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Hello

I hope you are enjoying your Friday – I have another weekend of sewing planned in my lovely newly tidied craft room.

Would have had a fab finish to show you but once completed realised that I had made a (deliberate of course!) mistake with one part so that will be unpicked, re-sewn and brought to you later in the weekend :-)

Meanwhile we will have a closer look at the quilts made by Helen from my knitting group. Helen does have a blog but can’t find it at the moment (my favourites are still all on my old laptop!)

These will all be going to Spain over the next few months to an orphanage that my Mum supports.

Helen's quilts

Helen's quilts 4

Helen's quilts 2

Helen's quilts 3

Helen's quilts 5

Helen's quilts 6

I love the fabric choices – Helen made all these from stash, isn’t she clever. I would love to be more confident at fabric combining, always seems to take me ages to decide what to use for a project.

Hoping for some good weather for a walk as well – as soon as Google announced the first day of Spring Yorkshire decided to get all wet and windy again :-(

Take care and will update on project soon, thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

You would think that someone who makes Christmas ornaments nearly all year round and started knitting gifts months ago would be finished well in time for the last posting dates wouldn’t you?

You would not imagine a weekend of frantic finishing and a sudden realisation that one of the bunny gifts does not have any legs at the moment :-(

Only realised yesterday as well that the bag that was going to be given with one of the bunny gifts was still unfinished – oops.

However I am doing well despite the lateness and have the gifts that need to be posted ready to go and will be doing more finishing this week including the legs – was sure I had a whole bag of completed bits but one bunny has had too much Xmas cheer and is legless ha ha :-)

The finished bunny I have named Lucy though she is going to my cousin’s daughter who will name her, hope she likes her as much as the other cousin’s daughter did with the first bunny I made.

I made the bag in the summer – it is made from recycled jeans and a pillow case and it was the colour scheme of the pillow case that inspired Lucy’s 3 dresses.

Lucy Bunny's bag

Lucy Bunny and bag

Lucy Bunny dress 2

Lucy Bunny dress 3

I love the way she has wonky ears, all the bunnies turn out with such different faces. Lucy looks quite serious don’t you think?

Lucy Bunny head

Have also made up all the stitched ornaments into little hanging pillows.These are all JBW Designs from Sew and Sew.

Xmas ornies finished

I have little to excuse myself for this tardiness except the fact that I have been very busy at work and possibly have tried once again to make too much in too short a space of time ;-)

I think when I sort out the craft room in Jan I shall have a noticeboard and will write a list of projects and timescales so I can keep track, especially as I have so much medieval kit to stitch for next season.

Planning not helped by the fact that I have just subscribed to a new magazine called Love Patchwork and Quilting which has given me so many new ideas for things that I want to make.

Love Patchwork magazine

What about this little bird ornament – can you imagine some of those in Christmas fabric?

Love patchwork mag

They have a first 3 issues for £5 deal on their website at the moment and it is a very lovely magazine with links to lots of other lovely blogs.

I have been looking at the work of Amy Smart whose Diary of a Quilter blog is full of lovely, lovely things. So many ideas and so little time!

Anyway back to my finishing now – only 9 days to go till Christmas eek! Thankfully the food shopping is nearly all done so I can concentrate on crafting!

Hope you all have a good lead up to the festive season and thanks for visiting.

Hello again

I spend a lot of time travelling to all sorts of beautiful parts of the globe so it was lovely to have week in my gorgeous country appreciating (along with many tourists from all over the world) what England has to offer.

Our first day was spent in the Cotswolds where I grew up and the visit to Bourton-on-the-Water brought back many happy memories of paddling in this stream, seeing the pretty cottages and visiting the model village (which Kerry loved just as much as I did when I first saw it).

Bourton

Bourton 2

Bourton 3

We then went to Snowshill Manor, a National Trust property in the Cotswolds, quintessentially an English manor house with beautiful gardens but home to a very eclectic collection by the last owner Charles Paget Wade.

Snowshill

Snowshill 3

Snowshill 4

Snowshill 5

There was everything from samurai warrior suits to old bikes, including many beautiful Oriental chests from his travels. One room had a lovely collection of textiles including what looks like a piece from a Layton jacket!

Snowshill textiles

Snowshill textiles 2

Snowshill textiles 3

I particularly liked this sampler book showing miniature garments, no information on its maker but I think it would be a for a similar purpose to the one that inspired the Blackbird Designs book, ‘A Stitcher’s Journey’, which I posted about previously, to show prospective employers your needlework skills.

