Birthday Gifts…

We went to my Sister’s house over the weekend for her birthday.  We had a lovely time eating, playing outside in the sun, terrorising her cat and dog (the boys that is, not me) and generally enjoying ourselves.

For her gifts I took this wonderful scarf by Donna Wilson.  In all honesty I was buying one for myself when I realised it would also be a perfect gift for her, I do love a bit of Donna Wilson.

I also included some of the most amazing chocolates ever, in the form of a box of Artisan du Chocolat, Couture chocolates.  I used to work near the store in London and it was a treat to buy a box of these for very special occasions, I included a tin of their famous Salted Caramels as well, I have a bit of a thing about chocolate and salt together.

Finally I added a sheep biscuit cutter that I bought ages ago from Hus and Hem, I had tucked this away for Christmas (I like to do that over the year, it keeps the cost more manageable) but I decided to give it now.  For those who don’t know, because I don’t mention it often (ha ha) we are from a Yorkshire sheep farming family so sheep, tweed, and anything similar always go down well with us both.

After all the lovely comments on the recent post including the acorns (thank you for such positive feed back), I made up a set with a plaited hanging thread to attach to the outside of the package, I did consider making the hanging loop in some kind of gold ribbon but it looked wrong, I slightly stitched the hanging thread to the leaves to keep a nice arrangement when it’s hung (on a cupboard or drawer knob maybe?) but the acorns dangle freely, which is quite nice.

Lastly, I’m sorry I am yet again behind in my blog reading and commenting so do please bear with me if you haven’t heard from me for a while, I will get around to catching up with everyone’s news soon as I do so enjoy reading other people’s blogs.  There’s rather a lot of ‘stuff’ going on around here and it’s taking up all my time so I’m struggling a bit but it will all settle soon, I’m sure, these things tend to in the end 🙂

BESHLIE…

I’ve been meaning to show my latest book collecting obsession for a while.  As most regular readers know (and I see I have some new ones – hello! – always lovely and increases my google reader list every time as I discover new blogs to return read), I have fond memories of the books that were read to us as children, many include animals dressed in clothing and I regularly find myself collecting Richard Scarry and Racey Helps among others.  My most recent addition are some books by BESHLIE, my Mum gave me my childhood copy of ‘Romany Wood’ last time I was home, I’d completely forgotten about it to be honest, but was thrilled to see it’s contents.

 

I’ve found it quite difficult to find much information on Beshlie on-line but from the books themselves it appears she lived a Travellers life with her husband Dominic Reeve and between them they wrote and illustrated a number of children’s books.  The drawings are  of animal characters, generally living an itinerant life and contain a lot of nature details, they are the kind of images that the more you look at the more detail you see.

Even the front pages are beautiful.

My favourite book is ‘Traveller’s Joy’, it contains a series of illustrations of common (weed) flowers that Beshlie and Dominic find whilst regularly pitching their trailer and a description of their features, habitat and uses.  Beshlie heads the written sections with an animal (in clothing, of course!) image to help children remember the plant names.  Love it.

On a work progress note, I wrote myself a list at the beginning of last week of projects that urgently need finishing, the main one being to complete and list new products on Folksy as my store there is very neglected.  I have pretty much failed and the same list was carried over to this week and will now be carried over to next, life is getting in the way.  I am nearly there though so fingers crossed with C on full days from Monday I will finally get to check everything off 🙂

The Best Laid Plans…

As predicted, the bliss of the first few weeks of the boys being back at school and the list of work I had hoped to achieve hasn’t exactly gone to plan.  It’s not been a total disaster by any means, I have managed to add some much-needed exercise into my daily routine; I leave the car at school and walk back, then walk the return to pick up C at lunchtime as it’s too far for the boys to manage each day but sometimes I persuade them to walk with me.  It’s great to see signs of Autumn arriving all around us, the boys are generally quite interested in nature so we have fun picking up bits and pieces to add to our little ‘nature’ window ledge at home.

