Sewchet

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


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Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up

Looking ahead to the Summer holidays, I wanted to make a simple cover-up that would be quick to throw on over a swimsuit. You know those times; when you want a drink at the pool bar and don’t want to get dressed, but don’t want to sit there in a pair of bikini bottoms!

You can read all about it in my blog post over at Minerva Crafts :- Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up


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Sunday Sevens #129

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins, Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing seven or so photos of what life is like outside the blog.

1. We have our first ripened blackberry of the year!


2. To put it in context, here is our blackberry bush running from over the shed door on the left, all along the fence to the right. If you zoom in you can see we’re in for a bumper year, which is just as well as we have just finished our last jar of blackberry and apple jam. Mind you, the hens will pinch as many as they can reach as it’s a thornless bush and is, therefore, easy pickings. 

Those aren’t nettles on the bottom left, but a massive patch of hardy mint. What can I say – it’s a rustic country garden:)


3. It looks like my Uncle’s dog is sulking because Tess is curled up next to him – he’s gone as far to the opposite end of the sofa as possible to make a point!


4. I was pleased with this new poncho bought from a friend who sells the French ‘Captain Tortue’ range.


5. It has had it’s first outing already – Pad Thai with noodles and not a drop spilt. In hindsight, not the most sensible colour to wear when dining out.


6. Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake for pudding, but I couldn’t eat it all.


7. I had to do a bit of shopping for my Auntie who lives in Spain. She fell in love with the cushions in our guest room whilst staying with us, and I said I’d look for some similar ones. Yellow velvet with grey piping – these are the closest match I could find. Hers are the smaller ones in front.


8. I’m half way through a third pair of socks that are destined to be Christmas presents. Guess what? I’ve also managed to source some see-through wellies at long last! I reckon that, together, they’ll make a great gift. Or am I kidding myself – can anyone actually get excited about receiving socks as a Christmas present? 

I hope so, ‘cos they take bloomin’ weeks to knit!


9. Pie and a pint at the pub with The Boys.


10. Well, pork pie actually. And he had a pint, I had a gin.

11. I started a ‘scrappy’ blanket, unwittingly choosing the same colours as I was wearing. Hopefully, this will be another Christmas present, this one costing nothing but my time.


12. After a trip to the dentist, The Husband felt like a glass of wine to cheer himself up. We shared a pizza fresh from the in-house pizza oven.


13. By a stroke of luck, we were able to park my car right opposite the café window which meant I could run out and put the lid up if it rained. 

It didn’t.


14. Mr. H-L had to dig a new, lower trench for the oil pipes in preparation for the new decking which is being laid next week. The Girls were in the trench with him literally pecking at his spade as he was turning up all the worms.

15. The Boys went to watch Yeovil play Bristol City in Yeovil. 

I stayed at home to cook for friends that were coming for supper, definitely the better deal.


That’s all for now folks – now we’re off to No.3 Son’s first dancing medal tests. Wish him luck!


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Royal Ascot Ladies’ Day – The Fashions

So, our day started well – six of us met at Templecombe station, cracked open the champagne on the platform and caught the 9.45 to Reading for the first leg of our train journey to Ascot.

Two stops in (Tisbury) someone laughingly asked if we’d all got our tickets. Mr. H-L and I thought each other was joking when we both said “No”.

Oops.

This is us after alighting at Tisbury, ready to catch the next train back to Templecombe. Luckily, a friend had a house key and popped in to collect the tickets. She dropped them off at the ticket office for us to save time as we had got a lift to the station and had no means of getting home.


Having caught the next train, we were only an hour behind. Of course, all the food and champagne had gone on ahead with our friends, so we had to try and recreate the excitement with Pringles and Prosecco bought on the train.

We’d opted to travel First Class so it was no problem. We got chatting to a few other race-goers on the two and a half hour journey and two changes of train.


And at least we’d got our tickets!!


Safely in by 1pm, we had time for proper bubbly before the Royal Procession at 2 o’clock.


Bubbles were flowing like a river and everyone was having a great time, gearing up to the first race at 2.30.


We ambled over to the parade ring in time to watch the Royal Carriages arrive. Queenie looked radiant in cerise, although Prince Phillip was too ill to accompany her this year so Prince Andrew is sat next to her.


And then the action began!

We had our race card and picked this patriotic-looking bookie with which to place our bets.


We won some, we lost some. The viewing is great despite the thousands of people as the huge screen means you don’t miss a thing, which is otherwise possible despite the horses thundering past just a few yards away as the photo below illustrates.


On to the fashions of the day. Our party of six scrubbed up pretty well, I think.

