Remember - Its not the length of your life that's important - it's the depth.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Last Post for 2015

Hi there!
I finally started the Big (Huge) move into my new sewing room, but got a bit waylaid when a project popped into my head, so I have now actually sewn in there too. For now though I have hit a slight hiatus, DH needs to access space under the floorboards in the master bedroom to carry out some fairly urgent electrical work,  but to do this he needed to empty the large walk in cupboard in there. Now this is where my yarn stash is hidden (um! I mean stored of course!) so now the content of that cupboard have been moved into the old sewing room which means I cannot actually get in there at the moment. So I will continue with my new project until the move can get back under way. Suffice to say sewing in the new space is certainly inspiring, the light from the two big Windows is fantastic and I'm even experimenting with my machine by using the stop/start button instead of using the foot pedal (scary!)
For tonight though I am celebrating the forthcoming new year in my usual way, - in front of the TV in my pj's with a quilt over my knees and knitting at the ready -ah bliss! May I wish all my friends and readers a Very Happy New Year, see you all in 2016. Lxx

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Festive Greetjngs!

Wishing all my friends A Merry Christmas and a Very Happy 2016. We are all ready (including the sprouts-(yuck!).
Our day will be tinged with sadness tomorrow as our daughter's lovable little spaniel Ted lost his struggle against recent ill health and fell asleep for the last time today.
Happier times - Ted on holiday at grandma's house.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Whoooo hoooo! Yay!

Why all the excitement I hear you cry... Well the BIG BUILD is done, the carpet is fitted and the curtains are up (a bargain find in a charity shop) so now a few itty bitty 'tweaks' like varnishing the new door, but I have been told I can 'move in. Yippee!
Back soon. Lx

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Feels like coming home!

Well its been almost 2 months since I was here, I can't believe it has taken me this long to finally catch up with all the bits and pieces that were looming before the visit to DD and those that accumulated while I was there and after I returned, and then there are those that just simply needed doing now! So I have a lots to tell you all (hopefully you are all still there!!) I think I must go through this systematically,  so I'll start with the remains of September. In my last post I left you all hanging in the balance re my success at the Flower show, well  just as Little One and I were putting all our prize winning exhibits back in the car, the nice lady from the show committee came running out and said I had won a 'cup' - I was a bit bemused - I knew I had achieved 4 prizes out of 6 entries and was really delighted, but a SILVER CUP never!!! But it was true I had won a lovely Silver trophy for most points in the handicraft category. So let me bore you with my success and not a few pictures.

and the following are my entries....
1st Prize - A Tapestry or Embroidery class
2nd Prize - Patchwork or Applique Class.
2nd Prize - A knitted or Crochet Article Class.
 Now the eagle eyed among you may spot a 3rd prize certificate in there and indeed I did win said prize for my plate of  5 Plain scones... but... they didn't keep long enough to photograph...lol Yum! I also entered a Victoria Sandwich and a Fruit Cake but no luck with those and I have to say they were not my best!
then last but not least this Splendid Cup now has pride of place in my lounge! Little H was so delighted she kept telling everyone 'My Grandma won a cup!' and as she missed out on some silverware of her own (she was 1 point short!) I have said she can share it, so after Christmas I will take over for her to have on the shelf of 'special things' in her room.
As I said earlier R was not idle while I was away and when I came back THE ROOM had been completely plaster boarded out and had walls and a ceiling and  looked like this.
On several mornings towards the end of the month we had some early visitors. As you all know I like to sit watching the birds as I work on my knitting and catching some movement I looked out to see this splendid fellow land on the wall between the gardens.
I think you can just see a Heron at the back by the big tree, it was a 'quick pic' because as soon as I moved he was away on huge wings, he is a frequent visitor hopefully looking around the pond for a 'way in' but our pond is all netted over. Then a few days later this lovely little vixen arrived for a good look round, unusual to see a fox out in broad daylight but she is very welcome!

