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Sunday Sevens #146

You may have noticed that I’ve had a break from Sunday Sevens, albeit entirely unintentional (Christmas, and all that), so here’s a heavily edited recap of things since the beginning of December.

1. We had another day trip on the Orient Express – a six hour journey through England and Wales during which we were served a seven course Christmas dinner. Wine pairings with every course was a nice extra that we hadn’t done before.

2. The friends that we went with.

3. The run up to Christmas was almost exhaustingly busy with something going on every day, including The Boy’s advent calendar in which they ‘do’ something Christmassy each day of advent. Here they are enjoying a car trip in their pyjamas to drive around looking at Christmas lights.

4. Together with one other resident, I cooked Christmas dinner for sixty villagers in the village hall.

5. No.3 Son sang a solo of my favourite carol “In The Bleak Mid Winter” before everyone sat down for dinner.

6. I managed to finish off this pair of socks for No.1 Son…..

7. ….and this cabled hat for his girlfriend’s mother.

8. After cooking lunch for my brother and his wife on Christmas Eve, we went to the carol service in our church. The Dogs drew loads of comments in their festive coats! Some friends joined us for supper afterwards and The Boys were excited to put their stockings out for Father Christmas for an early-ish night.

9. We went to church Christmas Day with The Boys and the service ended rather sombrely when the organist collapsed just before the last verse of the last carol. Being British, the congregation went on to sing unaccompanied and we all crept out silently as an ambulance was called.

A couple of family members short, Christmas dinner was a slightly quieter affair than usual – it seems I was lucky to get the ‘flu over and done with before Christmas. I didn’t feel lucky at the time, mind you!

10. Back up to full numbers on Boxing Day! Mr H-L is keeping the festive music going, in case you wondered what he was doing back there:)

11. We can ‘only’ seat 14 or 15 people comfortably around the dining table, so there was overspill into the kitchen end!

12. On the 27th, when we had a different set of guests, I invented a new solution to using up the leftovers – Christmas Dinner Pie! Literally all the remaining meat, stuffing and veg was made into a pie. It went down a treat with everyone.

13. Our last guests left on the 28th, which meant we had a couple of days to unwind before New Year’s Eve. ‘Unwinding’ in our house means PJs, games, festive films and Baileys:)

14. The Dogs were over the moon to have even more cuddle time than usual!

15. Unwinding for me also includes knitting/crochet – once I got the darning out of the way…..

16. I cast on and finished a single sock using the lovely yarn from my Stitching Santa parcel, which was immediately claimed by No.3 Son!

17. Before casting on the second sock, I cast on one for me using some Fyberspates yarn that I’ve had for a while and forgot about. After all that plain sock knitting, I was itching to do a pattern.

18. I even managed to nip up into the sewing room for a few hours and came down with this little project bag, perfect for small projects like socks. I may make some more for my online shop.

19. Just to make sure I don’t get bored (!), I started crocheting Granny squares in this Duck Egg DK. They’re going to be a blanket for a young couple that are getting married later this year.

20. Then the yarn orders started arriving…..I went on a bit of a spending spree with the money that had accumulated in my PayPal account.

21. All this sock yarn has a purpose – I want to make 2018 the year I wear only handknit socks. My New Year’s Resolution, I suppose.

Whilst I tend to knit playing socks using a self-striping yarn for other people, my own preference is for patterned socks using hand dyed yarn in luxury fibres. These are the three pairs I have knitted to date.

22. Progress on the pair currently on the needles, although I will have to knit No.2 Son’s other sock before the second one of this pair.

23. New Year’s Eve is spent with the same friends, only this was the first year we went to their house for the night, Just look at those incredible centrepieces!


25. We took No.2 Son back to school the following Sunday, which was hard having had him at home for three weeks.

26. With both boys back at school, Mr H-L and I went out for lunch one day. Fifi was treated to a bit of pork belly at the end.

27. On Saturday, Fifi’s heart began to race and her breathing became shallow. She was fine in herself and carried on as normal for most of the day and well into the evening. We took her to bed with us as normal but, at 1.50am yesterday morning, she stopped breathing.

28. Farewell, my faithful little companion – my heart is in pieces. Whatever will I do without you.


Sunday Sevens #145

1. No.2 Son had an Inset day, so we took him out for lunch early on in the week.

2. We were given a brace of partridges by a friend and we cooked them with apples in cider – yum!

3. A BIG parcel of fabric arrived from Minerva Crafts – happy mail indeed.

4. I made a crocheted bauble for my yarn Stitching Santa parcel…..

5. ……and stitched a reindeer one for my sewing parcel.

