Life In Devon

Snoozing in the summerhouse

by Helen on July 23, 2014

Thank you so much to everyone who left kind supportive comments for Ben.  He hasn’t been out and about too much this week as it’s been far too hot for the Newfies.  We’ve been walking very early (5.30 am!) in the mornings when it’s cooler and both he and Daisy have been snoozing the rest of their days away in the shade of the summerhouse.  That is to say, I think they’re snoozing….

Though they would probably argue that they are simply supervising their human who’s hard at work.  I beg to differ ….

They look pretty snoozy (is there such a word?) to me!  And while they were slumbering I have been busy photographing this month’s projects for the Magazine .

There’s my Jar for Buttons, Flanders Poppies Cushion, Embroidered Love heart, True Beauty Peacock and Emily & Arthur the two little bunnies.  And there’s lots more to enjoy too in the August issue – the full preview will be coming soon.

But – I’m really sorry – August is the last month you’ll be able to subscribe for the current price of $6.50, so if you had been considering subscribing, please don’t delay.  From the September issue the rate for new subscribers will be $7.50.  If you’re already a subscriber, then don’t worry – your existing rate will remain unchanged forever.

Just CLICK HERE if you’d like to learn more and subscribe.

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A summer’s afternoon …..

by Helen on July 19, 2014

The weather has turned hot and sultry – there was thunder again last night which nearly drowned out the sound of Daisy’s snoring.  She is not at all afraid of thunder, no – her worst fear is being left alone – quite alone that is, with neither her Big Bro nor I close at hand to cater to her every whim!  She had to be brave yesterday however.  I simply had to leave her home by herself for an hour while I took Ben to the vet  to have his stitches out as it was far too hot for her to wait safely in the car during his appointment.  Everything went well for Ben at the vet’s since as well as being highly skilled, our vet is very kind and patient, understanding that on such a hot afternoon a heavily-coated and slightly stressed large dog needed quite a few breaks during the lengthy procedure.

Today has been much more the sort of day the Newfies love as, after their early morning walk, we’ve spent most of our time in the summerhouse ….

Here’s a very relaxed and cheerful Ben!  His eyes are still rather sore and swollen, but our vet assures me they will improve a lot over the next week or so.  And notice the untidy muddle on the table behind him!  This is what happens when somebody (me) with the attention span of a butterfly decides to spend a hot summer’s afternoon working outside.

On the table you mght spot no fewer than three projects for the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  There’s the lid for my button jar, together with the DMC colour chart to help me write up the pattern.  Then there’s my Poppies applique (more about that in a minute) and my current handstitching, as well as a half-drunk cup of tea, several magazines, the house phone, and more.  But back to the poppies applique ……

It is of course the centenary of the beginning of the First World War next month and, as all my grandparents’ lives were affected by this conflict, I wanted to create a design to remember that generation.  I wanted this design to be simple, but light and airy – reflecting my grandparents’ hope for the future rather than brooding on the horrors of war.  To achieve this I chose bright colours and have combined sewing techniques that my grandmothers might have used as well as modern ideas.  The poppies’ stems are all chain stitch, and the centres French knots whilst the petals are felt and freestyle machine applique.  I think it has all come together  well, and I’m planning make the finished panel into a cushion cover that will have pride of place on my living room sofa – well out of that naughty Miss Daisy’s reach.

And thinking of that furry whirlwind – I began this post with Daisy so it seems nice and tidy (unlike my summerhouse table!) to finish with her too……

 

“MUUUUMMMMMMM!!! I’m sooooooo bored with all this sewing!  When can we GO TO THE BEACH???”

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Every Monday afternoon …

by Helen on July 15, 2014

Every Monday afternoon I say farewell to my two furry friends and head off into Kingsbridge for an afternoon session as a volunteer at the Oxfam Bookshop.  I really enjoy these sessions as I meet lots of interesting people – many visitors to the area drop in to pick up new holiday reading as well as locals who almost treat the shop as a library – returning a bag of books for resale before choosing more.  I also enjoy browsing through the books myself and usually come home with two or three (at least!).

