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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 everyone, I am very glad to be home from China, not that I didn’t have a lovely time, as always I was very well looked after and enjoyed myself, both doing the work bit and the few days I had after the teaching to visit some of Beijing’s famous places.

But I did miss my lovely hills and was really looking forward to coming home so I could go walking this weekend.

However it was snowing when I left China and I brought it back with me as we have had the most enormous snowfall over the last two days – it is up to my knees in my garden and we have been making the most of it.

Ellie and Jake have been here all weekend (Jake is home for Easter) and today Kerry , my brother Ben and his partner Amanda came over and we went sledging. We had great fun then came back for warm drinks and birthday cake (Ellie will be 22 next weekend so we celebrated early).

I went to see some lovely things while in Beijing, the Forbidden Palace and the Summer Palace and a temple as well as Tianamen Square and the National Museum.

One of my favourite visits was to the China Museum of Nationalities which is very similar to other open air museums we have visited in the past, such as St Fagan’s near Cardiff that we went to at Christmas.

The museum is a collection of buildings that have been brought from all parts of China to represent all the 56 different ethnic groups that make up the Chinese population along with exhibitions of costume, crafts etc and costumed interpreters who perform dances, music etc from all the different groups.

There was loads of lovely embroidery and I just want to show you a little bit of this. These were in the Tibetan area and they are all part of the decorations that are used on hair braid embellishments that the women wear.

You can see the way they wear them in the first pic and below are just some of the beautiful work along with an amazing embroidered hanging.Really wish I had more luggage space as I could have brought some much more home with me!

China Nationalities Museum Braids

China Nationalities Museum Braids 2

China Nationalities Museum Braids 3

China Nationalities Museum Braids 4

China Nationalities Museum Embroidery

The museum is very near the Olympic park and other business areas and this picture shows the contrast between China old and new.The pagoda is part of the museum and the unusually shaped modern tower is the IBM tower.

China Nationalities Museum Old and New

I am off to Spain tomorrow to spend a lovely long time with my Mum – it is currently 21 degrees there so will be a little bit of change from the Arctic conditions here!

Take care and will be back with more China pics on my return. Thanks for visiting.

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!

Well I have finally got my stall at Standedge Loft Space  and my membership as a designer maker. Am very pleased as I have wanted to sell things for a while and also it is a great way of supporting a local craft centre. My little stall looks very cute and I have got some nice feedback already.

Standedge craft stall

Standedge loft

Standedge membership

Standedge stall

It is a lovely space and I am looking forward to being able to spend more time there, especially over the summer.

There was a craft market this weekend and I bought this lovely fabric from my new friend Helen from my local knitting group. I am making a quilt for a friend’s baby and have used some of this fabric to add to my stash for that.

Material goods fabric

She and her friend Lucy run a fabric store called Material Goods in the next village – here is their card and link to their online store.

Material goods card

I have also been out for  a few walks over the weekend – there is still a bit of snow up on the hills and lots of sheep!

Feb snowy walks

Feb walk reservoir

Feb walk sheep

Feb walk snow path

I got my Winter Exchange this week from Kathy - isn’t it lovely – as soon as my partner has got hers I can post the stitching that I have done.

Winter Exchange Biscornu

I am planning lots of lovely walks this week as I am on holiday! There will be lots of crafting too and some nice nights out catching up with friends. Ellie has been here for all of last week and Jake is here this week so I am being very social!

Thanks very much for visiting.

Hello everyone

Hope you are all ok, I have had a very busy week and am so looking forward to Thurs as that is the start of some time off work!!!

Am very excited and have lots of big plans for the week. I will be doing a little bit of decorating, lots of walking (hopefully, subject to the weather) and lots of crafting.

And then it is only one more week after that until I go to China again – how time flies, my mouth is already watering at the thought of all that lovely,lovely food!

Not much to show you this week on the crafting front due to working until stupid o’clock most evenings this week.

I did make these phone cases this week, I have so many ideas for things to make just can’t wait for my crafting week!

