Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Anniversary Present - bench quilt


I have been rubbish at blogging recently, the weather has been good to me this autumn hardly a day off work.  Most of my gardens have been put to bed for the winter, still have a few gardens that I can "do" through the winter but most have gone to sleep waiting for the spring.

My lovely customers Steve and Cyndi have been married for 25 years so I decided to make them a garden bench quilt.  Here it is on my bench, it should fit theirs better.

Its made with half square triangles made the easy way, 2 squares sewn right sides together all the way round, then cut diagonally into 4.  This leaves you with pairs of half square triangles.

Got a new hobby which is taking over my time, nothing to do with sewing, more of that later.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Miniature Sewing Machines


I seem to be collecting mini sewing machines.

This is my first one Essex Mark II which has been in a previous blog.

When I was on holiday in the lovely Rye I spotted this one in an antique shop looking unloved so it had to come home with me.  A bit of a polish and a much needed oil upon my return and she is up and running.  This Machine is an Essex Mark I which was a copy of the Singer 20.  The Patent for the Singer rang out in 1946 so were copied by other manufacturers. At that time, full size machines had a waiting list so these dinky machines were sold as working machines not toys.

Then I was asked if I could find another one for a little girl Xmas pressy so I started to search Ebay.  Missed a couple of Essex's but then spotted the Grain.  Again a copy of the Singer, it works exactly the same.  This one is in super condition with its original box.  It was very hard to turn the handle so out came my oil and cleaning stuff, it took a while for the oil get to all the parts but now the handle turns easily.

They are a bit tricky to use, you have to hold the end of the thread when setting off and once going, never turn the handle the wrong way otherwise it causes a huge knot underneath and the chain stitch goes wrong big time.


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Tool Kit for Singer Featherweight


My Featherweight is sooo pretty and I am keen to keep it that way so I regularly oil and keep it clean.

These are the tools I use, they normally stay in the box of attachments in a muddle so I decided that I would make something to keep them in while I was away on holiday.  I like to take a project away with me.

This is what I came up with, more a tool book than a kit.

All tucked away in pockets so they don't get lost.

Made a matching needle case based on a vintage one that I was given by my aunt, its intended to keep any stray machine needles in.

So no excuse for loosing screwdrivers now! (Bet I still manage to misplace something, probably the whole kit)


Monday, 30 September 2013

Dog with Rubber Chicken


We have been on a jolly jaunt for a couple of weeks and ventured "down South" in our motorhome.  Buzz of course, came too along with an assortment of toys including his favourite rubber chicken which he carried all over the place, much to everyone amusement making people laugh as they walked by.  Had loads of photos taken of him, it was strange being stopped in the street for a photoshoot.

We went to Sussex, what a beautiful part of the Country, I have never seen so many trees.  Found a super campsite near the Bluebell Railway surrounded by woods, just behind our van was a small paddock full of wallabies and 5 tiny deer.  Buzz thought it was very exciting, he spent hours watching (not chasing) them.  He liked his hoppety friends.

Here's the Monk Jack deer, she was very partial to a leaf snack

 One disadvantage of taking Buzz with us that he still expects to get up at normal 7 am and being on a campsite I had to get up and walk him off site, so we had some lovely morning walks at sunrise, look a glowing dog

Our walk at Heaven Farm.

A walk in the woods.

Early morning work of art.

Buzz found an alternative to the chicken but wasn't willing to share!

 I did take some sewing projects with me which I will share with your when I get the photos sorted out.  I went shopping and found some super sewing related treasures.


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Sewing basket treasures


Look what arrived, my elderly Aunt had a bit of a clear out and sent me these two sewing baskets, stuffed full of goodies.

Cotton reels, mainly Sylko to go in my vintage Sylko cotton reel box.  My Singer featherweight sews much better with 100% cotton.

Two pairs of super sharp scissors in their original boxs.  There is a letter from the magazine/newspaper that they were purchased from but unfortunately, no visable date on the postage stamp but old money stamps with a very young looking Queen Elizabeth on they must be around 50ish years old.  There is a nifty dial gauge for converting weights and measures from My Weekly which I presume is early 70's when decimalisation came in.

A lovely treen needle holder packed full of needles.  Don't you just love things made of wood, it's been given a bit of polish.  Along with a couple of needle cases stuffed full of needles, some darning thread and a couple of brass thimbles.

A cigar case full of large needles, haven't a clue what half of them are for, some have flat curved ends and some with 2 holes for thread, something to do with carpets perhaps?  There is a tool which I think is for pulling ribbon/elastic, if you know any different, please let me know.

 A Singer needle threader along with 3 dinky screwdrivers for fixing sewing machines.  A singer shuttle with bobbins off a Singer Treadle machine. A small key which I assume is for a sewing machine case lock.

All this along with elastic, ribbons, boxes of pins, buttons, press studs and loops.

My vintage sewing collection is growing!


Monday, 12 August 2013

Croft Circuit Nostalgia Weekend


We went to the Croft Nostalgia weekend and had a great day drooling over vintage cars that we can't afford

The French Resistance were camped next to the Germans.

Found the cutest camping hut.

Well done Croft Circuit for brill day out, can't wait until next year's event


Friday, 9 August 2013

Arbour Seat Makeover


I have been busy giving the arbour seat a much needed makeover.  Here is a before photo, I appear to have been using it as a plant stand!

I originally painted a horrid cacky brown, what possessed me? And to make matters worse, I even painted the 5 bar garden gate the same colour.  The gate got a makeover quite quickly but the arbour seat is such a pain to paint with all that trellis, I never got round to it until now.

