Friday, 18 April 2014

Windsor - Mum's Birthday....

Last Sunday, as is traditional, we took Mum out for the day to celebrate her birthday. This year we decided on Windsor.

My Sis, Mum, Mum's Bestie and my niece Little E....

We arrived late morning and the first order of business was a little bit of shopping....

Windsor is so very British, very steeped in history....

We posed for the traditional photos....

And then it was time for afternoon tea....
This years trip was a wee bit poignant as last years day out had to be cancelled as Mum was recovering from a triple heart bypass following her heart attack - she was only up to a quiet meal out.
So this year we were thankful in more ways than one to have our lovely Mum....
S x


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Building Raised Decking - A Ta Dah!!

Since we had the conservatory along the back of the house we have been without a patio and really missed sitting out in the summer to eat. After the cabin was built decided decking was the way forward as the space in front of it was perfect:

Aside from building the cabin last autumn we had not done much building/carpentry and first of all decided to get someone in to do the decking for us but after a review of the budget decided that was not going to be possible - we would have to Do It Ourselves.

I did a bit of Googling and watched a couple of videos on YouTube and set about designing the frame, making calculations and then spent just over £500 on materials.

I found a place that did long lengths of decking as well as the beams to support it and so ordered them exactly the size we wanted to ensure minimum cutting was needed. We did hire a circular saw for 48hrs (£22) to do the cuts for the bearers which were placed between the joists to add strength.

Mr G has had this week off work and he and W (at the rate of £1 per hour for his labour!!) have been hard at it the last two and half days:

Of course I "project managed" with a bit of stitching to keep me occupied between "instructions":

After the first day the frame had taken shape and the supporting posts were concreted in - that was a lot easier than it sounds as we used Postmix - you dig your hole (a minimum 30cms deep for raised decking), fill it 1/3 with water, set in your post and then scoop in the Postmix powder until no water remains. It "goes off" in ten minutes so the post is going nowhere:

Yesterday, the decking itself was laid - we decided we didn't want railings for a couple of reasons, firstly (and a bit embarrassingly) we didn't realise quite how high it was going to be!! The garden slopes both back to front and side to side and so that left corner is pretty tall. Secondly, I thought railings would make the whole thing look closed in and detract from the cabin and thirdly, railings are expensive and so they would have doubled the cost:

And today, we finished off by boarding the front and making some steps - the deck is a fraction smaller than the cabin itself 4.8m x 3m:

Doesn't it look fab? To the right of the cabin we are awaiting a new fence and a gate so the dogs can't get behind the cabin as the fence belonging to the house that backs onto us is not secure and in front of that (where you can see the railway sleepers) we will fill with bark chippings.

We need to reseed the grass where it's got compacted with all the to'ing and fro'ing and I intend to put a standard rose in each of the planters (built for me by my lovely StepDad) along with the ashes of my two ponies lost last year.

So if you think you can't manage to build a deck of your own I'd urge you to think again, with just a couple of days (enjoyable) work and a small budget look at the lovely finish Mr G has achieved - (and at this point I will confess his nickname is "Bodge It Bennett" and so if he can do it anyone can, lol!!)

One last thing (before I shop for a table and chairs of course) I'd like to paint all the fences a paleish, sage green - Mr G currently DIY'ed out and refuses but I reckon I'll get my own way before long....

Many thanks for reading....


S x


Monday, 7 April 2014


Hello my lovelies!! I hope you have all had a fab weekend?

Mr G has this week off as we are laying some decking in front of the cabin (or Shedquarters as I have taken to calling it lately) and so we have had a pretty lazy weekend before getting stuck in this week.

So what have I been up to lately?

Last weekend was Mothers Day and so I put my feet up while Mr G cooked one of his mean roasts (he really is a very good cook these days):

My Mum and Sis joined us for lunch - Mr G's parents would usually have come too but they were away on holiday.

