The hottest day of the year ….

Or even the century. You may be aware that we had a mini heatwave this week, it reached about 33 degrees, even in Yorkshire and in typical British style we were all saying how it was too hot and we needed it to cool down – we are never happy with the weather  😉

Anyway it was a lovely day made even more special as my very lovely son Jake graduated from University with a 2:1 in Multimedia Journalism, which makes me a very proud Mum🙂

Poor boy was roasting in his black gown but we managed to get some nice photos before he had to disrobe.

Here he is with a cute bear who was posing for photos with the graduates, he must have been really hot! Also his lovely sister Ellie and his best friend from University, Charlie , who he met at sixth form and they have studied together for the last 6 years.

We had a great time in Middlesbrough including a trip to the Bowes Museum, somewhere I have always wanted to visit, and a curry at a place with naan breads as that were at least two feet in length.

The day also ended very well as I had a visit booked to Simply Solids  to hear Sarah Fielke give a trunk show talk. I had not really come across her work before but loved it, she bases a lot of her designs on antique quilts and uses a lot of applique and hand quilting all which very much appeals to me.

I have just treated myself to a copy of her latest book of designs based on antique quilts so that will be arriving next week, more ideas for the retirement crafting!

Sarah Fielke 3 - book

She was really lovely, especially so in the extreme heat, poor women had packed for her European tour a few weeks previously and had not packed for our heatwave so she did a wonderful job, we were hot enough just sitting there listening.

Sarah Fielke 1

I not only loved the quilts but found her very inspirational, she had a serious car accident when she was just starting her quilting career and her children were very young and still managed to continue with things, even after four months in hospital and time after that using a wheelchair.

Sarah Fielke 2

I hope that the quilting helped her recover as it does for so many people, I am a great believer in the power of crafting to help heal, I know it helps me when I am in pain and think it is a really good way of relieving stress as well.

Below is one of my favourite designs by her from her Quilting with Little Things book, love the little appliqued leaves.

Sarah Fielke Quilting-From-Little-Things

Well it still sunny here but not so hot so will be watching the weather carefully while I craft as have lots of washing on the line! Hope that you have a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting.


More inspiration – now just need more time!

Hello again

Since I started following the Splendid Sampler Facebook page I have been notified of other things of a similar type and one of the new things that I have been loving and finding amazingly inspiring is the Millefori/La Passcaglia quilt group.

It is similar to other Millefiori quilts but is based on a book by Willyne Hammerstein which has now gone on my wish list, along with the wish for more days in the week, just an extra weekend each week would be brilliant, one for handwork and for machine work and then I would be quite happy to work five days inbetween them!

They are amazing quilts – these are some of my favourite colour combinations, all pictures from the Facebook page.

Millefiori quilt complete blue

Millefiori quilt purple and green

Millefiori quilt rainbow

Millefiori quilt rainbow 2-small

I have bought a sample pack of papers for one rosette from Honey Be Quilting on Ebay, they are double sized so make a big rosette which should be doable in not too much time. Most of these projects above took about a year so that project is going on my retirement list!

Have also been reading some new inspiring blogs, more about those in a later post but one of them had this saying as part of the header and I found a great picture to go with it.

Love the life you live quote-small

Have not heard this quote for a while and it was a great reminder of how lucky I am to have a lovely life with so much inspiration and love and fun things in it.

Hope you are having a good week, it is always very inspiring for me this time of year when my students come back from their placements.

They haven’t been together as a group since end of February and they are always so happy to be back together .This is a really inspiring time for them as well when they realise how far they have come since September. I am very lucky to love my job, even without the four day weekend!

Take care and thanks for visiting.


Serendipity and other happy things

Serendipity is one of my favourite words. It means, ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way’, and I particularly love it when I get crafting serendipity.

This happens a lot as I am always finding great things on blogs or fabric that goes really well with intended projects which was what happened at Simply Solids on Saturday.

Last month’s Stichery Club by Jenny of Elefantz included this cute design, picture from Jenny’s website. I have already used the little birds on my Happy Happy block but want to make the whole thing as well at some point.ELEFANTZ the topiary tree

So I was very pleased to see this fabric on the shelves at Simply Solids.

