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Hello just a quick post to say the random number generator gave me number 2 and that was the ‘like’ from Cat. So Cat please contact me at to tell me what you would like, I happy to make anything at all just let me know what sort of thing, what type of stitching and fabric/colour choices.

Thanks to everyone else who liked, I will be having another giveaway for my blogaversary in early Dec as well!

Well this is unbelievably my 400th post so I thought I would celebrate by inviting you to like this post and I will pick a winner who will receive their choice of handmade small from anything they have seen on my site.

It could be a pincushion, brooch, scissor keep, needlebook, Christmas ornament, pouch, compact case, phone or kindle case etc. Please click like and then I will choose one person and contact them and ask what sort of fabric colours you would like for the gift. I will pick a winner in 2 weeks – on Sunday 5th Oct.

We have had a busy weekend sewing – Jamie, Ellie and Kerry have been here and we have been making shifts and coifs for the girls and a tabard to go over Jamie’s new armour (due next year).

Sewing weekend - Jamie tabard

Sewing weekend - Jamie tabard 2

This is a work in progress but you get the general idea, it is made of wool and will be lined with red linen.

It won’t have the pleat in as we were just working on length. This picture shows Jamie hard at work making the pattern for the dagging on the white part of the tabard which involved drawing round a wineglass!

Sewing weekend -Jamie cutting

Kerry had also made a new head-dress – a coronet, she is very talented and creates the most wonderful stuff out of very everyday materials and ‘found’ jewellery.

Sewing weekend - Kerry coronet

Sewing weekend - Kerry coronet

ewing weekend - Elle pinning

I have been making more flower brooches -  the one below from a charity shop broderie anglaise skirt that I have also used for phone covers etc. and these other ones from stash fabric.

Sewing weekend - brooches

Sewing weekend - brooches

Ellie brought me a present as well – the best sort – vintage fabric, look at this beautiful lace that someone had given her to go to a good home! I think I shall add it to the things I am going to use for the bee quilt inspired cushion I mentioned a couple of posts ago.

Sewing weekend - lace from Ellie

Term starts next week and I have a submission due for my doctorate (which I have written but may need more work) so I am going to be doing very little else but work for the next few weeks.

I have saved lots of the lovely National Trust textile pictures to post about while production slows down here at Maison Ryan ;-)

Thanks as always for visiting and don’t forget to click like!

Hello there

Sorry that I did not get around to posting this yesterday but got distracted finishing ornaments and forgot!

The winner of my Christmas ornaments giveaway is Rachel – sorry but I can’t link to your blog at the moment. Could you e-mail me at with your postal address and I will send your ornaments.

Thanks for visiting – ornament finishes update coming soon!

Hello everyone

Hope you are all well and happy. I have been having a very lovely quiet weekend making ornaments for my upcoming craft fair next Sunday and decorating my house.

The tree is up, the baubles are out and all is looking pretty :-) It is a little bit earlier than I normally do it but I am so busy this week and next weekend with various Christmas related things that I thought I would indulge myself (since the kids aren’t here to tell me I am mad lol).

I have taken some pictures of the latest makes – apologies as my camera has run out of batteries and so these are taken on my phone and in not very good light.

The first one is more of the ribbon pine cones that are so pretty and the second picture is of two ribbon tress that I made using the same technique.

Xmas cone ornies

Xmas tree ornies

I have had the polystyrene cones for these for a couple of years but only just got around to making them and they are just for me! I had a lovely day yesterday watching the Doctor Who 50th anniversary programmes while doing these.

Both designs are from Sue Schofield of Springwood House Designs, and are from the book ‘Fun with Ribbons’.

Books and kits and the polystyrene shapes are available from her website as well as oodles of lovely ribbons so go treat yourself and make something nice just for you. It is really easy, no sewing just pinning!

It is also my 6th blogaversary tomorrow so to celebrate I am giving away three of my hand-made Xmas ornaments to one of you lovely people.

Thank you for all your support and appreciation for this blog, it is really nice to know so many people enjoy what I do.

All you have to do is comment on this post – I will pick the winner on Friday 13th December (which will be lucky for someone!)

I will return next week, hopefully after a very successful craft fair, really looking forward to it. I am at Oakwell Hall in West Yorkshire if any of you are in the area.

Thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

Having used my human random number generator aka Jake the winner of the giveway is Gemma H. If you can mail me at with your address I can post your ornies out to you.


Hello everyone

I hope you are all well and happy. I have had a really lovely day, it has been perfect winter weather, frosty with blue skies and sunshine.

I made my beetroot soup with some of the contents of this week’s veg box then went for a wonderful frosty walk along the valley up from the Tunnel End Canal Centre following the stream.

These are some pictures of the frozen canal and the frosty stream, lots of lovely patterns of frost on the leaves at my feet, it was all very crunchy!

