Pretentious? Moi? Get me with that title – can’t quite shake off the last 16 years of Frenchification.  I still sometimes say ‘Bonjour’ or ‘Merci’ to people out of habit which comes over as a bit odd as not many people would mistake my accent for a real French person especially the real French person who lives just down the road I haven’t yet met and can’t quite believe exists considering we are in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, I’ve recently written a couple of posts about our new garden and, as Mr. Tialys is starting to get into gear with it at weekends, thought I’d start taking a few before and after photos although the ‘after’ ones might be a long time coming as he’s working during the week.

You may remember that the previous occupant was a bit eccentric, shall we say, in her gardening methods and design and this birds’ eye view (or out of my sewing room window’s view) of the extreme right hand side of the front garden is a prime example.

Obviously Mr. T. had concerns about losing the wheelbarrow in the garden as he seems to have bought the most garish colour available 🙄

In her defence, Mr. Tialys has spotted lots of evidence – backed up by neighbour testimony – of a ground elder invasion.  However, he has decided to do away with a lot of the gravel, black plastic mulch and slate little by little and resort to a regular good digging over and perhaps some root barriers.  This small section is where he’ll start and the straight box hedge with no apparent purpose apart from to make it look as if it marks the end of our garden – which it doesn’t – will be dug up and planted alongside the path that runs along the front of the house instead.

I took this view of our lovely old oak tree because on a sunny(ish) day it started to rain but, on closer inspection, it was only raining from the tree.  It seems that any leftover frost from previous days had begun to melt in the admittedly weak heat from the sun and it rained down for a good twenty minutes or so.  I took a  photo from the front door porch but the raindrops haven’t shown up so you’ll just have to believe me.

It does, however, show the section on the other side of the little, irrelevant box hedge.  At the moment it is also covered in gravel and will probably become incorporated with the first section I showed you once the hedge is put to better use.

My sewing room is still a mess.  I’ve managed to get all the boxes unpacked – well, nearly – but now I can’t find anything.  Mr. T. said to push a couple of projects through and I’d start to find stuff out of necessity . I’m not  very motivated at the moment as, like most of us,  I don’t go anywhere to wear anything other than jeans and comfy tops and I have enough quilts and crocheted blankets to fill a much bigger house than we now have.

However!! In the last minute madness that accompanied our packing when leaving France for England, I made some strange choices as to what to leave behind and what to bring over.  As we haven’t sold the French house yet we were fortunate to be able  to leave quite a bit of stuff there to either be retrieved at some time in the future, sell it, give it away  or call in the house clearance company – it will probably be a combination of all those things.

Why did I pack a ‘posh’ dinner service we have had for 30 years and never use and eight – yes, eight – antique mannequins and then, on only the second day I could possibly have hung washing up to dry outside (well, it is winter and it is England) I realised I hadn’t packed the peg bag?

In a nod to the cows that were grazing in the field behind I found some fabric in deep stash (though what I’d originally intended it for I can’t imagine) and a pattern for a slightly different style than I’ve had before. This ‘wigwam’ style means I can use a trigger hook at the top to attach it to the washing line and it won’t blow off in the wind as the more common clothes hanger style tends to do and it was very slightly more challenging to make which forced me to employ some methods I haven’t used for too long now such as pattern cutting, making and attaching bias binding and some simple quilting.

In the process I finally set up both my sewing machine and overlocker, unearthed my rotary cutter and unpicker (hooray!) and used some fabric stash.  Plus, I think these would make good rat/hamster/insert other small pet/ beds which might be a fun item to put in my Etsy shop should I ever get round to stocking it again.

Since learning to crochet I’ve severely neglected my knitting and some yarn that escaped my pre-move cull was eighteen 400g balls of aran (medium worsted) weight yarn. I had six balls of three different colours because I used to make big chunky blankets with this wool which were made knitting six strands at a time on huge circular needles. You might remember if you’re a long term follower.

Everyone I know and love – and even one or two that I don’t – now has one of these blankets so I searched for a pattern I could use to make a comfy jumper for my daughter’s birthday next month and found this one.  Perfect lockdown wear.

I had some of the yarn in red fleck, black fleck and cream so chose the cream and this is as far as I’ve got.

I’d forgotten how long knitting takes compared to crochet.

A 400g ball of wool won’t fit in my usual yarn bowl so I put my huge Mason Cash mixing bowl into service – in case you were wondering.

Not to be outdone in the creative stakes Mr. Tialys made some rather nice shortbread which is one of the good things about having him working from home rather than in another country entirely and, although it’s taking some getting used to it definitely has more benefits than disadvantages.


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  1. #1 by nanacathy2 on January 13, 2021 - 15:03

    What a fabulous mixture of things- you are settling in. I love your peg bag, and I’m impressed you have hung washing outside already this year- clearly damper here in Wiltshire than where you are. Mr T makes jolly good shortbread too, and that looks like a big knitting project.

