Friday, 9 July 2010

High Days and Holidays

Well, life has changed a bit round here in the last few days. The Munchkin has now finished school for the Summer (eek!) but not before the usual end of term flurry of activities. This included sports day, postponed from a few weeks ago when, hard to believe now, but it was actually rained off! Here's the Munchkin doing his best in the dressing up race but the poor thing, the clothes, and especially the wellies, were so huge on him. He's not called the Munchkin for nothing!

I've been busy in my den whipping up all manner of pretty and fragrant lavender sacks for a lady starting up a new business. Exciting stuff indeed.

There have also been changes in the garden. The lawn is looking decidedly brown but the raspberries are looking very red!

They are a yummy topping on my cereal of a morning.

Aside from the days, it's been a relief for the evening to come, bringing with it slightly cooler temperatures than the 31 degree heat we are experiencing here in the capital during the day. It's wonderful to be able to spend the evenings outdoors. A proper Summer.

A bit of Lola Lamour singing '40's tunes on the iPod...

A bit of home grown mint on the Jersey Royals...

A bit of bunting and plenty of flaming torches and hanging lanterns (but the beasties still seem to find me irresistibly delicious!)...

And of course, my very own bbq chef...

Ah yes, lazy Summer evenings are made of such things; along with chilled rose wine and a good mag, of course!

This month's BBC Homes & Antiques mag is an excellent, vintage-themed read and I particularly enjoyed this feature on the 1940's weekend at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which you may recall we attended last year.

I think the heat must have got to my brain as I was seized by a desire to finish the patchwork quilt I started oodles ago. The quilt top has been finished for a while but I've been trying to psyche myself up to assemble the quilt "sandwich" and get on with the actual quilting. I love piecing the quilt tops but the rest is done by reason of necessity.

You see handling this 82" square quilt in this sort of heat is no mean feat. It has a nice woolly batting layer and I used a thick home decor weight backing as I intend to use this quilt mainly as a picnic blanket so I wanted it to be good and sturdy. It weighs a ton!

Getting it through the machine takes quite some work, aided by propping the quilt across a stool next to me. I had forgotten how much I like this quilt top though, it's so bright and fun and contains lots of pretty fabrics, a mix of modern and vintage, some bought, some thrifted, some old clothing, some gifts from my sister and my lovely customer Louise.

I wanted us all to be able to stretch out in comfort on this picnic blanket come quilty thingy. I was so disappointed by the size of the Cath K picnic blanket I bought last year that I was determined this would be a monster! As I fed it through my machine to quilt it, it was snaking out through the open window!

Ah, a helper?

Of course, Jacky Ginger is no help at all but the Muchkin proves to be surprisingly handy at getting down and taking out all 400 pins from the quilt sandwich once it had been quilted. He is closer to the ground, after all! In true child-style, he declared "This is FUN!" Give children all the toys in the world and they'll find something else, something free or strange, that they prefer infinitely more!

The guest room is resembling a (rather nice) junk shop, I have to push all the furniture to the edges to get enough space to lie the quilt out to make the sandwich. The Munchkin gets a bit distracted by the light fitting! Oi, back to work!

That done, he seems to be in an arty and crafty mood and keeps coming into the den to ask what animals he can draw for me. He then presents me with a veritable masterpiece!

Next, he decides he's going to design some "vintage style packaging" (his words!)

And finally, this afternoon I keep him out of mischief by providing him with a box of freezer labels...

Further proof that I've lost my marbles is that I spend the late afternoon dabbling in a bit of raspberry alchemy. There's nothing like standing over a boiling hot pan of bubbling jam in this heat!

What a team we make: we pick the raspberries in the garden together, I make the jam, the Munchkin designs the labels!

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. How wonderful that he wants to do all those things with you. Treasure it while it last...seems like only yesterday my 19 year old was like Munchkin!

  2. What a lovely Mum you are - enjoy your Munchkin they grow so fast :)

  3. Your quilt is absolutely stunning!! I feel inspired to do some more squares for my quilt project now. All you and the Munchkin need to do now is make a victoria sponge for that raspberry jam!
    Tamzin X

  4. Now that is a good team!
    Have a good school summer holiday Munckin
    Julie xxxxxxx

  5. Isabelle (from France)9 July 2010 at 20:09

    Hello! Your garden looks very inviting! We are enjoying similar weather here in Eastern France.
    Bon week-end!

  6. Still 2 weeks of school left to do here, much to the boys disgust.

    Love the Munchkins labels - I may have to commision him to do some for my next batch of jam :)

  7. Martha in Kansas (US)9 July 2010 at 20:48

    I'm impressed that you machine-quilted that huge thing! (And how funny, yet convenient, it went out the window! Here we have our windows screened against bugs, so that wouldn't work.) I was thinking you'd have tied the quilt -- but I'm a little lazy when the temps rise!

    Your boy removing pins reminded me of the quilt my grandmother made me. Used for many, many years, and then I found a pin trapped on the inside. It's a wonder no one had mystery stabbings!

