Categories: inspiration; home life



Sunday Rolls On By (I Wonder Where!)

Fete, a handmade and hand quilted patchwork quilt by © Stephanie Boon, 2017.

Tiny pennants, big stitches

Sunday Coffee

Sunday afternoon already. How did that happen? I’ve stitched a few hours away, hacked back my triffid-like tomato plants, cleared up my sewing space and packed Kim off to see his grandparents for a few days. I’ve fed the cat. I’ve daydreamed and thought about how I can fit some walking in this week. And I’ve thought and thought and thought about this blog! *Sigh*…

I just took my last sip of cappuccino and gave myself a metaphorical kick up the backside: stop thinking, just do it! So, this is where a few hours went:

Fete, a handmade and hand quilted patchwork quilt by © Stephanie Boon, 2017.

Finishing up a section

I finished hand quilting the left hand side of this section of Fete this morning (not in the photo)  and I plan to quilt up what you can see here this evening while I watch The Handmaid’s Tale (anyone else as engrossed as me?).

By the time I’ve stitched this bit up I reckon I’ll have covered an unimpressive 1/7th of the surface…such a long way to go. It’ll be good to finish a whole section though; it usually motivates me to move onto the next. Roll on this evening, I’m giving my arm a rest for now.

Arm Ache

My arm aches. Actually, that’s an understatement. My arm has been causing me agonising pain at times, but it’s my shoulder that’s at the root of it. I can’t lift my arm out more than 90 degrees to my side or ahead of me, and I can’t raise my usually very flexible arm behind my back at all. Not without howling at any rate. My gp says it’s “frozen”. My physio says no long stretches of quilting. Or sitting at the lap top. Or drawing. *Sigh* (Again!)

I’ve been good, I’ve listened and diligently completed my daily shoulder exercises, and I’ve been rewarded with less pain and much more mobility in a relatively short time. I’ve read of other quilters suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow, which has meant they’ve had to give up quilting for months on end. I’m not going to join the list.

It’s an odd ailment this ‘rotator cuff‘ injury. Quilting, typing, etc, doesn’t hurt at all so you don’t realise you could be making it worse. My physiotherapist told me that the very small movements in activities like quilting mean the shoulder muscles are kept in the same position for long periods of time, which leads to them ‘freezing’ and creating the excruciating pain that comes with the larger movements your shoulder needs get you through the day. Which affects everything else from getting dressed to carrying the groceries!  Personally, I reckon it’s all down to age, meh.

Age Will Not Stop Play

I decided sometime ago that advancing age wouldn’t stop me doing the things I love, like long distance walking. I really believe I have to do these things before something as inevitable as a crumbling skeleton or weakening muscles puts an untimely stop to one of life’s joys.

So, last Thursday I headed off to the north Cornwall coast for a couple of days hiking and a night’s wild camping on the cliffs. I thought I’d share a couple of pictures with you because it’s such a spectacular part of the country and fills me with inspiration every time I stretch my legs there.


Boscastle Harbour © Stephanie Boon, 2017 All rights reserved.

Spectacular cliff walking at Boscastle


Millook, North Cornwall on the South West Coast Path. Interesting geological folds in the cliff face. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Beautiful zig zag geology exposed on the cliff face at Millook

Cliff Tracks


Slate track bordered with purple bell heather on the cliffs of north Cornwall. South West Coast Path August 2017 © Stephanie boon, 2017.

Slate tracks bordered with colourful bell heather and gorse

Rocky Valley

Busy tracks around Rocky Valley near Tintagel. © Stephanie Boon, 2017 All Rights Reserve.

Tracks around Rocky Valley near Tintagel, smudged with the orange of monbretia.

I got home on Friday night and was already thinking about the next hike! Sometimes inspiration is everywhere, you can’t get enough of it and want to take it all in at once. But it’s not always like that, sometimes things just percolate for a while, bubbling to the surface every now and again, until a bubble finally bursts into a lightbulb moment.

Inspiration for my other sister’s quilt has been like that. I’ve been collecting nature themed fabrics for it, but I didn’t really have any idea how I’d use them. Until recently. It’s all that drawing in the woods. I noticed something and it’s stuck in my mind. It keeps going round and round and sooner or later I’m going to have to get out some scrap fabric and try out an idea.

But first… yes, first, I must push on with Fete.

Happy Slow Sunday Stitching everyone! I’m linking up with Kathy for the first time in an absolute age.

