Spice jars, bunting – and Daisy too!

by Helen on March 12, 2014

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who said such lovely things about my newly redecorated kitchen – so very kind of you all.  Lots of people also wanted to know about my herb and spice jars….

Now looking very smart on their newly repainted shelves.  I must admit that, until now, I didn’t know very much about them either as I inherited them a long time ago.  So I thought I’d do a bit of research …

I have a set of 24 jars and I use most (although not all) of them.  They sit on their own shelves which were a sort of boring brown wood shade before I repainted them as part of my kitchen makeover.  After some googling around I was able to uncover that they were made by an American company – Lenox – in 1989 and are known as the Lenox Spice Village.  The shelf I painted (probably a terrible thing to do!) was the original display shelf, and as well as these little houses, just 3″ tall, there were various larger cannisters for flour, tea, sugar, cookies and so on.  A lovely touch, I think is that the insides of all the lids are labelled with the jar to which they belong – so you can be sure that after washing you always return the correct lid to each jar….

They are just as beautifully decorated on the back and sides as they are on the front.  They’re also easy to find on eBay – as I discovered when doing my googling.  Full sets only seemed to be available from the US,  but I discovered odd jars on eBay UK.  The full sets are between $100 – $150 on eBay including the shelves.  

After all that googling and loving the Lenox village set, I thought that maybe my spice jars would be set off nicely with the addition of some of my own Village bunting…..

I’ve always found bunting to be one of the most difficult things to photograph.  First I tried in the garden – and after taking probably a couple of dozen photographs was only happy with this one.  So then I thought I’d try in the kitchen …

Better, but still lacking something.  Could that something perhaps be …..

The prettiest (and naughtiest!) little newfie in Chillington?  Perfectly posed – thanks Daisy!  

And if you’d like to make your own village bunting, the pattern will be in the April issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine



St Patrick’s Day Free Giveaway

by Helen on March 16, 2013

Last year I hosted my first St Patrick’s Day giveaway, and enjoyed it so much that this year I’ve decided to do it all over again!  I myself am not Irish, but my grandmother (my mum’s mother) was an Irish McDowell whose family came to England in the early 20th century.  She was a brilliant needlewoman and seamstress, training as a “lady tailoress” in the 1920′s, and her skills were much in demand in the “Make Do and Mend” years of the second world war.  My mum has many memories of ladies and girls trooping in and out of the house and up the stairs to her sewing room where their worn out or outgrown garments would be transformed into wonderful stylish new creations.

So, once again in honour of my grandmother, from whom I am sure I inherit my love of stitching, I have a giveaway for you.  You may have spotted in a recent post, when I mentioned the bears softie pattern for the April issue of my magazine, that one of the little bears was a beautiful soft shade of green – and this little bear is the prize for my St Patrick’s Day giveaway…..

St Patricks Bear

 All you need to do to be in with a chance to win this adorable little fellow is to leave a comment below telling me what his name should be.  You have until midnight GMT on Monday 18 March to leave your comment and the winner will be chosen by random selection.  I will post worldwide.

And don’t forget to download your free St Patrick’s Day bunting from Flapdoodle if you’re marking the day…. 

St Patricks Giveaway

Just click on the link above to join Jacqui’s newsletter list and receive your free St Patrick’s Day gifts.  Meanwhile, don’t forget to leave your comment below – and I’ll be back next week with the results.  Good luck everyone!


My friend Jacqui – this is her …. 

Flapdoodle images

is an amazingly talented designer and illustrator – but also ridiculously camera-shy!!  You may remember that Jacqui and I have collaborated on a range of Sewflapdoodle patterns for Bustle & Sew – my all-time favourite is the one she created for her little dog Lionel and Ben …. 

Less scary with a friend...

 Simply adorable!

And now Jacqui is setting out on a new venture –  her own online shop offering her artwork as printables – there will be bunting, cards, invitations, (all can be personalised) as well as her very own paper doll designs.  Her shop isn’t quite ready yet, but in the meantime she’s giving away her printable St Patrick’s Day bunting and placecards when you join her free newsletter…. 

St Patricks GiveawayIf you’d like Jacqui’s St Patrick’s Day bunting, then please just click on the image above to join her newsletter (she promises never to share your email address with anyone else) and your free printables will be sent to you straight away.



Let it snow, let it snow, wish it would snow ..

by Helen on December 19, 2012

With apologies to Dean Martin ……  

When the weather outside is frightful (or even when it’s not!)

December on the beach

On the beach is quite delightful

December on the beach 

It’s the only place to go ……

December on the beach

Let it snow…..

December on the beach

Let it snow …..

December on the beach


Hmmm… not too sure about the snow, Ben, though I know you love it and it’s much more fun than rain.  But whatever the weather, it’s snug and cosy indoors now our wood burning stove is installed ….. 

Cosy by the stove

Sorry about the poor quality of the photo – the light is dreadful as it’s raining again here today.  But the stove is sooooo warm – I foresee a winter of contented stitching and toe-toasting in front of its golden glow.  We’ll be decorating after Christmas, but simply no time left to splash paint around beforehand! 

Christmas Paper Bunting

Did you spot my printable Christmas bunting in the corner of the photo cheering up that corner of the room?  It’s a great last minute addition to your decorations if you’ve any gaps to fill.  And as part of my season of giveaways, I’ve reduced it by a third to the bargain price of just $3.00 for the downloadable pdf file containing 16 flags all based on vintage patterns.  Just print, cut and hang – a totally stress-free addition to your Christmas decorations!  If you’d like it then just CLICK HERE to view details and purchase from my Christmas shop.