Cardi and card

I have almost completely finished the cardigan and booties that I have been making for my cousin Joanne’s new baby girl Avive – just the ribbon and buttons to sew on and then they will be done. 

Has taken me a long while to make up as the original purple frill that I knitted was too small so had to unpick it twice and then knit again on bigger needles – will know for the next time I make this pattern! 

avive's cardi 1
The finished cardi

avive's shoes
The little booties to match

The booties were very quick to knit and though they do look a little big for a small baby I’m sure she will grow in to them. 

Am taking this pattern away with me on hols to knit a bigger version for another family member as it was a very nice knit as well as some stitching. 

It is my birthday next week while we are away in Italy and my brother Ben and his partner Amanda came round yesterday for a BBQ (this time it only rained a little bit!). They bought me a ‘Best of Cat Stevens’ CD which has been on my wish list for a long time and Amanda made me the most beautiful card with this JBW  cat design on it.I will definitely frame this and keep it. 

amanda's card
My lovely birthday card

Just thought I would add a couple more recent pis of the kids for the benefit of family who read this blog. As an update to Friday’s  post here is Jake at the prom with some very lovely female friends. 

Jake and girls
Hannah and Victoria with Jake at the prom

Ellie spent 10 days in Spain recently at our house with two of her friends from University, Dani and Becky, so thought I would share a couple of her holiday pics with you. 

Ellie and family in Spain
Ellie with my Nana, my Mum and my Auntie Maureen
Ellie in Spain
And her she is with a lovely cocktail

I hope that you have had a lovly weekend – it has been really hot here so we have had a BBQ tonight as well and I have done more gardening in preparation for our week away.

Thanks for visiting.

I’m putting on my top hat ….

Well not me actually but Jake has – he had his prom this evening so thought I would share some pics with you. 

He and friend Sammy decided to adopt a Holmes and Watson theme (having recently seen the movie at the cinema ) so he hired a very dapper dinner suit complete with cravat and waistcoat and bought himself a top hat which he has been wanting for ages. 

prom 3
Jake in the garden
prom 7
He also had pipe and pocket watch for those deep in thought moments

 Ellie and I got dressed up and went to the hotel where the Prom was being held to watch everyone arrive. 

prom 9
How did they get so grown up!

We had a lovely time watching all the limos (and two horse drawn carriages) arrive and they all looked so lovely. The scary thing is that I have known quite a few of these kids since they were 2 at toddler group! 

Prom 11
The purple dress was one of mine and Ellie's favourite ones
Prom 12
More pretty girls

Jake’s limo was one of the last to arrive – they all had black windows so you couldn’t see who was inside so of course I took pics of every limo that arrived just in case but his was a very cool one with pink flames on. 

prom 4
The limo with go faster flames
Prom 1
Ellie managed to capture the moment that Jake stepped from the limo
Prom 5
Jake and Sammy ready for action

I hope that they have had a really nice time – I am just here waiting now for them to come back and collect tent and kit and go off for a post prom camp out. 

I know that have said this before but I am very, very proud of my kids. They are successful in what they choose to do but more importantly they are kind, supportive, helpful and really lovely to spend time with. They have had to cope with some really tough stuff in the last couple of years and have been so brilliant about everything. I am very much looking forward to our holiday together where we can spend lots of time just chilling  – hopefully with some very lovely weather. 

Mind you England is supposed to be nice this weekend which will be good as my brother and his partner are coming round for a BBQ – the 6th at home this year – I love BBQs – the smell of the charcoal, the roar of the sausages! 

Anyway thanks for visiting and will be back after Italy!

Terrific Tatton!

We spent a very lovely (and very hot!) weekend at Tatton Hall in Cheshire this weekend. We love this event – not only is it a beautiful venue , it is near home ( a mere 1 1/2 hours away) and it is always near Jake’s birthday so we have a little celebration. 

tatton - jake's bday
Jake blowing out the candles on his 16th birthday cake!


We are still going to events by train at the moment as I don’t have a car and by a cunning combination of rail and some very nice taxi drivers we have managed to get everywhere we want to go. Travelling by train means that we have to minimise what take with us – especially for an event like this where we have to take all our food and drink for the weekend as there are no shops nearby. 

We have got it down to a fine art now – here are the kids with the luggage on the way back on Sun eve. 

Tatton - kids and luggage
This includes the tent all camping gear including cooking stuff and food and all clothes including medieval kit


I think even when I do have a car I will try and travel this light as we really do have everything we need here – we even have chairs (very small stools) and a mini camping table which you can see in the pic below ( not for eating but useful for prepping food). 