Well that's about it for September, I'll be back as soon as I can with an October round up. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Back at last!

Well my friends when I signed off from my last post little did I realize that I would be gone this long. 
As mentioned DD was due for a Gall Bladder removal op on 9th September, and the plan was all in place, or so we thought. I was 'booked" to arrive on Tuesday and stay over till Friday to do the school runs and to give her a few days help. However just prior to being discharged as planned on Thursday morning DD collapsed in the shower coming round up to find 6 or 7 nurses standing round her, that she was on oxygen and a drip!!! (of course being her, her first thought was that she was still wearing the hideous paper pants worn during surgery!) it seemed her blood pressure had crashed and her red blood cell count had dropped from a normal 184 to a worrying 60. She was kept in over the weekend "for tests" so of course I stayed on to help out. She arrived home on Monday14th (after being told they did not know why this all happened!!!!) she looked ghastly, was constantly falling asleep and feeling very unwell. By Thursday she was not feeling much better, had a sizable Heomatoma (not sure I spelled that right) on her left side plus all the wounds had become infected, she was due at the GP's to get another blood count test, so they gave her some antibiotics and said it looked like she 'Had been pulled about a bit!' then said they would see her again in a few days to repeat the blood test. 
Later that day at 4.45pm to be precise, DD is having a lie down, and calls out for Hubby, he comes back downstairs to say DD is experiencing typical Coronary symptoms and an ambulance was on its way (Oh ****!) By 5.15pm she had been rushed back to hospital, where she was admitted again and remained till the following Monday (21st). A coronary was ruled out thank God! but despite all the tests they are still saying that they are not sure what went wrong but, there might be a slight possibility that her liver was damaged during the op causing some internal bleeding!!!! The Heomatoma was by now from her navel round to her spine, over her hip and down into her groin.(Hello!!!!) So having gone to stay for around 3/4 days I was there for 17 days. Throughout all of it our little Princess was angelic, going to school without any fuss during her first two weeks, going to bed and managing to not be too upset at not seeing her Mum. I am so relieved that my darling daughter is now well on the mend but so sad that she missed this important part of her daughters life.
On other fronts there has been a considerable amount of progress, being on his own for almost three weeks DH managed to not only look after himself but also cared for Mum, (who by the way turned 89 on 4th September) doing her shopping (not an easy task - you should see her lists!) popping round every day and doing odd jobs etc BUT he also made progress on the BIG BUILD! my room now has walls a ceiling and a floor and looks like this.
From the landing
 These 2 show the room itself, first one is towards the front window from the doorway and the other is the back window & doorway taken from the front, you can now see the 'new' little landing and the landing window. Both the side walls are now plastered and drying out nicely. Isn't he doing well? I could be in by Christmas (but not holding my breath!!)
Before Little H started school I entered her into our local Flower show, she was well up for the challenge (her first big craft undertaking) and she did so well coming home with not only 2 firsts, 2 seconds and a third prize but also £6.50 in prize money only missing out on a Silver trophy by one point. She was thrilled as you can imagine and here are her entries. These are all her own work DD was very firm that it should be! She made the pictures at home supervised by Mum and did cooking with her Dad then decorated the hat and 'built' her garden here during a sleepover on over Friday night/ Saturday (5th) which was show day, (she was so keen we were Building the garden at outside at 7.30am )
Collage 1st prize
5 Chocolate Cripy Cakes (with gold stars!) 1st prize
Garden in a Tray 2nd Prize

Picture of my house 2nd Prize (left side - she drew her Wendy house)
Decorated Hat 3rd Prize
A head made from a Vegetable -  Sadly no prize here
Well that's about all for now, I had some success at the show too but I'll tell you all about that next time!

Monday, 7 September 2015

More Catching Up!