Machine quilting course 13

They had lots of different colours but I thought this was very pretty. I can use the centre of the flower for the main design and the rest for the surrounding fabric. I think it will make a cute bag.

There was also a great machine quilting resource mentioned at the course, Leah Day and when I got home and found her website I realised that I had come across her before.

Her Free Motion Quilting Project  has shared 365 designs for quilting and they are all in the gallery here. Each design also has a video showing you how to do it, an incredibly generous resource.

I have added her book to my Amazon wish list as think that would be a very useful addition to my quilting library.

Leah Day 365 quilting designs book

She also has two other books that just have the beginner and intermediate designs in them so think I might start with those. You never know though after my recent success I could become a machine quilting genius after all!

I have also just ordered this PDF pattern from Acorn Quilt and Gift Company  , it  is one I found from a link from Jenny’s website I think and I have wanted it for ages but was not sure what I would do with it.

Betsys Closet In Stitches

A friend from knitting group has just had a baby girl and I think that one of these designs would make a gorgeous baby card so am planning to stitch that in Spain as well.

It is so cute and  I love the quilted border as well. There is also a fully appliqued version as well which is just as lovely.

Betsys Closet applique

Look at this little dress, and the quilting around it. One day maybe!

Betsy Closet Sunday Dress

Am fast approaching project wish overload as there are so many things that I want to do. I take comfort from the fact that the end of the teaching year is only a couple of months away and that means getting home at a reasonable time and in the light so my productivity always increases then.

And the fact that I am using this blog partly as a retirement resource for me as well for the time when I can devote all day everyday to crafting!!

Meanwhile hope that you all have a lovely next couple of weeks, I am very lucky and will be doing lots of resting and crafting so I hope that you have fun and will see you all soon.

Thanks for visiting.

A lovely crafting weekend!


Hello everyone

Hope that you have had a great weekend, here in the UK it has been Mother’s Day and I had planned a Crafternoon so I have had a thoroughly splendid time and got flowers as well!

Mothers Day Flowers

Ellie came up for both days, we had the usual cake and pink fizz in the company of Sarah, Helen and Sharon from knitting group and then on Sunday had a little trip out.

Can’t show you much from the Crafternoon as everyone but me was working on secret projects, Sarah for her new knitting book due out later this year and Ellie and Helen on gifts.

March crafternoon 1

March crafternoon 2

I thought I would start on a bit of paper piecing for Christmas – never too early!

Our planned visits further afield on Sunday were curtailed by heavy snow on Friday but we still had a lovely time and I have some new things to show you.

Firstly a couple of lovely quilt books, one bought by me last week and the other from my children, credit due to Ellie for spotting this in the National Trust gift shop! Apparently when she told him what she was planning Jake said he didn’t think I needed another quilt book, how wrong😉

Quilt books - Mothers day 1

As you know I love textile history and this gorgeous book, ‘A World of Quilts’, by Cassandra Ellis is all about making historic quilts, the author has used mainly recycled material and this gives the quilts a wonderful vintage look.

Each of the quilt patterns has a little bit of history with it and the finished quilts are beautifully photographed. A really excellent present!

Quilt books - Mothers day 2

Quilt books - Mothers day 3

Quilt books - Mothers day 4

I bought this one, ‘Tile Quilt Revival’,   from Amazon recently as I came across a reference to the tile quilts on a blog. Again they are based on historic quilts and have some really unusual designs.

Quilt books - tile book 1

The quilts are made from applique which is done onto a plain background with spaces between the pieces giving the appearance of grout. Here is a better picture of the cover quilt.

Quilt books - tile book 3

There are some wonderful patterns in here and as I have established I am much better at applique than piecing so am very drawn to this quilt style.

I have also been doing some applique myself, this is one of the Splendid Sampler blocks I mentioned previously, Happy Happy by Jen Kingwell .

Splendid Sampler Block 4 Happy-Happy-Block-picture

I really liked the pattern and all of the examples that I was seeing so have been spending most of the last week working on this.

