4 things about me

Hello there

Just came across this on a recent blog  so thought I would do the list as well – I love the random ‘find things out about bloggers bit’ so here goes –

4 jobs I’ve had:

Checkout attendant at a garage – lots of late shifts locked in the booth!

Office worker for Child Health Services

Avon Lady

Sales assistant at a chemist shop – my first job at 14

 4 Films I could watch over and over

An Officer and a Gentleman

Dirty Dancing

The Wizard of Oz

Gone with the Wind
4 TV shows I watch:

18 Kids and Counting – the Mum, Michelle, is amazing – she is so calm!

How Clean is Your House – my OCD cleaning obsession fixation

Location, Location, Location – because I love looking at property

Nigella’s Cookery programmes

4 places I have lived:

London – for nearly two years after college

Huddersfield – apart from the London years I have been here for the last 28 years

Cheltenham – until I was 20

Cardiff – was born there but moved at the age of one
4 favourite foods:



Salads of any sort

Baked potatoes
4 favourite colours:




4 places I’d love to be right now:

In bed – one of my favourite places – especially with a good book
In my little house in Spain staring at the mountains and the sea

Porthmadoc, North Wales

Disneyland – any one will do!
4 names I love but could not use for my children




Lily Olivia Alice

Hope that you enjoyed that bit of random info – thanks for visiting.

Thank God it’s Friday (Saturday, Sunday)

Yes I know it isn’t today – it’s Monday but I have been thinking all weekend how wonderful it is to have a weekend. There’s nothing like the start of term to make you really appreciate Friday night! 

I was going to post last night but was finishing off what I wanted to show you quite late last night and it got too dark to take good pics so left it till today. Was working from home today so managed to get decent some pics during what was a fairly gloomy and wet day. 

I have had a lovely weekend. Friday night was very mellow sitting on the sofa with my Autumn stitching exchange (which is now finished – the first one anyway – just got to make it up). Saturday I went to Marsden again as part of my Marsden Jazz Festival  duties as I was helping out in the shop.We met up to fold all the festival t-shirts on Thurs (and drink a little wine!) so we were selling them at the shop on Sat. I had a  lovely time – it wasn’t very busy but had a nice chat with a few people and took my knitting which is very appropriate crafting to do there. Marsden is full of sheep and they feature prominently on the Jazz Festival publicity so I felt very in keeping knitting with wool! 

At this point we all have to wave and say a big hello to Barney (the Marsden Jazz Festival Committee chair – who is a lovely man known to have worn a sheep hat in public on probably more than one occasion) and Taru (the Marsden Jazz Festival Administrator, one of my oldest and dearest friends who is also fun, gorgeous and a very talented actor) as they have alerts that flag up any post that mention the festival. So hi there and thanks very much for letting me join you – I am having a great time! 

After my stint at the shop I had a wander round looking at the hills and a lovely lunch in one of the cafes there. Also bought some really  nice things at one of the gifts shops in the village but I’m afraid I can’t show you as they are Xmas pressies. 

Sunday I finally got chance to play with my new best friend – look at this shiny new sewing machine! 

New machine
My Janome 3822 - 24 different stitches!


 I have really never got into machine sewing which is a pity as I want to do more machine embroidery and quilting as well as the hand stitched stuff but my old machine just jammed constantly so thanks to birthday money from my lovely Mum and lovely kids I have bought this. And it came with lots of free thread and a big pack of scissors! 

New machine 2
Look at all that pretty stuff


As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I am going to hopefully do an Xmas Craft Fair at Oakwell Hall so have been making some stock for that. Last year I developed my own design for some little Xmas tree ornies so have decided to do more of those – both as finished objects and as kits. The new machine did very well on the lovely zigzag stitch. The first one I did was finishing off the other patchwork tree from last year. 

Ornie in progress
My crazy patchwork tree


ornie in progress 2
Look at that beautiful zig zag stitch


I have decided to do some more regular patchwork designs to start off with – this will of course give me lots of scraps for the crazy patchwork ones that I can do at the end with all the little bits. So here I did some 7 panel patchwork ones. 

ornie making
WIP - needs braid and the pot adding


The aim is for them all to end up looking like this – 

Patchwork tree 2
The finished tree in pot


I was on a roll (and the machine behaved beautifully) so I managed to get a little stack done – the top one is a four panel design. 

ornie stack
Waiting to be finished


Have also cut out lots of material for the kits and taken more pics for the instruction leaflets that will go with them. Isn’t it just soo lucky that I happen to have a little (ahem!) Xmas fabric in my stash! 

