Sewchet

Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


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Sunday Sevens #167

This week’s Sunday Sevens is the culmination of three weeks again – teaming up with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins.

1. My daughter came around for the day to enjoy the continuing hot weather as our garden is more private than hers….and she gets breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked for her.

2. The paddling pool has never seen as much use……

3……and we have actual olives on our olive trees!

4. Cock has learned how to climb the blackberry bush to get to the ripest berries and even throws them down for The Girls.

5. Then he comes in and finishes up the dog food, if he can get away with it. Tess is NOT happy about that.

6. No.2 Son finished school a week earlier than his brother, so we spent some nice time together, just the two of us.

7. The school does all his washing so I had no idea how small his trousers had got until he tried them on for me. He’s been wearing them like this for months and kept ripping the arse out of them – no wonder! His little brother is wearing the other pair and shows how they used to fit just eight months ago!

8. Growing up fast, he might be, but he’s still not too old to come down dressed up like this and scare the living daylights out of me.

9. We managed to sneak in a nice pub lunch with hubby, where my tan matched the colour of the table.

10. Another day, another venue, this time just drinks at a local café.

The pink dress is getting a lot of wear.

11. Craftwise, it’s been slow, but I did manage to complete the border on The Wedding Blanket and just have to block it now before sending it off.

12. Most of my time has been spent doing horrible things like cleaning behind the fridge and painting.

13. We finally got everything done though, and the house is officially up for sale. Here’s the link if you fancy a nose: –

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-66638677.html

14. No.3 Son is a goalkeeper for the Yeovil’s Junior Premier League and they got to play a mini tournament on the pitch at halftime during a Yeovil Town football match.

15. He was thrilled to bits to have his photograph taken with their goalkeeper afterwards.

16. We had a fun messy day making costumes and painting backdrops for my mother’s 70th birthday party, As it was Art themed, no shower was necessary and No.2 Son went covered in paint.

17. Just in case there is any doubt, that’s me on the far left, dressed up Lichtenstein -style.

18. At about midnight, The Boys collapsed on the straw bales, oblivious to all the music still blaring out around them. Oh, to be able to do that.

19. The Boys made their Gran this crocheted cushion and a knitted scarf, (which I neglected to photograph) on the back of which, No.2 Son gained a commission to make an identical one for an admiring guest.

19. We booked a table for a lovely little pub about twenty minutes away from us, followed the Sat Nav and found that it was an entirely different place to the one we thought we were going to. Such a nice way to discover a new great place to eat!

20. The National Trust said “Yes”! Next step is putting the lease to their legal team for change of use so we can run it as a B+B.

21. Reading through the terms of the I-don’t-know-how-many-pages lease deserved a pint at the end of it.

22. And then I left hubby to deal with the B+B guests while I hopped on a train “oop North”. The first leg of the journey up to Bristol was great and I managed an hour’s uninterrupted sock knitting…..

23. ……a further five hours of standing on two trains without air conditioning, and Ali (akathimberlina) had a very frazzled house guest to collect from the station. #sewdowndewsbury here we come!

Then followed a fab day in the fabric shops with loads of other lovely bloggers…..but that’s a whole different blog post:)


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New Cloakroom – Finished At Last!!

As I have mentioned in my recent Sunday Sevens posts, we are getting the house ready for sale.

I know that doesn’t sound like it’s anything major, but I’m a stickler for detail and have delayed putting it on the market until I’m happy that all the little things have been finished.

Things like painting the inside of the cloakroom door, for example. In theory, no potential buyer would even see the back of the door as they’ll only poke their head in for a quick glance.

As I said, I’m a stickler for detail.

Last year (and indeed, for the previous ten years) this was a Cloakroom-in-waiting, (not so) dressed up as a cupboard/dumping ground, measuring an extremely modest 3ft x 5ft.

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Now, as it’s the room in the house in which you spend just a few minutes a day, I had visions of going crazy with the décor. I seriously considered going this bonkers!

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Thankfully, my sensible head kicked in just in the nick of time, as my finger was hovering over the ‘Add to basket’ button. Not the best choice for a house you’re hoping to sell in the near future.

Searching the ‘net for viable options, I came across this image and thought “Wow!”

The space was almost identical to ours and it had the unexpected ‘in your face’ kind of reaction when you opened the door.

