Cute things – teddies and teapots!

I am celebrating finally finishing off the little teddy and her wardrobe. It has been a long WIP as I started before Xmas but have done lots of other stitching and knitting in between. But now it is all done ready to be posted for the birthday next week. 

I have not given the bear a name as I thought I would let her new owner do that but here she is in her purple dress … 

teddy 1
Teddy with some nice spring flowers

 She has two other outfits complete with knickers and headbands …. 

teddy 5
'What shall I wear tomorrow ?' says Teddy

… and a little bag …. 

teddy 4
A moss and garter stitch knitted bag with chain stitch embroidered outline

…… which turns into a comfy bed. 

teddy 3
Night night now

I have really enjoyed knitting this, especially the little dresses – it seems, as with my stitching, that I like doing small projects best. I have even had a quick peak at the Jean Greenhowe  site recently and admired all her characters. I shall aspire to become one of those little old ladies who knits endlessly for church fetes! 

I have just completed a knitted present , pics of which will have to be posted later and have tonight cast on for a new hat for me to go with my pink Spring coat in a lovely variegated pink and purple yarn. 

Have also just had a very nice order from my Avon lady delivered – which included this very cute ‘tea for one’ teapot and cup. 

tea pot
Just right for sitting down with a bit of knitting!

The tea cup has a very nice rose design inside. 

tea cup
Milk and half a sugar thanks !

I have also got the matching cake stand but will have to fill that with something yummy before I can photograph it – Jake has finished all the last batch of baking! 

Will not be posting for a little while as we are off to sunny Spain next week (hurrah). Ellie is home at the weekend and it is her birthday on Tuesday – she will be 19 this year, the last of her teen years already! We will be meeting up with my cousins in Spain with their new baby Anna-Mae so have been indulging myself with some shopping for cute baby clothes to take for her. Will take lots of pics! 

Am also going to be going to a couple of religious festivals while I am there (sorry kids!) to see the icons being brought out of the churches – am very much looking forward to that. On the bright side kids we can go for pizza afterwards! 

Hope you all have a lovely Easter with lots of family time and chocolate! 

Thanks for visiting.

Lovely weekend and Morrocan textiles

Hello there 

I hope that you have been enjoying yourselves this weekend. I have had a really lovely time with lots of socialising. This is quite unusual as I do tend to hole up a bit over Winter and not do much except sit and knit or stitch with all my candles lit but I have been very busy. 

It started on Friday night with a visit to my friend Cheryl’s house for a Jamie at home party  (bit like a Tupperware party but for Jamie Oliver’s cooking stuff!). We had a  very lovely time – Cheryl has recently moved to a gorgeous house built in 1907 with so many beautiful original features showcasing the best of the Arts and Crafts movement including some wonderful stained glass and plaster work. Pity I didn’t have my camera! 

Cheryl is a friend from work and there were quite a few other work colleagues there with their partners so it was lovely to be able to socialise – we are so busy at work we don’t get a chance to do that much. 

I also bought some very nice things – a set of terracotta tapas bowls, some storage jars and something I have been wanting for a long time – a mortar and pestle for grinding herbs and spices to add to my stock of lovely kitchen items so I am eagerly waiting for them all to arrive. 

Saturday should have been a whole day in the garden but torrential rain stopped play – I did manage a trip to the garden centre to stock up on compost and bought some pretty Primulas and new herbs as all my old ones died out during the snow. 

I used the thyme and rosemary today as we had friends round for a late lunch – I experimented with a new salad of  butternut squash, puy lentils and pickled lemon that I got from my Sainsbury’s magazine which was very nice. Am trying to do at least one new recipe a week – Jake did not try the salad but the others liked it! 

I realised that I did not post any pics of the textiles from our recent visit to Marrakesh (how remiss!) so here goes – these pics were taken in a museum behind glass so apologies for the quality. The first one used what appeared to be cross stitch on linen. 

Marrakesh Embroidery 1
Three different pieces based on tile motifs
Marrakesh Embroidery 2
Bright flower motifs on a patterned ground

This one was embroidered in silk over a patterned background but the pattern was not used for the motifs which I thought was interesting. 

Marrakesh Embroidery 3
Very fine cross stitch in mono colour on linen

This last picture looks very much like a lot of Middle Eastern and Eastern European embroidery that I have seen over the years. The standard of work was very good with exceptionally fine stitching. 