Well have another busy week at work ahead – lovely daughter Ellie is home at the weekend and we are planning a cinema trip and a little retail therapy as I’m sure she could always do with new clothes. We are also hopefully going to York to the Quilt Museum  to see the Wartime Quilts Exhibition. We did try and go last year but unfortunately chose a day that it was shut! However we did get to visit the Minster and the Cath Kidston shop so it wasn’t a wasted journey. 

Thank you very much for visiting – hope that you all have a nice week.

Busy busy times!

I have had a very busy week at work and while I have been able to do some stitching I’m afraid I can’t reveal anything as the next two projects are for exchanges. I have joined another exchange group in addition to the All Seasons Ornament Exchange  which is called the Seasonal Exchange  so being the clever people that you are I bet you can guess that the theme of both pieces is Autumn! I am stitching on evenweave which I do find more challenging than Aida due to the smallness of the fabric gauge so I have resorted to both my glasses and my neck hung magnifier to see what I am doing! Have also recently completed another reindeer ornie – only 5 more to go! 

In lieu of pretty pics of stitching then here are my completed wrist warmers – I had a lot of trouble with these as you may remember trying to match up the variegated wool but made it work on about the 3rd attempt! Please excuse slightly fuzzy pic as the light is not good – it has been raining hard all day and is a bit miserable – was tempted to keep the wristwarmers on as it is a bit cold in the conservatory! These are from a free pattern called Waffle Stitch Wristwarmers that I got from Ravelry

Wristwarmers 1
Lovely and warm!

Term has started so that is why I have been so busy – we have another lovely group of trainee teachers this year and I am really looking forward to working with them all. I am lucky to have a job that I really enjoy and look forward to going into work – though a large Lottery win that would enable me to retire and devote my life to stitching and knitting would be fine as well! 

I am also going to be busy this week with helping organise the Marsden Jazz Festival – I recently joined the committee for this event which will be held in a village near me on the 2nd weekend of October. See this link  for details if you are in the Yorkshire area. As the name suggests there are lots of live music events on in all of the pubs and clubs across the village as well as a parade on the Saturday. This week we have a meeting of all the volunteers who will be helping over the weekend, a t-shirt folding and packing evening and then I will be helping out in the festival shop selling said t-shirts next weekend. 

Just thought I would leave you with another couple of pics from re-enactment events – courtesy of my friends on Facebook. The first pic was taken at our recent August Bank Holiday event at Bolsover Castle and shows Paul (in the helmet) and Luke – with the sword – demonstrating during the weapons’ talk. 

Bolsover - Paul

The second one is a much older pic, probably taken about 6 years ago and shows my lovely friends Kat and Richard all dressed up in their costumes – doesn’t he look the epitome of chivalry! 

Kat and Richard
Edward and Lady Joan

If you want to see more of Kat’s wonderful headdresses and costume you can visit her Kats Hat website. 

I hope that you are having a nice weekend – thanks very much for visiting.

Knitting at Oakwell Hall

I have just come back from a lovely afternoon at Oakwell – my evening knitting group had been invited as part of a Heritage Weekend where lots of properties are open for free across the country. Our task was to sit in the amazing Painted Chamber and knit and talk to the public about knitting – how hard! 

The pics below come from the Friends of Oakwell website – 

The painted chamber with spinning wheel


Oakwell - paintedchamberbed
The bed with its crewelwork bed hangings


The ‘painted’ title refers to the wood panelling – though the vertical and horizontals panels are real the rest of the 3D effects are painted on. The room reminded me very much of the bedrooms in Tatton Hall that we visit every June – with again beautiful bed hangings. It was such a privilege to be in that room – especially when we were told that was where the ladies of the house used to sit, embroider and gossip! 

There were 5 of us there today – others will be there tomorrow – we had two tables with old patterns, examples of things that we had knitted and crocheted and modern examples of fun knitting patterns for the kids to look at. the really lovely thing was that so many people had owned and knitted the baby patterns we had on display, or talked about their Mums and Grannies knitting – there was a real wealth of social history that people wanted to share. We met a man who knew someone who had modelled for Patons knitting patterns in his youth, a women whose Mum was a test knitter for the same company, and someone whose Mum had knitted string vests for priests. 

Apologies for the quality of these pics of our display – the light was not good! 

Oakwell - knitting group
Kath, Pauline, Pamela and Debbie demonstrating


Oakwell - patterns
Debbie's collection of vintage patterns - there were some lovely garments for men!