7th September 2015 Today is a very important day, its the day my darling little Grandaughter STARTED SCHOOL!!!!!
Now where was I? Oh yes! catching up on recent events. I spent a very productive day during some wet and gloomy weather sitting in the conservatory hand stitching, as you can see in this view from the window it was very wet

I decided to work on my challenge piece for Severn Valley Quilters, each year we have a 'Chairman's Challenge' and my final choice was set as I retired from the committee in January, as It was my last challenge I felt it would be alright to enter this time, I had already made a start by doing some work on the sewing machine.. and next comes some hand sewing...

Of course I can't tell you what I am doing but all will be revealed at the end of the month, so this is all I can show you for now!
On 20th August I joined a walk around our local Castle  (and here go to Historical Accounts) grounds led by trustees of the Museum, I have done a couple of other walks with them and they are always very good fun with lots of interesting, previously unknown (to me) history about the town. I took some pictures to show you despite the rather damp weather, (where they failed to be of use I have resorted to Google)

This is St Mary's Church where my Parents were married and I was baptized. It stands directly in front of the castle (which I forgot to say is now a Hotel) but is not connected to or with the castle in any way, the present day entrance is via a drive to the left of the church, past a 'modern' (in castle terms) gate
Entering the grounds we walked along a rough track to look at part of the original walls from the outside, once inside the grounds a few of us braved the by now very wet bushes and trees to visit the Stafford      Graveyard (I'll go back and do that on a dry day now I know it's there!) then we headed in the direction of the castle past the Vineyards, (now producing its own 'Thornbury Castle Wine) and down toward the original entrance.
Image result for thornbury castle
Google images.
These 2 archways set into the walls formed the original main and only entrance into the castle, from the other side there is a wonderful view of the Severn Valley all the way to the River Severn, land which was owned by the Duke of Stafford, who bought up all the surrounding land to make 3 huge deer parks, thus you would have to arrive via the river and could be seen approaching from any direction. Between these two walls was the Garrison, to the left there was double story accommodation blocks for soldiers and to the right Officers quarters, where there is evidence of  the 2 floors, with obvious fireplaces, (seems to me the officers had the better bargain!) You can still see where 2 Portcullis's (inner & outer) would have hung and the pillars for 2 very large iron reinforced doors are still there.

This picture shows the right hand side of what would have been the outer courtyard (you can just see the roof of the Church to the extreme right)

This is the other end, (where some previous owner added this much later cottage, though no one knows why!) the original gatekeepers apartments are on the left hand side of this entrance archway which again would have had a portcullis and an iron/oak door. (the walls continued on the left had side - but were just walls!) Passing through here we came into the inner courtyard, (by this time it was raining very hard and my pictures are not good enough to use, so I have resorted to more Google images!)
Image result for thornbury castle gatehouse
Google images
Once in here you are surrounded by buildings on 3 sides, the entrance to the castle itself is shown here, (the very small door in the corner by the shrubs!) the buildings opposite this were kitchens of which there were 3 in total, 
Image result for thornbury castle~Staffords
Google images
these are now restored and are used as function rooms for weddings etc. The Duke and Duchess's food was always prepared in its own kitchen (right end) by their personal cooks, and apparently food was served 3 time daily to 100 people including servants! On the roof tops are some beautiful chimneys (reputed to be architecturally better than those at Hampton Court)
Google images.
Continuing around the end of the main building to the right we were in what is now a Garden used by the guests. This view of the Castle is my favorite, and, according to our guide, these windows are very rare. 

Dated around the mid 1500's they are the only examples of curved glass anywhere in England, the only place where this technique had been perfected at this date was Italy, so The Duke either had them made in Italy and  imported or brought in Italian glass makers to produce them on site. To the right you can see some still derelict parts of the buildings.
Finally we visited another of the gardens a slightly more private affair which would have been used by the ladies of the house, where holes for the bee-boles  (small straw Bee hives) are still obvious in the walls.
Google images
 These gardens must have been very pleasant to sit in as they would have been perfumed by flowers and aromatic herbs and there must have been some very happy bees too! This was the end of the walk and the party broke up to return home. All in all a very fascinating 2 hours despite the damp weather.
DD goes into hospital this week for some surgery so I will be doing some duties there for a few days, but in my next post I will have some news to share that involves some Silverware!!! so watch this space.
Bye all

Thursday, 3 September 2015

While Iv'e been Gone Part 2

So what else happened in August, well the outside of the big build got pushed a little further, our builder came over and got most of the little roof over the garage done, the rough cast had been done and the windows were cleaned (well they said they were clean but I would dispute this!!!)

