A Quiet Weekend

Well my planned trip to York did not go ahead as I have been struck down by a very nasty ear infection so have spent the last 3 days in the house trying to get better before my sister, her two kids and small dog arrive to stay tomorrow! I shall have to visit the doc for antibiotics I think as it is not getting much better ūüė¶

I have finished the hemming on the farm quilt and made a little bag for the animals so I have¬†been being productive while laid up. Here are the pockets on the front of the quilt with two of the little animals in that will go into the bag. My idea is that my cousin’s daughter who the present is for will be able to match the animals with the pockets. She is two this week and we will be seeing her at the weekend in Spain.

farm quilt pockets

This is the back of the quilt and a close up of the fabric which has lots of farm words on which she can practise!

farm quilt back

farm quilt backing fabric

The bag was made from fabric scraps and will have a drawstring cord.

Farm quilt bag

I did go out to my brother’s house last night as he and his partner Amanda had invited us round for a meal and they very kindly cooked us delicious food and looked after me so¬†I just had to sit in my chair drinking home-made¬†Cassis and wine (I have also put my back out again somehow!)

They have  a very lovely garden which they are in the process of remodelling (with outdoor BBQ and pizza oven) and Amanda loves garden ornaments as much as I do so here are some shots of her garden Рthe cat is a present that I bought her a couple of Christmases ago and it holds tea lights.

Ben's garden 1

Ben's garden 2

Ben's garden 3

You can just see Ben sitting in the background of that last pic. They also have an allotment and grow wonderful veg – look at the size of these courgettes! The one on the right is about 14″ long. Amanda very kindly gave me some more of her homemade chutney and jelly to bring home with me as well.

Ben's courgettes

I don’t know if I will be able to do much this coming week as feel pretty awful at the moment, I have been spending most of the weekend sewing up Xmas hearts, have just sent off an exchange to Germany and am halfway through another stitched gift for a friend’s new baby so do have a lot to occupy myself if needed.

I will not be posting now for a couple of weeks as we are off to Spain for a week on Friday. Take care and I will be in touch when I get back.

Thanks for visiting.

Just in time!

I am pleased to report that I have almost finished the Makower Farm fabric quilt in time to take it to Spain next week. In fact I do have enough time (and hopefully enough fabric) to make a little bag to go with it to keep all the animals in.

I was going to be very pushed for time but as Ellie arrived home late and very tired (but happy and very brown) from her dig yesterday evening we decided to have a quiet day in today so I got it finished. I have not got pics of the completed quilt yet as I need to do the bottom hem but plan to do that tomorrow. This was my progress up until today (as modelled by Jake!)

Farm Quilt Top

Six of the labels have a pocket on them (made of an extra label with the same design shown on) and I have bought six little plastic farm animals to put into the pockets as well as a set of bigger animals.

As this was my own design I have spent a lot of time trying to work out what I could do with fabric I had bought and would it have been much easier had I bought more plain and co-ordinates for sashing and borders but I will know for next time. I have just quilted the top and then made a ‘bag’ with the backing and turned it inside out, partly as I thought it would look better and partly as I was running out of time and fabric to do a border. I think it looks great as the outside border has enough pattern on it anyway.

We have been for a few days out since Mum arrived at the weekend. Firstly to Marsden which was lovely and sunny.


Then to Temple Newsam House  near Leeds which is a Tudor and Jacobean mansion that was the birthplace of Lord Darnley who married Mary Queen of Scots.

Temple Newsam 1

Temple Newsam 2

Temple Newsam 3

Lots of fab rooms and textiles inside , including some wonderful portraits, lots of embroidery spotting. No inside pics allowed but I did find a copy of this pic of Arabella Stuart on this very informative website.

Arabella Stuart

The jacket she is wearing reminds me very much of the Layton jacket in the Victoria and Albert Museum that I have written about previously. Below is a pic of Margaret Layton wearing the jacket.It makes me wonder about who made them both and how many more similar jackets exist Рwas it a popular design, did they know each other and did they ever meet (hopefully not both wearing their jackets!). They were both alive at the same time.

