Autumn is wrapping up.  The sky is frosty blue and the sun rays bright, but strangely cold.  The days have become too short and evenings are slow, dark and heavy with sleepiness.  There's quietness before the merriness of Christmas.  There's a little break.  I find a cosy, tiny cave; pull the blankets over my head and warm my feet on a soft, woolly sheepskin.  Warm, glowing and hibernating.  A bear guards the entrance, keeping a watchful eye and letting me sleep for as long needed. Time to pause and just be for a bit.


Claire's quilted blanket

Claire's birthday came and went back in July.  I did warn her that my light bulb moment had come a bit late (after her birthday) and that it would take a little while to sort out.  She had seen O's 'all boy' quilt and Martha's play mat and liked them both.  So why it took my brain so long to put one and two together I don't know!  Eventually realising she'd love something that combined Cath Kidston fabrics with a cottagey feel I started looking for the right things.  So I had to confess it might be a while before she got her birthday present.

It was such fun looking for fabrics, putting it all together and thinking of steering away from 'just' squares and coming up with something I hadn't tried before.  I love some of the designs on this blog and often have a little admiring look around.  One day I want to be able to make such gorgeous designs! Anyway, there's absolutely nothing wrong with squares, but I fancied making something a bit different.  Nothing too complicated yet as this is only my third quilt.  I settled on big and half sized rectangles.

A lot of effort was made to stick to just reds, blues and some greens.  There could have been pretty yellows or some darker fabrics - but I resisted.  I'm happy with the balance and how it has turned out.  It's the first time I've added some white in a quilt to help the colours stand out and I'm liking the effect and the fresh look it gives.

Throwing all the bits in the air and sew everything together as it comes is so liberating.  The only 'selective random' bit is that there are no two of the same fabric right underneath (or above) each other in the columns.  But as you can see on some of the pictures a few repeats have sneaked in to the rows (but I don't mind).

The wadding inside is 80% cotton.  The back is brushed cotton (flannel).  This quilt was destined to be that snugly blanket that keeps you warm on the sofa when you're watching a film or to go on the end of the bed to keep your toes cosy in the winter.  I love flannel; it's warm, touchable and it just makes everything better at the end of a long day.  The print is perfect: little birds, sleeping on tree branches.

The quilt is (roughly) 1m x 1.5m.  There are 40 rectangles in each column, that's 200 in total.  Now don't look at the calculations on my little post-it!  After all the working out and drawing mini-quilts I hadn't allowed enough for the seams.  And so that's exactly what I got: a mini-quilt.  Luckily not a major issue and after adding to the width and length it's now a decent, useful size.

So, it's all done, washed and dried - ready to go to its new owner and the cottage.  Happy belated birthday my dear :), may you enjoy many hot chocolates under your new blanket!


Fabric chaos & Nessie hunting

Still waiting for the precious August baby to arrive... So instead of working on that I got a little distracted.  Easily done when lots of parcels with beautiful fabrics arrived through the post.  One of the parcels had little bags with lavender in to keep the fabric fresh, genius and what a lovely touch!  Behold the chaos on my kitchen table a couple of hours later.  Right now I can't say much more about this project... The what, who and why will have to wait a little bit,... it's a surprise!  I'm really looking forward to sewing this together though.  Maybe not today, my head is spinning from the calculating, changing my mind and recalculating, double-checking.  And can you spy what I spy in the top left hand corner?  Oh yes :).

De augustus baby laat nog even op zich wachten... Vandaag kwam er welkome afleiding.  Niet zo moeilijk als er plots enkele pakjes met nieuwe stofjes in de post toekomen.  Één van die pakjes had ook lavendelzakjes tussen de stof zitten, alles lekker fris - geniaal ideetje! Een paar uur later en het is complete chaos op mijn keukentafel.  Voorlopig kan ik niet veel zeggen over dit projectje...  De 'wat, wie en waarom' zal even moeten wachten,... 't is een verrassing!  Ik kan niet wachten om dit in elkaar te zetten.  Misschien toch niet vandaag meer, mijn hoofd draait nog van het uitrekenen, meten, iets veranderen en dan opnieuw alles uitrekenen.  Maar kunt u zien wat ik zie, in de linkerbovenhoek?  Jaja :).

