A week of lovely things

I have had a very exciting week, as I mentioned last week I went to stay with Ellen. This  involved a walk in the beautiful Whitwell Woods near her house, a visit to Brodsworth Hall, lots of decorating and gardening (including trips to the garden centre and B and Q), and a trip to Aldi on the way back. I have not had this much adventure in weeks 🙂

Ellen has been going to these woods regularly and they are beautiful, it was a really hot day so we were very glad of the shade. We saw lots of squirrels running around in the paths. They are so cute, Ellen has squirrels at work and sees them every day but I get so excited when I see one.

The social distancing at Brodsworth meant that we were only able to visit the house but it all worked very well. You have to book timed tickets and there were plenty available. We had a lovely picnic in the grounds of the house by the statues.

Brodsworth 4

Brodsworth 5

The formal gardens are very beautiful, especially the different shrubs and hedges.

Brodsworth 13

I also really liked the fern grotto, I have a lot of ferns in my rockery and love the way they grow back each year from tiny tendrils.

There were also lots of beautiful flowers, some we had seen before, and others, like this purple monkey orchid in the top right, which were new to us.

Brodsworth Alison

Ellen thought my choice of blouse was very appropriate for the rose arbour!

There were tea facilities and the shop was open so I was able to support English Heritage by buying some of my favourite curds.We took some gluten free scones, jam and cream with us and had a lovely little afternoon tea in the courtyard.

Brodsworth 28

I have been really wanting to get back to visiting places as I know how much they rely on visitor revenue. I know it may not be the top of everyone’s list of things to save but I really value our heritage so want to try and do as much as I can to help both English Heritage and the National Trust over the coming months. So many things are at risk because of the situation and it is very worrying for all who work in both these places and the retail and hospitality industries. I am very lucky to have a job that has not been affected too much.

As well as the adventuring I got to help Ellen with some painting and a bit of a garden makeover. This bed was full of stones and very hard but we managed to dig it out. We made a trip to B and Q to get some petunias, bizzie lizzies and lobelias which will be very pretty when they flower.

Ellie's garden

I also got to spend time with her very cute cat, Wynn, who I have not met before. He enjoyed his time with us in the garden while we drank gin and tonic and admired our handiwork. He is a rescue cat and cannot go outside on his own due to being poorly so he was on a harness with us.

Ellie's cat

Ellen has also been decorating stones to brighten up her garden. She has made lots of ladybird ones and also some beautiful mandala style ones, so she and I spent a lovely afternoon painting some more of them. Hers are the two larger ones here. They look so pretty dotted around the garden and hopefully we can get some more stones to add to these.

Painted stones

It was such a lovely week, I really appreciated being able to spend lots of time with Ellen as well as get some practical things done. It feels as if things are really starting to feel more normal here, fingers crossed that will continue.

I have some leave coming up this week as well, Ellen will be up again and we are going to go on a little day out for my birthday, just to one of the neighbouring villages. We will also be seeing my brother and sister in law for a visit in their garden. I also plan to work on more knitted animals and I have almost finished the vintage style embroidery. I am looking forward to a few quiet weeks after all the busyness of work.

I hope that you have a lovely week ahead as well. Take care,stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Making elephants

When I was trying to decide on the title of this post I was looking at all the little parts of the latest knitted toy from Little Cotton Rabbits before me. I thought about how you make an elephant, one bit at a time, then you sew them all together and ta da you get something like Bonnie below, posing in the bougainvillia in Spain.

Elephant knitting 2

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I was reminded of that saying about how to eat an elephant, which is one bit at a time and thought that was a very good basis for this post. Yesterday I submitted the re-written doctorate, which was 88, 997 words long. That seems an impossible thing to do, but I have done it. One day at a time, spending hours and hours on what seemed like a never ending task. But it is done 🙂

In the same way we are just coming to the end of week 13 of lockdown. For all those days I have been here in my house, trying to do what seem like lots of impossible things. But they have got done, one day at a time. Now all of the very busiest period at work, and hopefully the most stressful part of the lockdown, is over.

