Sunday, 26 October 2014

50th on his 40th

Yesterday was the 40th birthday party of my younger son, Matt. Not his actual birthday because that is next Sunday and he will be in New York running his 50th marathon on his 40th birthday. Quite a milestone and I am so proud.

He had this wonderful birthday cake and everyone loved the lifelike trainers with their shoe laces. They were very heavy when we took them off the cake to cut it. We hardly saw any of the children, except for food from time to time, because there was a bouncy castle which they were on for most of the day. What a wonderful way of getting rid of energy!!

I am expecting Matt's two children later today for "two sleeps" with Granny and "I shall be bringing a shoe box to make an Egyptian pharaoh's tomb, Granny, so can we do crafts to put in it"!! Not quite sure what my grandson has in mind, but they like playing with my beads and buttons so we will be able to make something to go in it. After half term he has an Egyptian day at school and I have made him a braided headband complete with a pigtail, because young Egyptian boys had one which was cut off when they reached puberty. I am also going to help out in class as well.

Should be fun and I will report back in due course.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

First thoughts of Christmas .....

After the last visit of my grandchildren this little chap was in need of some TLC. His body had come apart from his legs and all his insides could have spilled onto the floor! Yes he has rice inside him for weight.
A little poorly and needs TLC
So after a little First Aid of the doll type he was soon restored as good as new and quite happy to be sitting on the edge of these cushions viewing everything that was going on. However it did beggar the question - how long ago did we make these in a workshop? My sons say he looks like a malevolent gnome, but I think he is rather sweet just sitting around!!

Feeling better now and good as new!
I have also made another one of these and they are so easy to make.

They make useful letter holders.
Finally a slight panic as I was told that our "Angels" had to be finished by this week so after really concentrating I managed to finish this little lady that I have dubbed a 'fallen angel' as she has rouged cheeks, blonde hair, silver wings and a very shocking pink net petticoat!

The petticoat peeping out
She still needs to have her mouth put on but I don't have a red fabric pencil so that comes later.

All the angels my patchwork group have made will be displayed in St Mary's Church in Higham Ferrers at the Angel Festival at the end of November. Some will then be sold but I want to keep mine.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Good to get some fresh air!

I haven't been Nordic walking for a few weeks because of either poor weather - I won't walk if it is raining at the start - or other things getting in the way.  However I had arranged to go out walking from Woodford Mill and what great weather it was after all the rain we have had.
Woodford Mill Tea Rooms for afterwards
 We all knew it would be muddy after all the rain, but this was the worst part at the beginning.
Rows and rows of plastic wrapped hay or silage and big puddles
Then the sun came out an we started getting hot!  The countryside looked great and it was so quiet, even with us there!!
The church at Woodford
River Nene through the trees
We stopped off at Woodford church and looked at some of its history.
Wooden effigies of Sir William Trailly and his wife dated from 1290
An embalmed heart!!
The embalmed heart is inset high up in a pillar and there have been reports of ghosts, but it is thought to be the heart of Roger de Kirketon, who died in 1280 and was buried in Norfolk and his heart brought back to Woodford.  It was discovered by workman repairing the church in 1866!!  Anyway, it was unusual to see.
Denford church
Poor Pooh and Tigger!!
I saw these two being used as fenders on a moored narrow boat and felt they may have been once loved toys!!  Pooh was in a worst condition than Tigger.

We crossed the old railway bridge but not before having a chat to these four very friendly lambs.  We decided that they must have been hand reared because we could touch them and they did not run away.  Not sure what breed the black and white ones are, but I loved the mottled colour of their wool!!

A lovely October walk and I am hoping to get a few more in before the weather changes.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Knitting and stitching!

What a lovely day it was on Sunday, when a coach load of us set out for the Knitting and Stitching Show in London and at the time we arrived (about 10.15am) it was not too busy. I was on a mission and had established where I wanted to go first - the Stylecraft wool stand where I knew that Lucy from Attic24 would be.

I managed to get a few moments with her and asked about her latest project, that is still a work in progress and will be a new blanket in Autumn colours. So I succumbed and bought the new pack of lovely autumny colours - 
My camera's not doing the coloours justice as they are lovely
The ball on the middle row extreme left is actually an olive green and not the grey that it looks like.

Oh how the members of the Crochet Club laughed when I got back on the coach with another bag of wool, but my blanket will have to wait until all the other crochet items are finished!!  Too many on the go at once.

You may remember these beautiful colours, also put together by Attic24 for the Coast Ripple Blanket that I bought - 

well, sad person that I am I asked Lucy to sign my pattern that came with the pack.

Double click to get a bigger picture.
Another excellent show and apart from this wool I did not buy much else, except for a circular foot to go on my sewing machine and will make flowery circles. It was quite inexpensive to buy which worried me a little, and I was assured that I wold be able to understand the instructions. Well they are printed in Taiwan and consequently seem to be full of jargon with a few strange words I have never heard before, but I shall persevere with it. I have already tried it out and will show you the results next blog, after a bit more practise!!