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Decision made, I ordered two rolls of wallpaper in the charcoal and gold colourway (there are five different options). At the regal cost of £146, you’d like to think that the fish are real gold leaf!!

I held up the wallpaper against the Farrow and Ball paint chart and was pleased to find that “Charleston Grey” was a pretty good match, so ordered a 5l tin of water-based eggshell for the woodwork.

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Hubby installed the tongue and groove panelling and it took three coats of paint to get a good coverage – all to be done overnight before the plumbers came back the next day to fit the suite!

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We have a fair division of labour – he does all the construction stuff and I do all the painting and decorating.

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Decorating complete, it was time to gild the old mirror I picked up in a vintage shop.

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Mirror up and then……..that was it for a year.

Last month I finally persuaded Mr H-L that it really was time to box-in the pipework and add skirting boards. I think it was the phrase “So you’ll have somewhere to put your coffee mug” was what clinched it!

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No sooner up than painted.

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Drum roll please, for the big reveal…..

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A closer look at the details: –

The Oriental style Koi Carp wallpaper.

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Mr H-L did a bloomin’ good job of installing floorboards that match the ones in the hallway that he did ten years earlier.

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Downlights are much nicer than a central pendant.

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A towel radiator heats the tiny space in Winter.

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We even managed to find the tiniest of sinks complete with storage for the essentials. The sink measures just 16″ x 9″ and is the perfect solution.

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A single lever tap was the obvious choice for such a diminutive sink.

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A swivel plug is so much sleeker than the old fashioned chain that wrapped around the tap and dangled annoyingly.

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This ceramic light pull is better than the bare cord.

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Chrome loo roll holder and towel hook match the radiator.

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This is the view from the loo….

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….and when they’re bored of looking at that, I even put a few books in to entertain the men. Well, it IS only men that like to sit on the loo until their legs go numb, isn’t it?

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For those (like me) who love them, here’s a good old ‘before and after’ comparison:

Finally, I would just like to say that I have never slavishly followed any design inspiration before, but this was so perfect for the space that I shamelessly copied it almost identically, apart from the floor.

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Inspiration VS Reality

Yes, we could have played safe and done the usual beige thing of white ‘contrasting’ against magnolia……

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…..but why would you when you can have gold Koi Carp on the walls?!

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Who else has been bold with a downstairs loo?

I wanna see some of your photos, so put your link in the comments!


21 Comments

New From Old : Linen Summer Dress

A couple of years ago I made this self-drafted linen dress and wore it quite a lot that year.  This year, however, I’ve always chosen something else ahead of it in the wardrobe so, when I decided to make a short, sleeveless Summer dress in an attempt to stay cool, I thought I’d cut it up and re-use the fabric as I still love the colour.

pink linen dress

I’ve used this New look pattern before when I adapted it to make a white triple-layered dress, also from linen, as in view B on the pattern envelope below.

This time, I chose view D.

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Most of the time was taken up unpicking the old dress, ironing the fabric and cutting out the new pieces, after which the simple shift dress came together quickly.

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I know it was supposed to be a simple shift dress, but it was a little too simple for my liking so I tried out this bit of sequinned trim around the neckline.

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Much better and still no too fancy for a day dress.

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I added a couple of long darts in the back through the waistline to give the dress a bit more of a shape.

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Although I initially hadn’t planned on re-using the pockets, I do like pockets and, as it’s a casual dress, decided to go ahead and stitch them on.

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I used French seams throughout and simply overlocked and turned the hem, armholes and neck edge.

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Bust darts stop it being too boxy, too.

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I had to join two short lengths of trim and there was just enough to do the front neckline only. Spot the join if you can!!

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Hubby’s away on business so I had to resort to mirror selfies again I’m afraid.

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So far this Summer it’s been hovering around 30°C for at least a few weeks which us poor Brits are simply not used to and, as such, the most I’ve worn is a pair of knickers whilst at home.

Luckily for the Postman, I now have a piece of clothing that I can bear to wear:)


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Sunday Sevens #166

Literally, a flying visit to post a few photos for Sunday Sevens.

Apologies to anyone who may have noticed my absence of late, both in lack of posts and  commenting on others – I have every intention of catching up when things die down a little in the real world.

