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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.

Hello everyone and Happy International Women’s Day. I would just like to take a moment to thank all those wonderful, inspirational women whose blogs I read for sharing their lives, their creativity and making women’s work in all respects valued.

Like many women my age I grew up in an era where craft, particularly women’s craft was not seen as really relevant to the modern world.

I had a very traditional single sex education and learnt to cook and sew but never really valued those skills though I have always enjoyed both.

It is lovely to see those things now on mainstream TV (though more is needed – dedicated sewing, quilting, knitting and embroidery channel I say!) and to see many women setting up their own businesses online selling their items and their patterns and sharing their passion for craft.

One woman I think deserves a particular mention (though there are so many brilliant people out there) is Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits who is a wonderful creative crafter and a fab mother and has shared her work with so many people and brightens everyone’s day.

Knitting her bunnies keeps me sane and shares her love and I have two of my latest creations to show you.

Sophie and Daisy

Here are Daisy and Sophie – don’t they look cute together, Sophie in the pink looks like she is a very loving older friend to little Daisy.

Daisy is for my sister-in-law as a birthday gift and is my first go at stripy legs and Sophie will be a present for a friend’s newborn great -niece.These are my fifth and sixth bunnies and I have more to come!

But as well as those I have been making a hat on request for my sister-in-law, the grey one is the one she originally bought and she gave me the multi-coloured wool to create a version of it.

Amanda's hats

This meant my first foray into knitting without a pre-set pattern but I was aided by my friends at knitting group in working out what to do.

I was in my local craft shop (shh don’t tell but I did buy a little tiny bit of stuff for a project I am working on) and was talking to the lovely lady serving me about the Great British Sewing Bee and she told me of a really good blog that she had found that gives advice on techniques used in the episodes.

It is called Little Black Duck Blog and is run by a mum called Victoria and it is going straight into my favourites!

This is the link to Episode 3 about working with stretch fabrics and she has advice and links to all sorts of fab tutorials for different techniques as well as other general sewing tips.

I have a few other projects in the pipeline that I hope to be able to share soon and am enjoying some sunny blue skies here in Yorkshire (among the showers!)

Take care and thank you as always for visiting.

Hello everyone

I know I may have said a few things recently about how I wasn’t going to buy any more yarn or fabric as I already have enough and the craft room really needs sorting out as I have run out of storage so there are bags everywhere.

BUT when you see really lovely yarn and it is very cheap (2 Euros a ball which is about £1.70) and it would knit up wonderfully and there is a beautiful grey for more cute bunnies and some pretty colours for dresses as well then you just have to don’t you?

So I did and here is my lovely new stash!

New bunny wool

It is a very silky yarn – it is a double-knit but quite thin so the new bunnies are going to be smaller but it knits up really nicely, there is a slight sheen to it and it is very easy to work with.

I have finally tried a bunny with striped tights, this is one for my sister-in-law for her birthday and she likes funky colours so I thought I would go brighter with this one.The picture below shows the body and ears.

Sully slippers

Oh and I got some fab new slippers while in Spain – I love Sully from Monsters Inc and they had these in the Primark in Elche, sadly only in children’s sizes but I managed to squeeze into a size 5.

New Sully slippers

Am back in the swing of things again after what seems like a very long break from work :-) Can’t believe it is nearly the end of Jan already.

Was thinking back to this time last year when we had lots of snow – so far we have just had a bit of wet and windy but the spring bulbs are starting come up in my garden so hopefully we are on our way to warmer weather (leaving the house in the mornings in daylight would be nice!)

Hope you are enjoying yourselves whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Xmas Door wreath

Hello and Happy Christmas to you all. It is 7am on Christmas morning and I am taking advantage of having older children who will not be up for a couple of hours to have a quiet cup of tea and a little blogging time.

I have sorted out the stocking and the presents are under the tree, we have baked gingerbread and a Yule log and so we are all prepared – except I have still to finish knitting the final Xmas stocking which I plan to do today while watching some festive TV.

I have finished the bunnies though and have done one in a Christmas dress.

Xmas bunny

This one is for Ellie and I have called her Chloe as when I was expecting Jacob people kept asking Ellie if she wanted a brother or a sister.

She decided she wanted a sister when she was told she had a new baby brother she burst into tears and said she wanted a sister called Chloe :-)

She got over her disappointment though and she loves having a little brother (albeit a 6 foot 2 inch brother is hardly little) now.

This is our first Christmas here in the new house and so far we have had a lovely time, Ellie and I went to the Christingle service at the local church last night which was lovely, then for a meal in the local pub (rare for me to be in there without my knitting as it is our group’s venue).

They are staying here for New Year but I am off to Spain so will be back in a couple of weeks, term finished late this year so I have taken advantage of the fact that we do not start back until mid January and am on leave for 2 weeks which will give me plenty of time for sitting on the terrace knitting.

I have already chosen next year’s stitched Xmas ornaments after seeing the same design on a couple of blogs so will be making a start on those – nothing like being well prepared! And of course there are always more bunnies to knit :-)

Hope that you have a lovely festive season, take care and see you all in 2014 – 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.

I have been having a lovely time just recently, my visit to Spain was very nice, hot and sunny and very relaxing.

These are just a couple of the lovely little things from there, pretty flowers on one of my walks and delicious ice cream by the sea.

Spain Nov flowers and ice cream

Spain Nov flowers 2

Spain Nov ice cream

I have also been doing lots of knitting here and in Spain and am very proud to show you these very lovely little Xmas mini stockings that I have made.

Xmas mini stockings

They are from the very talented Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits ( they are one of her free patterns here) and I remember seeing them a few years ago and thinking that I would love to be able to knit them but did not have the skills at the time.

Well I am very pleased to have been able to make them now I have learnt how to do Fair Isle while knitting the bunny dresses.

I have also had a lovely little walk today, would have been longer but I slipped and fell in a large pile of mud so had to cut it short! This was the view of my favourite reservoir from the other side of the valley.

Nov walk on Pule

Hope that you have been having a good time whatever you have been doing 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 everyone

Well I am having a lovely autumn here, am not going to be going to China anytime soon now so I am making the most of the season in the UK with some more lovely walks, practising being a domestic goddess and still more bunny knitting :-)

Have been busy baking cakes and crumbles, cooking stews and soups and have just taken possession of a new cookbook, Paul Hollywood’s Bread – inspired by watching The Great British Bake Off. Today I made some delicious Stilton and bacon rolls from this recipe and have lots more great ideas for the coming weeks.

Bread book

You will notice I also have a pumpkin all ready for the now obligatory pumpkin soup with melting cheese - yum, yum.

I have just sent off another bunny, this one is a very special one as it is a present for one of my daughter’s very good friends.

Ellie is being a bridesmaid this weekend for her school friend Charlotte and the bunny is a present for Charlotte’s daughter Elizabeth. I was asked to make the dress in the same colours as the bridesmaids will be wearing and added a little hairband as well.

Bridesmaid bunny

Bridesmaid bunny 2

Here are some photos of a beautiful cottage garden from a walk on the hills above my house a couple of weeks ago. There were some donkeys in the field next to the house as well, looking very cute.

Sept walk 3 -donkeys

Cottage garden

Cottage garden 2

Cottage garden 3

Cottage garden 4

Sept walk

Sept walk 2

Also went to my favourite reservoir, they have partly drained it as they are doing some work so went right down to the water.

Sept walk 4 - Butterley

It is the Marsden Jazz Festival this coming weekend so I will be manning the Box Office all weekend. Looking forward to it and hoping for very good weather, we have had beautiful sunshine just lately :-)

Hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and 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.

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