Snowshill textiles 4

Snowshill textiles 5

Snowshill textiles 6

A lovely day out – and all in the best of English summer sunshine!

Thanks for visiting, more historic loveliness soon!

Hello everyone

Well the snow has almost gone here in Yorkshire apart from bits on the hills, we have Spring flowers appearing and have had a couple of warm days recently so we are all feeling very happy!

One of my favourite parts of the China Nationalities Museum that I visited while in Beijing was the exhibition of needlework, this sign outside perfectly captures how I, (and it would seem the museum organisers), feel about stitching!

China Nationalities Museum Sign

There were themed displays of footwear (including the very sad lotus feet shoes for bound feet), bags, headwear and gifts – these little embroidered tokens of love and affection are called henbao.

China Nationalities Museum Henbao

China Nationalities Museum Boots

China Nationalities Museum Lotus feet shoes

I was interested to see cross stitch and patchwork in the bags as well as the more traditional Chinese silk embroidery.

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag 2

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag 3

China Nationalities Museum Patchwork bag

There was also a section devoted to needlework tools – anyone remember these pincushions at the top of the photo?

My Nana had one when I was little (as well as the tomato one with the strawberry emery attached).

China Nationalities Museum Pincushion

In another part of the museum there were some displays of traditional Miao people costume, with beautiful silver headdresses and embroidered robes.

Each strand of the skirt is a separate piece joined with silver beads.

China Nationalities Museum Miao

China Nationalities Museum Miao 2

China Nationalities Museum Miao 3

China Nationalities Museum Miao 4

I have had a busy week craft wise, have finished and posted my Spring ornament for the Seasonal Exchange, part made two bags out of recycled denim and pillowcases and been to two knitting groups (though more drinking coffee and wine was done than actual knitting – as usual!)

And next week the season starts again! They joy of seeing all my re-enactment friends and camping and campfires and BBQs – I shall be so happy :-)

I must get around to putting up the events page for this year but next weekend we are at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire - on Sat and Sun celebrating the victory of St George over the evil Dragon Knight! Please come and join us if you can.

Take care and thank you for visiting.

Hello there

Hope you have had a lovely week, I have had a really nice half term holiday as I have been on leave all week.

So there have been lots of lovely walks, crafting and socialising culminating in a trip to the next village in the valley for the Moonraker celebration yesterday.

I have spent the week making a small quilt for one of Ellen’s friends who has just had a baby.

I designed the pattern myself based on the motifs from the Sweet Treats fabric that I bought in Worcester at Ellen’s graduation.

I added fabric from my Simply Solids monthly delivery and some of the fabric that my Mum bought me for Christmas.

I made the quilt reversible and it is Moses basket or pram sized.

Sweet treats quilt

Sweet treats quilt 2

Sweet treats quilt 3

Sweet treats quilt 4

Here are a few pictures from the walk my sister-in-law Amanda and I did earlier this week up to a local reservoir.

It was beautiful weather really warm with such blue skies, very rare in Yorkshire in Feb!

March Haigh walk

March Haigh 2

March Haigh 3

Yesterday I went with my friends Taru and Bob and their daughter Leah along to the next village in the valley, Slaithwaite, where they hold the Moonraker festival.

We used to go to this every year when the kids were young but I have not been for about 8 years as I am usually in Spain at this time of year.

The festival celebrates a local legend about some smugglers who were trying to get some contraband that had fallen from a boat into the river.

When the Excise men caught them they denied any wrongdoing saying they were trying to ‘rake the moon’.

The festival is a parade of willow lanterns that are made throughout the week at workshops. The parade also involves lots of bands and culminates in brilliant fire sculptures and fireworks.

Each year the festival has a theme – this year it was time so Bob and Leah made a giant pocket watch.

There was also a Tardis and a White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland along with lots of Big Ben clocks, egg timers and watches of all shapes and sizes.

Moonraker Leah and Bob's lantern

Moonraker tardis

Moonraker rabbit

Moonraker parade

Moonraker 2013

Today I walked along the canal to the village again, it was a beautiful sunny day and I saw geese and the first signs of Spring, these lovely daffodils outside one of the canalside cottages.

Slawit walk - lock

Slawit walk - geese

Slawit walk

My village is notorious for having sheep roam the streets (and eating the contents of people’s gardens!) When I got back from my walk today there were this little group at the bottom of my road.