  1. Hardly any rainfall for a few weeks now means the grass looks mostly like this, dry and brown.

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2. We haven’t seen a Summer like this in years!

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3. With everyone taking advantage of the good weather, my ‘first cousin once-removed’ held her 65th birthday party outside in her farmyard.

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4. Cock staying cool in the little bit of shade in our garden.

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5. A nice cooling pint in the beer garden of The White Lion Inn in nearby Bourton.

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6. Mr H-L took a picture of the loo roll holder in the pub’s toilet…..

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7. ….thought his daughter’s fiancé might make us something similar to go with the lamp he made us for Christmas!

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8. No.3 Son sang with his school in Wells Cathedral.

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9. The Husband had to go to Munich on business for a week.

Poor thing.

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10. It’s just been too hot to slave over a hot stove, so I took No.3 Son out for supper one night.

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11. Much too hot for a traditional English pudding, too, so our B+B guests had to make do with homemade chocolate mousse and biscotti.

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12. My Eldest invited us around for supper.

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13. No.3 Son loved having her pet mouse curled up on his shoulder.

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14. His sister swapped shorts with her brother, No.2 Son, who is twelve and they fitted her perfectly. She’s 27.

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15. My Auntie came over from Spain to stay with us and we all went out for a meal at The Stag’s Head in Yarlington.

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16. The next day was No.3 Son’s 11th birthday….but we had a wedding to go to, so he had to stay at his sister’s.

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17. The following day he had a birthday party to go to himself and had the time of his life go-karting.

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18. Meanwhile, I utilised time alone without the Mister to go over the hall, stairs and landing with a fresh lick of paint.

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19. The stairwell is tall and narrow with very little natural light so tends to be quite dark and more than a little boring compared to the rest of the house, as I was lacking inspiration as how best to add interest.

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20. Then I had a lightbulb moment and added a band of colour to match the front door and hung some pictures all the way up.

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21. The mother of the little girl who won the doll put these cute photos on Facebook.

22. I had to show you this photo of one of my students who is showing off the shorts she finished in class this week.

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23. Finally, despite starting The Wedding Blanket back in January or February, I still didn’t finish it in time for the big day last Friday. Luckily, the newlyweds are honeymooning for a week, so I can complete the border and send it to their house for them to open on their return.

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For all those asking about our planned move, negotiations are ongoing with the National Trust and the Listed Buildings officials, but are looking positive, if more than a little long-winded and stressful. It’s still not a ‘No’, so fingers crossed and watch this space!

 


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Sunday Sevens #165

Blimey, this is the first Sunday Sevens post – or any post – that I’ve managed to do in June!

Obviously, there are a few more than seven photos so now’s the opportunity to hop off and make yourself a quick cuppa for the journey, or scroll down and move on to the next blog:)

  1. The Royal Bath & West Show is held every year over the last weekend of May/June and we’re normally in Spain staying with my Auntie as it coincides with the school half term. As No.2 Son is at Senior school now, we don’t feel that we can take him out of school for a few days either side of the holidays like we used to at Primary school, so we were at home. When my sister rang to say that she had a couple of free tickets from a friend that works there, I jumped at the chance to go for the first time in over fifteen years.

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2. Well, suffice to say that we had a lovely day, just the two of us. She also had free tickets for The Boys, but I decided that they’d much rather have a Boy’s Day Out with their Father than trawl around with their Mum and Auntie all day doing girly stuff. Not that I selfishly wanted to spend the day alone with my sister at all.

Anyway, it turns out they went to watch the latest Star Wars film which was perfect ‘cos you couldn’t drag me to the pictures to watch that!!

And we got to see people on stilts wandering around dressed up in flowers.

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3. There were lots of nice things to spend your money on, although I had my business head on and was concentrating on what might be useful for the future B+B.

Stag’s heads are essential for Exmoor, right?

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4. As is an outside sauna, surely…..

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5. ….and a hot tub.

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6. On to the more serious decisions like choosing a Water Softening System…..

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7. ….and selecting the perfect wines to stock.

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8. Good decision not to bring The Boys.

They wouldn’t have had half as much fun as we did running around popping the smoke-filled bubbles.

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9. After a fab day, it was back to reality and more B+B guests, this time from Malaysia.

