Welcome to our blog.

….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
….. Growing a family

Three children (17, 15, 13)*** 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.

Just a thought….

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


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Writing letters to my daughter

Dear Daughter: About Being You

Calico puzzle

Dear Daughter

It has been a while since I wrote a letter and created a patchwork square for my Dear Daughter quilt. I have not forgotten, or run out of things to say. No, the problem has been the patchwork squares.

I just wasn’t totally happy with the ones that I’d created. I wasn’t enjoying making them. I was up to my neck in a creative block. Unable to start the next one. Unable to see why. It took a little while to figure out the cause.

I knew what I wanted to make, but the templates and method felt hit and miss. I didn’t want to make it using that method. Time to step back and think. I threw the paper templates in the recycling bin and pulled out freezer paper, a ruler and pen.

measuring quilt block

The solution is obvious. Oh, how often is that the case! I’m making the measurements and I’m using the english paper piecing method, which achieves the end results that I like. I’m on a roll again and doing it my way.

I know you will understand this sentiment. You so often have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and you find a way to achieve it.  For that, I am truly proud of you. You seldom feel the need to follow others for that reason alone. To follow the crowd without thought. I know that this also makes you sad, when you don’t find kindred spirits to join in your enthusiasm.  It would be nice to have a friend who you could chatter away about your shared interests.

side calico puzzle

So my points to you:

1. You’ve found friends, but no-one that with the same interests as you. YET. It will happen. Give it time.

2. If everyone wore t-shirts with a list of their  interests written on it, how easy it would be to find someone who shared your passion. Unfortunately, this is unlikely. The next best way to find fellow enthusiasts is to join the clubs. Maybe drop in mentions in class and conversation. Who knows whose ears will prick up. Look what happened when you mentioned that you played the harp.

3. Your interest in something, may inspire others. People’s questions often lead to their own interest growing. I know how eloquent you can be about getting your point across. (Oh boy, do I know!!!)

calico puzzle with other blocks

4. Don’t lose sight of your dreams. Just because no one else shows interest, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.  You have a houseful of people at home, who love joining in with your enthusiasm. Make plans.

5. Remember to celebrate your uniqueness. We are all different and that is what makes life so interesting (and queues shorter).

6. Listen to other people’s passions too. You never know when they might coincide with yours in a less than obvious way.

7. Believe in yourself. Sometimes to step back for a moment, let’s you see how to do something your way and feel good about it. It can sometimes take courage, but it is worth it. Remember when we visited the Bishop’s Palace in Wells. The thought provoking words.

walking on words 1

“Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking” -Antonio Macado

Sometimes the pre-described path is not the right route for us. It may be easier to wander down that way, but ultimately it leaves us unsatisfied and frustrated. Your own path is a braver choice. It does get easier to take the less trodden path, after time. I should know. I seem to take so many of them myself. Of course, you never know who you will meet along the way. The friends you haven’t met yet.

So, be yourself. Believe in yourself.

As ever

your loving mother

Dear Daughter. About Being Happy.

be happy

Dear Daughter

Back again with another square for your Dear Daughter quilt. I know you liked my last letter, especially the cake part. Not sure I can offer cake this time, but we will see.

This letter is about being happy.

Some people seem to float through life being happy, with no effort. A constant smile. Some people seem constantly sad and see no good*. The classic half-full or half-empty glass approaches to life. Most of us move between the two states, and several degrees in between. I am a half-full kind of gal, an optimist and happy person, but I have my moments. We all do.

sewing in the garden

When I was carrying you, people would ask me if I wanted a girl or a boy. I used to say that so long as you were happy and healthy, I didn’t mind. (Your father’s response was that he’d like a puppy, but he was only joking…..well I think he was!) I wanted you to be well set up to cope with whatever life threw at you. Being happy is a good step in that direction.

It’s difficult to write about happy without a passing nod at least to the other side of the coin: sadness. They both exist. Inexplicitly linked. It is a rare person that does not experience both at some stage of their life. The optimist inside me, suggests that we have to experience some sadness so that we can fully appreciate happiness. Maybe happy people are able to flip the coin to the happy side more quickly and easily.

This is the real point of my letter, I want to pass on some of my tips on how to be happy. Ten steps to flipping the coin to the happy side!

rabbit dancing 2

1. Smile. I think this may be the biggest tip. When you smile it releases a hormone that gives you a happy feeling. Even a fake smile, will help, and hopefully the smile will soon turn into a real one.

2. Smile. Again? Yes. If you smile at someone, even a stranger passing by, then you may receive a smile back. We often feel better being surrounded by smiling people as its less stressful. (if they look at you strangely, don’t worry, just see the funny side of it.)

rabbit dancing 3

3. Look for a silver lining. There is always one and don’t argue with me on this point. I’m your mother. Things can feel bad and they become worse as you dwell on them. If you can find a silver lining in the situation, then maybe you can see a way through. It may not chase the bad away, but it could put you in a different position to cope with it.

4. Celebrate the little things. Obvious to make a fuss of the big events, but some little moments of success can disappear without even a high 5 .  Maybe you figure out how to do something at last, or get a better mark in a test than you imagined. No certificate issued, but why not do a little dance of joy or run round the garden for a lap of honour. Sounds daft, but see how you feel afterwards!

rabbit dancing 4

5. Avoid bucket dipping. I hear you groan. At 11 you are too old for the Have You Filled A Bucket Today? book (which really deserves its own blog post), but the message is still good. Being mean to someone will not bring happiness. You will never get that happy feeling at someone else’s expense. (hitting your brother will not make you happy – as if you would!!!!).

