Hello again

Just popped in to share with you some things from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz’s blog. I am really enjoying stitching her designs and the bad weather and poorly chest have meant that on the positive side I have got two more stitch designs done this week, just need to do the finishing then I can show them to you.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Jenny has designed a lovely bird with flowers, not as a fund-raiser but as a gift to anyone you know who is facing breast, or other cancers as a gift for support. It would also make a lovely gift for anyone who is having a hard time at the moment for any reason and can be personalised with any text.

ELEFANTZ DESIGNS booby bird BC awareness 2015 d

You can find the details at this blog post and download the design at her Craftsy store.

She is also encouraging us all to use handmade gifts this Christmas, I am definitely very much in favour of that and hope that you all are too. If you don’t craft yourself then find a local craft fair or look on Etsy  to support a craftsperson.

ELEFANTZ homemade stitched with heartstrings button

Jenny is doing a series of posts with great ideas for Christmas gifts that you can easily make from a variety of crafts. The first one is here and has links to free patterns for slippers, scrappy hearts, table runners, bags and baby gifts.

She has asked people to join in and share ideas for gifts so here is a tutorial from Very Berry Handmade, (purveyors of the lovely Liberty scrap packs), for a pincushion, because I love pincushions and everyone should have one, (or preferably more!) Picture from the Verry Berry blog.

Verry Berry pincushion

The tutorial is very clear with step by step photos and would be a great way of using scraps. You could also make this into a mug rug or coaster set.

Have fun whatever you decide to make, see you soon and thanks for visiting.

As regular readers know I do love buying books, am trying to be good about buying novels as I have so many to read already but the temptation of Amazon is hard to resist!

However I have allowed myself the purchase of two lovely books by bloggers that I am going to use as Christmas presents.

One is from the lovely Nana Company blog  by Amy Sinibaldi and is something that I had my eye on for a while.

The Sweetly Stitched Handmades  has got so many lovely ideas in for using Liberty and linen and some great gift ideas.

new books Oct

This bear cushion is one of my favourites, isn’t that brilliant! Such a simple idea but so cute.

new books Oct 2

I also really love the spot trivet, there have been lots of these on social media and they are all gorgeous.

new books Oct 3

And look, stacked hexi flowers! What a great idea.

new books Oct 4

The other book was one from a new blog to me, Why Not Sew?, where Erin makes lovely vintage inspired quilts.

I found her blog and her book through Crazy Quilt Mom’s pincushion party where she had made the cutest little bird pincushion and really loved the book Sweet Treats , you can see everything that is in the book at this post here.

All of the designs feature cute little birds and these are some of my favourite ones. Isn’t her stitching so good, especially love that last one with the umbrella!

new books Oct 5

new books Oct 6

new books Oct 7

new books Oct 8

new books Oct 9

Am making good progress with all my WIPs, lots of things got halted because of the need to make kit for people, the things for Yarndale and the wedding outfit but am now back on with the block of the month challenge that we had set ourselves.

I completed May’s block this weekend and an extra one to use up the fabric I had so that I can make the first 6 blocks into a lap quilt as a Christmas present.

I will then start on the blocks from June which will be a second lap quilt using some gorgeous fabric I bought at the Birmingham Quilt Festival.

I am really enjoying our challenge, even though I am so behind, and it is definitely making me more confident with my quilting skills, my piecing is far more accurate and we have done some blocks that I would never have attempted on my own.

Pictures when I have put it together as a quilt top, hopefully some time in the next week. Have a lovely week ahead whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Hello there, hope that you are all well and happy and are doing something nice.

I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend of sewing, I have just finished up two more Christmas ornaments and have a present to finish later and then just may have a play with the latest addition to my retirement fund.

I saw three ladies at the Birmingham Festival of Quilts who had brilliant t-shirts on with the logo, ‘I have a retirement plan, I plan to quilt’. I always tell the kids that one of the reasons I buy fabric now is so that I will have enough when I am living on my pension, well it won’t go off will it?