Ta daaa

Inside there is a surprise - a little wren house which gets used in the spring for nesting every year, the nest material is left in for a winter roost, you can see that they are using it for a roost as the hole in the nesting material gets bigger as the winter progresses.  Apparently lots of wrens cuddle up together on cold nights to keep warm.  Then at the beginning of March I pull the old nest out and they build a new one within the week.

While I was painting Buzz was relaxing on the lawn with his favourite toy.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Lavender Favours


Hope that everyone has been enjoying the hot weather.  One side effect of the high temperatures is that the lavender is particularly fragrant as the heat draws out the lavender oil, its lovely gardening around lavender, its one of my favourite scents.  The bumble bees are enjoying it as well, my lavender is covered with them.  Bumble bees are such gentle creatures they are totally focused on the flowers and don't seem to bother when I garden around them.  It great to see them back, I was beginning to get worried that they hadn't recovered from the bad start to the year.

I had a go at making lavender favours today, I haven't made them for such a long time.  They are quick and easy to make.

They just need drying out before I add them to my drawers (chest of) but they will keep the moths out of my underwear!


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Blooming cottage


No, I am not swearing about my house, just commenting on the flowers growing down the side of it.

They are taking over.  I just started with one shade of pink, then the darker pink appeared and last year, the white ones appeared.  The moths love these plants on a warm evening they are covered in them which is good news for the bats that fly around my front garden.  They also normally attract the butterflies as well but alas not this year, they have all disappeared.  I have had a lonely cabbage white in the garden but that's all.  In past hot summers, I have had hummingbird moths, which hover over the plants and feed off the plants with a great long tongue, they are amazing to watch.  They are furry little things with a tail like a lobster, they come over from France.  Perhaps with this hot spell, they are on their way!

I got carried away at the Trade Nursery when I was collecting bedding plants for my customers and bought a load for myself.  I normally don't bother with hanging baskets but thought that they might brighten the garden.  This cone basket dries out quickly so to water it, the bottom half of the basket is dipped in an old dustbin full of water and the basket is secured to the water butt with the handing chain, I leave it over night and by next morning fully watered, which is why the bottom of the basket is a different colour.

I used an old galvanised vintage bucket for this display, the frost had burst the bottom which makes it ideal for a flowers as the water drains away.

Finally a flower manger stuff with flowers

Sewing is on the back burner while I try to keep my garden tidy!

Working as a gardener in this hot weather is very draining but I have found a solution to overheating, resorted to  putting my head under the garden tap, I look like a drowned rat afterwards but it does cool me down quickly.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Summer Garden


I have been very lax at Blogging, the sewing has been put on the back burner while the weather is good, spending my time gardening, mainly for my customers but sometimes for myself.

Had the urge to do hanging baskets this year for the cottage, I went to a Salvage and Restoration Show at Ripley Castle a few weeks ago and came back with a wire birdcage.  Here it is, I planted it up to use as a posh hanging basket.  I forgot to buy some moss so had to rake some out of the village green in front of my house so I keep getting the odd tuft of grass growing!  The plant up the side is a rather nice clematis which has outgrown its plant support and is heading for the roof, it must have liked the rose feed I gave it!

The birdcage matches my cream table and chair set rather well.

I love this time of year, the white shrub is taking over but I didn't have the heart to chop it back, its so pretty and at dusk the white flowers seem to glow.


Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Gardener's Quilt


I've been really busy with my gardening business but a couple of weeks got the urge to quilt so had a rummage in my fabric cupboard

Found a pack of blue, green and a sort of mustard colour fat quarters.  Decided on pin wheels again, I just love these blocks, quick and easy to do.  What I am making??

A bench quilt for my lovely customers Don and Margaret to go either in their Arbour Seat or on the bench overlooking the pond so that they can sit and relax while I tend their glorious garden.   They are a bit shy so didn't want their photos taken but as Buzz comes to work with me, he didn't mind posing (he wasn't allowed to lay on the rug!).

Buzz loves visiting this garden as it comes with an endless supplies of biscuits and has a parrot in the house which whistles and asks him if he wants a cup of tea!  Buzz is fascinated by it, at first he ignored it but once is spoke, he is obsessed, if he goes missing, he is in with the parrot ready for a round up session if needed.  Jason, the parrot is quite an elderly chap now, over 45 yrs old.  They are funny together.  When I am gardening outside the window and Jason can see me, he whistles for me and at coffee time, we have a little chat and if he is in a good mood, he lets me stroke his head.

We love our Friday morning visits.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Apple Blossom


Today's post is just a quick one, here is my apple tree in its full glory.

Notice Buzz in the corner, he was either telling me that there was a baby starling in the tree or he thinks the flowers are pretty tooooo.

Unfortunately, too cold for the bees to visit today, on Sunday when it was warm the honey bees came for tea so hopefully, they will have pollinated the flowers so I will get apples.  Last year, only 3 apples due to the cold weather when the flowers were out and the bees were tucked up in their hives.

If you want your tree to be covered in blossom, summer prune it in late June.  Look at all this year's new growth, cut off 2/3 of each stem of new growth just above a bud, this is called spur pruning, it encourages the tree to  put all its resources into producing side (spur shoots) which is where next years blossom grows.  If you don't  spur prune, new shoots just keep growing long and leggy and hardly produce any blossom bearing side shoots, then the next year if they do produce any apples (you might get the odd one), they bend the long whippy branches down and they can break off.

Hope it warms up soon, the bees need all the help they can get.