They don’t look very happy in this photo, but they were the BEST group we’ve had to date – hilariously funny and ridiculously appreciative of the meals I cooked for them on both nights of their stay. They even paid over the odds for four jars of homemade jam that they wanted to take back as gifts AND left a generous tip!

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10. Here’s Tess guarding all their laundry again. Why she loves curling up on it is beyond me; it doesn’t even smell of us, but strangers.

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11. Still in half term, we invited a few friends around for a barbecue-and-pool day, as the weather was turning increasingly Summery.

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12. Lots of time has been spent enjoying the garden.

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13. Relaxing whilst The Pool Cleaner does the best he can with a tennis racquet before the proper skimmer arrives.

Note that the handmade boxer shorts are still going strong.

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14. And then the haymaking in the fields behind started….triggering my hayfever.

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15. Probably not the optimum time to choose for a thirteen mile walk through open countryside with two friends, one of whom hasn’t suffered for years, but look at how her eyes swelled up!

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16. This was the view from our starting point in Castle Cary.

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17. The grass was waist high for much of the walk and, wading through it, you could see the clouds of pollen being discharged into the air. My ribs ached after so much sneezing.

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18. We made it (on the hottest day of the year) to the market place in Somerton by 7pm and headed straight to the nearest pub.

We would have been there earlier but for the fact that those two refused to walk through most of the fields with cows in, of which there were a lot. By the end, we were all so hot and tired that we walked through a field with cows AND a bull in and guess what? Yep, we were ignored. We could have saved two miles!

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19. The day before half term No.2 Son had an Inset day, so we went out for lunch.

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20. The following weekend he had a tummy bug and spent three days flat out on the sofa. Why do kids always look like they’re at Death’s door when they’ve been puking up?

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21. I bottled up lots of Elderflower Cordial, some for the school fair and some for us.

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22. Finally, the doll and wardrobe of clothes was raffled off and made £70 for the school (and yes, they did only sell the patchwork quilt that I made for a fiver!).

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23. The little girl who won it had already gone home, so this is her brother collecting her prize.

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I plan on doing a separate blog post on the doll later on.

24. I went to Bath for the day with my sister, as she had bought us both a session at Thermae Bath Spa for Christmas.

We started off by visiting the Kaffe Fassett exhibition, which was amazing.

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25. We had coffee on the Pultenay Bridge and lunch at Thai Basil.img_5608

26. We went for our spa session in the afternoon.

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27. No photos are allowed in the spa itself, so these are some promotional images I found.

This is the spa at dusk – it’s in a stunning spot tucked up in the skyline with views over the city and the cathedral.

Thermae Bath Spa

28. We went in both the rooftop spa and the inside jacuzzi pool.

Spa day

29. We had cocktails afterwards on the rooftop terrace of a nearby pub.

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30. Typically, the trains back to The Middle Of Nowhere were 6pm or 9.30, so whilst my sister had her pick of trains I stayed late on my own and had a fantastic supper overlooking the weir again.

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31. Father’s Day came with several cards from the kids….

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32. ….and these magnificent lilies.

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33. The hot spell continues and our rhubarb is clearly loving it.

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34. Here’s Tess lapping up the early morning sun while it’s still cool enough to do so.

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Can you just about see the pile of outgrown dressing-up clothes to the right of the picture above?

35. My sewing class did! We had five minutes before class began and the girls each chose an outfit to wear for the duration.

36. With the husband in Munich all week, it was up to me to take No.3 Son to football training. I treated us to a meal at Thai Mango afterwards. This was just the mixed starters!

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37. Craftwise, my efforts have been concentrated on the wedding blanket as the big day fast approaches.

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38. We have also been working like crazy to get the last few jobs around the house finished ready to put the house on the market. The boxing-in of the pipework in the downstairs loo has finally been installed and painted.

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39. We made another trip to Exmoor to have a second look at our favourite properties and had the obligatory cream tea in Allerford Old Post Office.

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40. Unfortunately, No.3 Son had caught the bug off his brother and was beginning to feel unwell at this point, so sat out front on the bench seat while we looked around.

Both Grade II listed Georgian properties, this one has Tudor origins at the rear.