I would not have bought this were it not for my friend Debbie who came to knitting with this lovely and incredibly cheap fabric from our local haberdashers, only £2.20 a metre, you just have to buy some at that price!

Xmas fabric oct 15

Xmas fabric oct 15 3

Xmas fabric oct 15 4

Xmas fabric oct 15 5

Then there was this that was a little bit more expensive, (so I only bought 1/4 metre lengths of this), the latest Makower print.

Xmas fabric oct 15 1

It is going to be the best sort of weekend as it is followed by half term, (yippee :-) :-) !) I am not off anywhere as I saw all the family last weekend but am working from home for most of it that so that means late starts and early finishes and lots of time for nice cooking and crafting.

I am very much in soup mode at the moment as I have had a horrible cough and cold and not felt like eating much else so have purchased the pumpkin for the annual soup!

Sadly it is raining which means that I won’t be going out, but more excuse to stay on the sofa, under the fleece and sew – what a lovely life.

Here are the Christmas ornaments that I finished yesterday, another one of Jenny of Elefantz’s wonderful designs, this is an adaptation of one of the designs in the Nov Stitchery Club set.

Elefantz Christmas Hearts stitchery

I altered the little flag to say Merry Christmas and am very pleased how neat the little letters have come out, Jenny’s designs are great for practising neat stitches. Just ignore those bits that aren’t so neat at the bottom of the bird ;-)

Xmas bird ornie 1

Xmas bird ornie 2

Xmas bird ornie 3

The little brass charm is from Stitch Direct.

I think these would look great in redwork stitching with that Makower snowflake fabric above so that might have to be my next set.

I have also treated myself to this book, it has been on my Amazon wishlist for a long time and once I have finished all the outstanding block of the month challenges, which I am hoping to do this week, I will be making a couple of runners for my house.

Xmas blocks book

Xmas blocks book 2

I have taken the decision not to do any craft fairs this year, what with making stuff for Sarah’s Yarndale stall and the wedding outfit and the possible trip to China with work that sadly did not happen, I felt that I would be too rushed so all my Christmas crafting this year will be for me!

I have already made most of the gift ornaments, that’s what you get for starting in July lol.

Have a very lovely weekend, thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

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.

Hello everyone

Hope you are all ok, it is a beautiful sunny morning here in Yorkshire and I am looking forward to a lovely weekend of sewing and crafting.

This is the weekend to finish the wedding jacket and make the shirt and I am hosting another crafternoon tomorrow for friends from knitting group to work on Christmas ornaments.

I have been working very hard on all of my stitched things for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale and managed to finish everything just in time last Friday for her to pack up the car and head off. She and Sharon had a great time which I am so glad about, Sarah has worked so hard for this.

Here they all are at Yarndale with the stall, (picture copyright to Sarah).

Sarah and Sharon at Yarndale

She sold a lot of her brilliant book of Elven inspired designs and also some of my things sold as well which is lovely. I was actually hoping that not all of them would sell out, partly as I want some of the stuff for me and for Christmas presents!

If you would like a copy of the book you can get one from Sarah’s website Alder Sign Designs  or individual patterns are available from her Ravelry shop as well.

You will have already seen work in progress pictures of all of these pincushions and needle books but here they all are on my little display stand.

Sarah said it looked really good on her stall and brought people in to have a look at everything else which is nice.

Yarndale 6

Just peeking out behind that are the larger needle cases I made, I my haste I didn’t take pictures of the fronts of these but they had the same large Liberty hexagons on as the rolled ones.

I made two knitting needle cases for circular needles and accessories and two knitting needle rolls for circular needles, I have seen lots available for straight needles but wanted something for circulars now I have learnt to use them.

Yarndale stuff

Yarndale 4

Yarndale 5

As you can see I have been taking full advantage of my new sewing machine’s lovely embroidery stitches for all of these things.

I love my new machine so much and am really looking forward to using it more over the autumn and winter. I have so many lovely quilting projects planned!