This was the point at which the lead flashing ran out and DH started to suffer with his sore neck so for the next 3 weeks nothing got done as the builder was away on holiday and DH was feeling very sorry for himself.
I mentioned hand sewing last time, the adorable Ted was coming to stay while DD & Co went away in their tent for a few days, staying near Oxwich Bay and managing to pick a really good week-end, so a good time was had by all. While Mr T is here I find it difficult to sew upstairs as he insists on sitting right behind my 'wheelie chair' which means I keep running him over! So instead I planned lots of hand sewing. I managed to get the binding machined on the little quilt that I told you about in my post on 27th July before he arrived and spent several happy hours in the conservatory with my feet up while hand stitching the back down. I found just the right red checkered fabric for the binding

and here is the finished quilt, modeled by my Hair Bear Bunch!

I  then decided to work on the Seed Heads kit bought from Jane Davies, and started in May, I have really enjoyed it, here is a close up of the top part, the instructions said to add a small piece of sheer fabric under each of the 'heads' embroidering over the top
and this is the other end I decided to use 2 small strips of the sheer fabric across this part of the piece. Once the stitching was done the felt circles were added to be held in place by some french knots but I found some seed beads that I liked better.

I have been doing some knitting too (of course!) my main project being a blanket, this is 1 of 2 to be made before the New Year as I have 2 friends who are expecting around the same time. I'm using the 4ply pattern that I used last year, and a cone of pretty lemon yarn which I've had laying around (not literally of course) for some years.

I would have finished this by now if I had not spotted a mistake in the border about 5" up, after I had knitted 11" of the 22" required. I have now managed 18", so another week should see it done. I only knit this in the mornings (or if I'm on my own) as I find I like peace & quiet to concentrate on the pattern, which although it's only a 12 row pattern, involves lots of counting. I made a beanie hat while traveling on the bus during a day trip to Lady Sew and Sew back in July, and on the trip to the N.E.C I knitted a preemie cardigan. I am also trying to size up the pattern to use D.K. yarn instead of 4ply which so far is going quite well, much to my surprise as I have not tried this type of 'experiment' before.
Well I may not be back till next week with Part 3 as I have Little H arriving tomorrow for a sleepover this weekend, her last before starting school on Monday (where did those 4 years go? :-((( ) we are going to be quite busy as its the village Flower Show on Saturday and we are both going to enter a few things. I am entering 3 of the cookery classes as well as the craft and H is doing 6 classes. I'll let you know how we get on.
Well that's it for now
Night night.

Monday, 31 August 2015

While I've been gone....

I have not been idle, despite the weeks going round so fast, (August gone already? I think I blinked and missed it!) so I will bring you up to date over a couple of posts. Saturday the 8th saw a bus load of Severn Valley Quilters and friends setting off early to the Festival of Quilts, sadly at the last minute without the lovely Lisa who was unable to join us due to family commitments. 
This meant I spent the day on my own which I was not looking forward to but, I have to admit that I actually quite enjoyed it. Arriving around 10.30am I was really surprised that it did not seem as crowded as in previous years, as you can see. 

So like a woman on a mission (I was!!) I set off to get some free wadding from The Warm Company, next stop was Empress Mills to take advantage of an extra 10% show discount only available before 11am. With those jobs done, I decided to systematically walk round all the quilts, I thought there was a fairly traditional feel this year, and I spotted some really lovely entries, like this crazy quilt (of course!) which was an entry in the group quilts
the Herringbone stitching between all the hexagons was beautiful as were the embellishments.
 this Blackwork quilt really made me smile with all the cute snowman and some lovely crisp piecing.