Dec-winter walk 2

Dec-winter walk

Dec-winter walk 3

This afternoon I made some more Christmas ornaments for my upcoming debut at The Loft Craft Centre at Standedge. What a perfect day!

It is also my blogaversary. I have now had this little old blog for 5 years.It has been an interesting 5 years (for blogging and my real life) and I now am using blogs more and more at work (and running sessions on blogs for my students) and still really enjoying reading the blogs of those people who I first met.

I have also added many new blogs to my list to reflect my changing craft interests, looking more and more at textile and pattern designers and those who use vintage fabric, which has had a huge influence of my latest collection of vintage embroidery.

One of the main themes of craft work at The Loft is to reuse and recycle so I am planning lots of wonderful things with all the new vintage stash I have.

I think it is particularly significant that my vintage stuff comes from local charity shops as I would like to think I will be repurposing the handiwork of local women.Here are my latest finds bought yesterday before the Christmas lights switch on – four embroidered tray cloths and a linen tablecloth with lace inserts.

Vintage embroidery - Dec 3

Vintage embroidery - Dec 2

It also gives me a chance to track the progress of work, I started this a long time ago on a Quilt Group workshop and have finally finished the Christmas sofa throw using the Stained Glass Quilt design. When I get some more backing fabric the matching cushions will appear! I have added little brass charms to each panel.

Dec- xmas throw 1

Dec- xmas throw 2

The blog has also been a lovely record for me of all the wonderful things me and my family have done, it was very poignant just recently to post about Ellie’s graduation and to look back at that first post of her arriving at halls for her very first year of University.

I have just posted about Jake leaving home and will look forward to four years time when he graduates. So blogging is a lovely way of me saving my memories.I have been able to share more detail with family and friends of all the lovely holidays we have had. So blogging is fab!

To celebrate I am going to do my traditional giveaway for a selection of my Christmas ornaments. This year I have made a range of simpler more Scandinavian style ones as well as my usual traditional ones so when you post please tell me which sort you would like.

To enter the giveaway please put a comment on this post. I will leave the giveaway open until Friday 14th Dec to give me time to post things out to the winner.

As usual thank you all for visiting – without you it would just be my random musings into the ether and I really appreciate all of the likes, comments and subscriptions from my readers.

Have a happy week ahead!

Hello there

You may remember a post a while back – April I think when I commented that it was very warm and sunny – warmer than we usually get in April in Yorkshire or even July in Yorkshire, well this was one of those weekends that proved my point.It has been very, very wet for virtually all the weekend. So no garden fettling but I did manage to get a pic of my lovely new clematis blooms during a bit of sun yesterday.

clematis - july

Poor Ellie has been very rained on during her dig – she is down south at the moment doing an archaeological dig at some standing stones as part of her course. She can cope fine with the rain (it’s just like most of the family holidays we have after all!) but unfortunately her lovely new Zandra Rhodes tepee tent that I bought her for Xmas has on its first trip out proved to be not waterproof at all! They have been very flooded so she has had to retreat to her little tent and we will have to be sending that back to the suppliers with a little note when she returns! Apart from that she is enjoying herself and they are hoping for better weather next week.

We need to wish Becky, her friend and future housemate who is also on the dig with her a belated happy birthday, it was her 21st birthday this week so a very, very happy birthday Becky and I hope that you and Gemma liked the pressies Ellie made you and that you liked the sparkly elephant that starred in last month’s Scavenger Hunt.

Becky and her boyfriend Chris have just come back from staying in our house in Spain and they sent me a very wonderful bouquet of flowers to say thanks and a fab card that she got from Moonpig which had loads of their holiday snaps on it – what a brill idea! Thank you very much Becky and Chris, you are most welcome! Look at these lovely blooms – I don’t know what the little multi-flowered ones are but they are so pretty and I love lilies.

flowers from Becky and Chris

I have had a very busy week again including trying to sort out more IT issues (Jacob’s new birthday computer 0 restored wireless network 1) so some success on that front, bizarrely it will connect fine when downstairs but not when in his room, despite the fact that my laptop will – humm! And 2 hours on the phone with technical support could not fix it – it is a good job that I am a woman who knows my ping from my command prompt I tell you! However he is very happy as he has a super new graphics card and all is very pretty and the games work well, and I have regained access to my laptop of an evening (hurrah!).

To offset this I have a bit of fabric fettling in between marking and decorating. Have managed to work out what I am doing with the farm quilt despite a couple of ‘oops I have measured that bit wrong’ setbacks and have now put together all the labels with the spotty sashing - pic below shows 5 of the 12 that make up the quilt top.

Farm quilt label block

Since I took this pic I have added another row of sashing between all the label blocks in a green gingham so it looks very pretty. Am pleased that I have managed to work out the design myself and that I have done all the sashing using joined piecing which I have seen others at quilt group do but had not attempted it before (aren’t you impressed at all these new words I know now, I am, it is like a whole new language!)