I have taken up animal knitting again as after very long hours of typing my hands have been very painful in the evening. Not that I have done much this week at all. All of these body parts above I found in my WIP drawer, along with the body parts of two mice and at least one rabbit. I have just started sewing the elephant up and I am part way through a jumper for him as well. This is for a friend at work and she is going to give it to her grandson.

I have been inspired as well by the newly formed Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook group. There is such an amazing variety of beautiful toys here and the adaptations and colours that people have used are amazing.

I have shared some of the wonderful things that people have made below, these are by – clockwise from top left – Elizabeth Powis Fulkes, Gem Allaway, Jo Harrop, Sarah Fellner, Sarah Bellis and Hilary Trunnell Adams. Well done for all your fantastic creativity and thank you for all the inspiration. I just adore the bags, hats, rompers and the gorgeous colours you have all used. I love the idea of using sew on eyes as well.

My treat shopping this month is going to include some more of Julie’s patterns as I don’t have all of them yet. I have been sorting out which I need and making sure they are all stored safely. The cute little top and skirt are going to be on my list as I love that.

I have had a lovely week, apart from working hard on the doctorate I have been doing a puzzle, this is one that I absolutely loved doing. It is by a designer called Aimee Stewart and I have other works by her on my wish list. The title of the piece is very apt, A Stitch in Time, and she has used vintage paintings of stitchers to create this masterpiece of colour and detail. I would love to be any one of these women.

Stitch in time puzzle - full

Stitch in time puzzle 1

Stitch in time puzzle 2

Stitch in time puzzle 3

Stitch in time puzzle 4

I also had a fantastic surprise on Sunday. I knew that Ellen was coming up for a walk but just before she was due there was a knock on the door and it was my sister, Jacky. She had driven all the way from Worcester, a 2 1/2 hour drive, in her camper van to come and see me. She and Ellen had arranged it and it was so lovely to see her. Here she is, appropriately socially distanced of course!

Jacky Walk 2

We all went for a very lovely walk, up a footpath over the hills behind the house. I have not been there before and really enjoyed exploring, we found some streams, and sheep of course. And there were the wonderful views from the other side of the village.

We also did get to have our first BBQ of the year as it was beautiful weather, so we christened the new table and chairs.

Jacky Walk 11

I am going to have a really exciting weekend and week ahead. We are now allowed to visit other single households in ‘social bubbles’, so Ellen is coming to get me and I am going to stay at her house. Partly it is to help her decorate, but we have also booked to go to an English Heritage house on Monday. Just the gardens are open but I am so excited to be actually going somewhere.I may even go in a supermarket as well. The weather looks pretty damp here but I don’t care, I will have a lovely time.

So very good times ahead. Most of the work is done for the year so I can have some time off. There will be lots and lots of time for crafting and I only have to write a very small amount of words for the rest of the summer 🙂 Some days I may not even write at all! I am so very happy to be at this stage.

I hope that you are all happy too and are going to have a lovely weekend. I hope that you are all feeling positive and looking forward to nice happenings in your own lives.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Slow stitching Sunday

I have been making very slow progress this week, for a number of reasons, but I did really enjoy spending all of yesterday sitting and stitching. There is an actual thing called Slow Stitching Sunday, hosted by Kathy’s Quilts  which is actually aimed at hand stitching for quilters and they have a link party every Sunday. There is some beautiful work at this link from yesterday.

The main reason I was being so slow is because I am really suffering with arthritis in my hands at the moment. Too much typing from marking and the doctorate has meant that they are very sore. Still it was very lovely to be able to sit and watch lots of movies on Netflix and just relax.

I finished the other embroidery circle last week as well, it now has its little hexagon added and has been added to the pile of finishes to be made into bags. I am now making fairly good progress on my first design from the Vintage Stitching book that I posted about previously. I am making this little hoop embroidery as a birthday present for one of the younger relatives, hopefully she will think it is as cute as I do.

