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Hello there

The title of this blog post needs to be sung really as I am doing in my head, another wet Saturday here in Yorkshire, pity as it was so lovely earlier in the week and I was planning a little jaunt. However more time for blogging, knitting and baking :-)

This is a catch up post really (on the grounds that there are no finishes to show at present) and I have been meaning to post a couple of things for a while.

Firstly my very talented friend Helen (she of the quilts) is also making other things including these cute bunnies just in time for Easter.
She will have some for sale through her Etsy shop at some point for £6.50 but if you are interested please go and visit her at the new blog she has.

Helen's bunny

themagpiecat.blogspot.co.uk/

And I have been meaning to post some pics of Ellie as a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding. I just got the disc from her so here she is looking very lovely.

The baby in the photo is the friend’s little daughter Lizzie who I made a bridesmaid bunny for, you can see the bunny on one of the present tables in the last picture.

Ellie bridesmaids

Ellie - bridesmaid 2

Ellie - bridesmaid 3

There will be no blogging for the next couple of weeks as we are off on holiday ;-)

My lovely Mum will be here next weekend (it is her birthday on Friday) and then we are off to Bavaria (or Bearvaria as Jake keeps calling it – think he is expecting to see some bears) for a week of visiting medieval towns and castles. Very much looking forward to it and as usual will take lots of photos!

See you soon, thanks as always for visiting.

Hello and happy Mother’s Day for all of you in the UK. I have (virtually) met lots of brilliant, creative and dedicated Mums through blogging and I hope that you have all been thoroughly spoilt today.

Here we have a double celebration as my little baby Ellie is 23 today! Seems impossible but time is flying by.

I made her a special cake – which we had at breakfast as she had to leave this afternoon!

Ellie's birthday cake

She is very happy at the moment as she has not only passed her driving test (second time around with only 1 fault) but has also this week bought a car :-)

She is practising at the moment but she is planning to drive to some of the events this year with me so that will be very exciting! She has also had a year’s extension on her contract so all is good :-)

Here is the car – it is called Kim after its number plate! Can’t wait to have some fun trips to re-enactment in it.

Ellie's car

I had some great presents and flowers from the kids including these very pretty button jars that Ellie made for me – perfect in my newly sorted craft room and loads of gorgeous buttons for embellishments!

Mother's day buttons

While we were having our sewing weekend a few weeks ago she was sorting some of the stuff that she left here and came across this pump bag that I made her while she was at school. This was the name band that I stitched for her.

Ellie's pump bag 1

Ellie's pump bag 2

She must have been about 8 when I made it. A that time I was doing a lot of cross stitch and made lots of cards using little motifs like these.

There has also been another bunny from the production line, this one is Isabella and she will be going to live with a friend from re-enactments new-born baby daughter.

Isabella bunny

Am very happy at the moment as it is nearly the start of the re-enactment season, I am going on holiday very soon with Mum and the kids to Bavaria and the clocks have gone forward so there will be lighter evenings! Hurrah for Spring and Summer to follow… lovely!

Hope you have had a happy day, take care and thanks for visiting.

I do very much love being an empty nester (not that I don’t love my kids dearly and look forward to their visits) but one of the great joys of having my own space is that I have a craft room.

That along with the need not to spend weekends shopping, cooking, cleaning and washing means I have physical,temporal and mental space to create which is wonderful!

However there are some downsides particularly when you are trying to put together IKEA flat pack furniture on your own. The storage units I bought did come with a warning!

Old craft room 3

I managed in the end but they are not actually screwed together at the bottom as I couldn’t get the last side to fit.

One is missing one screw the other two but gravity seems to be keeping them stable and when Jake is home as Easter I will get him to apply a bit of brute force to see if I can sort it.

I did sort out the craft room when I first moved in using storage I already had.

Old craft-room 4

But unfortunately the CD racks that I had been using as fabric storage fell over (once on my head which was a bit painful!) and the shelving units were very old and unstable and always looked cluttered.

I also got rid of the wooden chest I had there leaving me nowhere to store the small (ahem) amount of fabric for medieval kit that I have.

And I have been buying a bit more fabric since I moved in so was running out of space and rather than being the calm wonderful creative space I wanted it was a mess.

However there has been a transformation.

This was yesterday morning.

Old craft room

Old craft room 2

And this is the finished result.

New craft room 3

New craft room 2

The shelves with baskets and the lovely heart pinboard were bargains from local charity shops. It does still need painting and more pictures putting up but that will be a job for the holidays.

