Sunday, 29 November 2020

Still keeping it outdoors

As a family we try to spend as much time as we can outdoors. Fresh air blows away a multitude of niggly arguments between sisters or frustrations of busy parents. Today for example, we had a rare non-windy day up here on the ridge so we set off across the field for some outdoor time.

We headed for our much neglected cabin. When we were building our house, we used it to sleep in at weekends but we haven't been in it  since early May. There has just been too much to do to move in.

It was full of spiders and needed a good airing so we lit the log burner inside to lift the dampness then went out for a run about while it got going.

It was a fresh, still day with just the oak leaves clinging on. Now is the time of year to spy all of the gaps in the fence and hedge boundaries that need repairing.

The girls lit an outdoor fire too so that they could toast marshmallows. It is one of their favourite things to do.

With high levels of sugary energy, they had an hour playing on the swing and the zip wire. This shot really does give you a sense of scale of the beautiful mature trees.

The sun started to go down and it got a bit nippier then I was ready for a roast pork dinner.

Happy Sunday everyone! 

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Emma, Dianne and Michelle

 A seasonal make for you today, a warm lined pinafore with a more formal edge than the usual bib and braces pinafore style.

The pattern is called Emma from a Simply sewing magazine and it has a lovely fit straight from the packet. Dianne from Sew,Create and  Recycle did a swap with me towards the end of lockdown. I sent her some bag-making fabric then she sent me some patterns she didn't want. She definitely lives up to her blog name.

The top has an empire line with gathers under the bust. This was a thick brocade fabric so extra special attention had to be paid to the gathers. If the truth be told, I did the lower waistband seam twice because the first time I only used one row of gathering stitches and it was all bumpy and not spread evenly across the centre of the skirt. I used two rows of gathers to get it right which I knew I should have done in the first place! 

The fabric is a woven brocade given to me by my friend Michelle in my 'lockdown' fabric bag which she donated on my back doorstep as a surprise. Due to the thickness of the fabric, I made one side of the pocket out of lining to reduce bulk at the hips.

Thank you to all involved in my free pinafore: Dianne, Michelle and of course Emma. I would definitely make it again. I would love a red  or patterned cord one.

Thanks for dropping by. I appear not to be disguising the fact that it is cold by the strained looks on my face! 
What are you making this Autumn/Winter?

Jo xxx

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Bit More Home

 A last tour round our house while it still looks nice a new. Our house is so well insulated that we couldn't even sleep in our bed with my quilt called 'Lucky' on until late October. The underfloor heating has only just come on! 

I really wanted a shelf above the bed for my plants because I knew having them in the window cill would be too harsh as the morning sun is on this room. Andy was not sure. He was worried about man things like strength and position and size. I egged him on to use a piece of wood from the shed which I planed and waxed. It looks great and Andy is pleased with it too now. I am just waiting for the spider plants to trail down. The shelf brackets are a little nod towards where we came from near the Ironbridge.

We mostly bought all of our furniture from the old house except for a few new purchases. Wardrobes were top of the list. The previous 20 year old IKEA ones had been taken down and rebuilt three times and we didn't think they would manage another house move and rebuild so we treated ourselves to a matching pair from an antique shop. Sounds pricey but in fact they were cheaper than big chain store wardrobes.

Littlest one is super pleased with her bedroom which she chose herself. Excitingly, they have never done this before because their old room had one decor which had lasted them both 10 years.

I made her some pillows for her day bed which was easy to do.

Just off the side of her room is a little desk area which looks out onto the landing. An ideal place to do your homework but shout if you get stuck.

Grown ups homework/admin is done here in our downstairs office where I am now. I made a collection of all of our maps and older furniture which sit nicely together in one room. I am on the look out for a nice chair when shopping for fun resumes.

Finally our big girl has her own room too. She chose an Orla Keily duvet cover in the sale, very grown up!

Indoors is what I would call finished. Time to start living in our home and start building a garden. Until next time...
Jo xxxx

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

 Admiring - Autumnal garden and hedgerow colour in my newly sewn leggings and roll neck top. This is my new neighbours garden, not mine!

Baking - Chocolate brownies with the girls in half term as we continue to emulate the Great British Bake Off on TV.

Eating - free partridge. We ate them as coated goujons in a baguette with salad. Everyone liked it surprisingly.

Preparing - a couple of Christmas cakes. A mini one for me and a large one for a Christmas gift during a wet half term.

Loving - how Meg has been inspired by Joy of Painting by Bob Ross on BBC four. She has tried out lots of oil painting techniques. This is her first attempt on old cardboard. The birch tree is just amazing isn't it?

Carving - our little cat pumpkin then making a mixed veg soup because we don't like waste or pumpkin really but you couldn't taste it in the soup!

Patching - this months jeans repair which is a half square triangle patch. I also tried to strengthen a part of the thigh which is thin but not ripped by adding denim to the back with sashiko stitching. Still going with these.

 Sewing - a shirt using wonderful Art Gallery 100% cotton for a fabric review for These are the out takes with wellies!

Starting - a cosy knit called the Carbeth Cardigan in Drops Lima with the yarn held double. So warm and using two stands really helps my tension.

Feeling - Blessed to live in a rural location during recent restrictions.

Thinking - Will I ever stop taking pictures of kitchen sunsets?

Thanks for by. Jo x

Just to let you know my friends at Minerva have a new website which you can check out at

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

A Little Memento

This project is a bit out there but it has a narrative I would like to share. I believe that of any place in a house, the one where you can be a bit crackers with the decor, is the downstairs toilet. 

Inspired by my friend's use of old sheet music pasted to her dining room walls, I decided I would like to do something similar at the farm.

This copy of the Times Atlas was my Great Grand Fathers. There is not a date in it but it would be from the late 1800's. Unfortunately it has seen better days and is beyond repair, somewhere along its loft life it has been gnawed at by mice. 

I decided to remove my favourite plates, from different continents, and use them as a wall covering in the downstairs toilet. Obviously any men visiting the toilet will get the most out of this project! 

One sheet in particular drew my attention because there was a little pencil circle around Bombay, now Mumbai. My dad worked there throughout the 1980's and this is where he must have shown his father where he had been on business. Remember, this was before the internet so the only way my dad could show his father was to get out 'his' fathers atlas and point it out for him. I love that they used the family atlas to share information.

Anyway, I chose some other pages, drew the wall dimensions on the floor and made a mock up collage. When the sizes were right, I pasted them to the wall with wallpaper paste. 

The grey quarry tiles on the floor were in the field which my dad or grandad must have collected. Another week later, I found two boxes of white tiles in the shed and hey presto! free tiles for the toilet. It felt very luxurious to buy the full toilet unit but it fits exactly on the end wall and means the door can open freely. 

It turned out just how we wanted it to. Jo xxx

Memento ~ an object kept as a reminder of a person or event.