The other news is that there's a seven hour road-trip coming up.  I'm so looking forward to our holiday in Scotland.  I love living in the UK, this place is so beautiful and varied.  Quiet beaches, rich forests, lazy fields, gentle hills and mountains with snow triumphantly glistening against stark blue skies.  I can't wait to see what treats we're in for!

Het andere nieuws is dat er een zeven uur lange road-trip op komst is.  Ik kijk enorm uit naar onze vakantie in Schotland.   Ik woon graag in de UK, 't is hier prachtig, vaak adembenemend mooi.  Stille stranden, donkere wouden, luie velden, zachte heuvels en bergen waar sneeuw triomfantelijk glimt tegen een diepblauwe hemel.  Wat voor moois zal Schotland brengen?


Home Sweet Home ~ Getting ready to make Port

My beautiful, big bottles for making Port.  Gifted to us by a stranger; someone who we met in the street and took our old kitchen table and chairs off us before we got to the charity shop. 

 I love Port and its sweet belly warming properties.  Autumn is just around the corner and once the green, unripe walnuts hang heavy in the trees it will be time to patiently start making this delicious treat. Brewing, stirring and soaking up the flavours for a good few months it will be ready just in time for Christmas.  
I can't wait and might even share my mum's ambrosial recipe with you.

Home sweet Home is an idea of Barbaramama, you can find a list with all participants on her blog!


August baby boy or girl ? To be continued...

I love making presents for new babies.  I often wait until after the birth to choose the colours, the pattern and fabrics.  Often the gift isn't ready for a good few weeks after the announcement reaches our house.  This time it's a little bit different.  I've know for a while what this August baby is going to receive.  The fabrics were carefully selected last week - you would not believe how much time I can spend fabric shopping.  It is more or less finished, thanks to a sunny afternoon and Owen happily playing in the garden.  I sat down at the kitchen table with a cuppa, one eye on the garden and now most of this little gift is finished.

I can't wait to hear what my husband's cousin is going to have - my money is on a girl, we shall see.  So, waiting (patiently?) for this August baby to be welcomed into the world and finish this off with some boy or girl detail!  To be continued!

Ik maak graag iets voor baby's.  Meestal wacht ik tot na de geboorte om de kleuren, het patroon en de stofjes te kiezen.  Vaak is het cadeautje pas klaar weken na het geboortenieuws ons huis bereikt.  Deze keer is het een beetje anders.  Ik weet al een hele tijd precies wat ik wil maken voor deze augustus baby .  De stofjes werden vorige week zorgvuldig gekozen - ongelooflijk hoeveel tijd ik kan uitrekken voor stofjes shoppen.  Het is bijna klaar, dankzij een zonnige namiddag en Ootje die braaf buiten speelde.  Ik zat in de keuken met een kopje thee, één oog op de tuin, en een paar uur later was het grootste deel van dit cadeautje af.

Nu (geduldig?) wachten op het nieuws.... meisje of jongen?  Mijn gevoel zegt meisje, maar ik wacht liever om de finishing touches aan te brengen tot ik het zeker weet!  Wordt vervolgd!


Baby Martha's quilted playmat

This was still a work in progress at the weekend...

A couple of weeks ago we heard the great news that one of our friends had given birth to a beautiful baby girl called Martha.  I love the name and I think it sounds very peaceful and warm.  So anyway, here is the playmat I made.  I've enjoyed every minute making it and declare it all finished and ready to post this morning!

Have fun sleeping, looking, rolling and playing my little one!

And the most fabulous thing about it is?  That it can be machine washed and tumble dried - how cool (and ultra-practical) is that!?


Little Denim & Rocket Apron

A pretty little tin bought on holiday last week in Lyme Regis.  Inside it are ten 'clothes plasters' or iron-on applications.  This is the boy's one; it has a rocket, tractor, dinosaur, robot, shark, plane and other fun boy designs.  Perfect to finish off my little man projects.