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015


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The Neglected Needle

Truth be told, everything’s been neglected around here of late. Kim was given an extension for his photography assignments, which meant another week of stress. This past week I’ve been de-stressing with extra sleep and a bit of time out doors. Today looks like a day of catching up with the very neglected housework and then, finally, the neglected needle will be put to some good use.

Hand quilting a flying geese quilt border. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

A few stitches

I’ve managed to grab a few minutes stitching here and there and the flying geese border on Summer Blues is slowly but surely getting there – and I’ll be slow stitching plenty more this evening! I’m still enjoying it and love the quilt, but I can’t wait to put this one to bed and get on with quilting some other things. I will remain firm though: no more quilting other projects until this one is done! (You have no idea how hard that is!)

Getting Rid of Your Old Needles

If you’re anything like me you’ll go through a hundred needles in the blink of an eye. Blunt. Bent. Snapped. Blunt needles are the bane of my quilting life – I can virtually see the points disappearing before they even touch fabric. I regularly pull one out of the pin cushion only to stick it straight back in again, because it would be a better garden dibber than quilting needle. My pin cushion looks like a porcupine and I pull out each and every needle to inspect under a strong desk lamp. I stick each one back in turn and finally give up and use the only needle I can find with a point, which happens to be an embroidery needle. Great for threading, not so great for hand quilting.

I have a large collection of blunt needles littering my work place, they’re in glass jars, hanging around on the base of a lamp, stuffed in pin cushions, loose in a little box of bits and pieces I keep on my desk. I even found some on my bedside cabinet the other day! Since the demise of the film canister I’ve run out of ideas on how to dispose of them safely. Sometimes my needles come in a plastic package and I can stuff a few back in there and bin it, but it seems to be slow going and my pile of rejects continues to grow. How do you get rid of yours? I ask, of course, with all the impending housework I have in mind!

Out and About

I’ve had some great walks this week and have been sharing some pictures on Instagram (come and join me), here are a couple of my favourites. I love the little Dexter cow I met on a walk over at Mylor yesterday. I used to live in the village, but now I live about 10 miles away so I cycled over on my bike, met a friend for a walk around the creek and some lunch at the pub. A soft mist hung in the air all day, but it was warm and sticky and felt like summer’s on the way.


A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

Pond in one of the fields I cross regularly on my local walks. #pond #hedgerow #tree #skies #reflection #field #buttercups

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

This cow may have the shortest set of cow legs I’ve ever seen!!! #cow #dexter #noseycow #walk #mylor #cornwall #kernow

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

I wonder if I can squeeze in another walk today…dare I forego the housework again?!

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching and hope to see you there.  Happy Sunday everyone!

PS let me know what you think of the layout of the new blog/website design so far, still lots to do but I’d love your feedback – thank you!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015


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Slowing Down The Stress

Stressful Times

Hello lovely friends! What a stressful couple of weeks it’s been, so hectic that I’ve barely had time at all for any (much needed) slow sewing. If you’ve had teenagers going through exams I’m sure you’ll understand! Kim has got so far behind with his AS level assignments (due to illness earlier on in his course), that the closer his deadlines loom the closer my blood pressure is to exploding. He, of course, is so laid back and leaving everything to the very last minute hoping mum (aka The Biggest Nag on the Planet!) will help him pick up the pieces. There’ve been at least two 4am finishes this past week alone. I’m a zombie. And there’s more to come: he’s just been given another week’s extension, aargh!

Sheep and lambs in a rainy lane near Truro, Cornwall. Photograph © Kim Gentle-Boon 2016.

One of Kim’s photos taken a couple of months ago.

The thing is, if he hands in his assignments ‘as is’, he’ll get a pass, but his tutors say he’s ‘very talented’ (especially in photography) and if he can get it together (in time) he’ll get a much higher grade. Every mother wants their child to reach their potential – even if they don’t seem bothered! So, what are you supposed to do?  How many of us wonder when their child will take responsibility for their own actions; how do you know when to step back and let them get on with it, no matter the consequences? Kim is just 18 – going on 14. I gather it’s a common issue with teenage boys! It goes without saying I love him to bits, but boy this parenting business is ruddy hard work at times. If you think a toddler’s behaviour is a nightmare to deal with, brace yourself!

Refresh and Rejuvenate

When I’m this stressed I need to get out; over the years I’ve learnt that vigorous exercise is the only way to get it out of my system. And this week proved to be the most wonderful time to escape the house. Along with the glorious sunshine has come some spring warmth and an abundance of rejuvenating colour. I’ve walked and I’ve cycled and every time I’ve been out I’ve seen something that’s stopped me in my tracks.

