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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 again

The baking that is , the weather has been pretty bad, that lovely blend of freezing sideways rain that with wind Yorkshire does so well. So I used that as an excuse to do some baking and sewing (not that I really need an excuse but was considering a walk until the heavens opened).

I used a recipe from the BBC Food site for my gluten-free muffins, you can find it here and adapted it to a savoury mixture by adding leftover baked sweet potato and cheese.

I have found gluten-free needs more moisture and flavour as the flours (potato, rice and tapioca mainly) do not give much of these. I used the Doves Farm Gluten free self-raising blend.

Gluten free muffins 1

Gluten free muffins 2

Before they went into the oven they didn’t look very promising but came out nicely – a good crumb as Paul Hollywood (Great British Bake Off) would say and a nice colour. They could have done with a bit more flavour but ok with a bit of butter!

The loaf was an adaptation of the recipe on the back of the Doves Farm gluten-free bread flour, I added orange juice, cranberries and seeds , mainly sunflower and pumpkin my favourites :-).

Gluten free baking

Straight out of the oven it was very good, though the loaf weighs a lot and could prove a handy weapon if needed the warm slice was lovely. Later on when cold it was a bit dense and again could do with a bit more flavour but will be ok toasted.

I forgot to tell you yesterday about some very good books I have been reading, the Cobbled Court novels by Marie Bostwick.

They are a set of quilt themed novels (as in they are about a woman who owns a quilt shop) so quilting is mentioned and there are related free patterns on the author’s website. They are brilliant and I really enjoyed reading them and can’t wait to get the last couple I haven’t read, the one below will be released in April.

Marie Bostwick book

I have put myself on a strict monthly diet in terms of my Amazon books orders and have already had my quota for Jan. It doesn’t help being registered so all that lovely stuff is just a few clicks away :-)

I do try and buy secondhand and from the charity suppliers when I can so I don’t feel so guilty. And I do pass them on, Mum and her friends are really enjoying the Cobble Court ones I left in Spain.

Well back to making curtains now and I have a padded arming jack to start making this afternoon. Have a lovely rest of the weekend and 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.

Have spent a lovely weekend catching up, on sleep, on time with old friends and today I will be catching up with the crafting I need to have finished for my Autumn Exchange.

It has been lovely to see my friend Anita, she showed me some of her amazing machine quilting pictures while she was here and I was very excited to learn that she has met Ricky Tims (from the Quilt Show) and knows Melly (from the Melly and me blog) and has quilted an item for her latest book!

We all met up on Friday and spent lots of time looking at old pictures of the kids when they were babies, we have 21 kids between us so lots and lots of memories of good times :-)

I have also been busy with the latest bunny, in between stitching and here are a couple of cute little dresses that I have made.

Blue bunny dresses

I also thought I would show you the latest in my Xmas stitching, these are still to be buttoned and backed but here are some of my fave designs from JBW that I am stitching for relatives this year.

Xmas Wip 1

Xmas Wip 4

Xmas Wip 1

Xmas Wip 2

And I have been experimenting with my bread book, had Anita and friends round for dinner so this was an adaptation of the Stilton and Bacon Rolls recipe with seeds, apologies for the quality of the photo, light not good in the kitchen!

Bread rolls Oct

I will be off to Spain next Saturday (where my mother tells me the temperature has dropped to only 28 degrees) so am planning lots more catching up on sleeping, crafting and reading – the terrace is calling!

Have a nice time whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Hello there

Well another Marsden Jazz Festival has come and gone and I think a good time was had by all.

There were lots of people dancing late into the night at our sell out Saturday night event featuring the very talented Airya Astrobeat Arkestra.I even got off duty for a bit to go and join in and I was also amazed by the guitar playing of Antonio Forcione at our other sell out event on Sunday.

As usual I had a lovely time in the company of my excellent band of fellow volunteers and really enjoyed meeting so many nice people who were very kind about the festival and how much they enjoy it.

I was also interviewed by the local radio and if you want to hear more about the festival my 15 minutes of fame are here
on the Two Valleys Radio web site.

It was a bit wet :-( so we had some re-arranging of outdoor events to do (how optimistic were we?) but the venues in the village were fantastic at accommodating bands at very short notice so big thanks to them all.

I know I have said this before and apologies if you are bored by it but I love living here, there is a real sense of community and I so enjoy being part of this.

I managed to take a few pictures of the parade on the Saturday which involves the local dance school and local children who decorate brollies to carry (good job given the inclemency!).

Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival 2

Jazz Festival 3

Jazz Festival 5

There were even some very little children dressed as sheep which is the symbol of the jazz festival – so cute!

I am really looking forward to this weekend as an old friend of mine is coming to stay, Anita, who moved to Australia some years ago and has since become a very talented long armed and machine quilter is going to be here.

Have not seen her for about 3 years so lots of catching up to do. I have just been drooling over some of the new things on her quilting blog at Hillside Quilting.

Am still busy knitting bunnies :-) will I ever stop! And am half way through my Autumn stitch for the Seasonal Exchange.

Here’s hoping for better weather than last weekend so that we can go walking and show Anita our beautiful surroundings. However if it rains we may just have to hole up in the craft room – shame :-) Maybe she can teach me a thing or two while she is here!

Take care and thanks 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.

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.

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 everyone, I hope that you are all well and happy and enjoying Autumn.

I very much enjoyed my time away but it is lovely to be home in my village enjoying the everyday stuff of my lovely new life here. The weather here has been really good this week and as I have been working at home a couple of days this week I have had the chance to have some lunchtime walks. It has been lovely crunching through the leaves and looking at the autumn colours.

I also had a lovely walk today on my way to the Standedge Tunnel Centre to book my table for the upcoming Christmas Craft Fair at The Loft Space. I came home and spent a very nice 4 hours in my new craft room designing some new Xmas ornies for the upcoming season, pics to follow.

Below are some pictures from my walks. I love being so near the moors, the river and canal and am planning to do some biking later in the week as well.

Nov walk 1

Nov walk 2

Nov walk 3

Nov walk 4

Nov walk 5

Nov walk 6

Nov walk 7

Nov walk 8

I have been playing with some of my new Xmas fabric that I bought last week in Worcester and here are some pictures of the new stash, the sweetie fabric is for a new ornie range I am planning for Spring and the elephant fabric will be a play quilt.

Quilt fabric 1

Quilt fabric 2

Quilt fabric 3

We have some very good charity shops in the village and I picked up these two embroidered pieces this week. I am very inspired by what people like Hen House  do with vintage embroidery so have added these to my stash.

Vintage embroidery 2

Vintage embroidery 3

Vintage embroidery 4

Am looking forward to a few nice quiet weeks of playing with fabric , hope that you are enjoying your creative time as well.

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.

September 2014
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