The last two accessories cases were for scissors and tape measures.

Yarndale 2

Yarndale 3

I am also counting these as project number 12 on my 2015 Sewing Bucket List which is a bag.

Right off to do some more work now then later a bit of cutting out of the jacket lining. Have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Am having a lovely weekend sewing, Jake has gone back to Uni so it is very quiet here now.

I am just finishing off the last few bits for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale next week but have popped in to share with you the very exciting news that her book of designs is being published and is available for pre-order.

Sarah's book Front-Cover

Not only does it have some stunning designs in it, Sarah is hugely talented and very creative and there are some beautiful things, it also features my lovely daughter Ellie with elf ears!

She was very, very excited to be asked to model for this, (unaccustomed as she is to having her photo taken of course), and had a brilliant day with the other two models, my friends Suzi and Helen from knitting group, in a local park which has a lot of dells filled with ferns and made a brilliant setting for the designs.

There is a little video showing the location and an outtake from the shoot here – the girls challenging their inner Charlie’s Angels!

Unfortunately the elf ears had to be added post -production as the make – up artist was not available that day but she looks fab in them.

I think this is my favourite picture of Ellie.

Ellie as an elf

Though this one is very lovely too – she is actually wearing one of my flower head dresses in this picture ;-)

Ellie as an elf

So go and take a look at all the wonderful designs in the full book – it is available on Ravelry and on Sarah’s Alder Sign website, it would make a lovely Christmas present for a knitty friend.

I can’t wait until my wrist is better and I can start knitting again. I think I am going to make a shawl like this beautiful one modelled by Suzi, or maybe a jumper for Ellie as she did request one of the ones she had modelled.

Suzi as an elf

Copyright for all pictures belongs to Sarah.

I am going to be having a lovely day again today, more sewing in front of the TV and it is Channel 5’s, ‘End of the World Weekend’, with lots of disaster movies. I do love a good disaster movie :-)

As long it is not really the end of the world as that would be sad, given the amount of work that Sarah has put into her book ;-) and the fact that Ellie and her best friend from Uni are going to Spain tomorrow for a very hard-earned week of R and R in the sun.

Hopefully we still all be here next week, I have a busy week ahead as the trainees are in all week so little crafting time but lots of fun planned around that.

Have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

Hope that you have all had a good week. It has been a busy one for me and very little crafting is being done at present, partly due to the start of term but also I am trying to rest my wrist as I still have a problem with tendonitis which is quite painful.

However I have lots of photos from trips out over the last few months, mostly involving lovely textiles so I thought we could look at some of those over the next few posts instead!

Sharon and I recently visited Cannon Hall House and Gardens. We used to go there a lot when the kids were little as they have an excellent farm but had never been in the house.

The reason for our visit was an exhibition of costume from the Downton Abbey TV series.

There were some really lovely pieces, starting with some of the very simple outfits worn by the cook and Lady Sybil in her role as an Army nurse.

Downton costume - Cook

Downton costume - Sybil

But then they got more elaborate. It was lovely to see them in the room settings with the all important afternoon tea laid for Lady Violet, I did love her character, she was so witty with her put downs!

Downton costumes

Downton costume - Lady Violet and Lady Sybil

The daughter’s costumes were beautiful, but they were all so tiny, they must have only been size 6 or 8.

Two of these ones in the drawing-room were made for the series.

Downton costume - young ladies and housemaid

This one was an original 1920’s dress and was worn by Lady Sybil in the series.

Downton costume - Sybil original

Though the below stairs costumes were very plain the housemaids who would be in the family rooms had some pretty detail on their aprons.

Downton costume- housemaid

And for serving dinner they had lovely black dresses and lace aprons.

Downton costume - evening maid

Though nowhere near the glamour of the dresses worn by Lady Sybil, Lady Edith and Lady Mary. I love these, ‘new fashion, looser more unstructured gowns.