And it all unpacks as this – here are the kids Fri night at the tent. 

tatton - ellie and jake in tent
Lovely sunny evening in camp


I do love camping (may have mentioned this before!)  but this weekend was excellent – great weather (we all came back a little pink!), great company and lots of laughs at the beer tent and round the camp fire. I love being outdoors! 

Here are some pics from the event of us in kit – 

Tatton Bardolphs 1
Here are Lord and Lady Bardolph (Lynn and Paul) and friend Jackie dressed up to go shopping at the event's market on Saturday


tatton - bardolphs 2
Lady Bardolph in her heraldic dress on Sunday


tatton - knights
Our knights ready for battle on Sunday


As I have mentioned in previous posts I have been making a new dress for Ellie and I got it finished in time. It is a new style of dress for me to make with contrasting gores in a paler fabric than the main body of the dress and it has worked very well – she is very pleased with it.

Next time I make one in this style I will make the gored pieces a little longer as they flare out so look shorter than the main body of the dress but that is one of the things that you learn by experience. Anyway she really likes it.

tatton -ellie new dress
Ellie - pretty in pink


We acted as water carriers again at the event – here are Ellie and Jake at muster waiting to go on the battlefield. 

ellen n jake @ tatton
Waiting to go into battle


And here are some of our friends on the battlefield. 

Tatton - fox etc
Men in armour - what a lovely sight!


We have a quiet weekend coming up – we are having a BBQ with my brother and his partner but then are off to Italy next Monday – Venice awaits!

Thanks again for visiting.

A grand day out and a slightly damp BBQ!

Well it wouldn’t be England without BBQing in the rain would it?  Today I visited my brother Ben to christen his new hand-built BBQ. We had a lovely time (in the rain) but luckily his BBQ is under a shelter (we do live in Yorkshire after all) so rain did not stop play. He plans to extend the outdoor cooking complex with a pizza oven next. 

Bens BBQ2
All his own work - the finished BBQ with plinth for pizza oven in the foreground


Bens BBQ1
The BBQ with the salad plot behind it


Ben and his partner Amanda are really keen cooks and as well as the veg they grow in their garden they have an allotment so tonight’s menu featured home-grown new potatoes, salad leaves and radishes which was all wonderful. Amanda also makes brilliant jams and chutneys – her rhubarb chutney is superb and is very sought after in the family. 

I travel a lot for work and mainly it is local city visits but I have been to Oldham a couple of times in recent weeks and as the train station there is currently closed for refurbishment I have taken the bus which is the most wonderful journey through Saddleworth and the moors. The scenery is fab so this week I took my camera to capture my journey. 

Yorkshire 2
The view from my bus over Saddleworth


Yorkshire 3
All the rhodedendrons (or as we used to call them when the kids were little 'rondedodrums') were in bloom


At the moment I live near town which is very convenient and practical but am planning on moving a bit further out towards the moors in the not too distant future. 

This would be an ideal location for me – just look at that little fixer upper (aka derelict cottage over there) – what wonderful views! 

Yorkshire 1
The wonderful moors


I have been very busy on the sewing front but nothing finished yet to show you – lots of boring hemming etc but hopefully will finish Ellie’s new dress soon – needs to be ready by Friday anyway. 

Hope that you have had a good weekend – thanks for visiting.

Busy weekend making costume

Hello there 

Hope that you have all had a nice weekend – we had one of the very variable Yorkshire ones – very hot on Sat so after domestic chores I did some gardening then we had a lovely BBQ with Ellie’s friends Danni and Becky who had arrived for the weekend before leaving for Spain this morning. 

Sunday it poured it down all day – the girls went to Leeds Armouries for the day where it was luckily drier. I sat at the sewing machine all day watching the rain and have nearly finished a new medieval dress for Ellie (pics after once I have done the fastening holes). 

It took quite a long time as it is a new design for me – the main body of the dress is a very dusky pink with pale pink gored inserts all the way round from the waist line which give it a lovely flared look. 

No time to fettle V and A pics yet so will share a couple of ones of our show last weekend with you – these first two come from Clare Grey who put them on Facebook – I was tagged via a friend in the group so I hope that she won’t mind me sharing them with you. It is rare to get a pic of me in the show which is understandable as I am in the background most of the time behind the glamorous boys in their pretty costumes! 

The first pic is when all the knights first come out onto the arena – don’t they look wonderful with their surcoats and mantles on their helms.The mantles – cloths and wooden carvings that go on top of the helms – are new this year and I will try and get some close up pics at some point as they are fab – not allowed a camera when in kit so bit difficult! 