The boys got me a couple of lovely cards, despite them being teenagers I still insist upon being called "Mummy" - that's what I started as and I don't see why I should change my name!! Although I do let them call me "Mum" around their friends:

They also bought me a super cute bag:

How fab is that?

I made my Mum and little niece a Tilda elephant each:

I've made five of these now and I'm particularly pleased with how these two turned out - the fabric is a kind of single sided micro fleece and it worked really well.

I've tried dressmaking again, I actually took it up the week before it started but The Great British Sewing Bee has kept me inspired.

As I love to wear jersey most I've stuck to knits so far and signed up to a class - "Plus Size Pattern Fitting And Design" over on Craftsy and am at last beginning to understand how to adjust commercial patterns to fit me better.

A heads up - if you join Craftsy they will offer you a choice of discounted classes, mine was less than half price!!

This is Butterick 5794 - next time I make it I'll add a bit more width to the skirt I think:

I used clear elastic tape and my twin needle on the neckline and it turned out lovely and flat:

I've got a couple more patterns and jersey to make up so will keep you posted.

Finally, last week I went to visit my dear friend Gem from Treasures From The Cherry Tree, we were joined by Sarah from Annaboo's House and we had a lovely girly day of nattering, baby cuddles and gorgeous food.

Naturally, there was the obligatory selfie!!:

So, that's all I have to report for now - hopefully I'll be back later in the week with photos of the decking!!


S x


Friday, 28 March 2014

Singing Kitty!!

As you may remember we have two lovely Tonkinese boys:

Tonkinese are a breed in their own right though they started off as a Siamese/Burmese cross. They have huge personalities and naturally as lovers of such characters we are suckers for all things feline.

One of my favourite adverts at the moment is the one for Three with the fab singing cat Bronte who sits in her little owners bicycle basket belting out "We Built this City On Rock And Roll":

I was delighted when I was asked to review an iPhone 5S case resplendent with Bronte's cute face:

The case is really nice quality, fits my phone perfectly and does not interfere with the signal - I had an issue with my old case causing the signal to drop out - I've had much better coverage since swapping to my new case.

If you haven't seen Bronte doing her thing you can check her out at #SingItKitty

Do beware though, every time I see the ad I can't stop singing "We Built This City" for a week #earworm!!


S x

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

My Biggest Sewing Project Yet - A Ta Dah!!

As soon as I learned to quilt I knew I wanted to make a king size quilt for our bed. I was a little daunted with the size of the task and so it's little wonder that this Ta Dah has been a year (or more?) in coming:

I began by starting to collect half metres of fabrics I liked. Lots of Cath Kidston-esque prints from Sew La La (she has a lovely selection of really well priced cotton prints) and a smattering of Tanya Whelan and Tilda:

After lovingly gazing at my growing stash for a few weeks I began to cut the squares. I wanted just simple 6" squares to let the prints do the talking. 324 of them in all.

I spent many afternoons sewing them into nine square blocks and after I had done that I ran out of steam and shelved the project for a good few months!!

A few weeks ago I came back to it - I had decided early on to use the quilt-as-you-go method, I really hate the quilting part mostly because it's just so tricky to manage anything other than a pretty small quilt with a domestic sewing machine.

I used white sheets cut into squares for the backing - sandwiching cotton batting between each nine patch and plain white square. I then quilted each 6" square on the block 1/4" in from the seam. Thirty six blocks took me several happy afternoons in the cabin.

(My industriousness was halted temporarily when I decided I needed to get my sewing machine serviced - I was spending the same about of time detangling and retreading as quilting and so I contacted the manufacturer Silver Viscount and they advised me that they could service it.

They provided a fab service, collecting, servicing and delivering my machine for £50 and taking less than a week. After it's service my machine is running much better).

There are a couple of ways to quilt-as-you-go - I used this method. I used very narrow sashing and trimmed the seam allowance to match and so there are no gaps without batting or ridges and you really wouldn't know it hadn't been quilted all in one go.

One of the other advantages of this method is you can buy your batting as you go. I wanted cotton batting and it cost £60 but because I bought it a couple of metres at a time I hardly noticed the outlay.

