Wednesday, 23 October 2019

5 Things - October

In the hope that I might write some more blog posts, I am starting a monthly meme - 5 things.  So here's 5 things that I have photographed this month of October 2019.

First is a 'Tilly and the Buttons' Cleo pinafore dress I made in blue denim.  You can see that I had my little helper/photobomber Barney the springer spaniel with me!   I have included one of the outtakes too.  I topstitched the denim with orange thread and put orange buttons on to secure the straps.  I can see that I will wear this dress a lot, including with long sleeved t-shirt and tights.  In fact, I have just bought a pair of ochre opaques.  I am so looking forward to trying them out!

2 Autumn is really here now!  Some lovely red hawthorn berries spotted one sunny morning on my dog walk, and the grass sparkling with dew.   I like to imagine that the dew drops are tiny diamonds sparkling away!

3 I have been hand sewing little bits of my scrap fabric together in the evenings while watching tv.  Here's what they look  like so far.  I have put them away for now as I want to concentrate on sewing for Christmas (I love making little felt ornaments for the tree).  I am imagining this as a bed size quilt in a sort of rainbow colour pattern.

The other quilt I am making but have put away for now, is this one, called the X-factor quilt.  I am using up lots of autumnal colours for this one.  The pattern was in one of my (very) old quilting magazines.

4 Autumn in my garden.  I put my phone right down in the grass to take photos of these little tiny fairy mushrooms.  Or are they toadstools?  I don't know what the difference is.  But I think it is quite a good year for all types of fungi.

I love the colour that this vine goes in the autumn!  And look at the colourful purple berries on the Callicarpa bush!

5 Finally, our son turned 30 last December, and his sister bought him a supercar drive around Goodwood race track.  He finally did it last weekend.   Here's Maurice, Nicholas and his girlfriend Natalie.  He absolutely loved driving the Ferrari and Aston Martin and then was driven at high speed around the track by a professional driver.  Great fun!

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Cool Summer Tops

This summer has been hot!  Well, that is until the schools broke up at the end of July.  August has been windy, wet and quite a bit cooler.   Is it me, or is it that the weather is much more humid these days?  Maybe it's my age, but as soon as I start to do anything I feel hot and sticky.  Not a nice feeling.  So time to make some cool summer tops:

First up is the Super Basic Tank Top from Halfmoon Atelier.  This is a free pattern if you subscribe to her emails.  As the cost of patterns is quite significant I do love a freebie!  I made this in the pink and white stripe jersey and I have made an orange one, and have a red one ready to sew.  It has a similar scoop at the back which I really like.  I love having bare shoulders and arms on a hot day although these days I tend to wear  tank tops only in the garden.  I do like to get a tan while I am gardening.

Second I made a 'shell' top from this gorgeous 'countryside' border print.  I have had this short length of fabric in my stash  for ages, but have no idea where it came from!  I had just enough to squeeze this shell top made with Simplicity 8061.  The pattern has several different necklines and now I have nailed the fit, I will make some more!

Last but not least I made this loose shirt in a gorgeous yellow print slinky fabric from More Sewing.   This is really loose, and lovely to wear on those really hot days.  It is made from McCalls M7629.  I have some more 'slinky' fabric in a dusky pink print to make another.

Both pairs of shorts are from Lands End.  I ordered the dark blue pair when I received an offer, and liked them so much I ordered the brown ones, which by then were in the sale.  Bargains!  They are smart enough and long enough to wear outside the garden!

Monday, 17 June 2019


I have been wanting a casual jacket for ages.  Something a bit smarter than a cardigan, but easily thrown on and off, and won't get creased and dishevelled looking.  I found a likely contender in my vintage sewing pattern stash.  Vogue  1772, a DKNY Vogue American Designer pattern from 1996.  

I have made it before but in the fabric was too light and I didn't line it so it didn't really work.  I decided to use up some red ponte I had in my stash already.  

This time, I decided to line it as it would be easier to slip on and off without catching on clothes I would be wearing underneath. The jacket has some great details,  princess seams and some cute little darts at the waist.  Hard to see in these pictures. It looks really smart in the picture on the pattern, but that one is made from woven fabric, and I was making mine from fabric with a little stretch for a more casual look.    I decided to keep it even more casual by omitting the buttons.    For fitting, I graded the pattern out to the hips, and I had to narrow the shoulder seams.  

I am wearing it here with a t-shirt I made from some fabric left over from a dress.  (I had to use a red band to lengthen it as I didn't quite have enough fabric!)  The jeans are from a local charity shop.

