Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hedgerow happy

As I walked back from the woods today, I gathered a little along the way.

A poppy from the side of the road.

Grasses from the track to the wood

A daisy from the end of my garden.

Sometimes the good things in life come free.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rocking my boat

I made Rocky Road yesterday. For the first time ever! How did I miss this? Life really doesn't get much better than sitting in the sunshine and eating Rocky Road with your mid-morning coffee.

I used this Nigella Lawson recipe but swapped the Rich Tea biscuits for 125g of Digestive and 75g of chopped brazil nuts. I consider the addition of the brazil nuts make this practically a health food and would urge anyone else to think the same way.

Monday, June 28, 2010


This weekend the sun shone long and warm. We breakfasted outdoors, we lunched under the midday sun and dined alfresco as the heat of the day radiated from the stones beneath our feet.

We read books.

Got dirty feet.

Paddled a little to wash off the dirt.

Sipped flouncy drinks.

Even joined the dogs in the shade, from time to time.

Wonderful, summer days. We also waved goodbye to Dylan who is off on a school trip. Five whole nights. And how my heart aches and my throat feels tight. His room lies still and empty, his voice and smile are missing. I know he will come back that little bit older and that little bit less in need of me. Mothering doesn't get any easier with the passing years.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The heat of the day

Somewhere along the way Spring stepped back and Summer moved gently into place. The days have grown warmer and the light is softer. The acid greens and yellows of Spring replaced by colours already bleaching out gently in the sunlight.

Suffolk's wide skies sit blue above fields of pale golden wheat and barley. The intense yellow of the rape has gone and the roads are lined with long grasses in pale shades of green and gold, the grass seed heads whisper to the gently nodding cow parsley. Scarlet poppies punctuate the golden fields, so much beauty there to see.

There are roses everywhere. Climbing around doorways, framing windows and scrambling through hedgerows. The woods where I walk have changed so much, Spring's damp, green fresh light replaced by stillness. There is a feeling of heat and laziness; it is lovely to leave the dry, dusty paths and venture deeper under the canopy where it is blessedly cool and quiet.

Today I picked elderflower as I walked, destined for cordial. The distinctive scent mixes with the oily zest of oranges and lemons. My kitchen is filled with possibilities, cherries are ripening in the garden and the potatoes are so, so close. It's a very good time of year.

I plan to gather more elderflower soon, but this time for champagne. I am somewhat anxious now that Google has filled my eyes with tales of exploding bottles and syrupy drinks. Any tips gratefully received.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pocket placement

I did find a place for that little bird.

A new smock tunic for Miss Tilly.

I am rather in love with this pink linen and if I was braver I might appliqué the bird directly on to the tunic but I'm not that brave and a girl needs a pocket.

Thank you for all the good wishes regarding my Not On The High Street Shop, I am really hoping it will be a good thing. I have also tidied up my original shop, there are tea cosies available now and I have begun to list some things on Etsy too.

Goodness, all this technology, I may have to go lie down in a dark room for a little while.

Monday, June 14, 2010

That sort of house

Whilst tidying the house this morning I discovered this bag of sweets. Clearly labelled.

It seems we are the sort of house where a person might take another person's sweets without permission. The sort of house were a person needs to label things clearly.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Birds of a feather

I found a bird in the house a few weeks ago, a fledgling really, terrified and stuck in the pantry, down on the floor amongst the preserving pans and recycling boxes. I was possibly more terrified than the bird. In order to rescue it I had to go into the pantry, a very small space, with the bird, the bird then attempted to fly up before I could exit, I shrieked like a banshee, as did the little bird.

Suffice to say that I am a little scared of birds in the house, it has happened to me a surprisingly high number of times and perhaps I am not quite as hysterical as I once was. This time I did in fact manage to rescue the bird, eventually. I managed to clap a box over its little body and set it free outside, I'm not certain whose heart was beating faster.

Decorative birds are another matter.

They seem to all around at the moment and I on leafing through
my Moleskine I realised a recurring theme, cuttings and drawings of bird motifs interspersed amongst the pages of the last few months.

So it was time to put some of my thoughts on fabric.

It's to become a pocket I think. More to see soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A simple sew
I had an unexpected metre of fabric and unusually was struck with immediate vision and decisiveness.

I cut narrow strips up the side to become tie straps, folded, pressed and sewn in minutes. I turned, pressed and sewed along the top of my fabric.

I wound shirring elastic on to my bobbin and sewed seven or eight rows, working from the top down, using my machine foot as a guide.

This bit took more than a few minutes, but not very much longer and of course there was the satisfying pleasure of watching the fabric begin to gather and crinkle. I steamed the elastic and smiled as it crinkled up even more.

I sewed a seam joining the fabric sides together, just minutes. I turned a hem.

I made a dress.

In under an hour! And I tried it on, it would make a pretty good tunic type dress/top for an adult too. Clearly I would not wear it quite so beautifully though.

There are instructions for pretty much the exact same dress, but smaller, in the wonderful Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A bit of light dusting

Hmm, it has grown rather dusty around here. My apologies, a slow and temperamental internet connection was replaced by a non-existent connection and goodness, did I regret cursing the slow when presented with nil.

Thankfully all is as it should be (fingers tightly crossed) and normal service may resume.

Half term week came and went too quickly as always. There were times when Spring made way for Summer with long, warm days, the sort of days that we love to spend doing very little and that is just what we did. Time passed gently as we read books, constructed Lego, planted seeds and re-discovered the joys of Scrabble.

But I have been a little busy behind the scenes as I sit at my sewing machine below those big Suffolk skies.

Busily working, sewing up a storm and listing the fruits of my labour upon Not On The High Street. I am very happy to be a small part of Not On The High Street, I like the way they present such a wide variety of products side by side. By placing individual makers like me, who produce small runs and even one off items, right next to the more familiar, widely produced items they make hand-crafted items much more readily available to shoppers who might not normally consider such items.

I am really hoping that this move will be a good one for me. I have been so long out of the regular labour market and my original work skills have become somewhat obsolete. The last few years have shown me that I am very much at my happiest when my work is home-based and whilst I know that selling my handmade goods is unlikely to bring me great big piles of gold but if it helped ease the bills even just a little then I would feel enormously satisfied.