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Sunday Sevens #169

Only a day late, but trying to get back into the swing of things with another Sunday Sevens.

1. No.3 Son and his dance partner gained medals in their latest Latin and Ballroom competition – 2nd and 4th places in Waltz and Jive respectively.

2. It’s Somerset Art Weeks at the moment and I spent a day visiting some of the exhibitions with my sister and mother. This particular exhibition was in a converted barn on a farm where there were hungry piglets feeding.

3. My sister and I asked the artist to pose for a picture in front of some of her sketches.

4. Back home we’re still getting bookings for b+b guests well into October, so I’m kept very busy with laundry/cleaning/cooking.

5. I keep expecting business to die out for the season, but if more guests give us a bottle of bubbly from their own village in Italy as a ‘Thank you”, then I don’t mind!

6. Jumper weather isn’t here just yet, but I resurrected this make from a couple of years ago which has never been worn because I wasn’t happy with the way the seams were finished – so I unpicked them all.

7. Ready to be put back together with a better method of joining this time.

8. Following on from last week’s Christmas present make of a jumper, I cast on again.

9. This will be a really striking and unusual asymmetric poncho, also destined to be a Christmas present. And if they don’t like it – I do! This one will be hard to give away.

10. I cast on another present as well, in these two colours.

12. Progress as of Sunday night is looking good.

13. I finally wrapped up and sent off The Wedding Blanket to its new owners, who have since received it and sent their thanks.

I’m really focused on Christmas presents now and feel like I’ve made some good progress this last couple of weeks – how are you getting on with yours?


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Sunday Sevens #167

This week’s Sunday Sevens is the culmination of three weeks again – teaming up with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins.

1. My daughter came around for the day to enjoy the continuing hot weather as our garden is more private than hers….and she gets breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked for her.

2. The paddling pool has never seen as much use……

3……and we have actual olives on our olive trees!

4. Cock has learned how to climb the blackberry bush to get to the ripest berries and even throws them down for The Girls.

5. Then he comes in and finishes up the dog food, if he can get away with it. Tess is NOT happy about that.

6. No.2 Son finished school a week earlier than his brother, so we spent some nice time together, just the two of us.

7. The school does all his washing so I had no idea how small his trousers had got until he tried them on for me. He’s been wearing them like this for months and kept ripping the arse out of them – no wonder! His little brother is wearing the other pair and shows how they used to fit just eight months ago!

8. Growing up fast, he might be, but he’s still not too old to come down dressed up like this and scare the living daylights out of me.

9. We managed to sneak in a nice pub lunch with hubby, where my tan matched the colour of the table.

10. Another day, another venue, this time just drinks at a local café.

The pink dress is getting a lot of wear.

11. Craftwise, it’s been slow, but I did manage to complete the border on The Wedding Blanket and just have to block it now before sending it off.

12. Most of my time has been spent doing horrible things like cleaning behind the fridge and painting.

13. We finally got everything done though, and the house is officially up for sale. Here’s the link if you fancy a nose: –

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-66638677.html

14. No.3 Son is a goalkeeper for the Yeovil’s Junior Premier League and they got to play a mini tournament on the pitch at halftime during a Yeovil Town football match.

15. He was thrilled to bits to have his photograph taken with their goalkeeper afterwards.

16. We had a fun messy day making costumes and painting backdrops for my mother’s 70th birthday party, As it was Art themed, no shower was necessary and No.2 Son went covered in paint.

17. Just in case there is any doubt, that’s me on the far left, dressed up Lichtenstein -style.

18. At about midnight, The Boys collapsed on the straw bales, oblivious to all the music still blaring out around them. Oh, to be able to do that.

19. The Boys made their Gran this crocheted cushion and a knitted scarf, (which I neglected to photograph) on the back of which, No.2 Son gained a commission to make an identical one for an admiring guest.

19. We booked a table for a lovely little pub about twenty minutes away from us, followed the Sat Nav and found that it was an entirely different place to the one we thought we were going to. Such a nice way to discover a new great place to eat!

20. The National Trust said “Yes”! Next step is putting the lease to their legal team for change of use so we can run it as a B+B.

21. Reading through the terms of the I-don’t-know-how-many-pages lease deserved a pint at the end of it.

22. And then I left hubby to deal with the B+B guests while I hopped on a train “oop North”. The first leg of the journey up to Bristol was great and I managed an hour’s uninterrupted sock knitting…..

23. ……a further five hours of standing on two trains without air conditioning, and Ali (akathimberlina) had a very frazzled house guest to collect from the station. #sewdowndewsbury here we come!

Then followed a fab day in the fabric shops with loads of other lovely bloggers…..but that’s a whole different blog post:)


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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!

24.

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.


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Sunday Sevens #135

Two week’s worth of Sunday Sevens this week….

