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Sunday Sevens #116

1. My Eyelet shawl is progressing nicely, although it never feels like it’s going to be big enough when you’re knitting it – blocking makes a world of difference and it magically doubles in size! 

2. Valentine’s night was celebrated before the actual day as we couldn’t get a babysitter for the 14th, understandably. Mr H-L took me to our favourite hotel for a seven course meal which was amazing, as usual. I decided not to interrupt the evening by taking photos, but sneaked this one while he was in the loo.

3. On Valentine’s Day itself, we thought it would be nice to take The Boys to a ‘posh’ hotel and give them a chance to use their table manners which have been drummed into them since they were old enough to hold a fork. We went back to our favourite place for the second time that week – and they loved it.

We started with champagne cocktails in the drawing room….

6……followed by the most incredible three course lunch in the restaurant. No, the whisky wasn’t the third course!

7. Coffee and petit fours by the fire back in the hall.

8. The Boys were fascinated by the pile of Visitor’s Books and wanted to go back to the first entry which was in 1969. They added their signatures to the latest book.

9. Fifi is back to her usual self after a nasty infection which we thought might finish her off! She keeps scaring the life out of us, but bounced back yet again this time.

10. Most of half term was spent up in Nottingham, staying with a cousin and her family. There is an extensive underground cave network which numbers over 600, most of which have been built on. This particular cave used to be used by Tanners and must have absolutely stank!

11. Broadmarsh Shopping Centre has been built over a lot of the caves and even the remains of old buildings. You can see clearly the fireplace with its original range still in situ, and what you can see above is the pipework underneath the base of the shopping centre!

12. Here again, the brick foundations of the shopping centre above are clearly visible on the right, as is more pipework and the floor of the building overhead. The ruins of a house stand as a record of how life in the city used to be. It was an utterly brilliant tour and fascinating to see what was under the city.

13. We happened upon a Loake shop (handmade shoes) whilst in the city centre, and Mr H-L, who already owns a pair of Loakes, was like a pig in s**t trying on all the shoes.

14. He came away with this tan pair, inset with Harris tweed.

15. He also bought this red pair for which we had to go and buy a matching tie (much to the assistant’s amusement in the tie shop!) and a THIRD pair which are still being made. They cost a bloomin’ fortune!!

16. Shoe shopping makes you hungry, apparently, so lunch was at Yo Sushi. A new experience for me, as it’s a looooong drive to a town/city that has anything like this. LOVED it.

17. While we went charity shop browsing the next day, The Boys had fun in one of those pottery cafés that you see occasionally.

18. Had this been working, I would now be the proud owner of an ancient Frister Rossmann sewing machine. It was quite expensive, so I resisted the temptation.

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins, Sunday Sevens is where you show seven (or 18!) photos of what you’ve been up to outside the blog in the previous week.

How was your week?


Thread Theory Comox Trunks (Boxer Shorts)

One of my most successful makes to date – boxer shorts for the Mister! Click on the link to read all about them in my Minerva Crafts Blog Post.


Sunday Sevens #115

Linking up with Nat from Threads & Bobbins for this week’s Sunday Sevens – sevenish photos of your week showing what your life looks like outside of the blog.

1. The Mollie Makes Comic Relief magazine arrived in the post earlier in the week. I plan on hosting another fundraising ‘Crafternoon’ again this year, as the last one was a huge success (and great fun). Everyone is welcome – it will be 11-3pm on Friday 24th March at my home in North Cheriton, Somerset.

2. One of my students forgot to buy fabric for her next project so I had to improvise with some felt scraps I had to hand. She made this cute little flower brooch in her hour long class.

3. Mr H-L and I went out for lunch to The Grosvenor Arms hotel in Shaftesbury, because sometimes a pub lunch just doesn’t cut it.

4. I just love this little shaker-style egg collecting basket that No.2 Daughter gave to Mr H-L for Christmas. Far too aesthetically pleasing to be hidden away in a cupboard, it sits proudly on display on the dresser.

