Monthly Archives: October 2014

Friday I’m in Love: Conkers

Growing up in the English countryside, conkers were a big part of Autumn. As soon as (and sometimes before) the spiky seeds cases began to fall, my schoolmates would be gathering up the biggest and trying out various curing methods. Days later, small knots of children would stand in the playground, cheering or groaning as prize specimens conquered (pun intended) or were defeated – ideally smashed to smithereens.

Today I still love conkers – more correctly, horse chestnuts – though as a decorative item rather than for any competitive games. They look beautiful piled together in bowls, at least until they dry out and the shine vanishes…

photo photoThank you to Mum for braving the English weather last week to collect and photograph these for me!



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Filed under England, Nature, Plants, Seasonal Pleasures

Design Project: Bedspread

I want to make a new cover for our bed. Our current cover Newcomb under the bedspread - bellesideesis what the French call a boutis, a double-sided padded quilt (a variation of trapunto work) in a single colour with a scalloped edge. It has done sterling work for the last four years but it’s time for a change. But what to replace it with? The bedroom has a slightly French-Asian vibe and a traditional pieced patchwork would look out of place, so I started looking at alternatives.

First I found Hawaiian quilting. Although I’m not a fan of the traditional strong color contrasts I love the geometric qualities of the pieces (the patterns are made by folding and cutting paper, usually into four) and the fact that the motifs can be quite large-scale. Look at this beauty!

Hawaiian quilt with lolekani pattern from


Done in a more monochrome colour scheme this could look stunning.

And then I discovered sashiko. I love the idea of hand-stitching, even though it would be a laborious process.

Sashiko stitching{source}

And it echoes back to the machine stitching in the French boutis, which is about to be reincarnated as a bed skirt like this.

French bedskirt{source}

I think my new bedspread might take a while…

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Filed under Crafts, Decor, General, House Updates, Textiles

Friday I’m in Love: A Pop of Colour

P1040008Ok, so not the best photo in the world, but I just love the combinations of colors here: the blue of the vase against the orange-red of the rose hips and pumpkins and the greens and browns of the millet. The whole thing just screams Autumn…

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Filed under Decor, Happiness Project, Photography, Seasonal Pleasures

Seasonal Pleasures: Autumn


I recently came across this post from fellow WordPress blogger spanishwoods and it inspired me to create my own list…

  • Golden sunrises
  • Misty mornings
  • Long shadows
  • Kicking leaves
  • Bonfires
  • Fireworks
  • Leaves turning colour
  • Gingerbread
  • Conkers

What makes you happy about Autumn?

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Filed under California, England, Happiness Project, Nature, Travel

Friday I’m in Love: Scented Camellias

In Descanso Gardens last week I was distracted by a wonderful fragrance. After following my nose for a while (much to Lovely Man’s amusement) I homed in on these:IMG_0759


Guess what is going to be incorporated into my next planting scheme…

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Filed under Descanso Garden, Gardens, House Updates, Plants

Happiness Project: Bundles of Joy

On holiday earlier this year my Lovely Man bought me this IMG_7992

and it has since had a lot of wear – and many compliments. And I haven’t been able to find another like it…so I decided to make my own version!
Several hours on Etsy and a couple of weeks later, these


have arrived…can’t wait to get started!

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Friday I’m in Love: “Blood” Moon

We had a lunar eclipse this week and I hauled myself out of bed at 3am to capture it on (digital) film…

Lunar eclipse montage

The left and uppermost are the total eclipse stage, often called a Blood Moon since the moon turns red. personally, I think it’s more of a golden colour. The bottom right is at the partial eclipse stage, about 90 minutes later as the moon returned to normal.

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Filed under California, Happiness Project, Photography