thing to my shame.  The trouble is I get an idea, grab my sketch journal to design something then I am off finding fabrics and threads straight away so that it can go in my pile to make.  Then with my excitement I go back to what I am stitching at that moment and so it goes on.  If I had a tail it would permanently be wagging! ...


" Slow down; there is more to life than simply increasing it's speed"

~ Mahatma Gandhi

In other news here the hedgehogs have woken from their Winters nap and the feeding has begun here in earnest, also there is a pair of Blackbirds who come in the garden and weed my pots looking for juicy worms and other bits I put out for them and of course my three very tame crows who come down and call me.  Yesterday there was a big noise in the garden and I ran out to see the crows fending off the most beautiful and very large eagle... yes an eagle, stunning beauty but a little scary too! he had decided the fresh minced beef I had put out was easier than hunting at 11 am in the morning!

I am out at the weekend and I will take some photos, Its not a vintage fair either but I know you might like to see this amazing walk through grounds with lakes and ... well wait and see.

The Vintage Bazaar is on later this month in Frome at the cheese and grain so I will be going to that and I am very excited to go and not only catch up with dear friends but also go with my little list to purchase vintage goodies. I went to a beautiful small fair last weekend at Broadhembury near Honiton and it was a talent for textiles event.  I bought some beautiful little bits and also caught up with Jack and Liz Van Hasselt of the Washer Woman fame.  It was such a beautiful sunny Saturday and a stunning venue.

Next week is the start of Easter weekend and I am off to Malvern to an enormous antiques fair, staying over in a country pub over night as well.  The journey there is a good three to 4 hours away so going on Easter Sunday and back on Easter Monday.  Its starts at 7.30 am so it seemed the most civilised way of being there... 

Whilst on my walk this weekend I will hopefully pick up a few wild flowers to press for the pressed flower journal... I already have pressed some Helleborous from my garden and some bleeding hearts in various sizes ... they have come out beautifully retaining shape and colours.

Well that is it for today, I hope you have enjoyed my vintage ramblings today and hope you all have a beautiful weekend what ever you are up to.

Until the next time, stay safe and Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX










Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Spring time here at Thimble

 



Blossom by blossom the Spring begins.


Algernon Charles Swinburne






The words above are so true, It is still, on some days cold, wet a little windy however there are days where the sun shines through here.  Birds are busy making nests and there are flowers awaking from their Winters nap and blossoms are starting to arrive slowly.  It's the promise of a new beginning and of hope.

The days are getting longer and the natural day light is so wonderful and refreshing to me.  The river bank here is starting to come to life and although the river is a bit high and not as crystal clear yet, life there is starting to have the promise of the Summer days to come.

Spring has arrived here inside Thimble too and as you can see the dresser in the kitchen has been renewed with different pottery and china and a little bit of Easter has crept in, yes I have been faffing! and enjoyed each and every minute of it ... 

It brings Spring inside on a day like today which is dull and rainy,  my Grampa would have said of the sky  " Not enough blue to make a sailors shirt !" and indeed there is no blue to be seen or indeed sun.  However in my kitchen it feels warm, cosy and Spring like.

Earlier this morning I was in my studio outside and whilst a bit of faffing was going on out there I
lit some candles and sorted some bits out there too.  Not a needle picked up yet today.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it though, I have to say.

The rain at this point was light and fine, the kind that is welcome on a very hot day and you feel your face is being spritzed, now as I write this it is like stair rods.. glad to be inside and in my little office.  I have a cup of cinnamon tea and I just looked out of the window and all the birds have disappeared to shelter.. it really is coming down here and is set to stay today.

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil.

Bishop Reginald Heber.


I have though set out my stitching for today and after I have finished here that is where I shall be happily doing one little stitch at a time.

An update on my friendship quilt is that I have 7 of them back and they are carefully wrapped in tissue paper.  It has been wonderful when the post brings one to my door.  I have finished mine as well and so now it is a case of waiting for them to arrive and then putting them all together as a beautiful lap quilt and hand quilting it.  A friendship quilt that will make me smile each and every time I look at it or it is keeping warm.

I have finished three antique quilt squares with hand embroidery.  The colours are stunning and one of my favourites, log cabin.  With what is going on in the world today they will remind me of what we all, as humans should be doing and that is this..  " Kindness sprinkle it everywhere that you can"

I am going to walk it down to the framers this week and I have just the place to hang it when it is finished.

