Out in the Summer House

by Helen on May 2, 2013

As the warm and sunny weather continues, this morning we set off early for our walk in the woods before it became too hot for Ben who hasn’t yet shed his extra heavy winter coat.  I stopped on the way at our little village hall which has been turned into a polling station for the day for our County Council elections.  Maybe it’s because I’m older – and possibly more cynical – but it seemed to me that there wasn’t much to choose between the candidates – and none of them really seemed to be concerned about the issues that affect small rural communities like ours.  But nonetheless, remembering the Suffragettes and “Votes for Women”, I marked my “X” in one of the squares and posted my vote in the large black ballot box.  

I’m hoping this wonderful weather will continue over the weekend, so am sprucing up the summerhouse in readiness …..

gbpicphotos 015

 … repainting the furniture, which has been with me for – oh – well over 20 years!!  It actually dates back to the early 1970s and was a gift from my mum when Rosie was very very tiny.  It is still good and solid and although it was originally a very dark teak, over the years it’s been all sorts of colours – this year I’ve opted for pastel shades (very on-trend!) with pale pink, blue and white.  And in the back corner you can see my latest completed project – it was outside for its photo shoot.  Finished just in time for this lovely weather – my Great British Picnic Blanket – with its own bag for storage and transportation.

Great British Picnic

 The Great British Picnic Blanket (and bag) will be in the June issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine (published 30 May).  I’m still working on another project for the magazine – my Blackwork Butterfly – which is going well – the fluffy body makes a most effective contrast to the lacy wings as I hoped it would …..

Blackwork Butterfly wip

 The summerhouse makes a lovely warm weather office, so as the paint had dried on my furniture, I took my laptop outside this afternoon and settled down to do some work … 

summerhouse and tea 001

Ably assisted by my two furry friends …. both large ….

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And under the table, next to my feet, in the spot Ben used to love when he was a puppy, the small one (though growing larger every day!)

summerhouse and tea 006

 Hopefully they’ll both stay fast asleep for a while so I can get some work done! 



Terrific Tulip Messenger Bag

by Helen on April 4, 2013

I went out into my garden to take some photographs of my first completed project for the May issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  I’m trying to get a bit ahead of myself rather than always working up to the last minute, so have been stitching madly in the evenings, while Daisy practises her “knitting” rolling around on the rug with a ball of wool.  She loves to unravel wool so I keep a couple of ends of balls for her to play with – but she’s only allowed them during the evening whilst I am supervising her activities to avoid any danger of her choking or becoming entangled in the yarn.  Anyway …. between re-winding her ball so she can unravel it once more and removing my slippers from her soggy grasp … I have managed to complete my Terrific Tulip bag ….. 

Terrific Tulip Mini-Messenger Bag

 It’s a retro, 1970′s style embroidery featuring stylised tulips, daisies and sunflowers (with no regard for the seasons!) stitched onto vintage linen.  It’s quite a small messenger, measuring just 12″ across, but is surprisingly roomy inside.  I photographed it, as always, in my summerhouse and, although it is still bitterly cold, was surprised to see how many plants were in flower.  I snapped just a couple of them to show you … the Hellebores are still doing well ….


 And the flowers are opening on my early Camelia – hope they don’t get scorched by the frost…


While these days there is almost always a Daisy to be found in my garden!  She’s five months old now and not so little any more – here she is with her long-suffering big brother!

Daisy and Ben

 He loves her to pieces – though he tells me that she can be rather a pest sometimes!  Sorry they look so scruffy – but they had just been rolling around on my poor bare lawn.  Hurry up spring and make the grass grow again!


Free Christmas Reindeer Tote Bag Pattern

by Helen on December 4, 2012

Inspiration can come from all sorts of  places, from the obvious to the less so.  Below is my latest work in progress – a Little Red Riding Hood embroidery design for the January issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine ….

Little Red Riding Hood

No prizes for guessing who was the model – and inspiration – for the “not-very-scary-woof ” sorry, WOLF!  But inspiration also can be found in all sorts of strange and much less obvious places….  Rosie sent me a picture of her Christmas manicure…..  


And I thought …. “I love the clean, simple shape of that reindeer head.”  Then I thought…… “he would look great as a machine embroidery/applique project!”

So now I am proud to present to you my next Bustle & Sew Christmas gift …… 

Christmas Reindeer Tote Bag

My Christmas Reindeer Tote Bag!  

A good-sized, sturdy tote that’s quick and simple to make – and perfect for carrying home all your Christmas Shopping!  If you’d like to make your own Christmas Reindeer Tote Bag then just CLICK HERE to download the free pattern.

Oh … and I nearly forgot to mention …. for this week only, I am offering a 25% discount on all orders that include a pattern from my Christmas Shop.  Just enter code XMAS25 at checkout to claim your discount!


Back from the Beach

by Helen on July 18, 2012

We had a lovely time on the beach on Sunday.  Townie Husband threw lots of balls for Ben, and took him rock-pooling too so I could take some photographs of my Seagull Cushion without fear of it being splashed, or even knocked flying into the water … 

Seagull Cushion

It’s another project for the August e-zine (out next Thursday). I didn’t manage to get any good images of my Lighthouse Height Chart as this was badly splashed (Ben of course) and unfortunately we haven’t had any sunshine here to try to take more photos.   It was a wonderful outing though, in spite of this …

Lannacombe Beach

 Ben loves rock-pooling.  He is very fond of underwater digging – scrabbling away with his two strong front paws – trying to capture stones, shells and once even a very startled starfish!! (I made him put it back).

He’s never caught a crab, though these are very common around here – both locals and visitors love to devour tasty crab sandwiches in the summer months, washed down with a nice cool glass of local Luscombe lemonade.  And inspired by this – and having acquired some of Maude Ashbury’s “Crabtastic” fabric, I am in the process of finishing off another project for the August e-zine, the Blue House Crab Tote….  some patchwork – a little simple quilting (optional) and an applique panel - here’s a quick sneak preview….  

Blue House Crab Tote