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

I’m so lucky to live where I do, I can’t imagine how I’d centre myself in a big city. I’m a country girl all the way through, despite (or because of) growing up in London (lots of open spaces there then though, that aren’t there now).

So, Onto Sewing!

I’ve managed to spend an hour or two stitching in the evenings, which is the perfect way to wind down, as I’m sure you all know! I’ve managed a few more Quilty365 circles, a little bit of hand quilting in the borders of Summer Blues and the odd bit of hand piecing half square triangles too.

Hand quilting a flying geese patchwork border. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Summer Blues border

Hand pieced patchwork pinwheel blocks. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Pinwheel Block (repeated three times!)

I’m planning on updating my tutorial for hand piecing half square triangles – it seriously needs some much better photographs. It seemed like a good little project to work on when I could grab a moment in the evenings. I love the way these blocks have turned out, what do you think? The large floral is an Anna Maria Horner fabric, but I don’t have a clue where the little rose print is from – it was just something from the scrap box. I’m going to have to make something with these blocks, they’re too pretty to leave languishing, but there aren’t many of them, so, something small; what would you make?

I hope you’ve all had a good couple of weeks and your projects have been moving on as you’d hope. I’m aiming to try and catch up with everyone over the next week, but just in case I don’t make it you’ll know why! And if I don’t, there’s only one more week of stress to go and then I’ll be back to ‘normal’!

Happy Slow Sunday Stitching!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015


Hand Quilting with The Durrells

Another slow Sunday. I tried to take it a little quicker, but pulled a muscle in the process: I’ve just been for a run. It was a very short one because my legs turned to jelly after about a mile, I struggled on for another mile or so and pulled a calf muscle in the process. Can it still be too soon to exercise after the flu? I’m going try hot yoga tomorrow. At least the vertigo’s finally gone…

Gravel piles that look like grey mountains under an intense blue sky. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

These piles of gravel caught my eye as I hobbled past. Great colours and shapes.

Summer Blues

Quilting’s been pretty slow over the last few weeks, but I’m pleased to say I’ve made a little progress with Summer Blues. I love the way the sashing is looking so far; putting in the extra time has given this quilt a whole lot more texture and character. It’s definitely been worth it.

Summer Blues - patchwork quilt, hand quilting in progress. © Stephanie Boon 2016

Outlining the sashing

Summer Blues - patchwork quilt, hand quilting in progress. © Stephanie Boon 2016

It’s coming together

You can see how much I’ve done in the picture above and how much there is still to go in the one below.  Progress hasn’t been too bad considering – though I’m making no predictions about how soon I’ll get these last four rows finished up!

Summer Blues - patchwork quilt, hand quilting in progress. © Stephanie Boon 2016

Only four rows of sashing left to quilt

I definitely have a sense of coming to the end of the road though; it won’t be long before I’m quilting up the borders. I mustn’t get too far ahead of myself (as if!) – I’m still looking forward to some quilting in the sashing this evening, with another nostalgic episode of  The Durrells playing in the background no doubt. I did some catching up with the lovely Mrs Durrell (Keely Hawes) and her unruly brood last night, after a friend recommended it to me the other day. It’s such a wonderful series and really makes me dream of warm sunshine, warm seas, kumquats and Greek olives! Have you seen it? If you like Greek Islands, mad English people trying to cope in foreign climes and rather a lot of unusual animals, you should definitely give it a go. What will you be watching or listening to when you’re doing some slow stitching today?

Linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching, see you there!

PS Is anyone planning to enter the Festival of Quilts this year?

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015


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Lost in Stitches


Slow Sunday

Sunday afternoon. There are a few minutes to spare before your friend arrives to take you out for a walk.  How do you spend them?

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Hand sewing a patchwork quilt.

Lost in stitches

Being a quilter, of course I picked up my latest English paper piecing project and set in the last few triangles to finish off the centre panel of the cushion I showed you recently.  It’s almost there now, almost at the end of its journey.  Which is really apt: I’ve been sewing this on my journey up to see Kim (my son) in hospital in Plymouth over the last 6 weeks and as I come to the end of the piecing journey Kim is coming towards the end of his inpatient stay.  He’s been doing so well lately it looks likely he’ll be home in a few more weeks.  So exciting!  The hospital has a gradual discharge policy, to help him settle back in at home while he continues with therapy, so he was home for the weekend. On Sunday afternoon he was visiting friends, so I grabbed the opportunity to catch up with one of mine.

Norfolk Bricks Octogan Cushion English Paper Piecing © Stephanie Boon, 2015

On the final stages now

The morning’s rain began to clear while I waited for her to arrive. I sat in the kitchen in my favourite grandad chair under the open window, taking a few stitches, clearing my head as the clouds passed.  By the time we got to Cubert we were basking under warm blue skies.