On my work table today I have pre threaded a few needles, in fact around eight of them and that keeps a steady flow going with out stopping.

My work basket is ready for me to continue on.  Today my day light lamp will come into its own because it is as I said a very dull and darkish day. 

I had some very sad news 2 weeks ago, a very dear friend died and because he lived in New York I could not get to the celebration of his life.  His beautiful wife and three children have been left numb with grief and so we decided this year I will fly out to spend some time with them and hopefully his wife will make the journey here this year too for a few weeks, we have planned walks and catching up time.  Because of Covid I have not seen them for a couple of years and that made it all the more sad.  The grief that I feel from loosing my zany friend has been awful.  However that it is nothing to what his family are feeling right now.

The memories I have are second to none though and I smile each day with another funny and fun


filled day I have spent with them.  We met on Martha's Vineyard some 12 years ago now and they have visited me here in England and I have been over there a few times too. I am honoured to have called him a friend and I am sad that he will never grace his presence here at Thimble.  Life is so short it has reminded me and to live each day to the full.

In my quiet stitching moments he comes into my memory and makes me laugh and normally out loud too, anyone who could see me in such moments might think me mad laughing away on what appears to be on my own, not knowing somewhere he is right there smiling and laughing with me for sure.

With the fairy lights on and the candles lit, this afternoon I will be in my happy place and stitching and sorting for the up and coming courses that I will be hosting in the Threads of time studio.  I have sorted through some beautiful hand dyed shaker threads as well.  It reminds me of the times in New England in the fall and I also baked some cinnamon cookies in the shapes of different leaves with my cookie cutters.  Oh the go well with the tea I can tell you.

I will take some photos and put the recipe on here next time.

Well for today that is me and my ramblings,  enjoy what ever you are doing today and keep on stitching away.

Take great care of you.


Sarah   XXX




















Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Beautiful things come together with every tiny stitch!

 





In the quilt of life, Friends are the stitches

 that hold it all together.





When I hear that familiar click of my gate and the postman walks towards my door my heart jumps a little,  the little hand stitched squares that I sent to my vintage friends have started to arrive.  They are beautiful too, each and everyone so far have the personality of each individual as I know them.  I have finished my square and is on the little pile in my F & M basket waiting patiently to be part of this special project to me. 

There is no particular time frame and I await them patiently.  This lap quilt will take a little while because until they are all here I can not plan or make up the quilt.  This is a friendship lap quilt that will be a treasure indeed.


In the meantime I am stitching other bits and clearing all unfinished projects.  This is when I wish I had several pairs of hands ...  the process of slow stitching is a beautiful thing and each and every time I take the last little stitch, there is a sense of achievement and a little sadness as I so enjoy each project that I stitch.  I have to confess though that if it involves hundreds of French knots there is a sense of thankfulness that it is completed!

The weather here has been dreadful and for a couple of days last week I had no power.  Lucky I have candles everywhere.  The thing is though you forget what it is like with out electricity! Firstly I have a combi boiler so not showers or bath... I washed my hair over the sink.  This was possible because I have a range cooker.  The top is gas and the ovens are electric fan.  

If I turn the knobs on the top I can light the gas with a lighter and bingo I can heat water in my hob kettle and of course cook pasta or some warming soup or make a stove top stew so all is good.  However I had some ideas when it was all off.  I know I will iron that little pile of fabric! Stupid thing that I am. My day lamp of course did not work.  I have a log burner so I was very toasty warm and cosy and I read books, I could not stitch so I did not feel guilty for snuggling up on the sofa by the fire and reading.  

There was no internet or phone and I just settled into a 17th Century life and it was really relaxing.  Today there is yet another storm warning that Storm Gladys is on her way so I thought I would get on here and now whilst I could. 

 Just in case I have had my shower and hair wash early and prepared a evening meal that now


does not need an oven.  I have chosen a book and laid the log burner ready to light... candles have been refreshed and so bring it on!  Possibly now the storm will go in another direction and miss Dorset completely.. As my late Dad said prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  
I was totally unprepared last time, not this time I can tell you! tonight's delight is sausage cassoulet and all I have to do is heat it up and there is enough for two days,  along with a beef casserole in the fridge now to heat up on the gas top.  If the storms are not coming here, well there is no cooking for four days ... means more stitching time .. 

I have sorted my design journal as well so I can sketch and pop ideas down and of course a good book.  The book I have chosen is called The Sea Gate and I look forward to loosing myself in the pages. 