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41. The second one is our favourite and has the bonus of this separate granny flat on the ground floor, spanning the length of this photo. It has its own entrance and private garden – perfect for you and Jessie, Mother, if you’re reading this!

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In an ideal world, the stars will align, the London flat will sell at the same time as our house and we can choose either one and move in by Christmas.

The reality is that it’s a long drawn out process and the National Trust, although now prepared to listen, have not even yet given permission to allow a business to be run from the yellow house.

But at least we’ve started the ball rolling and in the meantime I’ve got more important things to worry about….

42. …..like this streak of grey hair that has appeared since I turned fifty in March!

 

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Sunday Sevens #164

I did actually upload these photos on Sunday, but haven’t had chance to sit down until now!!

  1. There was a blip at the start of the week when the tumble drier broke down – a minor disaster when you have a week full of B+B guests ahead of you. Luckily, Mr H-L used to be an engineer so was able to find and sort the problem.

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2. Another annoyance when you need lots of eggs for guests’ breakfasts is when the hens lay in the field in a patch of metre-high stinging nettles instead of in their nice, easy-to-get-to coop.

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3. The week got better, however, and we were in for a spell of hot, sunny weather.

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4. The Elderflowers are nearly ready to harvest for cordial.

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5. We took No.3 Son out for supper one night as he had an Inset day at school before breaking up for half term.

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6. After another sunny morning, the skies turned black and we had the most amazing thunderstorms for a couple of days.

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7. There are lots of baby rabbits in the field at this time of year and they spend a lot of time in our garden. Can you spot this one?

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8. Our local farm shop was having an open day, so we took The Boys along. This fabulous yarn-bombed car was the first sight to greet us!

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9. I had a nice chat with the equally colourful Tamsyn G who is a Master of yarn art.

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10. Look closely and you will see an antique sewing machine that has been transformed into a light complete with dimmer switch in the form of a cotton reel! If it wasn’t £185 it would have gone home with me there and then. I may have to use some of our B+B takings to go back and buy it…..

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11. We all had some of the hog roast that was on offer. No, it wasn’t the slightest bit cold, but apparently wearing a beanie whatever the weather is cool when you’re twelve.

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12. I had a go at some simple flower arranging in the form of a flower crown.

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13. No.3 Son put my efforts to shame as his was MUCH better than mine!

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14. Together, they made a pretty table decoration for a few days.

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15. Craftwise, this week I made some keyrings for the school fair.

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16. Finished! These socks are now blocked and ready to send to New Zealand just in time for the colder weather.

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See you next week!


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Crocheted and beaded necklace tutorial

In my last post I showed you the necklace that I made to go with the top I had just finished, to add a bit of colour to the neckline.

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It was quick and easy to do, so I decided to make a whole bunch more for the school to sell at their Summer fair – and here they are!

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The lovely folk on Instagram said that a tutorial would be nice, so here goes….

For each necklace you will need one skein of embroidery floss. I bought this packet of 30 for just £3.00 from The Works which, as most of the beads were rescued from broken jewellery, works out at only 10p each – perfect for the school fair, or any fundraising event.

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I chose beads ranging from natural wooden ones to lace covered pearlescent ones.

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For the necklace itself you will need a 2.5mm crochet hook.

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Simply crochet a chain to your desired length then fasten off.

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Tie the threads together in a double knot to complete the circle.

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Weave in the ends through a few chains and trim neatly.

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Using all the remaining floss, wrap it continuously around three fingers, leaving a tail of about 12″.

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Take a 5.50mm crochet hook….

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….and pass the handle through the loops as shown.

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Using the 12″ tail, wind the floss tightly, close to the crochet hook.

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Secure the floss with a knot.

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Cut through the bottom loops to form your tassel.

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Leave the crochet hook in place for now.

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Thread a needle with about 10″ of matching thread.

Take your beads and, starting at the bottom, pass the needle up through all the beads, around the crocheted chain and back down through all the beads.

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Push the beads up tight to the crocheted chain. Both ends of the floss should be hanging down from the bottom bead at this point.

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Pass your needle through the top loops that are still on your crochet hook.

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Tie the ends together securely.

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Hide the ends by passing the needle through the wrapped section and trim to the length of the tassel.

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And that’s it!

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These are some of the other ones I made.

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I think the girls at the school fair will have no problem parting with their pocket money for one of these.

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