Joyful Easter, the only time it’s safe to put all your eggs in one basket!

Happy Easter

Having Easter in April feels just right, March always seems too early for this celebration of renewal. Long before clothes shopping was an everyday occurrence, Easter was a time when everyone wore new clothes – a small remnant remains in the many Easter Bonnet activities that still go on in Schools. Easter is a pivotal celebration – the dreariest months of the year are behind us and summer is not that far away. Time to pack up winter woolies, and make room for floaty dresses and cotton cardigans. Absence does make the heart grow fonder – because each box is a rediscovery –   like a whole new wardrobe -not just a new outfit.

Pink Crochet Baby Blanket

My beloved, daughter is expecting a little girl in August – I can’t tell you how excited I am about being a Nanna! I attended a midwife appointment with her which was marvellous – the little girl’s heartbeat resounded in the room loud and strong. Knowing its a girl somehow makes her a person already.

It is splendid that already the  process is so much better than my own experience – my own mother had died long before my daughter was born – those early days after giving birth came with such a deep longing for my mother that I suffered both baby blues and bereavement, it was a bleak time; I am so thrilled that I am here to support my daughter, if she needs me.

This is me a few days after having my daughter, I was 22 years old and had been married nearly two years –  we all wore Laura Ashley back then!

Lucy Susie baby copy

I want to wrap my daughter up, in warm fuzzy love, cherish her through this process – I am glad to see mothers  have so much more support, net mums is a great resource and one that is available for those early morning feeds when you feel you are the only one awake and  she can text the midwife anytime.

It has also drawn us closer together – she was my first baby – it is miraculous that my baby is having a baby! I am amazed at how much I had forgotten until we discuss morning sickness, stretch marks and that phenomenal sensation of fluttering baby movements. I am planning a baby shower for her, which is a lovely invention that has crossed the pond – that I am savouring every moment.

I am crocheting a pink and cream blanket, the wool is sensuously soft and delicate, I believe that you can put a positive intention of love in every stitch – which will in time wrap around the baby – pink is the colour of self love so there is a lot of it going around right now!

Vision board

This is my vision board which is plastered on the fridge, I wanted to focus on being more healthy this year and this has taken the form of mindful eating and weaning myself off sugar. Vision boards are the most fun you can have with paper, scissors and glue! You simply take a stack of magazines and cut out pictures that inspire you, paste them to paper (I use lining wall paper) and then put them somewhere you will see them every day. Repeat often – the brain loves novelty and often filters out after  a while, it is a great way to keep on track and fill every day with inspiration. I sometimes make these focussing on colours – or home decoration – Country Living is a feast of beauty and inspiration.

 

Saffron Tales
energy balls natural sugar free treat

I would say I was quite addicted to sugar – after all from an early age I was rewarded with sweets and my Nanna loaded me up with comforting sweet tea. I am not alone in this process – it seems every article on health or fitness has a campaign of demonising sugar. All the writing on the subject blames the demonising of fat thirty years ago – which has produced an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, as manufacturers loaded up our fat free food with sugar to make it palatable. I rarely eat pre packaged food, because I want to know what I am eating, sugar has many names and many forms -I was amazed to discover fresh chicken is pumped full of glycerine because it weighs more!   Despite this trend, the dairy producers are slow to react – try buying full fat yoghurt!

The Saffron tales is a delightful book – armchair travel to the middle East – including a recipe for Energy balls which can be eaten as breakfast on the go. They are made from 160g of dates which I replaced with apricots – they provide the right note of natural sweetness when my desire for a sugar hit is at its height – usually around 4 o’clock in the afternoon when dinner is hours away.  You whizz up the apricots with a cup full of flaked almonds, a table spoon each of cinnamon and vanilla in a food processor. Add enough Tahini (or you can use Almond or Peanut butter) so that the mixture forms balls – and then roll these in coconut or ground almonds. The combination of nuts and natural sugar – releases its energy over time so you avoid the crash that happens just after a sugar hit. I find they sustain me as I don’t feel hungry for a good while afterwards – I can get to suppertime without going through a dozen biscuits!

Yoga for Life

As part of my intention for a healthier year – I have been enjoying this delightful yoga lifestyle book from Maya Fiennes.  The chapters are based around the chakras – using Kundalini yoga (I did not realise there were different types of yoga before reading this book).

A Kundalini session leaves you feeling fighting fit, ready and able to tackle every day challenges with new zest.

The book contains positive quotations, recipes and poses as well as lots of beautiful inspirational photography. It encouraged me to go out and buy some kaftans and leggings – dressing the part makes me feel halfway there and they are sooo gloriously comfortable I often keep my yoga outfits on the rest of the day!