Margaret Layton

There was also a very interesting quilt on one of the beds – no pics allowed so I will have to try to describe it to you and see if anyone has seen anything similar as I have never come across one like it before.

It was made of glazed chintz, Chinese inspired flower / tree of life type designs so late 17th or early 18th century I think. It was patchwork but did not seem to be quilted, no wadding as far as¬†I could tell and the patchwork design was of large squares about¬†14″ diameter set on point with half triangles at the border. I went to¬†a quilt¬†exhibition at the V and A last year and saw quilts there dating from the 15oos but nothing like this. It looked quite basic, not really stately home style and I was very intrigued so if anyone knows anything about it please let me know.

We have a trip to York to the latest Quilt Museum  exhibition and the Minster planned for later in the week which will be lovely. Hopefully I will get chance to post again before I leave for Spain (with my completed quilt Рhurrah!).

Thanks very much for visiting,  see you again soon.

Photo Scavenger Hunt – July

Apologies for lack of weekly post – have family staying so have been out and about and very busy so normal service will resume soon!

The pics for this month’s Scavenger Hunt were all taken in a week on our recent holiday to London. I had set myself a goal of trying to get the whole list in one week – some of it was ridiculously easy while other words took a bit of searching but here they are and I hope that you like them!

A flag

Being the capital city there were a fair few Union flags around – it is only called the Union Jack when it is on a ship – but this is one of my fave flag pics – taken at Hampton Court.


A kite

Had to be a bit creative with this one as did not see any but did come across this quote from Mary Poppins in the Disney Store on Oxford Road ….


We are very big Disney fans in our house!


Being the capital city there are loads that take place here but thought I would share with you some of the memorabilia available for our latest one – the marriage of Prince William and the gorgeous Catherine Middleton on April 29th. This pic was taken in a little gift shop round the corner from the British Museum on a very rainy day. I did buy a fridge magnet to take a pic of but thought this was a lovely pic as you can just see the reflection of tourists in the rain under an umbrella opposite the shop.



Again I had to be creative here as there aren’t that many in central London but we were in the theatre district and I saw this poster advertising the musical from one of my favourite films – how many Christmases did I watch this! Do you remember the bit where they fall asleep in the poppy fields?


 Flip flops

For when you are feeling particularly patriotic!

flip flops

Ice cream

This is not actually ice cream but a little selection of takeaway desserts from Marks and Spencer where we bought our in train picnic for on the way back – how cute!

ice cream

Red, white and blue

Well I really was spoilt for choice here but I came across some fab shoes in a shop in trendy¬†Carnaby Street – here is the patriotic UK version…


and the patriotic US version !

rwb 1


Again this took some thinking about but then Ellie pointed out that Ariel the Little Mermaid has a bra made of seashells in the Disney film. When Ellie was little she had a dress like this with a long fish tail which she loved.She is most upset that the Disney Store don’t do adult sizes!


Something that makes you happy (not a person or an animal!)

Well apart from my family and textiles the thing that makes me most happy is travel (if I get to travel with my family and there are textiles I am super happy!). I really love travelling by train especially as I think it is very exciting and though I use the train a lot I never get bored, I love just sitting looking out of the window watching everything go by. I am sure I would be a terrible driver as I am so used to being able to look all around when I am going anywhere and see all the pretty things. So here is a pic of one of the Docklands Light Railway trains that we used, the views from these of the skyscrapers at Canary Wharf were great Рyou can just see them in the background here.



There was the most amazing ceiling in the chapel at Hampton Court decorated with stars – I couldn’t take a photo inside but here is a pic from the front of the guide-book.

Stars 1

and then when we bought things from the gift shop the bag had this design on.

Stars 2


Here is Ellie enjoying strawberries and creme fraiche as part of our picnic at Hampton Court.



And some lovely pots lined up in the Hampton Court gardens.


 I do hope that you have enjoyed my pics Рvery much looking forward to seeing what other people come up with this month. To see the other Scavenger Hunt pics or to join go to the blog.