I am very much enjoying my adventures in quilting – we have a ‘Sit and Sew’ day next Saturday where as the name suggests we shall spend all day sewing so I hope to have the quilt top done and possibly backed and part quilted as well as it needs to be finished within a few weeks for a birthday gift.

I have also been enjoying finding out more about quilt techniques as I have discovered a brand new resource from a link on a quilty blog. I was reading Tonya’s Lazy Gal Quilting blog and she mentioned the Quilt Show  and I have been having great fun watching their videos (from the comfort of my sofa thanks to the newly restored wireless connection!)

I like the way that as well as all of the free stuff when you register you can buy access to the individual shows you like without having to take out a yearly subscription and I think at about £1.50 a show that is very good value as they last an hour and are very informative.I watched a really good one on 1930s quilts the other day and am going to go back later and browse some more.

Last but not least I have picked a winner for the 200th post – using a random number generator which other people have mentioned as good way of picking. I had five comments on the post so numbered them in order and the winner is Number 2 – Lorna (no blog). I am mailing you Lorna to ask you what you would like as your ornie. Thank you to all who commented and I will be having another one in a few months in Nov as that will be my 4th blogaversary!

Well I hope that you have had better weather than we have – my Mum arrives next week for a visit so I am hoping that she will pack some Spanish sun in her case, meanwhile  we will look on the bright side – at least I have got out of cutting the front hedge this weekend!

See you next week with hopefully a completed quilt top, thanks for visiting.

We have just got back from a very lovely, very busy trip to London and I have so many pictures of beautiful places to show you I have had a hard job editing them down to a few to post.

We visited the British Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the British Library and Hampton Court as well as Canary Wharf and Leicester Square on the evening of the Harry Potter premiere.I will post the historical venues later on in the week but meanwhile here’s what we got up to at the premiere.

We knew we had very little chance of getting near to see anything much as we only arrived on the afternoon and there were people who had been camping out for days. Here is a pic of the kids at one of the blocked off sections of the square by the publicity hording.

Ellie and Jake HP Premiere 2

However we were lucky enough to get to the back where the stars were arriving in their cars (the largest collection of silver Bentleys with blacked out windows in the world!) and peek through the hoardings surrounding the square to be able to see lots of red carpet activity.It was very amusing trying to work out who we might be seeing – we realised the next day when we saw pics in the paper that we had seen Helena Bonham Carter (recognised the hat!) We worked out we probably saw everyone arrive but since they were all behind their blacked out windows can’t really saw we saw them!

Sadly we did not see the main stars but we did meet a lot of very lovely people who were very excited, like us, just to be there and Ellie and Jake got interviewed and broadcast live on BBC Radio London which was fab! The pic below shows them with the reporters.

Ellie and Jake HP Premiere 3

I can’t find the live interview but here is a link to the earlier interview the reporter did with them that went up on Twitter and the pic from the Twitter site.You can just see one of the fans peeking over the top trying to see who had arrived!

Ellie and Jake HP Premiere

Later on in the week we went to Comicon – a Sci – fi film and magazine convention where we did see lots of very famous people from TV and movies close up, there were stars from films such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter and TV series like Buck Rogers, Doctor Who, Firefly as well as loads of fans dressed up.

We saw some very nice Storm Troopers, a Charles Xavier (Professor X from X Men – we have just been to see the new movie which was brilliant), Wolverines, a Klingon, a few R2D2s, some Disney princesses and too many Dr Whos to keep track of – more Matt Smiths than David Tennants and only a couple of the older Doctors – sadly no John Pertwees who was always my favourite doctor (probably because most of the people at the convention were not born when he was the Doctor!) Anyway it was a really fun day and the kids were very excited – the same as I was at Hampton Court. I have started watching all the Tudor series again tonight in homage.

As it was London and we were living the glamorous city life we had some very nice meals out and had a special picnic on the train on the way back from Marks and Spencers including this very lovely little glass of wine, you may remember that last year I posted about portable wine containers in my post on Glamping. This plastic glass full of Chardonnay came from the chiller cabinet with a peel off lid! Very useful.

Portable wine

I made good progress with my fabric Xmas ornies before I went away - I now have about 20 in various stages of completion – here are some pics of the crazy patchwork ‘sheet’,  the cutting out and one of my newest finished batch in case you want to use this method to make your own.By careful placing of the heart I managed to get 8 cut out of this sheet. The final pic shows the backing fabric I have used as well. I added a small Xmas tree button to this set from the packs I bought at the Malvern Quilt Show a while ago.

fabric xmas heart 1

fabric xmas heart 2

fabric xmas heart 3

I appear to have solved the problem with the fabric pics on my posts being wavy lined, I thought it was my old camera but realised that when I looked at them in slide show preview that wasn’t happening , it seems it was my photo editor software, am using another one now and pics are a lot clearer!

