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The Hoodie That (Almost) Changed My Mind

It’s finished!

For those of you that would like to see how the dreaded Hoodie turned out, here’s a link to the full blog post: – The Hoodie That (Almost) Changed My Mind



Sunday Sevens #98

We’re down to one car at the moment – the Mercedes is in the garage and may be on it’s way to the scrapyard in the sky as it may not be economical to fix.  Mr H-L has been using my car for work as I don’t need it in the holidays, but this means we don’t get out at all as there is very limited public transport.

What I’m trying to say, is that there are no pub photos in this week’s Sunday Sevens, and no Exmoor landscapes – just us at home, doing stuff.

  1. Progress is slow but steady on the baby shawl I’m knitting. At this point I was one third of the way through and the statistics were; 35 hours, 560 rows and 40,324 stitches.

2. I held two full day workshops this week. Just look at the concentration on her face!

3. The students love choosing their own combination of fabrics to make their creations unique. It started with piles of neatly folded fabric but, within seconds of excited rummaging, descended into this chaotic heap!

4. I found time to design and make a school bag for No.2 Son. He declared that he was too old to use the standard school “babyish” book bags so chose the fabrics for a more grown up version.

I’ll write up a quick ‘how to’ when I get time.

5. Talking of school, we made a rare trip to town to buy new school shoes and The Boys spent the whole time going up and down the escalators. They’re not used to such exciting entertainment in the country!

6. WHY are school shoes so expensive? £100 for two pairs of shoes and a pair of daps – criminal.

7. While we were in Yeovil, we popped into the outdoor pursuits shop and managed to snap up another gas burner, gas cannisters and a new lamp, all at half price, ready for camping next week.

8. I treated myself to six tin plates, all copies of original royal china. Who said you can’t dine in style just because you’re camping?

9. Being at home all week meant more baking than usual was done. The Boys wore their self-made butcher’s aprons and had great fun making chocolate cornflake crunchies.

10. Licking the spoons is always the best bit, isn’t it?

11. Finally – HOW can sleeping like this be comfortable?!

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing glimpses of your life outside of the blog. To find out how you can join in, too, visit Nat at Threads & Bobbins.


Sunday Sevens #97

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series to give a glimpse of life outside the blog. To find out more, visit Nat at Threads & Bobbins.

1. Spotted this lovely filet crochet window dressing in a village local to us. I nearly got killed standing in the middle of the road determined to get close enough for a decent photo.

2. Remember this cushion that a student made with me?

3. She won ‘Best In Section’ at her village fete!

4. Love this photo of The Boys with their cousins at Stourton, Wiltshire.

5. A friend asked if I could lend her some vintage China – I didn’t realise I had so much and this isn’t all of it!

6. Another painting project – this is going to be transformed into a sink unit for our en suite.

7. We met up with some friends who were camping on Exmoor. It was 12 degrees at 1pm on 11th August so those crocheted blankets came in handy as we huddled around the fire!

8. The kids still went swimming in the freezing river though!

9. Glorious Exmoor. We will run a b+b there one day.

10. Our camping trip is coming up and my old hoodie has had it, so a new one is under construction. I loathe hoodies for their lack of any aesthetically appealing features, but they are a necessary evil if you want to stay warm when camping.

See what you think – I’ll blog about it later in the week.

11. I made a top for a little girls American Girl doll with the scraps, which led to a whole wardrobe of clothes being created. More photos to follow.

12. Gave hubby a much needed haircut.

That’s it for this week!


Sunday Sevens #96

Having been SO busy these last few weeks, I couldn’t possibly fit in everything we’ve done, so here’s a heavily edited version of events, albeit in rather more than seven photos again.

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for Sunday Sevens – a weekly blog series showing what you do outside the blog. Click on the link to find out more.

1. I went to my first ever Baby Shower, an event that has reached the UK from foreign climes apparently, and is gaining popularity with youngsters rapidly. My crocheted pram blanket was well received by the mother-to-be.

2. We went to Exmoor to view some more b+bs on the hottest day of the year. A really good Summer day in England is 23 degrees centigrade, so we were sweltering in the heat.

3. Mr H-L didn’t need much persuasion to stop for a nice cold pint in The Beggar’s Roost in North Devon.

4. The following day, Mr H-L and I had a day out locally and went to three pubs in one day – a record for us!

Breakfast was at the Roth Bar and Grill…..


5. Lunch was at At The Chapel…..


(This made us smile!)


7. ….and afternoon tea was taken at The Three Horseshoes Inn.


8. A group of students were filming down by the river, so we stayed and watched for a while.


9. Arty snap of The Boys playing Top Trumps.


10. The new girls were just settling in nicely (can you tell?) when this one strayed too far and was killed by a passing car:(


11. No.2 Son declared that he needed some short sleeved T-shirts for our imminent holiday in Cornwall. I cut up a couple of Mr H-L’s old ones that were destined for recyling and combined the good bits to make him a new one. A bit Frankenstein perhaps, but he’s pleased with it.


12. A lovely few days were spent in Cornwall with family in their holiday cottage near Newquay. As luck would have it, the tickets we bought for the Eden Project last year were valid for twelve months, so we snuck in again on Day 364 for free!


13. We even sniffed out the bar in the tropical dome!


14. Days were spent on the beach…..


15. …..evenings were spent on the beach.


