Joining in again

Hello again, more things that you might want to consider joining for your crafty entertainment this year.

The first is from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz and is her new free Block of the Month embroidery. As you know I am already a member of Jenny’s Stitch Club so I get loveliness every month but this is for everyone. Photo from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ gentle domesticity button

The theme this year is Gentle Domesticity and there is a free block published on the 5th of each month, that stays free for the rest of that month before being sold in her Craftsy shop, where she has loads of other gorgeous designs as well.

The great thing about Jenny’s designs is that can all be personalised and made into gifts so that you can use them for all sorts of things which is why I love them so much. I love adding names or my own messages to her work.

This is the January block, I love the house and heart together and this would make a lovely housewarming gift for someone. Photo from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ gentle domesticity BOM block 1 jan 2015

The next one I want to share with you I originally found about from Jenny’s page and this looks amazing.

It is called The Splendid Sampler and is no less than 100 blocks by 83 designers which are all free in a mystery block of the month.

The-Splendid-Sampler-Sew-Along-big-button

The designers include so many brilliant people, including Jenny and lots of other people whose blogs I follow so this looks like an excellent project. I love the fact that the some of the blocks will be embroidery and English Paper Piecing as well.

Of course I will be saving the block information rather than trying to make two blocks a week but there should be some lovely stuff here :-)

All this excitement starts on the 14th Feb with two 6 inch block designs released each week.

They have already released a design for a block case which you can find on the Splendid Sampler website here. Photo from the web site.

Splendid sampler block case

This very useful case not only keeps a ruler safe but also lets you audition fabrics on the inside section and keep fabric and completed blocks safe. Photo from the web site as before.

Splendid sampler block case - interior

There is also a Facebook group and so far 7740 people have joined that, there are some lovely fabric pictures of peoples choices to drool over at the moment.

According to the poll there are 8 of us from Yorkshire doing it, not thought about any fabric yet as I will probably do blocks in different choices depending on design and purpose.

Isn’t it lovely that social media lets us do all these exciting things. And to think I once said to a friend when he explained what the internet was back in about 1994, ‘no I don’t think I’ll be using that…can’t really see the point’. Ha ha, how wrong I was!

Well I will leave you and get back to some actual crafting, Ellie and Kerry are due later for a visit and we have a Fire Festival in the village tonight as well.Thanks very much for visiting and see you all soon.

Lovely presents

Hello everyone

I have been waiting a while to get some good pictures of the great things I got for Christmas this year.We had a nice sunny day yesterday so I was able to get pictures of my new craft room treats.

You may remember me saying that I had bought a sewing machine themed cotton reel holder and had the matching hook set on my wish list, well guess what my lovely children bought me for Christmas!

Xmas presents 1

This was a total surprise and I was delighted, Ellie said she thought the link on my blog was a hint but it was just really for me to remember where it was from as it was quite expensive and I was going to save up for it. So thank you brilliant children :-)

I am using it at the moment to hang bags from and on it is another one of my gifts on it, this knitting bag on the left from my brother Ben and his (now wife!) Amanda.

Xmas presents 2

The girls at knitting all thought that we should get t-shirts with this on as it is so true! They got this from Not On The High Street.

Xmas presents 3

My lovely friend Kerry always gets my great gifts and this year she bought me this diary from my wish list. Look at all the quilty joy that is in here.

Xmas presents 4

This rainbow quilt is brilliant and I love the look of the rail fence cushions.

Xmas presents 5

Xmas presents 6

She also, ‘gifted’, me some fabric that she bought some years ago at Harrogate but has never used and I was very pleased.

I would be pleased with Christmas fabric anyway but there at the bottom is the red version of the gorgeous stuff I managed to get five fat quarters of last year at Harrogate.

Xmas presents 7

When I brought it home I was thinking how great it would be if I had some more of the red as well and now I have!

Not much crafting to share with you this week, mouse is still a WIP but I have recently finished another of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs, this one in the variegated thread again.

Elefantz heart stitching 1

I think the thickness of the thread looks really good with the flower design. The heart is cut from some batik.

Elefantz heart stitching 2

Am finishing off the mouse this weekend so will be knitting the cute ballet cardigan tomorrow then need to get some tulle for a tutu so that I can make it up next week.

Hope that you have a very enjoyable weekend, it has just started snowing here so I am staying snuggled under the fleece enjoying my hygge home!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

What I did on my holidays … or what I did in 2015

Hello everyone, inspired by lots of other people doing review of activities posts I thought that I would take a look back at what I managed in 2015.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, (except for the perennial one of doing less housework and more fun things), but do like thinking about what the year might bring.

I did set myself a number of goals for that year, 12 quilt blocks with our Block of the Month organised by Helen from knitting group, 26 books to be read and 17 sewing projects from the Sewing Bucket List.

I didn’t get any of them completed fully but on the positive side this means I still have things to work on for this year :-)

I finished 5 of the quilt blocks and have another one cut out but have been having a few issues with my new machine :-( so need to spend some time sorting that out before any serious quilt making happens.

I have enjoyed the challenge and it has made me a lot more accurate and confident about piecing and if I hadn’t been doing so much other sewing would have managed all of these.

