Saturday, 15 June 2019

Making Stuff

I am always making stuff. My family makes stuff. It is what we do. Nothing overly exciting but here is a little round up of what we have all been making over the last week or so.

Heidi has made a rather top quality apron from a Sewing Bee apron kit which she had from Father Christmas. It has an adjustable belt, pockets and even a little label. 

Megan made some cream bars from a recipe in Pom Pom magazine. She likes making soap but these had different ingredients.
I tried one after a particularly dusty day at the farm. The shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax made for a pretty waterproof skin coating - I could have swam the channel! But my oh my it made my skin soft by the next day. I could not risk having a shower covered in it because I would have slipped over and broken a hip but relaxing in the bath was lovely. She added lavender or calendula petals to the bars.

I am on my second set of Roman Blinds. In order to make these for the new house I have taken down a pair of curtains at home to recycle the fabric. I love this woven blue check, it was from Laura Ashley 15 years ago but I really want to keep it - it seems timeless. A friend gave me a set of unwanted curtains for my home window as a stop gap so that I could take the blue ones down to recycle the fabric.

After a postage stamp quilt mention the other day a comment below said, "Don't forget to make a date label." I winced because I realised I had not made one for my king size quilt which was finished last year. My stamp quilt is a long way from this stage but I rectified the 2108 one with a little mini cross-stitch.

Nothing fancy, just my name and the date. I was sat next to Heidi who was doing a rather stunning embroidery so it seemed silly not to do it when everything was laid out next to me.

She has learnt stem stitch, back stitch, lazy daisy stitch, chain stitch and star stitch. French knots are on the horizon. I surprised myself that I remembered them enough to show her and that she is really accurate when making them.So lots of making here. A bit of this and that to keep our creative brains ticking over.

Our town has a street music festival this weekend but it is looking a little showery. We will don wellies and coats. Have a good weekend whatever you are up to.
Jo xxx

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Window Plants

I have learnt a new skill. I don't need a new skill. Bloke says my hobby is having hobbies but I wanted to find a solution to not having curtains in a bathroom window.

Our new bathroom has misted glass and is not overlooked, only by sheep so I started to ponder whether making a faux blind that would never be functional was a good use of time and resources. Instead, I scouted around pinterest for some ideas and saw some marvellous macrame designs. What if I hung three trailing plants in the deep window as an alternative to fabric blinds or curtains?

While at Wonderwool in April, I chatted to my French friend Chantal and she said she had a book of designs, there was only one snag - it was in French! She said she would help me follow the instructions. By chance, as we walked around the yarn festival, I got completely over excited when I saw some Macrame kits complete with instructions, rope and metal ring. What's more, they were £6.20 per kit. I bought three. 

They are from Airdale yarns. I am pleased to report they were very easy to make and easy to adjust in size. I needed three that hung at different lengths to fit within the window recess. These hangers have given me the starting point for how I will decorate the bathroom. 


I just need to give some spider plants some TLC now to make them sing. Ever done Macrame? I think as a child of the 1970's, it is surprising that I have not filled my life with these before.

Jo xxxx

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Making - Another baby blanket.

Getting - A few more scraps to use for my postage stamp patchwork. Thanks Christina, some wonderful new colours. Pop over and see her post and quilt inspiration.

Baking - An apple tart which my little girl made.

Eating - A wonderful vegetarian risotto.

Building - Well, demolishing again mostly. We have taken a farm shed down which has made the house so much lighter inside.

Waxing - Worktops, doors, door frames, 88 metres
of skirting board...waxing, waxing, waxing.

Disliking - Making the children go to the house build at weekends but needs must while there are light nights and warm days. Heidi chose an afternoon nap in the sun this weekend.

Loving - The light nights.

Avoiding - Summer dresses because it is still too cold but I have a bulging wardrobe of unworn clothes.

Finding - Beano the puppy asleep in my knitting basket.

