Wednesday, May 01, 2024

April Reflections

Hello my lovely friends!

I hope that you are all well. Apart from being exceptionally wet, how has April been for you? I hope that you have managed to find plenty of opportunities to appreciate the beauty in the small moments that present themselves to us each day.

Now that the bulk of my exams are over (only one more left!) I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders and I have relished just resting in the moment when these simply, small moments present themselves. 

Like standing for a few minutes to take in the carpet of bluebells at the foot of a tree before we headed into church one Sunday morning.

I absolutly LOVE bluebell season, don't you? 

Coming from South Africa we didn't have bluebells. As a child my favourite author was Enid Blyton and she had a gift for describing the English countryside so I held vivid pictures in my mind of what carpets of bluebells might look like.

When we moved to the UK, I made sure that we visited our local woodland that very first spring to see this purple spectacular. I was not disappointed. 

13 years later and I still uphold the tradition of taking a woodland walk during bluebell season and they still bring delight to my soul!

On my needles, I am knitting a sweet little lacy baby dress using a skein of Miss Potters Paintbox. I think the colours are very springlike and I am loving working with this yarn. Don't you just love the sweet little forget-me-not flowers? I think they compliment the yarn quite nicely.

I've just dyed up some more Miss Potters Paintbox so if you are looking for a pretty spring yarn to knit with you can grab a skein in my shop now. 

I have spoken about this in my podcast but if you are not a podcasty type person I'll mention it here. I am moving away from Etsy. Their fees have become ridiculous. They charge a commission on everything from the listing fees, sale fees, and they even charge a fee on the postage and packaging - which is ridiculous because that does not come to me at all.

I still have my Etsy shop open but I am no longer updating it with new stock. I am now selling all my yarns from my Website. So that is where you will see anything new that comes along and any shop updates.

I wanted to show you my favourtie farm shop. It's called The Hollies and is rather pricey so we don't go often, but every now and again we head out into the countryside and enjoy a little wander through the shop and pick up a few of our favourite treats. It even looks lovely on a grey dreary day.

April has been a month of getting back to doing things that bring us joy, and one of those things is visiting National Trust properties. We love heading out after church on a Sunday and taking a walk through a bit of English history.

This past weekend we paid a visit to Attingham Park in Shropshire. Pictured above is the groundsmans cottage - which I could TOTALLY live in! The manor house is significantly bigger but I like cozy.

In fact, as we walked through the manor house, which is lovely, the bit that drew me most, as it always does, was the 'downstairs' areas.

For some reason the kitchen and servants quarters are just so much more interesting for me.

Perhaps its the connection I have with the kitchen being a hive of industry, a place where traditional homekeeping skills are cherished.

I can picture women wearing aprons gathering around and chatting as they cook up delicious meals. Or sitting by the hearth with a basket of mending.

I am absolutly romanticising it - I know - but for me the kitchen symbolises the heart of the home, as it has been through time.

I especially loved the copper pots in this kitchen and how all the ingrediants were laid out in brown paper bags. What is it about brown paper bags that harkens back to a simpler time I wonder.

I loved how the National Trust had used sprigs of lilac from the garden througout the house. We are lucky enough to have a lilac tree at the bottom of our garden and I too have got vases of lilac in my kitchen right now.

I wonder if, 100 years ago, the staff were picking vases of lilacs for the house. Although time and space may seperate us from bygone eras, we are still the same aren't we?

We love, laugh, cry, experience hard times and good times, and we pick flowers to adorn our homes.

 This property is a good hour away from our home but often think that the drive is half of the joy really. The weather was really quite nice on Sunday and it was lovely just to drive through the countryside. England is truly specatular in Spring!

Very happily, April saw me move into my very own sewing/craft room. I don't know why I didn't do it before now to be honest. It wasn't even a thought that crossed my mind until about a month ago, while working in the garden with my husband, the thought suddenly struck me out of the blue.

Our youngest daughter moved into her own flat two years ago and she has a huge room which is completley unused. The only ones to use it are the cats and I tend to fight a losing battle to keep them out and off the bed!

Meanwhile, right next door in a much smaller room, which I have utilised as my study, all my fabric, yarn, sewing machine etc sits packed away as there was no space for it to be easily accessible.

Still a lot of decorating to do - you can see we have started patching up the walls

"Why are we not utilising the space in our house in a way that suites us"? I wondered.

There is no good reason. Our eldest daughter commandeered the summer house which was earmarked to be the sewing room - funny how that happens - and for as long as I can remember, I have wanted a dedicated sewing room. Where I can have my sewing maching out at all times and my yarn and fabric around me.

So that is what we did. The office has become the guest room (it still fits my daughters double bed with space to spare) and I have a lovely large sewing room.

Don't you just love the bright rug? I loved how it looked like a quilt and thos colours! It's the boldest colour choice I think I have ever made.

I plan on making this a very cozy and creative space. I have so many things I want to make for it and so many ideas floating about in my head. I must actually sketch them out otherwise I will just get overwhelmed and end up not doing anything!

Just to let you know, I have relaunched my podcast. The first episode is very long - just over an hour - as there is so much to catch up on. It's not out yet as it is taking an absolute age to upload to YouTube. I seem to be having a real issue with it uploading. I'm on my third attempt over two days! Grrrr!

I will probably let you know on Facebook and Instagram once it has finally published.

In this episode I am talking about:

  • Empty Nest Syndrome and thoughts on navigating this change of season and thinking about the "what's next" question.
  • Sharing some of my finished knitting projects
  • showing you what I have on the needles right now.
  • Sharing two lovely crafty books that I have on my bookshelf
  • Spring yarn inspiration
  • and a little chat about quilting.

I'm going to end this post with a lovely view of the little art shed which sits behind our pond and and the apple tree, which is blossoming beautifully! Last year we harvested 5 apples - I'm hoping this year it will be more.

That's it from me today. I hope that you are all having a lovely week and I look forward to seeing you back here very soon.

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