Phone cover 4

Phone cover 5

Decided to do a little stitch for me as well as so much of my output leaves the house and this lovely heart design will go very nicely in my kitchen. It is a very nice easy stitch so good for when I am tired and falling asleep in front of the TV!

The pattern comes from the Just Cross Stitch magazine Jan/Feb 2013 Issue and is called Heart Swirls. This is my new subscription mag for this year.

Heart cross stitch 1

Heart cross stitch 2

Have fun whatever you are doing and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

Hello there

Hope you are all well and happy, thank you for your lovely comments on my new things.

I have been busy this weekend adding to the stock as I have made a couple of new items, these are phone covers. The top one I am going to keep as I made a bit of an error with the lining ;-(

Phone cover 3

Phone cover 2

Phone cover 1

The crochet on that one is from a large piece which contains about 30 of these flower motifs – I used some of a similar design and different colour last year to make a handbag which I blogged about here. So I have plenty more to make other items.

The other phone case used one of  the smaller motifs from the tablecloth that I have used for the hearts and the Kindle cover I made. I think I have got about 6 items out of that tablecloth already and still have loads of motifs left.

I acquired a new tablecloth this weekend, this one is cross stitched so I am looking forward to making some bigger items from that – I am thinking maybe toilet bags.

Cross stitch table cloth Feb 1

Cross stitch table cloth Feb 2

I am feeling very well at the moment – touch wood my dodgy back is behaving itself and I went on a really lovely strenuous walk yesterday literally to the top of my little world. It was a glorious day, very blustery and still icy as you can see from the foliage pictures below.

Binn Moor walk 1

Binn Moor walk 2

Binn Moor walk 3

Binn Moor walk 4

Binn Moor walk 5

It was wonderful to be up so high looking down on the reservoirs.My house is just at the bottom right of this view.

I have just finished a stitch for the Winter Exchange - more will be revealed when it has reached its destination and nearly finished another version of the variegated wool hat. Have so many lovely projects I would like to do next don’t know where to start :-)

Right am off and now for a wander and when I come back more crafting – what a lovely life!

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 and welcome, I hope you are all warm and snug and wrapped up well in this very chilly weather.

I have had a very lovely day today, starting with making a very delicious beef stew in my slow cooker which meant I could leave it gently simmering away while I went for a walk in the snowy hills – wearing my newly finished walking hat of course!

I hurt my back earlier this week by falling down my stairs so just went for a very gentle walk round the reservoir on the flat path. There were some wonderful frosty views and some beautiful icicles, some of them looked like weird sea creatures.Lots of people were sledging on the slops of the reservoir – looked great fun!

Snow walk Jan 1

Snow walk Jan 2

Snow walk Jan 3

Snow walk Jan 4

Snow walk Jan 6

I have been getting on well with my upcycled hearts and other designs from my charity shop stash, these are to be taken to The Loft Craft Centre at Standedge next week along with a few Kindle cases that I have been making out of the same fabric.Will post pics of the cases next week.

Here is my production so far, I really love the embroidered hearts which came from a tablecloth and the broderie anglaise and denim ones which are from a charity shop skirt and one of Ellie’s old skirts for the stripey backing and the denim.

The first four pics show front and back of the different hearts and the last one shows both front and back of the embroidered one.

Have a lovely week ahead – there is more snow forecast here so don’t know what is going to happen work wise. Thanks for visiting.

Upcycled hearts Jan 2

Upcycled hearts Jan 3

Upcycled hearts Jan 4

Upcycled hearts Jan 5

Upcycled hearts

Happy 2013 to you all!

I hope that you had a lovely festive season. We did, I arrived back from all my travels today and have just been sorting some pictures to show you.

We had a very nice time at Powis Castle with Ellie – it was a very quiet Christmas Day which was much appreciated, we got up late, opened presents, watched DVDs, went for a walk and played games and ate lots of chocolate!

I took some special Christmas themed pictures in the grounds of  holly, mistletoe and deer (not reindeer as these are red deer but they still have impressive antlers) and some of the very interesting lichen on the trees.

