You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘family life’ category.

Hello everyone

Hope that you are all having a good week, as I told you in my earlier post we were having graduation this week and there was great excitement as we were joined for it by none other than HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, our new University Chancellor  :-)

I did think that he was probably going to be attending our ceremony as we had all been told to bring our staff photo ID and there were lots of police on campus.We were all very pleased when he arrived.

He was lovely, really friendly and relaxed, taking time to congratulate every one of the students as he shook their hands and my group were really thrilled.

Here he is on stage in the centre of this picture, you will have to believe me when I tell you that I am just out of shot to the left here, have been through every picture from our local paper’s news report and there is not one with me in, lots of all my colleagues but no actual evidence of me!!

Duke of York graduation 1

Here is another picture of him coping with our absolutely wonderful Yorkshire weather with howling gales and sideways rain , even the corporate umbrellas are folding under the strain :-)

Duke of York graduation 2

So that is the Prince news, the Princess one is that I am very, very pleased to be able to tell you that my lovely daughter Ellie, who secretly is a princess who wishes to live in a Disney castle, has got a new job!

I am so pleased as she has worked really hard to get this promotion with the National Trust and has had a lot of challenges at work this year, including arriving there last week to find water pouring into the Duke’s bedroom and she being the only member of staff on duty!

She is now the Chapel and Collections Steward at Clumber Park in Sherwood, she will be starting her new job at the beginning of December and will be moving house in a couple of weeks to a lovely apartment with 2 bedrooms – so finally she will have space for her own craft room!

One of the things she will be doing is having responsibility for this beautiful chapel, I  said it looks like a fabulous place for a photoshoot of me in medieval kit to which her response was something along the lines of having to be there at least a year before she introduces her mother the mad nun… can’t imagine what she means by that ;-)

Clumber Chapel

So two more lovely things in my lovely life, hope you have a great rest of the week and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

I can finally reveal the wedding outfit that I have been working on for so long as we celebrated my brother’s wedding this weekend. The jacket and shirt were finally finished with three days to go before the wedding!

We had a brilliant time, without a doubt one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to, full of personal touches from Ben and Amanda that made it really special and very memorable. There are not many weddings where the bride gets to drive a tractor as part of the day!

Amanda works at Oakwell Hall, a beautiful Tudor house and country park so most of the wedding took place there. They did have a short legal ceremony at the Registry office, here are all the family with them after signing the register.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 1

Amanda had chosen a gorgeous silk brocade for me to make the wedding jacket from, with black silk collar and cuffs. I also made a linen shirt and Amanda’s Mum stitched a blackwork acorn design on the collar and cuffs.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 17

Ben and Amanda's wedding 10

Ben and Amanda's wedding 11

Ben and Amanda's wedding 12

The most important part of the day for them was an exchange of rings in the woodland that is part of the parkland, Amanda helped to build the faith circle where we sat for that ceremony.

It was brilliant, starting with Amanda in her tractor leading all of the guests from the hall to the circle where we were all given bubbles to blow as the bride arrived.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 7

Here are the kids and their cousins Sam and Sarah enjoying the bubbles.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 8

The ceremony featured wooden rings that Ben and Amanda had made themselves and very moving vows where they promised to be each others ‘forever friends’ and go on adventures together.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 9

We had all been asked to wear wellies or colourful boots for that part of the ceremony so here are mine, my sister Jackie’s and Ellie’s boots in the leaves.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 13

Ben and Amanda's wedding 14

Ben and Amanda's wedding 15

The reception took place in the barn which had been decorated with bunting made by Amanda’s Mum Eileen and sister Kate. Ben and Amanda love wood-turning and had made all of the serving platters for the cheeses as well as a mushroom for each guest as a wedding favour.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 4

Ben and Amanda's wedding 3

It was Ben’s 50th birthday as well as their wedding and so they had a woodland cake with models of their two cats on and a wedding cheese cake, they also made all of these little mice to decorate the cakes.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 2

Ben and Amanda's wedding 16

The evening ended with a fantastic firework display, one of Ben’s favourite things.

A wonderful day made all the more special by the fact that they did everything themselves, with help from friends and family, from the food to the decorating all of it was very much the way they wanted it to be.

This is one of my favourite pictures from the day, Ben in a very fetching apron serving the canapés!

Ben and Amanda's wedding 6

The kids have gone home now so it is all very quiet and I am looking forward to a very relaxing afternoon catching up with some Christmas stitching. Have a happy week ahead, see you soon and thanks for visiting.

