After all the excitement of THE BIG DAY life here at Coombe Leigh is beginning to return to normal.  I haven’t forgotten to show you photos – I’m dying to share – but as Rosie & Dan are away I can’t consult with them on which ones to post yet.  In any case the official ones won’t be ready for about a month :(

I began to unpack all the boxes we brought back with us from the reception earlier today – and had you been in my garden you would have seen my lovely vintage Liberty and other print napkins drying on the line above my cutting garden …

Rosie wants me to incorporate them all into a new quilt for her and Dan – a project that will keep me busy through the autumn months.  But first I wanted to start a new project for myself – something not pastel, floral and wedding related!  A couple of years ago I made my first full-size quilt using the quilt as you go technique and was fairly pleased with the result …

But now it’s time for another one.  I’m still planning on using the quilt as you go method – I don’t think I could manage to quilt a whole double-bed size quilt on my domestic machine and I’ve chosen the Turning Squares design by Erica from Kitchen Table Quilting that I found here in the Moda Bakeshop.  I think that it will lend itself very well to this method as it’s constructed in three separate rows that are then joined together to complete the quilt.

I’m going to use the same colours, and indeed some of the same fabrics, as my earlier quilt as I want to layer them both on my bed for extra warmth and snuggle-ability during the winter months.  But those months are a long way off at present and this afternoon I spent a happy couple of hours in my summer house beginning to cut out fabric strips.  The pattern calls for 2 jelly rolls, but I’ve decided to use just one and delve into my stash for the remainder …

And, now that the wedding’s over and I have more time to spare, as well as beginning my new quilt, I’m planning on taking a good look at Bustle & Sew as I’d like to introduce some changes to make it (even) nicer.  To help me do this, over the next few weeks I hope you won’t mind me asking for your thoughts to add to all my ideas for the future.  Meanwhile, the first definite change I’ve decided to make is to my logo.   The little Bustle & Sew bunny has remained unaltered since the earliest days – way back in 2009 – and I think she would benefit from a bit of a makeover – along with the rest of this website.   The BIG DAY might be over – but there are plenty of exciting times ahead for Bustle & Sew!



Winter’s Comfort Quilt

by Helen on September 16, 2013

I’ve finished my Winter’s Comfort Quilt!  And, judging by the wind, rain and darkness outside my windows tonight, not a moment too soon! 

Winter's Comfort Quilt

 There are seven snowflakes – completely reworked  from an early 20th century design by Nancy Page and ornamented with tiny mother-of-pearl buttons for just a little frosty sparkle.  There are patchwork blocks …

Winter's Comfort Quilt

  …. a charm pack from Moda – Winter’s Lane” – a lovely soft palette of reds, blues and neutrals quilted in circles that remind me of frosty cobblestones on a winter’s evening, hurrying home from the shops,  perhaps laden with Christmas parcels ….

Winter's comfort wip

 …. and, I don’t know if you can see in the top picture, a row of tiny silver stars stitched into the dark blue sashing – to remind me of the brightness of stars on a frosty night in the depths of winter.  But I won’t mind the cold outside this winter as I’ll be nice and warm snuggled into my new quilt in front of the woodburner!  Oh, and there’ll be two large black furry bodies snoozing gently on the rug at my feet and a mug of cocoa to hand .. bliss!

The pattern for my Winter’s Comfort Quilt will be in the October issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine that’s published next week. 


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! 


My New Patchwork Project

by Helen on July 25, 2013

Today, with Daisy in uncharacteristically sleepy mode (Ben is always ready for a snooze), I was able to enjoy a bit of a lie-in and work on my new patchwork door curtain.   I love living in an old house, but along with the character and history come chilly draughts once the cooler months arrive.  The hall has recently been redecorated….

and looks very smart with its new dusty green woodwork and soft white walls.  The door you can see in the photo opens out into the courtyard on the north side of the house.  It doesn’t get any sunshine and, being old, has warped and shrunk over time and so it’s easy for chill breezes to penetrate.  Previously I’d hung a woollen blanket over it, which first Ben, and now Daisy, loved to hide behind – rubbing mud, dog-hair and goodness knows what else into its fibres.  It had definitely seen better days and had to be replaced.  But what with?  Whatever I chose had to be durable – and most definitely washable!  Then I saw the new Winter’s Lane collection by Kate & Birdie Paper Co for Moda.  And I fell in love with the colours ….

I know Moda fabrics are good quality and wash well, and an easy choice was to order 6 charm packs to create the centre panel of a simple patchwork curtain.  I’ve spent a few hours piecing the 5″ squares together – just randomly and this morning, whilst enjoying my lie-in, was able to continue hand-quilting them.  I’ve backed my patchwork with old, well-shrunken, woollen blanket to give warmth and substance and am only quilting these two layers – the lining will be joined separately at sides and bottom.  I chose to do it this way as I wanted my curtain to have a relaxed, fluid look.  

There are little mother-of-pearl buttons to hide my not-always-perfectly-aligned seams, and I chose a dark blue thread as I plan to add a dark blue velvet border (sounds very grand, but it was a cheap-as-chips remnant I picked up) at the bottom that won’t show black dog hair too readily.  There’s still a long way to go, but I think my back door will be lovely and snug this winter – though I hope the colder weather will be a very long time coming!