Apples, Autumn and Miss Daisy

I am always a bit ahead when it comes to stitching as I start to think about patterns for forthcoming issues of the Bustle & Sew Magazine at least a month, and often more, before publication day.  This of course is less of a lead time than more traditional printed magazines, that work at least three months and often longer in advance.  We’re already well underway with the September issue and so this week my thoughts have been full of harvest and the changing season ahead.  I must admit I do love autumn, it’s possibly my favourite time of year – along with Susan Hill, who puts it so beautifully in her book “The Magic Apple Tree” ….

“There is a smell in the air, the smell of autumn, a yeasty, damp, fruity smell, carrying a hint of smoke and a hint, too, of decay.  It fills me with nostalgia, but I do not know for what.  It is a smell I love, for this is and always has been my favourite season.  They said that as I grew older I should recoil from it, the winding down of another year, the descent towards winter, the end of summer pleasures, that I would begin to shift my affections towards spring, when all is looking forward, all is blossoming and greening and sprouting up.  But I do not do so.”

Early September is the most glorious time of year, I think, often bringing a period of fine weather, while the countryside is dressed in greens and golds and early berries can be discovered along the hedgerows.  It also brings the harvest of course, including orchard fruits – apples and pears – both of which I had in my garden at Coombe Leigh ….


The picture above was taken in 2010 which was a year of a bumper apple harvest.  A lot of my apples went off to be turned into juice, as most of the old apple trees there were eating apples – and – a confession here – I don’t actually like eating apples very much.  Shocking I know!  This is because when I was growing up in the 1970s, the era of self-sufficiency and “The Good Life”, my parents’ house had a small orchard attached, planted mainly with Bramleys.  My mum invested in another 1970s icon, the chest freezer and, after we’d harvested our crop, spent hours and hours pureeing and freezing apples to be used in literally a hundred ways.  I can say literally as she was the proud possessor of a book entitled “100 different ways with apples” and our family ate our way through that book.  Indeed, she would be taking the last bags of frozen puree out of the freezer just as the new crop was falling from the trees!  I have a very small tree here in my new garden at The Cottage, just enough for a dozen or so eating apples and that is more than enough for me.  But I do like incorporating apples into my designs and at the moment I’m working on a new pattern for the September Magazine including both apples and pears…..


With embroidered pips!  I’m not quite ready for the big reveal on this pattern yet as it’s still very much a work in progress, but here’s a look at another design coming in the September issue ….


Yes, my Autumn Hoop is finished.  I’m very pleased with the way the embroidery looks on a chocolate brown background.  I used Sulky Sticky Fabri Solvy to transfer my design, but I did have to soak it several times to make sure every single trace of the adhesive had disappeared.  The residue turned out to be white, so of course every little remaining speck was very obvious.  I got there in the end though! So, to make stitching this design very easy indeed, I have included this pattern in my first order of printed fabric panels.  There will be cream stitching lines on a chocolate brown background.  Hopefully this will work OK – I’m awaiting the proof order.  If all is well, then I am aiming to have the printed panels available at the end of the month when the September Magazine is published and will let subscribers know in the magazine before offering them more generally.

And finally …. I haven’t posted a picture of the newfies for a while, I know, and so here’s Miss Daisy looking very pleased with herself after her early morning excursion down to the river …..


She’s now enjoing the sunny afternoon in the gazebo, sitting under the table as I type and making sure my feet are nicely damp(!) while they  both eagerly wait for the clock to strike four – when it’s tea time for my greedy pair of Newfies!!


Julie Caisey

I don’t like apples very much for exactly the same reason as you!

Daisy looks so lovely

Julie xxxxxx


What an adorable photo of Miss Daisy. That looks like adoration for you in her eyes, she seems very grateful for her excursion to the river.


She is a real water baby Glenna – for Daisy it’s all about the entry – the bigger the splash the more fun she’s having!! xx


Hi Helen,

I always enjoy your photos of the newfies, especially Miss.Daisy – she’s just beautiful. Your autumn hoop embroidery is so inspiring and the words are perfect – as I read it I could smell the woodsmoke!

Diana. xx

Jean Benson Thompson

Love Apples crunchy and Crisp right off the Tree and love apples in my Scones and Apple Crisp and saute’ with butter and cinnamon and Sugar to put on top of pancakes or Waffles… and of Course Apple Cider to drink… Such cute designs you have ! !


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