House Warming


Our lovely friends Caroline and Nat have moved away from North London to live by the coast in Hove with their little boy, Drew and Labrador, Bosley.



It’s been a few months already and I feel really bad that their house warming present has taken this long to be sent.

Big Bad Bosley

                                                                   Big Bad Bosley

After making a terrier cushion for ourselves and a couple of Daschund presents for other people, I decided that a labrador cushion in the likeness of Bosley would be a well received present. Drew and Bosley are firm friends (as are Max and Bosley) and Bosley is a very important and well loved member of their family.



We have had Bosley staying with us at times when his family have had holidays or couldn’t take him with them and he is a very lovely boy. He is our favourite king of house guest.

Max and Bosley

                                                                          Max and Bosley

We miss him as much as we miss Caroline, Nat and Drew.

Pooch Pouches

cosy cave

cosy cave

Ages ago, I spied a rather lovely dog bed with a flap on the top that meant the dog could climb underneath it for a little comfort & cover. We know terriers like to burry themselves and I think they were actually call Terrier Sacks (unfortunately that name conjures up all kinds of awful images of drowning puppies!!!).

hamlet heaven

hamlet heaven

It piqued an idea for a dog bed

keeping and eye on proceedings

keeping and eye on proceedings

With nothing more than a duvet (hypo allergenic in this case for Max’s skin) and a few metres of paw print fleece, I set about making my own version.

It couldn’t have been easier.

Max likes to get right inside and hide his face

Max likes to get right inside and hide his face

So for any one out there who might want to try the same, here it is in it’s most gloriously simple form.

Cut fleece and duvet to desired size (I based our JRT’s bed on about 700mm square)

You can either turn in raw edges of duvet along cut and zig zag edges (this is where I put the overlocking machine I have long lusted after back to the top of my wish list) or finish it with bias tape for a bit of extra rigidity

Sew up ends and sides of fleece (right sides facing) like a furry duvet cover

Attach duvet at each corner (still inside out – this will keep duvet from migrating in the wash)

Then turn right way (duvet is firmly fixed into corners so won’t have moved)

Turn in raw edges and hand sew the opening closed

Fold in half and hand sew the 2 side edges together (leaving end open for your pooch to clamber in)

it was chilly last night and this was hamlet and max mod of the evening

it was chilly last night and this was hamlet and max most of the evening

Eh voila!!

I love this old campaigner

I love this old campaigner

A Pooch Pouch that is snuggly and cosy when it is cold and drafty.

snuggly warm and sleepy after a lovely long walk

snuggly warm and sleepy after a lovely long walk

My sis’s JRT is on holiday with us at the moment so we couldn’t miss him out. He absolutely loves his, his old bones love being toasty warm and he gets to hide away from all the insanity of a younger model nearby.

and a blanket always helps

and a blanket always helps

I think it might have to go home with him when he goes back to Norfolk.

Instructions for making pooch pouch

Decide on the size you want for your dog (we chose 500 and 600mm square for the 2 sizes seen in the post)

Get your chosen fleecy fabric in measurements that are equal to 4 squares (I got fabric 1300mm wide so bought 2.5m for both beds) with an allowance for a little wastage on the selvedges etc.

Cut it to suit your chosen bed size (i.e. 2no pieces at 500mm x 1000mm for the small bed)

Sew then together (right side inside) along 3 of the sides leaving one of the 500mm sides open.

Turn it the right side out. You have a long fleecy sack that forms the covering of your pooch pouch.

Get a single lightweight hypoallergenic duvet per bed. You will need to cut this down so mark it up with your measurements (i.e. 500mm x 1000mm for the small bed or 600mm x 1200mm for the slightly larger bed)

Overlock (or zizag) along the edges of the duvet that will need trimming to achieve your dimensions

Fold it in half. Push it into the top of your fleecy sack with the fold at the open end of the sack.

This leaves half of your fleecy sack empty at the bottom. Secure the duvet to the open edge of the fleecy sack

Push the empty bottom part of your fleecy sack inside the folded duvet.

Secure the inside corners to the open part of the sack.