Thinking - How sad I am that one of my favourite blogs Cozy things has retired. I loved her words, her style, her knitting, her humor and her craziness to knit amazing and wonderful things through all the odds. I don't want to join instagram, I really don't, but I just want to see her sweaters...

Enjoying - Reading Yarn harlot as an antidote to missing Kristen at Cozy Things. 

Growing - Roses in the garden. There are so many all out at once.

Fixing - Nothing but so much needs fixing. Wobbly doors, peeling windows, a boiler, our shower, the washing line, the front door lintel. It is so hard to build one house and find that the one you are living in is falling apart!

 Deciding - To take a new job back in the Primary school classroom and get rid of one that has run its course. 

Looking - For wallpaper. I have never done that before, it feels like a big commitment somehow.

Feeling - Like things are moving in the right direction.

Jo xxxx

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Mamma Mia

Today I am sharing a few photos of our trip to Italy. It rained a lot during the week but we were happy to all be together eating, drinking, playing cards, knitting, crocheting and visiting places.


Looking - at views of Capri island...just about.

Dipping - our feet in the sea at Sorrento.

Learning - about Roman life at Pompeii

Eating - Ice cream in the sunshine.

Drinking - Limoncello

Wearing - my new blouse and lots of other clothes to keep warm on a train in the mountains.

Crocheting - a summer top on a 2mm needle.

Knitting - Merino cable socks. The pattern is tucked under my hem to stop it blowing away. At one point, I also put the completed one on to keep a foot warm!

Happy Holidays but Mamma Mia the weather was rubbish. I will do my usual ing post for June but I just got lazy today and used the verb format to post a quick holiday one for my family and friends.

Thanks for checking in. Jo xxxx

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Itch to Stitch

Two days before we went away on holiday, I had a suitcase to pack, a wet suit for an 11 year old to find, an interview to prepare for whilst a puppy chewed the wires on the back of the computer and I just couldn't stop thinking about cutting this fabric! What was the matter with me? I even tried to distract my nervous energy by changing my blog layout...

Big Sis and I went on a mercy Sunday morning run to find a wet suit that she could take on holiday. We had exhausted all friends and previous hand me downs. We were hanging around outside the sports shop waiting for it to open so we had a mooch in Laura Ashley. Heidi had never been in there before and she loved it. I saw a box of fabric remnants marked at £10. I picked up a piece of pink embroidered fabric and then put it down. As we left the shop, I saw the same fabric on a roll for £48 per metre. I went back to the box, laid the fabric out on a sofa and folded it into the centre to imagine my easiest skirt pattern pieces(NEWLOOK 6217) all laid out on it. 

We bought said wet suit(and fabric)then went home where I prepared to teach a lesson to 29 Year 1 children whom I had never met before. I stayed focused but by Monday morning I just had to cut the fabric.

The embroidery was too scratchy to wear against my skin. Some thrifted duchess satin lining was sourced from my fabric stash and I made a new skirt. I really had the itch to stitch. I didn't even want to take it on holiday or wear it to the interview, I just wanted to make it. Crazy I know, but it was such an enjoyable way to switch off from the current madness that was my life before we went away that I couldn't help myself. 


It is very summery and super slinky on the inside. I had to add a waistband to accommodate the lining then I made a lapped zip which I haven't done in ages but it looked slick to make a good finish.

When I got back from Italy I put on the skirt and realised I had nothing to wear with it other than a white blouse but I knew I had a small piece of oatmeal marl jersey on the bottom of the fabric pile which I bought for £2 as a remnant years ago. Out came the same NEWLOOK pattern and off I went again to make the T-shirt.

I do have a linen jacket which looks good with it too while it is still chilly.

Anyway, I am having a job switch around. I am going to go back to teaching children on a Friday, Family Learning course leader on Thursdays and sewing for my friend's business on a Wednesday. That leaves me with two days to play around with for house building, sheep and housework. I like to call those days voluntary work!

