My week in pictures 

My first harvest of delicious sweet peas. They smell divine. I’m looking forward to having a constant supply of these beauties for a good while.

A tired toddler after lots of jumping in muddy puddles.

A spot of baking….. Oreo cake. Find the recipe here.

I got my colouring books out for the first time in yonks, anything’s better than watching the boxing.

Trying to vacuum with this lazy pooch. She was budging for nothing or no-one.

Birthday celebrations for our littlest of the bigger kids. Lovely teppanyaki restaurant near China town in Liverpool.

The youngest is becoming a teenager way before his time. He’s pinched my spot in the dining room with my cushions and my phone. So many videos of Thomas the tank engine on YouTube to watch!

I’ve re-covered the chair in the bathroom. No more wet towels on here kids, please??

Now this coaster was made about a month ago. I fully intended to make a whole set of them in different colours. They were to be gifted to a very lovely lady. Unfortunately, I ran out of time so instead she received just the one coaster, along with a couple of eggs from our girls wearing my Egg Cosies and one of my Lavender bags too. I hope she likes them 😊

The weather has been awful here. Rain, rain go away….

There’s been more pretty bunting being made. Not for me this time, for an order. Yes you heard that right, a paying customer 😊 !!

Some more baking, it’s hungry work sewing you know. Although these are quite healthy cookies, full of oats, seeds and fruit. The idea is that when I’m peckish I can grab one of these instead of chocolate.

And finally this…

I couldn’t resist lighting a fire last night while sewing. It was so cold, it felt like winter. Where’s our summer gone?

Vicki xx

Secret gardens 2016

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll probably remember me talking about opening our garden up to the public. We do it most years, here is last years post. I won’t go on too much about it as it’ll probably sound very similar.  My husband is very much the gardener in our home, he’s put so much time and effort into it, I’m very proud of him because it looks amazing. We received some lovely compliments from lots of visitors to our garden which makes all that hard work worthwhile. This years event was on June 19th, Fathers Day.

This is our pretty hanging basket at the front of the house. The flowers are actually a bit more peachy in real life.

And these are the dahlias sitting either side of the front door. I think they look quite tropical.

These beauties sit in the border on the right as you enter the garden, our pink themed border. Alongside this little stunner..

And these poppies. They have such delicate petals, one gust of wind in the wrong direction and it’s ruined.

Just around from these we have our big tree fern.

I love watching nature do its thing and seeing these unfurl into the big, lush leaves it produces.

Next to this is our chicken corner. I’ve told you all about them here. I decided this year to print off a photo of each of the girls with their name on and display them so visitors can see for themselves. They are a huge talking point on the day and we do find that we end up repeating ourselves quite a bit!

One lady even asked if we had any of the pictures of Rolo left for sale! Maybe next year!

The border on the left of the garden is a beautiful one indeed. This is the one that had to be started again from scratch last year after our wall collapsed in high winds. Well it’s just gorgeous this year. It’s colours are white and purple.

I think the alliums are possibly my favourite. I dedicated a whole post to them last year. These sweet peas smell absolutely divine.

Just across and round by our bay window, we have these… They smell like vanilla, mmm.

And next to this is our little bistro set. This is the hubby and I on the morning of the secret gardens. Unfortunately they caught me before I’d had chance to put any make up on.

And moving up the garden we have my most favourite flower, the peony.

So pretty.

Next up is Jude’s area. We created this last year, you can read about it here.

I’m so pleased we managed to set aside an area just for Jude because he loves nothing better than coming out into the garden first thing in the morning, wellies and pj’s on. He’s going to be the outdoors type, I can tell.

I’ve found a new favourite place to sit in the garden too. Just here…

I have no idea why I never used it before now, or anybody for that matter. It’s tucked right away and if I’m quiet, nobody knows I’m here. It’s so peaceful. This is the outlook from the bench..

I love the fringe of the Salix just dangling above me.

At nightime it’s just as enchanting with fairy lights illuminating it just enough.

And I couldn’t leave the chickens out could I?

I have quite a thing for fairy lights as you can probably tell. They’re just so pretty and far too nice to only come out at Christmas.

I’m digressing, back to the garden! The top end of the garden has our main seating area, water feature and a whole host of lovely potted plants. There’s our herb ladder which got so many people going home to hunt in their garages for an old ladder to paint up.

