newfoundland dogs

Has spring arrived?

by Helen on March 8, 2014

At last .. the sun is shining brightly in a clear blue sky and I have hung my washing on the line at the end of the garden for the first time this year.  The air is warm and the breeze is gentle and, with lots of squabbling and squawking,  the jackdaw family have returned to the nesting holes at the back of my house.  Could spring possibly have arrived I wonder? But, whether the warmer weather is here to stay, or (most probably) not, we’re making the most of this lovely sunny weather while it lasts.  

We enjoyed a lovely walk up the bridleway toward Stokenham this morning.  Look – no mud!!  And also look – isn’t Daisy grown up?  It’s hard to remember what a tiny fuzzy little creature she used to be ….

Not so very long ago!  I’ve been enjoying some spring stitching too with projects for the April magazine.  I’m in the middle of sewing the binding onto my Woodland Alphabet Quilt – and hope to be able to show you the finished quilt very soon.  But I took a little break from binding to complete ny Running Hare softie ….

I sometimes see brown hares in the fields above France Farm when I take Ben and Daisy to their favourite kennels, and I’ve been planning to make a hare softie for some time now.  I’ve mounted him on the base of a carved bird (the actual bird was damaged so I removed the base and painted it white) and decorated it with ribbon and ric-rac braid.  

Four wooden buttons secure his powerful legs (great for running and leaping) and a tiny dark brown button completes his nose.  He’s found a home on the table next to my laptop with one of the last of my beautiful camellia flowers – the bright pink is nearly over now – but the smaller, deeper pink camellia is just coming into bloom, so I shall have flowers for my vases for a while yet.  



A walk to Batson Creek

by Helen on November 29, 2013

We had a lovely walk earlier this week, down to Batson Creek – a tidal inlet at the top of the estuary just across the water from Salcombe.  It was a still and frosty morning and the water was completely flat (although not still, I watched the edge very carefully and could see the tide rising little by little) 

Batson Creek in November

 So very peaceful now all the visitors have left, no more sound of outboard motors, children squealing and playing and general noise and activity.  The summer months are full of life and activity, whilst in contrast, in the winter everywhere is quiet and deserted.  This is especially true of Salcombe where a very large proportion of houses in the town are second homes or holiday lets that stand empty through the colder months.  But the emptiness is great for the newfies who enjoy being free of my summertime anxiety about their upsetting nervous children and small dogs – sometimes just because they’re big and black! 

Batson Creek in November

Batson can be very muddy, there’s a steep path through National Trust woodland down to the creek, with a stream that has to be forded (or in Daisy’s case splash through once, turn around, dive through it a second time and finally run up and down it before leaping out and shaking wet fur – just as I am about to cross!).  Dogs are supposed to be under control Miss Daisy!

Batson Creek in November

 But this time we didn’t see a single person on our walk so Daisy’s naughtiness didn’t matter.  When we reached the creek the tide was coming in ….

Batson Creek in November

 So there just had to be swimming! (Them not me)

And afterwards back up the hill again to the car park.  Love these seedheads – one day I WILL get around to stitching some!

Batson Creek in November



All done – ready for tomorrow!

by Helen on September 25, 2013

The last week of the month is always a bit of an anxious time for me as I put the finishing touches to the magazine and press the “upload” button.  And this month’s is a bumper issue with more than 70 pages – that’s because there are a couple of larger projects included – part one of my Nativity set as well as my Winter’s Comfort Quilt:

I am delighted to report that all is now finished and the October issue is safely uploaded ready to mail to subscribers tomorrow, though I am feeling all worn out – though in a good sort of way.  In contrast, now the cooler weather has arrived, my two large and furry friends are positively bursting with energy – here they are enjoying a romp in one of the fields above the village during a recent morning walk:

They’re sleeping now after an afternoon spent with Donna, their canine beautician.  They are both incredibly fluffy, soft to touch and smell disgusting delightful!  (They are quite disgusted with the outcome, though they love Donna, and once they’ve recovered their energy I’m sure they’ll be doing their best to return to their normal scruffy states!)


My little tea leaf!

by Helen on July 16, 2013

My little tea tea leaf!

 I brought my sewing out into the summer house yesterday afternoon, planning to work on my final pattern for the August magazine.  So far this month’s patterns have used pale ice cream colours and bleached linens for a very seasidey feel, but for my last pattern I wanted to evoke something of the feeling of English narrow boats with their cheerful paintwork and brightly coloured accessories.  (If you’re not familiar with narrow boats, then you can find out more in the August magazine).  So there are hexagons in a multitude of colours and a scarlet geranium too….

My little tea tea leaf!

Before I sat down  to stitch I noticed that my beautiful (and enormous!) pink hydrangea was coming into bloom, so I wandered over to have a look …

Hydrangea in bloom

 And what did I spot on my (rather scruffy-looking thanks to two sets of very large paws charging around on it) lawn? 

My little tea tea leaf!

 If you didn’t know any better you might think this was just a tatty-looking piece of string.  But this is not the case – look closely and you will see that it is a WHOLE SKEIN of soft aqua-blue embroidery floss.  SOMEONE STOLE IT from my work room!  I wonder who that might have been?

My little tea tea leaf!

 ”Not me, mum!  I am a VERY GOOD boy.”  

My little tea tea leaf!

 I think I know a guilty face when I see one! 

My little tea tea leaf!

 ”Sorry mum, I just couldn’t help myself!”   Yes .. the naughty Miss Daisy is my little tea leaf.

 (My lovely mother-in-law – a Londoner – introduced me to this term many years ago.  ”Tea leaf” is Cockney rhyming slang for thief!).