butterflies and blue tits

I made this dress recently for my little friend. Not a Japanese one this time, but New Look pattern 6504, view D. I made it with a lovely natural linen and rather than decorating with the rick rack suggested on the pattern, I added a Victorian crocheted butterfly from my stash for a simple but striking look.

At the back I used a pretty mop button and made a thread loop.

I absolutely loved making this one and will definitely use the pattern again with a different fabric. In fact, I'm on the look out for a grown up version so any pointers most welcome!

There you go, another one without zip or buttonhole!

The children have finished school now (eek) and soon we'll be off to the country. We're all looking forward to checking on the neighbours ..

The rose was pruned a little on the late side this year (after these photos were taken) but fortunately it didn't seem to bother them.

Please excuse the hazy photos, the windows were, ahem, a little dirty!

Have a lovely weekend x


flora and fauna

Wasn't the weather fantastic yesterday? Our weekend started with this painting brought home from school by my little friend who is mad on ladybirds.

I love the little smiling face ..

and the build up of oil on the board ..

So yesterday we had a quick trip to one of our favourite parks and it seemed as if the World and his wife had the same idea.

Whilst the rest of the clan took to wheels, I had another chance to see how the childrens' crocuses are coming along ..

And guess who I saw when I bent down?

I think she was so covered in pollen she was having difficulty staying upright ..

Did you have a wonderful weekend too? x


spring skirt

I was given just under 2 metres of this fabric over a year ago and have been wondering what to do with it ever since. Oh dear, I'm such a hoarder and find it extremely hard to cut into a lovely big piece because I can never quite decide on what to make. And just as I think I've made up my mind, I go and see something else that would be good too. But this one's a medium weight linen/cotton mix and just right for an early Spring skirt that should take me through to October, spanning three seasons - if I'm lucky.

The pattern came from this book, yet another from my too vast to mention collection of Japanese sewing books that I spend far more time poring over than actually doing anything from. You see, I'm still too nervous to tackle a zipper or buttons and I've always thought elasticated waistbands are a bit on the, hmm, dodgy side unless on a child. However, finally I found a style that looked like it may just tick the boxes. Yes, it is elasticated but not too full around the top and therefore won't add too much bulk (with luck).

So, out came the greaseproof paper and using the measurements given in the book, I drafted my pattern in a matter of minutes.

Now the trouble with these Japanese patterns is that they don't include seam allowances and despite the fact I know this very well, I cut into the fabric and was just finishing the final snip when I realised the error of my ways. At this stage it was a toss up as to whether I should soldier on or scrap the idea and make a skirt for my little friend instead. But no, I have to say I am a great one for winging it under such circumstances, so I just made the seams a tad narrower, crossed my fingers and ploughed on merrily.

It was a fun pattern to do, very straightforward really, and even adding the ruffle at the bottom didn't get me unduly stressed. Then I got a length of lovely cream Victorian crocheted lace (again hoarded for far too long) and added it to the hem for a bit of vintage je ne sais quoi !!

So, what do you think? I plan to bring on the Spring by wearing it with thick tights and mid calf boots, then change to bare (very white) legs and sandals at the earliest opportunity, so working it till the mere hint of a chill should return. Perish the thought!

And the back of the skirt? How about this view from my very sweet husband, who thinks he is oh, so funny!!

Have a lovely weekend x


talk to the animals

Yesterday we had a really lovely day out at the Tropical Zoo at Syon House. It's such a great place for children; totally interactive and all hands-on, touchy-feely stuff. The children have no inhibitions whatsoever, no fear nor anxiety, and it was great to see them holding and touching all the creepy crawlies that were on offer.

These things give me the creeps but better to see them in a zoo, as opposed to in your kitchen!

Another squirm-worthy beast that was actually surprisingly soft, furry and gentle (apparently!!) ...

How about this for a millipede? Not convinced you'd ever find one of these underneath your flowerpots ..

This was a "touch only" and we couldn't help noticing that the guide kept his hand around its neck the whole time (comforting!) ..

And this one's for my Mother - gets her every time!!

There was a variety of dragon/lizard-type things who got quite perky once the crickets and mealworms came out ..

A variety of tortoises, including a tiny leopard tortoise that so captivated one of our family, and this lovely and very large tortoise here ..

And lastly a wide selection of cockatoos and parrots, including a pair of Amazonian parrots who spoke rather well, so long as it was 'hello' or 'goodbye' ..

So if you're in the area, you should definitely add it to your list. As they say, it's fun for all the family!

Have a lovely week x


good day

Today is a good day. Cold, crisp, but so deliciously sunny and very very uplifting. Isn't it funny how a simple thing like the weather can make, or break, a mood?

I had a quick walk around one of my favourite parks this morning and noticed these clumps of crocus. Then I remembered how our children helped plant the bulbs a couple of years ago.

We were pottering about in the park and saw a group of people chattering away whilst digging up the ground. Of course the children wanted to have a 'nose' so over we went to investigate further.

It was the 'Friends of the Park' planting crocus bulbs and the children were invited to join in. What fun that was, my goodness, and the quantities planted were quite huge. You see, the organisers had a feeling that a lot would be lost to the squirrels.

And despite the netting that was put down along with the bulbs, I'm sure I didn't see quite as many flowers as there might have been.

So it would appear squirrels have good days too!!

Have a lovely, sunny weekend x


scenes from a purbeck week - part two

Mrs harmony and rosie has been extremely busy this past week which explains her absence on the blogging scene, however hopefully a welcome return is here in the form of a very health-giving and scenic walk to ...

This peaceful RSPB reserve is situated between Corfe Castle and Wareham, Dorset and is a haven for a good selection of birds (of course, what else) including avocet, plus several herds of deer. We come here a lot because there is always something to see, the staff who man the RSPB hut are friendly and knowledgeable and this particular time, they lent the children some backpacks complete with books and binoculars. They have live footage of the activities that go on in several bird boxes, plus the children love those enamelled birdie badges you pay £1 for in aid of the charity itself!! (actually I do, too!)

There is a lot of variety here - large patchwork fields, farm land, forestry, a bit of beach, some marshland and the sea.

Ready ? Let's go ..

This boardwalk is fun, taking us through the trees. At the end there are several directions we could go in but we're going left ..

Ooh, just as well we did - look what we saw ..

Apparently a lady was charged by a stag not so long ago (no silly jokes about money please) because she got too close to one of the does. The males get very protective at this time of year. And full marks to the children for being quiet - for once!

Onwards across the heath-y bit. Nice and flat here, and plenty of puddles along the way ..

More boardwalks - just as well, there's a lot of water around here ..

Ticked off the squirrel, but sadly it's the wrong time of year for the rest ..

Yet more boardwalk fun and this time we're getting closer to the hide ..

Quiet Please : not a chance!

But this is the prize. Panoramic views across the harbour towards Poole and Sandbanks ..

Hubby showed he was most interested in the spoonbill and various ducks out there, however the children showed they were keener on the snacks I'd taken along ..

Homeward bound. Why is the hilly part always on the way back? ..

Just the briefest of looks back at the wonderful views (in other words, a breather!) ..

If only it could always be like this ..

And how about this final shot for a bit of vintage?

Have a lovely week. I do feel next time I shall be crafting x