A birthday trip to a far away beach ….

by Helen on December 20, 2013

Before my birthday I went on a very exciting trip to visit my friend Carolyn and her family. In particular I was delighted to meet her new baby daughter, Lottie, who is just six weeks old, and absolutely adorable!  I took with me the quilt that I had made … 


 The “Baby Life” Quilt from a pattern by Vanessa on the Moda Bake Shop.  Carolyn loved it, and it will be great as a play mat for Lottie too as she grows … it’s very hot where they live and ther cool marble floor tiles will be hard on little hands and knees.  It was very strange to leave this behind ….

puppies… and find myself on the beach  …. 

dubaipics 046Rather like going from winter coffee in front of the log burner (pattern for Toadstools & Seedheads cosy in the January 2014 magazine).  

Toadstools & Seedheads CosyBack to teatime in my summer house (pattern in the August 2013 magazine)

English Cottage Tea Cosy

And that’s because Carolyn, Mike, Ky and Lottie live in Dubai – 3,500 miles from Devon, and a very long way south! Last week in fact I was dipping my toes in the Arabian Gulf and admiring all the wonders to be found in Dubai – a completely amazing place …  

Burj al Arab, DubaiHere’s the Burj al Arab, just off Jumeirah Beach where Rosie and I paddled, and enjoyed a special birthday brunch ….

Birthday CakeWith chocolate cake too – what could be nicer?  I’ve never ever eaten a birthday meal outside, or felt the sand between my toes on a birthday outing before – but then I guess as a December baby that’s hardly surprising!  And there was lots of sand – wait till  I tell you about our trip into the desert …..



Wonderfully woodland ….

by Helen on September 10, 2013

Firstly, thank you so much to everyone who’s taken the time and trouble to enter my giveaway.  I am so loving reading all your wonderfully creative ideas – please keep them coming, you still have two more days to enter!  I’m delighted too that my little toadstools are proving so popular as I’ve decided to continue my woodland theme into the October issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine with my felt fox head …

Felt Fox Head

 Mounted on a 10″ embroidery hoop with some of my favourite Fox Hollow fabric – I don’t have much of this left now, but have loved using it.  This little fox is definitely a “keeper” though, and has already found a home on my bedroom wall.  Then there are my Forest Friends Display Pegs ….

Forest Friends

…. an unusual way to display all manner of cherished items whether these are childrens’ drawings, greetings cards, remnants of favourite fabrics – or anything you choose that can be pegged to a line.  Above you’ll spot two of Rosie’s childhood creations put away safely for many years by me … a lovely little mug mat with rows of running stitch – and a portrait of me(!) complete with elastic band hair!  

foxhead 019a

Both the Felt Fox Head and Forest Friends display pegs will be in the October issue, along with my Winter’s Comfort Quilt (still quilting!) and the first of this year’s Christmas projects.  But before then I have chutneys to make!  Sitting in the summer house – it’s chillier now, but I’m making the most of the last warm days – every so often I hear a rustle and then THUMP! as another apple falls from one of my trees.  Daisy loves to play with them, but we are plagued by wasps and I’m afraid she’ll be stung.  So an afternoon of chutney-making before my friend Tom comes to take the rest away for his homemade cider.  And – as she’s not allowed the windfalls, Daisy decided that stealing some of my toy stuffing was the only way to go ….

foxhead 011a

 Caught in the act!


Fairies at the bottom of our garden!

by Helen on August 4, 2013

Picture the scene …. a warm(ish) summer’s afternoon in the summer house at Coombe Leigh.  Feeling relaxed – cup of tea, a biscuit (or two!) and some gentle stitching.  Then the peace is shattered as two excited  furry faces appear ……..

Come and see Mum!

 ”Mum! MUM!!! M U M ! !! ! Come and see – come and see NOW!!” 

Toadstool Pin Cushions

 “There are fairies living at the bottom of our garden!!” 

Not really !  Just the photoshoot for my first pattern for the September issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – little toadstool pin cushions – great for those Christmas Fairs, as little gifts or just for yourself.  Just the tiniest scraps of fabric and felt, vintage cotton spools, styrofoam hemispheres – and a lot of fun!


After I had picked myself up from the floor, calmed Ben with a large dog chew and gone indoors to wash my face(!) it was lunch time.  Then there would be time for half an hour’s stitching in the summer house.  So I buttered some lovely fresh bread from the farm shop, added some beautiful local strawberries (tiny and sweet, not overblown and tasteless like some of the supermarket offerings), cherry tomatoes and a glass of (local again) Luscombe Scicilian Lemonade – not too sweet and not too fizzy. 

Summer Lunch

And because I was still feeling snap-happy, I took a picture, but this time using my “proper” camera.  Close up and ….

Lunch in the Summer House

 … a bit further back.  After these and other experiments with phone and camera I have come to the conclusion that my iPhone is great for snapshots while I’m out and about.  This is wonderful as I am much more likely to have it with me, than remember to pick up, carry and not lose somewhere, my digital camera.  But the camera is definitely superior for close ups and does produce a much better image quality.  Mine was not a scientific experiment (!) so I’d be interested to hear any other thoughts.

In the picture above you may have noticed my work in progress - I’m getting a bit ahead of myself  with the first project for the September ezine.  It’s very Enid Blyton-esque and shows a little woodland elf painting spots on autumn toadstools .. 

Autumn Colours

Can you see the two faces hidden in the tree trunk?  Anyway… I thought it would be nice to add him to a quilted cushion cover – this time in autumnal tones – in the same way as the little Dandelion Bunny pattern in the current ezine issue

Dandelion Bunny Embroidery (3)

 But I need some help please …. I’d like to add a few lines of verse in a spiral again – I thought this worked really well on the bunny cushion cover ..

Dandelion Bunny Embroidery(1)

But I can’t think of anything. Can anybody help please?   Something autumnal or elfish or …well, I just don’t know – any suggestions very gratefully received!