I still have one tall storage unit on the other side with all the small boxes but now all of the fabric is together so that I can see what I have got. I found fabric for a new blue peasant dress yesterday that I vaguely remembered buying but thought had wandered off :-)

More importantly I have got a cutting table which is much better than crawling about on the floor!

So this afternoon I will be enjoying the fruits of my labour finishing off a little project for a birthday.

Oh and you see that pile of quilts next to the cutting area? No I haven’t been mega productive recently, they are made by my very talented friend Helen here in the village.

New craft room

She has been stash busting recently and has very kindly made these to donate to a children’s orphanage that my Mum supports in Spain. Will share pics of those later.

Do have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting!

Hello there

I have had a lovely time this weekend with some of my very good friends in a beautiful lodge in Sherwood Forest.

Sherwood girls 2

These are some of the women I have known since my kids were little and we usually have a weekend away every year. This year it was a lovely lodge with a jacuzzi :-)

Sherwood girls 4

Sherwood girls 3

We had a couple of very nice walks, saw some interesting mushrooms and ate lots of yummy food and relaxed.A thoroughly lovely time with great company.

Sherwood girls weekend

Sherwood girls 5

Sherwood girls 6

Hope that you had a nice time whatever you did, thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

I am celebrating as one year ago today I moved into my little house here in Marsden.

I have had a brilliant year here, I have never been happier living anywhere and I am so glad I made the move (and that it finally happened after all the delays last summer!)

I have made so many new friends including all the lovely people at my new knitting group, have really great,friendly neighbours and permanently feel like I am on holiday!

I have had a very nice quiet summer unlike the previous two where I was getting the house ready to put it on the market, then packing up and finally moving so I have really, really appreciated the lack of stress.

I have spent most of my free time when not away at events in my favourite place in the house, my crafting sofa with all the photos of my friends from re-enactment.

Houseaversary - sofa

I sit here looking out of the window at my neighbours’ lovely flowers.

Houseaversary - neighbours

I have also been admiring my new planting like this gorgeous lily just blooming and looking up at the hills that I can see from the back of my house. The heather is turning purple at the moment so it all looks fantastic.

Houseaversary - lily

Houseaversary - heather

These are a few of my best Marsden memories from the first year here.

Lots of walks to the reservoirs in the sunshine, am looking forward to many more of these in the off-season.

Houseaversary

The snow and sledging with the kids – fantastic fun.

Houseaversary - snow 1

Houseaversary - snow 2

The sheep, even though they do occasionally eat my flowers I love seeing them, these pics were taken in the Spring on my way home from work – what a lovely sight at the end of the day!

Houseaversary - sheep 1

Houseaversary - sheep 2

A few years ago I wanted to make a major change to be able to spend less time working and more doing the things I love, wishing to set up my own sewing business.

Sadly that wasn’t possible as life intervened but I now feel that I do have most of what I wanted back then, even though in a different place and under different circumstances.

If I had done that I would have missed out on living here and going to teach in China which has been one of the most fantastic experiences of my life so I am very happy at the way that things have turned out.

This print is in my kitchen, it was a house-warming present to myself and I would add that you can’t buy happiness but living in a beautiful home in a beautiful place with lovely people does really help.

Houseaversary - wine pic

I am spending my houseaversary doing all things domestic, have just baked apple cake for Jake and will be spending most of the day knitting bunnies while watching my new favourite addiction.

I have become a big fan of The Great British Bake Off. Series 4 has just started and while I have been unable to find previous series online I have found the Australian version which is just as exciting (if you like baking!). Am going to pick up new bread recipes for Autumn when I start soup making again.

Oh and one more little bunny update – I added some lace to Emily’s socks – what do you think, cute or what? They remind me of the socks Ellie had when she was little.

Emily Bunny dress 2 - shoes

Hope you are having a great weekend and thanks for visiting.

Hello

I have just got back from a very lovely trip all the way to the very south of the UK (6 hours each way on the train) to go the christening of my cousin’s second daughter.

You may remember that she was born last summer shortly before my lovely Nana died, her eighth great-grandchild, and named Alice Evelyn in her honour. Neil and Vicky her parents very kindly asked me to be her godmother so Mum and I went all the way to Plymouth yesterday.

It was a great trip, staring out the window at all the lambs in the green fields and seeing all the blossom on the trees makes you realise what a beautiful country we live in, especially the last part of the trip from Exeter going along the coast. I love trains so this was a real treat for me!

