roses

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.

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My favourite time of year

by Helen on May 2, 2014

I really love this time of year – I think May is possibly my most favourite time of all.  Whilst I enjoy the mellow colours and soft mists of autumn, hot chocolate and toasty toes at Christmas, and picnics on the beach in August, May is such a vibrant, colourful, ALIVE sort of month after the long dark winter months we’ve endured.  The days are significantly longer now, and earlier this week I ate my first meal in my summerhouse this year – supervised of course by my two furry friends…..

Yes, that’s Daisy doing her best to look pitiful and starving – she seems to be so weak from hunger that she can’t even hold her head up, but has to rest her chin on the table!  I don’t think so Daisy!  There’s lots to do in the garden too.  The spring bulbs are over, and the garden bluebells are beginning to fade, though they’re at their peak in the woods and hedgerows around the village ….

There’s some early blossom on my apple trees …

And I really must get my seeds into my new cutting garden (carefully fenced to prevent canine incursions) so they’ll be ready in time for Rosie & Dan’s wedding.  They need to be growing in here …

Not sitting on my kitchen worksurface posing for their picture dressed prettily in their packets!

And please send all your positive thoughts to my rose archway.  It’s all in place now, but looking rather small ….

GROW ROSES, GROW!!

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Pink, pretty and cutting up curtains …..

by Helen on April 15, 2014

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who left such lovely comments about my mice – and my disappointment, it was so kind of you all.   I’m going to be doing some more projects for that publisher and the editor has been in touch about my picture, so fingers crossed all will be well next time!  I was also touched that one or two people said they’d know my work anywhere and wondered if that might be because I try to make all my softies look nice and kind and cheerful?  

At the moment I have a few of my bunnies from last month’s magazine scattered around the house all ready for Easter …

Spot the little chap on my kitchen windowsill, looking very comfortably settled next to my lovely pink roses( a bargain from Tesco!).  My sewing tin heaped with hexies has just crept into the corner of this picture (there’s a tiny bit peeping out from behind the hen jelly mould) and I hope to be able to show you my completed hexie project very soon indeed.  It’s been a bit of a slow sew – lots of lovely handstitching which I’ve really enjoyed.  I do try to include all sorts of projects and something for everyone in the magazine each month, so I’ve also put some embellished tea towels into the May issue ….

Featuring simple machine applique they’re really quick and easy to make – and would be a great make-to-sell if you’re having a stall at a fete or fair this summer.  These are for Rosie though as I’ve used up some of the scraps from her wedding fabrics, so she and Dan can think happy wedding thoughts even while they’re washing up!  

The boxes next to the kettle are part of my wedding preparations too. They’re holding some sweet pea seeds I’m germinating for Rosie’s wedding garden, whilst the tea pots on my pink chair are destined for the tea tables at her reception, they’ll look so pretty filled with flowers.  But even with all the wedding preparations I’ve managed to squeeze in a little sewing just for me ….

I’m still keeping to easy patterns whilst I practise my half-remembered dress-making skills.  This top was made from Indygo Junction’s Perfect Pullover pattern.  It was soooooo simple – I’d totally recommend it to beginners or less confident dress-makers.  I’m not sure if I went a bit over the top with my recycling though – I made my version from part of an old curtain, a thrifted pillowcase and some leftover Laura Ashley scraps from Rosie’s childhood.  Can I really go out dressed in an old curtain and half a pillowcase I wonder? 

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A lovely start to the day..

by Helen on April 8, 2014

I woke up this morning feeling happy and energised – the sun was shining!!  It’s amazing how much difference this makes!  I leapt out of bed(!) and was instantly inspired to finish arranging my collection of vintage schoolroom posters.  I inherited these from my Mum who was an infant school teacher for many years and I think my workroom wall is the perfect place to display them …..

It’s all looking very cheerful, although I don’t think I’ll ever be a minimalist and that organised chaos is probably the best I can hope for!  Then, even before breakfast, I sewed a little of my new top – the first dressmaking project I’ve undertaken for many years…..

I’ve chosen a pretty Rose & Hubble floral print and the pink gingham is the facings.    I discovered a lovely easy pattern – the Esme Top from Sew Liberated which I thought would be perfect to begin with.   All this early morning work made me feel hungry though, so I switched off my sewing machine and headed downstairs for breakfast……

I do find that I need plenty of energy at the beginning of the day – those naughty newfies take a lot of looking after!  But pre-wedding diet plans dictate that although pancakes are fine (cooked in non-stick pan without oil) golden syrup and/or Nutella definitely isn’t.  So it’s lemon juice, no sugar for me!  

But not for my furry friend!  Sorry Miss Daisy, no tasty scraps for you this morning!  Now I’m hoping the sunny weather will continue – I have plans for rose planting later on ….

So Rosie can walk under an archway of roses on her wedding morning – which isn’t too far off now – and there’s still so much to do.  It’s a good thing I am feeling energetic this morning!

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