We had a good time in Italy even though we got soaked with rain some days. It was just good to rest and not juggle so many things in my mind for a week. Back to it...

Thanks for dropping in. Jo xx

Monday, 20 May 2019

A Little Later Than Usual

My annual clothes swap over feels a little later than usual. Maybe I have been too busy or the weather has not quite held up for long enough: who knows. Anyway, I always get a thrill out of sorting my summer clothes which are stored under the spare bed. All those garments which have not been seen for about eight months, suddenly, it feels like I have been on a huge shopping spree. 

Out go the cords, wool, velvet, heavy cotton drill and polo neck layering tops. I always hand wash and defuzz my favourite Aftur jumper too. All of my tights have gone in the under bed drawers along with my long boots. 

Much more colour enters the wardrobe. I have a sizable collection of white blouses which I pick up in charity shops then, when they go grey, I start looking for another one. A few new makes over the last six months have also made the grade.

This new denim shirt dress is a keeper. It is made in chambray denim from NEWLOOK 6449 pattern. I love the red top stitching.

I have made another Stevie dress by Tilly and the Buttons in double gauze. A new colour for me but I tend to make a lot of green and blue stuff so I hopped out of my comfort zone and added some piping.

Finally, one that might get a few outings but not sure if it is the right style for me. It shows my high waist/short body so I feel a little old in it. My nan's waistband was always just under her bust! The neckline is also a bit wide for work. But the fabric is pretty and if it is warm and I want something cool then I may reach for it. It is the Evelyn dress in a floral ditsy cotton. I much prefer a shift style dress.

Time to pack my suitcase because we are off to Italy this week, catch up with you all soon. Jo xxxxx

Friday, 17 May 2019

A Cherry Good Idea

The patchwork blocks that came up a bit small for my quilt have been re-purposed. Christina from A Colourful Life suggested I made a hot cushion using cherry stones. I ordered some straight away.

I simply added some fusible fleece to the back of the patchwork and quilted it. After completion, I wish I had used more cherry stones because it was a bit saggy but I have plenty left for another one. 

The cushion pad goes into the microwave to heat the cherry stones for about 3 mins then I pop it on my feet in the evening when I am knitting. How rock and roll am I?! They give off a lovely smell, much better than the wheat smell you usually get with heat pads.

Short and sweet today. Have a good weekend. Jo xxx

Sunday, 12 May 2019

No News is Good News

I don't actually have any news but in the spirit of living in the moment, I opened my eyes to what is all around me and May is definitely my favourite month of the year. The intense green colour is spectacular.

 One of the best things to see at our smallholding is the Hawthorn blossom. The change of the seasons is always marked for me by this explosion of froth. Annually, I photograph it as if it will be the last time I will ever see it but of course every year the flowers  come and I really look forward to seeing the spectacle. 

The girls strung some together and brought it up to the house where I hung it over the door of our new house.

This tree is not new news, it is the same as it always is every year. This week is the first year of my dad's passing and the rhythms of nature on his farm are a comfort to my memories. He loved this tree.

The girls are still enjoying the pond although it is a little neglected. We did some pond dipping after I had painted the new bathroom and filled endless wheelbarrows of gravel for a drainage ditch. It was good to take some time out and remember what we have on our little patch of planet earth.

The tadpoles have all gone (buffet for birds I expect) but I caught a sizable newt for the girls to see.

The sheep are still grazing on this luscious grass that May always brings. This is the feisty one of the flock. Soon I will have to catch her, and the others, for shearing.

The new house build continues. This is a different view and I hope soon to show you the whole elevation when we take the old grain shed down. But no real news, just working hard and trying to enjoy the process.

This is the house from the rear as I walked back up the field from the pond. The caravan has to be broken down for scrap because it is falling apart from the bottom but I can't face such a task at the moment, maybe in September.

So all in all no news is good news. Today, with no make up and a fringe that needs cutting, I feel more than good enough. 

Jo xxx