Thursday, 21 May 2020

House and garden...nearly.

I am using the term 'garden' very loosely here but there have been some developments at our house build which involve the marking out of a garden boundary. It is making me think that someone is looking down on us favourably and that I can dream a little about an actual garden.

These gabion baskets form a ha-ha at the end of our garden They hold back 1.5m of ground and the field falls away as a slope. The wall acts as a barrier to stop the sheep getting in the garden because  we didn't want a fence, hedge or trees to obscure our view. 

Do you see? You can't put anything in front of that now can you? This is the view from the grown ups bedroom window. A bit less farm (s)crap and a little more soil than before.

From downstairs in the kitchen we are starting to see how the garden will really feel like another room in our house.

The large angled picture window in our bedroom was thought up by my late dad when he designed the house. It perfectly frames the view, how did he know that?

Other windows are getting a bit of TLC too. The girls went round and scraped all the stickers from the windows. They are good little helpers.

Stepping back from that window, I decided to paint the end wall in the lounge blue. It was going to be white but every time the dog heard the front door open or a car go past he jumped up at the window cill and the wall was filthy before we had even thought about living there!

 I love it. It is a rich blue called Dulux easycare sapphire salute which looks good with our old furniture. I have wiped off dusty paw prints so far and it came off well.

Other notable improvements are the completion of the bathroom except we don't have hot water but it is all ready to go.

The stair case is now finished, but not quite in this picture. We have been trying to train Beano to stay downstairs to stop him mucking up the white paint upstairs - it requires us to remember to close the bedroom doors just in case.

So lots has been done, lots more to do but slowly slowly...

Thanks for dropping in. Hope you are all well. Jo xxx

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Ahoy there!

Just sewing along at the end of week 8. It was my little girls time for a new something. I could tell she was getting a bit green with envy sat on the sidelines watching me make everyone else clothes. I said she could have first pick out of my new Ottobre magazine when it arrived in the post.

This fabric was a gift from Christina at A colourful life, she didn't need it and was having a clear out a while back. Thank you my friend. Meg loves blue so she snapped it up, it was the perfect fabric to use right now.

The Ottobre magazine I bought was in French - I didn't mean it to be but I must have clicked the wrong one on the drop down list. Anyway with a little French and an understanding of how most things fit together, it worked out well.

The pattern is called Olive star which is actually a dropped waist dress but when she put it on she didn't like it, usual behaviour from this one. I made this however after my Bettine dress so I used the same elasticated waist technique from that adult dress to add a waist to this one. Problem solved.

This pattern is easily adapted to a T-shirt which is next on her wish list but I am out of jersey.

We rummaged through the motif pile and found a funky strawberry which she liked and I did a lot of swearing with a popper tool before deciding on buttons for the shoulders.

One happy customer! Thanks for dropping in. 
Jo xxxxx

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Lots of things happening in May but mostly at home of course. 

Sewing - The Linden sweatshirt made in ponte roma leftovers for my friends birthday present in September.

Baking - My girl deserved a new apron which I made from an old tablecloth. She has become a demon cook.

Repairing - a tiny hole in my favourite jeans, then I spotted one starting to appear on the hip too so I resewed the seam and hid it with this rather appropriate knitting motif I had.

Supervising - Little one while she cracked open a Christmas gift kit to make a covered notebook. She loves going on the sewing machine.

Looking - at nature on our daily walks.

Moving - stone from one place to another. Forget online workouts, I have burnt some serious calories. All of those stones on the floor are now in a different pile for our driveway walls, moved by hand by bloke and I!

Celebrating - that all three of our machinery vehicles are working; OK so we had to jump start the digger from the tractor battery but all the same, it is a rare moment. Those machines do eliminate some of the hard work.

Noticing - the vibrant green of May.

Knitting - more baby things for my gifting pile. This cutie used up some of my Drops Paris cotton yarn and two evenings of my time.

and this tunic dress is lovely with leggings but I had to have a centre seam in order to use up the fabric.

Making - an accidental otter in pancake batter!

Trying - to keep this spaniel exercised. It doesn't matter how far we take him, it is never enough.

