29.5.14

A Trip Around My Garden

Dear Laura,






As you know my dad is a very keen gardener, growing all sorts of exotic plants and tending a very large and wonderful garden. Having grown up with such an amazing outdoor space I have always craved at least some form of pretty garden of my own. There are a few problems however, one I am really not very good at gardening (turns out this skill passed me by), and two I live in a swamp which gets insanely cold in the winter and stupidly hot in the summer and I have no idea what grows here. 

Anywho, turns out that without a ton of construction waste out back we have rather a nice area which we can use between April and June when the weather is beautiful and the mosquitos are still nervous about the cold. This year we have had the perfect spring, a ton of rain and lots of wonderful sunshine and so the garden is blooming, well the three rose plants and the fruit trees look great. I am strong arming Sabrina (Wolves in London) to help me figure out what else to plant, I want a pretty cottage garden type looks, lots of soft pretty flowers.

I have created a pinterest board with everything I want in my garden on it, now to figure out if any of that grows here in DC.


Lots of love

Annie

24.5.14

Honey Honey Honey

Dear Laura

This year our bees didn't manage to survive the long and cold winter which was very sad. We aren't quite sure why as there was honey still in the hives. It might have been just too cold and they couldn't keep themselves warm anymore. This weekend we decided to pack up the hives this year and extract the final honey. Next year we will set them up again and hope that we can keep them happy all year round. We are still learning and this years harvest was enormous so at least we have learnt how to assist the bees in making honey in the spring and the summer. 

Extracting is hard and messy work but fun, it is amazing to see how much honey comes out. In order to extract the honey you need to cut the caps off and this is all good wax that needs to be used for something and this year it is candles, I hope! The honey tastes so floral it is quite extraordinary. I remember my Grannys honey having a distinct taste (a delicious distinct taste), but I was never really aware of how different honey is from different places. Especially city honey, we have all sorts of strange plants around for the bees to try and with the botanical gardens on our door step well who knows what they were eating.







We got around 40 pints! I am excited beyond belief. 

Lots of love

Annie

21.5.14

Pillows and Cushions and Pillows

Dear Laura,



I am a sucker for cushions, it is the easiest way to put the fabric I love in my house. Recently I was anxiously awaiting a shipment of fabric that I had bought on impulse, never leave me alone for 10 minutes with a computer and a credit card is the moral of this story, anyway there was a knock on the door I rushed to it and before I had opened the door the UPS person had disappeared. Eagerly I glanced around and lucky for me, they had left the package on the doorstep. I ripped it open to find the most beautiful of materials, the one that struck me the most was this pink flowery number. 

Recently you see I had been sat about thinking that my cushion choices in the living room were a bit drab and I wanted a bolt of colour to liven things up a bit. Well this seems to be doing the trick. I double sided the cushion with the classic 1970s pink flowery M&S material we all had as bedding in my house. We had pink, yellow and green! Recently I saw my sister had reintroduced this bedding to her children and on telling her I had the pink pillow case she made some suggestion that it should be reunited with the duvet, I had however already got my scissors into it and used it to line my iPad cosy so it is all too late. However it did seem like a good backing material for this cushion so more chopping and now here it is happily sitting in the living room brightening things up a bit.

Lots of love

Annie

18.5.14

My New Singer Sewing Machine

Dear Laura,








I have been thinking about the new sewing area that I will get once we manage to finish off downstairs. Currently I am in the back bedroom and sewing on the floor, neither me nor hubby really like this arrangement. This is why I think I managed to persuade him to drive for 40 minutes to come and pick up this beautiful 1900s singer sewing machine and table that I found on Craigslist. I am not showing you it in context because quite frankly the context right now is dirty plaster, hanging wires and an open ceiling. So for now I will show you snippets and hopefully soon I can reveal its full glory!

It is in such good condition I am crazy excited about using it and playing with it. It had so many things in the draws: attachments, bobbins, it even has its instruction book which is going to be very important as there are a lot of attachments that I do not understand. I will of course not be getting rid of my electric sewing machine and I suspect that I will not be using this Singer too much for my sewing life but I still can't wait to try it and see how it does. 

Lots of love

Annie

11.5.14

Cherry Blossom Dress - Summer Dress 1 2014

Dear Laura,








I always have a love hate relationship with my dresses when I make them. I start so confidently and then an hour or two in I am swearing like a trouper and stabbing myself with pins trying to get the stupid fit right. I also have great plans to photograph as I go but what with the swearing and the pin pricking I am in no mood to get the camera out. This dress was no different,  I really need to get myself a mannequin, up until this morning I was convinced this dress was a disaster and I was ready to let you know all the issues and problems and lessons that I had learnt. 

Funny though how things look so different in the morning. This morning, I got up and put the dress on to give it its first outing. The zip worked, the fit is excellent, all the imperfections seem to have disappeared (or at least I am not focusing on them, it wasn't that magic) and I really really enjoy wearing this dress. The fabric is amazing, it is Amy Butler and I bought it in the Liberty sale when I was in London over Christmas. It is so forgiving it just puts up with all the silliness that I put it through and hangs brilliantly. 

I wasn't sure whether I wanted straps or no straps on this dress so I have a clever popper system so I can take the straps off if I need to. I think I will wear the strapless version to a certain wedding of the year happening later this year. I am really pleased to have finished this dress because I received the fabric for dress number 2 this week and can't wait to get started!

Lots of love

Annie

4.5.14

Summer dress plans

Dear Laura,


The weather has turned and we are having the most glorious spring. Plenty of heavy rain and beautiful sunshine with the temperatures staying warm enough to have the windows open all day and all night! The luminous green of the newly unfurled leaves and the multitude of blossom coming and falling and coming and falling has put me into a dress sewing mood.

I recently ordered a ton of fabric, just because I thought they were pretty, it was all half yards but wonderful half yards, Michael Miller has a line called Children At Play at the moment which I love! None of this is going to work for my planned dresses so I am resorting to the fabric I bought at Liberty's at Christmas and of course ordered some Dear Stella Deck Chair print fabric as well (this will arrive on Monday I am crazy excited), because well you really can't have too much fabric (I have too much fabric).

I began sewing at 5pm yesterday, for some reason I always start too late, and was interrupted by the dog chewing my sunglasses and purse at 8pm so I managed to get a good 3 hours in. I made the inner dress for my cherry blossom dress and the top outer bodice part. Only the skirt to go and of course attaching, heming, adding the zip and so on. I forgot just how much fun this is and can't wait to show off my new creation to you very soon!

Lots of Love

Annie
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