 

Vintage dog stitching

Another bit of vintage embroidery from Ebay arrived for the stash this week as well. This tea cosy has designs on both sides so I have eight motifs in total.

Vintage embroidered tea cosy 1

I am planning to make some more Liberty log cabin blocks with these. I have a growing stash of them, some that I have used for things like baskets and needle books and a handbag for me. I will also someday hopefully have enough of these for a quilt as well.

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vintage-log-cabin-bag-1

We are having a Wool and Wine live tomorrow, hopefully the weather will be fine for our garden meet up at one of my friend’s houses. It will be brilliant to see everyone (well 6 of us!) again, we were planning one last week but poor weather meant that it was Zoom only again.

Ellen is planning to come up again this Saturday and fingers crossed we may get out first BBQ of the year, I have probably completely jinxed that by writing it here but hopefully she will bring nice Midlands weather with her.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead and have the chance to do some nice normal things. There will be some big changes in the next few weeks, not for me really as I am not planning to go anywhere except the village for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we are headed in the right direction and we can all carry on enjoying the company of friends and family.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Off to the beach…. Marsden style

Don’t worry, we have not annoyed the residents of any seaside county by actually going to the beach, we are all still being very sensible here and I am still not leaving the village. Today marks 11 weeks since I left Marsden, on our little pre-lockdown trip to the fabric shop. Little did we know then that we were going to be in our homes for so long!

Ellen came up on Tuesday rather than at the weekend as the weather forecast was not good and we went for a very long, and quite hot, walk, right over to the other side of the village and onto the moors. I thought I would share some of the photos with you as it was a very beautiful day.

Marsden Beach walk 1

We started off in the middle of the village near the church where there is a lovely pack horse bridge and a weir. This cottage had the most enormous poppies in the garden that you can just see in the above picture.

Marsden Beach walk 6

This river comes out from one of the other mill sites, the only one to have been demolished and there are now houses there, some right next to the weir.

A walk though the woods next to the canal led to this example of a sheep fold, which was built as a demonstration of dry walling. There are a couple of sheep sculptures inside and it shows how they would contain the sheep while they sheared them, getting them in through the high gap and blocking off the little exit until each sheep had been done.

Marsden Beach walk 9

Marsden Beach walk 10

There are still lots of gorgeous rhododendrons in bloom and we also came across another example of the lovely tree that we found on our last walk. Ellen now has a plant finder app on her phone so we were able to establish that it is a hawthorn and the little rose buds had now fully bloomed and were looking beautiful.

Marsden Beach walk 7

Marsden Beach walk 8

Marsden Beach walk 12

The cottages above are at the end of the canal near the canal heritage centre and they were probably built for the workers that used to mend the boats when the centre was operational.

We were headed for a little bit of the river known locally as Marsden beach where we had a picnic and a paddle. There were quite a few families there and it was lovely to see the children playing in the water.

Marsden Beach walk 13

Marsden Beach walk 14

The ‘beach’ part of the walk has some lovely areas leading from it up into the moors so we followed the path along the river, passing another bridge until we came to part of the moor known as Eastergate.

Marsden Beach walk 17

Marsden Beach walk 18

This is National Trust land, as is all of the land around here that is not part of the Peak District National Park and as at other points there is a sculpture linking the landscape with the industrial heritage.

Marsden Beach walk 21

Marsden Beach walk 22

Marsden Beach walk 23

Marsden Beach walk 24

This was part of the trail where the wool would be brought over the moors and is now a brilliant area for picnics and paddling on a hot day. We were lucky enough to find ice cream on sale in the village when we got back as some of the cafes are doing take away so finished our walk with an ice cream by the river.