These are two close friends who feature a lot on the blog.


Another friend who joined us for the first time this year.


Lovely Ruth from the USA was in England for just a week and her first day coincided with Royal Ascot, an event that was on her bucket list – AND she even got to see the Queen! She was one happy American!


And, of course, you’ve already seen pictures of The Mister and Me.


Dress codes are slightly less formal in the Queen Anne Enclosure, but there were plenty of gents still choosing top hat and tails.

Yes, that is a man touting Stella Artois by the pint in a barrel on his back.


Three piece suits seemed to be the most popular mens’ attire by far, and there were a surprising number of different looks.


How about this bright red one, scarlet right down to the matching shoes and trilby!


More variations on formal menswear, some good……



….and some not so good!



As for the ladies, hmmm.

A few got it very right and embraced the elegant, classy look that Ascot is famous for.






A lot more were almost there, but missed the fact that hemlines should ideally be knee length or lower.


Some girls thought bodycon Lycra was an appropriate choice!


But, unfortunately, there were far too many girls in their early twenties who just didn’t get it. I couldn’t bring myself to photograph them, but this press photo from Aintree races gives you the gist. More like “Barbie Goes To The Races”.


The hats were incredible as usual.



Although not my thing, fascinators were a very popular choice with many ladies. A massive hat wins every time for me:)

The six races were over all too soon, then it was off to do the traditional singing around the bandstand at 6pm.



Just time to nip into the shop before heading back to the train.


There was even a mobile seller with Cuban cigars.


The fifteen minute walk back to the station saw the majority of ladies in flip flops, hobbling after a day in ill-fitting-but-gorgeous shoes. Not me – I kept mine on all the way home!


First Class was full to bursting on the return journey, but we were fortunate enough to get seats on all three changes of train.

On this leg, the carriage was silent until The Mister pipes up at the top of his voice “SWEET CAR-O-LINE….!” And the rest of the carriage finished it with “…..Bah, bah, bah!” What followed was a spontaneous rendition of all the other songs that had just been sung around the bandstand that continued until the next change of train – great finish to a fabulous day!!


I’m already thinking about next year’s dress – we’re going to upgrade to fine dining so an even posher dress could be on the cards. 

Any suggestions gratefully received!


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Sunday Sevens #128

Another couple of busy weeks have kept me away from the computer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but means that there are thirty photos for this Sunday Sevens! 

Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins, who started Sunday Sevens.

1. Summer arrived for a lengthy stay of approximately two weeks, which meant plenty of pool time for The Boys, especially after a sticky day in school uniform.


2. Mr. H-L temporarily moved his ‘office’ into the garden. Not many people can work in their pants, sipping a gin and tonic with a view like that from their desk!!


3. Father’s Day was spent with friends at Yo Sushi! in Bath. This was a new concept for the two boys that came with us – and they loved it so much that we consumed 53 dishes between us!


4. The next day we flew to Amsterdam to join the husband’s company in their 25th anniversary celebrations. We had a three course meal followed by a concert, all in the Amsterdam Arena in which the company sponsor a private box.

Here we are about to skip the queues and enter via the VIP entrance – not a bad thing considering that some of the (very young) audience had been queuing in ridiculous temperatures since the early hours!


5. The private box was huge and easily accommodated the seventy-or-so of us. With prime seats and a complimentary bar, we were anticipating a great night ahead of us….


6. ….except that none of us had ever heard of The 1975 and, even if we had, the singing was drowned out by the over-loud band and we couldn’t understand a word of the lyrics, despite them being English.

The constant use of flashing strobe lighting had us covering our eyes half the time. We had to laugh though as, when we turned around, virtually everyone in our box over forty years old was doing the same! 


7. Flying back the next day, this was the heat that greeted us – virtually unheard of in England. In fact, the last time I remember feeling this hot was when I was expecting No.2 Son back in 2005 and it only reached 36 degrees back then.

8. Hood down and air-con on full blast, we pulled off the A303 early to look for somewhere nice to have lunch.


9. A small sign pointed to ‘Howard’s House Hotel’ in nearby Teffont Evias, so we headed there.


10. Yep – glad we did, as it was amazing!

Dating back to 1623, the house and its grounds were just stunning, and the food was to die for.


11. Hot Strawberry Soufflé, Strawberry Sorbet and Strawberries went down very well with an Armagnac.


12. Later that same week we went to Ascot on Ladies Day, as you will know if you read my previous post.


13. I even managed to grab a quick snap of Her Majesty as her carriage flashed by. Shame about the lady with the blue nails, although her photo will be better than mine:)


14. I bottled up four bottles of Elderflower cordial this year. If you haven’t already, you should try a ‘Posh Flora’ – Elderflower, Gin and Prosecco. Yum! 

