Learning to swim (again)

Good sunny Sunday evening! How’s your weekend been so far?

We had a wonderful day of choosing fabric for various upcoming projects in Leicester yesterday. I love our little pilgrimages. Most of our haul came from Stuart’s Fabrics on the market (he’s still there! He’s still talking about retirement but I’m delighted to say he’s still there…that makes 24 years of buying from him…eek). We spent so long on his stall, we were too late for pizza at the Criterion. Next time. I was so tired when we got home, I went to lie down for twenty minutes and woke up six hours later. Just in time for bed. So I went to bed. I’m putting it down to a very warm day, a sleepless week, and a lot of walking and decision-making. Or maybe I’m just getting old 🙂

Today was just as exciting in a totally different way. I’ve been swimming for donkeys years, but I can’t do the face-in-the-drink stuff well. You know, where you can move through the water and breathe. Until now it’s been one or the other…not both.

So a month ago I bit the bullet and bought us some grown-ups’ lessons. I’ll be honest, I was a tiny bit scared. What if we had a class full of accomplished people and couldn’t manage? What if the horrible (fifty year old) kid dunked me? What if, what if.

I needn’t have worried. We had a lovely, funny, very able teacher who set us exercises to build our confidence and it was fun. Properly fun. The time flew by and I can’t wait for our next lesson. I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to do this. I can actually imagine doing front crawl without drowning before the year’s out.

So the moral of the story is…want it more than you are afraid of it. Whatever it is.

Have a wonderful evening!

Are you a hummingbird, too?

Hello on a beautiful fresh spring morning! I hope you’ve had a lovely few days, whatever you’ve been up to. Or not! Sometimes you just have to stop, right?

Our garden is getting a makeover at the moment. It’s wonderful to see the vague ideas I’ve had rumbling around taking shape…but at the same time as I’m weeding, planting, repointing and head-scratching I feel the pull of the other things I could be doing…that colour block top needs redesigning, it’s sunny and I could be out taking pictures and having a picnic, but then the house is full of dust bunnies, and I want to learn how to make that peyote necklace, and there’s that notepad to experiment with for a friend, and we need new cushion covers and I want to carve my own stamps and …but wait, shouldn’t I just be enjoying my garden? Oh yes. So I’ll concentrate on wildflowers and trellis, right now.

I can’t do everything I want to do this instant. I haven’t even started half of the things I’d like to try, but you know what? This wonderful video makes me realise that it’s okay to be in the carnival funhouse. It’s absolutely fine. I’ll never be one of those people who has one passion and follows it in a straight line. It’s a relief to know that I’m not failing, because I’m a hummingbird, because I’m going to spend my life collecting nectar from a thousand flowers. The trick is to take it one flower at a time…so for now I’m just going to decide where the strawberries will go.

Have a wonderful day!





Snowdrops, sunsets and bark

Morning! How are you doing?

Yesterday we took our cameras out for a muddy ramble around East Carlton country park. It was sooooo cold….but kinda beautiful in the clear winter air. It wasn’t stopping the snowdrops…

EC Country Park 2

…or the vigorous green buds from erupting.

EC Country Park 6

I grabbed a few pictures of different textures of bark – I like to have some handy as a sketching reference or to play around with digitally.

Bark 3


Bark 1

Bark 2

The park is hilly and full of interesting curves and views.

EC Country Park 1

I half expected small woodland folk to appear from the nooks and crannies 🙂

EC Country Park 3

Moody sky and wonderful layers of cloud at sunset…

EC Country Park 4

Well worth the frozen fingers; yep, I forgot them again. Next time!



Fabric foraging in Leicester


Hi! How are you doing? I thought I’d share our recent fabric hunt with you. On Saturday my fella and I ventured north to swell our stash; he wants new larp costumes, but hell – as if I need a reason 🙂 Why has it taken over two years for me to take him to Leicester? I have no idea.

Abbey Park Map1

We found some £4 all-day parking at St Margaret’s Pastures, which by happy coincidence is next to the most splendid park. Another day, we’ll take a picnic – there is the dinkiest mini railway and the map promises a pet corner too!

Cow parsley1

Some of the country parks and gardens near us can look a little tired or lack the wonderful sense of abundance we found here. Exhuberant, is the word.


Crossing the canal to the city centre reminded me of pottering around Loughborough in my teens.

Door 27a

This door did make me smile 🙂

The main objective of our trip was to buy fabric for a costume, which we found immediately in the wonderful, friendly and well-established Direct Fabric Warehouse. Most of their stock is for curtains/furnishings but they have a very respectable section for dressmaking and costume fabrics.

Button Boutique

A perennial favourite, we picked up our trim here. I think my beloved can actually out-dither me. Scary.

Stuart's Fabrics

Stuart’s fabrics on the market are still going strong, I’m pleased to report – for 46 years now! My mum took me there regularly when I was younger. Ah, the memories. We came away with a couple of bargain finds (I have absolutely no immediate need for what I bought. The decadence).


My OH discovered The Criterion online and we tried out their ale and pizza while Villa took a hammering (shouting Yay Southampton got me a stern poke in the ribs haha). It all tasted wonderful, and we’ll be back for more. Artichokes and spinach, huh. Yum. And the sun streamed down on us. Bliss.

John Lewis

Off to John Lewis to dribble over the pretty things…


And laugh at the price tags. This one was only £68 a metre. Ouch!


I’m not a fan of banks but this guy on a window poster did make me laugh 🙂 Rah! Up the supersquirrels!


These came home with me. ‘Cos, duh! The fabric on the right has the most beautiful soft, cool drape that would be perfect for a ceroc skirt. And I’d like to make a soft denim v-neck top with a yoke addition using the lace…something like this…


Back to the park with lemonade, to lie back and wiggle our toes on the grass before we drove home.   

Park 3

Such pretty colours. What a great day. I can’t wait to do it again…

Costume Pattern

Studiously avoiding the reference to Adults, the next day I used some of our new additions to make robes for my OH’s next larp character using View 6 from this pattern.


He’s going to be all religious and goddess-worshipping this time. He’s the least pious person I know, so that’ll be fun!


I bought two soft denims, this is what I’ve made so far with the lighter shade. I’m still figuring out how to modify commercial patterns by dipping into a sewing course I bought through Groupon. The course itself can be quite painful at times, not to mention badly structured, but it is giving me confidence with toiles. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.