This week I thought I’d share one of my finds with you – it’s a Country Living Book entitled “Country Colour Combinations.”  My edition is a bit faded along the spine and dates to 2003.  As the cover makes the rather ambitious claim “classic colour schemes that never fail” I was very interested to see what was inside as most interior books become very dated …

The photography is stunning – as you’d expect from Country Living, and the colour schemes still look attractive, though there were one or two pictures that did look a little dated.  I loved the way the schemes were named – after all, who wouldn’t enjoy “chestnut and copper beech”, “rosehip and crab apple” or “rockpool and driftwood?”  And what’s not to like about “raspberries and cream,” “strawberry, apple & mint,” or “lilac & primrose?”  All the schemes were grouped into palettes, and my very favouritest one was of course “sun, sea, and sky …”

… including “sky & sunshine,” “shell, sky & sunset” and “storm cloud and sea spray”.  This book is still available to purchase from Amazon, though I was surprised to discover that although the cover and title are identical, the author name has been changed from Caroline Atkins on my 2003 copy to Kate Butcher on the current edition.  How odd – I wonder why?

But I haven’t just been lazing around in the summer house idly flicking through my “new” books.  Oh no, a major relocation exercise has taken place here at Coombe Leigh.  Rosie’s wedding arch was getting a little blown about at the front of the house – it’s quite exposed facing the prevalent south-westerlies, so it’s now been moved to the back ….

And made quite a lot taller with the addition of its legs!  The silk roses still look nice around the top and the sweet peas smell wonderful as we brush past them.  In typical country fashion I use the back door much more than the front so I’m really enjoying having the arch where I’ll see it every day.

And I’ve also been busy with new projects for the August Bustle & Sew Magazine….

These little bunnies are waiting for some clothes.  The girl has cute little red shoes and will wear the same dress as Mabel Fox, whilst I’m planning some dungarees for her brother.  The embroidered heart is also for the magazine and is waiting to be added to a project.  Rosie’s wedding may be over, but there’s still no shortage of activities to keep me busy, including a bit of painting – ably assisted by that mischievous Miss Daisy ….

What can I say?!

And to finish, I’m delighted to report Ben is recovering well now.  He’s back at the vet on Friday to have his stitches out, whilst his tooth extraction doesn’t seem to have affected his ability to hoover up his food at teatime -it’s nice to see him back to his old self again!

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This is a post of three parts – though in the reverse order to the title above – so first the (temporarily) ugly.  Yes, that’s Master Benjamin who, although he is feeling much better, is looking extremely odd.  The vet had to shave his face fur around his eyes before his surgery and his eyelids are bristling with stitches that won’t be removed for another week.  He’s out and about again now and here he is earlier this morning …

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… enjoying a nice amble through the woods.  I am sure that if he could, he would want to join me in thanking all those lovely people who sent their best wishes for his speedy recovery.  Thank you all, your kind thoughts meant so much to us at a worrying time.

The second part of this post then, is the bad bit.  As I am lucky enough to have customers worldwide, but mostly in the USA, I set all the prices on my website in US dollars.  This in itself is absolutely fine, as PayPal or my other processor 2Checkout, do all the whizzy currency calculations for me and convert to sterling.  The problem is that for the last year the pound has been getting stronger – and that means that my income has been falling.  This time last year I was receiving 66p for every dollar, but now its more like 57p – a drop of 13%.  I’ve been able to absorb this drop up until now, but I simply can’t do so any more.  So I’m afraid that my prices will have to rise next month.

I feel really bad about having to do this so before then, and in honour of “Christmas in July”, here’s the last, and good, bit of this post …..

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I’m having a Christmas in July sale with 25% off everything in my store except magazine subscriptions.

This will be the last opportunity to stock up on Bustle & Sew patterns at these prices, so please don’t miss out as the sale is for one week only.  Just pop across to my store now where I’ve opened up my Christmas patterns section too and enter code XMASJULY at checkout.

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