I think Ginger rather fancied some.


15. Ginger photobombing again, this time as some rolls are proving in the sunshine.

The makeshift patio has been weeded since this photo was taken, I promise. 


16. Two days of preparation resulted in this ambitious supper menu for six friends.


17. The food went down well and we had a fabulous evening which kicked off with those ‘Posh Flora’ cocktails and ended up with everyone leaving their cars and getting taxis home!


18. Mr H-L surprised me with lunch out to a secret destination a few days later, so he drove. It was weird to be a passenger in my own car. 

Haselbury Mill was the venue, hence the 1950’s Fire Engine as part of a collection of vintage vehicles.


19. Buildings on the site date from William The Conqueror – that’s as far back as 1066 for all our American friends out there!


20. We were invited to a 21st birthday party for the daughter of some close friends, and I just had to show you this simply brilliant cake they had commissioned.


21. I had to touch the cup and saucer to check it wasn’t actually china!


22. The Auntie who we stay with in Spain came over to stay with us for a week, and we had a morning wandering around Bruton, stopping in ‘At The Chapel‘ for a light lunch. 

I never eat pizza as there are always so many other, nicer dishes on menus in general, but this one was delicious and made to order in their own pizza oven.

I drank ‘Piston Broke’ – a real ale  with a fab name!


23. No.3 Son had his tenth birthday last week.


24. 7.30am on a school day and all three ‘boys’ couldn’t wait to start playing with it.


25. A birthday barbecue was the order of the day, finishing with the birthday boy’s request of a coffee and walnut birthday cake. Homemade, of course:)


26. The celebrations continued at the football presentation evening, where he won “Manager’s Player Of The Year” for the second year running, and “Player’s Player Of The Year”.


27. We bit the bullet and bought all of No.2 Son’s school uniform for September when the uniform people brought their shop to the school for one day only.

Yes, his new school really is called Sexey’s…….


28. No.3 Son has been trying out a few dance genres and, after discounting tap (“Too boring”) and street dance (“Too gangsta”!), has settled on Ballroom and Latin.

After just four lessons totalling five hours, he was thrown in at the deep end and asked to partner a girl in a competition as her regular partner was unavailable.

Expecting to do the Waltz and Cha Cha Cha, he ended up taking part in the team event as well, as a boy fell ill half way through. A quick recap of the steps saw him doing the Jive and Quick Step in addition!

Despite the look of concentration on his face, he absolutely loved it and did brilliantly. So much so, that his teacher has signed him up to do his first medal tests next Sunday. 

As you can probably tell, I’m a proud mum right now, particularly as he has already mastered steps that they normally teach after six months and he has already competed in them!


29. No.2 Son spent the weekend at his new school, meeting new classmates and sleeping in his new dorm. We joined him on Sunday for a barbecue at the headmaster’s house before taking him home.

The boys soon got distracted by a spontaneous game of football…..


30. ….shame No.2 Son didn’t eat his burger first!


That’s it for this week folks!


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Dress For Royal Ascot 

As usual, I made myself a new dress for Ascot this year – to read all about the slightly rushed experience (I made it the day before!) just click on the link below which will take you to the full blog post over at Minerva Crafts.

Burda 6869 Dress For Royal Ascot


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Sunday Sevens #127

I’ve been largely offline for about a month, so here is a Sunday Sevens at last!

1. No.3 Son sang in Wells Cathedral alongside 14 other schools. As you can imagine, the acoustics were incredible.


2. I used this cheerful knit fabric from Minerva Crafts to make a bikini cover-up in time for our holiday.


3. New pair of metallic Birkenstocks and a fresh coat of nail polish, also for our trip to Spain.


4. Family photo in Mojacar Pueblo, Andalucia.


5. This year, a couple of good friends joined us on holiday. Here we are having tapas outside Bar La Cinta, a typically Spanish bar.


6. My favourite photo of our holiday. A private villa means swimming at midnight is allowed! We are so lucky to have an Auntie who lives somewhere so fabulous. In fact, we’re going again next month:)


7. A spontaneous day trip to London the day after we flew back home. I couldn’t resist trying on these Jimmy Choo’s but my budget wouldn’t stretch to the best part of two thousand pounds!!


8. I “settled” for a much more reasonably priced pair of Louboutin’s instead.


9. I made a batch of cupcakes for the school fair…..


10…..and eight jars of marmalade, which sold out in less than twenty minutes!