An evening and afternoon saw the binding hand sewn on and then it was All Done!!

I decided with all the patterns on the quilt then something a bit more plain was in order so at the weekend I made a couple of raspberry cushions to replace the floral ones we had:

It's had a wash and I haven't pressed it as I like the crinkly, vintagey look (the big creases will drop out in a few days).

All in all I'm very pleased with it though will be waiting awhile before accepting any "orders" from certain members of the family!!


S x


Monday, 17 March 2014

Well Hello There....

I really don't know where this year is going - it's just flying by.

I meant to blog much more regularly this year and here we are, almost a third of the way through the year with just a handful of posts done.

So what have we been up to?

In early February I spent a lovely day with my dear friend Ashley from Country Rose at Unravel Knitting Festival - there were some really lovely yarns to tempt us with:

I was quite restrained on the shopping front, just buying a few FQ's and trim and a lovely beaded scarf knitting kit:

We had a lovely girly, yarny day together and we even met a celebrity!! Lynda from The Great British Sewing Bee!! She is the mother of Sarah from Crafts From The Cwtch who we know via Instagram. I was a bit star struck to meet Lynda as I love the Sewing Bee!! She is really lovely and so I am most definitely TeamLynda now!!:

I'd been inspired by the Sewing Bee to make the dress I'm wearing in the photo above, I was quite pleased with how it turned out:

In other news I've had shingles. This was the third time, I had it when I was little and then just after W was born in 2000. Each time just a little patch on the bridge of my nose which has been very itchy and unsightly but thankfully not painful. A bit of antiviral cream and it's cleared up thank goodness.

We're thoroughly enjoying the wonderful sunshine we have had these last couple of weeks - it really lifts the spirits....

Pop back tomorrow for a bit of a Ta Dah!!....


S x



Thursday, 20 February 2014

Bed - My Favourite Place....

Did you know you spend a third of your life sleeping?

My family would probably say that in my case it is more like half as I do like a good snooze. An afternoon nap is one of my favourite things.

I sometimes curl up on my bed with the intention of having five minutes alone and a game of Candy Crush when the next thing I know one, other or both of the cats has curled up next to my face and their gentle purring has made my eyelids heavy....

I started having a nap when the boys were babies - instead of ignoring the age old and oft repeated advice "sleep when the baby does" it became my motto (though I did once put the youngest down for a nap, fell asleep myself, W didn't wake up after his usual couple of hours and we were half hour late picking up the eldest from infant school - he was crying in the school office, I considered reporting myself to the NSPCC!!)

I still love my bed. I love bedding. Some women have a thing for shoes, I have a thing for duvet covers.

I have lots. I am a bit like The Princess And The Pea as they must be 100% cotton, no poly cotton for me thank you very much.

Give me crisp white or pastel cotton. A floral print. Hand embroidered pillowcases. A vintage eiderdown and a fleecy blanket. Pouffey feather pillows and duvets....

For Christmas I got a lovely, cosy brushed cotton set from my Sister - exactly like the vintage ones of yesteryear (in fact I keep spotting the same pillowcases on "Call The Midwife"!!):

My bed is lovely too, it's an off white vintage style bedstead and I hesitate to say it but it is one of my favourite places:

We used to have a black one but when I redecorated with the Cath Kidston paper and pastels in the above photo I found the black just a bit jarring and so I decided that a white bed was the way forward and we treated ourselves to a new one. It looks so much better, see?:

I definitely think that white beds are much better suited for the shabby chic vintage style home and there are some lovely ones available:

Traditional bedstead very similar to mine

Ornate white metal bedstead


Day bed style with useful trundle under

I do love a bedstead but if I had a little girl I would have gone for a day bed style I think like the last picture.

We currently need a new mattress, the one we have is over 13 years old and rather sorry for itself. You can feel the springs and there is an odd hump in the middle. So that is the next thing on the agenda I think.

Many thanks for reading....


S x

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