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Sunday Sevens #158

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for another Sunday Sevens…..

1. Week two of the Easter holidays started with us taking The Boys out to Hauser & Wirth in Bruton. No.2 Son looks bored, but he assures me he was just concentrating on the art commentary.

2. Afterwards in the bar…..serves me right for asking them for a nice photo for the blog!

3. We spent a day clearing some 8ft high undergrowth, helped by some appropriate refreshment.

4. A good day’s work!

5. Found this little nest amongst the brambles – don’t worry, it wasn’t currently in use.

6. Just a cute pic of my boy and a spoiled Tess!

7. There’s nothing like a bone to help you get your appetite back.

8. We have been fully booked for seven out of the last nine days with three different lots of guests, each booking both rooms. Our last guests were celebrating a birthday and were over from Belgium, so we surprised them with a traditional English cream tea – homemade, of course! They were delighted:)

9. After the rooms were cleaned and the washing was on, I sat down for the first time in what felt like days and had my own private cream tea whilst The Boys were at football.

10. Then it was back to our normal healthy eating.

11. The Boys enjoyed their second knit ‘n’ natter and can’t wait until half term when they can go again.

12. No.2 Son (in his new hat) bought some new yarn and has started making himself another crocheted blanket, this time in a more pre-teen colourway of blue and grey. Meanwhile, his little brother had picked up his blanket again after a long break.

13. She doesn’t read my blog, so I can show you the fingerless gloves I made for my sister’s birthday today. They match the socks I made her for Christmas with those see-through wellies. Free pattern is here.

14. This little knitted outfit was finished for the doll I’m dressing for the school fair in June.

15. Cardigan, hat, leg warmers and fingerless gloves, a paid for pattern by Knitting Nanny-Mo on Etsy.

16. Isn’t it cute?

17. I shall leave you with one very happy clucking hen!!


Sunday Sevens #82

 Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series to show a snapshot of your life outside the blog. Visit Nat over at Threads & Bobbins to see how you can join in.

1. Mr H-L brought me up breakfast in bed complete with a ‘vase’ (whisky bottle) of flowers. Fifi is still curled up at the end of the bed. She is spoilt and has always slept on our bed – Tess sleeps downstairs and sulks every night at bedtime.


2. N0.3 Son bounded in mid-breakfast and proudly showed me what he was making downstairs.

3. My sister came to stay and we ended up in the pub after a nice walk. At the time we were the same age, but it was her birthday yesterday and she is now a year older than me:)


4. My favourite hen, Amber, was weak and not her usual confident self and all the hens were bullying her again, so we brought her into the house to live whilst she regained her strength.

5. Unfortunately, she didn’t recover and died peacefully one evening. She had such a great personality and has featured in many a blog post. We miss her dreadfully already.
 6. I held a Bunting workshop – here are the kids enjoying a half time treat.  

7. A couple of photos of what was achieved in the four hour class – pretty impressive for eight year olds, don’t you think?  
8. This little girl made her bunting for her little sister’s birthday present – how sweet?

 9. These patchwork squares came free with a magazine – any ideas as to what I could do with them?   
10. Yet another charity shop bargain – two brand new tea towels for 50p each. Not sure what I’ll make with them, but they were too pretty to leave there.

 So that was my week – The Boys are back to school on Monday so I might actually be able to get some sewing done as it feels like ages since I’ve done a ‘proper’ blog post!


Sunday Sevens #33

Another week of Sunday Sevens as organized by Nat at Threads and Bobbins – seven photos that show a snapshot of your week.

OK, for the observant ones amongst you, it is now Monday.

And there are ten photos, not seven:)

Remember the crocheted basket I made? Fifi decided it would make a nice bed, filled as it is with lovely soft balls of mohair!


I saw this tray in the Museum Selection and just had to buy it. It sums up everything that is English in a garden, doesn’t it?


The hens and cockerel sealed the deal.


My silver tea strainer and vintage china finish the look perfectly!


Celebrated the opening of the new kitchen in our village hall with a Spanish themed supper – this is me cooking Paella.


My lovely sister bought me this fabulous vintage cake stand for my birthday last month. Not that I need an excuse to make more scones, but it’s like it was made for them.


Unfortunately, this proved too irresistible an opportunity for one naughty hen!



Having stolen and eaten half a scone complete with cream and raspberries, she flopped down inside the french windows and slept it off in the sunshine!


Tess has that look on her face that says “If I did that, I would be in my cage in disgrace.”


Hope you had a lovely weekend too!