5. A corner of our house that has never been shown on the blog as yet, for obvious reasons – a neglected shell of a cupboard which is soon to be transformed into a downstairs cloakroom. The builders plan to start in a couple of weeks and hopefully it won’t take too long. I know it’s just a loo, but I want to give it a distinctive look. I just haven’t decided what, yet.

6. The ‘Yoga Jumper’ has been completely finished, ends woven in and everything. It is currently being reshaped .whilst damp. How exactly DO you block a hood, anyway?

7. No.3 Son picked up his abandoned knitting and enthusiastically worked on a few rows before noticing he’d gone wrong. I frogged it back to the mistake and then he lost interest again. I don’t mind – it’s all about encouraging them when they’re in the mood, isn’t it?

8. A gift for a little girl in the family in the making. It’s going to be a fold up, portable doll’s house – a ‘travel doll’s house’, if you like.

That’s it for this week folks!


DIY Alternative To The “Cone of Shame”!

Back last Summer, Fifi had some mammary tumours removed and had to wear the Cone Of Shame for ten days. She hated it for the first few days, then gradually adapted to moving and sleeping with an unwieldy plastic funnel clipped to her neck.

This week, another trip to the Vet meant either another plastic cone, bandaging or some other method to prevent her from literally licking her wounds.

I found some leftover fleecy fabric from a nightshirt that No.3 Son made, and decided to make her a comfy coat instead. Whilst she already has several coats, none of them were long enough underbelly to cover the affected area.

So, for those of you who would rather not put your own dog through the trauma of The Cone, here’s a quick way to make a lick-prevention jacket.

 Measure your dog around the widest part of her ribs, just behind the front legs, then add an inch for seam allowances.

Measure from the back of her neck towards the tail, at a point just in front of the back legs (so he/she can still wee easily!).

Cut a rectangle of fabric to these measurements.

With right sides facing, sew the short ends together with a half inch seam.

I pressed open the seam and top stitched it flat so there would be no irritation next to the skin.

Measure the distance between the front legs and cut two leg holes on the underside. The distance from the neck to the legs will determine how far back these openings are placed.


How long did that take? Five minutes at the most, but your dog will thank you for your efforts, trust me!

See? She can’t get to her wound because the coat is completely covering it.

She soon gave up trying and settled down happily. 

And we’re happy because: –

a) she won’t keep us awake with her licky sounds all night long – you’d be surprised how loud (and annoying) licking can be in the middle of the night.

b) no oozing on the (very white) duvet cover. Yes, she sleeps on our bed. She’s 14, what the hell.

c) she can actually get comfortable and sleep, which is virtually impossible when wearing a plastic cone to bed.

Failing the ability to actually sew a seam, just grab one of hubby’s old long sleeve T-shirts, cut it to the right length and make two leg holes in the appropriate place. No sewing needed:)


Sunday Sevens #114

Time for another Sunday Sevens instalment – linking up with Nat over at Threads & Bobbins.

1. Mr H-L was working abroad for a few days and needed a new suit, so we went to Clark’s Village and had breakfast at Tamburino Village afterwards. No, I didn’t manage to eat it all – it was a huge breakfast!

2. Bekki, from The Dartmoor Yarn Company, set herself a UFO challenge which spurred me on to sew up the hat I made for No.1 Son before Christmas so he could finally wear it.

3. Lovin’ using the blue lidded dish I found in a charity shop a while back. This time it contains homemade smoked salmon pâté.

4. Talking of food, I’ve found my appetite is changing and I can no longer manage three meals a day (an age thing?). Mind you, with breakfasts like these, it’s not surprising I don’t want to eat again until supper time!

5. Does anyone else subscribe to The English Home? I love this magazine and immediately sat down with a coffee to enjoy reading it when it popped through the letterbox.

6. Apologies if this makes you choke on your toast, or if you’ve already seen it on IG, but I’m dressing up as Dolly Parton for my sister’s 50th next month and tried on the wig for a laugh. The fabrics and sequins have arrived and my aim is to recreate Dolly’s Glastonbury outfit, as it is a Glastonbury Festival themed party.

7. So proud of my students’ achievements – Ellie made this adorable little outfit for a baby girl, over the course of a couple of months.

