Sunday, 5 November 2017

'Autumn' makes

I haven't gone for good - honestly, but the last two weeks have been busy and writing the blog seems to take a long time, of which there has been a shortage.

I had a wonderful family catch up with my family and though it was windy it stayed fine and my grandchildren could get out on their roller skates.

They all get on so well and love these family get togethers.  Christmas was discussed and I was told that it must be traditional;  that means a Christmas cake and proper mince pies "none of those fancy ones you make"!!  Last year I was experimenting with a new recipe for a change.

So mincemeat has been made -
6 jars in total

and the Christmas cake has been made today and is currently cooling and later today I will prick it all over before adding brandy.  My cake recipe is at least 50 years old from the 1960s and the piece of paper is yellow with age, but we all love the cake.   I will let you see a photo when it is finally finished.

I did something new the other day, with a great deal of nervousness!  As part of the Chester Farm project where I am a volunteer, I have trained to record oral histories.  The first hurdle was learning how to use the recording device which seemed very complicated but I quickly learnt the basics - on, off, record, play back and so with another volunteer we set off for Colchester.  The recording was brilliant and it meant that we didn't have to scribble answers down and I even managed to download everything to my PC so that I could type up the conversation.  Another appointment to be made with someone else who lived on the farm.  Time is of the essence here as, like our interviewee, most are into their 80's and have a great deal of information to give us.  It has made me wish that I had asked my own parents more about their lives which were both, in their own way, very interesting.

Mini Mania for October was squares
'Rainbow' squares

and I used the colours of the rainbow and was made in the first few days of the month.  Quite simple but the next one isn't and will take some thinking out!

I visited two shows - The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace which I loved and the Autumn Quilt Show at Duxford which was awful.  I went to the latter specifically to get some fabric, but once I had bought that I left.  I thought it wasn't worth the entrance fee and it was so untidy and messy.  However the saving grace of the day was that I love aircraft and these small planes were flying
Spitfire landing
A Tiger Moth (I think) landing
Don't know what this is but it was very, very small

We had a wonderful workshop at Higham Peacemakers when we made 'hexy' bags
Love this Japanese fabric

The hexy top that closes very tight.
 I may turn it into a shoulder bag as the top is very tight when closed that suits security conscious me. Even the pocket has been sewn into two compartments, with one for my lipstick!!

Remember my Tilda Bunny from the last blog - well she has progressed a little
Standing up on her own!!

Legs have been stuffed and I have finished crocheting the body and have partially stuffed it, the head has been done and needs stuffing and joining to the body; I have started on the skirt (the grey ring in the photo) but something is wrong, so I will need to contact the powers that be to sort it out.  Don't you love her little striped socks.  I would like to complete her by Christmas but I have lots of Christmas presents to make.

Anyway onwards and upwards. I am awaiting a large parcel of fabric to make more gowns and pyjamas for Pyjama Fairies.  PF have been given a large quantity of fabric from a well known UK company's charity section  and I am expecting 40 metres of fabric that has to be used by February 2018.  There are some strict rules and I will tell you more in another blog when I have read them.  I think January will be very busy.

Sunday, 15 October 2017


Such a long time since I updated the blog - my apologies. 

Remember the fiasco with the beaded tea lights last time, well I decided to look on YouTube and found a useful video and hey presto, here are some more

so it looks as if I may have cracked it!!  I am going to make more to give as small Christmas presents.

The other Friday I went Nordic walking on an absolutely fabulous October morning and as we all met at Stanwick Lakes I took some photos of a new totem pole they have put up
Look at the colour of the sky!
I am told that the swan changes direction with the wind, though I cannot confirm this.  We set off for the village of Stanwick and were delighted to find that they were having a Scarecrow Festival at the weekend so our planned walk went out of the window and we meandered round the village and photos were taken - lots of them
A bookworm with the sun shining over the fence!
The Vicar and two choristers
The Nursery contribution
'Macmillan' coffee morning

The Old People's home

"We're going on a bear hunt"

.... can you see the bear in the cave?
Such fun and brilliantly executed!!  A great many more but I couldn't show them all.
Mini mania continues and here is my September offering which was obviously 'Circles'
Still a Work in Progress
The only problem is that it measured 9" x 10" when finished and I realised my sewing was not accurate as it should have been a square, so now I have taken it apart  to remake it.  October's make is 'Squares' and that is complete and waiting for the end of the month.

I was shown this wonderful bunny
and was lucky enough that a friend had translated it from Turkish and for our benefit the American crochet instructions were in English.  I had to make it, but having spent all one evening trying to start I managed to get going at Crochet Group with the help of teacher J.
One foot - now to start the second all on my own

Amigurumi is not my favourite crochet but I will keep you updated on progress because I am determined to finish this one, however difficult!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Being guided in various ways!

This last month has been so busy with all sorts of 'craft' projects that at times I am not sure what to do next!

However I have finished my 'Attic24' Moorland Blanket

and it has already been round my poor old legs keeping out the autumn drafts.

At crochet group the other week I started my version of the 'High Tea Crochet Fusion Quilt' as  I need to store my monthly mini mania quilts.  At present they are hanging on a board in my studio but now I am trying to adapt this pattern to all the different sizes and turn them into one quilt and hopefully take up less room.
Blanket stitch round the edge and then crochet into the blanket stitch
So far so good!!

