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, 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