Sunday, 20 August 2017

Summer Snippets

It's hard to believe we're past the middle of August now.......why is that the warm months always fly by the quickest?

It's been a funny old summer here and despite the warm, even hot, days that we've had, the amount of wet days seems to dominate and I'm in the mindset that Autumn is really not far away at all. 

Gathering the first blackberries in July this year was the start of this pre-Autumn feeling. So early, usually we don't pick them until the middle or end of August. It's been a bumper year for blackberries here in Kent and we have stacks in the freezer already and hopefully more to come. 

To me, the mornings smell autumnal, the evenings too when there's the smell of bonfires or wet grass in the air. I've started making warming soups and beany stews, the oil has been delivered in readiness for the chilly mornings (we actually had the heating on for an hour each day when it was wet and chilly -  in August!!) so it takes me by surprise when I step outside on a sunny morning and find its actually warm and still summer!

When the weather was wet I got back into sewing after a longish break. After selling a few patchwork pot stands in my Etsy Shop recently, I thought I'd better get sewing again so got out my patchwork books and was inspired to make some more. 

Some of the pot stands below are already sold but there are still a few left in my shop here

They are made in traditional block designs, some log cabin Courthouse Steps designs, a Windmill design and a Broken Dishes design. I will be making more.

Windmill design

Broken Dishes design

Courthouse Steps already sold

 a lucky win of complimentary tickets to the Festival of Quilts at the Birmingham NEC last weekend, courtesy of the generous Carolyn Forster, quilter, teacher and author of lots of beautiful books including Quilting on the Go, inspired me even more and now there is no stopping me! 

The Festival of Quilts was amazing! I'd wanted to go for years, and being a member of the Quilters Guild I was always aware when it was on through the quarterly magazine articles, but having no sewing friends I never plucked up the courage to go alone. 

A good friend with no sewing interest wanted to go and we both had a brilliant time. She now knows what a fat quarter is and is about to tackle her first patchwork project!

Here are just a few of the amazing quilts that were on display.

The quilts were incredible. Each one different in concept, but each one beautifully made. 

Inspired by the beautiful quilts, and armed with some gorgeous fabrics, I got busy making something on a slightly smaller scale than the quilts.....some little patchwork coaster sets!

 French General fabric coaster set 1, now sold

 French General fabric Set 2

Blue Sky fabrics by Edyta Sitar for Andover 

The last two sets of 4 coasters, the French General fabrics Set 2 and the Blue Sky set are available in my Etsy Shop

Edited : Blue Sky set now SOLD

Before the Festival I also made some cushions for home and for sale

One for the sitting room....... for my daughters bedroom which sits nicely on her cosy chair

.......and one for my online shop! An upcycled denim jeans cushion now in my Etsy Shop

I shall be making more of these!

I've also been making some reversible bandana bibs which are currently being "tested" out by a friends baby granddaughter! If they fit well then I will make some for the shop.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone, may the sun shine long into September (please, pretty please, as I'm off on holiday soon!)

Edited 21 Aug :  As the little Blue Sky Set of Coasters shown earlier in this post has now sold, I have just finished a similar set (see above and below) which is now in my Etsy Shop here. These coasters have a definite vintage French feel about them, with the beautiful blue, cream and white fabrics used and the hand quilted finish.

Gill xx

Friday, 21 July 2017

Such a long time.............

.........since I've posted on here!!!

Back in the Spring in fact, and now we're already half way through the summer.

Not quite sure how I've filled that time but I know I've been busy doing something!

The garden is looking quite colourful and productive so I know I've been spending a lot of time sowing, potting on, planting, taking cuttings, watering, weeding and yet more weeding and watering!

We have picked our grown from seed broad beans, and are currently picking the climbing beans and dwarf French, all which have been good this year and surprisingly free from the usual slug/bird/rabbit attacks. The broad beans suffered a lot of black fly this year, which the ants valiantly tried to keep under control, but it didn't seem to hinder the growth of the bean pods.

For the first time I'm trying soya beans grown from seed and they seem to be doing well. I've also got a fair few runner beans although I've lost one or two plants which seem to have just faded away although I'm not quite sure why as there is no sign of any insect attack.

I've also grown outdoor cucumbers from seed and they are romping away with the first cucumbers almost ready for picking. The courgettes are a bit slow this year so we haven't yet picked any but there are lots of baby courgettes coming so it won't be long.

I grew rather too many kale plants, both ordinary (Reflex) and red (Curly Scarlet), and they are looking pretty healthy and growing nicely. So far no sign of caterpillar attack although now I've said that.........

The swiss chard and spinach which I planted direct came to virtually nothing, so we've re-sown in pots and will plant out another batch in a week or so.

The tomatoes are just about ready to harvest in the greenhouse, and they are the only vegetable plants I bought as I left it far too late to sow any seeds this year. A kind neighbour topped up the few I'd bought so I have 3 or 4 different varieties ripening, including a golden cherry type.

I've had a good few days out visiting gardens for inspiration and buying a few new plants. An annual trip to Sissinghurst for my Birthday was brilliant as usual, and a trip to Great Dixter was perfect too. I always take new ideas away from these gardens, whether it be new favourite plants or planting combinations, or a clever way of growing or staking vegetables.

The following photos are of Great Dixter Gardens, Northiam, East Sussex.
 Great Dixter

We had a gloriously peaceful week in Cornwall with the dog back in June, where we walked to pretty Port Isaac in the rain from the holiday cottage, visited numerous beautiful sandy beaches and coves, explored a few National Trust gardens including my all time favourite Trelissick Gardens on the Fowey estuary, and pottered round quaint villages and towns.

 Port Isaac

 King Harry Ferry adjacent Trelissick Gardens, Fowey Estuary

I also had a day out in Arundel a few weeks ago, and whilst there visited Arundel Castle where the gardens were a huge surprise. So much to see and so totally unexpected! Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Arundel castle gardens

an enormous peony flower, so beautiful!

I have done very little sewing these last few months as the garden has taken over, but I have made a few little things, and I've also added a few new items in my Etsy Shop.

 dish or pot stands soon to be in my Etsy Shop

 provence lavender filled sachets and hearts are in my Etsy Shop

 lavender filled antique fabric key fobs

I also have another Etsy shop now, an Etsy Studio shop which has a few supplies for making your own items, mainly pincushions at the moment, but I'm hoping to add a few new items in the coming weeks including upcycled and vintage fabric bundles / patchwork pieces.

Thank you for your visits and comments on my last post. I look forward to catching up with you on your blog very soon!