Hand sew your sack closed and voila. Your pooch pouch is born

happy birthday harringay market



A week ago was Harringay Market’s first birthday and it was a scorcher too.

happy birthday

happy birthday

It was very hot and sunny and the event was to be marked by lots of visitors and a birthday cake!

pouches and bags

pouches and bags

I’m not a regular trader at Harringay Market as my work keeps me away more often than not but I feel very much part of it. I’ve been selling there since not long after it started. I love the sense of community there is and I love the people that you meet.



Us crafters aren’t the main feature, it is a food market after all, but I like to think we add a bit of interest. We have developed a bit of a following and some people are disappointed when we aren’t there.

my new doggy model

my new doggy model

None of us were in a very good spot for the birthday market, unfortunately and although we benefited from not being in the direct sun for most of the day, we were nowhere near the action (unless you consider a loo stop as action!). A real shame and a missed opportunity as were tucked out of the way and were literally in a little corridor on the way to the loos! But I had my lovely friend V to kep me company and we had a good old chat to our neighbour and newcomer Spacedog.

bags and cosies

bags and cosies

Anyway, I had made a few new small things recently so I decided to take them to the market to see if they’d be good sellers.

Most of the things I make are for kids but are bought by their parents or a relative as a gift. I’m aware that amongst the shoppers out there, there are a few who are spending their hard earned pocket money too and there need to be some smaller interesting items that are affordable to those little shoppers.

some of the making

some of the making

Because bags are always needed for boys and girls, I tried out a selection of different shapes, uses and styles to see how things went.

I love them and have made myself a small sewing bag the same which fits in my handbag for the odd train journey.



They went down well and I think I will make a few more with different patterns, images and styles.

the little collection I tried to get done the night before!

the little collection I tried to get done the night before!

The big hit at the moment though are the little summer dresses!  I really have to get on with all my new ideas for them

doggy neckerchiefs

max in a peach floral number

max in a peach floral number

I have blogged about these doggy neckerchiefs before. I’ve made them for friends who have asked for them and I have given some as gifts, but people don’t seem to buy them.  During my days at Harringay Market, it occurred to me that the reason could be that it isn’t easy to work out what these little doggerchiefs actually are!


Hamlet modelling Agnes’s Doggerchief

Although Max goes down a treat with doggy shoppers at the market; he behaves like everyone loves him and he is always pleased to see anyone who makes eye contact with him, it’s not very fair to expect him or Hamlet to sit around modelling in the freezing conditions that we have had there JUST so that people understand what these doggerchiefs are.

doggy outline

doggy outline

So the solution is to have a stand in; A cardboard cut out of sorts (made of MDF to be precise).

It couldn’t have been easier:- a quick outline of a JRT (Max wriggled a bit but we managed to get him flattened out………only joking!!!! ) enlarged to about the right size, an off cut of MDF from the shed and a jig saw.

cardboard cut out

cardboard cut out

JC did the cutting for me and it is now done.

Although, I haven’t been making much lately and my pile of unfinished projects is really not getting any smaller making the cut out for the purpose of modelling the neckerchief, made me pick these out of the basket & I got them finished.


I must do some in more masculine fabrics as these all seem to be a bit more appropriate for girls but when you are working with vintage, it is hard to be sure what you will come across.

lady labrador's neck warmer

lady labrador’s neck warmer

Anyway, Agnes now has the cute daisy green, Bosley will get his blue and gingham one next time we see him and there is a labrador along with her chihuahua buddy who also have them in hertfordshire

Hamlet modelling Agnes's doggerchief

I love this fabric!!

I love them and would put Max in a new one every day if JC didn’t think he looked ridiculous!!

the tiniest doggerchief in the world!!

the tiniest doggerchief in the world!!

a new puppy

My lovely friend ‘V’ and her family have recently experienced the heart breaking loss of both of their beloved little dogs Kinny & Diesel.

‘V’ was lucky enough to have Kinny for about 16 years and Diesel for about 12. I know Diesel was a battersea rescue and if my facts are correct; Kinny was bought from a market stall holder who happened to have pups of the type that ‘V’ wanted.  They have lived their long lives happily and with lots of love.  Both very special in their individual ways.

Their loss has left a huge gap in a very loving but busy household.

Kinny’s loss was first and it seemed too great, leaving such a raw wound that I wasn’t sure if another dog could join this lovely household.

Imagine my delight when, all checks passed and papers signed, ‘V’ sent me a text from the car to say that she was nursing a puppy on their way home.

