Saturday, 27 February 2016

Almost Here

Spring that is.

Just around the corner now, and I know that for sure as I've had a couple of springlike gardening sessions this week. Despite cold and frosty starts, both days I was out in the back garden by 10am wearing two fleeces and a scarf, and by coffee time I had peeled off to my long sleeved t-shirt.

I savour these early season garden tidying sessions as you can see and sense everything starting to come to life again, you can feel real warmth in the sun, and it's so good to get things tidied and ship shape ready for another year. Such a good feeling of well-being working in the sun and fresh air, cutting back old and dead stalks, pruning the roses, sweeping up leaves, weeding, tidying, raking and clearing away the dead leaves in the borders to find hidden treasure beneath such as fresh green growth and a crocus flower.

Last year I badly neglected the garden as I was too busy setting up shop at my space in The Loft Room, and was on a roll making cushions, bags, aprons, hearts etc. Nearly a year on, and with a well stocked space which I just top up with some new vintage treasures or a new make most weeks, the pressure is off and I'm finding more time to keep up with the other important things I mentioned in my post last week. 

So this week I was able to re-plant the rhubarb that had been taken out of the old vegetable patch to put in the new raised beds that were made last year, and found so many crowns that I've divided them so will hopefully have a good crop of rhubarb this year. 

I've also taken stock of what I want to grow in them this year. I am ambitiously planning globe artichokes, leeks, beetroot, courgettes, purple sprouting broccoli, peas, runners, and both dwarf and climbing french beans. As usual I will grow a few tomatoes too.

After last weeks completed cross stitch designs I have become a little obsessed with cross stitch again, and so have unearthed all my cross stitch books and have been planning a few new projects.

First some simple navy and white designs from a great book called Made in France by various authors. Am stitching a series of three different lighthouses with a New England feel about them. I'm not sure yet whether I'll frame then individually or in one of those triple aperture frames.

Once those are finished I've got various ideas swirling around in my head for my own designs. Other good books I'm using for ideas and inspiration are the invaluable Jane Greenoff's Cross Stitchers Bible, and the super Embroidery Companion by Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy.

I discovered Alicia's blog nearly 5 years ago when I first started blogging, and then bought her book. I still love to visit her blog for a good dose of stitching and crochet inspiration, and its full of lots of beautiful home and family life photos.

I have actually made a few cushions this year......

And have added a few more to my Etsy Shop

 vintage French ticking

 linen and vintage buttons

So that about rounds off the week. I am feeling a bit sorry for myself today as my bout of cross stitch yesterday evening resulted in a painful wrist and so after looking forward to a quiet weekend of long dog walks and cross stitch,  all my stitching plans for the weekend are on hold. 

 If I can't stitch or crochet then I can at least get some inspiration and eye candy from Pinterest and  catch up on my backlog of blog reading where I know I'll find even more creative inspiration!

Have a Happy Weekend!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Catching Up

Oh dear, is it really that long? In my own head I had written a blog post more recently than I really have, so to anyone out there who still stops by I say HELLO, thankyou for visiting and wish you a very belated Happy New Year, a belated Merry Xmas and everything else!

The end of last year whizzed by with lots of good and happy times, busy fairs and lots and lots of sewing.
But this year I'm trying to slow things down a little, and get back into doing more of the things that I love to do and that enrich my life but which got sadly neglected last year in the consuming rush to make, make, make! 

In no particular order I miss regular pottering round the garden, tidying it a bit here and there, growing vegetables, a cup of coffee on the bench by the pond whatever the weather, spending time with family and friends, gardening, crocheting whatever takes my fancy, painting furniture, junking, decorating, baking, trips to gardens, trips to London, little things like taking photos with a camera instead of my phone, and last but not least, I miss blogging and the interaction with the lovely, talented and inspiring friends I made in Blogland.

