Monday, 15 April 2019

Blackbirds and Eggs

Hello! Thank you for your kind comments on my last post, helping me out with the identification of my Spiraea "Bridal Wreath/Veil", and generally buoying me up with your kindness and warmth. The Easter holidays are rumbling along quite pleasingly here. Week one was super productive as I powered through my to do list; passports were renewed, admin dealt with, trips made to post office, car garage, vets, and tedious financial jobs attended to. And now John is on holiday and his parents are staying with us for the week, and I've declared myself on holiday too.

Don't be fooled by the glow of morning light on the herbs on kitchen windowsill - while still sunny, it's turned very cold, with a sharp north-east wind cutting through any warmth in the spring sunshine. 

I spent some pleasant hours stitching this blackbird embroidery hoop last week, from the latest spring Craftpod. It's been a long time since I did much hand sewing and I'd forgotten how good it is for me, how much I enjoy the process of the embroidery while my brain can wander here and there, half listening to the radio, half concentrating on the task in front of me. Very mindful, very soothing.

I like this hoop a lot; the colours, the bird, the eggs - it all feels so cheerful and optimistic.

My good luck with second hand books continued this week, when my parents returned from their holiday with some gems for me: a copy of Tender, by Nigel Slater, and two more Observer guides to add to my collection. The copy of Tender is well thumbed and much loved, falling open on well-used pages, but this just makes me want to use it more. The most enchanting parts of the book for me so far are the photos of Slater's incredible garden. Long, narrow and sheltered, it's beautifully planted and feels more secluded than you'd imagine for a terrace in central London, and so much more grown-up than our wide, square lawn, littered with footballs and bordered with shrubs and battered tulips. 

You'll notice a few duplicates in my collection, but happily I've arranged to swap them with friends. It's win-win.

Bella had a friend from school sleep over last week. She took so much pleasure in getting everything ready, making up the beds, choosing snacks, planning what they'd do. She suddenly seemed awfully grown up.

But then I took this photo earlier today at Fort Nelson...

This museum is just a few miles away and we go there so often (it's free and ideal on rainy days) but I still love this room, the kitchen, the best. 

I'm still working on my shawl. It seems to be taking absolutely ages to make, and I think it's going to be really big when it's finished.  I'm really enjoying the pattern and colour pooling though. 

I decided recently that my Easter decorating game could be so much stronger, and bought some wooden eggs with hooks, to hang from an Easter tree. When I say Easter tree, I mean a few dusty old branches of pussy willow that I have had for about four years. I bought these smaller ones and these larger eggs. I really like them plain, as they are, but sprayed a few white and copper for a bit of variation. I might crochet a couple of eggs too, if I have time.

Angus spent £3 of his pocket money on a little travel version of Battleships last week. Every night, he and John are hunched over the kitchen table, plotting moves. It warms my heart.

I'll leave you with a photo of Ziggy and his adorable nose. This was taken in Bella's room, where he'll spend as much of his time as he can, curled up on her bed. He sneaks upstairs early in the morning and she lets him into her room to sleep on the end of her bed. It's a good thing she's an early riser. 


  1. A beautiful post as always! May I say how much I love your blog, each post is a gem I so look forward to. Happy Easter to you and your family from sunny Australia x

  2. I enjoyed this post a lot, too. The blackbird embroidery is so beautiful! I really wish I could make something like that.
    It has been very cold here, too, but turned much warmer yesterday. Nights and mornings are still nippy (5C as we speak), but it gets to near 20 during the day. what to wear?!

  3. This is a delightful post. Have a lovely holiday week!x

  4. Enjoyed reading your post with your craft makes and Fort Nelson trip. What a great kitchen but anyone working in such a kitchen many years ago, sadly wouldn't have time for crafts, or having a rest. Enjoy your break, Cx

  5. I absolutely love the embroidery/textile work. It has such texture and grace. Have a good 'holiday'. I would shudder at a week with my mother-in-law!!!! Jo xxxx

  6. I love your embroidery wall hangings on hoops. especially like the black bird.
    really lovely having family time over the easter hols, taking time off the tread mill again- blissful!!. The books you find in charity shops are great ~ often im in mine and mainly all Sophia;s books growing up came from the Library and charity shops...I used to go to the book fairs but they always seemed so pricey. Yes the weather here has been rather chilly, sunshine in between blustery, bitter, cold skies. Has not stopped the tourists here in Devon jumping in the sea while im still in my big coat hehe!. Brave souls.
    ive been adding some easter decors around my home (ones ive collected and made over the years)...I still get my daughters cards from nursery and primary out on the shelf ( shes bella's age now)...memories of the days they'd come out of school with easter cakes and chocolate nests...the years just seem to pass too quickly. On Sophia's iphone app we saw a recipe for a giant cookie the size of a pizza!~ which we added different chocolate toppings to~ actually was rather nice!. happy easter blessings to you and your family enjoy your family time ;)

  7. I love that Tender book as well, I've had it on my wishlist for ages, I am waiting for it to find me. In the meantime I've had it out from the library. I've got the second one, which is fruit and also lovely. Glad the Easter hols are going well. Enjoy your break. CJ xx

  8. Beautiful photos as always. You make it look so easy to take photos. I always look forward to your posts. Your blackbird embroidery is so lovely and you collection of hoops is stunning. Best, Jane :)

  9. Beautiful post as always.Love the blackbird embroidery.
    Could just kiss Ziggy's nose!

  10. Beautiful embroidery, and photos of a gentle holidays... I think that's why I like the easter holidays, it seems there is less expectation to be doing - or celebrating - things. I do love a game of battleships... may have to go and challenge Patch to a game

  11. I love the blackbird embroidery Gillian. There is so much texture on it! I am not an embroidery person myself (not enough patience), but I enjoy looking at yours. I think you would like the designs of on Instagram.

  12. Oh Gillian you have made me smile once again. Thank you ever so much for your post and all the wonderful sharing you do for us watching here in blogland!
    Big happy smiles my dear lady. (-:

  13. Ah, you're having a taste of our north of Scotland temperatures! Happily it's forecast to warm up for the Easter weekend at least.
    Such a lovely embroidery. As I can't sew I'm in awe of those who can. What a lovely idea to have plain Easter eggs for decoration - very harmonious. My children give me Nigel's books as birthday presents - I have trained them well!

  14. I am stitching the craftpod blackbird too and love how it turns!This was a great kit! AriadnefromGreece!

  15. شركة المثالية للتنظيف تسعد بتقديم خدماتها لعملائها بالمنطقة الشرقية خدمات تنظيف خدمات مكافحة حشرات خدمات تسليك مجاري المياه للمطابخ والحمامات جميع الخدمات المنزلية تجدونها مع شركة المثالية للتنظيف بافضل جودة وارخص الاسعار بالاعتماد علي كافة الادوات الحديثة والعمالة الماهرة

    شركة المثالية للتنظيف
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالدمام
    شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالخبر


Hello there! Thank you for leaving a comment. I read them all and I always try to answer questions, although sometimes it takes me a while.