© Stephanie Boon, Smuggler's Den near Cubert

Smugglers’ Den

Before we headed off down a steep hill towards the sea we stopped for lunch at the Smugglers’ Den, a quintessential English pub, pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  I love this place; in winter the wood burners are lit and the low ceilings and low light make it a warm and cosy place to retreat with a good book, on a day like Sunday you can enjoy the fabulous views over the countryside.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert

Geraniums growing in the hedgerow

Inspiration was everywhere.  These beautiful geraniums growing wild in the hedgerow remind me of a saying my mum was always quoting as I was growing up: ‘blue and green should never be seen without a colour in-between’.  This photo proves her wrong entirely, haha!  And it goes to show that the best place for colour inspiration is the nature around you…not what your mother tells you at all!

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert

Walking towards the sea

The footpaths crossed fields full of buttercups and flag irises, lazily drifting across the landscape towards the dunes.  Footpaths we hadn’t followed before.  Belinda and I agree that finding new places, new paths, close to home is as exciting and inspiring as finding them anywhere: we’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and have all this on our doorstep. But we didn’t quite make it down to the sea; we had to turn back so that I could get Kim ready in time to go back to Plymouth. No matter, it’s something to look forward to next time.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert


Back in the car again on the drive to Plymouth I have my slow stitching in my lap, and a lighter heart.

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Art Studio

I pack up my beloved Unison Pastels and gather together things I think I might need or want once I get a mile and a half or so down the road to where I plan to sit in a cold field and draw.  I never find it easy.  I never know what I’m going to see so don’t really know what medium will suit my needs.  I can pretty much guarantee I won’t have what I want went I get started though. Going on past experience. Get on with it. Make do. It’s what being creative is about.

Art Supplies for an outdoor drawing session. © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Got everything? Umm, no…

And it’s never just about what you might need to draw with, or on.  Hats, scarves, gloves (all plural), coffee (as much a hand warmer as a drink), waterproofs, wind proofs, something insulating to sit on, a filthy, pastel-covered old coat to cover the good one when I get there (so that I don’t look entirely like a tramp on my journey down the road), plastic bags, bin liners – stuff to cover my legs so the pastel doesn’t become ingrained in my waterproofs, a head torch because it’ll be dusky on the unlit roads when I trudge back home, wet wipes to clean my hands (I forget them today. Irritating.)…and a day sack to pack it all in.

And all of that for one small sketch I’m not sure about and a bigger half started/half finished one.  The light fell fast and I could barely see; maybe I’ll go back tomorrow and finish it, but maybe I won’t. I managed to splash water over the one below. Don’t ask, but it’s dried now and there’s no trace left. I wonder how I’ll feel about it in the morning. Right now, I feel pretty flat.

Haze. Chacewater

Pasel on A3 paper.

Haze. Chacewater. Pastel on A3 paper. © Stephanie Boon, 2015.

Haze, Chacewater.

I hope it’s been a good start to the weekend for you and look forward to some slow stitching on Sunday – what have you been up to?

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Winter drawing in

Late January Afternoon (Carnon Valley) - pastel sketch © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Late January Afternoon (Carnon Valley)

Not too many words today.  A bike ride over to Devoran and back (about 13 miles) with new pastels and a sketchbook in my backpack to meet Janie for some sewing. I stopped on the way home to sketch the familiar viaduct that carries trains between Truro and Falmouth.  I sat on the marshy ground amongst dried, brittle heather, watching the light change as the clouds blew across the Carnon Valley, low golden sunlight turning on and off as they passed. Winter is here.


Linking up with Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social.  What new projects have you got on the go for the new year?

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Autumn hearth

Today was a bit unusual – not the usual day I meet my friend Janie for a weekly catch-up and a bit of stitching (me) and knitting (Janie) over lunch.  But when a friend asks ‘can we swap days this week?’, it’s no bother. I love these days so much and really miss them when we miss them.

Over the (many) years, we’ve created our own little ritual, tradition, that feels really connected to the roots of textile crafts to me. I like that. I like the fact that we come together to share stories, news, ideas and skills.  We like to sit around a hearth at this time of year, as the colours change outside, keeping our hands busy.