In fact, the complete opposite is true. Bucket filling (or, in other words, doing something genuinely nice for someone else) will bring happiness.

6. Sing a silly or happy song. As loud and as silly as you like. Pretty much provides same effect as smiling, but works better in some situations more than others.

rabbit dancing 5

7. Practise saying and thinking the positive. Next time you are about to say something that went badly, try saying it using positive words. Choose “yet” instead of “never”. “How do I?” instead of “can’t”. May need to couple it with the silver lining point too. Trust me. Try it.

8. Being content. Yes, the grass always seems greener over the fence. It’s easy to focus on the bad or to see what we don’t have.  So a good exercise, when you feel like you are  missing out, is to remind yourself about what you have already. List it if you need to.

9. Take somethings with a pinch of salt. If someone says or does something that saps your happy feeling, stop and think about their motive. Are they jealous? Has someone said it about them? What advantage is it for them to say it? Are they unhappy and  looking for comfort in numbers? Often a comment says more about the person saying it than the person on the receiving end.

rabbit dancing 7

10.Finally, in the unlikely event that all of those fail, eat chocolate. Oh, yes. Not too much, but it helps to release a hormone that gives you that happy feeling.

Coin flipped to the happy side, yet? Good. Just as I hoped before you were born, I wish you happiness now (not furry, as your father hoped.)

As ever

your loving mother

finished peace and plenty


*Please note: I am writing about the choice of being happy or sad. I am not referring to people that suffer from depression, which is on a whole different scale.

So are you a glass half full or half empty kind of person?

Joining in with #MotivationalMonday over at:

Pinkoddy's blog

Dear Daughter. About Homework.

Homeward Bound square

Dear Daughter

Yeh! The second quilting square is complete for your “Dear Daughter” quilt and its time for my next letter to you. I’m glad you liked the last letter. (read more about the project here). I’ve chosen the thorny subject of homework this time.

I know you find homework boring and a chore. It cuts into your home time and reminds you of school. You find the threat of detention, if it’s not completed, a disincentive. They may offer you a carrot, but its this threat that sticks in your mind. Your thoughts about the teacher and the subject become less than flattering. I know you’ve received house points for exceptional pieces of work, so I suspect this is the intended incentive. The carrot that they offer you, but not enough to motivate you.

So, I thought I’d try to paint a different picture for you.

cutting out second square

Homework – better than you imagined!

You can do it. You are a bright child. If you set your mind to something, you always succeed. I’m not going to list all the remarkable things you have achieved. None of these school subjects are beyond your capability. You don’t need to take it from me alone. I have a pile of school reports that back me up. You can do it. Believe in yourself.

Time to practise. The whole point of homework is to give you a chance to practise a little bit more. Maybe the teachers are seeing how well you have understood. As your parent, it gives me a little insight into what you are doing at school, but the most important part is that you get more practise, or time, to investigate the subject in more detail.

using the tension holderusing a tension holder

Time to find out more. Not everything can be covered in class. There just isn’t time. Not everyone is grabbed by the same interesting fact as you. How long would the lesson be if everyone’s interests were followed through?

Homework could give you a chance to explore the subject that little bit more. Don’t be put off by the limits set by the lesson. My hope for you is that sometimes a fact might spark a moment of curiosity. I’ve seen this happen for you already.

sewing chain

It may have been a throw away comment from your teacher.  It may not be strictly within the remit of the homework, but the world is your oyster. If something is interesting, why shouldn’t you follow it up. You have access to the internet and we have a houseful of books.

Putting it off. It’s too easy to procrastinate about starting your homework. I admit, I am the same with some items on my To-Do list. We could tackle this one together. Let’s try to do it as soon as we get it. That evening. For you, the lesson will still be fresh in your mind. Homework tends to grow bigger and onerous, if left. Like some kind of cartoon monster. (So do To-Do lists)

If you do it straight away, it’s gone. No longer praying on your mind. That horrible nagging feeling. Gone. Leaving you lots of time to enjoy doing your own thing. If that’s not a carrot, then I don’t know what is.

carrot patchwork

As an added bonus, by doing it early, you give yourself enough time to do yourself justice. Rushing it just before bedtime, the night before its due in, is pushing your luck.  Do yourself a favour. Give yourself time and do it when you’re not using match sticks to prop up your eyelids. It is much easier and you’ll get a higher mark. A chance of a house point.

Make it into a habit. Like most things if you get into a habit of doing it as a routine, then homework too will become easier. It’s like magic. No longer will it feel like its biting into your time at home. (Picture biting cartoon monster from before) It will become part of your home life. Like giving yourself time to brush your teeth or feed the dogs. Just another thing that you do. Choose a set time, a set place and do it.

homework and square

Reward. If nothing else works for you then try my fallback method. Tell yourself that after you’ve finished, you will have a treat. It could be anything. Finish reading your book, play with the dogs or promise yourself a slice of cake (although you might want to warn me about that last one, so I can put it aside for you). Once the work is done, then treat yourself. If it’s a long piece of homework, then split it into stages and a small treat once each stage is complete. (How do you think I get through the day?)

So hopefully, you can see the picture that I’ve tried to paint you. It doesn’t have to be a chore. Try following my advice for a month and see the difference.

As always

Your loving mother

 To find out more about the Dear Daughter project and the list of letters, click here.


Joining in with Pink Oddy’s Motivational Monday.


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