We had a really lovely time spending last night at Neil and Vicky’s house which I have not visited before.

I did not see very much of my cousins when we were growing up but we have spent a lot more time together in the last few years, mainly in Spain, and I really enjoy their company and it was very precious family time.

A friend of mine recently posted a joke picture on Facebook saying we are ‘nillionaires’ meaning having no money to which I replied that they are rich in the things that count as they have two little girls of a similar age to my cousin’s children.

I deeply believe that what counts in life is family and friends and I am so lucky to have wonderful, close supportive people both relatives and those who are my ‘adopted’ family.

Nothing is more important than the people you love and helping and supporting them which is why I was so pleased to be asked to be Alice’s godmother.

The christening itself was held at HMS Drake which is the Naval base in Plymouth as Neil is in the Navy and so we had the service in the chapel on the base which was very lovely, dating from 1908.

The service was very High Church which I love, incense and sung prayers and then we had the lunch in the mess hall in the Wardroom with the most amazing model ships hanging from the ceiling and Sir Francis Drake’s sword in a display case at the back of the room!

Here is a slideshow of the church and mess room.

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My christening present to Alice was this little sampler – adapted from a wedding sampler from a recent Just Cross Stitch magazine. It is stitched with white cotton on evenweave.

Christening sampler

Christening sampler 2

Christening sampler 3

Thank you so much for visiting – we will be at Harewood House this coming weekend for their medieval event so fingers crossed for lovely weather!

Hello there

Just one last quick post before I go – I have been given permission by Ellie, my lovely daughter, to finally tell you her good news.

She went for an interview a couple of weeks ago and has got a new job!

She has been working as an intern as a Conservation Assistant at Powis Castle for the National Trust but she now has  a paid job as a Conservation Assistant at none other than Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire!

This is one of my all time favourite places and is the reason why I will always be a member of the National Trust.

I posted about Bess of Hardwick a few years ago and you can read that post here.

The collection of Elizabethan era textiles and paintings here is fantastic and she is very, very excited as you can imagine. She starts in a couple of weeks.

Just look at this place – Powis was wonderful to work at but this is so amazing.

Hardwick Hall

We are very, very proud of her!

One of the things I love about living here is all the services and all of the stuff that is going on. I chose to move here partly because of the great location next to the moors but also as we have brilliant local shops and services. As I now live 8 miles from the town centre and do not drive these things are important and I have been shopping locally as much as I can.

I am now having a fruit and veg box delivered weekly from the brilliant deli in the village Radish – it is really nice to have a random selection of things to cook with. Years ago I used to love to watch a TV programme called Ready, Steady, Cook  where a participant would arrive with a bag of ingredients and the chefs would make something out of that and my box is a bit like that.So tomorrow it will be beetroot soup for lunch!

Here are a couple of pictures of the shop which always looks so colourful and inviting. I love all of their stock,  as well as fruit and veg and wonderful cheese they have all sorts of pasta, spices, relishes etc. Foodie heaven!

Radish 1

Radish 2

I have also signed up for the monthly cheese and wine club ( purely to support local businesses and nothing to do with my love for red wine and cheese of course!) and had a delivery of very special things that I am saving for Christmas.

A couple of days ago I went and did some shopping and visited the newly opened florist’s shop Lily Blossom where I bought some things to make a wreath for the kitchen. I have been putting up the Xmas decs this weekend but having a new house means I have had to rethink things and Roxanne who runs the florist had a brilliant section where you could buy a plain wreath and lots of lovely things to put on it and make your own. I chose a lime and chilli theme to fit in with my kitchen decor and had a lovely time making a wreath to hang on my cupboard door.

Lily Blossom wreath

We also have some fabulous charity shops and I have been raiding all the vintage embroidery for my stash. I have got some brilliant things – these are the selection I bought this week – for 50p each!

Vintage embroidery - Dec

Tonight was the switch on of the Christmas lights in the village with associated craft stalls, christmas tree display, mulled wine stand (well it was raising funds for the village for I really had to just to be charitable)  as well as the local Morris Dance group who also fire juggle.I had a lovely couple of hours, met up with some of my friends here and thoroughly enjoyed myself.Here are the lights on the Marsden Mechanics Insitute at the centre of the villlage. I love living here!

Marsden Xmas lights

Have put up the tree today and finished decorating the rest of the house so all is ready. It is all looking so pretty, I do love this time of year.

