Sunday, 29 June 2014

Out and About in Norfolk

Just returned from a weeks break in Norfolk................

 our holiday the end of a daisy strewn grass track next to a large potato field.......the sunsets were spectacular, the weather warm and sunny except for one wet day

out and about in the Norfolk different seeing it from the road and by foot.

We have only been here before when on boating holidays. We re-visited favourite haunts seeing them from a different perspective.....South Walsham Broad, Malthouse Broad, Ranworth church and the pub........Coltishall, Horning, Wroxham........we've had some lovely holidays on the Broads, the first when Bella was only 3 months old.

Both the north and east coasts were close, and we visited Sheringham, Cromer (fish and chips one evening overlooking the sea - how very British!), Cley next the sea (sweet little village with a wonderful little shop (with parking!) here selling wholesome, healthy foods, olives, nuts, fruit and veg, specialist breads, a deli and lots of lovely fresh stuff for a great picnic and holiday food. Also a great fish shop with dressed crab, smoked fish etc ), many good places to visit.

We visited lots of National Trust properties for the estate walks........with the dog it was one of the best things to do. A typical day this holiday started with reading in the sunshine in the garden, with the dog and a cup of tea, a leisurely breakfast, then a wander around a small market town or village checking out a few antique and charity shops for the odd bargain and finding a picnic lunch.

Then a drive to a National Trust property for long walks around the estate, through woods and fields, and around lakes, stopping off for our picnic. Some days a pub lunch or drink. Later, a drive to either the north or east coast, a stroll around a seaside village or walk along the beach, and (usually!) an ice cream before heading back home.

Simple pleasures.

Felbrigg Hall - we visited here twice, once without Bella who was spending the day in Norwich with an old school friend.  Lovely walks here, to the Church and around the lake and estate, through fields of sheep and cows (and a bull!) and also beautiful cool woodland walks. There is a stunning walled garden too. 

flowers in the walled garden at Felbrigg Hall

Sheringham Hall

Sheringham Hall and Park - the house is private but there are extensive walks of different lengths throughout the parkland and estate, and even through to the coast and back. There are look out towers, a sensory garden with insect hotel ( I thought of you Jane! ) and wonderful views to the sea.

Blickling Hall - we had a long walk around the huge lake followed by lunch at the pub next to the Hall. Perfect!

It's good to be home too though. We had one wet day in the middle of the week when I was itching to do some sewing or crocheting as we waited for the torrential downpours to stop! 

Do you take sewing/crocheting/knitting away with you on holiday? I have a few times and it never gets touched, as we are usually too busy out and about, but this time I wish I had.

I try to leave it all behind to have a real break and come back refreshed, and first day back I was in the sewing room by 8am and made this Amish inspired cushion from a patchwork piece I sewed last year (or the year before?).

I hand quilted it and added some tiny buttons, then made the back from a recycled indian cotton skirt. So that's another cushion front from my pile of WIPs now finished and waiting to go in my shop.

Thankyou for your comments on my last post, and welcome to my new followers.

A huge "thankyou" too, to those kind folks who added a "like" to my facebook page - in just over a week I went from under 400 to over 500 likes, which all helps in getting traffic to my Etsy shop as well as coming across new people, new businesses and new websites.

Hope everyone has had a good week and are enjoying their weekend - football and Wimbledon, just as well with the unpredictable weather at the moment!

Have a great weekend wherever you are!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Same old, same old........

Oh dear, I'm sorry peeps but it's mostly more of the "same as usual" here!
More cushions, more roses........

Although Friday night was certainly not "same old" the last minute I took part in an 8 mile Moonlight Charity Walk with a good friend to help raise money for our local Hospice, the Hospice in the Weald.

Called the Moonlight Catwalk, roughly 300 to 400 people walked the streets of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, from 10 til gone 1am to help raise funds. 

Atmospheric African drums sounded out as we approached the venue in the fading light, followed by lively zumba to get us all warmed up just before the start. Food stops along the way kept us going, along with friendly and supportive marshals, and the promise of cakes and hot chocolate awaiting us at the end. 

Wearing pink fluorescent cats ears and pink or purple logo t-shirts, we walked up steep hills in the night air (and anyone who knows T. Wells will know there lots of steep hills!) cheered on by residents, people sitting at outdoor restaurant tables and pub drinkers, whose peaceful night streets we shattered with loud chattering like monkeys (yes, it was mainly women.....) singing and chanting (and teenage girls....!) as we swarmed like locusts in our distinctive bright t-shirts.

The down hill stretches were heaven after the hills, and we enjoyed a different perspective of The Pantiles and Tunbridge Wells Common, the shops and pubs and busy restaurants, and the quiet, pretty backwaters of sleeping town houses with brick cobbled paths.

Julie and I walked all 8 miles in 2 1/2 hours. Both in our early 50's, with various slightly dodgy body parts between us, we proudly completed the course and raised our sponsor money to help the Hospice.

Next challenge a half marathon! Well, maybe.

Falling into bed at 1.30, tired but with a sense of achievement, I slept like a log then rose early, luckily without any aches or pains, to make a Banoffee Pie to take to the next event of the weekend, my Brother-in-laws 40th Birthday Party........and the rest of the busy weekend went by in a flash!