I spent part of this afternoon working on the Makower farm animal quilt which needs to finished in a couple of weeks for a family birthday present. Am making up my own pattern so it is very challenging – think I know what I am doing but am being very careful cutting out!

Don’t forget to post a comment on my giveaway post  if you would like to win an ornie. Thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

I hope that you have all had a nice weekend – it has been a very hot and sunny one here in Yorkshire and much garden fettling has taken place including the clearing of weeds from a neglected area at the bottom of the garden, thanks kids for your sterling work today. We have had a lovely BBQ this evening as well!

It has almost been too hot in the conservatory to do any fabric fettling but Ellie and I did a little bit today and I have some pics to show you from earlier in the week.We have been making a whole load of very cute pincushions from her Simple Sewn Gifts book  that she got for her birthday and I have been helping by cutting out the fabric. These are very lovely.

There is one for her with a very cute frog button.

pincushion - Ellie's frog

One for her auntie as she loves cats.

pincushion-cat fabric

One to go with the scissor keep she made as a donation for the ‘Put em Ins’ that we are making for the Quilter’s  Guild Tombola at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August (Put em Ins are anything you can put things in).

pincushion - put em ins

One for me to match ny WIP sofa throw in the lovely medieval fabric.

pincushion - medieval fabric

I am still sewing my little patchwork Xmas hearts which leads me to the giveaway which is the title of my post. It was my birthday this week – the kids were kind enough to buy me this lovely card!

b'day card

Ellie also made me a very pretty bag and is making me a jewellery roll in the same fabric to go with it.

b'day bag

It is also my 204th post right here, right now – I had meant to have a giveaway to celebrate the 200th post which was last week sometime but missed it so thought I would do it now as a birthday and blog celebration.

I am offering an Xmas ornie as I love doing them and it can be any one of your choice - either a stitched one or a patchwork – tree, heart etc anything at all. If you click on the ‘Xmas Ornies’ link in my Category Cloud you will see all the ones I have ever made so pick your favourite one. To enter please leave a comment on this post telling me what you would like to have . I will pick the winner in two weeks on the 17th July.

We are off to London next week for a little holiday – lots of museum visiting and we are going to lurk around the premiere of the last Harry Potter movie on Thurs in the hope of seeing some stars! Hope that you all have a lovely week ahead and thank you for visiting.

Snowflake ornie front

A little snowy scene

No this time not real ones thankfully – we having lots of wet rather than snow at the moment. I have just finished the first of my winter ornies for my ‘decorate my house collection’. I have adapted the JBW stocking design that I did in red for the Xmas tree and made it into a little hanging pillow to complement the snowflake stickers on the conservatory doors.

Snowflake ornie back

Nice sparkly fabric to go with the sparkly Aida on the front

I chose to stitch it in two different Silk Mill blues to go with some very lovely fabric that I have had in my stash for a couple of  years. I am pleased with the way it turned out though could have made it a little bigger as it is not that obvious that it is a stocking shape as the edges got hidden once I stuffed it. However I do love the way it co-ordinates with the ribbon (that again has been in the stash for a while).

Snowflake ornie side

Pretty little ribbon!

I have also finished the set of Lilac Sublime Wristwarmers and am half way through a pair for me. This was the second attempt at these. They are from Ravelry – a free pattern called Blonde Wristwarmers. The original pattern had garter stitch for the main part and I changed that to stocking stitch but when I  had finished the first one it was too loose around the wrist so I re-did it on smaller needles and added a 6 stitch garter stitch band at the wrist edge – because the whole thing is knitted sideways it acts like a rib. I also shortened them. My finished pair was knitted with 30 stitches on 3.5 mm needles with the last 6 stitches on alternate rows as knit rather than purl if you want to adapt the pattern as I have done.

lilac handwarmers 1

The real colour is much prettier - this looks a bit dull


lilac handwarmers 2
A side view – I like the garter stitch rib as it goes well with the lace pattern at the fingers


I am very pleased that I managed to adapt the pattern so much and to re-do it. I have got a lot more confident with my knitting and now understand more of the technical side which makes it easier to visualise what a pattern will look like. I particularly like the points or waves at the wrist on these and think I will be knitting a few more of these.

When I get time that is – term has started again and I have been ridiculously busy – I have been working all weekend (which I really try not to do but I have a large pile of marking to get done!) I did make my evening knitting group this month but only for 3/4 hour due to having to work late and have not made any of my other groups for ages :-(  Thankfully I really enjoy my job and have a great time doing it but do wish it left more time for crafting. My new quilt cutting mat and ruler arrived on Thurs but I have not had time to play with them yet – maybe next weekend.

Well I do hope you have all had a good week and thanks for visiting.

November 2014
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