Hen Doorstops and Upcycled Furniture

Another glorious September day – we had the pleasure of an old friend’s company for lunch today and were able to eat outside; what a joy! I really do love being able to spend so much time outdoors while it is still so warm. Not that cold weather puts me off, it’s just then you have to do something to keep warm and it’s such a lovely feeling to just sit and read outside in the sunshine.

A recent purchase (actually, it arrived this morning, but don’t tell Him!) was this book “Handmade Glamping”,

Glamping book2Glamping book

Flicking through it briefly (I aim to snuggle up this evening and read it from cover to cover) and swooning over the gorgeous styling it has made me determined to buy an old caravan. You know the sort, a Seventies doer-upper that would be perfect for filling with masses of multi-coloured crochet blankets, bunting in ice cream shades, cafetiere cosies and a multitude of other pointless-but-pretty essential handcrafted goodies.

We’ve been Campers with a capital ‘C’ all our lives but recently I have been yearning for the (relative) comfort that a caravan promises to provide compared to a tent. All the preparation and hassle of packing, erecting tents, inflating airbeds (that invariably spring a puncture at 2am) just isn’t worth it unless you plan on going for a week. A well stocked caravan is ready to go at a moments notice and could be used for weekends away, potentially far more often and earlier/later in the year.

Yes, this is the year I am going to get a caravan, so if you know anyone wanting to get rid of one….?

Talking of pointless-but-pretty essential handcrafted goodies, I made these little beauties during the week –


What are they, I hear you cry? Why, not only are they easy on the eye, they darned useful too – Hen Doorstops, of course. Only these are a bit posh made of linen/cotton and silk.



Remember the pair of bedside tables that I found in the charity shop the other day?


Yes, I know there’s nothing wrong with them just as they are but, although they’re the perfect size, they simply didn’t suit the style of our bedroom like this.

So I painted them black.

Yes, really!

Bedside table

Bedside table4

The thing is, we have a sort of French bedroom – the Corbeille bed came from a château in France, the chandelier is a French bronze antique…

Bronze Chandelier

We have these two French antique mirrors ready to be hung –


And they had to match the eBay linen cupboard that I painted last year –

Linen Cupboard

As everything else in the room is old and a little rough round the edges, I distressed them a tiny bit. The walls are “Downpipe” by Farrow & Ball and the bedside tables are “Railings”. Not everyone’s taste, I’ll admit, but it’s cosy and romantic at night and, as it’s dual aspect with French windows and a balcony facing South, it is surprisingly light, bright and airy during the day. Best of both. And we love it, so there!Bedside table2

Has anyone else made any pointless decorative treasures lately, or made a bold decorating decision?


Jam, Flowers and WIP

Wow, we’ve got loads of blackberries this year! Sadly we won’t have as many next year because, whilst we were away, my son thoughtfully pruned the overhanging branches (quote – “Only the ones with no blackberries on”). He has unwittingly removed most of the growth that was going to produce next year’s fruit!! Hey ho, these things happen. blackberries

blackberryThe Girls eat as many as they can reach; it’s hilarious watching the way they flap with all their might in an effort to jump higher to get to the juicy, ripe ones which are just out of pecking distance!

hen eating blackberriesI am going to make as much blackberry and apple jam as I can this year in the hope that it will last longer. First two batches are in jars awaiting ‘hats’ and labels. I always give some away as Christmas presents paired with matching jars of homemade marmalade or another jam, so gingham hats and raffia ties are a must!

Jam making small

They look rather nice as homemade gifts go!

Homemade jam gift small

For our own use, I transfer jam from the jars into a lovely vintage jam pot. The lid was dropped onto the tiled floor and, unfortunately, didn’t survive, but I still love it.

vintage jam potsmall

Of course, there’s always a little bit left over that has to go through Quality Control….

Homemade jam small

If you let your hens free-range as we do, you’ll know that growing flowers in the garden is nearly impossible so my lovely husband brings home glorious blooms on a regular basis. Even so, the cheeky chickens still hop onto the coffee table to peck at the stamens! These should be safe though, as they’re well out of the way up on the dining table.

Vase of liliessmall


I know lilies are associated with funerals and many people don’t like them for that reason, but I absolutely love, love, LOVE them!

Stargazer Lilysmall

I wouldn’t dream of removing the stamens that stain everything a dark orange either; they’re just so pretty:)

Lily close upsmall

I wish I could paint – I would have my own watercolour floral masterpieces clinging to the walls like wallpaper….but alas my creative talents lie in a different direction.