It is my blogaversay tomorrow so I will be posting with the traditional giveaway.

Thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

I arrived back from China last Tuesday and on Thursday we went to Worcester for Ellie’s graduation so I thought I would share a few photos of that with you.

My Mum came over from Spain for the week and so she was able to be here for the ceremony and Jake came down from Middlesbrough so we had a lovely few days with the family.

We stayed with my sister who lives in Worcester where Ellie was at University so had chance to catch up with her as well and after the graduation Mum and I went to Powis Castle with Ellie for an overnight stay. A very lovely weekend of family fun!

Here she is with her friends throwing their hats and with her very best friend at University, Becky.

Ellie - graduation 2

Ellie - graduation 1

Also I couldn’t resist the chance to get a photo of Ellie with this lovely door – the ceremony was held in Worcester Cathedral which was one of the reasons she chose to study there as not only is it a wonderful venue but also King John (who she studied at A level for her Medieval History) is buried there.

Ellie - graduation 3

I am very, very proud of her, not only for her hard work at University but also for her dedication to her new job.She is doing lots of exciting things to help Powis Castle  get ready for Christmas and is very busy with that and interpreting the kitchens and other areas of the castle to make them appeal to younger visitors. Their Christmas theme is ‘Once Upon a Time’ which is based on fairy tales so if you are in the area please go and visit.

She is also now working on their social media sites so do take a look at their Facebook page  for more inspiring pics.

These are a couple of pics I took in the gardens yesterday, it was a beautiful day and the autumn colours were brilliant.

Powis Nov 1

Powis - Nov 2

While I was in Worcester I took the opportunity to visit a couple of quilt fabric shops and have added a bit to my stash, mainly Christmas fabric but also a few other bits that I couldn’t resist :-) Will take some photos when we get some daylight!

Have so many pics from China to sort so will be doing that over the next couple of weeks to put up a new page about this trip.

Hope you have a very nice week ahead and thank you for visiting.

Some years ago in 2009 I did a post entitled ‘Home alone ……. with a pumpkin’  as both the kids were away and I was making pumpkin soup. In that post I wrote about how Jake would be leaving home so I was practising then for the time when I would be home alone for good.

Well this is it and Jake has left for University. We took him and all his belongings (and there were a lot of them when piled into my sister-in-law Amanda’s car!) all the way up north to Teesside University where he is happily settling in to his student hall.

Here is the outside of the halls of residence , not the most glamorous of buildings but Jake chose it as it has very large student rooms and good communal facilities and is very near campus.

Jake Uni 1

Here he is – with top hat of course – moving into his room.He says he has space for a grand piano but don’t think he will be able to afford that on a student budget! It looks a good room for parties though as it is twice as big as the space shown in this pic.

Jake Uni 2

It doesn’t seem two minutes since we dropping Ellie off at her halls of residence – you can see her at her first day at her halls in this post .

Hope Jake has a fab time, we are very proud of him

And of course now I get to start sorting out the new craft room, did a little bit last night but I have a lot of stuff to move – am hoping to be able to show you pics at the end of the week.

Still have not really decided on a decorating theme, was going to do a vintage/Cath Kidston look but most of my fabric is either Xams stuff or medieval so don’t know what would look best. Maybe I should just go for a Santa’s grotto theme and then I could have all my ornies out year round, that would be pretty ;-)

Am going to my new knitting group in the village tomorrow, Wool and W(h)ine, held at one of the local pubs (what a good idea) so am taking a simple pattern as don’t think I will be able to concentrate on anything much.

I was out partying this weekend and met a couple of the knitting group who are very lovely. One of them is an ex   re – enactor who has just set up an online fabric store which I will get the details of and post here! How exciting, I knew I was so right to move here.

I have had a wonderful week, on Monday I went to see the Mikron Theatre Company’s  latest production at one of our local pubs – a wonderfully funny play called ‘Losing the Plot’ about an allotment. The info for the company is at the link above – do go and see them if you get a chance, brilliant unique theatre.

Since I now have no one to look after or feed I thought I would do my bit for the local wildlife so have bought a lovely new bird feeding station for my front garden. I was ignored for the first 24 hours but then got some lovely visitors, starlings, crows, two finches and two robins. Was difficult to get good pics but this one is lovely.

Bird feeder

And as for the pumpkin it is nearly time to buy one for my favourite soup – Delia Smith’s Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Melting Cheese  – yum yum!

A busy week ahead but hopefully will have some crafting time. Thanks for visiting.

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