Here’s a quick peek at the cover of the July magazine – nice and early this month as I’ve finished it already (need to concentrate on THE BIG DAY from now on).My jam jar decorating is coming along nicely – a coat of chalk paint and some fabric scraps transforms a plain jar into something really rather pretty ….

And not that I’m excited of course (eek!)  but I’ve hung my wedding bunting in the kitchen already …..

Of course Daisy made it into the photo again. I don’t know where Ben was, snoozing in the hall I expect as weddings are far too girly for him.  They’re off to their favourite kennels next week safely out of the way. I won’t have any time to spare for them over the wedding period and Rosie (although she loves them loads) quite understandably doesn’t want her beautiful wedding dress covered with black newfie fluff!  I’m sure they won’t mind though, they always have a lovely time with their “Auntie” Gillian.

The July issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine is published on Thursday 26 June.




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


CLICK HERE to view on


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 …..!


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