8. Blocking my Teal ‘Yoga jumper’ before sewing it up and starting on the hood. This has been my Winter project this year and I’m pleased to be near the finish line as I have plans for my next project already.

9. Three day’s worth of washing in our house which they all groan about when asked to sort it out. Bearing in mind it’s all been washed and dried for them and the fact that the sum total of my laundry amounts to the pile of knickers on the floor in front of the basket, I’m damned if I’m doing it!

10. Morrison’s café has just reopened after refurbishment, so I took The Boys in there for supper one night after they helped me with the shopping. It’s a vast improvement and, after saying as much to the staff, it seems that they love it, too.

11. I finally found the right shawl pattern for the yarn that Claire hand dyed for me as part of this year’s Stitching Santa gift. It’s the Eyelet Neck Scarf by Allyson Ryan on Ravelry – and it’s free!

12. Couldn’t resist this cute pair of ankle boots from Heavenly Feet.

13. Finally, on Saturday night we went to watch Snow White, a pantomime by the Shipham Players, in which my brother-in-law is heavily involved. It was ace and the seven ‘dwarves’ stole the show as far as I was concerned – head dwarf ‘Grouchy’ being about 6′ 4″!


Art Gallery “Coco” Dress

I have worn my Stag’s head Coco lots.

I mean LOTS.

So much so that I just had to make another one as its simply perfect for everyday wear. It’s also a bit, well, nicer than the alternative of jumper-and-leggings for this time of year. I don’t make much effort in the clothes stakes, if I’m honest, and this belies that just a little.

Both pattern and fabric can be found at Minerva Crafts online.

This is such a quick and simple dress to make up that a couple of hours had it completed.

The seams were overlocked, as were the raw edges. Although, strictly speaking, there is no need to finish the raw edges on knit fabrics like this.

I had to nip out and buy a few more twin needles though, as my (relatively new) one was skipping stitches. This did the trick immediately and the hems and neckline were top stitched without a skipped stitch OR tunnelling in sight!

Very soon, another Coco found it’s way into my wardrobe.

A quick snap of me wearing it, thanks to my ever patient husband.

Did you spot THE boots…..?


Sunday Sevens #113

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series started by Nat at Threads & Bobbins to show seven(ish) photos of your week outside the blog.

1. A really cold start to the week with heavy frost and lots of fog. I wish I’d taken pictures of the stunning Hoar Frost, but I only though of it after it had thawed.

2. Some friends were visiting from Australia where they emigrated to six years ago and we went to Stourhead for the day. These two photos were taken before and after the house tour, just an hour apart!

3. A friendly little Robin hopped close enough for a quick snapshot on the ‘phone.

4. Mister’s boxer shorts turned out so well that I’ve made several pairs. (On the blog soon)

5. I ordered a pack of extra labels for that ‘designer’ touch. They came within a week all the way from Canada, which I thought was pretty good going.

6. I cut out another Coco, with another Art Gallery fabric called “Moon Stories Spark”. I love their fabrics with a passion but can only buy plain jerseys from our local shops. Thank goodness for online shopping!

7. This is why Mr H-L likes working from home:)

8. We thought the hens had stopped laying for the Winter – until we discovered this hoard of 46 eggs! It makes we wonder why we went to the trouble of providing them with a warm, dry, cosy hen house and nest box!

9. We went for lunch with a dear friend mid week. The photo I took of him was much better than the one he took of me. Do you think he likes to see his face on my blog, by any chance??

10. Impulse purchase – two lovely books to work through with The Boys. They might even come in handy in the sewing lessons.

11. Below zero temperatures have given way to cold, wet weather. Fifi has spent most of the week here, either in front of the fire or on the actual hearth. She sits there every morning and barks at us until we light it.

I’m hunkering down this afternoon while The Boys are at football. It’s cold, wet and windy outside and they’ve just presented me with a pot of Kusmi before they go. 

That’ll be me on the sofa, feet up with some knitting, while I try to make some headway into the 30-odd episodes of ‘Escape To The Country’ that are currently clogging up the storage on our Sky box.

Life is tough:)