11. School fair selfie. Note the bunting which I made for our wedding four years ago and is still going strong. It is constantly in demand for parties and fetes, and I’m happy to lend it out as it’s lovely to see it being used.


12. One of the parents spent two days making this amazing cake which was raffled off for the school. 


13. I picked the last of the Elderflowers to make some cordial. It’s a wonder of nature that those delicate little flowers transform into the most delicious taste of Summer.


14. The Boys sporting their very different styles at the same disco!


15. We painted the outside of the newly rendered house ourselves. The first coat was a bit too light, so the second coat was a couple of shades darker. I think I’m happy with it.


16. I cast on my third pair of Christmas present socks.


17. Breaking in my new Louboutin’s just as the hot weather hit the UK and cooling off with a g+t in the garden.


18. No.2 Son eating the biggest onion rings known to mankind!


19. Plenty of home baking has been going on as usual. Not that this one lasted long – two friends even invited themselves around for coffee so they could finish it off!

20. There were a few long lengths of this gorgeous embroidered silk on eBay and I just had to buy them. I reckon they’ll make stunning curtains in our future b+b.


21. I made some cooling Mojitos whilst hubby cooked supper one evening.


22. As the heatwave is predicted to continue, we put the pool up for The Boys, despite protestations of “We’re too old for a paddling pool now!”

They’ve hardly been out of it all week:)


See Threads & Bobbins for details of how to join in with your own Sunday Sevens.

If you’re in the UK enjoying some unusually high temperatures, here’s hoping it lasts all Summer long!


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Sunday Sevens #126

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series started by Nat at Threads & Bobbins whereby you show seven photos of your life outside of the blog. 

In theory.

This week is a combination of three weeks worth of photos, ‘cos I seriously haven’t had time to organise many blog posts lately, and there are considerably more than seven photos so you might want to get a cup of tea before you start!

1. We have been having a lot done on the house over the last couple of months, most of which I haven’t yet blogged about…..does a wall of mirrors in our en-suite and Koi Carp in the cloakroom ring any bells?

We’ve also finally got around to having the massive extension at the side of the house rendered, which meant bacon sandwiches and endless cups of tea for the plasterers.

2. We also had the builders in to put a new roof on the old downstairs bathroom, which is now a sun room. I know, I know, I haven’t blogged about that yet either! The old concrete tiles were replaced with slate ones to match the rest of the house.

3. I’ve done quite a lot of sewing, starting with my trusty old leggings pattern. I made these in brown leatherette.

4. This top was made in one sitting too.

5.  I made this dress  in a bright floral linen.

I just need to get Mr H-L to take some photos of me wearing them, then I’ll blog them all.

6. The Boy’s school asked for contributions for a stall at their Summer fair, so I’ve also been making things for that. These are handbag tissue holders.

7. There was enough of the same fabric to make four wash bags as well.

8. I bought a large piece of blue canvas for £1.00 from a charity shop a while back and used this, together with the remnants from the dress mentioned earlier, to make six little storage pots.

9. I had a little leftover oilcloth from a previous project, which was just enough to sew a quick shopping bag.

10. We had friends round for supper so I spent a whole afternoon making a decent meal for them.

11. Home serves as both office and restaurant for Mr H-L!!


12. It’s not been all work and no play though, and we’ve been out a few times.

13. We found a new coffee shop in Sherborne that does “Bloody Good Coffee”.


It was – and the chocolate brownie wasn’t bad, either. They serve half-slices, which is perfect for someone without a sweet tooth but, despite ordering “Half a brownie and two forks”, we still struggled to eat it!


14. Spot of lunch whilst shopping for a new kettle with a friend in Sturminster Newton.


15. Said kettle – the old one developed a leak. Mr H-L likes this one because it has lights and makes a beeping noise. Men!


16. This was just after a quiet, relaxing facial – not easy to take a selfie in these conditions!


17. After collecting a friend from hospital, we had lunch at Summer Lodge in Evershot.


17. Sewing classes are still going strong.


18. We found this little cutie in the hen house one morning.


19. Couldn’t resist a cuddle!


Sadly, the chick didn’t survive the night:(

20. Our friend is a new Artisan cheese producer – if you come across “Renegade Monk” in the future you must try it.


21. Just as we were looking forward to Summer, Winter made a late appearance in the form of a prolonged hailstorm.


22. A lovely Thai lunch at The Old Bakehouse in Castle Cary with Mr H-L.


23. The latest addition to our mug collection by Wrendale Designs. I just love the illustrations!

24. And finally, to end on a high, this is No.3 Son working the dance floor like his hero Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. Enjoy!