So this week I made an apron for O.  At two and four months he loves stirring cookie dough and very much needs a 'boy apron'.  I made him one out of my old, much worn pair of pale blue jeans. Just one of the legs was enough fabric to make it.  I let O choose which 'plaster' he wanted on it.  He was adamant it had to be the red rocket.  Good choice.

I'm always a bit weary of how well these iron-ons will stick to the fabric, but these are great!  Anyway, the little apron is all finished.  It now hangs over one of the chairs in the kitchen, very much rejected by a toddler who's refusing to wear it, hmm.

Check out the other little tins with iron-ons designed by Jennie.


A little break


These last couple of days have been so good:
beach hut rainbows ~ secret beauty discovered ~ boardgames played ~ coastal paths, protected by nervous bulls ~ empty beaches ~ pebbles, sand and shingles ~ fresh air ~ sand dancing, blasting everything in its way ~ gale force winds ~ crashing waves ~ surfing thrill seekers ~ ice cream eating ~ a toddler who gave up naps, napped ~ cream teas ~ home-made strawberry jam ~ warm apple cake ~ souvenir shops ~ wine and laughter shared ~ memories to treasure.


Baby's first zoo animals - Zoo basket #2

I started this project quite a while back!  This week has been all about finishing things off: the quilt, now the zoo basket.  Tick, tick, tick!

This is for a very close friend of my sister-in-law.  This friend now lives in the States and her first baby is due any minute!  Boy or girl?  We don't know, so I've tried to keep it colourfully gender neutral (I'm not a fan of beige and all its shades).

Last time I made them for Lucas' first birthday and I'm still loving this zoo basket pattern from Maggie, check out her Etsy shop!  She's got so many cute patterns - I want them all!

Ik begon dit een hele tijd geleden!  Deze week worden er een heleboel dingen afgewerkt:  lapjesdeken, Zoomandje,... Er ligt altijd meer dan één projectje op mijn tafel.
Dit mandje met dieren is voor een vriendin van mijn schoonzus.  Die vriendin woont nu in Amerika en is super-hoogzwanger!  Een jongen of een meisje?  We weten het niet, dus heb ik geprobeerd het geheel 'kleurig neutraal' te houden (ik ben geen fan van beige...)

Ik maakte dit al eens voor Lucas zijn eerste verjaardag en naamfeest en het is nog steeds één van mijn favorieten!  Gekocht bij Maggie, kijk eens in haar Etsy winkeltje, ze heeft zoveel toffe patroontjes - ik wil ze allemaal!


Slug & snail control - Slakken...

Mijn grote frustratie: slakken ~ met en zonder huisje, bruin, beige en feloranje, gestreept en gespikkeld, lang, dik, glanzend,... soms mini en soms monsterachtig groot.  De kippen laten ze liggen, ik kan ze geen ongelijk geven.

We wonen bijna vier jaar in ons huis en elk jaar probeer ik, met gevarieerd succes, groentjes, fruit en kruiden in de tuin te groeien.  Ik ben echt nog een beginneling en het 'moestuin project' nog klein.  Elk jaar groei ik mooie plantjes maar zodra ze buiten in de volle grond staan gaat het mis.  De blaadjes worden opgepeuzeld door slijmerds en 't is gedaan met moestuin spelen.

Veel plaats hebben we niet.  Dit jaar in de grond en potten: bonen, erwtjes, rabarber, aardbeien, kweekpeertjes, bieslook, basilicum, laurierblaadjes, rode pepers.  Misschien komt er ook nog wat rucola of zo bij.

My big frustration: slugs and snails - brown, beige, bright orange, stripy and speckled, long, fat, shiny and slimy,... sometimes mini and too often monstrously big.  The chickens ignore them, playing it safe - I can't blame them.

We've lived in our house for nearly four years and every year I try, with varying success, to grow some veggies, fruit and herbs.  I'm still a novice and the 'veg patch project' still small.  Every year I manage to grow nice seedlings but as soon as they are planted out it goes wrong.  The leaves munched by slimeballs, vegetable patch gone.