It goes well with my latest dress make, another shirt dress, a combination I wore to my niece's wedding back in May:

Next I decided to make a hoodie from another vintage pattern.  I had some grey tracksuit fabric with a lovely soft fleece backing, which I thought would be perfect for this 1990s pattern, Style 1041.

And here it is:

I really love this jacket!  I put in a black zip and top stitched in black to match.  This really is a 'slip on and off ' jacket that I will get a lot of use out of this one, especially at this time of year when the weather is a bit dull and cool.  Hard to think that this time last year we were basking in Mediterranean temperatures!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Devil's Dyke Walk

Yesterday was a Bank Holiday here in the UK, so we decided to go a bit further for our walk with Barney, our Springer Spaniel.  We have a goal to walk along the South Down's Way, little by little!  The South Downs are a range of chalk hills that run some 100 miles from east to west in the South-East of England.    They are not very high, up to about 270m, and are flanked by the sea on the South side and the Weald on the north side.  The South Downs Way is a long distance path that runs the length from Eastbourne, East Sussex in the east to Winchester, Hampshire in the west.  We have walked a small part of it, north of Worthing towards the west and the east, so we decided to drive over towards Brighton to the next bit of the path from Devil's Dyke. 

Devil's Dyke is a deep V shaped dry valley to the north of Brighton and Hove, surrounded by hills of just over 200m high.  It has many legends surrounding it, my favourite is that the devil was digging a trench to let the sea in and flood the many churches of Weald inland of the downs.  He stubbed his toe on a large rock, which made him very angry and kicked the rock over the hills towards the sea.  It is said that the rock can still be seen in a park in Hove! 

Starting out at the car park, we were immediately on the South Downs Way.  The path is well signposted and very well maintained.  It is busy with ramblers, dog walkers, families and cyclists.  We headed west to meet up with the point at which we had turned around last time we walked from that direction.

Here's the view to the east, with the next hill and a peek at the flat expanse of the Weald - the land between the North and South Downs.

I was a little nervous about walking through a field of cows!  These were young bullocks, quite small still but very healthy and shiny looking.  They were curious of us, and Barney was curious of them!  Needless to say, we kept him on a short lead through this field.  We came across some much larger bulls in the next field, but I think they were used to us humans and took no notice of us as they lay there chewing the cud in the sunshine.

Here's Barney posing while we stopped to drink our flask of coffee.  We sat on the scarp side of the hill and admired the lovely clear view to the north over the Weald to the North Downs in the distance.  It is a patchwork of  farmers fields, with hedges and trees in between.  You can make out small towns in the distance.

Here's a view along the back of the Downs, showing the steep scarp slopes.  We love to drive along the little road  below the hills that winds its way along through pretty little villages.

Nearly back at the Dyke, I was taken with the patterns of paths on this hillside made by sheep.

I love to look down on the towns and villages below.  It is great to see where towns and villages are in relation to each other.  This view is looking down onto one of the pretty villages, Poynings.  

Of course the camera doesn't do this justice, but this is a view down into Devil's Dyke itself.  You will have to take my word for it that the sides are very steep, and it is a long way down!  There is a pub to the left of this picture and there were lots of families walking around this part.  There are people in this picture right down at the bottom, but they are so small I am not sure you will be able to see them.  

I looked up Devil's Dyke on Wikipedia before writing this, and found out that Devil's Dyke was even more popular in Victorian times!  There was a train station here with a branch line from Hove, which was closed in 1938.  There was a cable car across the valley and a funicular railway up the steep north side from near Poynings.  Apparently in 1893, 30,000 people visited during the same bank holiday!  You would never know this now, although there are small clues to where the buildings were.  It just seems like very pleasant countryside, and rather glorious with the blue sky and fluffy cloud backdrop.

Next time, we will park at the same car park and walk East.  Hopefully we will do that quite soon

Monday, 13 May 2019

Spring Flowers

Bluebell woods are one of the spectacular sights of the countryside in England at this time of year.  The English bluebell is a lovely flower with its drooping bells in stunning shades of blue, and carpets the woodland in a haze of blue.  One of our favourite dog walks at the weekend is Slindon Woods about 30 minutes drive from here.  We decided to go over there on Bank Holiday Sunday to see the bluebells.  The weather was cold and a bit dull, and some of the bluebells had already finished!  But we found enough to take some photos:

 We took a flask of coffee and sat under these intriguing branches of an oak tree to drink it.

A few days later the sun was shining, so I took a walk around my garden with my camera to try and capture some spring colour:

And finally, I potted up 3 tomato plants and a Black-Eyed Susan in my greenhouse.