Walking around my garden I was securing things that might break or blow about should we have high winds again and in doing so I saw that the beautiful bulbs I planted under my dinning room window have broken through.  They are Alliums and they have multiplied so instead of eight there are 16 of them to my delight and still small enough not to be blown around to break

Spring does not seem to know that Winter is still firmly in place and that the cycle of life continues, It is a joy to see and the promise of better weather is just around the corner.  Walks


along the river bank and baby animals being born.  It will soon be time for the hedgehogs to wake from their winters sleep and they will grace my garden once more for their supper.

Well my stitching is calling me and its time to settle down in my cosy chair with a lovely warm drink and pick up my needle.

Several projects are on the go and today it involves some whimsical mushrooms, it is a series of three projects and this week coming,  should see the trilogy completed.  I am so pleased with this project as I am delighted to see it all come together.

Where ever you are in the world stay safe and I hope that these little storms will not disrupt too much and will see you all safe and well inside your homes.  Travelling is tricky in these times so if you do not have to go outside then stay inside.  I myself see it as a gift not to have to rush about and do things that make us feel happy.


Happy Stitching everyone.


Sarah XX














Thursday, 10 February 2022

A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.

 





Blankets wrap you in warmth, quilts wrap you in love.






I am a bit excited and very happy that I have started out on a small friendship quilt.  It started about 3 weeks ago when I had an idea.  I messaged my friends in the vintage/stitching world and asked if I sent them a square of antique linen would they please write their name on it and stitch it.  In addition some decoration if they would like or had time to do.  Now some are very much in the vintage world but do not embroider so that handful are writing their name for me to stitch over and decorate, but most are doing their own.  They can choose how to decorate it and what colours, I really do not mind.


All the lovelies that I asked said they would be delighted  to do so and so I set about cutting squares.  They were all wrapped in tissue paper carefully and a little thank you card inside.

The next process was putting them all in my basket and walking to my local Post Office.  They have got to know me in there  since I moved into my little cottage and always comment on the decoration of the envelopes etc.  I do have pen pals as well, although of late I have not written much because of my Mum really.  Anyway these padded envelopes ( and there were a big bundle of them) caused a bit of a stir in there.  "OOH Sarah what are these?" I was asked. So I was chatting away about this very personal project for some while with the lovely ladies who work there. 

They all went off and have safely arrived.  I am doing a square too and mine is being finished off today.  I am now waiting for them to arrive back and it will be so very exciting to see them.  Then I will stitch each one together along with some gorgeous antique fabrics and have a small quilt or wall hanging.  I think it will be my lap quilt and then my great friends will always be there with me.  There is no time limit on when the squares need to be back with me, everyone is busy but over the next few months it is going to be so exciting when one drops through the letter box.

People are busy stitching their square that I sent and I know that some are already destined for the post box too.

Each stitched square will have a panel of delicious antique fabric attached to it and so it will be a name with decoration, then vintage fabric and then another name handstitched square and so on.

I haven't chosen the backing fabric yet as I want to see the front of the quilt stitched together first. 


Then there will be a border as well.  I am going to hand stitch a label for the back with the date on it as well and hope that in a 100 years from now someone will pick it up and enjoy the find as we all do at vintage fairs.  When you have a date and some form of name or names it is even more special.

The lap quilt will be hand quilted by me, its a task but an enjoyable one.  I am hoping to either stitch the ditch or hand stitch around each square, again when I see it all I will know which one to do...

When I have finished my square I will show you and of course when it is completed I will try my best to take a photo that you will be able to see it fairly clearly.

Other projects will be on the go as well, a smaller project to stitch whilst sitting with my Mum of course and other bits that I am eager to start.

As I was writing this the doorbell went and my lovely postie stood there with two little packages... guess what two squares have arrived today completed.  I am over the moon to say the least.

Yesterday I went out for a lovely walk and was delighted to see a patch of beautiful snowdrops their little white heads swaying in the breeze, it was a promise that the Spring is on its way.


THE SNOWDROP

The snowdrop, Winters timid child,

Awakes the life, bedwe'd with tears:

And flings around its fragance mild,

And where no rival flow'rets bloom,

Amid the bare and chilling gloom,

A beauteous gem appears!


Part of a beautiful poem by Mary Darby Robinson.


The above photo is my prized Susie Watson snowdrop jug 💟


The sun was shinning and it was very mild day, unlike today where it is hazy once more and colder, so today is a delicious stay in and stitch kind of day. The candles will be lit and fairy lights will be turned on and cheer up the hallway. Although I will go for a wander at some point, I do every day.