There isn't a lot of space in our garden.  This year in the ground and pots: runner beans, peas, rhubarb, strawberries, quince, chives, basil, bay leaves, chillies.  Maybe I'll try some rocket leaves too.

Dit jaar heb ik me een beetje beter voorbereid en eten we hopelijk meer uit onze tuin dan de slakken.

Het plan:

  • eierschalen rondstrooien (van eigen kippen, gemakkelijk)
  • potjes (ik gebruikte plastieken flessen van melk, wasverzachter en bloempotjes), de bodem uitsnijden, bovenaan gaatjes maken met een perforator, dan koperdraad door de gaten weven, rond de plantjes zetten
  • koperdraad onderaan de bamboestokken wikkelen
  • een bokaaltje met bier ingraven (dekseltje openhouden met een stokje) - 's morgens checken voor zatte slakken
  • een pompelmoes, uitgeperst en ondersteboven (met een stokje eronder) - 's morgens checken voor dieet slakken
  • 's morgens de planten water geven, niet 's avonds

Ideetjes en meer tips hier.  Wat doen jullie om de slakken op afstand te houden?
(Wens mij succes, denk aan mijn erwtjes en boontjes die vanmorgen uitgeplant werden.  Hopelijk werk 'het plan'.)

This year I've prepared against The Enemy a little better.  Hopefully we'll be eating more from our garden than the slugs this year.

The plan:
  • eggshells (from our chickens, easy)
  • pots (I used milk bottles, laundry liquid bottles, flowerpots), cut out the bottom, perforate around the top with a hole punch, weave copper wire around the top, put over your little plants
  • tie copper wire around the bottom of the bamboo sticks
  • bury a jar with some beer in the ground (hold the lid open with a stick in the jar) - check in the morning for boozy, drunk slugs
  • a grapefruit half upside-down (lift a little with a stick) - check in the morning for the few slugs that chose the healthy, non-alcoholic option.
  • water the garden in the morning, not the evening!

More tips here.  What do you do to keep these greedy munchers at bay?
(Wish me luck!  Think of my peas and beans planted out this morning, let's hope the plan works.)

Update: Empty traps this morning, but the leaves untouched!!!


Owen's quilt / lapjesdeken ~ Finished !

Zo begon het meer dan een maand geleden...  Op een avond in april lag de keukentafel vol met kleurige lapjes stof.  Onze kleine jongen zou een grote jongen worden en bij dat grote bed hoorde een lapjesdeken (dacht de mama).  Nu slaapt hij nog steeds niet in dat bed, want dat is blijkbaar toch niet zo tof - maar zijn lapjesdeken is eindelijk af.  160 lapjes puur kleur en jongensdingen!
Vanmorgen zette ik er rondomrond het boordje aan.  Eerst met de naaimachine en dan de achterkant met de hand - leve de laddersteek, dat werkt altijd toch mooi af!  De achterkant is Amerikaanse muslin (katoen), de vulling is 80% katoen 'batting'. 
Het was eigenlijk bedrieglijk veel werk dat dekentje, zo'n simpel ding uit grootmoeders tijd.  De lapjes aan elkaar zetten vond ik nog therapeutisch, maar door alle drie de laagjes stikken was niet om te lachen.  Zonder mijn nieuwe wandelende voet lag het hele boeltje ergens in de kast voor de volgende x jaar.
Maar wat denkt de kleine ervan?  O steekt er graag zijn beentjes onder en vindt de dinosaurussen (hij zegt: 'saus') en auto's en uilen en vliegtuigen super.  Blijkbaar staan er ook 'babies' op, maar het zijn eigenlijk ruimtemannetjes en aliens, hmm.

Ook zin?
De jongensstofjes kwamen van hier.  De handleiding van hier, heel duidelijk en met foto's, ideaal voor een eerste maaksel.  En tenslotte:  ik huil bijna van bewondering als ik naar de dekens op deze blog kijk, be inspired!

