Ahh July, what a sweet month you are turning out to be!
Life has been very full and busy during July but my overall memory of the past three weeks contains much happiness. The weather's been a mixed bag but mostly I recall it's been pretty good around here really. Warm and summery, sometimes quite humid and thundery, but beautifully warm yes, and plenty of sunshine. We've spent quite a lot of time outdoors taking it all in, appreciating all that these long summer days have to offer. Picnics and barbecues by the river. Impromptu trips to the park. Ice creams. Water fights. The sound of children playing out till well gone 9pm. Chilled white wine with friends. Lots of salad meals that involve No Cooking. Bare arms, flip flops and silver painted toe nails. The smell of high summer in the evening air. Delightful.
At the very beginning of July I went off on a little solo adventure. In an airplane no less. I tootled off to Manchester airport very early one Saturday morning, climbed on that there white metal bird with it's slightly scary propellers and flew down to Southampton, which took all of 45 minutes. It was an amazing flight with clear blue skies and the most fabulous views of the landscape below. At one point we flew right over a hot air balloon, I was quite beside myself with the beauty of it all. When I arrived in Southampton I hopped on a train and travelled a further 100 minutes west to arrive in Dorset by ten am. Wow. Yorkshire to Dorset by ten am! Never done that before!! It was a really great journey and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole business of being on the move. Just me by myself with a small rucksack on my back, making the journey to visit my dear Mum in hospital.
Later that same day after I'd spent all afternoon at the hospital, I got onto a local bus and travelled a further 40 minutes west to get to Bridport where I was staying the night. When I got off the bus, I had a sudden realisation that I had no door keys, and that the house where I was staying would be empty till midnight (everyone was off making merry at a wedding). It was a beautiful early summers evening, so I decided to while away an hour or two by travelling some more. I journeyed on foot this time, a mere 45 minutes tramping south across familiar fields until I reached the blue of the sea.
West Bay harbour was an absolute picture, the evening light was incredible, and at 6pm it was still very hot. I went to a bar with the above view and sat on the terrace drinking an ice cold beer in the sunshine.
Enjoyable as it was, I was still in a bit of a predicament re getting to my bed for the night. So I decided on one more jaunt on foot, this time an hours journey along the coast to a neighbouring village where the wedding reception was taking place and where my host and hostess would hopefully be found with The Keys to The Door. I walked up over West Cliff....
....and enjoyed some wonderful peaceful time being Me-by-myself on top of the cliffs, gazing out across the bluest of blue seas with the sun on my face and a spring in my step. I have some fabulous memories from this little snippet of time, it was such bliss finding myself quite unexpectedly on a familiar sunny clifftop beside the sea. All By Myself. Just Me. I can't tell you how good it felt, such a rare luxury at this stage in my parenting career to have time so completely to myself.
I did eventually end up at the wedding reception after a lot of huffing and puffing (hugely steep hills in that village don't you know). I felt a little conspicuous walking into the venue wearing my crop jeans and a sweaty teeshirt when everyone else was done up to the nines, but hey, I carried it off with a broad smile.
The next morning I joined a large post-wedding gathering for a spot of brunch in a rather splendid posh local place. An old coaching inn which has been transformed in recent years into a top notch hotel with fine dining and plenty of ambiance.
Behind the rather grand facade of the hotel lies a rather beautiful rustic courtyard which totally captured my heart. Fabric bunting strung across, casual wooden furniture and lots of vibrant geraniums, it was a little slice of heaven I thought. Perfect for sitting with a mighty fine cappuccino and allowing my divine "eggs benedict" to settle. I didn't want to leave.
That sweet little Sunday morning courtyard really stuck in my memory, I'm glad I had my camera with me to capture a little of it's atmosphere. It's exactly how I like to think my own small outdoor space should look. Kind of pretty and casual and rustic and homely.
This is a snap of my July back yard. I took the above picture by standing very precariously on my bedroom windowsill and holding the camera out of the top opening window. Since I took this photo a few weeks ago, the geraniums in my wall top pots have really started to flower their hearts out, it's quite lovely if I say so myself. I feel quite proud of it. And I love my windowsill too, I love that our house is made out of old, old stone.