The salad leaves at the very bottom are super tasty, we had some a couple of nights ago with our burritos.

Then we have these common geraniums that probably feature in half the gardens in the country. They have to be one of my favourites though, especially against the brick wall.

Here’s our new baby tree fern surrounded by some lavender and grasses. That fern on the right just sprouts itself out of our steps every year.

So this is what our garden looked like full of people.

We had our resident musician playing for us again this year, he was great and even carried on in the rain. We popped a few bin bags over his equipment and he was good to go. The rain did win in the end though, it was torrential, really not conducive to viewing people’s gardens. It didn’t stop some people though, the hardcore among us, of which I’m not one of. I spent most of the day indoors actually keeping Jude out of the way and preparing many cups of tea for our stewards who helped out and preparing food for our BBQ in the evening. It became in indoor affair as the rain kept on coming but we still had a good time.

Let’s hope we get a nice, long, hot summer now so we can really make the most of our beautiful outdoor space.

Back soon with some more crafty goings on…..

Vicki xx

National upcycling day

Hello! I bet you didn’t know that it’s the second ever National Upcycling Day coming up this Friday 24th June did you? Or that it even existed? I only came across it last year. It was started by Gumtree I believe, with the help of the upcycling king himself, Max McMurdo. If you haven’t heard of him, you may well know his face. He’s appeared on various TV programs including one of my fave’s, Kirsties Fill Your House For Free and George Clarkes amazing spaces. What this man can do with a load of old junk is just incredible. Up Cycling, reloving, repurposing, doing up old stuff, whatever you want to call it, it’s everywhere these days and I for one, love it. I think my first ever project was probably an old chunky pine chest of drawers that once belonged to my grandad. He used to use it for keeping all his tools in when I was a little girl, then it got passed to my mum who used it in the cellar for storage. Then I got hold of it and gave it some TLC. I lovingly sanded it and waxed it and used it in my bedroom. Over the years it ended up back with my mum and due to downsizing it’s sadly left the family. In more recent years, I’ve acquired lots of pieces which I’ve renovated. Here’s a few pics of previous projects. As it was pre-blog I didn’t take many photos, especially the before and during ones.

This was a standard lamp I bought at auction a few years ago. I painted the stand in a grey eggshell, then with my mums help, covered the old shade with new fabric, trimming and my favourite purple dangly beads. It’s not a great photo.


This piano stool was another auction buy, I think I paid about £5 for it.


I stripped the old paint off.


Then repainted it and covered it in new fabric with more dangly beads!


This chair was waiting to be loved for so many years. There were originally four chairs which me and my hubby bought from a market in Kent before we got married. They lived under the carport for a while then moved house with us 3 times until I finally got round to starting them. On closer inspection, three of them were just too badly eaten by woodworm and beyond repair which was a huge shame. I’d always hoped they’d end up around my dining table. Anyway, one survived, so I cleaned, sanded and repainted it. I gave it a couple of coats of wax, then got my father in law to cut a piece of mdf to size to fit the chair base.


I bought some foam, covered it in wadding then covered it in fabric. Ta-dah!


And here it lives in our bathroom. I’d always wanted a chair in the bathroom.



This dresser used to live in a garden centre for displaying merchandise. When they were selling it off we snapped it up. It was a dark wood, and didn’t really go with the look I wanted for the dining room. It was a big job but I sanded, primed and painted it all up.


The bottom cupboards were open and looked a bit messy so I made these little curtains and also the bunting for the top. Since then, I’ve lined the back of each of the top spaces with Cath Kidston wallpaper which looks lovely.


This dressing table was about to be taken to the tip. I couldn’t let that happen now could I?


Ever since I was a little girl I’d imagined brushing my hair and putting on my makeup sitting at a beautiful dressing table. Space had always been tight before but in this house we’re lucky to have a good sized room. It took many coats of Laura Ashley eggshell, but eventually it was finished. I especially like the big round mirror.

I love this picture of my friends little girl sitting up at it, so cute. 

This chair was just £3 at auction and was crying out for a makeover.

I painted it pale blue.


Then I decided to make it unique and deco patch the seat. I was really pleased with the result.



I’ve done various other bits of furniture too but there’s no photos of those. 