Our Christmas treat this year was a visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tours which involved a lot of driving around Watford for Ellie (which she managed very well – at one point it took us 20 minutes to go 800 feet!).

We had a very lovely time visiting the exhibition of props and sets from the films. We are now embarking on a Harry Potterthon and are watching all 8 films over Christmas.

The scale of the props needed was really brought home to us, from the volume of costumes for 8 films with a large cast and the amount of things that had been built, including sets of the rooms from the castle.

Dumbledore’s office was particularly spectacular, the many items that could not be bought so were made from scratch and the amazing detail of everything. Even the things that were only in the background of a shot were all beautiful.

Here are some of my favourite things.

The Banqueting Hall dressed for Christmas

Harry Potter

An Ice Sculpture from the Yule Ball

Harry Potter 2

The Clock and Pendulum

Harry Potter 3

A case full of curios in Dumbledore’s office

Harry Potter 4

The memories store in Dumbledore’s office – modelled on a chalice with so many beautiful tiny bottles

Harry Potter 5

Clocks and curios in the Prop store

Harry Potter 6

Lots of wands – all individually designed

Harry Potter 7

The Potions classroom – beautiful bottles with magic ingredients!

Harry Potter 8

Jake playing the role of Hagrid (well he is nearly tall enough!) rescuing Ellie from Privet Drive

Harry Potter 9

The wonderful model of the castle, all covered in snow.

Harry Potter 10

Harry Potter 11

It was well worth a visit and a lovely couple of days away – Ellie is now a lot better at parking in multi-storeys than she was :-)

Hope you are having a nice weekend. I am having a lovely relaxing yet creative one but just thought I would show you a few pictures from the lovely (sunny!) Jazz Festival last week.

You may remember the event last year was very, very wet so it was a real pleasure to have brilliant sunshine all weekend – in October, in Yorkshire.

It also put paid to all those comments about, ‘why don’t we have the festival at some other time of year’. As if you can ever guarantee nice weather in England!

Here are some pictures of the parade (courtesy of our local paper’s website ) with the brilliant Tongues of Fire – loved that machine, very steam punk!

Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival 2

Jazz Festival 3

Jazz Festival 6

Jazz Festival 7

Jazz Festival 8

And this is a great picture of my lovely friend Bob who plays with several excellent bands including The Graham Browning Trio and String-fellows.

Jazz Festival

I managed to get away from my box office duties for a little bit to see the lovely Sugar Sisters and had a boogie to the late night band Bugalu Foundation who were excellent. Will definitely look out for future gigs from them.

Am finishing off the Christmas present aprons with the hexi design on the front and making a patchwork washbag this weekend in between stitching more hexis for future projects.

Hopefully I will be able to show you some completed stuff before I leave for Spain next Friday – I have lots of spa and Jacuzzi visits planned :-)

I am also doing some cooking – experimenting with muffins again and I have made some chocolate and orange ones with passionfruit curd inside (curd courtesy of the National Trust shop). I can safely say they are delicious and will not be around for long.

Also am planning to make some spinach and feta rolls tomorrow from this recipe to use up more of my veg box delivery.

I do love weekends at home! Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello there

The title of this blog post needs to be sung really as I am doing in my head, another wet Saturday here in Yorkshire, pity as it was so lovely earlier in the week and I was planning a little jaunt. However more time for blogging, knitting and baking :-)

This is a catch up post really (on the grounds that there are no finishes to show at present) and I have been meaning to post a couple of things for a while.

Firstly my very talented friend Helen (she of the quilts) is also making other things including these cute bunnies just in time for Easter.
She will have some for sale through her Etsy shop at some point for £6.50 but if you are interested please go and visit her at the new blog she has.

Helen's bunny

And I have been meaning to post some pics of Ellie as a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding. I just got the disc from her so here she is looking very lovely.

The baby in the photo is the friend’s little daughter Lizzie who I made a bridesmaid bunny for, you can see the bunny on one of the present tables in the last picture.

Ellie bridesmaids

Ellie - bridesmaid 2

Ellie - bridesmaid 3

There will be no blogging for the next couple of weeks as we are off on holiday ;-)

My lovely Mum will be here next weekend (it is her birthday on Friday) and then we are off to Bavaria (or Bearvaria as Jake keeps calling it – think he is expecting to see some bears) for a week of visiting medieval towns and castles. Very much looking forward to it and as usual will take lots of photos!

See you soon, thanks as always for visiting.

Hello and happy Mother’s Day for all of you in the UK. I have (virtually) met lots of brilliant, creative and dedicated Mums through blogging and I hope that you have all been thoroughly spoilt today.

