Thursday, 15 May 2014


It seems such an age since I could update this! First I was quite busy with Annie's album for her 40th  - lots of lovely memories of my wonderful girl, but I couldn't let the secret out before the date. By that time we were back to following his dream for another year, this time near York. There were some good day out, but being cooped up in one room with a TV snooker watching  husband and unable to 'do my own thing' depresses me. Yes I had various crafts to do, but all in a cramped sort of way so I get more uptight as the week gets on and cann't wait to be back home again..

Once home I made a list of all the things that I needed or wanted to do, some with 'do by' dates - it was rather LOOOOONG! Two weeks later, and I am getting there, but unfortunately it is becoming circular! Things that were there at the start and were crossed off quite early are now appearing again! The first job was to adapt the May Conduit and send it off to by published on the web, now I am beginning to look at the June edition. 

Of course the grocery shopping is always there, but this week took rather longer than usual. There being no midweek slots at Tesco for some reason, I decided to try the new Lidl's which meant I finished up at Sainsbury's. As you can guess I wasn't greatly impressed.

Anyway, here are some of my successes.

The patchwork hexagons that I did in the van are now made into a drawstring bag, and the greetings cards I also made are finished and packed. Both these destined for my stall when the garden is open in aid of   St Barnabas  Hospice.
For the same reason, I have tidied the planting area in the patio and bought new herbs. That in itself being not only a success but a miracle as I hate gardening, even on that small scale.

I have spent quite a lot of time printing photos, some for the club exibition on Saturday, but mostly for the National Scrap Booking Day 10 hour crop last weekend.. I was actually surprised how little I got done in all that time. The main challenge was 'a week in my life', which for me covered 3 layouts, then there was a 'spring bling' challenge for which I used photos of Chloe actually taken in the Autumn! There were other challenges that I didn't get round to, but can use for LOs later. A rather sad day because Jess, our leader is leaving the area so this was our last get together.

The waiscoats that I started in Cornwall at Easter are at last finished. I was putting them off as there was plenty time but eventually felt that I really wanted them done and away. I think they are a strange mix of too formal and too childish, but they are what was requested so who am I to argue?

Finally, I caught up with the Mystery Garden Quilt. The first two panels are now attached and the third one is done as far as the instructions went. The next part comes at the beginning of May, and the whole thing should be finished in August.

There are now 'only'
 2 quilting projects to continue or finish,
4 tshirt tops,
2 shirt tops,
as many stall items as possible
2 camera challenges, and sweet peas to plant  before we start the round again with the Conduit


Monday, 31 March 2014

A week with the sewing machine

This all started because I wanted to make a rugby/polo style top from a big lump of jersy fabric I found in my box and discovered I hadn't got the pattern any longer that I used to use. it led to some time going through patterns and torn bits from magazines, sorting them into categories and putting them on files and folders. At least I know where to look now! then I spent som time browsing the web, downloading templates and instructions for patterns I already had but are useless without the downloads! In the process I also found some more patterns to download and ordered some new dress making patterns but had no joy with the top. Having done all that I was itching to get sewing!!

The first project was headbands for Chloe after discusion when we babysat early in the week. I'm quite pleased with the result, and she was happy to take them when they came on Mothering Sunday. 
I've offered to make her, or let her help me make, a  teddy with a ribbon bow to replace 'snuggles' the tatty ribbon and all that remains of the attached pyjama top she's had since a baby - but that apparently is not a good idea!
Next, having come across  and downloaded the first in the mystery garden quilt series, and after a visit to Wisteria Patchwork, I had fun making the first part. I cut out the flowers and the butterfly with my dies, but used the other templates given. I'm really please with the result and looking forward to part 2 which will be on the site tomorrow.

Finally, as there was only two of us for the day crop on Saturday, we decided to try the block of the month from Love Patchwork &Quilting magazine. I finished mine, but we couldn't understand why it came out bigger that 12 x 12. On Sunday I played about undid some of it, recut round the templates, and sewed it back together - now its the right size! I'm itching to do some more to go with it now!

As a PS the teddies are still progressing, and I'm still up to date.

Monday, 24 March 2014

The Cunning Plan!

It is a lovely sunny day today so I walked to the post office by the 'scenic route' - along wood bank and through the corner of the old wood, returning to the village via the sustrans track. Just the day for a good walk, but my knees were a bit wobbly by the time I got back. It's also a good day for electricity collection, so I'm getting the washing done, and its drying beautifully outside - all saving the pennies. It's one of those nostalgic sights I love to see  - washing blowing on a line.

Since then I've been sewing and stuffing the latest batch of teddies. I'm half way there with the challenge, but I'm running out of stuffing. This is the first two weeks worth - if you look closely you can see the CUNNING PLAN in operation. Two material stitch ones have sneaked in!! They are much quicker to make - especially if the machine is already out, so they helped me catch up.The two larger ones are Sunday bears, knitted to my friend Queenie's pattern.

Yesterday, I adapted the skirt I had made for the WWDP service. I've shortened it and added a double row of patchwork to the bottom and one up the side. It will now be quite wearable in the summer. Not bad for the back of a quilt cover and a few fat quarters!

Thursday, 13 March 2014


I had a lovely day yesterday. In the morning I was  at Zoe's Stampin' Up card class where I made two lovely birthday cards.

The first is vellum, hand embossed with hexagons and flowers from embossing folders, laid over card stamped with stamped sprint designs and edge with a border cutter. a few strips of paper ribbon and a stamped greeting complete a very effective card.


