Chicken Fete!

Cuteness Alert

Hello! Come and say hi to my cute new babies! I’ve got 3 new additions to the henhouse, and each and everyone of them was a bit of a surprise…

2 new chicks feeding with 2 hens. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Fluffy bums!

Two little chicks, less than a week old. One black and white, one brown and white. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Less than a week old

If you keep a few hens yourself you know how annoying it can be when they all become broody at the same time: broody hens mean no fresh eggs for a month or two. And no fresh eggs means no cake!

We’ve got three little mixed breed bantams, a mini flock generally keen on demolishing the garden, taking extravagant dust baths and constantly chatting away.  Bundles of feathery fun, one and all. And since they’ve taken to their nests it’s been a bit quiet around here. Then one day last week Kim went out to feed them, heard some curious cheeping and was taken aback to discover chick number one hopping about the place. Why the big surprise? Um, well…we don’t have a cockerel!! Next door’s handsome fellow had taken a fancy to our ladies, abandoning his own brood to follow them around, sadly though he was taken by a fox some weeks ago. Obviously not as long ago as I thought, and not before he’d sewed a few oats!


A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

It’s rather lovely to think that he lives on. I wonder if those two dark chicks will look anything like him as they grow? It’ll be a while before we can tell whether they’re hens or cockerels though. Do any of you keep livestock? It’s a lovely time of year for it isn’t it?

Considering Somewhere to Grow and Sew

There must be something in the air because home-life, including my garden, has been on my mind for a few weeks now. Maybe it’s the sunshine we’ve had for a while? My garden’s a complete mess, overrun with nettles and brambles and knee high grass, and it’s such a tiny space that that means the entire garden! I gave it very little attention at all last year for one reason or another (illness, flies, the farm incursion!) and I’m paying for it now. I used to absolutely love gardening but the expansion of the farm buildings next door has made a serious dent in my enthusiasm.

Farm advancements around a small garden... the encroaching cow sheds, a new machinery shed going up and a silo just out of shot on the left of the picture. And a dying lawn! © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Farm advancements… the encroaching cow sheds, a new machinery shed going up and a silo just out of shot on the left of the picture. And a dying lawn! (With Daisy sat in the middle of it.) And a missing hedge (I think fruit and veg will need more sun and the hedge had become a straggly eye-sore anyway.)

Since it’s no longer a lovely place to sit in and the neglect’s becoming a bit of an embarrassment I wondered what to do with it. After some cogitation I’ve decided to take a radical approach, start again and turn it into a productive garden with fruit and veg. A mini allotment or kitchen garden: a space I can get dirty in and enjoy in a different way.  There’s some (not too private) space outside the house I can use as a patio to sit in. Sewing outside’s one of the pleasures of a warm, sunny day isn’t it? Not one I’m prepared to forego!

I got off to a bit of an enthusiastic start and cut down a hedge as soon as the robins flew their nest. I decided the only way to get rid of the nettles and unwanted grass was to use a weed killer, something I’ve never used before as I hate chemicals in the garden. I can see why – everything’s dying right back in a matter of a few weeks. And now the weather’s turned. And so have I – back inside until the rain’s passed!


Which is handy really, because I’ve got a quilt top to be getting on with! I seem to remember the plan was to have it finished by the end of this month, so that I’ve got 6 months to hand quilt it. I best get my skates on.

Patchwork quilt in progress, displayed on a design board (easel). © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Fete on the easel (design board!) and Lily on the table…

Patchwork quilt in progress, 'Fete' inspired by bunting. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Four or five rows of Fete!

I’m enjoying putting this one together. It’s all about the challenge of creating movement. It looks like an exercise in improv patchwork, but to get movement you have to impose some rules and it’s probably more controlled than it first appears. The improv bit is about technique, working out how to fit the pieces together so that it captures the essence of what I see in my mind’s eye. As I’m working I’m constantly shifting and evolving that idea guided by the discoveries I make along the way. And I get lost in the process for hours!

The self imposed rules are fairly straightforward:

  • the colours in the negative space (the background triangles) will be the lightest value
  • the background colours will move from greys to blues (inspired by a cloudy sky)
  • the positive colours (the foreground triangles) will have very limited amounts of white, preferably none
  • the main prints will be contemporary with large motifs (nothing too ‘ditsy’ in the foreground)
  • use as much fabric from scrap bins as possible.

Did you spot any of the ‘rules’ in the quilt top before I listed them? (And if you didn’t can you see them now?!) I don’t want them to be overly noticeable in the finished design so if I have to break the rules to make that happen I will!

Next up is making the transition from grey to blue in the background and from reds to purples in the foreground. It goes without saying that this might change along the way!

