Days like this

The lovely Kiwi and I don’t really ‘do’ Valentine’s day. Partly because, it’s expensive, partly because most of the Valentine’s things in the shops are pretty naff, and partly because any union that’s 50% Kiwi and 50% Brummie is never going to be cloaked in sepia-tinted Casablanca-style romance. That being said there has been a small effort at spreading a little Valentine spirit. Brightly coloured felt hearts, chain-pieced and strung around the living room. Just to spread a little love, and remind me that one day I really must use those heart-shaped cookie cutters for some edible purpose.

Otherwise it’s been one of those weeks with lots going on, and yet very little to show for it, I have a few little projects in process; I’m attempting to knit for the first time in twenty-five years, and hopefully this cushion cover will come together this week.

I’ll leave you with Valentine’s Day best wishes and a link to the lovely Kiwi and my ‘song’; when no one steps on my dreams, there’ll be days like this, when people understand what I mean, there’ll be days like this… No one says it better than Van Morrison.

Thanks for reading – and listening!



Here comes the sun

Ooh what is that there, up in the sky? It’s bright, it gives off heat…could it be *gasps* the sun?!!

It’s been such a long time coming hasn’t it? This winter feels like it’s just gone on and on and on, maybe it’s because the snow came so early in the season last year, or maybe I say this every February when I’m just longing for Spring, but really the feeling of warmth on your face from the sun in late winter is like being kissed by angels. Or something, possibly that’s a vitamin D surge talking.

Today was the first really lovely day in weeks. To celebrate, Miss Marmoset and I set off on a troop around our local Forestry Commission site: Bedgebury Pinetum. If you’re in E Sussex/Kent and haven’t visited Bedgebury I can’t recommend it enough. It was almost empty today and so unusual to be in South-East England and not hear a soul or a car or a train etc etc. If you’re wondering why I picked a nice sunny day to attempt black and white photography it’s simple, the digital SLR that takes the best pics was not put on to charge when I made the mental note that it needed it. Thus I took the monkey’s little point and shoot, which is very handy, to say nothing of indestructable, but does take an odd ‘milky’ picture as you can see from the colour shots. I haven’t tried to compose photos in ages, it was something I loved to do before the small people appeared. Maybe I shall have to start again.

Bedgebury also provided a change of scene for a few snaps of a small project from this last week. One of my Christmas pressies was a Dresden Plate ruler, I’ve been really keen to have a play and see if I could produce a scrappy Dresden Plate. I have done, but what started as out as ‘pleasingly scrappy’ went all ‘woah Nelly’ at some slightly indefinable point. It’s all a bit much for a cushion cover I think, instead it’s been turned into a quilt for Miss Marmoset’s doll, Tallulah, who really, is in no position to argue. It’s almost big enough to be a stroller quilt for MM, and before you comment, that’s one of her more angelic expressions. I’m not discouraged though, next time I’ll try to keep it more subdued, the Dresden Plate, not the daughter.

Thanks for reading,


Out with the old and…in with the old

Part of the plan for this year, was to get more out of the things I already own, a combination of the get a bit greener ethos, the stash diet and frustration, ‘gawd what is all this crap in here’?

With that in mind I’ve been eyeing up this old sewing stool for a while. Possibly I should’ve put it into the Heirlooms post below, but I was a bit shy of doing that at the time. As you can see from the ‘before’ pic it was in a very gloomy, fragile state. I inherited the stool from my grand-mother, who inherited it from her mother. I thought it dated from about 1910, but apparently that green chenille top is most commonly used around the Victorian period, so I’m estimating about 1895-1905 instead. I had no idea what to do with it. For emotional reasons I couldn’t dispose of it, but I was worried that it would never be used and just sit, cluttering up this already very cluttered house.

Step forward my friend Caroline, (whose website is in development as we speak, I will link as soon as I can), who has taken the time between wiping faces and bottoms as a stay-at-home-Mum to re-train as an upholsterer. Caroline repadded and covered the top, really helping to firm it all up so the whole stool is now fit for purpose again. The interior still needs a bit of tlc, mainly due to my Nanny lining it with fablon sometime in the 60s, I think it’s rather eaten away at the inside, but from the exterior it looks lovely and I have moved all my sewing notions in.

The red, stripy fabric comes, of course, from the stash, it’s a cotton/linen mix from the Rouenneries collection by French General. For anyone wanting to restore the stool back to its original state in the future,(assuming it survives the monkeys thinking it’s new gym equipment), there is a sample of the original chenille and trim in the cushion padding. I love my sewing stool now, it feels great to have it take part in crafty/stitchy family endeavours and not to be an awkward and slightly resentful curator of family history.

Have a fab weekend everyone, thanks for reading.


Fresh new talent

January has carried its dreary hide away and in its place we have February, which really isn’t looking any different thus far. So to brighten everyone’s mood I thought I’d introduce you to a bright, dynamic new talent in the world of photography; Miss Marmoset. Only three years old but already showing a Rankinesqe touch for quirky portraiture, note Barbary Boy and Toes 2011.
Not to mention an extraordinary gift for capturing the very essence of the indoor Safari experience. I’ll enter these for the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year competition. Just as soon as they open a ‘Schleich’ category.