    • #2 by tialys on January 13, 2021 - 15:41

      I have to make washing while the sun shines. I have inherited a tumble drier but don’t like them so it’s a clothes airer indoors if I can’t hang it outside. At this time of year, even on a dry day it’s generally not dry enough to get most things ready for the airing cupboard (not that I’ve got one of those). How soon we forget 🙄
      I’m still glad to be back though.

  2. #3 by claire93 on January 13, 2021 - 15:15

    love the start of the sweater! looks just the kind of comfy sweater Miss T will love to wear when cocooning over the winter months!

    • #4 by tialys on January 13, 2021 - 15:44

      She’s generally cocooning whatever the the time of year so it won’t go to waste. 😉
      I actually wouldn’t mind one myself but I’ll probably be sick of knitting after this one’s finished so we’ll see.

  3. #5 by Wild Daffodil on January 13, 2021 - 15:35

    You have both made an excellent start with nestling into the West Country.
    Would love to have seen your raining tree – magical.
    The peg bag looks fab.

    • #6 by tialys on January 13, 2021 - 15:54

      I’ve already fallen in love with our tree. It’s home to such a huge variety of birds and its top is the first thing I see when the bedroom curtains are opened in the mornings when I sometimes lie back with my cup of tea and find images in the tangled branches.

  4. #7 by tinaor on January 13, 2021 - 16:04

    You are gradually getting settled in – well done – and lovely crafting. Love a new peg bag! Made one myself last summer, though not as cute as yours. Good choice of jumper pattern for your daughter, we all need a cosy jumper or two or three .

    • #8 by tialys on January 13, 2021 - 18:06

      I am definitely back in jumper country now and, although the winters in S.W. France could be very chilly, I suspect I’ll need them for longer now I’m back in England.

  5. #9 by Evie Jones on January 13, 2021 - 16:52

    What a stunning view you have.
    The wee peg bag is just too cute. Sized up it would be a gorgeous cat bed (although my cat always eschews beds, preferring to lie on anything that you really don’t want her too). Where we live we get about 8.27 days per year where you can safely hang out laundry….none of them in January!

    • #10 by tialys on January 13, 2021 - 18:09

      I did think about a cat bed and, as my cats are spending more time indoors now I’m fussier about the look of the beds I provide them with. I might try to enlarge the pattern and have a go – Lord knows I have enough fabric going begging.

      • #11 by Born To Organize on February 12, 2021 - 15:05

        I can’t wait to see those cat beds, assuming of course that you’ll move on this full steam ahead. The cow fabric is adorable!

  6. #12 by CurlsnSkirls on January 13, 2021 - 17:04

    So glad to read your post and see you’re gaining entry into your sewing room. Good to have several cooks about the place, isn’t it? Am trying to imagine what that front garden’s going to look like after Mr T gets proper weather – should be amazing. And that tree is absolutely fabulous!!! Why not look for a cozy crochet jumper pattern for yourself as an alternate with the lovely one you’re working on for Ms. T. (I should find one for myself — will let you know if I do!) Happy January!
    . . . . . . . how many antique mannequins ? ? ? 🤣

    • #13 by tialys on January 13, 2021 - 18:13

      I know – eight! – scandalous isn’t it? I will be putting some of them up for sale in my vintage shop when things are back to some sort of normality. Meanwhile Mr. Tialys isn’t happy with them taking up room in his new garage/workshop.

      • #14 by CurlsnSkirls on January 14, 2021 - 03:30

        Poor Mr. Tialys! Couldn’t he try thinking of them as dosh in disguise?

      • #15 by tialys on January 14, 2021 - 11:34

        He does, very much so.🤑

      • #16 by CurlsnSkirls on January 14, 2021 - 17:43


  7. #17 by magpiesue on January 13, 2021 - 20:35

    It can be handy to have the man of the house around during the daylight hours. It can also be a nuisance at times. 😉 Well done on digging out the sewing equipment and refreshing your skills. That’s an eye-catching peg bag to be sure!

    • #18 by tialys on January 14, 2021 - 12:33

      I must say it’s nice to have the company at the moment.

  8. #19 by sew2pro on January 13, 2021 - 21:10

    Ah I see you’ve had sunshine! Dare I ask but .. have you met the local squirrels yet? I’m worried they’ll nest in your cosy and fancy peg bag. Mine have been running amok since I started putting the food out for the birds. We have at least four, so I’ve given them four names (eg Princess Nut Nut) but of course we really can’t tell which one’s which, yet.

  9. #20 by cedar51 on January 14, 2021 - 02:52

    times might be difficult for you right now, but at least you both have projects to get on with in your new residence…enjoy

  10. #21 by katechiconi on January 14, 2021 - 07:21

    Clearly it’s time for mixed content posts, as I’ve just pressed the Publish button on mine. I’m really enjoying the journey of rediscovery you’re embarking on, and I’m glad to see that the creative urge hasn’t been suppressed by difficulty. What is amusing me no end is the whole new garden/wildlife bit. Do the binoculars live on the bedroom windowsill yet…? Love the peg bag; even if it does get blown by gales into the next county you’ll have no trouble locating it.