My F & M hamper basket is working out so well, I am so pleased with it as my sewing projects basket, because it has a lid as well. It keeps everything so tidy and kind of hides it away from sunlight and fire dust.

I need to go through some of my larger pieces of antique paisley fabrics to see which ones might be contenders in the backing of my friendship quilt and also which fabric might be the other squares in between the hand stitched squares, it is so exciting getting it all together.  Now that the post this morning has delivered me two of the beauties, this project has become real and such a happy project.

Going through my fabric stashes is a real joy and sometimes  (who am I kidding here!!) all the time I get caught up in it and what should take really no more that half an hour can turn into several hours!! It is one of my life's little pleasures though and I do have a genuine reason to do so today, although


maybe a bit premature at this stage in the project. It is good however to have some idea.  This is what I am convincing myself into anyway.

So later on I will be going into my studio and lighting the many candles and sit at this little desk or maybe at the large sewing table and sort through happily  - remembering where and when I bought each piece, although there a a fair few, I remember them all fondly, they are all so tactile and so very beautiful.  I again wonder what stories they could tell me of all those decades ago if the could speak.  

To choose some for this project will be a joy, they are too gorgeous to end up living in a drawer and never be seen or loved on a daily basis.


Anyway enough of my rambles for today, the time is ticking and I must away to my stitching.  As always Happy Stitching and please take care out there.


Sarah XX




 












Friday, 4 February 2022

Welcome February the month of love ... and lots of stitching projects.

 





Although February is short,

 it is filled with lots of love and sweet surprise.


Charmaine J Forde





The month of love and the shortest month in the year.  February can be a very cold month and I feel it is the month for lots of candles, throws and reds dotted around your home.  I call it the month of hygge.

For me the Spring is on its way but there is a few more months of cosy, cosy, cosy!  The log burner crackling and with my new/old day light lamp I can stitch in the dark evenings.  I have noticed though that the daylight hours have started to lengthen and that really is a joy.

The other thing that I have been up to is this, I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful Fortnum and Mason hamper for Christmas and the content was really thoughtful and delicious I must say. So the wicker hamper went in the large porch I have.  I have a wardrobe out there for coats you see and it sat happily on the top.


The thing is I was looking at it the other day and thought I know.  So I set about transferring my sewing projects that I have on the go from little baskets by my sewing chair to the F & M hamper, it has a lid and that is more protection and of course it looks a lot tidier as well.  It has tidied up beautifully and it is a far better use of this gorgeous basket than just in the porch.  As you can see from the photos I lined it with a antique piece of quilt then began adding my bits and pieces.  Finally the top layer went on with the projects.  All I have to do now is lift off the little pile of stitchery and all of my scissors, fabrics, threads and fabrics are at hand.

News on my Mum is the care home she is in has had a outbreak of Covid and restrictions are in place for visiting.  I can go in three times a week all done up in mask, visor, gloves, apron etc and so can my Sister.  As she is very poorly, however it is closed to most of the patients family at these times.  It means that I have more time at Thimble right now and my sister and I face time each other when we are there so the other one can  see Mum even when not present.  By going separately she is visited more.

This month see's me being at Thimble Cottage for 2 years on the 20th of this month! I really do not know where the time has gone.  I remember the worry of it and hoping it would feel like


home and it has not disappointed.  The moment I walked through the door and started making my personal stamp on it... I was home.

I need to get my on going stitching projects finished as I have another slightly bigger project starting soon and I will tell you all about that in the next blog.  The planning of it has been done and its about getting all the components together.  I am very excited about it and is very personal to me and includes lots of my wonderful vintage friends involved so watch this space.

I think I have mentioned that I feed 3 crows, who appeared very small and fluffy and had either been pushed out from their nest or indeed fell out.

Feeding them started last Summer and they are now big and a wonderful shinny black colour.  The come every day at around 4pm and call me.  They are tame enough that they are happy with me being around them, but more importantly they are not happy around other humans, I do not want them to trust too many  people because they are, after all wild birds.

I can whistle and they come and fight off any seagulls that try and take their food from them, the seagulls fly back to the sea later in the day and that is when they are fed.

This year may see them have their own families so I do not know if they will bring them here at all, I am hoping that they just teach them to hunt.  The crows do hunt too but have their one meal here at the end of the day.  They tried to come a few time in the day but I would not feed them as I wanted them to hunt too.