Agnes is GORGEOUS!!


Diesel has also been lost to them since Agnes arrived and she will undoubtedly miss him as they used to curl up and snuggle together for a snooze but she is young and will recover from his departure a lot sooner than the humans will.

She is also a rescue dog so they had lots in common.  She is adorable to look at and full of character.  It is hard to believe that she was ever unwanted.

Her arrival was a few weeks ago now and she is a huge character with lots of cute expressions and fun qualities.  I suspect she may be a little tinker at times too but how can you resist such and expressive little thing?

Lucky little pooch is already very well loved and a huge part of the family.  Welcome little lady.

In the dog house


I don’t really do christmas presents for pets, but since my sister got her doggy addition to the family, I decided to make an exception.


flower detail

Hamlet and Heston now have a picture with their names on it and a kennel representing each of them.




I don’t know where it will be hung up, and my niece was positively underwhelmed by it, even though she’s usually pretty appreciative so perhaps she found the idea of a picture gift for the dogs as strange as most people would.


the dog house


I think it is quite cute.

I have one ready to make for the furry one too!


the ‘furry one’

by firelight

the furry one is officially a grown up and is now 2 years old!  His birthday was on Wednesday.

It is hard to believe that before September 2008, he wasn’t a part of our lives.

the beautiful game

As a kid, I have always had dogs but circumstance made continuing that after I left home difficult.  JC had dogs as a kid too and likes them enormously.

All that said, it was a hard decision to get a dog.  It comes with huge responsibility and dedication and cannot be taken lightly.  You have to be really sure you can do it before you take it on.

first walk in the big bad world

We always take two weeks off to go walking in September and until we bought our little spot in the country, we used to go to my dad’s lovely holiday cottage in middleton in teesdale and walk and walk and walk.  It’s pretty hilly so challenging but it is incredibly beautiful and on the doorstep of my ‘home’.

Now we have the house, we don’t want to go anywhere else and I do miss those wonderful hills.

first paddle in the pond

Our first autumn holiday at our house was a treat in itself even though we were missing out on the hills and then it was made super special when I decided that JC wanted a dog (he truly did) but wouldn’t actually say it. So, while he was washing the car or sanding down the pew (another story), I was busy making calls to people who were advertising jack russell puppies in our area.

a snooze and a cuddle

All the ads were in our local free paper and it covered the whole of the south of the county.  Our criteria was simple:- small (so I could carry it on and escalator on the way into work should the need arise), a dog (because most of the canines he would be mixing with would be males) and we needed to meet the parents before we could decide.

I spoke to some wonderfully interesting and dedicated dog owners.  Some were re-homing a JRT that didn’t fit in with their set up, others had litters, some had youngsters that they couldn’t manage anymore and one was needing a home because his beloved owner had died a few days before.  It becomes sooooooo personal and a decision that is difficult to make with only your head.  I was in danger of starting some kind of JRT refuge if I hadn’t tried to step away from the story a bit.

who me?

Eventually I got chatting to a very friendly, lovely lady called Sue who had a bitch from whom she had produced numerous litters before and reports from the owners of those previous pups were very good. Some owners had come back again for later litters.

I'm wet!

My instinct to believe what she said caused a somewhat raised eyebrow from JC but more often than not my instincts are sound and this time, they were right on the money….

cuddles and a kip

Off we went, with JC objecting to having been dragged away from his projects, to find a relaxed and loving household where these puppies had been born, just outside Skegness.  We heard the adult dogs barking long before we knocked on the door and were  introduced to dad ‘buster’ immediately that the door was answered quickly followed by mum ‘cassie’.

favourite places

JC (the doubter) would have brought Buster home with us if he had been allowed.  He was full of life, fit, fun and infectiously friendly.  Mum was doe eyed, also friendly, gentle and very, very  affectionate.

There were only 2 pups left and the choice was ours.  We had decided which one we wanted from the phone description before we even went there but we had decided that we would have to walk away and start our search again if the parents weren’t nice dogs.


The parents happened to tick all the boxes and we were going to take home the one with the the two spots on his back and the colour over his ears and eyes.

