daisy

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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Paw Ben and Calorie-free treats

by Helen on July 9, 2014

Thank you everyone so much for all your kind wishes for the big furry one’s speedy recovery.  All went well, and he’s home from the vet now, but feeling rather sorry for himself ….

paw ben

After a rocky 24 hours when he refused to drink he’s now feeling much more like himself, and is a total menace in his plastic cone.  So far he has barged into (and destroyed or damaged) two terracotta pots (complete with contents), one small table, pile of laundry in its basket waiting to be hung on the line (had to be washed all over again) and made a large scrape along the side of the house.  But I will have the last laugh.  His weight check before his operation revealed that he had put on the pounds and now weighs a portly 77 kg (that’s 168 lbs or 12 stone exactly).  This is too heavy and he needs to lose half a stone at least.

So we are all now on diets, and cake is a thing of the past … unless of course it’s cake with no calories like my Celebration Cake pattern from last month’s magazine …..

And to help with extra inspiration I’ve started a new board on Pinterest called Calorie-free treats – they’re all so lovely we’ll be slender before we know it!

Yum!

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At last the sunshine has returned, and though I don’t think you could call it hot, certainly there’s a pleasant warmth in the air and so I’ve been able to take my work out to the summer house today.  I’ve been finishing off another project for the July issue of the magazine – another trophy head – a Hare in a Hat!

Inspired by the lovely brown hares I see running and gambolling across the fields when I take Ben and Daisy to their favourite kennels.  And of course the furry pair were outside with me this afternoon, “helping” in their own special way.  Here’s a view of the summer house with my hare on the wall ready to have her picture taken ….

And it’s easy to spot Ben, snoozing gently on the warm slate paving.  But where, I wondered, as I took this photo, is Daisy?  Not far away was the answer – all tucked up in my favourite clematis and far too sleepy on this warm and drowsy afternoon to open her eyes, even just a little bit …

Naughty girl - she knows she’s not supposed to be in the flower beds!  Perhaps she thought if she didn’t open her eyes I wouldn’t be able to see her?

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Counting down and keeping busy …..

by Helen on May 26, 2014

I have had the loveliest weekend away in Bath with Rosie and all her friends, enjoying her Hen Weekend.  That is to say, enjoying the parts deemed suitable for me to attend which definitely did not include clubbing until 3 am – I was tucked up in my cosy hotel bedroom very much earlier!  On Saturday we enjoyed a session at The Makery, creating some lovely commemorative bunting for Rosie to keep.  We were encouraged to embellish our flags, selecting from their vast collection of buttons, ribbons and other lovely haberdashery items ….

Huge fun and a great ice-breaker as we all chatted and got to know one another ….

Then onwards to some very lovely tea rooms for a delicious high tea …

Apologies for the rather poor quality and blurriness of this photo, I think I became rather over-excited at the sight of all this lovely food!   Then cocktails in the evening, followed by shopping and brunch the next day – a most enjoyable time was had by all!

The wedding countdown and general busy-ness continues at home too.  I’ve redecorated my stairs again, all ready for the shots of the bride descending – and this time I’ve used a selection of wallpaper remants from various projects around the house on the risers.  I’ve coated the wallpaper with several layers of dilute PVA glue and am hoping this will help them be reasonably hard-wearing, though I’m not sure anything could withstand Daisy’s fairy paw-steps for very long ….

My friend Jacqui (Flapdoodledesigns) has also been busy in the kitchen on another “summer of the wedding” project.  I’ve commissioned her to paint a wedding/family commemorative mural and set her quite a challenge.  I asked for a garland of flowers, my, Rosie’s and Dan’s initials (with a love heart for Rosie & Dan), the Bustle & Sew bunny and the Newfies too (as well as a ladybird, bumble bee and snail!).  I love the design she’s created and today she began work, tracing it onto the wall above the Aga ….

With a little help (not!) from Lionel and Daisy who were romping around the kitchen in their usual energetic manner.  Jacqui had to climb down from her perch more than once for fear of being knocked off by flying furry bodies!  I’ll be sure to show you when it’s finished.   Off to sew some more mini-bunting now as the wedding countdown continues …..!

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