1. My sister and niece came for a couple of days. Always something to look forward to and we just chatter non-stop the entire time. And go out for coffee, obviously.


2. We have actually had a few open fires already and The Dogs are first there to hog the best spot and soak up all that heat.


3. Other days it’s still been mild enough to throw open the French windows and let the fresh air in.


4. No.3 Son did some target practice with the BB gun under Daddy’s supervision. Note the newly pruned back blackberry bush:)


5. Mr H-L obsessed over the weather forecasts and finally found two four-hour windows in which he could oil the decking.


6. We cleared out the last of the storage unit and completed the difficult task of sorting through Mr H-L’s late parents’ possessions.   A tough job but it had to be done.


7. It’s been quite a productive week, creatively speaking. The Cow-Print dress I made had it’s first outing that very evening as we went to see “Dunkirk” at the cinema. We did something we NEVER do – had pizza! Having eventually committed to going gluten-free a month or so ago, I really fancied a pizza and, luckily, a place right next to the cinema offered a gluten-free option. With prosecco, of course.


8. This will be another Christmas present. I’m ticking off the list slowly but surely.


9. It’s beginning to look like an elephant.


10. Christmas sock number six is under way after a break of a few weeks. Well, I needed something portable to take to a football match.


11. No.3 Son picked up his knitting again.


12. Talking of knitting, I picked up these two books at a bargain price and, having put it on Instagram, have already been asked to do a commission of a West Highland Terrier. Fab – an excuse to make one!


13. One of my students proudly showing her newly finished fabric storage pot.


14. Although I forgot to photograph the finished article, a friend asked me to make her a roman blind from this Orla Kiely fabric.


15. No.2 Son came home for his first Exeat weekend and he and I spent some time together whilst his brother was at football.


16. It is the GBSBlive in London this weekend. I couldn’t be there in person so decided to get in the spirit of things by making a skirt from the book instead.

17. I whipped up a second “Laurel” too, both inspired by a scarf I had in the wardrobe. See, I told you I’d been productive!


18. Not only that, but I managed to squeeze in craft night at a friend’s on Thursday. Look at all these lovely ladies!


19. We took The Boys out for an Indian on Saturday night. I must admit, we did miss not being able to have poppadoms or naan bread, especially as The Boys were obviously enjoying theirs so much.


20. Still, gluten-free isn’t always a hardship – does this look like we’re missing out?!


See you for more Sevens next week:)


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Sunday Sevens #132

Linking up with Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for this week’s Sunday Sevens – a weekly blog series in photos.

1. Progress on the ‘Scrappy’ blanket has been good.

Although I had to buy five more balls of yarn so it’s no longer strictly a scrappy blanket.


2. Managed a glass of red and a homemade pork pie at the pub whilst The Boys played in the playing field behind. We even sat in the garden as the rain held off. Still chilly enough for a jumper though. Well, this is 3pm in August!


3. Another day, another pub. Our local has been closed for a couple of months and is now under new management. The Boys took their light sabres to use as guns. As you do. Our walk takes us past this thatched cottage in the village.


4. A pint and a bag of crisps. It should be written into the Human Rights bill.


5. The blackberries are coming thick and fast – I’m picking over three pounds a day from our bush in the garden alone! Good job it’s thornless. The apples are from mum’s tree.


6. A rare Chinese takeaway – The Boy’s favourite treat.


7. I gave No.2 Son a ‘holiday haircut’.

8. I didn’t realise he had this much to lose!

9. Breakfast at Heathrow airport before heading off to France for the week. It took us an hour and a half to drive to the airport and just forty-five minutes to fly to Paris!


10. I love France’s café culture.


11. And food!


12. Pretty street corners of the district we stayed in – Croissy sur Seine.


13. We did the sights, after all, the last time I visited Paris was as a schoolgirl back in 1979!

L’Arc Du Triomphe


14. Tour Eiffel


15. Sacre Coeur


16. If you turn around 180 degrees, the view over Paris from the Sacre Coeur is breathtaking. Here are two of the Littlies taking a break – we walked eight miles that day!


17. The iconic Metro.


18. We walked the quick way up to the Montmartre district (for which read ‘steep’). Mr. H-L can be seen about half way up the steps struggling to keep up!


19. Montmartre is all about the artists – and they are everywhere.


20. It was fascinating to watch portraits come together before your very eyes.


21. Of course, we HAD to have chocolate and banana crepes while we were there!


22. Relaxing with the locals.


23. Lots of good food and drink (again) and good times spent with family (again).


24. Landing in London to – you guessed it – more rain!


25. Still, we’re grateful to have Fifi to come home to. I’ve vowed not to leave her again as she has needed an emergency trip to the Vet’s whilst we’ve been abroad the last two times. She has recurring mammary tumours and a heart murmur which flare up frequently. Whether she’ll survive this latest bout remains to be seen, but at least she is comfortable and happy – for now.