On Monday I went to the 'All day' at Higham Piecemakers as there was some beading going on.  After three, yes, three false starts I eventually got going and managed to finish in the day and start another one which I made at home.
Beaded tea light covers
So pleased with these that I am going to make a few more for Christmas.

Continuation of the above written a week later!!

I have tried to make some more tea light covers with a week in between and cannot begin to start.  I have tried four times and no luck so back to Piecemakers next meeting for another lesson.  It cannot be that difficult as it is only peyote!!

A friend asked me to do a talk about the work of Pyjama Fairies to a ladies group.  This is no problem as I was provided with the presentation and statistics, but I realised that I had to show them some gowns and pyjamas so August was spent sewing stock.  Some very generous ladies and I was able to give the charity £50.
Some of these items were for a hospital order

Every Tuesday I go to Bedford to look after Will and as a result of this I organised a guided tour of the town for the 50+ Adventure Club.  We were incredibly lucky with the weather as rain had been forecast but it was hot, hot, hot!  We met our guides and our first stop was to meet this gentleman -
Sir William Harpur who I feel I have known all my life!

who endowed, through the Trust that he set up, the school that I went to.  I did know that the BBC Music Department was evacuated to the town during World War 11 and regularly broadcast from 'Somewhere in England' and so on to St Paul's Church, the principal parish church of Bedford where many of these concerts took place -
Memories of the BBC

In fact Glenn Miller gave concerts from the Corn Exhange and was staying just outside Bedford the night before he left for his fateful journey to Paris, from RAF Twinwoods just outside the town. 

Next stop was the statue of John Howard, the great penal reformer

and onto the Castle mound, which we did not climb, but instead viewed a bronze model of 

old Bedford which was awash with rainwater.  Round the corner is one of John Howard's houses

that backs on to the churchyard of the Bedford Meeting House and the John Bunyan Museum can be seen in the corner.  We saw the door of the Meeting House

that is based on the great doors at the Duomo in Florence (though not nearly as big) and which depicts scenes from Bunyan's great book 'The Pilgrim's Progress'.

I have tried to read The Pilgrim's Progress and have found it very heavy going, but it has remained in print since it was first published in 1678 and has been translated into over 200 languages.  I wonder who gets the royalties!!

We finished our tour in front of this small statue

to the memory of Father Trevor Huddleston which was re-dedicated by Nelson Mandela in 2000.  Both of these men have inspired me through my early life and I particularly remember boycotting anything South African because of what Trevor Huddleston stood for.

Finally, I have been back at Chester Farm doing some more potwashing before it gets too cold.  Whilst we were there in July a film crew came along and I am hoping that this link will take you there  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSdAm1ZND4U  so turn up the volume if it works!!

It says everything about the site.  If it doesn't work - sorry.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Being Adventurous

Last Saturday morning was sunny, warm but a little breezy as the 50+ Adventure Club met at Canoe2 at Rushden Lakes to canoe the River Nene.  We were fitted with  our buoyancy aid, given a paddle and each boat had a barrel for personal belongings and some had small ones.  I had brought my lunch, a drink, my phone and car keys which went in the big barrel but I kept my camera in a small one.
No, the dog did not go with us!

We had the usual safety briefing and then decided which way to go.  Originally it was planned that we would go upstream to Wellingborough, but we were advised against this as the first lock was 375 metres for the portage which is a long way to carry a heavy Canadian canoe, even with the wheels provided.  So downstream we would go.

After leaving the Rushden Lake (a short portage of 10metres, watched by visitors, so we tried to look professional!) we entered the river.  It was so tranquil
with the sun shining and hardly any breeze.  We went past the first lock with everyone helping to manhandle the canoes out and then into the water, when we saw this canoe coming back - why?
Their set of wheels were floating away and needed rescuing!!!

We approached the A6 viaduct over the valley
Note the black sky!!
and then behind that Irthlingborough's Old Bridge 

The sky was getting blacker to our left and there was thunder and lightning in the distance, but we kept on - well we had nowhere else to go!!

Then Irthlingborough Lock came into view and the decision was made to stop here for lunch because it was just starting to rain and how!  A deluge!  The boats were taken out of the water
This photo was taken after lunch but the sky is still grey!

and we all sheltered where we could
Under scrubby bushes
In the lee of the lock gate - note the rain on the lens!
Where is she going - sorry I shouldn't ask!
It poured for half an hour and then just as we finished our sandwiches the sun came out, so back in to the canoes.

Most of us decided to take a detour up Stanwick Backwater but once I saw this
I knew where we were and we decided to turn round and head for home.  I know that there is a lock a few hundred yards on and we didn't need to carry our canoe again.

It was a wonderful afternoon and on the return trip we saw a kingfisher, herons, an egret and a huge flock of Canada Geese taking off with a great deal of noise  However the highlight for me was when we were on a very still bit of water and I noticed a twig floating along, but it was moving and then I realised it was a snake swimming across  the river.  Only a gentle grass snake but really exciting to see it.

The sky was getting black again as we paddled very fast across Rushden Lake back to base and as I got into the car the heavens opened, but it hadn't stopped us having a great afternoon!!

I have also been smocking, embroidering, crocheting and sewing machining, but this will have to wait until another time!