owls

Owls, foxes and our new bunny …

by Helen on August 11, 2014

I’ve been very busy over the weekend working on the patterns for the September issue of the magazine, including my first Christmas pattern of the year (catch a glimpse of my penguin over on Instagram).  In September my thoughts begin to turn away from the beach inland towards the woods as the trees begin to shed the first of their leaves and mushrooms and toadstools peek up through the mossy ground. So I thought it would be fun to create a woodland-style tea cosy for the September issue and at first was considering an owl …..

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And put together a whole board of owls on Pinterest while I was looking.  There are so many lovely knitted owl tea cosies, but not many that are sewn.  I was nearly decided upon an owl, when I spotted a lovely illustration  …..

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From the very talented EvaJuliet’s shop on Etsy.   I did a little bit more searching and discovered that whilst there were lots of beautiful owl cosies, nobody seemed to have created a pattern for fox-lovers.   So yesterday afternoon while the Newfies were sleeping I did a little measuring and cutting, stitching and snipping and came up with ….

A sleepy fox tea cosy!  Perfect to keep my pot lovely and snug during the colder months.  The pattern for my sleepy fox cosy will be in the September issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  Which will also have a bit of a makeover, including the new Bustle & Sew bunny on the cover for the first time……

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Isn’t she adorable!  Next month’s issue will also have some extra goodies inside with more to follow over the coming months!  This website is going to be given a new look in September too – with the updated Bustle & Sew bunny and a more modern (though still very cute!) style.  I do hope you’ll like it!

And finally … thank you so much to everyone who sent lovely emails and messages of support to Ben after his operation and sad experience with some very rude people.  Image4

He’s now fully recovered and allowed to go swimming again.  Here he is about to dive in - what could be a nicer start to the day? he thinks.

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Someone’s missing …..

by Helen on July 7, 2014

Today we went down to South Milton Sands.  I had some forgotten bits and pieces (including two unopened bottles of champagne – woo hoo!) to pick up from The Barn after the wedding reception, and thought it would be nice to fit in a trip to the beach as well.  The beach was stunning as always, and not at all busy as we were there quite early.  I say we … but someone was missing …..

There was no playing at speedboats – “that’s no fun by yourself” thought Daisy …

And no charging in and out of the waves.  Just a wistful gazing out to sea, hoping her big brother would somehow miraculously appear.  We both missed the big furry one – and he’s not home yet :(

This is because Ben is spending the day at the vet for a couple of minor operations.  His eyes have been very red and itchy and he’s suffered a series of infections – apparently as he’s got older his eyes have become baggier (I can so relate to this!) and his bottom eyelashes are turning inwards irritating his eye.  Luckily this is a minor procedure and the problem can easily be corrected.  But poor Ben is also having a big back tooth extracted – it has cracked and decay has set in.  He has been very quiet for the past few weeks, and although he hasn’t shown any sensitivity in that area I think it is causing him some discomfort.  So he’s going to be very sore when he returns home and Miss Daisy will need to be gentle and considerate until he’s feeling better.

So to take my mind off poor Ben, I decided to assemble the first project for the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – and began by painting a hoop (something I promised myself I wouldn’t do again for quite some time after we painted nearly a hundred for the wedding!).  Then after binding the bottom part and inserting my embroidery it fitted beautifully snuggly as a lid for one of the Ikea jars left over from the wedding sweet table ….

Useful as well as beautiful (to paraphrase William Morris!).  And it’s sitting on some of the blocks for my new quilt.  I might need to go and piece some more now to occupy myself whilst waiting for the vet to call and tell me it’s time to pick up Ben, who will need a lot of tlc over the next few days.  The pattern for my button jar top, as well as instructions for assembling it into a well-fitting jar lid, will be in the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.

 

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Rosie Paws and Sparkle Reindeer

by Helen on November 16, 2013

I sometimes feel as though I’m running on the spot when it comes to Christmas presents.  I love to give handmade gifts to my family and, as well as sewing, I enjoy knitting too.  