16. A romantic one of us watching the sun go down as The Boys frollicked in the surf.image

17. Ha ha!


18. Crisps and a pint in The Shipwrights Inn, Padstow.


19. Back home, family had arrived from France to stay for a few days and some friends popped in spontaneously, so I quickly rustled up an impromptu meal for thirteen!


20. Another day, another family visit, this time our granddaughter with her mum and dad. We took the kids for a walk and ended up in a playground where dogs aren’t allowed, so tied them up outside at the railings.

Just look at that sad puppy face!


21. Mum and daughter flat out later that afternoon. Must have been all that fresh air (and the ice cream!)


Well, that doesn’t cover half of it, but better to put a few photos up rather than miss another week, I thought.

I’ll try to find time to do a separate post covering all the sewing workshops for those of you who have been following the sewing school (

Hope you’re making the most of the Summer holidays, too!



Chalk Painted Dresser Makeover

A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to buy this solid oak dresser on eBay for just £96.00.


Now, I know there’s nothing wrong with it and it is, indeed, a beautiful piece of furniture just as it is, but I had plans to paint it.

We have a large kitchen diner with a LOT of wood in it, so yet another ‘heavy’ piece was never going to look right. I spent months searching for the right dresser at the right price and the right size and eventually found this modern one, which was beautifully made and really solid.

Mr H-L drove for over an hour to go and collect it and wasn’t particularly happy about it being painted, but resigned himself to the fact that I was going to, anyway. What he DID object to, though, was that I wanted him to chop a section of the dresser out, in order to fit our coffee machine in.


I won that debate, too:)


Having used Annie Sloan and Rustoleum chalk paint successfully in the past (guest room makeover), I opted for ‘Bleu Clair’ by Autentico, purely because they had the exact shade of blue that I was looking for.


The main reason that I chose chalk paint in the first place is that there is no need for preparation on most surfaces – you just slap it on.


Two coats are usually needed for good coverage, especially when covering dark with light.



When the paint was totally dry, a coat of finishing wax was rubbed in and buffed to a sheen to protect the surfaces.

I’m told it takes a month to cure completely, so be careful until then. It’s been over a month now, and the finish is still blemish free.


With a bit of determination (for which, read ‘impatience’), I managed to get two coats of paint and a coat of wax on in just one day.


Then I left it for a month.

Or two.

And decided that the knobs had to go.


I dug out four wooden knobs leftover from the kitchen cabinet doors and painted them with two coats of ‘Walnut’ wood stain and a coat of Matt varnish.


Now they match the kitchen units.


So this is the finished article, brightening up the other end of the kitchen part of the room, and I have to say that I’m very pleased with it.


The coffee station works brilliantly with everything in one place – all I need now are some beautiful mugs to hang on the new hooks we installed.


Turn around 180 degrees and this is what greets you, so you can see that both the style and the colour work really well as a whole.


Before and after: –

I love it both ways, but it just sits in our kitchen better now it’s painted and if I ever change my mind, it should be easy to get dipped back to the plain oak.

What do YOU think – love, or loathe?




Funky Sleeping Bag (and Hoodie!)

This month’s blog post for Minerva Crafts is two-for-the-price-of-one.

I had just enough left over from making a sleeping bag to make a hoodie for one of The Boys as well.

Click on the link to read all about both makes: – Sleeping Bag & Hoodie





Sunday Sevens #95

All these photos are in the wrong order because WordPress is playing up on my iPad and the draft hasn’t saved so I can’t fiddle with it on the iMac. Or iPhone. So bear with me and you should make sense of it all in the end.

1. The last photo from last night comes from the Beer Fest at Weyhill, Andover. No.3 Son was pogo-ing away like a good ‘un with all the big boys. They loved it and included him in their ‘dancing’. They were a bit bemused, though, when he re-enacted Marty McFly’s guitar solo in Back To The Future where he rolls around the floor on his back…..

2. Selfie at aforementioned Beer Fest.

3.  Mr H-L cleaning the pool in his pants…..

4. …..while The Boys indulge in a little Sunday morning knitting with their mother.

5. No.2 Son had archery on Friday morning at school. He loved it. It was hot but they had to wear long sleeves to protect their arms from the bow string. 

The school held a barbecue in the afternoon…but I forgot to take any photos. Can I just say that we took wine and had a very enjoyable few hours.

6. The bouquet of flowers and card that I received from the ladies as a token of appreciation for the Margot pyjama workshop that they attended. Totally unnecessary  –  but so lovely!

7. Attaching the bright yellow bias binding to the funky sleeping bag that I made for July’s blog post for the Minerva Crafts Blogger’s Network.

8. The pyjamas made by my adult students in a beginners dressmaking class.

9. The sample pair I made a few days before the workshop to familiarise myself with the instructions.

10. We used a pattern from Love At First Stitch by Tilly Walnes. A free copy of the book was included for each student to encourage them to continue their dressmaking journey.

11. Caught on camera – hubby cleaned all the French windows in the house. there are FIVE pairs!

12. Discarded fleeces from the sheep shearing. Should I pluck up the courage to ask for them?

13. A proper small holding in the next village. I’d love a few more chickens.

14. I love this lavender-lined pathway to the front door of this Georgian house. It smells wonderful and looks so pretty.

Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins. If you fancy joining in with your own Sunday Sevens, just follow the link to find out more.


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