He settled into a bed that we took with us and slept all the way home.

sand dunes in norfolk

It was a good omen and things haven’t really changed. He cried only one night while he mourned the loss of his mum and sibblings, he was toilet trained almost without effort and he has remained gentle, loving and doe eyed (like his mum) but full of friendliness, fun and energy (like his dad).

There is no doubt he is a clever little thing and without 2 hours of exercise each day (very difficult when the nights are dark and you are busy), he could very easily become a handful.

running on the beach

BUT, he is a joy to have around, massively entertaining, loving and a very well loved in return.

If it is allowed, I admit to loving him very, very much. He is a great addition to our home and the best medicine ever!!

#3 recycling and growing your own vegetables

asparagus ready to flower

You know when you start something and wonder where it will end…….

We set up our raised vegetable box quite a few weeks ago along with a small plastic green house to help with seedlings, pots and 2 old butters sinks.

Not content with that, last weekend, I dug over a flower bed that was struggling under the strangling effects of a variegated grass and spreading sweet woodruff.  My efforts have revealed about 1m x 3m of ground that is going to take a mix of flowers and shrubs as well as even more vegetables than those we are already growing.  JC fancies a leek trench!!!

flowering strawberries

It is quite poor soil that we have never riddled or improved and have, historically, simply stuck shrubs into spaces when we got our hands on them.  It is filled with builder’s rubble from when our flat was formed as part of the conversion of the victorian terraced house it sits in,

In order to improve conditions a little, a healthy portion of turkey manure that we had transported from the farm has been turned into it.  The bags of turkey manure are bought as a recycled by product of turkey farming and the 2 bags that we scrounged off the farm have been festering away at the back of the garden and smell mighty potent.  It seems that you only need 10% of horse manure or other soil improvers as it is that fertile.  I was warned that we might end up with triffids.


Our earlier efforts seem to be relatively successful, well stuff is growing. We now, however, have garlic and herbs planted in the new patch (turkey manure and all), cucumber, courgette and brocolli seeds are sitting in various containers in  the greenhouse waiting to sprout before they are planted into the newly fed flower bed.  It is very satisfying

As well as wanting to produce my own food, these tough times and the ‘grow your own’ gardening has made me into an even more committed recycler.  As a result of my planting needs and I have found some new uses for egg boxes, the cardboard tubes from a loo roll and the unused pee pads from when we were house training our wee dog when he was a pup.

loo roll 'pot' on a pee pad

Egg boxes are superb for seedlings, they hold moisture in the cardboard brilliantly and you just cut each section away from the other and plant them straight into the ground.  It means that the roots of your delicate seedlings are not disturbed and the cardboard breaks down as the plant grows and also feeds the soil.  The same applies to the loo roll tubes but these have to have the bottoms snipped and turned over to form a ‘pot’.

The most satisfying recycle of all though has been the training mats that we bought when ‘the furry one’ was a pup and house training was in hand.  He never needed house training particularly so the bulk pack of these matts that we bought have never been used.  We’ve tried giving them away to friends with pups but still seem to have too many taking up valuable storage space in our cupboards.  They now have a new life and are the moisture base of my mini greenhouse shelves that is keeping my seedlings watered!

tomatoes flowering but not looking too happy

Things seem to be thriving and it is very encouraging.  The tomatoes are the least happy of our ‘triffids’ but I have taken them out of the ‘greenhouse’, repotted them and hope the extra food and fresh air will bring them along.  The weather is a bit unpredictable, at the moment so I hope they don’t get nipped.

The more we do, the more confident we are becoming and already I don’t feel quite so ‘scared’ of it all now.  Come on sunshine, we want to start eating our salad!!!!!



I made a handful of doggerchiefs a while ago and although they were a success, I have been making other versions that are a little more flexible in the sizing.

The first ones are velcro fastened and suit specific neck sizes only.  They are very neat and work incredibly well but I have opted to try a tied version that should be flexible enough to fit within a range of neck sizes rather than just one.

The idea being that the knotting is to suit the dogs neck.  It means that I can limit the sizing to  xxs, xs, small, medium, large, XL & XXL instead of an endless number. I now only need 7 pattern templates.

I like the idea of them being reversible.

Anyway I was asked to make 2 recently.  One is for a 16′ neck of a bitch spaniel the other is a 22″ rottweiler cross (I have to see a photograph of him!!).  My brief was lilac / purple which is the gifting lady’s favourite colour du jour.  I await photos of them on their new owners.

