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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Happy New Year!!

I hope that all of you had a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Mine has been busy and eventful and started on the Wednesday before the holiday.  I bought my dishwasher in 1995 for my late husband's 65th birthday as he was having a party and I didn't want to wash all the dishes.  It has been feeling its age lately and I knew it was on its last legs so I decided to give it a clean through with very little crockery.  I went upstairs to my workroom and luckily didn't turn on the radio because I suddenly heard a bang, came downstairs and when I opened it smoke came out.  I ran next door to my neighbour and he could see flames inside it, so I called the Fire Brigade who came within 5 minutes.   Huge men in dirty boots, poured into my small house and with giant pliers cut the waste pipe and electric cable (that I had already disconnected) and carried it out into the front garden.  The water that had been sloshing about in the bottom (it hadn't drained at all) was now on the kitchen floor and it took me an hour to mop up and clean up after they had eventually gone, but I realise I was very lucky as it could have been worse.

The best thing was that when I came back from shopping the next day my old dishwasher had disappeared from my front garden, so maybe the scrap metal man had gone past.

Friday following this I went to Kent to stay with my eldest son and family, for Christmas and we were joined by No 2 son and family the next day and so the holiday had started.  We went to the beach on Christmas Eve and No 2 son did a 10K run -
Notice the kite surfers in the background!!
 the children built sandcastles
 

I went for a walk with my daughters in law and we watched horses being exercised.

Christmas Day passed in a blur of church, food, presents and more food, followed by games  and all too soon Boxing Day came round with No 2 son, wife and children having to leave to see in-laws.   I stayed on and we went to see the hunt assembling near a local pub ready to ride out, but the town was packed with people and cars and prevented any decent photos and then my camera battery ran out!!  This is a very popular annual event with huge crowds.
The inconsiderate girl kept getting in the picture!!

 All my Christmas presents this year for the females were my own handiwork.  Remember the hexi bag that I blogged about here, well I made one each for my daughters in law and filled them with little goodies.



I love these Japanese 'Cranes'; aren't they beautiful and elegant.

Way back and I don't know when, I made a craft carry caddy for myself and that gave me the idea to make one each for the grandchildren and put a few little things in them.
Four together
Grandson's Star Wars fabric

Clockwise from left: Cinderella, Tinkerbell and Frozen fabric
I know that these are being used already to keep things tidy.

Ellie was eight just before Christmas and I decided to make her one of the counter change smocked sun dresses with a little glittery T-shirt underneath.  I love these little dresses as all you need are the chest measurement and the height.
Little hearts and I loved this fabric as soon as I saw it
Oh, we also received our Christmas Challenge from Higham Piecemakers - a tea towel!  Based on the Great British Sewing Bee we actually have until April to turn it in to something; though my mind was blank for a few days, ideas are popping up and I am beginning to get quite excited about it.  Hope I can execute what I want to do.

Anyway I must get on as so much to do and not enough time to do it!! Is this going to be my 2018??

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A telling off!!

I was told off last week - "What has happened to your blog; nothing since 5 November."  Well I have not been slacking, as I have hand made 90% of my Christmas presents, plus a few other items that I will show you, but I was in a panic because of everything I needed to do.  As usual I did not need to worry as everything is complete and ready for wrapping!!  I cannot show any of these items until after Christmas obviously.

First item is the fabric I have received from Pyjama Fairies.  The fabric has come from the Thomas Cook Children's Charity and I requested a large bundle of 40 metres to be made into pyjamas and gowns for children between 10 and16 years of age.  Having been washed and dried, it is now ready for cutting out.


I hope to start using it next weekend but has to be used by February.

I bought two Spellbound Beads bauble kits at the Knitting and Stitching Show in October and this was the first one being made -


and the finished items on my little Christmas Tree
 

I love them both!!

At the end of November I went on a Land Conservation day at Chester Farm and all went well until after lunch when we had to start 'gardening'!  First I saw this sitting on the garden wall - not sure what it was.
Possibly a sheep's head

Anyway, we were to clear the bank in front of the house and I decided it was not for me.  I get very worried walking down a steep hill, but standing and gardening finished me off!!  I might slip and fall over backwards - such an irrational fear!

We had to make a path down beside the wall and then build a path going off to the right.   I decided that this was man's work on this occasion and left!!!!  Don't worry I am still doing my fair share of volunteering.  I have recorded two 'Oral Histories' and we led a guided tour of the 'Roman' field yesterday in the freezing cold!  It was bitterly cold.

Winter has arrived in my part of the UK and this morning I woke up to this.
... and still snowing

I fed the birds and watched the cock blackbirds trying to feed and at the same time being chased off by another one, who was defending his territory and using up all his energy.

Nothing for it but do some baking for the Higham Piecemakers Christmas party tomorrow
Ham and Stilton tartlets (Waitrose recipe)
 Here is a link to the recipe and I hope it works.

My Tilda Bunny is progressing slowly in between the Christmas makes
The skirt is finished  and though I have made her head, it still needs stuffing and attaching, and I have nearly completed one ear so I am getting there slowly.

I will not be blogging again before Christmas but it should be a bumper one in he New Year, so can I wish everyone a happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.


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

Scarecrows

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!