A really lovely, lovely day, doing such normal but very special things now and finished off by the delivery of my new table and chairs which had arrived while we were out. My lovely neighbours had taken them in and so I finished the day replanting my hanging baskets and sitting outside with a glass of wine in the evening sun.

New chairs 1

The sheep have very kindly not eaten any of my plants, unlike my poor neighbours who have spent a lot of lockdown planting what the sheep have been treating as a salad bar. Luckily they don’t seem to like geraniums 🙂

New chairs 2

Of course being Yorkshire we are now having a cold spell to celebrate the start of June but hopefully things will brighten up next week as we are planning our first Wool and Wine live meet up. There will be six of us, in the same space, with wine and nibbles, how exciting is that!

I have done very little on the crafting front as I have been working on my jigsaw on the nice sunny evenings, it is lovely to sit with the back door open and listen to the birds. I have just started a new embroidery from my vintage stitching book and will hopefully have some time this weekend to get back to the Liberty quilt blocks as I have sadly neglected them in the last few weeks. Never mind there will be plenty of time after the doctorate is finished.

I hope that you have all been having a good week and that you have a good weekend ahead. Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Some more little treats

I have been continuing to support small businesses with some purchases and was very touched when my recent order from Duck Egg Threads came with this very sweet note in the packaging.

Duck eggs Liberty 1

The fabric is so lovely, how could I resist ordering more so will definitely get some again next month. I have been putting my travel to work budget to good use for this purpose and there is so much I would like to get from them. They are the lovely site that I mentioned a while ago with very clear displays of all of the colours they stock.

Duck eggs Liberty 2

I ordered 8 fat 16ths as that gives me a lot of longer strips for when I do more quilt blocks that need these longer lengths. Most of these designs I have already had but am now down to little scraps of. That is the lovely thing about quilting though, there is always something to use up the tiny bits for.

Duck eggs Liberty 3

I have been sorting out some papers to use for the Liberty hexagon quilt and have found these that I have already made so think that I will use the half inch hexagons for the Grandmother’s Flower Garden designs.

Liberty half inch hexis

That does mean that for a bed sized quilt I would need a grand total of 18,720 hexagons according to the calculations on this blog here. That is a major project so I may just make something smaller for the moment, like a cushion for the future camper van!

I have also treated myself to a new stitching book. I love buying vintage linens and have another one on the way from Ebay and this book, Vintage Stitching Treasury has been on my wish list for a while.

Vintage Stitching 1

There are so many cute versions of the Crinoline Lady patterns in here.

Vintage Stitching 6

Vintage Stitching 5

There are also some very familiar flowers that are very similar  to the jacket I made from tablecloths a couple of years ago.

Vintage Stitching 2

Steampunk linen jacket finished 2

Vintage Stitching 4

I love the cute animals as well. There are 400 patterns in here so it is very good value.

Vintage Stitching 3

I think some of these would look fabulous on cushions as well as making into embroidered hoop pictures. My new supply of hoops arrived as well so I can put together another camper van picture.

Last but not least I was also tempted by some more camper van fabric, and gave in!

Camper van fabric May

These are such gorgeous colours and I have half a metre of it so am going to put it away for a bit until I decide what to do with it. Possibly cushion covers with some applique van fronts.This was also from Amazon, from a company called Discover Fabrics

I have had a brilliant weekend.Kerry came up on Saturday and we went for a very long and hot walk to the same reservoir we went to last week, this time we did have a little paddle in the stream though. It was wonderful to be able to talk to her in person and we will have another meet up very soon.

Sunday was a nice quiet day of sewing. It has been so lovely this week to see real live people as we have been able to meet up with friends for exercise now so I have seen lots of people from Wool and Wine. From next week we will be able to meet in small groups outside so that will be exciting. I am so looking forward to getting some kind of normality into my life again and having things to look forward to.

I hope that you have all had a good weekend and have a good week ahead. I shall be mainly working on the doctorate but hopefully this gorgeous weather will continue and I can have some lovely evening walks as well.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.