I prefer the tying kind as it offers a jaunty little bow tie arrangement at the front while the kerchief bit is still nice to see at the back.

Poor ‘furry one’ had to do some modelling again and looks quite dashing in his own red and white spotty doggerchief.

canine couture of the knitted variety

My sister happened to be in leeds last summer and in one of the covered markets, came upon a fellow maker who had a stall full of doggy fashion and accessories.

Endlessly supportive and alert to my budding venture, she couldn’t resist asking the lady maker for a copy of the pattern for her doggy coat.

Slightly surprised to be asked to pay for it (!!), she parted with 75p and excitedly handed it over to me at the end of her fun weekend.

As I said a few days ago, I have been busy at work and my lovely mum has been busy doing a bit of knitting for me.

Amongst the knitted delights that I took delivery of, was the very dog coat knitted up in a lovely minky coloured wool.

The furry one is not known to like a coat of any kind but will just about oblige when it comes to modelling.

Update 23.04.14

Since this post, I have had a few requests for a copy of this pattern so here we go:-


3 sizes to suit 25cm, (32cm & 36cm). This is the length measured from the back of the neck to the base of the tail


1 (1, 2) x 100gm balls of DK yarn

1 pair 3.25mm & 4mm knitting needles, stitch holder

6 small buttons (approximately 1.5cm)


11 sts and 18 rows to 5cm worked over pattern on size 4mm needles



Beginning at tail end with 3.25mm needles, cast on 39 (49, 59) sts

1st Row: incr in first st, K to last 2 sts, incr in next st, K1

2nd Row: K

Repeat last 2 rows twice 45 (55, 65) sts

To start pattern and shape sides: Change to 4mm needles

1st Row: K4, make 1, K to last 4 sts, make 1, K4

2nd Row: K4, P to last 4 sts, K4

3d Row: K

4th Row: K4, make 1, P to last 4 sts, make 1, K4

5th Row: K4, *P1 leaving yarn at front of work, sl 1 purl wise, rep from * to last 5 sts, P1, K4

6th Row: K4, P1, K1, P1, rep from *to last 4 sts, K4

Repeat last 6 rows once 53 (63, 73) sts

Continue straight as follows:-

Row 1: K

Row 2: K4, P to last 4 sts, K4

Row 3 & 4: Repeat last 2 rows

Row 5: K4, *P1, leaving yarn at front of work, sl 1 purl wise, rep from * to last 5 sts, P1, K4

Row 6: K4, P1 *K1, P1, rep from * to last 4 sts, K4

Repeat last 6 row pattern until work measures 25 (32, 36)cm, (or length required, ending on 2nd or 4th row of pattern)

Leave sts on holder


with 4mm needles cast on 23 (29, 39) sts and K 2 rows

Next (increase) row: K1 (2, 2), * make 1, K4 (5, 7), rep from * to last 2 sts, make 1, K2

You should have 29 (35, 45) sts on your needle

Next Row: K

Next (buttonhole) Row: K1, K2 tog, y fwd, K to last 3 sts, y fwd, K2 tog, K1

Next Row: K


Work straight in 6 row pattern as for back, making 2 more sets of buttonholes on each following 12th (14th, 16th) row from the last, finishing with right side facing for next row.


Next Row: K9 (9, 11), pattern to last 9 (9, 11) sts, K to end

Next Row: Cast off 5 (5, 7) st, K3, pattern to last 4 sts, K4

You should have 19 (25, 31) sts left on your needle

Continue straight, keeping the first and last sts K in every row until work measures 16 (20, 22) cm from the beginning finishing on wrong side row.


Next Row: *K5, K2 tog, rep from * to last 5 (4, 3) sts, K to end, then with right side facing and in the same row, K across sts from back thus: *K1, K2 tog, rep from * to last 2 (3,1) sts, K to end

You should have 53 (65, 76) stat on your needle


Change to size 3.25mm needles and work in single rib for 8 (10, 10) cm down from the base of the collar. This will give you the position of the top set of buttons.


Join collar using flat seam

Sew the first set of buttons at the markers, try the coat on your dog to check fit then position and sew on the rest of the buttons