I have read lots and lots of books this year but got diverted from the list so ended up only completing 11 out of the 26.

My current favourite diversion is my discovery of Debbie Macomber, I really enjoyed watching the adaptation of her Cedar Cove series on Netflix in the summer and as usual picked up a couple of her Blossom Street series in a charity shop in Spain recently and am now hooked! Appropriate for a series that starts with the story of a yarn shop.

Blossom street novel

Have ordered four more of these to take to Spain for my next holiday, yes Alison what happened to not buying any more books until all the ones you had were read?

As for the sewing list 7 out of 17 and again lots of other diversions off to stitch Jenny’s beautiful designs and to make lots of medieval kit and a couple of extra things for the sewing room.

Other things I accomplished not on the list, lots and lots of hexagon piecing, my favourites being the pincushions and needlecases with Liberty fabric.

And learning to knit in the round, the wristwarmers and the little knitted pincushions were my first success with this.

The discovery of Jenny’s embroidery which gave me lots of beautiful things to stitch, my favourite so far are her birds, this one is now in my craft room.

So challenges for 2016 then. Well to finish all these lists, to improve my skills at making quilt blocks.

I still have lots of lovely things I want to make for the craft room and think that single blocks to use as mini quilts is probably a better option than trying to make anything bigger.

2016 will definitely be a year of more embroidery and challenging myself to use different stitches.

As for knitting goals definitely lost more of Julie’s little animals, the mouse is coming along very well and love the speed at which I can complete them.

What about you, any challenges that you want to tackle in 2016?

Have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Tiny Norwegian Houses

Hello everyone, hope you are all well and planning a lovely weekend. The sun is shining here in Yorkshire and we have blue skies which is a bit of a miracle for January so a walk might be in the plans for later on.

I have always been fascinated by tiny places to live, I have plans to buy a caravan when I retire and some of my happiest homes have been small, bedsits and little flats.

I am currently loving the tiny house movement and all the gorgeous things that pop up on my Facebook feed.

Look at this one for sheer inventiveness, it looks like something out of a fairy tale. This comes from a company called Spa Hungary.

Tiny house resized

I have found lots of lovely pictures on this Tiny House blog as well, love the look of this cabin from the Isle of Wight.

small-beach-house-exterior resized

small-beach-house- exterior resized

When we were in Oslo my favourite houses at the Folk Museum were two tiny wooden houses from the early 1900s, built side by side.

The amazing thing about these was although they were probably only not much bigger in terms of floor area as modern tiny houses 9 people lived in one and 8 in the other.

As always it was the little touches that made it home that were so amazing, these houses had been moved to the museum so they were not the original belongings of the inhabitants but still so beautiful.

Three of the family slept in this tiny loft bedroom accessed by a ladder. The ‘bathroom’ was a small bowl and mirror tucked behind a curtain at the bottom of the stairs, and the toilet was out in the yard.

Norway Folk Museum small house 2

There were lots of space saving ides like these hangings for trays.

Norway Folk Museum small house 1

Norway Folk Museum small house 3

And evidence of beautiful embroidery to make the place feel like home.

Norway Folk Museum small house 4

Norway Folk Museum small house 5

Norway Folk Museum small house 6

Both of the houses had little sewing areas with vintage sewing machines. I have one just like this which has its own table to stow it in. Sadly it does not work anymore but is a very lovely heirloom.

Norway Folk Museum small house 7

Some of the family would sleep on the sofas in the lounge.

Norway Folk Museum small house 9

There were photos of some of the families that lived there, all in their Sunday best!

Norway Folk Museum small house 8

Norway Folk Museum small house 10

It may seem strange that people now willingly choose to live in tiny houses but I can see why this is such a good idea and most of the people doing it are choosing mortgage free lifestyles either as their first homes or as retirees.

I do love my own house but sometimes I think it seems very big for just me and is very full of ‘stuff’. Why do I need 10 wineglasses when at the most there are only ever 3 people in my house drinking wine at the same time?

Of course the contents of the craft room are exempt as that is not stuff, that is the retirement fund!

Have had a lovely week at work and also managed to get quite a bit of knitting done, all body parts for one rabbit completed and am now onto the mouse which is exciting as I have not made one of those before.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead, will be back with some pictures of the lovely presents I had for Christmas, craft related of course ;-)

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Norwegian Embroidery

Hello again

One of my favourite parts of the Oslo Folk Museum of course was the exhibition of traditional folk costume, the bunad, and some wonderful examples of the embroidery including Hardanger, a traditional type of whitework from Norway.

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 3

There were examples of wool embroidery on costumes and accessories.

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 2

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 5

These baby’s caps were a combination of wool and redwork embroidery.

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 4

There was also blackwork, excuse the fuzziness of the picture below but I wanted to show you amount of stitching on this beautiful head dress.

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 6

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 1

We also saw a bridal outfit like this one below and lots of the beautiful jewellery that is worn with the costume.