    • #22 by tialys on January 14, 2021 - 12:32

      I don’t know why the garden/wildlife bit has come to the fore now as we had plenty of both in France. Maybe it’s because our daytime living space is on the ground floor now and Glyn is working from home in a room with windows all around him and the birds seem to be more visible as well as more numerous and varied. The binoculars, so far, have taken up residence on the kitchen windowsill but, to add to your amusement, we now have a mini telescope thingy and have signed up for the RSPB bird watch later this month.

      • #23 by katechiconi on January 14, 2021 - 13:15

        Oh, now you’re kidding me… aren’t you? You are SO not a ticker or twitcher. Or maybe you are! We shall have to compare silly bird names – I have some crackers!

  11. #24 by kathyreeves on January 15, 2021 - 03:26

    Love the peg bag, I’m going to have to make one of those, DH has promised me a clothes line this spring. The old oak is quite a fabulous tree, I see why you are I love with it! Wishing Mr. T well as he works out the garden plan, lots of work ahead, but I bet it looks comp,steely different a year form now.😀 That sweater will be perfect for Miss T, and it already looks so cozy.

  12. #27 by Susan Nixon on January 15, 2021 - 08:29

    I love that sweater! So many adjustments you are making. I’m amazed you already have been sewing. I think my sewing machine will be hidden for quite some time once we move again.

    • #28 by tialys on January 15, 2021 - 13:39

      Well, I haven’t done that much since setting it up because a lot of my sewing tools are still buried in unfamiliar places. I’m slowly unearthing them though.

  13. #29 by Dartmoor Creative on January 17, 2021 - 21:57

    That seems an awful lot of busyness. Love the peg bag and the sweater pattern, but sadly what I am most jealous of is that you know where your unpicker is.

    On the subject of neighbours from France, we got new neighbours in September who are Brits that have returned from France. They’re absolutely lovely, but a shame they’re not you ☹

    • #30 by tialys on January 18, 2021 - 12:02

      Aw, bless you. There was quite an exodus last year – but equally in the other direction where people who wanted to move to France were desperately trying to get their name on a property before Brexit came into force. Unfortunately, none of them put their name on ours so we still need to sell it ☹

  14. #32 by Beads and Barnacles on January 19, 2021 - 22:16

    That jumper looks lovely and snuggly, and yes knitting takes ages doesn’t it… but it is so worth it in the end.
    Sounds like starting a project helped you sort your sewing room out, I should probably employ the same strategy with my “rearanged” sewing room and retreive my overlocker from my lounge!

    • #33 by tialys on January 20, 2021 - 10:57

      I installed my overlocker last week and couldn’t remember how to re-thread it – it’s been so long,

  15. #34 by Born To Organize on February 12, 2021 - 15:10

    The household dynamic really changes when everyone is working from home. My husband and eldest son have been working at home full time for nearly a year now. I never dreamed we would have a sit-stand desk and chair in our bedroom, but here we are. It’s better than the alternative though: he used to work at the kitchen counter.

    Your peg bag is both clever and charming, and I must admit to being smitten with the suggestion of cat beds. We have the same paper bag sitting on the table behind our couch for Tessa. It’s slowly collapsing and looks like a sad excuse for a bag at this point, but whenever I think of tossing it, she’ll crawl in and look cozy and adorable.

    I forget your feline count, Lynn; is it six?

    Your oak tree is stunning! I’m pleased to hear it’s offering a restful place to set your eyes each morning.

    • #35 by tialys on February 12, 2021 - 16:43

      I must confess I have put the wigwam cat beds on the back boiler for now having discovered those soft, round, fluffy beds that they can burrow into like nests. The dogs even try to get in them but just succeed in laying on top. I would get into one if it were possible. We came over to England with five cats but, after a week, we had to have our ginger boy put to sleep as he had kidney disease. So down to four now even though our older girl, Betty (14) had to have a lump removed from her neck not long after our arrival which, fortunately, proved to be benign What with all the vets bills (more expensive than in France) and the passports and transport costs to get them over here I think they now have more intrinsic value than any of our other possessions.

  16. #36 by Lynda on July 1, 2021 - 14:58

    From the back and beyond I’ve come visiting this morning. I am cleaning out 3000 unread emails from my in-box and reading those from whom I care about. Have I been in a funk? OH! You bet, but then, who wasn’t? The peg bag is perfect BTW. 😉

    • #37 by tialys on July 4, 2021 - 09:17

      Hello Lynda – so lovely to hear from you. I hope your ‘funk’ was nothing too serious and that you are emerging blinking into the light a little bit now. xx

  17. #38 by Lynda on July 9, 2021 - 14:01

    Covid depression. Spent my time in the garden (better than a couch or basket weaving (therapy)). I grew almost everything from seed and worked outside even in the middle of winter. I could say more, but maybe I should put it up on my own blog? Yes, perhaps it is (well over) time for a post. See you soon!

    • #39 by tialys on July 9, 2021 - 18:01

      Oh dear, depression is a terrible thing although I’m fortunate never to have experienced it. I’m so glad you found a way out of the darkness – literally!
      Definitely good blog fodder though. Get writing that post!

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