Busy in the garden

by Helen on March 29, 2014

Now the April issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine has been safely sent out to all my lovely subscribers, I have a little spare time – and so it’s time to begin preparations for our wedding wildflower garden at the front of Coombe Leigh …

Here’s my house – this picture was taken last February so there’s nothing to see in the garden at all (it was a cold, late spring last year).  But this June there will be a garland of roses on the front door (possibly even a rose archway over the gate) and the flower beds will be filled with wild flowers – daisies, love in the mist, and lots more too.  I don’t know exactly what as my friend Jacqui (Flapdoodledesigns) is a very keen and expert gardener who has taken charge of the project.  At the moment she’s busy raising lots of baby seedlings to plant very soon indeed ….

And this is how Jacqui’s garden looked last summer …..

So I’m feeling very confident – at least for the front garden!  We had hoped to have wildflowers at the back too – but – there’s a large black furry problem!  Having watched everyone hard at work preparing the beds at the front earlier this week – young Miss Daisy decided to “help” too.  She’s not allowed in the front – so obviously decided to make an extra effort in the back garden …..

Oh dear … I’m not sure that wild flowers will survive her efforts – we’ll have to think of something else.  She looks so pleased and proud of herself though, it’s hard to be cross.  

Thanks for all your help Miss Daisy!



A quick glimpse ….

by Helen on February 22, 2014

That is to say, two sorts of quick glimpses…  

The first …. looking out from the skylight at the top of my house I caught a glimpse of pink at the end of my garden.  Intrigued I pulled on my wellies and went up the old stone steps to investigate.  I was delighted to find that the fat green buds on my early flowering camellia had burst into brilliant bloom – and so I simply had to bring some indoors to enjoy …..

Pink Camellias

 They’re the same pink as my newly painted chair!  I’m in the middle of redecorating my kitchen in honour of Rosie & Dan’s wedding later this  year and was inspired by the lovely ice cream candy colours used at the Winking Prawn beach restaurant in Salcombe where I took them for Rosie’s birthday lunch ….. 

Winking Prawn Salcombe

 Will be sure to post pictures when it’s all finished!  And the second quick glimpse …. just a peek at the cover of the new issue of the Bustle & Sew eMagazine – that’s the March issue – to be published on Thursday….

I think it’s rather pretty (though I say so myself) and I do hope you’ll enjoy the projects.  I haven’t quite finished putting the preview together yet (my pesky slow internet is holding things up), but I’ll post it tomorrow so you can have a proper look at the contents.  

And finally …. I can’t possibly post about decorating without including a picture of my canine “helper” ….

Daisy helps with the painting!

 Yes .. it’s that naughty Miss Daisy – complete with pink streak!


Lunch in the summer house (but not for Daisy)

by Helen on August 21, 2013

Today my friend Lesley came for lunch in the summer house.  We first met when she had her lovely shop “This’n'That” in Totnes, and for several years I had a table at her Nostalgic Mix fairs.  Lesley hadn’t met Daisy before so the small furry one was made to promise that she would remember her manners.  (Ben loves Lesley, and can generally be relied upon to behave in a gentlemanly fashion!).  We sat down to a tasty lunch – quiche, salads, minted new potatoes and lemonade ….

Late Summer Lunch

 Followed by local strawberries, meringues and cream.  ”Delicious,” said Lesley… 

Late Summer Lunch

 ”Where’s mine?” asked Daisy – totally forgetting that she was supposed to be remembering her manners!

Late Summer Lunch

 Daisy stared very VERY hard indeed at Lesley, but was destined to be disappointed ….

Late Summer Lunch

Far too nice to share with a naughty puppy!  

Late Summer Lunch

  ”MUM!  LESLEY! I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! YOU HAVEN’T SAVED ANY FOR ME!!  I am going to get into mischief for the whole of the rest of today!”  

And she did!  But that, as they say, is another story.

Back soon with your free Grandmother’s Bunny pattern – until then, here’s a peek at the September Magazine cover – published next week.

Bustle & Sew Magazine September 2013



Patchwork project finished.

by Helen on August 1, 2013

Today has been warm and sunny – and also very humid – not the best day for finishing off my patchwork door curtain project with its woolly blanket interlining.  But I have been determined to complete it before beginning new projects for the September issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  I know that if I put something to one side to “finish later”, then it can often be very much later indeed before I get around to it again!  So, after hanging out lots and lots of washing (left over from my party weekend), I turned my back on the garden, for the morning at least, and began work.  

Yesterday I made and attached simple tab loops to the top of the patchwork, so the first task was to hang the unfinished curtain to check the length ….


 At this stage I hadn’t attached the blue velvet panel at the bottom or trimmed the blanket to size after finishing my hand-quilting.  My door curtain hangs on a lovely iron hinge so it opens and closes with the door, meaning the curtain doesn’t have to be looped back in any way.  I had this hinge custom-made years ago when we lived in Southsea, and was sure to take it with me when I moved.  Luckily it works perfectly at Coombe Leigh too. 

Once I had the length all worked out (because I live in an old house it’s always best to double check as walls and ceilings have a definite wonky-ness about them), I simply attached the velvet to the bottom of the patchwork and basted around the sides and bottom to keep in place.  Then the backing – I hadn’t quilted the backing as this is a curtain and I wanted it to fall fluidly and drape well.  I simply stitched it to the front panel all around the edges, clipped the corners and turned out through a gap in the bottom.  


 Then I top-stitched all around 1/4″ in from the edges to make sure the backing stayed in place.  And here is the result – a lovely warm and snuggly door curtain, with newfie-friendly panel at the bottom – the velvet is a very dark blue and won’t show all that black hair (and mud splashes too!).  It’s completely washable so I hope it will stay looking nice for some time to come.  Then, when I’d finished sewing, I took my lunch out into the garden …

August afternoon

Where I have been outside with my laptop ever since!  I’m working on a survey for magazine subscribers because I’ve recently made some changes and improvements to the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  I’d like to know what readers think – as well as what extra goodies they’d enjoy over the coming months.  So if you’re a subscriber reading this, please watch out for my survey landing in your in-box in the next week or so – I’d love to hear your thoughts.  

Finally …. I’ll leave you with the almost unbearably cute Miss Daisy (Ben was fast asleep and wouldn’t open his eyes to pose for the camera) …..


 You wouldn’t believe she is positively the naughtiest puppy in Chillington!  But Ben and I – we know the truth!