July in Yorkshire – and a giveaway winner!

Hello there

You may remember a post a while back РApril I think when I commented that it was very warm and sunny Рwarmer than we usually get in April in Yorkshire or even July in Yorkshire, well this was one of those weekends that proved my point.It has been very, very wet for virtually all the weekend. So no garden fettling but I did manage to get a pic of my lovely new clematis blooms during a bit of sun yesterday.

clematis - july

Poor Ellie has been very rained on during her dig – she is down south at the moment doing an archaeological¬†dig at some standing stones as part of her course. She can cope fine with the rain (it’s just¬†like most of the family holidays¬†we have after all!) but unfortunately her lovely new Zandra Rhodes tepee tent that I bought her for Xmas has on its first trip out proved to be not waterproof at all! They have been very flooded so she has had to retreat to her little tent and we will have to be sending that back to the suppliers with a little note when she returns! Apart from that she is enjoying herself and they are hoping for better weather next week.

We need to wish Becky, her friend and future housemate who is also on the dig with her a belated happy birthday, it was her 21st birthday this week so a very, very happy birthday Becky and I hope that you and Gemma liked the pressies Ellie made you and that you liked the sparkly elephant that starred in last month’s Scavenger Hunt.

Becky and her boyfriend Chris have just come back from staying in our house in Spain and¬†they sent me a very wonderful bouquet of flowers to say thanks and a fab card that she got from Moonpig¬†which had loads of their holiday snaps on it – what a brill idea! Thank you very much Becky and Chris, you are most welcome! Look at these lovely blooms – I don’t know what the little multi-flowered ones are but they are so pretty and I¬†love lilies.

flowers from Becky and Chris

I have had a very busy week again¬†including trying to sort out more IT issues (Jacob’s new birthday computer 0 restored wireless network 1) so some success on that front, bizarrely¬†it will connect fine when downstairs but not when in his room, despite the fact that my laptop will – humm! And 2 hours on the phone with technical support could not fix it – it is a good job that I am a woman who knows my ping from my command prompt I tell you! However he is very happy as he has a super new graphics card and all is very pretty and the games work well, and I have regained access to my laptop of an evening (hurrah!).

To offset this I have a bit of fabric fettling¬†in between marking and decorating. Have managed to work out what I am doing with the farm quilt despite a couple of ‘oops I have measured¬†that bit wrong’¬†setbacks and have now put together all the labels with the spotty sashing¬†– pic below shows 5 of the 12 that make up the quilt top.

Farm quilt label block

Since I took this pic I have added another row of sashing¬†between all the label blocks in a green gingham so it looks very pretty. Am pleased that I have managed to work out the design myself and that I have done all the sashing using joined piecing which I have seen others at quilt group do but had not attempted it before (aren’t you impressed at all these new words I know now, I am, it is like a whole new language!)

I am very much enjoying my adventures in quilting – we have a ‘Sit and Sew’ day next Saturday where as the name suggests we shall spend all day sewing so I hope to have the quilt top done and possibly backed and part quilted as well as it needs to be finished within a few weeks for a birthday gift.

I have also been enjoying finding out more about quilt techniques as I have discovered a brand new resource from a link on a quilty¬†blog. I was reading Tonya’s Lazy Gal Quilting blog and she mentioned the Quilt Show ¬†and I have been having great fun watching their videos (from the comfort of my sofa thanks to the newly restored wireless connection!)

I like the way that as well as all of the free stuff when you register you can buy access to the individual shows you like without having to take out a yearly subscription and I think at about £1.50 a show that is very good value as they last an hour and are very informative.I watched a really good one on 1930s quilts the other day and am going to go back later and browse some more.

Last but not least I have picked a winner for the 200th post – using a random number generator which other people have mentioned as good way of picking. I had five comments on the post so numbered them in order and the winner is Number 2 – Lorna (no blog). I am mailing you Lorna to ask you what you would like as your ornie. Thank you to all who commented and I will be having another one in a few months in Nov as that will be my 4th blogaversary!

