A handbag!

Hello everyone, I do hope that you are all well and happy. I have been having a lovely day in the comfort of my lounge, on the sofa stitching and watching movies on DVD. The weather has been unbelievably foul all week and today was no better so cosied up with cups of tea and my latest project.

Very little crafting has been taking place here of late. What with all the travel and the fact that I have been working on some bigger projects and being super busy at work I have not posted a finish for some time which is very slack of me!

I have been doing stuff but the Chinese Emperor cross sitch will take a long time and I have just finished an exchange piece that I only posted this week so will not be able to post about for a while.

However the weekend before last I was seized with an urge to make something that has been an idea for a while – a patchwork bag made from denim garments that were no longer needed and some beautiful crochet table runners that I bought at a vintage fair a while back.

I had a lovely time playing with fabric and ideas – tea and cookies essential for the creative process of course!

handbag making

And finally finished it today.I am very pleased with the end result. I have added some wooden embellishments from a set I bought in Leeds last week to one side that I may add to the other once I see how well they last as they are quite fragile.


handbag buttons

I am also very pleased with the lining , which is from one of Ellie’s old skirts , and I have used a magnetic button to fasten it.This was the most expensive bit of the whole project buying the buttons as everything else was from my stash.

handbag inside

It is mostly my own design though I used various books for inspiration. Hope that you like it!

I am really looking forward to next weekend as it is my first re-enactment event of the year. I am going to stay with my very lovely friend Kerry and we are going to join another friend Malcolm and his group at Bosworth Battlefield which will be very interesting as I have never been there before.Will take lots of pics for you!

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Lifestyles of the rich and the famous

Well we have had a wonderful time in Italy. We went to Lake Como, somewhere that my Mum has always wanted to go and this was a postponed 70th birthday holiday for her (it was last year but for various reasons we did not get to go away then).

We have been really enjoying our little peek into the ‘lifestyles of the rich and the famous’ (the line comes from a song by one of Ellen’s favourite bands Good Charlotte) and have seen villas owned by people such as George Clooney, Richard Branson and the Gucci and Prada families.

We have been (window) shopping in all manner of lovely places such as Como, St Moritz and Milan and have been very spoilt by staying a luxurious and all-inclusive hotel with fabulous food and wine all week. Jake now says he cannot contemplate a non-inclusive holiday ever again but he will have to as that was a one-off and we will be back to camping and BBQs in the rain for the rest of the year!

We stayed at a very lovely hotel, the Hotel Britannia Excelsior,  in a little village called Cadennabia right in the middle of the lake and as well as 3 organised day trips (into Switzerland to go on a train over the Alps, to Milan and lake cruise) we also did some sightseeing ourselves taking the bus and the little ferries so that we could explore the wonderful villages. It really was picture postcard perfect and I hope that you enjoy these pics in the slide show below.

This is one of my favourite ones taken at the Villa Carlotta which we visited for its beautiful art and gardens. Look at that view!

Italy - villa carlotta 3

And here we are at the same place in a bit of a tourist pose – when did my son get so tall?

Italy - villa carlotta 4

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I also have some lovely textile pics which I will post about separately as I managed to find lots of lovely embroidery (how unusual!)

Thank you as always for visiting – I have now had over 6,600 visitors in one month which is wonderful! See you all soon.

A new page

Hello there

Just back from our fab holiday in Italy which I will be posting about later. Here is a pic of the views that surrounded us all week, this was taken from one of the lovely villas that we visited – it was a wonderful holiday on all counts especially as we went all inclusive for the first time which was very luxurious!

Italy - villa carlotta 1

I have just finished the page about my time in China so hope that you enjoy all my pics.

See you all soon and thanks for visiting.

Photo Scavenger Hunt – March


I am still working on sorting out all of the pictures from China but have done these for the Scavenger Hunt so this is a little taste of what I did there.


The view from my hotel room in Guangzhou – from the 11th floor overlooking the park.



Am emergency button in the hotel room bathroom.



These beautiful boxes of tea were for sale in the hotel I stayed in – sadly I did not have enough weight allowance to bring one back this time but I will when I go again later in the year.



This was one of the wonderful restaurants I visited – a famous beef restaurant where you had a personal hot-pot on each table to cook all of this lovely stuff!



We visited a historic house and museum where they had this beautiful puppet theatre with goldwork hangings.


Street name

I have started learning Chinese – being in the country surrounded by signs made it much easier, like this road sign outside my hotel – ‘shan’ means ‘mountain’.

Road name


The chairs in the lobby in the hotel I stayed in.



This is the 5 goats statue in Yue Xie park in Guangzhou, this is linked to the story of the founding of the city. Here I am with my colleagues Mo and Chris on a rather wet day out.



It was easy to see what was in fashion in China as washing was hanging everywhere, this is one of the student dorms on the campus in Guangzhou.



Loads of lovely Chinese words everywhere which were so beautiful, these were at the back of the classroom where I was teaching, these symbols mean ‘teacher’.



Half a face

One of the things that was strange in China was that all of the adverts featured very Western looking women with pale skin which is very prized in China. This was a picture outside a beauty salon. Seems strange that in my town there are lots of beauty salons offering spray tan and in China the most popular thing is whitening masks!

half a face


A picture of the other city in stayed in , Shantou. on display at a museum we visited – a small city by Chinese standards at about 5 million people.


Where did the time go?

Hello everyone, I hope that you are all having a lovely weekend.

We are and it started with lovely daughter Ellie’s 21st birthday on Friday. I can’t believe that she is not only celebrating her birthday but also that she is nearly at the end of her time at Uni! It only seems a few weeks ago that we were dropping her off at her halls.

As I type she is sitting writing her dissertation, she is doing very well and is about 3/4 way through this. She is also applying for jobs in the heritage industry so I am keeping my fingers crossed for her as she has worked so hard.

She is still volunteering at Greyfriars, the National Trust Tudor house in Worcester where she worked as a Conservation Assistant last year but has also been doing voluntary work archiving material from the old Worcester hospital.

We were going to go to Leeds on a day out and visit Temple Newsam house but got sidetracked by some new charity shops in town so had a day of retail therapy instead which not only gained us both lots of new clothes (including some lovely tops for Ellie’s work wardrobe) but also donated some funds to charity! A win win situation. I love shopping in charity shops, we have some fab ones in our town with some really expensive labels at a fraction of the cost.

Ellie does not really want to be 21 and out in the big wide world – she would rather be a Disney Princess so I bought her lots of Disney gifts for her birthday – here is her pile of pinkness and her and Jake posing , they look very 60s hippy chicks here.

Ellie 21st 4

Ellie 21st 1

We also had a Disney fairies birthday cake with a sparkler in.

Ellie 21st 2

One of her presents, from my sister -in- law Amanda, was this beautiful blackwork picture.

Ellie 21st 3

She also celebrated with her friends in Worcester – in fancy dress of course – the theme was Army Girls.

Ellie 21st Worcs 1

So have a very happy 22nd year – we are all very proud of you!

My Mum also arrived on Friday as we are off to the Italian Lakes on Wednesday – lucky us.

So take care and I will see you all in a week or so!