The Galleries were amazing as usual, I spent some time talking to a lovely chap from Mexico, I was really surprised to hear that there are quilters in Mexico (I don't know why but I was!!!) and the quilts were really vibrant and imaginative.... unfortunately I don't know what the messages were saying on here.
and this very clever Chess set was attracting lots of interest

Last but not least were these two stunning Log Cabin quilts by Luke Haynes entitled 'Pennsylvania', At first glance they looked  fairly monochrome but as I got closer I could see there were other colours in there too.

These were for sale at the mere cost of £15,000 I'm not sure if that was for both or just one!!! but I decided that I probably couldn't quite afford it with the cost of my new Workroom. LOL
Progress on said room has been a bit slow of late as DH was laid up with really bad muscle problems in his neck and shoulders for almost 3 weeks, so bad in fact that after 2 days he voluntarily went to the Dr. so it must have been bad. We have been married for over 40years and I think in all that time he's only sought medical advice around 5 or 6 times, and usually only after I have put my foot down and insisted on it. The outside work on the BIG BUILD is now finished so if the weather goes bad there will be plenty of inside jobs to be done. DH and I had a 'site meeting' about 3 weeks ago when I had to decide where and how many power points I needed, I settled on 6 doubles (do you think 12 sockets will be enough??? LOL) the boxes for these have been put in and the wiring is all in place. Next the ceiling needs to go up in the garage so that we can insulate and put floorboards down inside. I am busy trying to sort out a few things in my existing workroom, deciding what to keep and what has to go. 
As I said at the beginning of this post I have not been idle, there has been lots of knitting and lots of hand stitching plus a Cream tea to attend at Clock Tower but I will come back here in a few days and show you the progress on a few things.
Nighty Night I'm off to bed.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Saturday ...

saw me trying to downsize my large HUGE selection of scraps, and today I have used my '15 Minutes of Play' to produce these.
I had bags (and BAGS) of selvedges which have to be used or thrown away (don't you just hate throwing things away - I do!) this is all part of the downsizing process for my collection of scraps before the 'BIG move'
 I cut 5" squares of calico (from scraps!) and laid the selvedges 'just' overlapping sewing very close to the edges, at first they looked really scrappy but, once trimmed I was happier with them. The top one is all Moda edges but the other is a random selection. I ended up by sorting the rest into 2 piles - those that have 'interesting information', coloured dots or are a solid colour and those that were just plain white or too narrow to sew, those I threw out and the others now fit into one small bag instead of several larger ones. I think I may use some larger scraps or some oddments of curtain fabric to back them before stuffing them and turning them into pin cushions or maybe make some bigger ones and make then into coasters or mug rugs.
My other project today was quilting the Blue star quilt (see previous post) I have used polyester wadding so it's quite thick, originally I was going to hand quilt but my hands are quite painful right now so, I decided to put it on the machine. I set the stitch length quite long (4.5 on the Husqvarna) so that if it puckered or the wadding was simply too thick I would not have too much trouble removing the stitching. However all went well. I used red thread on the front and a variegated blue for the back, I quilted in the ditch around all the pale blue shapes to highlight the stars and I have to say it came out quite well. I think I will try to find some red fabric to match the narrow border to bind it.
Its now 5.50pm and DH has called out to let me know he has a pot of tea waiting downstairs so I'm off to get something to eat and a cuppa, then I plan to veg out in front the TV and finish some doll clothes for H's 'new baby' as my shoulders are now aching from manipulating the quilt through the machine.
Byeee for this time.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Big Build and other news

On Saturday 4th July, I did a volunteer session at the Museum, it was Carnival day in Thornbury and we saw a little of the parade, later I was met by Lisa and her family who came to take me out to lunch (they are sooo kind,) we ended up at the carnival field, where there was of course a  4th July theme, as some of you know I love BIG US Vehicles so after Lisa and Co left for home I hung around and went to find them.