The three elements that attract me to upcycling are

a) I love that it’s so unique, nobody else has one the same.

b) Knowing that you’ve given a perfectly good piece of furniture a new lease of life and saved it from landfill.

c) That it’s so cost effective, you know how much I love a bargain.

What makes it even better is all the paint I’ve used for all of these projects is also recycled. We have an amazing place locally called Recipro. It used to be called RePaint but joined forces a couple of years ago with Recipro to bring a whole collection of building materials and paint under one roof that have all been donated either by companies or individuals. Most of the paint has been used, so they’re marked up with how much paint is left, usually at least half a tin but it’s all perfectly good to use. They charge just £1.20 per litre, how good is that? There are all kinds of paint and all different brands. I’ve bought Farrow & Ball and Laura Ashley stuff many times. Obviously you can’t pick and choose your exact shades like you can in the diy stores but that’s the only downside. Also you have to make sure you have enough to finish the job otherwise you might not be able to get your hands on any more. 

My most recent project is these 2 cute chairs.

They were rescued by my father in law from an old school and used by my hubby and his brother when they were kids. They’ve been in their garage ever since and now they’re ours to love and care for. My hubby took the boards off the backs as we think they look better without them. As Jude’s room and his playhouse in the garden are both pale blue and I conveniently had a tin of pale blue eggshell, that’s what I did.

But I wasn’t content just leaving them plain.  I decided to grab some masking tape and some white paint and cover them in random stripes.

About 7 coats later (!!!) it was time to peel off the tape. Oops!

I must invest in some low tack tape! I carried on peeling off all the tape and though it wasn’t quite what I’d envisaged, I decided to touch up the very worst bits and embrace the whole distressed/shabby chic look.

After a good wax, here they are.

And in their respective homes..

I have had this chair on my to do list for about 3 years, if not more.

It lives on our landing and needs some attention. I’m not quite sure if my talents are at this level yet. I’d love to be able to do this myself and it needs to be a proper statement piece but I’ve not been inspired by anything yet. I’ll be sure to let you know when the time comes.

Now, if upcycling is your kinda thing, then why not use Friday #nationalupcyclingday as the perfect excuse to get creative and give something you already own a new reason for living?

Cosy Kermit blanket complete

So, it’s been about three months since I started this blanket for my eldest son. Here’s the link to the post where it started out as a wee baby foundation chain. I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this one. Love the pattern and the softness of the stylecraft yarn, but not too keen on the colours. They sort of grew on me a bit, well all except the luminous green one. There’s just no excuse for that one!

I’d decided when I got about half way through this blanket that I wouldn’t be able to make it quite as big as I’d intended. I only bought 8 balls of yarn for this project and really didn’t want to buy more. So when I got to the end of the yarn, that was the end of the blanket.

It felt like I still had a way to go until a few days ago it just dawned on me. I was close. I got quite excited by that thought. I kept it by me on the sofa and with every opportunity, I hooked away at it. As with most nearly finished projects, it accompanied me to the bathroom while the little fella was in the bath.

Before I knew it, I’d got there. Woo! Just those pesky ends to contend with now. And there’s tons of them.

This job took a while but I was content in the knowledge that it would soon be done and there was not going to be a border either. I decided this because one, I didn’t have the wool, two, I don’t really think it needs one, and three, I don’t think the recipient would appreciate it anyway. So here it is, the Cosy Kermit Blanket in all its green glory…..

It’s actually harder than you think to photograph a blanket. But there it is. I’m all blanketed out now, although I’m a little bit sad that I don’t have anything easy to pick up and work on now. I’ve noticed I find it harder lately to just sit and watch tv or relax fully. I have this need to multitask, and to maximise my time. I’m itching to get started on something new but I’m being firm with myself. I’ve got to take a few days out to catch up boring housework duties and we have our garden opening on Sunday too so once those are out of the way I’ll pick up my yarn basket once more and get crafty.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my waffle. It means a lot 😊

Vicki x

So long Honey

I had a different blog post all ready to bring you tonight, but that one can wait. We’ve had a poorly chicken for a couple of weeks now. I first noticed that she wasn’t running for food with all the other girls and was just standing as if in a trance. We separated her from the others as we recognised symptoms from previous occasions. She had antibiotics but they weren’t helping and she wasn’t eating a thing. We tried feeding her a special liquid food for really poorly small animals but even that did nothing. We took her to the vets today and as expected, he told us that the kindest thing would be for us to say goodbye to her as it was extremely unlikely that she would ever improve.

