Welcome to our blog.

….. We make
….. We explore
….. We nuture

Three children (16, 14, 11)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

You can find me here

  • RSS Feed for Posts
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Flickr
  • Instagram

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

Thank you….

  • Susan Mann I've never been there but it looks amazing. What beautiful photos and a lovely way to catch up with family xx #wotw 25 Jun
  • Angela Webster Wow, you really did pack a lot into your week. The Lakes are so beautiful, we only live an hour or so's drive away but... 25 Jun
  • Natasha Mairs Isn't amazing, that even though we visit or see the same thing a lot, we can still find new things that we didn't see before... 25 Jun
  • Sarah Christie Blimey 126...... We have about 10 and that seems a lot! I bet looking at UNIs is so daunting? Jack will be staying at home... 24 Jun
  • Sarah-Marie It looks like such an incredibly peaceful place to visit. I love a place with intriguing history too. #MMBC 24 Jun
  • Older »

Sticky

thrifty

All about the tablecloth

Almost to the day, two years ago, I found a hand embroidered tablecloth in a local charity shop. The stitches were beautiful. Clusters of flowers, joined by ribbons and bows. I cannot imagine how long it took the stitcher to stitch the whole cloth. It looks like love has been poured into the piece. All those little, precise stitches sewn in colourful threads. It hadn’t faded either.

I could be over romanticizing it, of course. It has been known. The embroiderer might have hated it. Completing it under duress. Stabbing the linen with each stitch, but I don’t think so. Something made them finish it. The stitches are too good. I can’t believe they didn’t feel some joy while making it. That’s good enough for me. I’m going with the love.  Just look at those flowers. I’d be proud to make it.

Needless to say, I wasn’t going to allow it to languish on the charity shop shelf any longer. It needed to be used and admired.

So I brought it home. Washed it. Used it once. Then put it away in the cupboard and there it stayed.

Sigh.

Part of the problem was that I wanted to use it outside. Now we tend to use a parasol for the tables outside, to provide extra shade. Any cloth we use would need a hole slap bang in the middle, which my rescued table cloth did not have.

A couple of days ago, inspiration struck. I’d make a hole. Not a big light bulb moment, admittedly, but maybe I needed the two years to realise I wasn’t going to use the table cloth for anything else, and it wasn’t going to be used unless a hole was cut.

Deep breath. Scissors out. Snip.

To tidy the cut edges and stop it fraying, I encased them in bias binding. I had just enough off-white coloured binding for the straight edges. I used a dark red to go round the hole. I hand stitched most of it, as I wanted to keep it true to its original making style.

Diving into my ribbon drawer, I found two pieces of red gingham ribbon. Different widths, but I decided the smaller one would look good at the table cloth edge without overpowering the surrounding flowers and the wider one would work in the centre.
They don’t distract from the embroidered flowers.

Final touch was to make a cream tea and serve it outside today. (Scones, with jam and cream, and tea.) I think it was a bit of a surprise for the children when they got in from school. Fine china and cream teas is not an every day occurrence.  Never to miss out on a good thing, the children seemed to take the change of routine in their stride. Scones soon disappeared. Let’s hope they don’t expect this every day from now on.

I’m so glad I gave the table cloth a new lease of life. It should stay on more times out of ten, against the wind too. I don’t know the story behind the cloth and how it ended up in a charity shop, but I hope the person who made it would appreciate the care I’ve taken and the use it will now get.

 

Pie dishes and car boot sale

We went to a local car boot sale over the weekend. It’s been a while. I warned the children not to expect to buy anything. Always go with a minimal, mental list of things you’d like to find and avoid impulse buying, otherwise all you’re doing is moving clutter from one home to another. Shifting the problem. It works if one person’s clutter becomes your desired purchase. Everyone wins that way.

So included on my list were garden tools (I could do with another fork), a tailors dummy (I live in hope) and individual pie dishes. I know I could buy all these first hand very easily and have it all straight away, but that’s daft if I can help someone else clear their clutter and save it going to a landfill. It’s one of the reasons I try to buy nothing new.

I’m patient. I can wait to find the right solution.

(Unless it’s fabric. Then the conversation in my head, about the gorgeous new fabric in my hands, goes on a whole heap longer and can get heated. Fabric is my weakness, but I’m working on it)

Also I find items fall off the list after a while, proving I really didn’t need them.

I think by the end, the children were more than ready to go home. They chattered happily in the car about the strange things they’d seen for sale, conversations they’d overheard and no one was upset about coming home empty handed.

Nestled by my feet, were a stack of small pie dishes.

Six of them.

They are the ceramic dishes that Charlie Bingham’s pies come in. I’ve never tried this range of pies. I like to make my own. I’m assuming that the owner of the stall must have absolutely loved them, as she had a box brimming over with these dishes. Empty and clean! Perfect for my pie making. I bought 6 for £1.

