‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a paddle of ducks must be in want of a beast shed!’
That might not have been the original meaning of Jane Austen’s famous opening line, but I’m sure she would whole heartedly agree with me 🙂
Beast Sheds are wondrously sturdy, safe and secure sheds which take the otherwise humble garden building to a whole new level. When I heard they were giving one away I couldn’t help but tell them exactly what I would do with one should I win. What I wouldn’t do with it is use it as a standard shed!
From childhood I have longed for my own paddling of Indian Runner Ducks, their adorable stature makes them enduringly appealing and I honestly believe they would be a wonderful addition to my garden. I even have names already chosen for them!
As you might have already guessed Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors and I’ve named many a pet after her characters. I’d start with two ducklings who I’d name Kitty and Lydia, their silly antics reminding me of the less refined of the Bennett sisters.
I think the 5X4 Pent Standard Shed from Beast Sheds would make the perfect garden home for my ducks. It comes with two doors giving them a choice of entry or exit sites and inside I could fashion shelves, feeding areas, ladders and more to keep the girls in a style to which an Austen character might like to be accustomed.
Of course Austen inspired ducks would need to have an appropriately designed abode and I’d look to Country Houses for my inspiration. Jane Austen mentions Chatsworth in Pride and Prejudice and it’s often thought to have been the inspiration for Mr Darcy’s home Pemberley. As I don’t live far from the real Chatsworth, I’m sure I could take a little inspiration from the grandeur of this stately home. Perhaps I could line the shed walls with portraits of famous ducks like Jemima Puddleduck, Daffy Duck or Donald, all in gilt frames naturally. A sumptuously upholstered bed would sit in the corner ready for a daytime repose, a grand staircase decorated with cherubs and mythical characters would lead to the upper level where my ladies could look out of their landscape windows to admire the view of their gardens below.
It will be the grandest, most serene and purposeful shed that any garden has ever known and who knows maybe one day I’ll add a Capability Duck to come and do some landscaping around its borders.
For awhile now I have had two very pretty cushions sat upon my sofa. Unfortunately their beauty was only skin deep and they quickly died an untimely death. I blame the silk being far too thin, it wore away into threads within months 🙁 So finally I did what I should have done in the first place and made my own cushions. Although I did do my bit for the environment and reused the feather cushion pads. I even have the old covers stashed and will salvedge what I can for another project. If you fancy having a go at these extremely simple covers, here’s how I did it.
What You’ll Need
Fabric for the front
Fabric for the back
Measure the width and length of your cushion pad. We will make covers which are exactly the same size, this makes them lovely and padded. Take the fabric intended for the front of the cushion and cut it out using these measurements.
This cushion has an envelope opening at the back. To make this, devide the length of your cushion pad into 3. Take 1/3 of the measurement and add 7cm, this will make one side of the back. Then take 2/3 of the measurement and add 7cm, this will make the other side. Your width measurement will be the same. Cut out the two pieces from the back fabric. If you lay them down and overlap them by 7cm you will see that the back will match the front.
Next use a zig zag stitch around each of the 3 pieces of fabric to stop them fraying. Now lay down the larger back piece, cut out two pieces of ribbon (approx 28cm long) and pin and sew them at equal points onto one of the shorter sides.
On the side with the ribbon attached, turn over approx 2cm of fabric and iron. Then fold over another 2cm and iron flat. Stitch close to the edge to secure these folds. Bring the ribbon to the front and stitch to keep in place.
Repeat the folding/sewing process with the shorter back piece, but don’t attach any ribbon.
Lay down the front piece print side up. Then lay the larger back piece on top, matching up the edges. Next lay over the shorter back piece, overlapping the longer back piece but matching the edges of the front. Pin and Sew all the way around the cover’s edge.
Turn the cover the right way out and place the cushion pad inside. Cut two more pieces of ribbon (approx 21cm long) and hand sew them onto the shorter back piece opposite the other ribbon. Tie them up and you’re done!
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