Blue sky….thinking and reality

It is a lovely evening as I write this post, made all the more special because it has been very grey and dull again here. I have had a very nice week though with lots of blue sky thinking about possibilities as life gets back to normal.

I went out on Saturday, for the first time in 16 weeks, to have a pizza at the lovely Katie’s Kitchen in the village. It was so nice to be able to sit and chat to my friends and we had a lovely face to face catch up. I have seen some of them briefly in real life in the village but not for any length of time. We are hoping to have a Wool and Wine meet up again this week at another friend’s house who has a large covered patio area and barn.

This will be the last post for possibly a while as we are off for a series of holidays (hopefully) to Whitby this coming weekend, then camping with my sister. We would have been going to the Whitby Steampunk weekend but decided that, since we had already booked and paid for our hotel, to go and support the local economy. We are planning some nice meals out, afternoon teas and a trip to two National Trust sites.

I am still hoping to go to Spain as well at the start of August, fingers crossed that all stays ok for that but hopefully with lots of positive blue sky thinking all will be well.

We finished the planned decorating last week and Ellen decluttered my wardrobe so it was all very productive. The jacket has been tacked together but needs some serious size adjustment so that is on the list for this week.

The rest of the time has been concentrating on the knitting of the Little Cotton Rabbits animals. I am making up one of the mice that I have in stash but decided to knit some new body parts to co-ordinate with the outfit. I have this lovely variegated wool so this is the body and the top of the tights.

LCR Mouse body 1

The tights themselves are striped and use the same wool as the shoes, as well as the variegated wool.

LCR Mouse shoes 1

I am also going to be using the darker lilac wool for the top of a romper suit. This is a modification of two of the patterns and I have been very inspired by these gorgeous creations from the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook page.

LCR Christine Batty Romper

LCR Jaqueline Hastings Romper

LCR Susan Kinnersly Romper

These are from Christine Batty for the reindeer in pink, Jacqueline Hastings for the bunny in the nighttime romper (with amazing cute toy cat and hot water bottle!) and Susan Kinnersly for the bear in the beautiful green. I love your creativity and you have really inspired me.

I am modifying the modified pattern a little (if that makes sense!) to try and get a ruffle round the leg. I have done a 2 x 2 rib for four rows and then decreased by knitting two together every four stitches to try and get the effect of a frill which seems to be working.

LCR Mouse romper 1

LCR Mouse romper 2

These are not going to have pockets though the original dungaree pattern does and may have a fancy top half if I can work something out with the dress pattern section. It will keep my brain working to experiment anyway.

Work is officially over on Wednesday for three whole weeks! When I come back we shall no doubt have to have some more blue sky thinking to be creative in working out how we teach in very different circumstances, but we shall see what happens in late September. At least it will be good to have a nice long break, I am so tired at the moment and really looking forward to it.

I hope that you have all got nice things planned for the summer, either staycations or going somewhere relaxing. I think we all need a break now, just some time to stop and appreciate things and take a deep breath and relax.

Take care and stay safe what ever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Self – isolation stash building

Now as you probably realise I don’t actually need any more fabric, ever, really but in the spirit of supporting small businesses and the joy of having the postman deliver lovely things I have been adding a little bit to my stash.

I am not ill but just not leaving the house for a long time apart from the occasional short walk if the weather warms up. I always react badly to any type of infection and it aggravates my arthritis so I am in for the duration. Thankfully I have managed to get online delivery of all food and other essentials as well as fabric 🙂

A girl can never have too much Liberty can she? I think the original phrase is something like too many shoes, or diamonds, or something pretty useless when you have not left the house at all for a week. But stash, especially in the form of fabric gorgeousness, is just what you need in times like this. Beautiful and useful.

These lovely sets come from On Liberty Street on Ebay, a new seller to me but one that I will be using again.I hard a hard time choosing but went with my favourite colours in the end. These are 5 inch squares so will be good for doll making and quilt blocks.

March Ebay stash 3

March Ebay stash 4

I am thinking that this gorgeous rainbow set might be a nice addition in the future.Picture from the shop site.

Liberty Rainbow

I also bought some pastel cottons from Snowflakes and Strawberries on Ebay as I am actually running out of some quilting cotton colours. These are 10 inch squares.

March Ebay stash 2

I couldn’t resist buying some of the laces, ribbons, pretty binding and ric rac in this shop either, especially as the ric rac is a small enough scale to use for doll dresses.

