Friday, 31 May 2013


I am not sure that I will ever get around to clothing my bears.  My mum's supply of sweaters is running low so I thought I should re-visit the clothing department.

So, recently I have been making waistcoats for some of the bears.

Not satisfied with basics I was determined that they would be lined, including the tricky "hump" area and that they would have working buttonholes.

The sewing machine needs a certain amount of gentle persuasion to get everything just right to make neat buttoholes but many, many experiments later I think I won.

I was lucky enough to be given a large number of nice old buttons in suitably small sizes.  I find it satisfying but very time consuming to make the little waistcoats but it seems to be the sort of clothing that a bear might like to wear.  Nicholas didn't mind taking his off to demonstrate the nice stripey lining going right into the hump, and the fully functioning buttonholes.

For ultimate perfection the buttonholes should be hand sewn but for the moment that is work in progress and I am not sure I would want to make 5 of them and try to get them all the same.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Vann House & Garden

My Bank holiday expedition was a visit to the garden of Vann near Godalming in Surrey.

The house was built in the 16th Century and in almost every century since has been extended and altered, the latest additions made in the early 20th Century by W D Caroe the Architect who owned the house.  It is still owned and now occupied full time by his family.  The garden is open to the public occasionally but unfortunately the house can only be admired from the outside. Rather charmingly Mrs Caroe and family friends are on hand to help out during open days which seems to complete the picture that this is a much loved and happily lived in home.
The garden is quite modest in size and the present layout has elements inspired by Gertrude Jekyll.
However I have to confess that it is the house which fascinates me most.  It seems almost the ideal Surrey Country House,  not too large to manage but large enough to wander about in without being quite sure what you might find.
The additions of different periods are obvious when you look at the house but they blend beautifully into a building which seems to be a quite natural addition to the surroundings, resting contentedly in slightly untidy but natural and enjoyable gardens.

I could quite happily spend summer afternoons in the shade of the loggia with the dogs for company, I am sure they would enjoy all the carefully laid out water, I don't think Gertrude Jekyll could object too much to a Newfie refreshing istself in the ornamental pond.  I am not sure how Mrs Caroe would react to a request to visit for the afternoon with dogs.
Tea and cakes were served indoors which did provide the opportunity for a sneaky peek into the interior,  and it looked absolutely perfect, and there are lots of lovely shaded spots to sit outside and make bears.

Vann is opened under the National Gardens Scheme
the website is
and it provides links to, and dates of opening, for gardens open to the public under the scheme.