Here we have a double celebration as my little baby Ellie is 23 today! Seems impossible but time is flying by.

I made her a special cake – which we had at breakfast as she had to leave this afternoon!

Ellie's birthday cake

She is very happy at the moment as she has not only passed her driving test (second time around with only 1 fault) but has also this week bought a car :-)

She is practising at the moment but she is planning to drive to some of the events this year with me so that will be very exciting! She has also had a year’s extension on her contract so all is good :-)

Here is the car – it is called Kim after its number plate! Can’t wait to have some fun trips to re-enactment in it.

Ellie's car

I had some great presents and flowers from the kids including these very pretty button jars that Ellie made for me – perfect in my newly sorted craft room and loads of gorgeous buttons for embellishments!

Mother's day buttons

While we were having our sewing weekend a few weeks ago she was sorting some of the stuff that she left here and came across this pump bag that I made her while she was at school. This was the name band that I stitched for her.

Ellie's pump bag 1

Ellie's pump bag 2

She must have been about 8 when I made it. A that time I was doing a lot of cross stitch and made lots of cards using little motifs like these.

There has also been another bunny from the production line, this one is Isabella and she will be going to live with a friend from re-enactments new-born baby daughter.

Isabella bunny

Am very happy at the moment as it is nearly the start of the re-enactment season, I am going on holiday very soon with Mum and the kids to Bavaria and the clocks have gone forward so there will be lighter evenings! Hurrah for Spring and Summer to follow… lovely!

Hope you have had a happy day, take care and thanks for visiting.

I do very much love being an empty nester (not that I don’t love my kids dearly and look forward to their visits) but one of the great joys of having my own space is that I have a craft room.

That along with the need not to spend weekends shopping, cooking, cleaning and washing means I have physical,temporal and mental space to create which is wonderful!

However there are some downsides particularly when you are trying to put together IKEA flat pack furniture on your own. The storage units I bought did come with a warning!

Old craft room 3

I managed in the end but they are not actually screwed together at the bottom as I couldn’t get the last side to fit.

One is missing one screw the other two but gravity seems to be keeping them stable and when Jake is home as Easter I will get him to apply a bit of brute force to see if I can sort it.

I did sort out the craft room when I first moved in using storage I already had.

Old craft-room 4

But unfortunately the CD racks that I had been using as fabric storage fell over (once on my head which was a bit painful!) and the shelving units were very old and unstable and always looked cluttered.

I also got rid of the wooden chest I had there leaving me nowhere to store the small (ahem) amount of fabric for medieval kit that I have.

And I have been buying a bit more fabric since I moved in so was running out of space and rather than being the calm wonderful creative space I wanted it was a mess.

However there has been a transformation.

This was yesterday morning.

Old craft room

Old craft room 2

And this is the finished result.

New craft room 3

New craft room 2

The shelves with baskets and the lovely heart pinboard were bargains from local charity shops. It does still need painting and more pictures putting up but that will be a job for the holidays.

I still have one tall storage unit on the other side with all the small boxes but now all of the fabric is together so that I can see what I have got. I found fabric for a new blue peasant dress yesterday that I vaguely remembered buying but thought had wandered off :-)

More importantly I have got a cutting table which is much better than crawling about on the floor!

So this afternoon I will be enjoying the fruits of my labour finishing off a little project for a birthday.

Oh and you see that pile of quilts next to the cutting area? No I haven’t been mega productive recently, they are made by my very talented friend Helen here in the village.

New craft room

She has been stash busting recently and has very kindly made these to donate to a children’s orphanage that my Mum supports in Spain. Will share pics of those later.

Do have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting!

Hello there

I have had a lovely time this weekend with some of my very good friends in a beautiful lodge in Sherwood Forest.

Sherwood girls 2

These are some of the women I have known since my kids were little and we usually have a weekend away every year. This year it was a lovely lodge with a jacuzzi :-)

Sherwood girls 4

Sherwood girls 3

We had a couple of very nice walks, saw some interesting mushrooms and ate lots of yummy food and relaxed.A thoroughly lovely time with great company.

Sherwood girls weekend

Sherwood girls 5

Sherwood girls 6

Hope that you had a nice time whatever you did, thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

I am celebrating as one year ago today I moved into my little house here in Marsden.

I have had a brilliant year here, I have never been happier living anywhere and I am so glad I made the move (and that it finally happened after all the delays last summer!)

I have made so many new friends including all the lovely people at my new knitting group, have really great,friendly neighbours and permanently feel like I am on holiday!