So in the garden today I saw some more roses.......this lovely scarlet climbing rose in the back garden

beautifully scented pink summer jasmine - this smells divine on a warm, sultry summers evening like a few we had last week

bright pink Lychnis Coronaria loves my garden and self-seeds freely

and a lovely surprise......................I was very surprised to find this pale lilacy blue rose flowering under the arch today! Goodness knows where its come from, it must have been planted by the previous owners, but its the first time its flowered and this is our 4th summer here. 

It has a lovely fragrance and is such a beauty, but I have no idea what it is.

After cutting half the grass this afternoon it started to drizzle, and so I had no alternative but to go inside and make a new cushion!

Seriously, no choice at all but to take this lovely vintage floral linen, some of that gorgeous denim blue linen, some vintage trim and cherry red ric rac and make a cushion!

And I do rather like this one very much!

It is already listed in my Etsy shop here
but I may have to make another for keeps as I love this pretty fabric (enough left for two or three more cushions I think) and the soft but thick, slubby denim linen is so huggable! (huggable? hugable? I think I just made that up but the soft washed linen makes it like that!)

Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Oh, just before you go, just to let you know I have finally joined the world of tweeters...twitterers...or whatever the word is, over on Twitter - please come and follow me as I'm feeling rather lonesome at the moment with only 1 follower as at last night! You can find me here

I'm also on Facebook here so if you haven't already popped over and found me please do! Here I tend to upload photos of my latest makes first before they get a mention in a blog post, if at all. I have almost reached 400 "likes", so your visit and a new "like" would be great! Then I can find you on FB too!

Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last post, and a huge WELCOME! to my new followers!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Roses, Gingham and Vintage Damask


Freshly cut this evening with the rain droplets still on the petals.

Just one stem of this lovely pale creamy white climbing rose, delicately scented, so as to see the rest of the blooms flowering above and peeping through the large dark green laurel at the bottom of the garden.

This time of year my garden has pockets of beauty and colour, but doesn't look as good over all as it does in late Spring with all the bright azaleas and rhodedendrons flowering profusely - I need to work on putting more in for this time of year, plugging the gaps, buying flowers and plants in flower so I can see what looks good where. Each year I add a few more.

Last year I added a couple of new roses to the front garden from a local nursery.

One was "Blue for You", a beautiful lilacy blue floribunda rose.

Here it is a week or so later, some blooms past their best but still beautiful.....more faded....the light must have been different too as it looks much more lilacy here.

The other was this gorgeous David Austin rose "Noble Anthony". Its only just started to flower so not many photos yet, but it is rather gorgeous.

More photos of what's flowering in the front garden, taken over the last couple of weeks......

I always love these Rose "Ballerina" - I had them in my last garden and was so pleased to find them here too. Above, a couple of weeks a go - below, a day or too ago, so now in full bloom.

The deep crimson peonies are over now, and they have been glorious this year, but once the rain and wind comes they suddenly drop all their petals


A couple of years ago I planted two Cistus. I can't remember which variety, but I have always had these in my gardens as I just love the bright pink papery flowers, that only last a day or so, against the soft greyish green foliage.

Campanula Glomerata - another usually reliable favourite of mine, although the one's in the back garden have not appeared this year - maybe overzealous weeding at some point? 

Will have to move some back round from the front garden.


Regular visitors to my blog will know that I have been dabbling with a type of embroidery on gingham called Chicken Scratch  (see this post and my last post here ).............

..............which is a form of embroidery on gingham practised by women in America earlier in the 20th century.

At the flea market last week I came across some examples of the English version of embroidery on gingham in the earlier half of the 20th century.

Much simpler but still decorative in a different way.

Both these are worked in quite large stitches on large squared gingham,( 1/2" squares).

I like this hemming stitch below - might have a go at this. But it seems, from these examples, that the English version uses ordinary embroidery stitches whereas the American version seems to have its own named stitches for embroidering on gingham.

But I have only briefly looked into this, using only two or three sources, and when I have time I will look into it more.

Both of these pieces are small square tablecloths for tea, and are rather sweet.

Apart from the odd gingham apron, these are the first examples I have found since I have been buying vintage fabrics. I shall keep a look out now for more examples.

Vintage Damask

On the cushion front, I have finished off two more works-in-progress.

The cushion above I started a year or so ago, after finding this lovely vintage print. I teamed it with a lovely delicate and timeworn beautiful damask, and then came to a halt as I got caught up in the next thing I had an urge to make.

But the fabric is so pretty, and I have wanted to finish it so today I did. I lined the front then added a back of more vintage white damask, and trimmed it with a beautiful wide edge of fine vintage crochet.

It has an Oxford edge with two rows of stitching for added detail (not that you can see it in the photos!)

Also a few days ago I finished off this vintage sheet cushion by adding an Oxford edge, again with the double row of stitches in a contrast pink on the natural linen. Again you can't see this in the photos, but I like to add small details and finishing touches like this that show when you see it in person.

Both of these cushions are now available here in my shop.

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my last post. As you can probably tell, I'm on a bit of a roll with the cushion making at the moment so I'm sorry you've had to see even more today, and no doubt there'll be more to come! 

I'm pleased to say (well truthfully I'm a little sad to see it go! ) that the recycled work shirts patchwork and quilted cushion shown in my last post is now winging its way across the ocean to its new home in the United States.

Lastly, just before I go and whilst we're on the subject of patchwork, Bella and I have been playing around with patchwork of a different kind today - let me show you a quick peek.

 We used old Boden and Next catalogues to cut up pictures of fabrics to decoupage a useful shoe box, so no costly special decoupage papers, just some thrifty recycling!

Hope you all have a great week wherever you are!