Last night, I used them to make fruit crumble. Using up leftovers before my supermarket delivery arrives today. I mixed pears, blueberries and raspberries, with a dash of almond essence. I’m not sure if it was the new dishes, the stormy weather raging outside or the fruit combination, but everyone really loved the crumble. Bowls were cleaned.

The new dishes have given me the chance to try out something else that’s been on my list – bowl cosies. Especially important as the dishes are coming straight out of the Aga and I wanted to protect everyone’s hands.  Turns out that bowl cosies are ridiculously easy to make. A few darts and the flat square turn into a bowl, with the perfect dimensions for my new individual pie dishes.

I’ve made one so far, as a proof of concept. I’m using Aldi fat quarters, with cotton wadding. Sewn up with cotton thread. The theory is that by avoiding mademade fibres, I can put these in the microwave or my lower oven, without fear of anything melting. It makes it easier to lift the hot bowls out. The cosies can either be held by two diagonal corners or in the palm of your hands. Even if it spills, the fabric catches most of the hot splashes before they can hit anyone. Usually me, to be honest.

It’s reversible too. I’m not sure how important that feels to me at the moment. I guess that some dishes will look better against the yellow and others with the blue. Flexibility to change the colour may be nice, but I’m more interesting in making a set of cosies that complement each other but not match. I am not a matching kind of person.

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. I’m quite happy with my new pie dishes. Love that it pushed me to dabble in a new sewing project too. It seems to have gone down well with everyone. Even had requests for customised bowl cosies. I like that. It means they are already picturing themselves using these cosies for late evening, garden eating.

Oh. Roll on summer!

PoCoLo

Going Green

Almost World Book Day – Planning

World Book Day is next Thursday. Hurray!  Are you excited? I know not everyone likes it, but I love making costumes.

We’ve had the notice for a while, but I always leave the costume for the last week. Apart from the fact I work better under pressure, it allows time for them to change their minds. I’ve learnt. One year, I had a definite a Golden Compass Lyra who proceeded to change her mind a day before, and was transformed into an Arietty from The Borrowers. It’s OK. I’m good at short notice.

(Can’t find a  photo of Arrietty, but this is Hobbit’s Kili from two years ago)

This year is our last year.

(silent sob)

Youngest will be at Secondary school next time, where it is major uncool to dress up. (Probably not cool to say “uncool” either, but I’m old school) This is our grand finale. Time to go out with a bang.

(Klaus-Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events – last year)

Given the choice*, we always make the costumes. It’s half the fun. Trying to use what we already have in the house. It’s always their choice when it comes to World Book Day. I have a capsule costume wardrobe (tips and tricks here) that pretty much covers it, with a few accessories thrown in. Other costumes are even simpler and just use their normal clothes with props.

(Astrid and dragon from How to Train a Dragon – two years ago)

Except…not this time.

He has decided to go as Gandalf. He loves the Hobbit, so I’m happy with his choice. My challenge is that it’s all grey apart from the beard. I’m not big on grey and my craft stash echoes this sentiment. Give me bright colours any day.

I’m excited about making the hat. A pointed, slightly crumpled, wide brimmed, wizard’s hat is required. I’ve been longing for an excuse to make a felted hat. It may end up being more cream coloured than grey, due to the fleece I have at hand, but maybe I can slightly spray it afterwards to give it a travelled look.

I have a choice with the beard and hair. Either white fluffy fabric or untwisting lengths of a ball of icelandic wool that I’ve had for eons and not used. Maybe a mixture of the two.

I found an old grey storage blanket. The sort house movers use to protect goods in transit in their vans. No idea why we have this as we’ve always moved house by ourselves. Anyway, it has a couple or so holes but I reckon I can make it into a cloak. I’ve made a few cloaks (instructions here if you’re interested) in the past, so no problem. It is a quick project.

The only parts I’ve not solved yet are the footwear and the grey gown underneath. I could adapt the cloak, so no gown is needed, if all else fails.

That’s my weekend sorted. I’m looking forward to it. Might even start tomorrow if I can wrangle it. I’ll share photos of the resulting costume once I’m done.

How about you? Are you making a costume this year? If you need a costume, do you usually make or buy? Do you love the call for a costume or do you dread the request?

Our last year. Can I come round and make costumes for anyone else next year?

(costume from 3 years ago)

*We love making our costumes for dressing up days and plays. Not always possible. One year, we were sent a link to the desired costume to buy for a play. I could have bucked the trend and made my own, but then he wouldn’t have matched the rest of the class in the line up, so I reluctantly bought instead. Not a happy costume maker.

Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don’t just take. Written permission only. Don’t pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It’s not nice.

Cookie Policy

Our web pages do not use cookies however this website uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. Google Analytics uses cookies to help us analyse how people use our site. The use of cookies by Google Analytics is subject to change.