Well I hope that you have had better weather than we have Рmy Mum arrives next week for a visit so I am hoping that she will pack some Spanish sun in her case, meanwhile  we will look on the bright side Рat least I have got out of cutting the front hedge this weekend!

See you next week with hopefully a completed quilt top, thanks for visiting.

London Life Part Two – history and architecture!

As regular readers will know I love taking pics of architecture (particularly pretty doors and iron work to the bewilderment of my children!) and I had plenty of opportunity in London. We arrived at St Pancras  station which is an incredible building, one day would love to depart from here on the Eurostar or the Orient Express as I love train travel and it is a wonderful station, very modern on the inside with lots of shops and cafes (including a champagne bar!) but the outside is the best bit.The web site has a nice little bit on the history of the station with more pics if you are interested.

Edited to add – According to my Google banner today 13th July is the architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott’s 200th birthday – well done Sir for a fine building!

London 1 - St Pancras

No pretty pics of the British Library¬†which we went to that day – lovely gardens and it is nice inside but¬†too much of a brick block for me. We did see some very lovely things in the Treasures collection including old maps and illuminated manuscripts¬†and they have a very good feature on their website that lets you look at some of these in more detail called ‘Treasures in Full’¬†and an online gallery called ‘Turning the Pages’.

¬†However the following day was heaven as we went to Hampton Court¬†! I didn’t realise that the Flower Show was on that week which meant it was very crowded coming home on the train so we stayed and had tea there and caught a later one. Hen House ¬†has wonderful post all about the Flower Show – she went a couple of days after us so¬†I didn’t get the chance to bump into her which is probably a good things as the children would have been very embarrassed by me trying to introduce myself to one of my ‘imaginary friends’!

I have wanted to visit for a long, long time because of my fascination with the Tudors, particularly Catherine of Aragon who has always interested me not just for her love of embroidery and allegedly introducing blackwork to England but also because of her story which is such a powerful one and the outcome of it changed so much about English religious culture which again is one of my interests. I have just started re-watching the Tudors from series one and am going to treat myself to series four as I missed most of that when it was shown live (on far too late at night!).

The place did not disappoint and I was also very pleased to find that there was the newer palace of William and Mary from the 18th century behind the Tudor one which I had not realised. I prefer Tudor architecture and decor to Baroque but the gardens and apartments were lovely.Below pics show the outside of their palace and one of the beautiful symmetrical gardens.

London - Hampton palace

London - Hampton garden 2

This was the really exciting bit though.The pics below show the Clock Court, Tudor Gardens and window in the Great Hall, the ceiling of¬† the Watching Chamber¬†and Henry’s kitchens which fed 1200 people a day when he was there with his retinue.

London - Hampton clock

London - Hampton garden 1

London - Hampton window

London - Hampton ceiling

London - Hampton kitchen

I think that gold ceiling would make a marvellous inspiration for a goldwork piece!

And there was even more excitement with a very good exhibition about Henry’s early life which we looked at after the main house including paintings of two people you might recognise.

London - Hampton Catherine

The lovely Catherine of Aragon and her rival Anne Boleyn.

London - Hampton Anne

There was a very poignant part of the exhibition detailing all the stillbirths and deaths of Catherine’s children and both her and Anne suffered because of their failure to produce a male heir. It really does make you appreciate what women went through in childbirth and how the status of women has changed thankfully.

We also met the great man Henry the 8th himself with his last wife Kathryn Parr – during the day they had a series of short re-enactments with some actors recreating part of their story and I was lucky enough to get some lovely pics of the in the courtyard.

London 2 - Hampton King

Fab costume , I do fancy doing Tudor re-enactment myself but would only ever opt to be a lower staus role. I will leave the really fancy stuff to my very talented friend Kat , who by the way has just had her second baby girl Рbig congrats and welcome! I am sure the baby will be as beautifully dressed for re-enactment as the whole family are. Her Tudor section is here if you want to have a look at the wonderful things she makes.

