Looking Blooming Lovely …..

by Helen on May 30, 2014

It’s been a very exciting week here at Coombe Leigh as my friend Jacqui (of Flapdoodledesigns) has been here in the mornings working on her mural.  I commissioned this artwork in honour of a very special summer, and asked her to include family members, as well as commemorate Rosie & Dan’s wedding next month.  It’s not finished yet, but is already looking lovely …..

It’s about 5′ wide, spanning the width of the Aga recess and Jacqui’s working in watercolours.  We weren’t sure how successful this would be, but Jacqui tells me it’s actually really easy to paint onto the matt emulsion. I guess that as it’s a water-based paint it’s slightly absorbent and in many ways acts rather like watercolour paper.  There are still quite a few gaps, but it’s beginning to take shape, though the two most important family members (in their opinion anyway) are still just pencil outlines ….

As is the Bustle & Sew bunny ….

But our initials are complete, though Jacqui still has cornflowers and roses to add to her garland ….

Here’s Rosie & Dan – with a pink loveheart of course(!) and can you spot the little snail?  Here in the damp south-west of England we wage constant war on the pesky molluscs, so just had to include one of these beasties in the mural.  Here’s my initial too …

Loving that wonderful bright pink – very me!!

And finally, I am delighted to be able to tell you that (unusually!) this month I have been super-efficient and the June issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine is already available to purchase in paperback form on Amazon.

CLICK HERE to view on Amazon.co.uk


CLICK HERE to view on Amazon.com



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 …..!


For the past few years I’ve held a giveaway on St Patrick’s Day in honour of my Irish grandmother.  But this year I’m afraid I haven’t had chance to arrange one – not only am I busy with Rosie’s wedding, but – and I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before – she and Dan are moving into their first home of their own this week, and I have been nominated as decorator-in-chief.  So lots to do!  However … all is not lost!

My friend Jacqui, of Flapdoodledesigns, is hosting a wonderfully generous giveaway over on her Facebook page.  She’s offering the chance to win one of her beautiful patchwork fairies – created especially for you and handpainted in the colours of your choice.  To enter please just pop across to her page and leave a comment.   


Happy Birthday to Me!

by Helen on December 16, 2013

Today is my birthday – a date I share with Jane Austen who (contrary to Rosie’s belief) is CONSIDERABLY older than me!!  This year I have been super-lucky as I’ve received what must be one of the cutest cards of all time ….. 

My Birthday Card

 Ahhhhh.  And here at Coombe Leigh we’re great believers in tradition, so no birthday tea is complete without jelly and blancmange – made in rabbit shape of course, with the very same mould my mum used when I was only little!  Here it is ready to be turned out …

Birthday Tea

The fire is lit, and we’re waiting for our guests to arrive…. 

Fire's Lit!Growing older might mean creaky knees and grey hairs – but birthdays are still lots of fun!

PS If you’d like to commission your own Flapdoodledesigns birthday – or any other occasion – card then you can contact Jacqui over on her Facebook page.