I have a rather amazing hanging basket next to the kitchen door in my back yard, it's chocka block full of my favourite colours. It was given to me as a surprise gift actually, and my goodness, it totally delivers a bolt of pleasure on a daily basis. I even remember to water it daily and religiously deadhead the flowers, it's very well treated I can tell you.
I wasn't actually around to take my usual first-day-of-the-month photo of the Attic view, but I took a few pics when I remembered on 12th July.
Yes, now I think about it we did have a bit of a cruddy cold, wet spell near the beginning of the month but like I said earlier, July has mostly been bright and beautiful I think.
Something else I did earlier this month was to participate in a fund raising event at a local school. I was asked if I could provide a few hand made items for the craft stall and I was happy to give it a go as I knew I'd be in very good company. One of the things I love about where I live is the growing number of friendships I have which are connected by The Yarn Thing. Other people who lead a creative life and share similar passions and excitements to my own. Its marrrrrvelous to have those connections with friends, it really is. I like nothing better than a get together over a coffee/glass of vino (depending on the friend in question and the time of day) and a natter about arty-crafty-yarny-handmade type of things.
And if those particular friends happen to live just two streets away, well then, it's all very handy and supportive and creative and jolly! I watched some of the above knitted cupcakes take shape each week at the pub you know (yes, we frequent the local pub on a Monday night to do hooky and knitty things, my friends and I). Aren't they totally scrummy?
These beautiful appliqued and embroidered cushions are made by another friend....I adore them, and you may remember me bringing one home to number 24 last year? I'm the proud owner of a round birdy cushion with colourful felty triangles (scroll down this post and you'll see it second pic from the end...cor isn't it weeeeeird looking at frosty winter pics in high summer???!!!) Anyhow...yes, these cushions are a complete joy to behold, they really are.
The same clever-pants lady who knitted the cupcakes is also a hugely talented stitcher. Her work is un-be-leivable. She makes the most gorgeous patchwork and applique cushions with a homespun, folk-art feel to them. They are true works of art, just lookeee at this.................
...........yay, chickies have landed in the Attic! How could I resist??? I just had to have one of these beautiful cushions for my very own, just had to. The Wanties hit hard.
There's an insane amount of hand stitching going on here, such a labour or love. You can tell this is made by a lady who completely lurrrrrrrrrrves to sit and stitch can't you?! Gorgeous.
So my contribution to the abundant craft stall was rather thin on the ground I have to confess. I simply didn't have the available time to make all that I wanted to make as my daylight hours are mostly filled by a demanding Little B shaped object. I managed to make seven little crocheted and stuffed keyring fobs (pretty colours don't you think?).......
..........and three little rabbits. Ahhh I did LOVE making these rabbits! Two of them hopped off to find new homes, and one remains here in the Attic with me.
The pattern came from Kate's blog Greedy for Colour, of which I am an adoring fan. I love Kate's work. I practically begged her on bended knees to write up her pattern for these bunnies when I saw her making them last year. And being the kind and obliging soul she is, she did just that. Isn't she a gem? You can find her Flora Rabbit tutorial here look.
Well now.........I think I need to finish up, it's quite late and I've just realised I'm sat alone in the dark whilst the other four-fifths of the family are tucked up in bed. We are in full school holiday mode this week, taking it leisurely day by day with no plans to speak of. Lots of mess, lots of time lounging in pj's, slap dash meals eaten as and when. Mid morning breakfasts. Lots of hooky time too as I'm getting a welcome amount of help entertaining Little B (free child labour, oh how I love school holidays). I've got a huge amount still to share with you and something wonderful and new on the hook already this week. More soon.
Toodle-oo for now!
Edited to add :: ahhhh fear-ye-not, Snakey-chops is still in residence here! He was on the craft stall purely to serve as colourful eyecandy, although I could have sold him I'm sure, he got loads of attention! Did you also spot my granny buting hanging on the front of the gazebo? Will have to show you that sometime as I realised just now that it never received it's Ta-dah moment. Thanks for all your lovely comments today! ♥