OFK Knights and me
You can just see me on the right of the pic in a dark blue robe

The second pic is take at the end of the show when Lord and Lady Despenser fight for the tournament money (she wins you will be glad to know!)  I am standing at the table behind them with my water jugs and Jake is next to me – we make sure that all the guys have enough water during the tournament and Jake also helps with the weapons and amour as needed. 

OFK Knights - Bev and Dave
The Despencer's way of solving marital disputes!

They always make up afterwards though – here they are after a previous  show, 

Lord and Lady D
Lord and Lady Despencer

We all spend a lot of time making, mending and adding to costume and kit as well as a considerable amount of money in some cases. The dress that Lady Despencer is wearing here is made of pure silk , all hand stitched with real seed pearls and amethysts – the fabric alone cost £25 a metre and there is a lot of fabric in it! We all have started off with a basic set and added to it over time. The armour and weapons are also expensive – a helm and sword costs about £400 so making our own costume is one way to keep down the expense. 

The guys are very inventive and skilled as well – often buying parts and putting things together themselves to save money. The pic below shows Luke (aka William de la Zouche whose castle we were at last weekend) with his new scale mail sabatons ( armoured shoes). He bought the scales from Ebay (don’t you just love the internet!) and put them together himself. 

Luke's scale feet
The lovely new scale mail sabatons

So I have the dress to finish for Ellie , an old dress of hers to alter for me, a cloak to mend and another two sets of brais to finish before our next event in 10 day’s time! Lots of sewing ahead! 

Hope that you have a very nice week – thanks for visiting!

Spring ornament exchange

Just a quick post to show you the ornament  that I sent to Terry in the USA – she mailed me to say that it had arrived safely so thought I would share the pics with you. 

Spring Ornie 2
Quaker Tree ornament


It is another Quaker design from the freebies at The Workbasket site – I really love these designs and is again stitched on my lovely sparkly evenweave with Silk Mill thread (I know I am getting very predictable!). 

Spring ornie 1
The back of the ornament


The ornament is backed with some beautiful pink paisley fabric that I bought from the quilt fabric sale a while ago and again one of the  little scissor charms – I love charms! 

Am planning a very nice quiet weekend – and going to finish  sewing the baby cardi (have done the boots) so can post pics of those later. Ellie has two friends from Uni arriving tomorrow (they are all off to Spain on Monday) so we may be able to have a BBQ over the weekend – at the moment it is raining very heavily! 

Have a lovely time – thanks for visiting.

The good life

Hello there 

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last week or so – we have been away for the Bank Holiday weekend doing a re-enactment event at Ashby de la Zouche Castle and with that and the general busyness lately have been very slack at blogging. 

I have however been doing quite a lot of stitching and knitting and have some things to share with you. The first pic is of the scissor keep that I made to send to Tracy at Cupcakes at Home – she is having a raffle to raise money for her rescue sheep so do go and visit her and buy tickets. 

Scissor keep 3
The scissor keep - a freebie design from The Workbasket site

I stitched this on my favourite 28 count sparkly evenweave again with Silk Mill  Lilac thread – the design is an adaptation of one called Quaker Tree from The Workbasket  but I just stitched the top of the design. 

Scissor keep 2
A close up of the stitching
Scissor keep 1
The back of the scissor keep with one of my little charms

 Last week I went on a day trip to London to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum – the reason for the visit was to see an exhibition of quilts but I also got to visit the Textiles collection and drool over all the wonderful stuff that I have seen in books. Have loads of pics from that but will have to spend some time sorting them out. 

While I was there I went to John Lewis as I have read lots of people’s posts about visiting there (also popped into Liberty). Did not buy anything in Liberty but in John Lewis I did buy two of these gorgeous tea light holders for my garden. 

John Lewis tea light
My cute little tea light holder

 I also picked up one of their garden furniture mags all full of pics of the good life with the loveliest furniture and knick knacks. I really liked this pic so have stuck it on the wall in my utility room – I wish I could spend my life having afternoon tea in the garden like this! 

John Lewis pic
Look at those pretty macaroons!

 But we have been indulging in the good life here as well as we have had our second BBQ at home this year – which gave me a chance to use my newest Jamie at Home  purchase – my bamboo food covers – aren’t they pretty! 

BBQ jamie
Our outdoor dining table

 I will leave you with some pics of my lovely children – we had a very nice weekend at Ashby and the weather was very kind to us – it was very wet as we were travelling down on Sat but stayed dry all weekend if a bit cold and windy on Sunday. But we did have lots of people come to see us and a couple of very nice evenings round the camp fire – the good life indeed! 

Ellen Ashby
My beautiful Ellie in the Ashby sunshine
Jake Ashby
Jacob looking very handsome in kit

I hope that you all had a lovely weekend – see you back here soon and thanks for visiting.