Slawit walk - sheep

I am off to China on Thursday to teach for 3 weeks – going to Beijing this time so will not be blogging for a few weeks but expect some pictures of famous things when I get back – might even get to see the Great Wall!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

Hope you didn’t suffer too much disruption because of snow last week, here in the UK we had a massive snowfall and there was the usual chaos and complaints about how badly we manage snow!

I got into work ok (the joys of being a non car driver) but this was the front of the house last Monday!

Snow in garden

I have been working on my lastest range of upcycled things for my craft stall at Standedge. These are the full set of hearts – I found this very cute cake stand in Cardiff over Xmas and thought it would be perfect for displaying my stock.

Hearts on stand

I have been making Kindle / e-book covers out of the charity fabric and vintage embroidery and some old clothing.

I am really pleased with the way that they have turned out, especially with my machine applique. I did want to get better  at machine work and am pleased that I have managed to be neat in the stitching round the hearts.

Kindle covers

Kindle covers 2

Kindle covers 3

Kindle covers 4

Kindle covers 5

Kindle covers 6

Kindle covers 7

This coming weekend I will be working on some phone covers.

My lovely friend Kerry came to stay this weekend – we had a very nice trip to Oakwell Hall  where there was still very deep snow on Saturday but heavy rainfall overnight meant that our walk on Sunday along the valley was full of flooded rivers and rushing water under bridges.

It was amazing to see especially compared to the last time I went there a couple of months ago which you can see in this post.

The second photo on that previous post was taken at the same spot as this one below.

We had a lovely time and are looking forward to doing the same walk when it is drier and we can cross the streams to get further up the valley.

Snow melt

Snow melt 2

Snow melt 3

Snow melt 4

Snow melt 5

Hope that you are not suffering too much from the weather, take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

I hope that you have been having a lovely and happy week in this run up to the festive season. This has been my last week of teaching for the year so we have had some Christmas dos and I have now finished teaching for the next few weeks :-)

I have been spending this weekend with my lovely friend Kerry, we had a very nice relaxing night in last night having a few glasses of wine and a catch up and today visited a Tudor house, Haddon Hall  near Bakewell, that we have had on our wish list for while.

It was absolutely beautiful, not only was it a gorgeous day but the house itself was so lovely, a wonderful place with a great hall and plastered long gallery as well as a wonderful chapel with original wall paintings and the  kitchens had been restored and really well interpreted.

Since Ellie started working for the National Trust I have paid even more attention to how things are displayed and labelled in the historic places I visit, listening to her has made me think more about all these issues about the visitor experience.

I think Haddon Hall have done a wonderful job, especially of the Christmas decorations – we loved them, see what you think in these pictures.

As well as all the Tudor things the drawing room had a lovely old hexagon quilt which I think dated from the 1920s.

Haddon Hall 1

Haddon Hall 2

Haddon Hall 3

Haddon Hall 4 jpg

Haddon Hall 5

Haddon Hall 6

Haddon Hall 7

Haddon Hall 8

Haddon Hall 9

Haddon Hall 10

Haddon Hall 11

Haddon Hall 12

Haddon Hall 13

Have not done a huge amount on the crafting front this week due to all the festive dos, had a lovely meal out with my Marsden Knitting group this week where we all exchanged hand-made ornies – need to take a good pic of the lovely ornie I got on my tree.

Still working on the knitted hat and on an Xmas gift for a family member. I finished another gift this week but can’t reveal that till after Xmas.

I am spending this week working from home then we go to Powis Castle for Xmas – am very excited and am hoping for snow! Jake has just arrived home for the holidays so we both have a few more dos this week then we shall be off!

Will post next weekend to wish you all a Merry Christmas – till then thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone, I do hope that you are all well and happy. I have been having a lovely day in the comfort of my lounge, on the sofa stitching and watching movies on DVD. The weather has been unbelievably foul all week and today was no better so cosied up with cups of tea and my latest project.

Very little crafting has been taking place here of late. What with all the travel and the fact that I have been working on some bigger projects and being super busy at work I have not posted a finish for some time which is very slack of me!

I have been doing stuff but the Chinese Emperor cross sitch will take a long time and I have just finished an exchange piece that I only posted this week so will not be able to post about for a while.

However the weekend before last I was seized with an urge to make something that has been an idea for a while – a patchwork bag made from denim garments that were no longer needed and some beautiful crochet table runners that I bought at a vintage fair a while back.