SS Happy Happy Block 1

The fabric is a Liberty print for the vase and the flowers are all made from part of a Moda Best Wishes charm pack. I am improving my skills at chain stitch as well and am very pleased how this has come out.

SS Happy Happy Block 3

Am adding a couple of Jenny’s cute birds to the piece to finish it off.

I love the way that everyone has interpreted this design differently, there are buttons, fussy cut flowers and so many beautiful fabrics.

On this mosaic are designs from Lori, Nantje, Dianna, Kandy, Heather, Coralie, Jill, Beth, Christine and Alicia, all pictures from the Splendid Sampler blog and Facebook page. Wonderful work ladies!

Have an exciting weekend ahead as well as am off to another quilting course at Simply Solids on Saturday learning how to improve my freestyle machine quilting. Will share progress with that on Sunday.

Have a lovely rest of the week, take care and thanks for visiting.


A whole lot of quilting going on..

Hello everyone

Not by me I hasten to add as my productivity is at an all time low at the moment on the quilting front.

I am sure my mojo will return as soon as time spent away from the house decreases, we have had some lovely sunny weather recently so I am looking forward to long summer days and time at my machine.

Winter is always a time for hunkering down on the sofa with a fleecy blanket and knitting and embroidery for me however I am keeping up to date with what is going on in the quilting world and though I would share these with you in case you have missed earlier posts.

The Splendid Sampler is really taking off with an amazing 16,000 plus members on the Facebook group and more that are joining in who are not using that forum. The first three blocks have been released and can be found here.

I really like the first heart block from Pat Sloan and this looks about my level of piecing😉


I am loving the Facebook page as well and all of the great colour combinations that people have used for the first three blocks.

These are beautiful fabrics and are made by, clockwise from top left, Debbie Miller, Karen Saw, Susan Burtrum and Lisa Leimone. Brilliant work ladies!

Also really like this fussy cut one from Stacy Mcgee Lee, love the Elizabethan motif here and great use of colour.

Stacy Mcgee Lee - SS 3 blocks

I have also discovered a new quilt designer, The Patchsmith , and have bought a couple of her books as gifts for a certain quilting buddy who shall remain nameless at present.

Amanda specialises in mug rugs and her designs are gorgeous and can be scaled up and down and the individual motifs used in all sorts of ways.

Go and have a look at her Craftsy store, the individual patterns are only £ 1.42 which I think is really good value. This one is especially calling to me for some reason!

Patchsmith AppliqueandMugRugAlphabet_1

And this is one of the cutest designs I have ever seen, I love it.

Patchsmith Whale mug rug

The books that I have bought are the Christmas and Hobby designs. I think the reindeer on the front cover would be brilliant on a child’s stocking.

By the way I am not affiliated with any of the sites that I tell you about or get any reward from these links, I just like sharing the loveliness that I find with you.

I am planning another fairly quiet weekend at home, only have this weekend free as next weekend we are having a crafternoon, never to early to start on those Christmas ornaments.The weekend after that I am at a machine embroidery workshop! How very exciting and craftilicious!

Hope you are having a lovely time, thanks for visiting.

A Good Yarn

Hello everyone

Am back from a very lovely week of relaxing in Spain where I did very little in the way of crafting, I do have a completed dress for a mouse which I will post about later once it is on said animal, however I did do lots and lots of reading.

Jenny of Elefantz has just sent us her Stitchery Club for Feb and in it is a great design for any book lover, in the middle on the right hand side,  as well as all this beautiful stuff! Picture from Jenny’s web site.

ELEFANTZ club feb 2016 cover

You can buy just this set of patterns from Jenny’s Craftsy store or sign up for the Stitchery Club, it would make a great Mother’s Day present. The March designs also look excellent, will get stitching again once the mouse is put together!

I am now just over half way through the, ‘Blossom Street Series’, by Debbie Macomber and am loving them. I just cannot resist a new book and  I come across books that I want to read in many different ways.