I’ve knitted for Rosie since before she was born(!), all kinds of jumpers, cardigans, hats and scarves, and even now she tells me there’s nothing like some hand-knitted paw-covers to cheer her day.  So when I found a lovely pattern called Cathy Rose Mitts from Sandra Paul  (she features them on her blog here)  I felt sure Rosie would appreciate discovering them under the tree this Christmas.

They don’t take much yarn, so I uncovered some I had leftover  from an earlier project, and set to work.  It’s a great little pattern and I was delighted with the results.  So delighted in fact, that I kept them on the chest in my bedroom where I could gaze at them in satisfaction.  But, as my mum always used to say, “Pride goes before a fall.”  And because I was proud of my work and enjoyed looking at them – I forgot to hide them before Rosie came to stay.  She spotted them and loved them too!

Rosie Paws

Put them on …. and took them away with her!  So now I am back to the beginning again.  I have another idea for Miss Rosie, but this time I’m keeping my work well under wraps.  Rosie is a major snaffler of my work and on her last visit as well as these little mittens, my Baby Owls Draught Excluder found its way into her car and home to Bristol with her…. 

Owls Draught Excluder

 But she won’t be allowed to snaffle my latest pattern for the Bustle & Sew Magazine – my Sparkle Reindeer!

Sparkle Reindeer

 Some easy applique, vintage buttons and LED battery-operated Christmas lights – cool to the touch and with the bulbs poked through holes in the fabric/board – these really are sparkle reindeer!

Sparkle Reindeer

 It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here at Coombe Leigh – and the December Magazine is shaping up to be a very festive issue indeed! 

Sparkle Reindeer

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Summer rushes towards autumn

by Helen on August 10, 2013

Summer is now at its height and our roads are packed with caravans, coaches and – on Sundays mostly – touring cyclists.  There’s a real feeling now of carpe diem – everyone is definitely seizing the day – as summer rushes towards autumn – knowing that just a few short weeks of the holiday season now remain.  The first blackberries are appearing in the hedgerows and apples are beginning to ripen fast in the warm sunshine, whilst the buddleia in my garden is a magnet for butterflies who adore its sweet fragrance and nectar, drinking their fill then basking on the blooms …. 

butterflies

 Here’s a Red Admiral and Jersey Tiger – we have Peacocks and Fritillaries too, as well as the ubiquitous Cabbage White in spite of my neighbour Julie waging warfare on its caterpillars earlier in the year!  And there’s a feeling of change in my sewing too – I’m not yet ready to put away my summer fabrics and reclaim my velvets, tweeds and woollens, but I have introduced a more vibrant, stronger palette into my designs, as well as a folk art and woodland feel for September.  So, as well as the Toadstool Pin Cushions I showed you last week … 

Toadstool Pin Cushions

There will be baby owls in the September issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – all lined up and ready to keep chilly draughts from your door.  From left to right there’s Winken, Blinken, Nod, Laisy and Daisy(!) ….

Owls Draught Excluder

 And a Russian Doll applique cushion cover that I’m currently working on ….

Russian Dolls wip

Thank you as well to all the magazine subscribers who have returned their readers’ survey – there’s still time to do so if you haven’t already.  I’d really like to know what everyone thinks of the magazine as I’m always trying to make it a better experience and want it to be much more than just a collection of patterns – though they are of course the major part of the magazine and will remain so.  One great suggestion has been to move all the templates to the back so that you don’t need to print them all if you’re not planning to make any particular project – and I’m planning to put that suggestion into practice in the very next issue.  

Wedding preparations are also a major activity here at Coombe Leigh (more about those another time!) so I’ll leave you with a lovely painting from Jacqui – of how Rosie and her bridesmaids might look next year…..

Rosie & her bridesmaids

 

Jacqui’s now taking commissions for original artwork (can be personalised too if you wish), so if you’d like learn more, then just pop over to her Facebook page and leave her a message.  

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