It all started more than a month ago... One evening in April my kitchen table was covered with little squares of colour.  Our little boy was going to be a big boy and on the big bed belonged a new quilt (well, that was mummy's take on things).  He now still doesn't sleep in the big boy bed, apparently it really isn't that great - but his new quilt is finally finished.  160 squares of pure colour and all things Boy!  This morning I finished it by sewing on the border.  First with the machine and then the back by hand - I love using a ladder stitch, it always finishes off great!  The back of the quilt is American muslin (cotton) and the batting is 80% cotton too.  To be quite honest, it has been a lot of work making it, but that's okay... I've got visions of it being with us for a long time.  I found sewing all the squares and rows quite therapeutic.  The tricky bit was sewing through all three layers and without my new walking foot I don't think it would have gotten finished.  I'm pleased though with how it has come out. 

But what does little one think of his new blanket?  He loves putting his little legs underneath it and likes the dinosaurs, cars, owls and planes.  Apparently there are also 'babies' on the quilt... Do I need tell him they are spacemen and aliens?

Fancy making one too?
The boy fabrics came from here.  The 'how to' from here, very clear instructions and with lots of pictures, ideal for a first quilt.  And finally, I nearly cry in admiration looking at the gorgeous quilts on this blog, inspiring!

En yup, die kousjes worden nooit meer wit hé.
And yeah, those little socks will never be white again!


Sand Bay & wild flowers

There is some sand at Sand Bay.  I'm sure O would have appreciated us taking him to the sand, but he didn't know it was there.  Instead we left the bay behind us and walked up the steep steps to a path leading all the way 'in to the sea'.  I'm still amazed at the stamina my little man has, he's never been a 'buggy baby'.  It was a sunny and warm afternoon with an invigorating sea breeze clearing our heads.  The views just amazing, what a surprising and beautiful country this is.  At the top (or the end) we sat down for a bit, with a can of coke, just admiring the world around us.  What a way to spend a late afternoon - a mini holiday for the mind.  I love discovering these gems so near to us!

On that walk I realised I really don't know enough about the wild flowers dotted along the path and growing between the rocks in the salty air and soil.  Some are probably just weeds, but who decides on whether something is a weed or a pretty flower anyway?  I found 12 different ones.  Of those 12 I knew the name of two - Buttercups and Daisies (ahum).   Another three I've identified since:  pretty white Sea Campion, Herb Robert from the Geranium family and bright yellow Bird's Foot Trefoil.  The daisies were huge and it seems those are called Ox-eye Daisies.  I'm a bit stuck now, so let me know if you recognise any of the other ones - thanks!

1: Herb Robert  - 2:  - 3: - - 4: Buttercup

5: Sea Campion (Deadmen's Bell) - 6:  - 7:  - 8: Ox-eye Daisy

9:   - 10:  - 11: Bird's Foot Trefoil - 12:


Towelling jumper / Sponsen pull

Sewing pattern from here - I love Etsy and its PDF patterns from all over the world - straight to your inbox and printer, then the fun begins!

Patroontje komt van hier - Etsy is super voor PDF patroontjes, via email ontvangen en een keer alles geprint is kan de fun beginnen!

If you have been following my blog for a while then you might have a little déja-vu.  Here is the same comfy jumper once before: same pattern, but a whole size smaller and with a pocket.
Als je mijn blog al een tijdje volgt dan heb je misschien een déja-vu, want ja deze super comfy pull  maakte ik al eens.  Toen was hij een hele maat kleiner en naaide ik er nog een zakje op.

And I do love my little boy in blue - turquoise, teal, royal blue, cornflower blue, ...  My little sweetie, who no longer wants to nap, has stopped sleeping through the night and shouts 'Ready, steady, gooooo!' at 4.30am.

En ik zie mijn kleintje graag in't blauw -  turkoois, teal, korenbloemblauw, ...  Mijn kleine lieverd, die geen dutjes meer wil doen, voorlopig ook niet meer door de nacht slaapt en de dag wil beginnen om 4.30am.

PS - The batting, backing fabric and walking foot for the quilt arrived today!  De wandelende voet voor mijn naaimachine en de vulling voor O's lapjesdeken kwamen vandaag in de post!