Having worn corsets and very restraining dresses in my medieval roles I can really appreciate how the women must have felt to be able to wear this rather than the Edwardian costume of their parents and grandparents.

Downton costume - evening gowns

I always love seeing the laundries at old houses as well, when I was little my grandmother had a tub with a mangle, it did plus in so the water was heated by electric but I used to love using the mangle!

Downton costume - laundry

Sharon and I ended the day with visits to a couple of garden centres and of course some afternoon tea and cake!

I think I could easily live the life of a Downtown Abbey daughter, not that I don’t appreciate all that feminism has done for us but lots of time to read, embroider and take afternoon tea, I think I could cope with that ;-)

Meanwhile I shall content myself with organising Crafternoon Teas for my friends – we have another one coming up in a few weeks so chance to get the cake stand out again.

Hope that you have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone, hope that you had a nice weekend, mine was very productive, a lovely and not too damp walk with Ted where I picked lots of blackberries for crumbles and lots of sewing on the wedding jacket.

It is very beautiful material to work with, silk brocade, a change from my usual linen.

As regular readers will know I love adding charms to my stitched pieces so I thought that I would show you some of the some of the charms I have bought recently and finishes for Sarah’s stall.

I sent some pictures of my finished, ‘A Stitch in Time’, paper piecing case to Jenny of Elefantz and she really liked the clock charm, there were lots of these at the recent Steampunk event and I bought some more from the market there as well as some dragonflies to add to some of the flower designs she does.

charms - owl and clocks

Also got these beautiful keys, when we go and visit National Trust houses they often have displays of keys and these are so lovely.


I have bought lots of little charms to go on stitched gifts, I now have ones that say, ‘I love …..’, for knitting sewing and quilting.

I got most of the sewing and snowflake ones from this Etsy seller, Bohemian Findings, she has one of the best selections I have seen.

Another supplier I have used is DIY Club – also on Etsy.

charms - scissors

These ones below are for use on the Christmas ornaments, I have two sets so that I can use pairs on the baubles I make.

charms- snowflakes

These are the needle/pin books I have made to match the pincushions for Sarah’s Yarndale stall.

Liberty needlebooks 1

needlebook close up

I found some very cute button headed pins to add to my stock of novelty pins so have added a few and a charm. I got these from Glitz and Pieces on Amazon.

I am never sponsored by any of the suppliers I link to, I just do it because I know I like to know where people get things from, I have seen some very cute bird headed pins on a blog recently and need to find them next!

Liberty needlebooks 7

needlebook charm

The new term starts tomorrow with a new group of teacher trainees, I do like autumn, even though there is a sense of things finishing for me it is all about new possibilities.

Plus the planning of trips and activities for the off-season, I have lots and lots of crafting related stuff planned for this coming year which will be lovely :-)

Take care and have a nice rest of the week, see you all again soon and thanks for visiting.

I think my favourite time in re-enactment is the end of the first day of an event, especially when it is sunny and you have had a good day when everything has gone to plan and both re-enactors and the public have enjoyed themselves.

Then you can look forward to a relaxing evening, maybe have a BBQ, sit round the camp fire and visit the beer tent later on. All lovely with the added prospect of another event day tomorrow.

These photos below were taken at the end of Saturday at the Caldicot show last weekend. Caldicot was my first ever large re-enactment event and that is where I fell in love with doing this.

We are so lucky to be able to do this and be in lovely places full of beauty and history.

The castle is a magical place, especially when the evening sun is shining on it and I was just wandering round taking pictures of people relaxing outside their tents, or in the case of the Battle of the Nations group doing a bit of sword training.

Caldicot 2015

Caldicot 2

Caldicot 3

Caldicot 4

Caldicot 5

Caldicot 6

Caldicot 8

Caldicot 9

Caldicot 10

The view from the top of the tower was brilliant, thanks to all of the groups who camped inside the castle with their living history displays, it really does bring the castle to life.