Holly

Mistletoe

Powis Xmas

Kids at Powis

Lichen

Powis Xmas 2

Deer

It was very good and the castle looked so pretty all decorated with a fairy tale theme for Christmas! If you want to see more pictures of this go and visit Ellie’s blog post about the castle theme.

Our time in Cardiff was lovely if a bit wet! We visited the Doctor Who Experience  which proved to me that I am still scared of the Daleks ( and there were no cushions to hide behind!) and Cardiff Castle and the St Fagan’s Museum of Welsh Life  which was brilliant.

At St Fagan’s I particularly loved the terrace of miners’ cottages that were displayed to show living conditions between the 1850s and the 1980s, really interesting. Also the recreation of the medieval church paintings were great.

The pictures below show Ellie and my sister Jackie with Betsy, the car that my favourite Doctor, John Pertwee, used and some of the amazing decoration in Cardiff Castle.

It was remodelled in the late 1900s by William Burges for the 3rd Marquis of Bute and is a stunning medieval fantasy castle – I would so love to live there!

Dr Who

Cardiff Castle 1

Cardiff Castle 2

Ellie bought me the most amazing Xmas present which she got from an antique shop in Welshpool, these coasters date from 1908 and are very lovely, especially significant as there are so many peacocks at Powis Castle.

Peacock embroidery 1

Peacock embroidery 2

I can now show you the pincushion I made for my very good friend Kerry for Christmas. This is a Blackbirds Designs  pattern called Wild Lillies which I have adapted and I made it for her as she has been such a good friend to me this year with all the help with my new house and keeping me sane! Thank you, it is much appreciated.

Kerry's pincushion

I have just got back from a lovely time in Spain with Mum, it was warm and sunny and she took me to visit a fabulous historic house which I will post about later in the week.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Well hello everyone, I hope that you are all well and happy and enjoying the last few days before the festive season begins.

I am now on leave for two weeks (hurrah!) and tomorrow we go to Wales to stay with Ellie at Powis Castle where I shall be pretending that I am at a grand house party as in Downtown Abbey and we shall be eating lots of lovely food and going for walks in the grounds.

I had a little housewarming party last night with some of my lovely Marsden friends which was very nice and am off out this evening to another party with some old friends so am feeling very sociable and relaxed.

Am planning lots of lovely stitching over the next 2 weeks, I have one last Xmas ornie to finish then am going to start on my Winter exchange piece. I am going to Spain for a week over New Year so will be sitting on my terrace stitching in the sunshine hopefully!

I was very excited on Friday as I took my ornaments up to The Loft Creative Hub at Standedge. I have a little display for sale there this weekend and have the dates for their craft fairs next year so am going to be working on a new range of things.

The Loft - Xmas ornies 2

As I am joining as a designer/ maker I can have my own table to display goods for sale permanently so I am going to make some stock for that in Jan with all my lovely vintage finds.

It is my 300th post as well so I thought I would show you some of my latest fabric purchases just to celebrate my five years of blogging and fabric love!

These are beautiful fabrics that come from Justine at Simply Solids,  Justine is local to me, I did meet her a couple of years ago at knitting group and have followed her blog, Sew Justine Sew , ever since and on a recent post I noticed that she has started a fabric retail business .

The first set I ordered were all these beautiful tea and tea-cup themed fabrics, I actually have 9 fabrics in total, 3 pale print, 3 darker print and 3 with tea cups on them. Not sure what I will make with them yet – tea cosies is the obvious thing but  shall try to think up some other ideas as well.

Simply solids 2

Simply solids 3

Simply solids 4

Simply solids 5

Simply solids 6

Simply Solids 7

I have also joined her monthly fabric club – the Sew Solids Crew as I have now started getting quite a stash of prints but often lack coordinating fabrics to go with them.

For £11 a month I get a set of 6 ft quarters delivered all in different shades of one colour, December’s delivery is purple – look at all this loveliness!

Simply solids 1

I will be back to the blog early Jan so I do hope you all have a lovely time over Xmas and New Year – a very happy festive season to you all and thanks as always for visiting.

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