softies

Every Monday afternoon …

by Helen on July 15, 2014

Every Monday afternoon I say farewell to my two furry friends and head off into Kingsbridge for an afternoon session as a volunteer at the Oxfam Bookshop.  I really enjoy these sessions as I meet lots of interesting people – many visitors to the area drop in to pick up new holiday reading as well as locals who almost treat the shop as a library – returning a bag of books for resale before choosing more.  I also enjoy browsing through the books myself and usually come home with two or three (at least!).

This week I thought I’d share one of my finds with you – it’s a Country Living Book entitled “Country Colour Combinations.”  My edition is a bit faded along the spine and dates to 2003.  As the cover makes the rather ambitious claim “classic colour schemes that never fail” I was very interested to see what was inside as most interior books become very dated …

The photography is stunning – as you’d expect from Country Living, and the colour schemes still look attractive, though there were one or two pictures that did look a little dated.  I loved the way the schemes were named – after all, who wouldn’t enjoy “chestnut and copper beech”, “rosehip and crab apple” or “rockpool and driftwood?”  And what’s not to like about “raspberries and cream,” “strawberry, apple & mint,” or “lilac & primrose?”  All the schemes were grouped into palettes, and my very favouritest one was of course “sun, sea, and sky …”

… including “sky & sunshine,” “shell, sky & sunset” and “storm cloud and sea spray”.  This book is still available to purchase from Amazon, though I was surprised to discover that although the cover and title are identical, the author name has been changed from Caroline Atkins on my 2003 copy to Kate Butcher on the current edition.  How odd – I wonder why?

But I haven’t just been lazing around in the summer house idly flicking through my “new” books.  Oh no, a major relocation exercise has taken place here at Coombe Leigh.  Rosie’s wedding arch was getting a little blown about at the front of the house – it’s quite exposed facing the prevalent south-westerlies, so it’s now been moved to the back ….

And made quite a lot taller with the addition of its legs!  The silk roses still look nice around the top and the sweet peas smell wonderful as we brush past them.  In typical country fashion I use the back door much more than the front so I’m really enjoying having the arch where I’ll see it every day.

And I’ve also been busy with new projects for the August Bustle & Sew Magazine….

These little bunnies are waiting for some clothes.  The girl has cute little red shoes and will wear the same dress as Mabel Fox, whilst I’m planning some dungarees for her brother.  The embroidered heart is also for the magazine and is waiting to be added to a project.  Rosie’s wedding may be over, but there’s still no shortage of activities to keep me busy, including a bit of painting – ably assisted by that mischievous Miss Daisy ….

What can I say?!

And to finish, I’m delighted to report Ben is recovering well now.  He’s back at the vet on Friday to have his stitches out, whilst his tooth extraction doesn’t seem to have affected his ability to hoover up his food at teatime -it’s nice to see him back to his old self again!

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Flying Pigs … and thank you everyone

by Helen on May 22, 2013

Wow!   Thank you so much everyone who left a comment on my giveaway!   So many of you – and such wonderful softie ideas – I would certainly never have considered a dragon or crocodile – though I have been thinking about a fox for an autumn issue of my magazine.   I will definitely be creating one or two of your suggestions over the coming months.  

For the moment though, I have a confession to make.  I have been away playing – visiting Rosie in Bath – and so I have not yet worked the random number generator and counted down to the winner.  I promise I will do so before Friday, and let you know the lucky recipient of the little blue cashmere bunny who will have to wait on my shelf just a little while longer before setting off to his new home.   

Flying Pigs

Inspired by everyone’s ideas, before I went to Bath, I had a good sort through all my softie patterns to remind myself of my earlier creations… and came across the Angel Pigs softie pattern that I designed for Christmas 2011.  I’d always meant to tweak the pattern slightly and create some Flying Pigs – and now seemed like the perfect time – what do you think?  

Flying Pigs

 I must admit, I think they’re rather cute!  And the little blue pig is standing on a bundle of Cath Kidston fabric I treated myself to whilst in Bath.  I think they’d make a great present – perhaps for a teenager who has actually tidied her room when asked – pigs will definitely be flying if that happens too regularly! 

Flying Pigs

 If you’d like to make your own Flying Pigs, then the Angel Pig pattern works absolutely fine, though I’ll publish the tweaked version in the July issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  

Back on Friday with the results of the bunny giveaway!

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New Readers’ Makes Gallery

by Helen on April 9, 2013

My main passion is creating new designs.  I love the thrill of seeing something coming together just right – even though it will usually take many attempts to perfect the curve of a rabbit’s paw or the positioning of a whisker.  I don’t make to sell, which is why I have absolutely no problem with others offering for sale items they have personally made using my designs – although I do ask for a credit as the pattern designer.  This is why I was delighted to discover a brilliant Facebook page – Charlie barlee Studio …..

Charlie barlee reindeer heads

 where the very talented Sherrilee offers items made using her own patterns as well as “Flannidermy” Deer Heads made using my Bustle & Sew Fabric Deer Head pattern.  Aren’t they wonderful?  I love how she’s interpreted my design ….

Charlie barlee reindeer heads

This made me think – I know there are lots of other talented makers out there who love to create, whether for sale or not – so I decided to start our very own Bustle & Sew Readers’ Makes Gallery.  I’ve added Sherrilee’s beautiful deer to it already – and would love others to add their own creations too.  The link to my new Gallery page is in my right-hand sidebar  and I’m hoping lots of you talented people will contribute – I love to see others’ beautiful creations.

And finally ….. thank you so much to everyone who sent best wishes for Ben’s speedy recovery.  I think I correctly understood what the vet said – that he has a form of dry arthritis in his paw, because of which the actual ends of his bones have been grinding on each other – extremely painful.  He has been prescribed a course of 4 special injections for pain relief and to encourage his body to produce more joint fluid, and we are very hopeful this will work.  Certainly he is much happier already after just the first injection, so please all keep your fingers crossed for him.  Oh … he is also on a diet having put on 10 lbs(!) over the last year (now weighing 168 lbs) ….. no more choc drops for him! 

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Stop sewing and play with me!

by Helen on February 20, 2013

Daisy at 14 weeks

 “OK Mum.  That’s enough sewing.  I want to PLAY!  Stop playing with those hens – yes those ones – and play with me instead or I will CHEW them!” 

Two French Hens

 (Two French Hens – Easter softies for the March Bustle & Sew Magazine)

Daisy at 14 weeks

 “I will snuffle on your camera lens too!  Come outside and play – NOW!”

So I went …….

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