  8. Love the quilt. Perhaps you could hire the Munchkin out to people like me with creaky knees and dodgy backs who need some small to crawl around taking out pins! Have a great weekend.

  9. Despite all the busyness it all looks very relaxing and enjoyable too. Licked my lips at the jam, raspberry is my favourite.

    In this heat you did well sticking at it with the quilt. Worth it though.


  10. The quilt looks amazing Hen!

    Victoria x

  11. lovely summery post Hen! just what is needed on a dull winters day in NZ! Rachaelxo

  12. What a lovable munchkin. I especially like the photo of him pulling out pins.

  13. A nice long summer holiday for Munchkin, my two stil have a week and 3 days!!! Lets hope the weather stays fair, although not sure I could cope with 31 degrees!!
    Eating in the garden in the cool of the evening is wonderful, isn't it? Our table is by our sweet peas, and they smell gorgeous in the evening.
    Your quilt is beautiful and huge!!! Well done to the Munchkin for taking out the pins, did he find them all?
    Have a lovely weekend!
    Linda O
    PS, will email you regards the bunk beds xx

  14. really loved this post - aren't garden pictures relaxing! - and you have beena busy bee too - enjoy the weekeend

  15. Hen, Great to hear from you again, your comment on my blog is SO takes a LOT of hard work to get to create the life that is 'perfect' for you and your family, it doesn't just 'happen' does it?.... I am in such a happy place right now, but that doesn't mean there haven't been many difficult and hard times along the way to reach it, so I won't feel guilty for my happiness.
    Munchkin is very lucky to have you as his mum, how creative you are and the amazing memories that you and Mr HH are creating for him to enjoy in many years to come. I think it shows how happy you all are as a family and how much you all enjoy each others company which is a wonderful thing.
    The quilt is stunning Hen. Have you ever thought of making a huge brightly covered patchwork blanket with pvc backing for the beach or picnics?...I'd love to make one myself but somehow don't think it will ever happen!! I love the idea though to brighten up the beach.
    Take care, lovely to hear from you and have a FAB weekend.
    Jane. xx

  16. Have really enjoyed this post. Summer summed up in a post! The quilt is looking beautiful and now we have the weather for you to enjoy it on the lawn. See, brown grass, who cares? Covered in that wonderful quilt, you won't see it!
    And good to know that Elvis is alive and well and came back as a crocodile!!
    Z xx

  17. Oh bless that Munchkin....those labels are lovely and so too is the quilt x

  18. At last..we have the Summer we've all been waiting for,and you and your family are certainly making the most of it! Love your posts Hen..they are filled with so much happiness.

    Bellaboo :0)

  19. arh Hen! what a great post. I love your outdoor eating and the quilt and the jam and the magazine!
    The picnic quilt will bring many happy memories when you start to use it, think of all the sanwiches and cakes to be eaten on it and the snoozes in the dappled shade!

  20. You are quite a team. Twiglet would love Munchkins taste in vintage mini design. We had our school sports day this week and the sight of Twiglet wearing a pink handbag, shawl and policemans helemt in the dress up race will stay with me forever :)
    Have a lovely weekend
    Twiggy x

  21. What a gorgeous post Hen. I am so impressed and inspired by the big picnic blanket. I love the sound of all the wadding. At them moment we have a perfect, clear winter's day and a picnic blanket that could help us warm up a patch of ground would be perfect. Enjoy Summer!! Love Kate (the greedy for colour one) xxooxxooxx.

  22. What a busy week you have had, the Munshkin looks like he had great fun though.
    Love the Jam lables.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Luv Sophie xxx
    PS your garden looks beautiful xxx

  23. That quilt is looking absolutely gorgeous and it's going to be finished just in time to take advantage of all this glorious picnic weather. x

  24. Hen, I think you are crazy!!! Jam making?? Quilting?? In this heat? It's been bad here but not like you've had it.The jam looks very tasty & your garden is beautiful.
    I must get that magazine, I went to the South Devon Railway event yesterday (just posted) thanks for the tip off last year :)x

  25. Well you have been busy!!
    The quilt is Gorgeous, the garden is gorgeous and of course the munchkin is too!! and how lovely that he loves to be creative with you lil boy starts something with me and then loses interest after 5 mins!!
    Enjoy the summer hols!!
    Annie x

  26. How cute! The Munchkin is a good little artist, love the Jam labels and the Vintage packaging.

  27. I think I should fly my lot down South to you, they are bored already and hogging my computer all the time! x

  28. Beautiful quilt and gorgeous labels! What a talented little helper you have :)

  29. Haven't quite got to the stage of quilting my hexies yet. Are you sewing yours in the "ditch"? I am looking at doing some stippling on mine but have never done it before and not sure if it is suitable for hexagons. Dev x

  30. Hi Hen

    The quilt is magnificent!
    This such a lovely time of the year, making strawberry jam, summer fetes, good weather, eating in the garden...I love it! I bought the latest H&A magazine and enjoyed the Forties weekend article. Munchkin's drawings are fantastic, love the hippo!
    Thank you for the birthday wishes.
    Isabelle x


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