March Ebay stash 1

I am going to pair these flowery ribbons in the bottom of the picture and the matching ric rac with some white fabric from my stash for Barbie dresses that I am planning to make a start on today. Having now worked out the fitting for the top of the evening dress pattern I have decided that this design would look lovely with a fuller skirt as a summer dress.

The third of the evening dresses is just about finished, I am just waiting for a delivery of press studs as I have actually run out of them. One of my lovely readers commented about possibly making a Tudor Barbie dress after reading my last post which sent me down a whole new Pinterest rabbit hole that I will blog about later. I had not really considered that people were doing this, though I have seen the Mattel historically inspired dolls, but yes historical costumes for Barbie is a thing and it is gorgeous to behold.

I now have even more new projects to consider which is diverting me somewhat from my progress through the WIPs. I am going to have to try and be very, very strict with myself over the next few months. I am thinking one finish of an old project a week before I am allowed anything new sounds reasonable.

I am going to be working from home until probably late summer at the earliest, we may meet up for some of the admin tasks in June but we are working on the basis that it is all being done remotely so for me that means 2 extra hours in a work day that I would normally have spent commuting. That and the fact that I keep waking up at six is giving me lots more hours in a day. I really, really wish we were not in this situation at all but it helps to look at the positives and at least I have plenty to do.

I hope that you are all staying safe, take care and thanks for visiting, it is the virtual contact that I am having with blogging and Facebook friends and the You Tubers that I watch that is helping me feel positive about this awful situation so I really appreciate it.

 

 

Sew cute

I really think these dinosaurs are the cutest things that I have ever made, I did love the dolls I made last year but think these are just so sweet. They are for my great niece for Christmas, she will be 3 in Feb and loves dinosaurs.

Dinos 1

The pattern for most of them comes from a fab site, MoochiOochi Crafts, with so many free patterns for felt toys and I will definitely come back to this site. I think the stegosaurus might just be my favourite one.

Dinos 2

Dinos 4

I found it through a You Tube tutorial and it is very helpful on how to put the dinosaurs together though I used running stitch then stitched it again to close the gaps rather than blanket stitch as I was not sure how neat I could make it. I just adapted the adult brontosaurus to make the babies.

Dinos 3

Dinos 5

I was tempted by some gorgeous camping themed fabric the other night, I cannot even remember where I was when I saw this but it is from the Riley Blake ‘I’d rather be glamping range’.

Campervan fabric

I know I will not be able to use this for about 3 years but thought that I would rather get it now to add to stash and then when I hopefully get my little camper van it can be turned into a cushion. It is so cute! I got it from Sew Scrumptious Fabrics with low postage and very fast delivery.

Well I am off to Spain tomorrow, I haven’t seen Mum for 6 months so am really looking forward to spending lots of time with her and lots and lots of time doing not much in the warm. I am taking some cross stitch with me to make start on the ornaments for next year and will also be working on some more knitted animals for various friends.

Take care, have a very happy Christmas if you are celebrating, thanks for visiting and see you in a few weeks!

 

Victorian Splendour

We had a very lovely time at Whitby Steampunk last weekend. The weather was good, a touch windy on Saturday so we were literally hanging onto our hats, at an event where everyone wears very fine hats no-one wanted theirs to end up in the sea 😦

The only bad thing in the whole weekend was that at some point on Sunday afternoon I lost my camera. Ellie and James very kindly retraced our steps all the way back up to the Pavillion on the cliff to see if they could find it but it was nowhere to be seen. I had taken lots of pictures of costume as well. Luckily James and Ellie took many of the same pictures of us and the scenery so I do have some to share with you thanks to them.

Whitby 1

Whitby 2

Whitby 5

Whitby 6

Whitby is a beautiful old seaside town, famous for being the place where the explorer Captain Cook worked and for being the setting for part of the Bram Stoker Dracula novel.

So I decided on a vampire hunter theme for Saturday’s outfit, I have already shown you then holy water bottle and I decorated my hat with crosses and a mini bible and had another cross and stake in my belt.You can’t see the black skirt very well here but it worked really well with the outfit and I also decorated a cheap umbrella with the same lace as the rest of the outfit.