Talking of which, here are a couple of WIPs – this one just waiting the addition of a few bits of hardware that are marked by eBay as ‘dispatched’…

Granny stripes smallGranny square flowers smallIncreasing base small

…and this one. In the words of Rolf Harris “Can you guess what it is yet?”.


And no, it’s not another basket. Intrigued? Watch this space….!


Tea Cosy Tutorial

There has been quite a lot of interest in my ‘Camper Van’ and ‘Hen’ tea cosies, so here is the tutorial I promised.  I would love to see any that you make – post your photos on my Facebook page:)


You will need: –

  • a sheet of A4 paper
  • 1/4 metre of fabric of your choice
  • 1/4 metre lining fabric
  • 1/4 metre polyester wadding
  • motif (for appliqué)
  • iron-on interfacing
  • matching thread
  • cotton tape
  • bias binding

On an A4 sheet of paper, use a large plate to draw the rounded corners of the tea cosy.


Using the paper template you have just made, cut TWO each out of your main fabric, lining and some polyester wadding.


Take your chosen motif (I cut out a Camper Van from the Fryett’s range) and iron onto fusible interfacing.


Cut roughly around the motif and pin onto one of your main pieces of fabric. Stitch all around the motif three times. You can be as neat as you like, although I “scribble-stitched” using the freehand machine embroidery method.  This allows the fabric to fray very slightly and adds to the rustic charm.  You could use a close zigzag stitch if you prefer, to enclose the raw edges for a neat finish.


Trim the excess fabric from the finished appliqué.


Cut a 4″ (10cm) piece of non-stretch cotton tape.


Fold the tape in half and pin to the right side of one of your main fabric pieces as shown to form a small handle.


Pin your fabric, right sides together, sandwiching the cotton tape in between.  Pin your lining, right sides together.  Stitch all the way around the curved edge, leaving the bottom, straight edge, free.


Turn and press.

Trim the wadding by 1/2″ (1cm) all the way around.


Slip the lining inside the cosy, wrong sides together to hide the seams.  Now insert the wadding in between the fabric and the lining (front and back) as below.


Pin the bias binding around the bottom of the cosy, enclosing all three layers.


When you get to the end, cut to length and fold under before pinning over the cut end.


Sew close to the edge of the binding.


And there you are – finished!


You can customise it to suit your style using any motif.  Here’s a variation with more free machine embroidery.



This is one I made out of beige linen with a hen appliqué.


Feel free to share on your own blog; a link back to this page would be appreciated:)





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Rooster inspired Hen Tea Cosy

We keep hens.

That is to say, when my husband moved down to Somerset from London he made the typical Escape To The Country statement “I-want-to-keep-chickens-and-grow-a-vegetable-patch”.

As a born and bred Somerset lass, the novelty (if there ever was one) of such things has long since waned.  Don’t get me wrong, we loved picking and eating our own home-grown veg, after all, nothing really beats a freshly picked carrot eaten straight from the (pesticide free) soil. As children we even used to set up a stall on the front lawn to sell the surplus to our neighbours down the road.

It’s the laborious journey to this bountiful harvest that I don’t miss, mainly the never-ending removal of waist-high weeds that myself and my three siblings seemed to be constantly battling with. The stinging nettles and thistles fought us every step of the way, not to mention the dreaded slug of which I have almost a phobia (“Limaxaphobia”, apparently).  I had visions of my husband doing the ‘nice’ bits ie. planting and picking, and I would probably be the one left with all the rubbish jobs as he works long hours.

So no vegetable patch.

But what about chickens?

Long story short, I relented and surprised hubby with a build-your-own chicken coop for his birthday a couple of years ago. He’s a blokey type of bloke and enjoyed building the coop and run so much that I nearly didn’t bother with the hens, but Christmas was only three weeks later so present shopping was easy that year.

We started with six hens, two of which quickly became broody and prompted the donation of some fertilized eggs from a farmer friend for them to sit on. Twenty-one days later we had three black chicks which turned out to be two hens and a cockerel.

And what a handsome beast he is! We gave him the unimaginative but obvious name “Cock” and he definitely rules the roost among his harem of girls.


I now thoroughly adore all nine birds and could watch them pecking their way round the garden all day long.

Watching them peck for worms and other tasty titbits reminded me that I had some fabric remnants from a roman blind in my son’s bedroom called “Rooster” by Clarke & Clarke – here’s what I made with it: –


Photos of the hens will be sure to ‘wing’ their way onto these pages before very long and will no doubt inspire some more hen creativity in one form or other.

For those who would like to make a similar tea cosy, a tutorial is on it’s way shortly so “follow” the blog to make sure sure you don’t miss out!