picnic blanket

A helping paw

by Helen on May 21, 2014

Today I was woken once more by the sun streaming through a crack in my bedroom curtain.  I would like to be able to type that I leapt out of bed and flung the curtains open, but sadly this is not the case.  I feel my days of leaping around at the crack of dawn are definitely behind me – if indeed they ever happened!  So I will simply report that I swung my feet to the floor and then trotted across to the window where I was greeted by the sight of glorious sunshine and a cloudless blue sky.  We’ve been so lucky with the weather here lately, as though rain has been forecast it seems to have mostly passed us by or rained at night.  Everything in the garden is coming along well and even my baby rose archway seems to have put on a growth spurt …

With a few flower buds beginning to form.  The wild gladioli are looking lovely too, though sadly they’ll be over by the BIG DAY.

The window at the bottom right of the picture, the one that’s just a little open at the top, is the room with my log burner where you’ll find me all winter long, cosily snuggled into the big armchair with my sewing.  But now the warmer weather’s here it’s great to get out into the garden and reclaim my summerhouse.  I was up there earlier this morning trying to take photos of the last project for the June magazine, my Summertime Picnic Blanket.

 I tried it this way ….

And then I tried it that way ….

But I couldn’t seem to get the perfect shot .. until …..

Ben decided to lend a helping paw.  Thanks Ben!  And as this was the final project I needed to photograph I’ve been able to finish putting together the latest magazine cover….

The June issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine will be published on Thursday 29 May.



You may think from the title of this post that I am talking about Daisy – and her love of stealing my footwear!  She doesn’t damage it – just lies quietly and sucks on the laces – which are then of course all soggy and horrible when I retrieve my boots or plimsolls from her determined grasp.  But in fact I am talking about the snaffler-in-chief – my daughter Rosie!  She and her boyfriend Dan are here for the Bank Holiday weekend and, as always Rosie has been having a good rummage through my cupboard!  I wouldn’t let her snaffle my Great British picnic blanket (pattern in June issue of Bustle & Sew Magazine) – I have visions of myself using it on sunny summer afternoons …

Great British Picnic Blanket

 And anyway, she already has the patchwork one I made for her last month!  She did however manage to acquire another June issue project – my Naughty Kitten wip pouch …

Naughty Kitty: Work in Progress Pouch

 Arguing very persuasively that it would be absolutely perfect for carrying her crochet around with her ….. 

Naughty Kitty: Work in Progress Pouch

I had envisaged carrying my embroidery around in it, but she’s right, it will work well for crochet too.   I’ll simply have to make myself another!  Then Rosie noticed my current work in progress ….

Candy Cotton Rose Mirror

Some candy pink satin stitch roses destined to form the border for a small mirror – another pattern for the June issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine .  She has reserved the finished article, assuring me that it will be perfect to sit on the chest of drawers in her bedroom.  I think next time she comes I will have to hide all my stitching from her!!

The snaffler-in-chief and me!!


Out in the Summer House

by Helen on May 2, 2013

As the warm and sunny weather continues, this morning we set off early for our walk in the woods before it became too hot for Ben who hasn’t yet shed his extra heavy winter coat.  I stopped on the way at our little village hall which has been turned into a polling station for the day for our County Council elections.  Maybe it’s because I’m older – and possibly more cynical – but it seemed to me that there wasn’t much to choose between the candidates – and none of them really seemed to be concerned about the issues that affect small rural communities like ours.  But nonetheless, remembering the Suffragettes and “Votes for Women”, I marked my “X” in one of the squares and posted my vote in the large black ballot box.  

I’m hoping this wonderful weather will continue over the weekend, so am sprucing up the summerhouse in readiness …..

gbpicphotos 015

 … repainting the furniture, which has been with me for – oh – well over 20 years!!  It actually dates back to the early 1970s and was a gift from my mum when Rosie was very very tiny.  It is still good and solid and although it was originally a very dark teak, over the years it’s been all sorts of colours – this year I’ve opted for pastel shades (very on-trend!) with pale pink, blue and white.  And in the back corner you can see my latest completed project – it was outside for its photo shoot.  Finished just in time for this lovely weather – my Great British Picnic Blanket – with its own bag for storage and transportation.

Great British Picnic

 The Great British Picnic Blanket (and bag) will be in the June issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine (published 30 May).  I’m still working on another project for the magazine – my Blackwork Butterfly – which is going well – the fluffy body makes a most effective contrast to the lacy wings as I hoped it would …..

Blackwork Butterfly wip

 The summerhouse makes a lovely warm weather office, so as the paint had dried on my furniture, I took my laptop outside this afternoon and settled down to do some work … 

summerhouse and tea 001

Ably assisted by my two furry friends …. both large ….

summerhouse and tea 005

And under the table, next to my feet, in the spot Ben used to love when he was a puppy, the small one (though growing larger every day!)

summerhouse and tea 006

 Hopefully they’ll both stay fast asleep for a while so I can get some work done! 


Nelly in the Sky with Diamonds …

by Helen on April 26, 2013

Yes, really – a little nellifant called Nelly –  on a hill against a summer sky – deep dark indigo with silver stars sparkling like diamonds above her head ….

Nelly in the Sky with Diamonds

 Nelly is all finished!  Unlike my blackwork butterfly which is still – and will be for some time yet – a work in progress.  I’ll report back on him very soon, but thought you might like to know that his turkey stitch body has worked perfectly – creating a wonderfully tactile contrast to his lacy wings.  I’ve shown him to some of my friends and the first thing they’ve done is to stroke his fluffy body with the tip of a finger.  I promise I’ll take another photo very soon.  

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on another project for next month’s magazine – my Great British Picnic blanket – in anticipation of warmer days to come.  I’ve just finished the centre Union Jack panel ….

Great British Picnic wip

and I’m planning  to surround it with a blue gingham border.  It will also have its own integral bag featuring a Great British Picnic applique – if everything goes according to plan that is!  Both these projects will be included in the June issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine, and hopefully the picnic blanket will be accompanying us on lots of lovely outings this summer!