I have had a very nice quiet summer unlike the previous two where I was getting the house ready to put it on the market, then packing up and finally moving so I have really, really appreciated the lack of stress.

I have spent most of my free time when not away at events in my favourite place in the house, my crafting sofa with all the photos of my friends from re-enactment.

Houseaversary - sofa

I sit here looking out of the window at my neighbours’ lovely flowers.

Houseaversary - neighbours

I have also been admiring my new planting like this gorgeous lily just blooming and looking up at the hills that I can see from the back of my house. The heather is turning purple at the moment so it all looks fantastic.

Houseaversary - lily

Houseaversary - heather

These are a few of my best Marsden memories from the first year here.

Lots of walks to the reservoirs in the sunshine, am looking forward to many more of these in the off-season.


The snow and sledging with the kids – fantastic fun.

Houseaversary - snow 1

Houseaversary - snow 2

The sheep, even though they do occasionally eat my flowers I love seeing them, these pics were taken in the Spring on my way home from work – what a lovely sight at the end of the day!

Houseaversary - sheep 1

Houseaversary - sheep 2

A few years ago I wanted to make a major change to be able to spend less time working and more doing the things I love, wishing to set up my own sewing business.

Sadly that wasn’t possible as life intervened but I now feel that I do have most of what I wanted back then, even though in a different place and under different circumstances.

If I had done that I would have missed out on living here and going to teach in China which has been one of the most fantastic experiences of my life so I am very happy at the way that things have turned out.

This print is in my kitchen, it was a house-warming present to myself and I would add that you can’t buy happiness but living in a beautiful home in a beautiful place with lovely people does really help.

Houseaversary - wine pic

I am spending my houseaversary doing all things domestic, have just baked apple cake for Jake and will be spending most of the day knitting bunnies while watching my new favourite addiction.

I have become a big fan of The Great British Bake Off. Series 4 has just started and while I have been unable to find previous series online I have found the Australian version which is just as exciting (if you like baking!). Am going to pick up new bread recipes for Autumn when I start soup making again.

Oh and one more little bunny update – I added some lace to Emily’s socks – what do you think, cute or what? They remind me of the socks Ellie had when she was little.

Emily Bunny dress 2 - shoes

Hope you are having a great weekend and thanks for visiting.


I have just got back from a very lovely trip all the way to the very south of the UK (6 hours each way on the train) to go the christening of my cousin’s second daughter.

You may remember that she was born last summer shortly before my lovely Nana died, her eighth great-grandchild, and named Alice Evelyn in her honour. Neil and Vicky her parents very kindly asked me to be her godmother so Mum and I went all the way to Plymouth yesterday.

It was a great trip, staring out the window at all the lambs in the green fields and seeing all the blossom on the trees makes you realise what a beautiful country we live in, especially the last part of the trip from Exeter going along the coast. I love trains so this was a real treat for me!

We had a really lovely time spending last night at Neil and Vicky’s house which I have not visited before.

I did not see very much of my cousins when we were growing up but we have spent a lot more time together in the last few years, mainly in Spain, and I really enjoy their company and it was very precious family time.

A friend of mine recently posted a joke picture on Facebook saying we are ‘nillionaires’ meaning having no money to which I replied that they are rich in the things that count as they have two little girls of a similar age to my cousin’s children.

I deeply believe that what counts in life is family and friends and I am so lucky to have wonderful, close supportive people both relatives and those who are my ‘adopted’ family.

Nothing is more important than the people you love and helping and supporting them which is why I was so pleased to be asked to be Alice’s godmother.

The christening itself was held at HMS Drake which is the Naval base in Plymouth as Neil is in the Navy and so we had the service in the chapel on the base which was very lovely, dating from 1908.

The service was very High Church which I love, incense and sung prayers and then we had the lunch in the mess hall in the Wardroom with the most amazing model ships hanging from the ceiling and Sir Francis Drake’s sword in a display case at the back of the room!

Here is a slideshow of the church and mess room.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Free slideshow generated with Smilebox

My christening present to Alice was this little sampler – adapted from a wedding sampler from a recent Just Cross Stitch magazine. It is stitched with white cotton on evenweave.

Christening sampler

Christening sampler 2

Christening sampler 3

Thank you so much for visiting – we will be at Harewood House this coming weekend for their medieval event so fingers crossed for lovely weather!

November 2015
« Oct    

Blog Stats

  • 231,242 hits
Follow Stitchesoftime's Weblog on

Stitches of Time Facebook


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 148 other followers