However whilst at the show, I had time to watch a fashion show sponsored by Coats and compered by Stuart Hillard who was a semi-finalist in the Great British Sewing Bee. The models were all stick thin youngsters modelling knitted items by well known fashion designers and I did wonder when the older models would come on stage. After all would these youngsters wear, or even make, any of these items, some of which I did covet? Would they not have been better on older people, of which I am one, because we are the people who might make them?

Food for thought?

Friday, 10 October 2014

The quilt!!

I mentioned that I have now completed my son's king size bed quilt and I am pleased that he and his wife love it.

The pattern is by Anne Williams in the May 2014 Popular Patchwork but I adapted it from her size to king size and I had to 'quilt as you go'. There are also two plain panels at the side as I ran out of colours.

All the fabrics were from Oakshott Fabrics and my daughter in law chose her main colours of 'Mallow' and 'White Sand' from the Colourshott range. I also chose 'Lilypad' because I needed a contrast.  

I made up about 200 rectangles using these main colours and others colours from the same range that I bought as a 10 inch pack. I sewed the rectangles into strips and then these were sewn together. I ran out of 'White Sand' fabric and decided to use just 'Lilypad' and 'Mallow' on the drop at the bottom of the bed. I realised from the start that I would need to quilt a quarter at a time to be more manageable and then I sewed two quarters together and finally the two halves.  

Hope you are with me so far!!

The long panels at the side were plain 'Mallow' that I quilted before sewing to the finished top and then it was bound and I spent two nights hemming the binding!!

Here is the finished quilt.

M and A love their quilt and are looking forward to the colder nights, when they will be lovely and snuggly under it.  

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Something a little different?

Last weekend was free, I couldn't be bothered to cut the grass, so instead I got down to being 'crafty'.  I finished the king size quilt - it took me two whole evenings to hem the binding - and I completed my smocking sampler cushion. A white on white pattern on the front, with a thin blue band to accentuate the panel, and a lovely silvery back. I am very pleased with it. Hope teacher approves; maybe I ought to take her an apple to the next class just in case!!

However in my last post, I did promise to show you something very crafty,with no sewing that I suppose is slightly out of my normal sphere of making things. Anyway here goes.
Cheap and cheerful children's books bought at charity shops.
You need a paperback book with no more than 100 pages. I found children's books were about right, but thin adult ones will do.  If books have more than 100 pages rip out the extra pages at the end.

Taking photos with one hand!!
Fold each page in half and with a blunt knife make a good crease.

Fold in the top corner and again make a good crease.

Fold in the bottom corner, again making a good crease and repeat this for all the pages. You will need to try and flatten the spine of the book as you go. When you have finished doing all the pages, trim the front and back covers to the shape that you now have and glue the front and back pages to the covers.

Can you see what we have now??

The "ta dah" moment ......

Wait for it ..........

Add a tail made of brown felt....

Glue on some googly eyes and a bit of black felt for the nose ...........

I think the eyes are a little small but they were all I had

and you have a hedgehog!!!!

This is an ideal project for children because the knife is blunt and though it gets a little hard to fold at the end, they have something tangible quite quickly.

This is not my idea and I have to thank a very kind stallholder at a craft fair I went to In Matlock Bath the other weekend.  She did admit that she was doing herself out of sales but how generous to show me.  Thank you

Friday, 3 October 2014

Another day out

You may think that I do nothing but go out, but this was another U3A History Group outing that I didn't want to miss.  The History Group will now stop outings until the Spring because of the weather and also because many of the stately homes/houses we visit are closed for the winter as they catch up with conservation work and most of them are not heated!!

Yesterday's trip was to Broughton Castle, near Banbury, the home of Lord Saye and Sele.

I particularly wanted to go to this house as I have discovered that, back in the 17th century the family are part of my family tree and I had never heard of the place before.  It is the home of the Fiennes family and though the 21st Lord doesn't live in it, his son does.  The current Lord is 94 and whilst my friend and I walked in the grounds afterwards we met him and his wife and I stopped to discuss my family tree with them.  I had previously emailed them a copy so they knew I was coming, but they were very gracious about this awful woman accosting them to talk about something which was very boring to them - her family tree.  I hope I look as sprightly at 94 as Lord Saye does.

An incredible ceiling in the Great Parlour took my fancy.  They look like icicles
 The next photo was taken from the roof, looking down onto the wonderfully clipped 'fleur de lis' box hedges.  There is one gardener full time and he was very obliging when we didn't know what some of the plants were.  The door to the roof is next to the Council Chamber which was said to be the place conspirators plotted to overthrow Charles 1 between 1629 - 1642. They were members of the Providence Island Company, formed to colonise islands in the Caribbean and later New England.  One of these settlements at the mouth of the Connecticut River was called Saybrook (now Old Saybrook) after Lord Saye and Lord Brooke another attendee in the Council Chamber at this time.

This is a view of the house from the garden and I love the honey coloured ironstone, with a wonderful sky in the background. 

I have a clear weekend ahead of me to finish some of my patchwork items and I am hoping to show you a 'crafty' something which is easy to make, needs no sewing and is delightful to look at.  So watch this space .....