She’s lying on the bed beside me whilst I type this, snoring quite contentedly wrapped in bandages and her little rainbow coat.

Bless her.


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Sunday Sevens #130

This week’s sum-up is actually two – and comes from sunny Spain again. Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins who invented the original Sunday Sevens.

1. A whole week of glorious weather meant several consecutive days of dog-walking involving both a hat AND sunglasses – a rare combination in good old Blighty!


2. If you look carefully in the shadows, you can just about make out Fifi and Tess wondering why I suddenly stopped. I thought I’d take a few photos of our usual five-mile route, beginning with open fields and country lanes which are always traffic-free apart from the odd farm vehicle or post van.


3. We passed some cattle grazing under the welcome shade of trees. They soon came trotting over when they spotted the dogs.


4. This farmhouse features regularly in my Sevens, most recently whilst wearing the most glorious covering of Wisteria which is now over.


5. The point at which we turn around and head back towards home – the church at Blackford, our destination village.


6. The Dogs were relieved to find a stream to cool down in and immediately jumped down for a drink.

Both dogs were exhausted and Fifi spent the rest of the day snoring!


7. I managed to find some see-through wellies at last and ordered a couple of pairs to be gifted together with the hand knitted socks for Christmas.


8. Work on the decking has started! It will eventually wrap around the back and side of the house.


9. “Teachers’ gifts” are a new concept to me since my last batch of children were at school, so imagine my surprise when a student presented me with this tote that she’d printed by hand for me!


10. End of term barbecue at school, accompanied by a steady stream of drizzle. Well, it wouldn’t be a barbecue without rain, would it?!


11. Places you can crochet: in the car whilst No.3 Son is at football training.


12. Progress on said blanket.


13. We popped in to a café which we had passed numerous times but had never actually been in. They were shooting some promotional photos and asked us to pose. Looks like we’re going to feature in their advertising!


14. Mr H-L erected a new chicken coop and run for the hens. We just couldn’t get rid of the mites that infested the old one and decided that the best thing to do was to burn it.


15. Here it is in its final resting place at the top of the garden. The Girls are already happily laying in the nest box again, after eschewing the coop in favour of laying in the hedge in an effort to avoid the pesky mites.


16. We were able to squeeze in lunch at our favourite place, Holbrook House.


17. Fifteen of us met in a pub for a family meal.


18. Happy 69th Birthday Mum!


19. No.2 Son’s last day at Primary School.


20. I was gifted FIVE boxes of embroidery threads, all carefully catalogued and beautifully organised! 


21. Schools broke up for the Summer holidays later than most countries, on 21st July. Three days later we flew back to my Auntie’s in Spain for ten days, joined by my sister this time.


22. Mr H-L was working the whole time – here he is taking a ‘phone call on the roof terrace above the ‘casita’, his office for the duration. Nice work if you can get it!


23. Everyone needs a lunch break, though, so popping out for tapas was a must.


24. And, of course, long, hot evenings were all enjoyed together.


25. I’ll leave you pondering over one of our more adventurous tapas.

Yes, it is EXACTLY what it appears to be!!!


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Sunday Sevens #110

1. I bought Mr H-L some festive pyjamas although he always swore he would never wear any. Here he is fast asleep ‘watching’ TV wearing his new PJs. This has been the scene every night since!


2. A crocheted Poinsettia brooch was whipped up in an evening and found its way into one of my Stitching Santa parcels.


3. The reason I straighten my hair – ’nuff said.


4. I went to Amsterdam for a couple of days with hubby on a business trip and had arranged to meet a blogging pal who lives there. Marianne, from marrose-ccc.com, was so lovely and we had a wonderful day going around the yarn shops in Amsterdam. More on that in a separate post.


5. Mr H-L turned 50 on Saturday, so we had a bit of a party at home with about twenty-five family and friends. This is a quick snap taken before everyone arrived as we forgot to take any photos later on! 


6. The dog’s bed was put as close to the fire as possible but, even with her coat on, Fifi decided it wasn’t close enough and sat on the hearth instead!


7. The Boys are enjoying their advent calendar again this year. Here they are secretly putting Candy Canes on car windscreens for the kids in the village to wake up to. There are less than twenty children in our village, so we could leave an anonymous treat for all of them.


8. Another day, their task was to write a letter to Father Christmas, which they did on headed paper before sending it up the chimney. Can you guess where we’re taking them next week for a few days? It’s a surprise so they have will have no idea until we get on the ‘plane.


That’s it for this week, folks! If you want to see how Sunday Sevens works or maybe have a go yourself, just visit Nat at Threads & Bobbins.