Caldicot 11

Caldicot 12

I have been helping to organise this event for the last few years and along with Ellie will be organising it again next year, this was our last show for this year and a great way to end the season.

It has been a very variable year in terms of weather, Caldicot being the only show where we have not come home with a wet tent, but still brilliant fun.

Our group, Swords of Mercia, have done more shows for English Heritage than previous years and got good feedback from all of them and hopefully we will get the chance to do those shows again next year.

We have had lots of sitting round campfires, discussing armour and kit, all the new things the boys have bought or want to, and all the things we have made or are going to make.

As usual we have promised to be more organised for next season and make sure that all kit is made well in advance. We shall see if that actually happens!

So I still have a couple of bits of tent to dry, it is raining here at the moment but I am hopefully it will dry up later. Am taking Ted for a walk in a bit and then will be sewing up the wedding jacket :-)

Hope that you have a lovely weekend planned and thanks for visiting.

You may know how much I like pincushions, I love making them, (here is a link to a post with some that I have made), I love using them and love looking for inspiration for them on Pinterest.

Well one of my favourite bloggers – Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts  has just released her first line of fabric called Good Neighbours and to celebrate she is having a pincushion party!

What a brilliant idea – I have been visiting the first few on the party circuit and they are all very lovely.

Here is the list  from Amanda’s blog if you would like to go and have a look, lots of lovely ideas and they make fab Christmas presents for stitching and knitting friends.

Date Blogger Name Blog URL
9/1/2015 Amanda Jean http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com/
9/2/2015 Anna http://www.noodle-head.com/
9/3/2015 Mary http://maryonlakepulaski.blogspot.com/
9/4/2015 Svetlana http://sotakhandmade.blogspot.com/
9/5/2015 Debbie http://www.eschhousequilts.com/
9/6/2015 Holly http://www.bijoulovelydesigns.com/
9/7/2015 Carla http://carla-graceandfavour.blogspot.com/
9/8/2015 Faith www.FreshLemonsQuilts.com
9/9/2015 Vanessa http://www.vanessachristenson.com/
9/10/2015 Anna http://www.thimbleanna.com/
9/11/2015 Krista http://poppyprintcreates.blogspot.com/
9/12/2015 Erin http://whynotsew.blogspot.com/
9/13/2015 Lee http://www.maychappell.com/
9/14/2015 Alex http://teaginnydesigns.blogspot.com/
9/15/2015 Cheryl http://naptimequilter.blogspot.com/
9/16/2015 Penny http://sewtakeahike.typepad.com/
9/17/2015 Amy http://duringquiettime.com/
9/18/2015 Debbie http://aquilterstable.blogspot.com/
9/19/2015 Anne http://www.springleafstudios.com/
9/20/2015 Melissa Corry http://www.happyquiltingmelissa.com/
9/21/2015 Amber http://www.oneshabbychick.typepad.com/
9/22/2015 Nettie http://aquiltisnice.blogspot.com/
9/23/2015 Adrianne http://www.littlebluebell.com/
9/24/2015 Cindy http://www.liveacolorfullife.net/
9/25/2015 Amy http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/
9/26/2015 Chase http://quarterinchmark.blogspot.com/
9/27/2015 Rene http://www.renecreates.com/
9/28/2015 Erin http://www.houseonhillroad.com/
9/29/2015 Nicole http://modernhandcraft.com/
9/30/2015 Teri http://blog.connectingthreads.com/

Here are a couple on my wish list to make – look at this pretty daisy one with a tutorial here – this is a Russian site but the pictures explain it well.

Daisy pincushion

This one just has to be one of the cutest ones on the planet! The tutorial is here.


Have just finished one of the knitting needle cases for Sarah’s stall, pleased with the design and with the cute stitching I have used from my lovely new machine! Updates of all of that later, I have so much lovely stuff to blog about, been a very good week!

At least I will have lots to share with you when term starts in a couple of weeks and things get very hectic and no crafting gets done :-(

Take care and thanks for visiting.

December 2015
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