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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!

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.

You may remember the Shakin’ Stevens song of the same name. Well I have a secret to share with you all – do you want to know what is behind this green door?

new house - green door

It is my very lovely new house!!! I have been planning this move for two years and been trying to actually make it happen for almost a year since I put my old house up for sale.

All seemed to be going well until June when I was expecting to move but a major delay with the chain set us back 2 months. I have been all packed up ready to go since then and have been sitting surrounded by boxes trying to keep myself cheerful but dreading it all going wrong.

But it hasn’t and we moved in two days ago. I didn’t want to post anything until it had actually happened as did not want to jinx things. I have moved to a lovely little house in the country, in the beautiful village of Marsden.This is where I am, the views up and down my street.

new house - street view 1

new house - street view 2

You may remember that I have posted about the village before. 2 years ago I started helping as a volunteer with the local Marsden Jazz Festival  as a way of getting involved in the community. I have really enjoyed doing this and made lots of new friends here.

The village is fantastic, surrounded by wonderful moorland and reservoirs with lots of cute shops (including a new craft and wool shop – they knew I was coming!) and lots of very practical things like a train station and supermarket. Also a knitting group, book club, Zumba and belly dancing as well as theatre, live music etc so I will not be lonely once Jake leaves for Uni.

The old house was lovely but far too big for just little old me so I have decluttered and decluttered (not that the removal men believed me when they saw the amount of stuff) and thankfully it all fits in here.

And after two frantic days, with help from my wonderful friends Taru and Bob (who organised lunch and dinner on Fri and humped boxes and ran us around to estate agents) and Kerry (who took me shopping for house essentials and gave me her interior design advice on my lounge while unpacking my endless collection of embroidery books!) we are about 80 % unpacked and I am relaxing on the sofa with the candles lit.

All is very well with the world and I am beyond happy!

Would you like to see a few pics of the house? If you are anything like me you love seeing other people’s houses . If so carry on and I will show you the finished bits. When Jake goes I will move all of the boxed things in the guest room into my new craft room (aka his bedroom) and we will be sorted.

One of the reasons I love the village is the countryside and this is the view from my bedroom window. I am looking forward to lazy Sunday mornings with cups of tea and a good book looking at the hills.

new house - bed view 1

new house - bed view 2

Here is Jake all set up with his computer in his new room (the most important thing for him of course), making the most of home comforts as he leaves in 3 weeks.

new house - jake

This is my lovely kitchen, this really sold the house to me. I have the most beautiful door knobs on the units , I forgot to take a close up picture before it got dark but they are so pretty.

new house - kitchen

And my bathroom. Another great thing about the house is all my things fit so well with the existing colour scheme here, no redecorating and no need to buy new things!

new house - bathroom

This is my lounge with my lovely stitching sofa and an ‘in situ’ picture of the other sofa with the quilted throw that I am working on, not finished yet but it will be a lovely housewarming gift to myself!

new house - old sofa

new house - sofa quilt

Can’t wait to be able to show you the craft room when it is done – so excited!!!

Hope that you have a good week ahead, I am on leave for the next few days to finish sorting and then it is off to our last show of the season at Caldicot Castle in South Wales. Really looking forward to that as Ellie is coming as well. A beautiful venue and it is a very special show being the final one of such a wonderful year for me.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I hope that you are all well and happy. I have some time off this week so am very much enjoying myself – have just done a bit of gardening and am now continuing with my hand quilting.

I had a lovely time visiting Ellie at Powis Castle  this weekend. It was beautiful weather when I got there on Sunday so I took lots and lots of pics. I have made a slideshow of the castle and garden for you but will start off with some pics of Ellie in her National Trust uniform.

Powis - me Ellie 1

The title of this post comes from one of Ellie’s daily tasks which is to take light readings to check that there is not too much sun coming into the castle which would damage the textiles.

I went round with her when she did this on Sunday and one of the things she has to do is to measure the light on the bearskin rug in one of the rooms. She has a chart on the clipboard in the above photo to record the readings and one of the columns actually says ‘bear’s forehead’.

Years ago when she was very young we went to Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire and as the castle had just been restored the custodian took us on a personal tour and let Ellie unlock the castle with a massive key.

Ellie has always remembered that but these days she has the big keys herself and she gets to lock the beautiful doors like these on the coach house.

Powis - me - Ellie door

She is living in a house in the grounds which overlooks the gardens – here she is on her doorstep and the view of her garden – and the croquet lawn!

Powis - me - Ellie house

Powis - me - Ellie garden

The castle is amazing and full of the most beautiful things – we were not allowed to take photos of the interior as usual and it was too dark to take good pics anyway but you can go and look on Ellie’s  blog where she details all of the wonderful things she does and has lots more pics.

I am so very proud of her, it is a brilliant job and she is having a wonderful time. I went out for a meal with her colleagues and they are all very lovely and Welshpool is a really pretty little town to live in.

Here are a few of my fave close up pics from the garden – taken with my new camera which is working very well (until I break this one of course!) I am going to frame some of these for my new craft room.

Powis - flower 1

Powis - flower 2

Powis - flower 3

Powis - flower 4

And the beautiful gardens – some of the best I have ever seen. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

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Take care and thanks for visiting.

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