6. I’ve managed quite a bit of sewing for myself this week, starting off with a little purse for my small cross-body bag as my normal one is far too big to fit in.

7. I made this full length sequinned gown for a special day out on Tuesday.

8. I also made a coat to go with it but, as it’s my project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network this month, I can’t show you just yet.

9. Saturday was workshop day where a group of children made their own Christmas presents for their family. They even wrapped them up before going home, so they were ready to put straight under the tree.

10. The advent calendar I made a few years ago was brought down from the loft and dusted down. It’s an activity calendar where we do something together every night during advent.

11. New pyjamas have become a bit of a tradition in the run up to Christmas.

12. Mr H-L had some great cards for his birthday – this one was my favourite.

13. I managed to track down THAT suit in his size!!!

He hopped out of bed immediately to try it on, hence the lack of shirt.

Trouble was, ‘his size’ still didn’t fit and there isn’t a larger one available:(

14. The Dogs had great fun shredding all the wrapping paper that had been discarded on the bed.

15. One last present was some champagne saucers that we’ve been trying to find ever since we used some in a hotel on Valentines Day. They’re by LSA but have been discontinued, so I was pleased to come across some old stock in ‘Vinegar Hill’ in Bath.

Very Poirot-esque, and has put us in the mood for our day trip on the Orient Express on Tuesday, for which the sequinned dress was made. More photos on that next week, so ‘bye for now!


Sunday Sevens #144

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing, in theory, seven photos of your life outside the blog, giving you chance to get to know the blogger a bit more. Anyone can join in so please feel free to do your own!

1. Progress report on No.1 Son’s first week in his new home.

Here he is ironically proudly displaying his ‘beautiful’ dining room in its ‘before’ state. Note the textured wallpaper, polystyrene ceiling tiles, floral curtains and clashing Seventies carpet.

2. After ripping up the carpet, they didn’t find the expected concrete floor, oh no. Underneath the carpet was a laminate floor, underneath which lay TWO layers of vinyl flooring from who-knows-when.

3. Finally, underneath all that they discovered these wonderful flagstones. Trying to work out if they’re original to the 1900 house is a tricky one. This could have been the original kitchen, in which case flags are quite likely. The other floor coverings must date back to at least the 1930’s which rules out these being concrete reproduction flags. However, you might expect floorboards like those in the adjoining living room, so it’s a bit of a mystery. Can anyone help? I suppose a conversation with the neighbours is the best route.

4. Back home, Mr H-L and I went to our local garden centre and had tea while we were there. You can’t escape the fact that Christmas is nearly here.

5. I’ve been feeling rubbish all week, culminating today on another sofa/pyjama day whilst The Boys are at football. An irritating cough has robbed me of sleep and gradually developed into a full blown cold complete with catarrh and a thumping head – and now labyrinthitis has kicked in, which basically makes my eyes think I am drunk without the joy of so much of a drop of wine passing my lips.

On the plus side (thinking positively always makes you feel less self-pitying!) I have kept my hands busy.

I cast on these Hermione Everyday socks.

6. I’ve enjoyed seeing the pattern develop and have just finished the heel flap ready to turn the heel.

7. An unexpected bonus was the fact that the yarn was a perfect match to a shawl that I was making where I lost Yarn Chicken half way through the cast off row, believe it or not. It was hand dyed yarn so I have struggled without success all year to find a suitable match. Now it’s done and just needs blocking.

8. This is going to be a crocheted pin cushion for my Yarny Stitching Santa, for a lady who also sews,

9. And there was this Topsy-Turvy doll of course, shown here with our granddaughter who seems to approve of my efforts.

10. Feeling just a tad indulgent about casting on those pink socks for myself whilst still not having made all the Christmas gifts on my list, I cast on another pair, this time for a man in the family.

11. Yesterday, I took my daughter to Bath for our annual Christmas shopping expedition. We haven’t missed a year since she was three years old – she’s twenty-six now!

We started the day in style, arriving early and having a good breakfast in The Pump Room. Don’t you just love the silver coffee pot?

12. We saw this suit and thought of Mr H-L. I would have bought it if they had it in his size. I showed him the photo later and he loved it – as I knew he would.

13. Mr H-L was visiting his daughters in Hove, one of whose girlfriends works in a greyhound stadium. He was asked to present the trophy to one of the winning dogs.

That’s about it for this week folks so, from a snot-soaked sofa in Somerset – ‘bye for now!