I go to a yoga class every week, but this is a great guide for those days when I want to continue to practise at home – I tried the frog pose and it was the first time I felt the soar of energy that comes from using the poses. It was like discovering magic, and it does make me feel more alive!

barney reduced size

Our evening beach walks are lovely, the sea round here is rarely choppy, and the beaches have never been crowded. I am really enjoying my photography, Barney makes a good subject!

At the end of the week we enjoyed another writing session, which is also in tune with mindful attention – its only when you step back from life an become an observer that you have an opportunity to notice all the small things.

We have family gatherings to look forward to and it is wonderful to enjoy a long weekend. Happy Easter

Easter Eggs

 

 

Sunday Sevens- March 2016 -Country walks and sewing

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What a delightful spot – the millpond on the South Downs was a perfect start to our Easter Break – the weather forecast suggested that Friday would be the best day so I escaped the sewing room for a while and headed to the Downs. This picture doesn’t capture the beauty and serenity that had us pause for a while – watching ducks take flight, while the soft clouds drifted ahead – sunlight glinting off the water and dancing on the bank.

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Further round the pond was a big level dock – where two fishermen were dangling rods in hopeful contemplation. The cascade of water was exhilarating standing on the plank just above the water lock – watching reeds dance around the rusty bars with their coats of weeds.

We followed the footpath through woodland eventually coming out into Burton Park, an old Manor House (now converted into flats) that had a lovely little chapel in the grounds.

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Burton Church

 

It was a quaint old building – obviously built for the Manor House, but they hold services in the chapel once a month. These places have a sense of timelessness about them -carvings and painted walls – hard church pews – nothing has changed for at least a 100 years. I felt if I sat long enough I might just travel back in time! We ended the trip with a lovely coffee at Petworth – we bought mountains of cheese, crisp fresh bread and feasted on them the whole weekend.

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I popped to my to my Son’s Salon for a hair cut (he has been quietly turning me lighter over the last year), he is such a talented young man!  We had a lovely family gathering my daughter and son-in-law also had their hair done – then went out for a meal to celebrate his upcoming birthday before he headed to Valencia.

Every month they have a Vintage and Very Nice Bazaars at Chichester Assembly Rooms, we slipped away from the rain one dreary March  Saturday,  meandering through the stalls; bric a brac, old maps and relics from the past all cleaned up and ready for sale. I wonder if any of my beloved items will be prized by a stall holder years ahead?   I spend a great deal of time looking at vintage clothing – there were so many lovely dresses,  especially this unapologetic cashmere soft girlie jumper!  (It would not fit me, sadly!)- the lady kindly allowed me to take a few photos.  I really liked the neckline and have a cashmere jumper at home that might just be the transformation it is waiting for.

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I also cherished this beautiful Kimono – which came home with me! It feels luxurious to wear – I have never looked so elegant in my pjs!

7-Kate Jersey dress finished front

I completed this jersey dress – the embroidery detail was inspired by my trip to the Museum of Fashion and Textiles at the end of February.

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I made a lovely wool skirt with a bit of embroidery to avoid the classic  librarian look!- it has taken me quite a long time to complete but it fits like a glove.. will be posting on my sewing blog.

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We had visitors and family most of the holiday – it was good to have a break from the sewing room for a while.  Monday I fished out an old UFO – this little lap quilt! It has tiny cakes, cups of tea and little patterned fabrics! There was no real game plan, but I worked it randomly among the fixed blocks of cakes and coffee cups.

It is mostly the quilting that is taking the time – my sewing machine has had a few hiccups and hissy fits during the process -lining up the quilting blocks and squeezing it into the tiny embroidery frame was challenging!  – It was the project that made me realise that my sewing machine was faulty which is why it was discarded a few times. Two new motherboards and a couple of services in the years in-between and thankfully it was progressing much faster.

Free motion quilting

 

It was easier to simply free motion quilt it –  by the end of the day it is just a little hand stitching  to bind it. It is far from perfect, in fact it is more wrong than right, but I can’t discard the hours of sewing I did to put it together; in a strange way, the imperections give it a sense of the journey it has been to complete it.  I have learned a lot since I began the quilt back in 2006 I have far more patience and skill lining up the quilt in the frame. If there is a slow sew movement to grow alongside the slow food movement – I would be a paid up member.

March is going out like a lion – thankfully just a few roof tiles and bit of fencing our only casualties in the storm, but oh my, spring is definitely here.

ttfn x

Susanna Signature