Fire at The Old Quay Inn, 2014. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Autumn warmth at The Old Quay Inn

Ok, so it’s not our hearth, it’s usually one we find in a pub somewhere about half way between where we both live, but it feels like home for the few hours we’re there. It’s comforting like a home should be, unlike mine, which has no hearth at all (I plan to move somewhere that I can have a roaring fire one day, I miss it so much. Janie has just had new a wood burning stove fitted in her home and is constantly regaling me with stories of how wonderful ‘Horace’ is! And I’m not in the least bit jealous, not at all!)

Janie Knitting. © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Janie knitting in home spun un-dyed baby alpaca yarn

Janie finished up a sweater she was knitting for another friend during the week and brought it along to show me. It feels wonderfully soft and surprisingly heavy – in a good way. I can’t believe how quickly she finished it; she’s on a second one already.  The friend she’s knitting it for has her own alpaca herd and is giving her some yarn in return, so she’ll probably be onto a third one next time I see her!

And me? I just got on with a bit of hand piecing a few half square triangles today. My sewing machine still needs fixing so I decided to take along some hst’s to get my Ocean Waves quilt moving along in the mean time. I haven’t got as far with it as I’d hoped by now to be honest, so getting a few squares stitched up felt good. maybe I’ll have something to show you during the week.

View from the Old Quay Inn, Devoran © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Sewing with a view  – The Old Quay Inn overlooks the creek (and yes, that’s my mud encrusted bike!)

Half term begins soon, which means my son Kim has a week off 6th form college, and we’ll be going up to Norfolk to see my parents, brother and sisters, and Kim’s cousins too. I’m hoping to get myself organised enough to make up the quilt sandwich for my August Rain quilt before we go, so that I can take it along and work on it there. If I can get it in my rucksack! Can’t wait to hand quilt it.

Tonight though I’m thinking about all the glorious colours I saw on my bike ride home from the pub, under very dull, grey skies. Gales and heavy rain are forecast to hit Cornwall tonight as the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo passes by. These trees will probably look very different by morning.

Bissoe Cycle Trail, autumn 2014. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Bissoe Cycle Trail splashed with yellow

Lane. Bissoe Hill. Cornwall, UK. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Beautiful coloured foliage spilling onto the lanes

Lane. Bissoe Hill. Cornwall, UK. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

And it wouldn’t be autumn without pumpkins

But I’m happy I caught the colours before they fade, or blow away.  What coloured your day today?

Linking up with Lorna at Let’s Bee Social this week.

Happy stitching ’til next time

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Stitching in progress

You know what it’s like when you have a list of things to do as long as your arm but the sun’s shining so it’s a great excuse to do something else instead? That was me this weekend: the weather was g l o r i o u s!  Quilting the Christmas table runner would have to wait; I downed needles for a couple of days and went hiking on the coast instead!   I can’t tell you how lucky I am to live here, inspiration and restorative walks are never far away.

I walked 30 miles over 2 days between St Ives (famous for its 20c artists like Barbara Hepworth) and Porthcurno (also famous – “as the British termination of early submarine telegraph cables”). It was hot and sunny both days so I camped out on the cliffs eating a stir-fry as the sun went down.  The Cornish coast path is a 300 mile long section of the South West Coast Path (600 miles) and I plan to walk the whole trail – I’ve covered a grand total of 80 (continuous) miles so far so still have a way to go!

coastal path near St Ives 2014. © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Crystal clear sea and golden sands near St Ives

Bluebells on the cliffs near Levant Mine 2014. © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

An old engine house on the bluebell covered cliffs

Thrift growing on the cliffs, Cape Cornwall 2014 © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Cape Cornwall

I’ve challenged myself to complete the Cornish section this year but this weekend was the first opportunity I’ve had to hike a stretch over 2 days. It’s definitely the way to go – I came back feeling completely rejuvenated – for a day or two anyway 😀

I certainly felt good enough to get on with some quilting. In fact I got a bit carried away with this piece…it was only meant to be something simple, a bit of fun and cheer for the Christmas table, but I couldn’t help myself: the hand stitching has got a bit addictive and I’ve done rather more than I intended. Still, the more stitching there is the more it’ll have that heritage look everyone raves about. (Understandably; I love that soft, scrunchy texture of old quilts as much as the next person.)

Patchwork and quilted Christmas table runner. © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Hand quilting the central panel

Patchwork and quilted Christmas table runner. © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Lovely quilted texture coming together

Patchwork and quilted Christmas table runner. © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Detail of the stitching in progress

I don’t know what the weather will bring this weekend, but I’m keen to get this runner finished come rain or shine: I really want to tick something off the old to-do list and this one feels pretty close now. That makes me happy, how about you, what’s been making you happy this week?!

Linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday, with Freshly Pieced.


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