Just up from where we stayed in the lovely Riad was an Aladdin’s Cave of  textiles, ceramics etc in a government-run Artisan’s warehouse – could have quite cheerfully bought the entire store but limited myself to  a beaded mat from this wonderful selection …. 

Marrakesh Shopping 3
So many pretty things.. so little time

….. a wonderful patchwork hanging for Ellie with lots of goldwork and sequins from this selection… 

Marrakesh Shopping 1
Patchwork - Marrakesh style

We also went to the souks (several times and got lost several times as you do and got out again in the end!). We found a fabulous lamp shop where I bought another lantern for the lounge – just look at all this stuff! 

Marrakesh Shopping 6
Pretty, pretty things!
Marrakesh Shopping 5
How much hand luggage are we allowed? Maybe I can just squeeze this one in!

So one lamp, several beaded items, one hanging, two tagines, one kaftan, one set of kebab skewers, lots of candles later …… really Marrakesh is shopper’s paradise – if you go take at least one empty case with you – we had three empty hand luggage cases but it was a tight squeeze on the way back! 

I hope you have had a very nice weekend as well.Things are going to be a little quieter here thankfully for the next couple of weeks as we have finished teaching for Easter – I have a huge pile of marking to do but am looking forward to a holiday in a week or so when we are off to Spain. 

Thanks for visiting.

Happy Mothers’ Day


Mothers Day
My lovely hanging - it is so cute ....

This is hoping that you all had a very lovely day today. I would like to think that you all got some me time – possibly involving textile related crafts and even breakfast in bed , nice lunch or nice tea. 

I had my Mothers’ Day pressies last week when we saw Ellie in Worcester – the gorgeous little hanging above was one of them and I was really pleased with it – I had admired lots of things from the designer Gisela Graham  in a little gift shop we found in Worcester and the kids sneakily bought it for me. I also got two more boxed sets of Little House on the Prairie which I am saving till work gets less hectic and I can have some lovely me time!  

I am constantly amazed by what the Mums in blogland do as well as look after their families. Obviously not all of the blogs I read belong to people who have kids and their work is just as fabulous but what really impresses me as a Mum is all those people (some with very young children) who manage to produce lots (and I mean lots!) of beautiful stitched and knitted goodies – often not only for their home and family but for sale as well. You are a wonderful inspiration to us all! 

What I particularly like about reading blogs is the number of women who have chosen not to continue previous careers but who have started up businesses – I think this just shows how valuable the internet can be (sites like Etsy and Folksy) in promoting these ventures and I really admire those people who have taken that step. 

A couple of years ago I was hoping to join them going part -time at work and setting up my own business but sadly a change in circumstances meant that I have had to put that on hold. Maybe one day I will but I gain an awful lot of inspiration and useful knowledge by reading about people’s experiences of doing this though their blogs. 

Becoming a Mum was the best thing I ever did and I am thankful every day (not just on Mothers’ Day) that I not only have  a brilliant Mum myself who has always been there for me and has always been such a good role model but that I have two wonderful kids. They have had a tough couple of years for lots of reasons but remain focussed, successful, optimistic and great fun to be with. Jake has just had his interview for sixth form college and has been offered a place on his chosen Graphics, Media and Games Design couse so I am very proud of him.

One of the things I never realised all those years ago when I had little babies was that they would be such great friends and we would really enjoy each others’ company so much. They are fab – thank you Ellie and Jake for being so helpful, thoughtful and generally lovely.

I have had a really nice day, a lie in followed by my favourite Sunday activity of a long bath involving reading a good book (have just finished Martyr by Rory Clements which was a very good read) and then 4 hours gardening (helped by Jake) which made a serious dent in the sadly neglected, snow damaged back garden. Lots has died off so we spent two hours just clearing out and replacing pots with new plants. It is all looking a lot better now. 

I have also managed a bit of knitting , have finished the last of the teddy dresses and knickers and am now on the headbands. Should all be finished and ready to post by the end of the week! 

Thanks for visiting.

Old textiles in Worcester and teddy bear clothes!

Hello there 

We have had a very nice weekend away visiting Ellen in Worcester. As you may recall she is doing a degree in Heritage, History and Archeology so she has been getting to know all the historic sites in the area and took us on a little tour on Saturday. She has signed up to be a volunteer at a National Trust property in the centre of Worcester, The Greyfriars,  a Tudor house so we went there first. 