Well myself and our eldest were a blubbering mess. A very kindly lady saw how upset I was and asked that I be seen to first at reception. She said I know how upsetting it can be. That made me worse! Random acts of kindness always make me cry anyway. And could I find a tissue in my handbag? Of course not. I know we did the right thing for Honey but it still makes you feel like absolute rubbish. We’d had her since she was a little chick.

So long Honey xxx

Ooh, new bunting!

If you know me by now, then you’ll know I Love bunting with a capital L! Well I decided that the tatty old stuff in the garden had well and truly had its day and as we’re due to open our garden again soon for The Oxton Secret Gardens event, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to go fabric shopping.

I came back with this lovely lot.

Well all except the green polka dot one which my mum gave me a couple of years ago. I knew I’d find a use for it one day. I was hoping to find some nice oilcloth fabric to use as I thought it’d last a bit better outdoors but the only stuff in the shop was horrid. Not bunting worthy at all.

I got myself all set up in my freshly painted dining room (yay, I finally finished all the decorating!)

With pinking shears at the ready, I started to cut out my flags. It was a perfectly peaceful hour spent. Complete silence apart from the pitter patter sound of the rain coming down outside. This is a very rare occurance in this house and it was bliss!

My poor bunting template has more holes in it than a dartboard. It’s done me for years though, I’m sure it can manage a few more.

The sight of all these pretty triangles makes me very happy indeed.

In amongst my piles of fabric which has grown over the years, I had these pretty lace panels. 

I’d had no clue what I’d use them for but they were too nice to get rid off. I thought I’d add a few to some of the polka dot flags to make them a bit more special.

It didn’t take long at all to sew these together.  A quick press with an iron and I couldn’t wait to get them outdoors.

One set for the chickens… (And why not?!)

And one set for the top end of the garden..

I’m rather pleased with it. I love the fact that sewing is such a quick craft as opposed to crochet. I’m still hooking away at the cosy Kermit blanket.

If I had my way then I’d have bunting everywhere but I think my hubby would have one or two things to say about that! You can’t get away from the fact though that bunting makes everything better!

Vicki xxx

Crochet Egg Cosies

Some time ago while browsing through one of my crochet books, I saw a pattern for some cute egg cosies. This was a perfect project for me, what with having a ready supply of freshly laid eggs from our girls. I decided that half a dozen would be a good number of them to make, obvs. I selected six gorgeous colours from my little (ish) stash of Stylecraft Special DK. Aren’t they pretty colours all lined up together?  

I tried a few times to start off but couldn’t quite get my head round the pattern in the book. I often need more of a visual guide so I took myself off to the wonderful world of YouTube where I found a tutorial almost identical to the book. I followed the basics then added finishing touches from the book once I got the hang of things. This was my first time working in the round and I really had to concentrate. And I mean REALLY.

I made sure there was no one else in the house, set myself up in the dining room and counted out loud with each stitch, just so I couldn’t possibly forget where I was.


With the first one complete, I was on a roll and went ahead and did a second one in half the time. It took about 30 minutes to do the second one.

I left it at that for the night as my eyes were getting very sleepy. I was very pleased with my progress though.

Well, soon after, cushions for Mother’s Day came along which took a while, then blankets were started, so these had gone by the wayside. I’d really wanted to have them ready in time for Easter. Just as it seemed quite appropriate. 

When my next opportunity of an empty house came along ( not very often does this happen!) I grabbed my basket of prettiness and started on no.3. There was another huge gap between this one and no.4. I really wanted that c2c blanket finished and out of the way before I carried on with these. Anyway, this week, that time had come. I was rather excited!

The sun has been very kind to us up here in the north west lately so it had to be a happy yellow colour next. I made it my mission that night to get them all finished.


Well that’s the crocheting done. I just wanted to finish them off with some little ribbon tabs. And here they are, rather cute…

I do love it when a project gets finished. I particularly love it they’re quick and easy to make and cute and pretty too. This makes for a very happy Vicki 😊