Sunday Sevens #143

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins, Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing a snapshot of life outside the blog.

1. All 34 Granny Squares are finished and starting to be crocheted together. This is going to be a gift to my yarny recipient in the Stitching Santa.

2. This cross stitch I found in a charity shop might possibly end up being reinvented into a gift for one of my Stitching Santa partners.

3. There’s a new Tailor in town! A Savile Row Tailor, no less, which is big news for Wincanton. We spent half an hour chatting to him about his work. I feel a bespoke suit coming on for Mr H-L….

4. Afterwards, a quick spot of lunch at a local pub. Even though we shared this pudding, we still couldn’t eat it all.

5. Thursday night, hubby cooked Singapore Green Banana Curry whilst I was teaching. The smell was utterly distracting.

6. Friday was a trip to Bath with a couple of girlfriends. First stop was a light breakfast in The Pump Room, serenaded once again but this time ‘just’ by a pianist on the rather spectacular Steinway grand piano.

7. Choosing a sofa in!

8. While they played silly buggers, I collected a ‘few’ samples of velvet. Should come in handy for covering buttons and the like.

9. We had a seriously good two course lunch at Thai Basil for just £7.95 a head, including Jasmine tea!

10. Although I prefer more colour, I had to admit that the silver theme in Brissi was very Christmassy.

11. On Saturday, we helped No.1 Son move into his first home with his girlfriend – in Wales:(

10. The mother in me prioritised a cosy bed to fall into after a long day humping furniture about, so the first thing I did was to organise putting the bed up, finding all the bedlinen and some makeshift bedside tables on which to put some lamps.

12. In the meantime, The Boys helped their brother by ripping up the sixty-year old carpets to reveal original floorboards in every room but one.

13. His face says it all when this gorgeous Victorian tiled floor was uncovered in the hallway!

14. Even more original features were found – every single door in the house had been covered over in the Fifties and he was lucky enough to discover that all the Victorian four-panelled doors were intact underneath.

15. On the two-hour journey home to Somerset, No.3 Son fell asleep. This photo was snapped just as his thumb fell out of his mouth. Cute!

16. Sunday morning saw me taking No.2 Son to Yeovil to spend his pocket money on Christmas decorations to decorate his corner of the dorm, as there was a bit of a competition going on at school. Thank goodness for Poundland!

See you next week folks!


Sunday Sevens #142

Late with my Sunday Sevens this week – seven or so photos showing my week outside the blog.

1. Blue skies aplenty this past week meant getting out and about a fair bit. It has turned chilly enough for Fifi to need her coat on walks now.

2. We popped over to Frome for a couple of hours to check out Catherine Hill. Marmalade Yarns had a very inviting door don’t you think?

3. Inside, Mr H-L sat patiently whilst I stroked some skeins of hand dyed yarn.

4. I bought a skein of ‘Sparkling Cyanide’ to make some socks for myself in the New Year. Quite an apt purchase after our visit to the cinema last week to see ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ on its opening night.

5. These six balls of yarn from my stash are set to become a handmade gift for my yarn partner in this year’s Stitching Santa.

6. Here’s how it’s shaping up so far – a stack of Granny squares!

7. Another little handmade gift for my sewing partner, too. Just a glimpse here – more to follow in a separate blog post.

8. A handy charity shop purchase, brand new and unopened. It will be worn out by the second of January, no doubt…..!

9. Coffee with The Dogs in At The Chapel, Bruton, after a walk locally. Fifi shivers if she sits on a tiled or stone floor, so she inevitably ends up cosied up on my lap:)

10. A friend and I spent Friday morning visiting a few craft/vintage fairs. We popped into FMLY where they were doing ‘Fizz Friday’ and had a glass of Prosecco thrust in our hands no sooner than walking through the door!

11. We had a fab lunch afterwards at the Roth Bar And Grill in Hauser and Wirth.

12. I ran the refreshments stand at our village Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday. Lots of festive stalls to enjoy.

13. This lovely lady who lives in our village sells wool from her small flock of Zwartbles sheep. Their fleece is chocolate brown so remains undyed and in its natural state.

14. Of course I HAD to buy a skein for my Stitching Santa yarn partner! That’s most of my budget spent so I will have to be creative in order to put together a decent parcel now.

15. After the craft fair, my sister and I dashed down to Southampton where my niece is at University. It was her birthday so we went out for a meal and stayed overnight in local accommodation. It was 2am before we knew it – unheard of for us country folk where the pubs shut at eleven!