We later went to the Natural History Museum ¬†which Jake loves and they had a dinosaur exhibition¬†which was very good (the sort with the moving ones in!)¬†This building was designed to look like a cathedral¬†to honour of all God’s creations and it is an amazing building . I bought a book on the history of the building and it is made of terracotta not carved stone as I had originally thought and was created by Alfred Waterhouse. More pics and history on this site¬† if you are interested.

London  - NH Museum 1

London  - NH Museum 2

There was a bit of modern architecture appreciation as we stayed in Docklands so took another trip to Canary Wharf where we marvelled yet again at how tall the buildings are.

London  - Canary Wharf

We are having a quiet couple of weeks here now doing some house and garden fettling. I am finding my Makower farm fabric quilt a challenge as I am designing it myself so no pics yet just a lot of moving fabric around and trying not to cut it out wrongly but hopefully I will have some progress on that by the end of the week.

Well this has been a very long post – time for a cup of tea I think!

Hope you all have a lovely week and thanks for visiting.

London Life Part One – the bit where we see famous people!

We have just got back from a very lovely, very busy trip to London and I have so many pictures of beautiful places to show you I have had a hard job editing them down to a few to post.

We visited the British Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the British Library and Hampton Court as well as Canary Wharf and Leicester Square on the evening of the Harry Potter premiere.I will post the historical¬†venues later on in the week but meanwhile here’s what we got up to at the premiere.

We knew we had very little chance of getting near to see anything much as we only arrived on the afternoon and there were people who had been camping out for days. Here is a pic of the kids at one of the blocked off sections of the square by the publicity hording.

Ellie and Jake HP Premiere 2

However we¬†were lucky enough to get to the back where the stars were arriving in their cars (the largest collection of silver Bentleys with blacked out windows in the world!) and peek through the hoardings surrounding the square to be able to see lots of red carpet activity.It was very amusing trying to work out who we might be seeing – we realised the next day when we saw pics in the paper that we had seen Helena Bonham Carter (recognised the hat!) We worked out we probably saw everyone arrive but since they were all behind their blacked out windows can’t really saw we saw them!

Sadly we did not see the main stars but we did meet a lot of very lovely people who were very excited, like us, just to be there and Ellie and Jake got interviewed and broadcast live on BBC Radio London which was fab! The pic below shows them with the reporters.

Ellie and Jake HP Premiere 3

I¬†can’t find the live interview but here is a link to the earlier interview the reporter did with them that went up on Twitter and the pic from the Twitter site.You can just see one of the fans peeking over the top trying to see who had arrived!


Ellie and Jake HP Premiere

Later on in the week we went to Comicon Рa Sci Рfi film and magazine convention where we did see lots of very famous people from TV and movies close up, there were stars from films such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter and TV series like Buck Rogers, Doctor Who, Firefly as well as loads of fans dressed up.

We saw some very nice Storm Troopers, a Charles Xavier (Professor X from X Men Рwe have just been to see the new movie which was brilliant), Wolverines, a Klingon, a few R2D2s, some Disney princesses and too many Dr Whos to keep track of Рmore Matt Smiths than David Tennants and only a couple of the older Doctors Рsadly no John Pertwees who was always my favourite doctor (probably because most of the people at the convention were not born when he was the Doctor!) Anyway it was a really fun day and the kids were very excited Рthe same as I was at Hampton Court. I have started watching all the Tudor series again tonight in homage.

As it was London and we were living the glamorous city life we had some very nice meals out and had a special picnic on the train on the way back from Marks and Spencers including this very lovely little glass of wine, you may remember that last year I posted about portable wine containers in my post on Glamping. This plastic glass full of Chardonnay came from the chiller cabinet with a peel off lid! Very useful.

Portable wine

I made good progress with my fabric Xmas ornies before I went away –¬†I now have about 20 in various stages of completion – here are some pics of the crazy patchwork ‘sheet’, ¬†the cutting out and one of my newest finished batch in case you want to use this method to make your own.By careful placing of the heart I managed to get¬†8 cut out of this sheet. The final pic shows the backing fabric I have used as well. I added a small Xmas tree button to this set from the packs I bought at the Malvern Quilt Show a while ago.

fabric xmas heart 1

fabric xmas heart 2

fabric xmas heart 3

I appear to have solved the problem with the fabric pics on my posts being wavy lined, I thought it was my old camera but realised that when I looked at them in slide show preview that wasn’t happening , it seems it was my photo editor software, am using another one now and pics are a lot clearer!