Smiling - for a selfie with the bluebells in the woods.

Dreaming - that one day I will grow my own magnificent Wisteria.

but currently very proud of my Aldi £2.99 clematis! This is currently my most favourite part of the garden.

Eating - too many welsh cakes.

Thinking - how much we are all enjoying each others company with very little falling out.

Do pop over and join in with Christina's ing post at A colourful life.

Lots of Love to you all. Jo xxx

Saturday, 9 May 2020


There is only so long that you can enjoy yourself making repairs and using up old scraps of fabric. I can not deny it is a very satisfying pursuit but now it is time to treat myself and break into something savoured but not exactly new.

I bought this fabric from Seasalt last year in the end of summer sale. It should have been £55 but it was half price (still quite an investment for me) but it was a 3m roll so definitely enough for two garments which seemed good value. I was tipped off about this supply of fabric from Ruth at Nightingale and Doolittle. She uses Seasalt fabric to make some of her wonderful clothes. Here latest one is a stunner.

I wanted to make another Bettine Dress by Tilly and Buttons. I have made three so far but the first one I made, in cotton, has since gone to a smaller owner - it is too small across the arms for me now. The second one is a jersey version which I have just this week passed on to a colleague because I am ready for a new something. The third one has gone missing in action but I do remember taking it on holiday to Italy last year...mmmm...mystery.

I really enjoyed making this dress remembering to make a few alterations for a better fit. I added a bit of width to the skirt pieces to help it go over my head, I added a bit more to the grown on underarm for the same reason as well as getting more arm room and I also added a bit to the length to make it suitable to wear to school for sitting on small chairs.

This time I even added the epaulettes; the fabric was drapey enough to take them without me looking like Mussolini. My reputation in this house as a bit of a task master does not need bolstering with stiff shoulder details.

I love the feel of the fabric, the muted mustard palette and the opportunity to wear navy as the combo colour.

Love this dress and the pattern because it is so well written and explained.

Happy Days. Stay Safe. Jo xxxxxx

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Lots of Doing

We can't help 'doing' it is what we are good at. Today I thought I would share little snap shots of what I have seen my whole family doing in lock down.

Big girl is getting quite the thirteen year old in terms of mood swings so she took herself off to the spare room and crocheted a phone case all on her own.

We have been enjoying the weather by walking the dog to a fishing pool where today, the fish came to the top to say hello. My children have been asking to go on long walks.

We have done some home decorating then the girls hand painted some plant pots for half an hour.

The garden is looking good. We are currently stock piling plants ready for our new house but we need to keep them watered. Heidi divided up some of our current ones to move on to the next garden. They have both taken spider house plant cuttings which have taken brilliantly too. Lettuce and rocket seeds are also underway.

Whole family cleaning has been taking place. Cupboards sorted through, cooker cleaned and skirting boards wiped down. We have eaten well with more time to spare to make each meal. The girls were surprised how much they liked parsnip bread - a sort of huge cheesy scone eaten with soup.

We rummaged around in the freezer and found many boxes of blackberries we picked last year. Meg made up a batch of ice cream. She has been recording her culinary endeavours to gain her confectioners badge at Guides. 

She made fudge too.

Then a huge Meringue. She is so good at cooking because she has a precise nature which I do not possess.

We still have to visit our small holding farm to feed the sheep. Building work has slowed down because we can't get supplies which is a shame therefore we have jumped to landscaping the garden on our schedule because that it mostly with things we already have.

Andy has brewed 40 pints of beer Whooo! He has bottled it so not long to wait now. My dad bought me the sign on the wall for my birthday many moons ago. It reminds me of him every time I read it and it makes me chuckle to myself (with glee!).

I resorted to cutting mine and Megan's fringe with dressmaking scissors last week - wasn't a bad job. The girls did Andy's hair with male grooming clippers and we also chopped some chunks off the dog:needs must.

I don't really know what else to say other than we are very grateful to be able to stay healthy, keep busy, continue to have jobs and an income while trying to make the most of what we have. We feel we are an incredibly fortunate family.

Stay safe. Jo xxx