16. Sunday was spent Christmas shopping in Southampton with my sister, followed by a pub supper on the way home by which time the late night had caught up with us and we were seriously flagging.

17. Hubby sent me this lovely photo of No.3 Son being treated to breakfast out whilst I was away. He ate the lot!!

18. The biggest and best news of the week though, has to be that my dear little Fifi made it to her fifteenth birthday on Thursday. A milestone we never expected her to reach as she has had several touch-and-go moments over the last twelve months.

Happy Birthday Fifi, and here’s to the next one!


Sunday Sevens #141

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing a glimpse of your life outside the blog. 

1. One misty morning earlier this week, we spotted these three deer grazing in the field directly behind our house. They don’t normally venture quite this close, so it was a treat to see them.

2. Pumpkins were everywhere on Hallowe’en.

3. Midweek, we took No.2 Son shopping for his birthday. He’s got to ‘that age’ where he only wants money or clothes. And they can only be black or grey. 

4. Fifi started flagging after two miles, so it was just as well we took her carrier on this particular walk.
5. This is her dog’s-eye view. Not bad really, and she’s quite happy to travel this way.

6. Big breakfast for our big boy on the morning of his 12th birthday.

7. In the evening we all went to see ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ at the cinema. Beforehand, we had a fabulous meal at Caribbean Corner in Yeovil, where Ava, the owner, smothered the birthday boy in kisses!

8. No.3 Son picked up his certificates and medals after his Latin and Ballroom dancing class.

9. Whilst No.2 Son was playing football in Poole, I took his little brother out for a smoothie in nearby Bournemouth where the counter was covered with foreign currency notes. 

10. He was fascinated to find a $750,000 note from Zimbabwe!

11. We had a couple of hours before No.1 Son had to go back to school after a two week half term, so we tried The Real Greek in Bournemouth which was delicious. Sharing mezés proved ideal so we could have a bit of everything.

12. Crafting wise, the third and penultimate row has been added to my Eastern Jewels blanket, although I’m tempted to add an extra row to make it bigger.

13. I couldn’t resist this small remnant of fabric in a charity shop featuring a Black Lab called “Rover”.

14. The last metre of pink faux sheepskin on the shop roll found its way into my bag and I made another tote. I’ll probably put his one in my Folksy shop.

That’s it for this week. Tomorrow will be spent drawing Stitching Santa partners out of a hat which will be followed, I suspect, by lots of blog stalking and consequent making/gathering of things to include in the parcels – and I can’t wait!


Sunday Sevens #140

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing seven(ish) photos of your week outside the blog. Anyone can join in at any time.

1. Half term started well, with lazy mornings allowing plenty of time for a leisurely cooked breakfast every day.

2. My mother and sister came to visit for a couple of days, one of which was spent doing art and craft type things. We visited Ilminster Arts Centre and enjoyed a couple of hours at the current exhibition, together with tea and cake in the café and some time browsing in the shop.

3. I gave in to temptation and bought some handmade ceramic buttons. I don’t have a plan for them as yet, but they’re sure to be the perfect finishing touch to a future make.

4. On the way back home we made a short detour so we could try this Railway Carriage Café, as recommended by a friend a while back.

5. It was lovely inside, full of original character and a great choice of gluten free options on the menu.

6. Later that evening, my mum and sister both got their sketching pencils and paints out and had fun with a squash.

7. Next day, The Boys had two brothers around to play for the day whilst their mother went to work. No technology allowed (my rules!) so they were all worn out by the end of the day with ‘real’ playing.

8. To wind down after their friends had gone, I let The Boys watch a film. They loved it and were totally engrossed, as you can see from this photo. The film?

9. Snow White, the original animation from 1937!

10. Christmas has taken over our local garden centre and the singing reindeer were back for a second year.

11. A family friend came to stay for the weekend and we went to Bath for the day, starting off with breakfast. You can just see the trio in the background who played some wonderful classical music whilst we ate.

12. A few hours later and we stopped to eat again, this time at Yo! Sushi, The Boy’s favourite treat.

13. Crafty things still happened over the course of the week. Progress is good on my Eastern Jewels blanket.

14. I’ve included my new labels on a couple of things I’ve made for this year’s Stitching Santa parcel.

15. Yes, yet more made from the leftover lilac faux sheepskin – it’s the fabric that just keeps giving! I will reveal all in a future blog post.

No.2 Son is at home for a second week of half term, but his little brother goes back to school tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to some time together before he goes back to boarding school. I hope your half term is going well, too!