I spent part of this afternoon working on the Makower farm animal quilt which needs to finished in a couple of weeks for a family birthday present. Am making up my own pattern so it is very challenging – think I know what I am doing but am being very careful cutting out!

Don’t forget to post a comment on my giveaway post¬†¬†if you would like¬†to win an¬†ornie. Thanks for visiting.


While looking at the other contributions for this month’s Scavenger Hunt I came across a post about making lists that I liked from Ellen’s Blog. The list is ‘Top 5 decisions you are glad you have made’ so here goes.

1. To have kids – without a doubt my best ever decisions as they are wonderful – we have had such fun together ever since they arrived and still do, they are such fun to be with and we get to go off and have adventures together – like London tomorrow!

2. To move to Huddersfield – I came here to study for my degree and I had various options for where I might end up, I am very glad that this one was the one I chose as I have been very happy here, loved the degree and have loved living here since then.

3. To buy a house in Spain – a big decision but like the Huddersfield one somewhere I really, really love to be and I am so glad to be able to spend more time there with my family.

4. To apply for my current job – it is a very demanding job but I love it , the students and the staff I work with are really great and I get a real buzz out of doing it – and have been doing it for 10 years now.

5. To take life as it comes and look for the joy and the positive aspects of every situation. I didn’t used to be very mellow and tried to have everything planned out but a few years ago circumstances changed and I decided that I was going to try to ‘roll with it’ a bit more and¬† I am very glad I did. I am far happier now than I used to be and am having a lovely, lovely life!

See you all soon.

Thanks for visiting.

A giveaway

Hello everyone

I hope that you have all had a nice weekend – it has been a very hot and sunny one here in Yorkshire and much garden fettling has taken place including the clearing of weeds from a neglected area at the bottom of the garden, thanks kids for your sterling work today. We have had a lovely BBQ this evening as well!

It has almost been too hot in the conservatory to do any fabric fettling but Ellie and I did a little bit today and I have some pics to show you from earlier in the week.We have been making a whole load of very cute pincushions from her Simple Sewn Gifts book  that she got for her birthday and I have been helping by cutting out the fabric. These are very lovely.

There is one for her with a very cute frog button.

pincushion - Ellie's frog

One for her auntie as she loves cats.

pincushion-cat fabric

One to go with the scissor keep she made as a donation for the ‘Put em¬†Ins’ that we are making for the Quilter’s¬†¬†Guild Tombola at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August (Put em Ins are anything you can put things in).

pincushion - put em ins

One for me to match ny WIP sofa throw in the lovely medieval fabric.

pincushion - medieval fabric

I am still sewing my little patchwork Xmas hearts which leads me to the giveaway which is the title of my post. It was my birthday this week – the kids were kind enough to buy me this lovely card!

b'day card

Ellie also made me a very pretty bag and is making me a jewellery roll in the same fabric to go with it.

b'day bag

It is also my 204th post right here, right now РI had meant to have a giveaway to celebrate the 200th post which was last week sometime but missed it so thought I would do it now as a birthday and blog celebration.

I am offering an¬†Xmas ornie¬†as I love doing them and it can be any one of your choice –¬†either¬†a stitched one or a patchwork – tree, heart etc anything at all. If you click on the ‘Xmas Ornies’ link in my Category Cloud you will see all the ones I have ever made so pick your favourite one. To enter please leave a comment on this post telling me¬†what you would like to have¬†. I will pick the winner in two weeks on the 17th July.

We are off to London next week for a little holiday – lots of museum visiting and we are going to lurk around the premiere of the last Harry Potter movie on Thurs in the hope of seeing some stars! Hope that you all have a lovely week ahead and thank you for visiting.