Choosing fabrics for a patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com,

Considering colour transition

What’s Going On

I feel like I haven’t had anything interesting to share for ages: all I’ve been working on, quilt wise, is this one and Summer Blues (which I’m sure you’re sick to death of seeing by now). Hand quilting the borders of Summer Blues is coming together and I’m more than half way through the third one now. A finish feels pretty close. And, I’m getting quite excited by the thought that I can finally stick it in the washing machine after all these years, haha! I’ve also been plugging away at making this blog part of a bona fide website, but it’s a slow process. I’d love to know what you think of the new (almost finished) ‘take a tour‘ page – it’s meant to help new visitors find their way around, is there anything you’d add?

I’m heading over to say hi to Lorna and everyone else at Sew Fresh Quilts for this week’s Let’s Bee Social – Lorna’s got a great giveaway going on, have you seen it?

Righto my lovelies, see you at the weekend for some Slow Sunday Stitching!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

17 replies
  1. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Nice to see you, Stephie. What a shame about your garden, but the idea of a kitchen garden is a great one and you can always add things like marigolds to keep things just a little bit pretty. I love where you are going with the triangles -you are definitely getting lots of movement in there and it looks properly festive.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Helloooo Kaja! I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately but I don’t seem to be able to concentrate for more than 5 minutes. I seem to be spending more time dithering about thinking about what I should be doing rather than doing it – writing being high on the list 🙁 (Hence not posting over the last couple of weeks.)

      I’m going to keep a couple of flower borders – I’ve got a fantastic patch of hollyhocks that’s going nowhere! And some lovely rambling roses too. Oh and one of my favourites, honeysuckle. Thanks for the compliments on the patchwork – I just need to get on with it, but can I sit down and do it?!?! I’m going to be kind to myself and just go with the flow for another week or two and hopefully the concentration will be back 🙂 x

  2. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    I’ve taken some of the tour of your blog and I think it’s really good! My only other comment would be that I’m not keen on the wording of your heading at the top of the tour: “Are you new here”. For me, it feels the opposite of what you are aiming for: almost as though you are saying that “we are a friendly, inclusive community, but you’re not part of it”. Maybe it could something like “Wondering what Dawn Chorus Studio is all about…?”

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      That’s brilliant, Dina, just the sort of thing I need to hear/know! I’ll give it some more thought and see what I can come up with – it’s not meant to feel exclusive, rather inviting you to step in and and feel included, if that makes sense?! Thank you so much for having a wander round – I just need to write some good new ‘content’ (as they call it), in the way of tutorials and the like. I’m looking forward to it very much, but as I said to Kaja, I just can’t concentrate. I have no idea why!

  3. Lynne Nicholson
    Lynne Nicholson says:

    Hi lovey. Ooh your garden idea is great, interplant flowers with your fruit and veg to encourage the bees and butterflies and you get better crops. The nasturtiums I grew were tastier for the bugs and slugs than my salad leaves growing strong smelling things like lavender around your carrots can prevent carrot fly. Use your quilter’s eye. Fete is gorgeous. Looking forward to seeing Summer blue when its finished.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Lynne! That’s a lovely idea, like companion planting – thank you! And I love lavender! (Not so keen on carrots though, haha!) Getting there with summer blues, I’ve managed a few more hours on the border since I posted this…just got to keep on plugging away 🙂 How’s your garden at the moment?

      • Lynne Nicholson
        Lynne Nicholson says:

        Unfortunately since moving I don’t have a garden I keep meaning to grow things in pots on the windowsill but my kitties are vandals and knock everything off the windowsill. I’m rethinking that maybe I need troughs but reckon they will just consider them to be kitty beds!! 😉

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Aw, thanks Sandra! I have to admit, it does make me feel festive when I look at it – I hope my sister feels the same when I give it to her next year!

  4. Abigail
    Abigail says:

    What a gorgeous surprise in the hen house – they are just adorable! Love how Fete is looking – it will be lovely to be handquilting that as the autumn and winter comes in and to see al those glorious colours.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Abigail, they’re just sooo cute – and they eat like nobody’s business! They’re growing so quickly, they’ve already got little markings on their feathers and strut about like they own the place. They make me smile from ear to ear 🙂 Can’t ask for more than that. (Except a few eggs from their mums maybe!)

      The thought of these colours for autumn and winter stitching is very warming – although I hope we have a bit more sunshine before then, it’s been so cold here today I’m sitting wrapped up in a jumper under a quilt! How’s the weather for you?

  5. Monica
    Monica says:

    Your Fete is looking absolutely glorious, Stephie! I love that range of scale and the movement in the curves.

    Now you are making me reconsider my plan for my Gwennie medallion, again.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Monica! Your medallion is looking wonderful. I really love your basket of olives! Such a great idea…I’ve fancied doing a medallion quilt for quite a while, so I’m trying really hard not to be influenced by you! Must. Finish. Up. Others. First!!!! Hope it’s coming along and you’re having fun?

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks for the tip Deb 🙂 I’ve heard that newspaper and cardboard are good in the compost bin too – I’ve never really had room for one before in a tiny ‘decorative’ garden, but I’ll definitely be making room for one now. Happy Sunday from the chicks and me!


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