In addition to the hedgehogs that come on a regular basis from Spring I now have two blackbirds that arrive in the garden.  It is a pair and the male one sings the most beautiful songs in my apple tree.  I am now known as lady Dr Doolittle .... 

I think you must have guessed I am a total animal lover and eventually I will be getting a new addition to my family, a puppy dog.

It will be a couple of years time because I wish to travel a little first.  My sister will look after my said puppy when I go away but I need to have some freedom first.  I would like a brown little girl cocker spaniel and her name will be Ava, yes I have thought it through as you can read.

Walks will be fun and I am hoping that my sisters dog will take to it as it will be tiny.


Well that is it for today, I have a basket full of stitching to complete so that the new project can begin in earnest.

I will be going to settle down again in a moment and open my new basket of vintage goodies and continue on.

Hoping you all have a wonderful week.  

As always Happy Stitching and take care.


Sarah XX









Thursday, 27 January 2022

It's a stay in and stitch day

 





What good is the warmth of Summer without the cold of Winter to give it sweetness.

John Steinbeck.






Although we have had lots of sunshine of late, the temperatures have been single numbers here.  I love going for a lovely walk along the riverbank and seeing the trees glisten with the frost and the sun.  Jack frost has been very busy making it so beautiful.

Apart from going out to appointments and to my Mum, it has been a hive of stitching activity here at Thimble.  I am working on a little pile of stitchery that needs to be finished.  I got a bit side tracked on my covered journal that I have mainly stitched whilst with my Mum in her very sleepy moments and days.


The fire has been blazing and the candles lit the pure cosiness of the cottage has been so wonderful and the slow stitching process has been good for the soul.

Its the hygge of it all and when combined it is pure bliss. 

A few weeks ago, you may remember I was asking your opinions on day light lamps.  Well I decided that indeed it was something I really would find useful on dull days and Winter short days of sun.

I decided that it was the day light bulb that was the winner and so as long as the lamp I choose was fit for purpose I could get and antique anglepoise lamp.  A friend found one on Ebay for me and it looked perfect.  It is antique and is the original cream colour.  It moves up and down and in every possible position.  It had been re-wired with antique looking cord and I bought a daylight bulb.  There is a square two step base and I am thrilled with it to say the least.  Its fluid so I can move it around and that means not only can it go on the little coffee table by my favourite chair to stitch in the lounge, it can go on any table here or easily moved to the studio as well. It folds up and I could take it away with me as well if I needed to.  My stitching hours have now stretched and that means even if I can not pick a needle until mid afternoon, now my sewing can continue on after 4 ish. 


Memories are stitched with so much love. 


Spring is not too far away and at the moment bulbs are doing their very best to sprout their leaves through the hard ground.  I am looking forward to it I must say because I am going to be busy putting in a little patio area that always gets full sun in the afternoon right up until the sun finally sets.  The rest of the garden at that point breathes a sigh of relief after a very warm day and settles into some welcome shade.

In addition to that I am going to raise a border in the little garden for my miniature fruit trees and some wild flowers in between.  Spring is the perfect time to get this done before (hopefully) the


heat of the Summer months.  The little fruit trees are at this point in time in huge pots but I really want to plant them out.

I have been doodling around with new designs and ideas as well.  I must admit I really enjoy that part of my stitching process.  The smell of a new paper page blank in front of you and just waiting to be drawn upon or even sometimes water colours are brought in as well.

Sat out in The Threads of Time studio the other day I had candles going and lights.  The radio was on in the back ground and I was imagining it filled with laughter when the workshop days start.  I think the fun, laughter, company of like minded people will lift our spirits after a difficult few years.  Covid has seen families apart and freedom as we knew it, taken away.  

Yesterday I went on a walk with my Sister and her dog and then we went to the farm shop to have a coffee and a cheese scone with homemade butter.  It was bliss, there we were face to face and not on facetime, laughing and talking... never again will I take that for granted.  

My days are split with sewing, organising workshop dates and designing for said events. I am hoping 2022 will be the year it can all begin.  I am so looking forward to meeting some of you.

On that note my basket of stitching beckons once more and the fire will need to have a few logs thrown on.  Then the kettle will need to go on for some tea and I can settle back in to my little tiny slow stitches and with my old/new day light lamp I can work on a little longer today.

So for now HAPPY STITCHING and as always take care out there.


Sarah XX