I found Debbie through a TV series and I love her writing, at first sight the books look very much like traditional romance novels but they actually deal with all sorts of themes including cancer, infertility, alcoholism, adoption and drug use in a sensitive, interesting and real life way. Have just ordered the last five of this series🙂

It varies what attracts me about a book, sometimes it is the cover illustration or the title that catches my eye, other times it may be a review in a magazine or a link from Amazon.

Their marketing strategy always gets me, that ‘other people also read’ has led me to buy far more than I intended and discover some great authors.

Another person that I have been really enjoying at the moment is Rosanna Ley, I had, ‘The Saffron Trail’, on my Amazon wish list when my Mum gave it to me and picked up, ‘The Road to Mandalay’, in a charity shop.

Again beautifully written and with the added bonus of settings in Morocco, Devon, Cornwall and Myanmar that just make me want to travel more… if that is possible. The cover pictures are wonderful, am lucky enough to have visited the place on, ‘The Saffron Trail’, book cover on a trip to Morocco.

And I was once again tempted by the ‘buy one get one half price’ in the airport WH Smiths and treated myself to another from my wish list, ‘The Versions of Us’, by Laura Barnet. A truly lovely book, wonderful plot lines and so nice to have such talented people to read.

Book - versions of us

I have also just finished, ‘Great Continental Railway Journeys,’ based on the series with Michael Portillo that I have watched for further inspiration for travel.

Really enjoyable all about the history of the railway development in Europe so has improved my knowledge of general history and geography as well.

Railway book 1

Next up is another treat to self, ‘Great Railway Journeys of the World‘, I love train travel and am planning more trips in the future so thought I would get some inspiration from here.

Great Railway Journeys of the World book

What about you, what attracts you about a book? Got any favourites to share?

Hope that you are having a lovely week whatever you are doing, thanks for visiting and see you again soon.


What I did on my holidays … or what I did in 2015

Hello everyone, inspired by lots of other people doing review of activities posts I thought that I would take a look back at what I managed in 2015.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, (except for the perennial one of doing less housework and more fun things), but do like thinking about what the year might bring.

I did set myself a number of goals for that year, 12 quilt blocks with our Block of the Month organised by Helen from knitting group, 26 books to be read and 17 sewing projects from the Sewing Bucket List.

I didn’t get any of them completed fully but on the positive side this means I still have things to work on for this year🙂

I finished 5 of the quilt blocks and have another one cut out but have been having a few issues with my new machine😦 so need to spend some time sorting that out before any serious quilt making happens.

I have enjoyed the challenge and it has made me a lot more accurate and confident about piecing and if I hadn’t been doing so much other sewing would have managed all of these.

I have read lots and lots of books this year but got diverted from the list so ended up only completing 11 out of the 26.

My current favourite diversion is my discovery of Debbie Macomber, I really enjoyed watching the adaptation of her Cedar Cove series on Netflix in the summer and as usual picked up a couple of her Blossom Street series in a charity shop in Spain recently and am now hooked! Appropriate for a series that starts with the story of a yarn shop.

Blossom street novel

Have ordered four more of these to take to Spain for my next holiday, yes Alison what happened to not buying any more books until all the ones you had were read?

As for the sewing list 7 out of 17 and again lots of other diversions off to stitch Jenny’s beautiful designs and to make lots of medieval kit and a couple of extra things for the sewing room.

Other things I accomplished not on the list, lots and lots of hexagon piecing, my favourites being the pincushions and needlecases with Liberty fabric.

And learning to knit in the round, the wristwarmers and the little knitted pincushions were my first success with this.

The discovery of Jenny’s embroidery which gave me lots of beautiful things to stitch, my favourite so far are her birds, this one is now in my craft room.

So challenges for 2016 then. Well to finish all these lists, to improve my skills at making quilt blocks.

I still have lots of lovely things I want to make for the craft room and think that single blocks to use as mini quilts is probably a better option than trying to make anything bigger.

2016 will definitely be a year of more embroidery and challenging myself to use different stitches.

As for knitting goals definitely lots more of Julie’s little animals, the mouse is coming along very well and love the speed at which I can complete them.

What about you, any challenges that you want to tackle in 2016?

Have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.