I have really missed keeping up with my favourite blogs and being inspired by all the colourful posts, the crochet, sewing, plants, gardens, homes, recipes and ideas out there, and so that's something that I'm going to try to remedy. I know some of you are on FB and IG too and I occasionally catch a post on my feed but all too rarely. 

So this year so far, as well as making bags, cushions and other items for my space at the loft Room and my Etsy shop, I've already made inroads into a few neglected areas. Like crochet.

I find it so relaxing to crochet and missed making things last year, so once the fairs were over I picked up my hook again.

I've been on a bit of a crochet roll since the last apron and xmas stocking orders were finished before Christmas as I didn't want to stitch another thing for a long time. 

I made a bobble hat for my daughter and have another one on the hook......these are the first crochet things she has ever asked me to make, and she has shied away in the past from anything crocheted, so after I picked myself up off the floor we went yarn shopping and she found a pattern online.

Its a great pattern, just make a rectangle of rib, gather up one edge and join one end of the strip to the other and add a bobble. Simples!

I've made a few mats and coasters in spring coloured cotton yarns which I've been using for the almost permanent vases of daffodils that are scattered thorughout the house at the moment as I'm treating myself to a few bunches every week when I do the shopping. At a £1 a bunch who could resist?

And I'm in the process of making some sweet little baby slippers at the moment, that although I have no one to give them too I just wanted to make as they kept catching my eye in an Erika Knight book. So a "just because" make....

Just need to make another tiny flower to stitch on the second slipper and thread some satin ribbons through the little loop at the heel. So tiny and sweet! 

I squeezed in a trip to the local flea market the other week and joy of joys, as soon as I walked in the room I spied this little was love at first sight and I knew we were meant for each other!

For £20 this little portable Olympia Splendid with case included was mine, all mine!!! 

One word from my husband when I excitedly told him....."why?"

He has no soul.


Bella and I had a brilliant day out in London this week as she's home for reading week. The National Gallery in the morning, Covent Garden for lunch, and Tate Britain in the afternoon. It was such a special treat to see all those amazing works of art...Leonardo, Canaletto, Turner, Constable, Sargant, Waterhouse, Rossetti, the Pre raphaelites.......a whole room of favourites around the mid 1800s in the Tate, not just placed individually but three paintings high in some places.....almost too much beauty to take in. I can't explain how magic it was to be up close to well known and favourite paintings, mostly painted centuries ago, and discovering new works of art and new artists.  

The whole day was wonderful, but one of the best things was that we did it all on foot once we arrived in London. Usually trips to London are for a specific event, a trip to a concert or a Fair or show, and involve diving straight down into the underground then popping up again wherever I am heading. So no tube, no buses, no taxis, just walking and looking and absorbing.


So for the first time since I worked in London in Marylebone Road and another time just off Oxford Street, and used to tramp around all over the place over 25 or more years ago, we properly looked around us and walked, marvelled at the buildings, architecture, streets, statues and shops, immersed in the sights, sounds and smells. 

It was brilliant. Trafalgar Square, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Strand. The Mall, Buckingham Palace in the distance, Horseguards Parade, Whitehall, Parliament Square, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and of course the river. We went past the MI5 building and tried to spot spies, and we tramped back to Charing Cross in the evening rain with the sight of the London Eye lit up in red behind the incredible silhouette of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. We clocked up over 7 miles that day, over 17,000 steps.

We're already planning our next trip!


I have finally finished a cross stitch embroidery that I started about two days before a friends daughters wedding and knew it wouldn't be done on time but it is now ready, and as they have just moved into a little cottage I thought the time was right, and only nearly a year late!

So this year is about trying to get a better balance in my life, and that includes getting back to blogging. I won't try to be over ambitious but will try and blog every week or so instead of rarely, and will try and keep up with my favourite blogs.

 I wish you all a Happy February and may Spring be with us soon!!!
Gill xx

P.S You can find me on Instagram as Pinkgillyflower !