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Lovely mellow Sunday ….

by Helen on September 7, 2014

Early September is one of my most favourite times, and this year it’s been especially lovely down here in south Devon with misty mornings, heavy dews and beautiful golden days … so welcome after the horrible grey days towards the end of last month.  The Newfies love this time of year too.  Now the weather’s a little cooler they can go out and about more, and as there are fewer visitors I can relax and let them run free again.  It’s not that they’re unfriendly – no – the problem is quite the reverse, in that they can both (but especially Daisy) be rather too friendly which can be a little alarming if you’re not used to, or don’t particularly like, dogs.

Today we went up to the woods at Woodleigh, about 20 minutes from home.  This collection of four woods is very extensive, and we haven’t by any means explored them all yet.  I’m hoping to find the path down to the river now I’m able to walk longer distances again (with the help of my trusty walking pole).  That’s the River Avon, the same river that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

This is the path down through the fields into the woods, which stretch right down to the river along the valley floor.  And if I were to turn round and cross the lane, then I could walk another two or three miles the other way too.  The woods at Woodleigh were the first to be acquired by the Woodland Trust and are grouped on the outer edge of the tiny village of Woodleigh with its twisty lanes and picture-perfect English cottages …

And on the way home there’s the chance to stop at the garden centre, which like so many has diversified and so, after browsing bulbs, bushes and other gardening goodies, it’s fun to pop into the little deli and choose from a lovely array of local  ……

and some not-so-local produce …

Before heading home for a gentle snooze (the Newfies) and some seasonal sewing (me).

Here’s the first two completed projects for the October issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine and I do hope you like them.

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New visitor .. new dress

by Helen on September 3, 2014

For the last few days we have been a twelve-paw household!  Eight large black sturdy paws, belonging to two slightly goofy newfies – and four slender golden curly paws belonging to Tilly, Rosie and Dan’s little goldendoodle puppy.

Here is the naughty Miss Tilly making herself very comfortable in a TOTALLY forbidden place, deep in blissful dreams and happily waving those four small paws in the air ….

Like all puppies, her bouts of frantic energy, chasing, scampering, nibbling, stealing things she shouldn’t and generally being a bit of a pest, are punctuated by periods of deep sleep, from which she can only occasionally be persuaded to wake for her photo …

(It’s so much easier to photograph a dog that isn’t all black!).  Tilly shows no fear of the newfies at all, even though Ben and Daisy are probably about 10 times her size, and doesn’t hesitate to use them for a pillow when the need for sleep overtakes her (yes, that’s Ben’s bum her head is resting on above – see the full pose below!)

We loved having her – though she has totally worn us all out.  It’s nice to have a peaceful few days to recover our energy levels until she returns for a longer period while Rosie and Dan are away on their honeymoon.  They are heading off to a much warmer, sunnier place, a very long way south and so, along with my Christmas projects for the October Magazine

I’ve been doing some totally tropical(!) dressmaking for Rosie.  We were both delighted with how the Camber dress pattern from Merchant and Mills turned out – it was a dream to make and fitted Rosie’s body shape really well with only minimal adjustments needed.  Rosie chose a much brighter fabric than I’m used to working with – but I think it looks very nice – extremely suitable holiday wear ….

Just the hem to take up now and it’s finished, then onto the next one – only a few days left to finish it before they’re off.  Luckily it’s a really user-friendly pattern. The pieces fit together well there are no zips or other fastenings, and now I’ve worked out the yoke construction I don’t think it takes more than 3 or 4 hours in total.  Better not tell Rosie that though, or she’ll be wanting one for every day of the week!

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I was going to tell you, but …..

by Helen on July 29, 2014

I was going to tell you all about one of our favourite activities … picnics on the beach.  I was going to show you some of our favourite picnic finds this summer.  But that will have to wait for another post as I simply MUST introduce you to our newest team member ….

Just nine weeks old, and already fully IT-literate, meet ….

TILLY!!  Rosie and Dan’s new puppy.  She’s a little Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever crossed with a poodle) who joined their family at the weekend.  Daisy and Ben haven’t met her yet, but I’m sure they’ll love her.  They have gifts for her … Ben (who is rather greedy) will be presenting her with a jar of doggie chocs, and Daisy is giving a slightly grubby preloved penguin softie.  It was supposed to be a new penguin softie, but ….

After spending a long time helping me to choose the “best” toy in the petshop, she stole it from my shopping bag when we returned home and was later discovered in her favourite spot under the honeysuckle mouthing on it gently.  But I’m sure Tilly will still love it!

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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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