Oakwell - shawl
Pamela's beautiful baby shawl from an original 1930s pattern


Oakwell - socks
Kath's detailed lace and ribbed socks - you can also see some of the crewel work embroidery that was displayed on the table in the chamber


 These women are all very good knitters or crocheters – Kath’s speciality is socks, Pauline’s is crocheted jackets and scarves, Pamela’s is lace knitting and Debbie makes beautiful baby garments. I have learnt a lot from them in the year I have been going to the group. This year I have really improved on basic shaping and have learnt lace. Next year it is going to be double-pointed and circular needles so I can do my first pair of socks! 

I did not get much chance to look round the rest of the Hall as we were so busy but did have a little peek in the room next door which had another wonderful set of bed hangings. These crewelwork reproductions were done by the Friends of Oakwell Broiderer’s group (another idea for if I ever have more time!). Pics again from the Friends of Oakwell website. 

Oakwell - littleparlourchamber1
The Little Parlour Chamber


Oakwell - littleparlourchamberbed
Detail of the bedcover


As well as all the crewelwork the Friends have also done lots of needlepoint cushions, chair seats etc so it is well worth a visit if you like textiles! 

Hope that you are having a good weekend – thanks for visiting!

The first of many and the last of many

Well I have had a very lovely weekend – it has been very sunny all week which was great news as I was having a new roof put on the conservatory so I needed fine weather for that. So we started the weekend with me admiring the shiny clean roof that was not full of cracks and holes and green mould where the rain had got in! It is now raining quite hard which will be a good test of how waterproof the new roof is! 

The first of many in the title of the post is the first of the reindeer ornies that I have chosen as my multi stitch ornie for this Xmas. I normally do about 10 for special friends and family – I have part completed another reindeer one but I love the JBW designs and they are so easy to do so have decided that this one I will do about 7 of with for a particular group of friends and some individual ones of different designs for other people. I will back this with one of my many pretty Xmas fabrics ( have got a few of those!) and a little sleigh charm. 

Reindeer ornie
How cute is he!

The last of many is possibly the last BBQ of the season on Saturday with my brother Ben and his partner and Amanda and definitely the last little fire of the year as I have now used up all my wood – though Ben said he can get me more if needed. I so love sitting round the fire – it is one of the best things about re-enactment and this was us enjoying the warmth. 

Jake, Ben and Amanda round the fire

I do also need a new fire pit before next year – this one is a couple of years old but unfortunately has suffered from all the frost we have had and the surround is slowly disintegrating. I shall treat myself as a welcoming Spring present next year. 

campfire 2
Beautiful flames

Amanda and Ben are off to Spain tomorrow (lucky things!) to stay in our house for a few days and then go off camping so I hope they have a fab time. Amanda works at Oakwell Hall  a 16th century house near here where my knitting group are off to next weekend. From the look of the lovely pics on the web there should be plenty of textiles there so I will take my camera!

Oakwell Hall
The Hall hosts many Civil War re-enactments and events
Oakwell Hall 2
The Grand Parlour of the Hall
Oakwell Hall 3
The Dining Room

We have been invited to take part in their Heritage Weekend as part of a display of crafts so we shall be knitting and teaching people how to knit. I am really looking forward to that as have never been to the Hall. Amanda has also mentioned that they have an Xmas Craft Fair there in December so I may be able to go and show some more of my baubles and pine cones and raise some more funds for the school in Nepal which again would be lovely. 

I do love Xmas and all the decorations – and I am planning to make some more this year – inspired by my reading of the Elm Quilt book series I want to do some more patchwork trees as in the pic below and maybe even a wall hanging for the hall. Things should be made a lot easier by the fact that my new sewing machine arrived on Friday! Complete with loads of free reels of thread. Have not had chance to play with it yet but am hoping to get some time to do that later this week or at the weekend. Things are hotting up though as term starts a week on Monday for me so back to the grindstone! 

Crazy patchwork tree table decoration from last year

I do hope that you had a good weekend – thanks for visiting.

A sunny weekend at Bolsover

Well we have just finished the season with a fantastic event at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire. Not only did we have good weather, being mainly sunny, we also had a wonderful crowd – 800 on Sunday and 1700 on Monday . Monday’s crowd were also the most enthusiastic we have had all year and had a great time during the tournament! Thanks to everyone who came to see us and thanks for all the great comments , we really enjoy what we do and it is nice to know that you do too! 