Exciting things are happening here day by day on the BIG BUILD project, there are too many pictures to bore you all to death with but so far the roof is finished, the windows are in and the top area is plastered, here are pictures of the progress to date. About two weeks ago the top flight of scaffolding came down at the back and completely at the front which has exposed the top of the build, so from outside it looks like this
This is the front
and at the back, you can now see where the old landing window is sited. Next up was progress inside, I came home from a trip out and met DH coming down the stairs looking something like a creature from Dr Who, we have black compo (cement) in between the bricks which are dark red (the house was built in 1934/5 and that was pretty standard back then) He was covered in thick red/black dust

DH has now seriously hit through on the landing by enlarging the gap where the landing window used to be (see previous post) he temporarily blocked the hole with an old door so no going in at that point - picture taken from the doorway of my current sewing room.
 Last Monday while I was up here sewing, he moved the storage heater to it's new position on the landing and on Tuesday finished opening up the doorway sooo now  

I can ACTUALLY walk into my new sewing space (as long as I'm careful not to fall through the spaces between the scaffolding planks that make up the floor) WHOOO HOOO - YIPPEEE!!! We are now 'discussing' power points and what will go where i.e. the sewing machine, iron etc. I think I will need at least 6 power points to avoid having to trail extension cables around the floor (as I do now) this room has 3 points (a single and a double) which are on opposite sides of the room so there are extension cables all over the place!)
On the craft front I have not been idle, Little H turned 4 on the 8th and requested a 'family party' at Grandma's house so balloons were inflated and party food was provided for said celebration, 
her present from her Mum & Dad was this splendid abode which is an impressive 6ft x 4ft.
since assembling it, which took a whole weekend (while H came here for a sleepover) DD and hubby have had difficulty keeping her out of it. I have made curtains and a large pillow sized cushion from fabric chosen while she was here,
 plus a smaller cushion in the same fabric and this knitted cushion
and 6ft of pink bunting (all to help with 'furnishing said house) which also has a row of colour changing fairy lights) 
I am still knitting - doll clothes for H's newest 'baby', a jacket and shorts completed plus a sweater on the needles. 
On the 18th it was Clock Tower Quilters, I had requested a full turnout on the pretense of discussing our finances, but what I actually had planned was a BIG SURPRISE in the guise of a visit from Laura one of our founder members who, you may remember moved to Wales in December. Laura had said she may come down for a couple of days to drop her eldest daughter off for a visit with her Grandparents and could she come sew with us for the day. So with it all secretly organized my job was to get everyone there hence, the pretense! Oh boy did it work well, Laura arrived around 10.30 and everyone was soooo delighted to see her, the rest of the day was spent catching up on everyone's news plus some stitching got done too, I got 2 charity quits layered up and tacked ready to quilt 
A star quilt made from donated Orphan blocks and this one from some more of my randon Log Cabin blocks (and Yes I do still have some more left!!)
and made more progress with my embroidery.  

 Oh! and we did discussed the finances albeit very briefly.
Yesterday was an outing with Severn Valley Quilters to Lady Sew & Sew at Henley on Thames, where some serious retail therapy took place. I bought the gridded fabric to make my planned design wall and a few other bits and bobs. During the coach journey there and back I managed to knit another beanie hat to pass on to the local supporters of the Butterfly Space in Malawi. Lots of happy quilters with very big bags of goodies got back around 5.30pm, our monthly meeting was at 7.30 so after a quick bite to eat and cuppa off I went again, only 13 members there but we had a good hand sewing evening with a cuppa and good knatter. I did some more to my embroidery which looks like it could be completed very soon, if  I'm pleased with it I may enter it into the village Flower Show.
And that as they say is that for this time, except to say if anyone is going to the Festival of Quilts on the 8th and would like to get in touch leave me a comment or email me via this blog and we'll try to get together for a coffee.
Bye for now