I made these felt acorns last Winter and figured I’d try and finish them off whilst I’m in the Autumnal mood, it’s taken me a year to make some leaves.  They were completely inspired by the Fox noses I was stitching back then, I liked the idea of using chain stitch to make the acorn cases, to be honest this takes quite a while so they may never develop any further than the few I’ve stitched for myself to hang on cupboard doors but it’s a good starting point, I think some gold is needed in there to sparkle them up a bit, maybe in the hanging ribbon?

As always there’s been a little bit of on-line retail therapy.  I needed to order some fabric from Liberty’s and sneaked in these new tins for stashing labels and pins in, they are by Froy & Dind and I’d happily buy the entire range should I find time to rob a bank or win the lottery (neither being very likely).

I also sneaked in this Lolita Cup in cream and blue, it’s for our bathroom once I find time to paint it.  Hey, it’s only been waiting for about 4 years, I’m sure I’ll get around to it some time soon.

Last Friday I was treated to a very special last minute BBC Proms night on Friday (courtesy of my Sister) which also included an overnight stay in the very plush Kensington Hotel (also courtesy of my Sister – she treats me well and I am most grateful!).  I don’t get away all that often and it was most exciting to sit in a posh bar drinking cocktails and munching snacks with my glad rags on, the rather opulent seating and dining area is very relaxed and I noticed they offer Afternoon Tea.  The website states they are also quite child friendly with a babysitting service and extra beds available in the rooms; the ‘Dress Code’ bit made me laugh, it says on the Mr & Mrs website ‘Comfortable, low-level glamour’.  The Prom was excellent and we followed up the next day with some shopping at Anthropologie, Fortnum & Mason with a swift Liberty’s Cafe stop before I had to dash back to M and the boys.  It reminded me how much I enjoy mooching around London, when we first moved out I used to pop back once a week to meet friends for lunch and get my city fix, but these days it’s a very rare opportunity.

I mostly window shopped but did by a few bits from Anthropologie.  I had such a nice time in the store admiring the displays and products but I was disappointed with the finishing quality of the clothing.  Don’t get me wrong, the designs were great and there was plenty that I lusted after (and I did buy a gold top with some lovely detailing on the neckline), but for the price I didn’t feel the detail was up to scratch, there were some really shoddy buttonholes and lots of loose threads.  Still, it’s up there on my ‘must visit’ list when I do make it into the big smoke and I would happily wear pretty much everything they sell if money allowed, shoddy buttonholes or not.

Finally, as this post seems to be all about pretty things with a nature theme, I bought a new brooch from Joanna Rutter a short while ago, I’m lusting after the silver necklace version but for now this will be lovely pinned to my everyday corduroy jacket.

And now, joy of joys I need to walk back again to school as the car has broken down (again, it did the same last week).  Although I do enjoy walking, even in bad weather spending four and a half hours of my day going back and forth does take the shine of it!  Let’s hope we get the car back for tomorrow 🙂

Monster Letters…

This will to be a super quick post as I am in full multi-tasking mode today.

I have just been checking the boys uniforms for tomorrow, stitching in any final labels and feeling slightly embarrassed about just how huge F’s new jumpers are but as everything is pretty much in order and smugly I only have to re-heat a beef stew for lunch (I thought today might be a bit hectic so I made it in advance – NOTE I am not normally this organised, this is a rare occasion) I decided to make some quick monster letters for the boys’ book bags.

All the kids have the same bag and many put small toys on them but as I’m a bit mean and F is so easily distracted I’ve never allowed toys on his so today I made each of the boys a felt monster letter, with their names stitched on the backs.

They are much brighter in real life, the blue is turquoise and the lettering a gold yellow and they are about 12 cm tall.  I’m pleased for something made so quickly with scraps (don’t look too closely, they are not the neatest things I have ever sown!) and hopefully it will allow the boys to ID their bags a bit more quickly from all the others.

I’m most excited for C starting ‘big school’ he is very ready and I’m sure he will settle well.  Of course I will miss having him around but I am more excited then I can say about having so much time for my sewing and adding a daily walk to school with a run back to help get me back into shape.  It’s all good stuff 🙂