I have some pics to share with you of the event – the first is lovely daughter Ellie in the apron she has made herself for her role as the kitchen maid. She has been assisting Jane the cook this season and has really enjoyed herself cooking over an open fire. An interesting and very useful role as we all really look forward to our banquet at lunch! 

Bolsover - Ellie apron
See how lovely and sunny it was on Sunday!

The apron is completely hand stitched and made of linen and Ellie has even done some very neat stitching at the corners to give it a bit of decoration. She plans to add some embroidery to the hem for next season. 

The next pic is of the boys on Sunday morning showing a variety of styles of medieval dress. 

Bolsover - boys 2
What a handsome bunch!

From left to right they are – 

John Neville (Mark) wearing a black felt bicocket hat and a black linen tunic with layered sleeves. 

Sir Hugh Despencer (Dave) wearing a green wool full length tunic with dagged chaperon (hood) and  a white line coif on his head. 

Sir Henry Percy (Pete) in a blue wool tunic, very fetching red wool hose and a linen coif. 

Sir Hugh Bardolph (Paul) in a blue linen tunic with layered sleeves and matching chaperon, white linen coif and blue felt bicocket. 

In the mornings of our shows we do various displays and activities so the boys are dressed ready for those. They run the joust and knight’s training for the children, the stocks, the weapons and armour talk and the children’s quiz. The women in the group do talks on headdresses and embroidery, cooking (live action here as they prepare lunch!) and calligraphy where the children can get their certificates signed after they have been knighted and practise calligraphy by making a bookmark. This show we also had a new talk which was done by Lady Bardolph on the use of herbs – here is the lovely display she had outside her tent. 

Bolsover - herbs
The table with a tray of lavender
Bolsover - herbs 2
Showing how herbs were used in cooking and medicine

Bolsover - Bardolph's tent
A sneak peek inside their beautiful tent

Lady Bardolph is an excellent embroiderer and had brought the finished goldwork and beadwork piece she started at our needlework day earlier in the year – unfortunately I did not have chance to take a picture of it! 

After the banquet lunch we have the manorial court where medieval justice is dispensed, then the archery display and talk, the children’s re-enactment (strictly non – contact, just a chance for them to shout and throw pretend spears!) At the end we have the best bit which is the tournament. The children like this as it is a chance to see the knights hit each other round the head but I like it as everyone looks so wonderful in their costumes! 

I mentioned in an earlier post that the knights have all made themselves mantles to decorate the top of their helmets which look very impressive when they come out of the tent into the tournament arena. Most of the knights wear great helms which have a flat top to them – ideal for displaying your heraldry! I have not been able to take close up pics but thanks to my friend Jan here are the boys at the start of Monday’s tournament looking splendid. 

Bolsover - mantles
Hugh Despencer on the left in red and white, William de la Zouche in the centre in red and William de Bohun in the front in blue
Bolsover -de Bohun
Despencer and de Bohun fighting - Despencer won as usual but William did very well
Bolsover-mantles 2
A closer pic of de Bohun's mantle with Percy in yellow on the right

I think de Bohun’s (another Paul) outfit is definitely my favourite one – he made it all himself – the surcoat is painted and the little crown of stars on the helm is made of wood. Paul is an incredibly talented graphic artist and he has been working on some images of all of the knights that we can use as publicity for the group. You can go and see his work at his web site and admire all our heraldry. 

Well apart from tidying away kit (and making a mental list of all the things I need to make for next season!) I have been starting on my Xmas ornies for this year. Have finished stitching on the first JBW reindeer so will post a pic of that soon. Also have two Autumn exchanges to make as I have now signed up to another exchanging blog as well as the All Seasons one. I will be starting one of those tonight. 

Am a bit sad that the season is over but am looking forward to all the nice winter evenings sitting in stitching with my candles lit. I am buying myself a new sewing machine as well – with some birthday money from my Mum and lovely kids – which is good as the old one has now packed up. I have also signed up for a Stitched and Painted Textiles Day School in November at my local Adult Education centre and have booked my ticket for the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show as well – lots of stitchy loveliness to look forward to! 

We also have the start of term to look forward to and this one is particularly exciting one as Jake is going to sixth form! He did really well in his GCSEs (only didn’t pass French) and has enrolled onto a Diploma in Art, Media and Games Design which I am sure he will love. He starts college tomorrow and all my new teacher trainee students will be with me the week after next. 

Thank you very much again for visiting and I hope that you have a good weekend ahead.