I had a lovely time playing with fabric and ideas – tea and cookies essential for the creative process of course!

handbag making

And finally finished it today.I am very pleased with the end result. I have added some wooden embellishments from a set I bought in Leeds last week to one side that I may add to the other once I see how well they last as they are quite fragile.

handbag

handbag buttons

I am also very pleased with the lining , which is from one of Ellie’s old skirts , and I have used a magnetic button to fasten it.This was the most expensive bit of the whole project buying the buttons as everything else was from my stash.

handbag inside

It is mostly my own design though I used various books for inspiration. Hope that you like it!

I am really looking forward to next weekend as it is my first re-enactment event of the year. I am going to stay with my very lovely friend Kerry and we are going to join another friend Malcolm and his group at Bosworth Battlefield which will be very interesting as I have never been there before.Will take lots of pics for you!

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Hello there

Hope that you are all having a nice weekend, I have been very busy with decorating since early this morning so have decided to have a nice sit down and do a post with a cup of tea before I go and cook.

Ellie has gone back to University – we helped her move in to her new house on Thursday and left her to unpack.She has got a bigger room this year which is good as she had a lot of stuff! It is a very nice house with a brand new kitchen (not at all like student digs in my day!) so I’m sure she will be very happy there.  

I had a good journey back just sitting stitching  another JBW Xmas ornie with a cup of tea, looking at the lovely views out of the train window now and again. It was a very lovely couple of hours and I really enjoyed it. I do love using trains, I’m sure that driving is very useful and I can see the advantages sometimes but I was very happy sitting and relaxing with my stitching and reading my book.I felt very peaceful and mellow, it was great!

I have treated myself this week to some new books that have been on my wish list on Amazon for a while so I thought that I would show you them (in the absence of any finished stitching – do have two Xmas ornie WIPs which should be done soon!) I do love reading – again another one of my fave things to do and am very sad that the book below is the last in the series at the moment. I started reading the Elm Creek Quilt series  last year on the recommendation of a friend from knitting and I love them, they are a wonderful mix of quilting patterns, history and the story of the women who make the quilts.

New Quilt book Sept

This book as you have probably guessed is about the American Civil war and picks up the stories of the lives of some of the quilters in earlier books such as The Sugar Camp quilt and The Lost Quilter. I really hope that there are more planned for the future!

My other great pleasure is of course finding out more about the history of needlework and this is a book I have had on my wishlist for a long time, I noticed last week that there was a very cheap second – hand copy for sale so snapped it up. The book is a history of American Needlework written by Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ fame. It was Rose who encouraged Laura to write all her books, being a successful author herself and I can’t wait to get some time to study this in more depth.

Needlework Book 1

Here is just a little taste of the lovely stuff inside, some red embroidery, traditional patchwork blocks and an applique quilt from the Brooklyn Museum.

Needlework Book 4

Needlework book 3

Needlework Book 2

I have also treated myself to some new JBW patterns  from Sew and So  – yet more little Xmas ornies! I love these as they are so quick to stitch.

New JBW Sept

My last treat is some new silk thread from The Silk Mill  to stitch all these ornies with – an Xmas colour pack and some extra greens as they are having a 35% off sale until the 5th Sept – to good to miss. That has not arrived yet but will take a pic of it when it does for you so you can admire the silky loveliness!

Well I do hope you all have a lovely week ahead, we are gearing up for the start of a new term with Jake back at college this week, my new students will arrive the week after so it will be all go then, no time for being mellow but I will try to factor in lots and lots of stitching time!

Thanks for visiting.

I have finally got around to completing the little pillow I have made for my friend who has had a baby girl recently. The pattern is again a JBW one, called Teddy Bear  – they have cute patterns for all events and seasons not just Xmas ones. I get these mail order from Sew and Sew. I backed the pillow with some of the fabric that I had in my stash left over from my bunny quilt and at the Birmingham Quilt Show I was able to find these very cute buttons which go so well with the design. I don’t know if you can see from the pic below but there is a rocking horse (just above the K) and a pram (to the left of the horse) actually in the design so I thought they were perfect for it.

Baby pillow

As I mentioned Ellie and I had our first visit to the wonderful Birmingham International Festival of Quilts a couple of weeks ago as part of a coach trip with our group. One day was not really long enough at all but if I had gone for longer I would have been so tempted to spend more! Here is a small selection of some of the lovely things we saw – made into a slide show again with my new toy Smilebox.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
This free scrapbook design customized with Smilebox
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