The second small wreath card was made by stamping card with a pine board design, cutting a circle from it then surrounding it with stamped and punched flowers and a ribbon bow. A greeting punched on a smaller circle completed the neat little card .

After sick visiting, and shopping, I returned home to complete - at last - the two children's quilts I made for the Linus Project. These have not been without their problems, and in fact both have been unpicked and restitched at least once. 
The fronts go together without problem,but it is when I try to match fronts and back that the problems start. Despite a walking foot plus pins I could NOT match the straight lines. There is obviously a technique that I have yet to master! They are now done to the best of my ability, and ready to be delivered.

After all this I settled down to read my new Sew magazine though I really should be keeping up with Lent bears because I am now 3 days behind. I have, however, a cunning plan........

Saturday, 8 March 2014


Oh, what a busy week! - which is why I've been photographing it for the NSD challenge - a week in the life of. This is taking place at Jess's crop at Dry Doddington (her last), but any who aren't going are welcome to try it. Any sort of design as long as it covers a week in your life. There will be a small prize for any who complete it.



The PHD (!)list is slowly getting done but not all successfully. Unfortunately the cardigan came out HUGE even for me. I was told the wool would be OK but obviously not! Anyone want a large cardy?
 Then the quilting hasn't gone right and I will have to unpick it before Thursday's meeting.

The doll I made for a friend's grand daughter has been well received, and the skirt for the Women's World Day of Prayer, was more successful, but now that's over I am going to do a Jodie  (my clever grand daughter) and alter it so that's another to add to the list, and my Lent challenge is trauma teddies. Can I do 40?

So why am I sitting here writing this?

Thursday, 20 February 2014


I come from a family which rarely talked about it’s past, and questions were discouraged. When, as a teenager, I showed interest in researching the family tree, I was told it was a waste of time and money; one elderly relative having lost a fortune trying to prove a connection to the nobility. Somehow I knew that two uncles had ‘died young’, but where or how was never revealed, and my idea of ‘young’ proved, at least in one case to be way off the mark. 

I wasn’t looking for a noble heritage, brave deeds, or notorious criminals, but details that rooted me in a past. Grammar school History which tried to teach me the unification of various European countries, and slightly better Geography lessons which concentrated on Australia (I can still recite the state capitals in order), seemed to me as irrelevant as studying the moon.  What I wanted was knowledge of my own history and geography. However, in the busyness of life, it was something that was put aside – until now.

Now there are no previous generations left to tell their stories, but sorting the belongings of an elderly childless aunt some years ago revived the interest. Who were these people? What did they do? How were they connected? Some answers I was able to gain in the last few months of her life, but many remained, so with retirement at last looming, I made myself a promise. This was a project that would occupy at least some of my days.

Thanks to family history websites the basic names and dates are fairly easy to find, and I soon grew quite a large tree (at present 276 people), but it is the facts and stories behind the names that I am now beginning to flesh out. That young uncle in fact lived to 24 and at some time was a soldier in uniform, my maternal grandfather set up a successful choir, many of my ancestors were silk workers, I have dressmakers on both sides: all of these seem to have some link to the person I have become.

And my great grandmother was a foundling.

It is this last that fascinates me. My grandmother, her daughter, lived with us for the first 18 years my life, and we were very close, but neither I nor my sisters had ever heard this fact even breathed quietly. I discovered that babies taken into the care of the Coram Foundling Hospital in the 18th and 19th centuries were baptised and  given new names and a number in the belief that this would hide the shame of their parents misdeeds, so Ruth Ellis in a way did not really exist, and I could go no further back on this line without finding out who she really was.  I could not resist, so after various fact finding searches on the web, I set off one day last month for a day at the London Metropolitan Archives, and the Foundling Museum.  The staff at the Archives were very helpful, and eventually, I found her.

 There she was, not on a dusty old document, but a tiny page of plastic film. From this modern tiny scrap, I had enough information to confirm what I already knew, and to be able to continue the search. An hour later I was sitting holding a folded document, brown with age, tied with a faded pink ribbon, and telling the sad story. I know now why the TV celebrities cry when faced with similar information. 

It was the age old story of a young girl ‘walking out with view to marriage’ with and a young man who ‘accomplished his purpose with her against her consent’ before leaving her to her predicament. Fortunately in this case a family friend took pity on her and took her in for the birth, but she could not support herself and keep the child. She gave her up to the care of the foundling hospital, where she remained for the next 18 years. I still have unanswered questions about the child, but further research about the mother has added two more generations to that branch of the tree and filled out her story. After some time, it would seem that she married a son of the house where she worked and lived with him for over 20 years; he was a banker and had some wealth so I wonder why she did not reclaim her daughter. She had no other children. Eventually she was listed as living in her sister’s house, and described as an imbecile– a term which covered many mental states – and died 4 years later.

I have been able to add several pages to my family history album, and I hope it will be of some interest to my heirs and descendants. To me our heritage is worth more than anything else I can leave them – except my faith.   

Friday, 31 January 2014


In the lull after Christmas, when all the presents were done, I was looking round for a new project and fell in love with a sheep. The serious reason was that I was intrigued how he was so fluffy, so I've set to and made one which eventually got finished last night. The main shape is just double crochet, which didn't take long, but once stuffed and together the fiddly tedious bit began. Its really only a huge series of 8 chains joined to the main shape with a single crochet every other stitch, and going roung and round from nose to tail, but it isn't as easy as it sounds - or wasn't for me. Anyway as far as the fleece goes I was quite pleased, and he's quite cuddly, so now I need to find him a home - I'm not quite yet at the collecting stuffed toys stage!