Norway Telemark Bridal Crown -small

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 7

There are more beautiful images of Norwegian bridal crowns here , it really struck me how much the head dresses and the silver jewellery resembled the Miao Chinese folk costume that I saw when I went to the Ethnicities Museum in Beijing.

Miao Chinese Folk Costume

We saw quite a few people wearing their traditional costume on Christmas Eve in Oslo, particularly in the cathedral where we went for the afternoon service.

This website has got lots of photos of people wearing their bunads at an event held at the Folk Museum in 2012.

They were also on sale in one of the department stores, with packs of ready prepared shirt material and embroidery patterns.

I was also very pleased as many years ago when we visited Sweden I bought some beautiful metal clasps that I have used for medieval costume. I only have this one left.

Norway cloak clasps 1

But I discovered that they are used in the bodice of the bunad so was able to buy some more sets, I now have two each of these beauties.

Norway cloak clasps 2

I have been doing a bit of research and thanks to Pinterest have found so much inspiration for Scandinavian embroidery. There are some gorgeous designs here

And if you want more information and pictures about the wool embroidery this is an excellent source looking at costumes from Northern Norway.

Well I will leave you know and get on with some actual embroidery rather than just adding to my to do pile! Will be back soon with the last of my Norwegian loveliness posts.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

The last of the flock, for now…..

Hello everyone

I have a feeling of Groundhog day as I sit on my sofa watching the rain come down on another Saturday, the good news is that I have nothing to do today except work on the last of my Christmas ornaments and watch my latest Netflix series so all is wonderful  :-)

I am feeling very mellow as all Christmas gifts have been sorted and I pity the poor people who have got to do their shopping this weekend in the rain and the cold!

Firstly I must tell you the result of the giveaway, the winner chosen by the tried and trusted random number generator method and is Textiledreamer.

Please could you message me at alisonmryan@yahoo.co.uk with your address and I will send your goodies to you.

As well as the last of the quilted ornaments I have been stitching up a little gift for one of my relatives.

My cousins all have young children and I love making things for them, especially as most of them have unusual names so I like to make personalised things.

This little bag is for my cousin’s daughter who is five and loves anything art related so I have some creative things to fill it with, as well as some Frozen goodies as she is still a big fan of the movie.

Avive's birdie bag

The actual bag was from the Quilt Festival in the summer, won on the fund-raising bag tombola and the design is another version of Jenny of Elefantz’s   Button Bird.

Avive's birdie bag 2

I have used some new rayon threads for this, I love using silk but thought rayon might be better for a bag as it will get more wear than a picture. I have also enjoyed perfecting my lazy daisy stitches.

Avive's birdie bag 3

I obtained these threads as a bundle from an Ebay seller, The Shopping Window who have lots of beautiful threads and ribbons for sale, I got 75 gorgeous colours like these so can’t wait to use more of them in future projects.

Rayon threads

OK off to make more ornaments now, will post some pictures of the final ones later in the week. Have a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Birds of a feather

Hello everyone

It is a rare sunny day in Yorkshire with blue skies which is lovely.

I am in a very happy mood as well as I have been sorting out the last few details for our holiday to Oslo for Christmas :-) Very excited as we haven’t been away at Christmas for a few years and it will be very festive with snow and everything!

I have been a very busy bee over the weekend finishing some more Christmas ornaments and a little treat for my craft room, all of them featuring bird designs from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz. Am currently in progress with another version of this beautiful one as well in the smaller version.

This is the Button Bird design, adapted as you can clearly see that there is no button! I decided to do more of the lovely lazy daisy stitches instead now I have got the hang of them and also added beads to the tail.

Bird stitching Dec

I was wondering how to frame it and then remembered that I had an old embroidery hoop that had lost its ability to tighten properly so wrapped that in matching ribbon and ta da.

I think it looks lovely and will be the first of Jenny’s projects to get put up in the craft room.The hanging with the three embroideries that I blogged about previously is still a WIP as I plan to paper piece a border for it.

Bird stitching Dec 2

Bird stitching Dec 3

The threads are a combination of the variegated Perle thread that I bought at Harrogate and some of my Silk Mill purples and I think they look great together.

Bird stitching Dec 4

The next project is from one of Jenny’s previous Stitchery Clubs and is one that I have sewn before but this time decided to applique the wing which gave me a chance to practise buttonhole stitch.

This is the Makower fabric that I bought from my local haberdashers a while ago and I thought a little pillow finish would be something different to do. This is one of a pair of special gifts for relatives.

Jenny stitching Dec 3

Jenny stitching Dec 4

This last one is also from the last Stitchery Club set and is part of the bunting, I still have plans to make the whole of the bunting, but realistically that will have to be an after Christmas project, so this is just a little adaptation as a hanging.

Jenny stitching Dec

Jenny stitching Dec 2

Have the rest of the other bird to work on this evening with the end of a very exciting boxed set, have been watching Wayward Pines and it has been very good.

I do love some nice televisual entertainment and a bit of good crafting to keep me amused during the dark nights. Happy times :-)

Hope you are all having a good week so far and have something nice to snuggle up with on these cold nights. Take care and thanks for visiting and don’t forget to like my giveaway post, I will be drawing names for that on at that weekend.