Greyfriars 2
The central part of the house
Greyfriars 1
My sister Jacky with Jake and Ellie in the garden

As well as being a beautiful property dating from 1480  it was full of embroidery as the last owner (whose name I forgot to write down and Ellie has the guide book!) was an avid embroiderer and collector and there was a wealth of stitched work – particularly crewel work. It was difficult to take pics as the light was not good but it is well worth a visit if you are in the area. 

These are just a few of the treasures. 

Greyfrairs 3
Crewel work pelmets - there were also matching wall hangings
Greyfriars 5
Detail from a crewel work picture stitched by the house owner
Greyfriars 4
A sampler labelled Hannah Smith 1851 - the colours were really bright given its age
Greyfriars 7
An over mantel flower piece designed especially for the main hall
Greyfriars 6
The main hall still as it was left in 1985 when the last occupant died

We then went up the road to the Tudor House Museum which had displays of local life throughout the ages where I found these lovely old knitting patterns … 

Knitting pattern 2
Lovely 1950s garments!
Knitting pattern 1
and some for baby as well .....

There was also a display of replica wartime postcards for sale – sadly they had run out of stock of this one so pics will have to suffice. 

Knitting postcard
Knitting for the RAF - what fun!

I have also been busy here at home (and on the train) with the last of the knitting for the teddy gift set. I have enjoyed the dresses so much am now on the third one. Just have the matching hairbands to knit and all the ribbons and bows to attach. Ellie is most impressed and wants one of her own complete with wardrobe. 

Teddy dress 2
Two completed dress and knicker sets plus a WIP in pink

I am particularly pleased with the lacy pattern on the purple dress – this pattern comes from Val Pierce’s 20 To make – Knitted Tiny Bears  book which I recently bought from Amazon. 

Teddy dress 1
Look I can now knit lacy things as well as scarves!

Am expecting to be very busy in the next few days but hoping to have it all completed by the end of the weekend – this will be my Mother’s Day sit and knit project! 

Hope you all have a good week – thanks for visiting.

Marrakesh – wonderful Islamic Art!

Apologies if  you are bored of the Marrakesh pics – if so skip this post. This one is devoted to the amazing places we visited. I was lucky enough to visit the Alhambra in Granada a  few years ago which is the most amazing place if you like Islamic art and architecture so it was wonderful to go to Morocco to see more. 

We visited the Saadian Tombs on our first day which date from the 1600s I think – members of the Saadian ruling family and their staff are buried here in wonderfully decorated chambers and gardens – full of cats sunning themselves! 

Marrakesh Tomb 3
The hall of twelve pillars
Marrakesh Tomb 2
Amazing carved ceiling and plasterwork arch

Marrakesh Tomb 1
The buildings in Marrakesh are mainly terracotta coloured which contrasts so well with the blue sky
Marrakesh Saadian minaret
The minaret of the mosque next to the tomb - this was a good orientation point as it was very near our hotel - helped us not get lost in the Kasbah!

On the second day we went out to La Menara which is a man-made lake with a summer palace and olive grove gardens – the best place to view the Atlas mountains and we had a great view of them as it had been raining the day before so all the dust had settled. 

Marrakesh Menara
Look at that for a view - beautiful snow capped Atlas mountains!

We then walked all the way back to the main square past the Koutoubia mosque – another good marker to let us know where we were and a beautiful building. 

Marrakesh koutoubia
The minaret of the Koutoubia mosque

Later in the week we visited the Madrassa Ben Youssef. This is an old Islamic college which was extended in the 1600s – it reminded me so much of the Alhambra palace. The wealth of detail and the standard of the workmanship are amazing – all the more so when you think that it has survived the last 400 years. Awe inspiring! 

We are off to Worcester this weekend to see my sister whose birthday it was last weekend – Happy Birthday Jacky – and to see Ellie.It has been a very busy week here but a very nice one – there has been sunshine (yes in Yorkshire!) and I even managed to get out in the garden and do a bit of clearing up and pruning for a couple of hours on Tuesday – a miracle.

I am making good progress with the wardrobe for the little bear I have made – am half way through the third dress for her so will hopefully be able to post those finishes soon – meant to take pics of what I had done so far today but forgot before it got dark!

I am also starting on a new stitching project on Monday – seems ages since I did any stitching but was inspired by a fabric purchase at the weekend to buy this chart that I have had my eye on for some time. JBW Designs  do some lovely charts and I am thinking of treating myself to their Christmas pudding one to stitch for my tree for this Xmas.

JBW - Rooster
JBW Designs Roooster

Will be back next week – thank you for visiting.