Whitby 12

Whitby 13

The red coat is an adaptation of one I bought some years ago for medieval re-enactment and I shortened it and cut back the sleeves and added the lace.We spent a lot of time at the market which was brilliant, the best Steampunk market we have visited and lots of gin tasting and a really interesting workshop which I will post about later.

Whitby 14

Whitby 17

It was lovely and warm and I wore the other coat I have in purple on the Sunday with my pirate hat and purple skirt. I am going to adapt this one in the same way as the large fold back sleeves are lovely but do get in the way a bit! I think it was probably when I was sorting out the sleeves that I lost the camera.

Whitby 3

We also visited a costume exhibition by a company who make stage costumes, this gorgeous Victorian morning dress in black silk was one of my favourite pieces but the silk and jewelled Marahajah costume was also stunning and James and Kerry loved the owl!

Whitby 9

Whitby 11

Whitby 7

Whitby 10

Whitby 8

Ellie’s Worth dress, which I have previously posted about that she made from a pair of curtains, looked fantastic and she got lots of people stopping her to take pictures as we wandered around town.She is so creative to have made the whole thing without a pattern, she is going to make a hat to go with it for the Lincoln event later in the summer.

We found a lovely gin shop with the most gorgeous display of pink gins in the window and a fantastic tea room, the Monk’s Haven, which served gluten free scones so had a fab afternoon tea both days which made Ellie and I very happy 🙂

Whitby 15

Whitby 16

A really brilliant weekend, I just love wandering round and looking at all the costumes and seeing the amazing creativity. There are lots more pictures on the Whitby Steampunk Facebook  page here

It still feels slightly strange to be at an event all dressed up and not to have to do anything specific. I think that is part of why we all love it so much as we can just wander around, eat ice cream or drink tea and gin when we want to and generally get all the fun of dressing up without any of the rules of re-enactment. We doing really love doing that as well but at Steampunk events we don’t have to hide in the tent when it is cold and wet and have sneaky cups of tea!

I am busy knitting for Barbie at the moment. I have made the shrug but cannot show you that yet as she has nothing to wear it with. I have started a jumper as well from the old pattern book.I do like knitting such small things, I finished the back of the jumper in an evening 🙂

I am really looking forward to the week ahead, I am on a writing retreat with work and so am going to be spending four days here at Gladstone’s Library working on my doctorate. I went a few years ago and not only is it lovely to have peace and quiet to write but the food is wonderful so it is like staying at a luxury hotel as well.

Gladstones museum

So I shall be lovely and relaxed when I come home and hopefully will have written lots as well!There will be very little crafting done this week as I intend to spend the evenings in the lovely local pub with my colleagues which will be very nice, we rarely get time at work to talk so am looking forward to catching up with some of my old team as well.

Hope that you have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

All around my hat ….

Traditionally the song goes, ‘I will wear the green willow’, and this is a traditional folk song from the early 1800s, a version of which was released by Steeleye Span in 1975.

My hat, however, is to go with my Steampunk jacket for this weekend’s event at Lincoln Asylum. I wanted a sewing themed hat and am so very pleased with the way that it has turned out.

Steampunk purple sewing hat 1

The items are all stuck and pinned on as I only want this to be a temporary decoration, hopefully they will survive the journey and the event itself.

Steampunk purple sewing hat 2

The usual things are there but I have added some unusual things from my little collection of vintage needlework tools.You can see some lace bobbins in the picture above.

Steampunk purple sewing hat 3

I also have a set of small crochet type hooks which you can see in these photos, these are for darning stockings to enable you to pick up runs and also a glove darning tool lying on the brim in the photo below , the rounded ends were meant to enable you to darn the fingertips and are slightly different sizes.

Steampunk purple sewing hat 4

I am hoping to use some of these things when I do my Make do and Mend talk in the future, more about that in later posts as this I something I am developing at the moment.

I downloaded some images from Google and printed them to make the needle card and button card and am very pleased with the way they turned out.The buttons are just stuck on and are some of my mother of pearl ones from my stash.

I have also made a little bag with a pin with some charms on, just need to add the ribbon drawstrings to it. This was the rest of the tablecloth from the back of the jacket and the reverse is the same embroidery as well.

Steampunk linen bag 1

Steampunk linen bag 2

I am really looking forward to the event, love seeing all the wonderfully creative things that people have come up with! I am really hoping that the weather will be good as well as I have a pink parasol to complete the outfit.

Hope you all have a good Bank Holiday weekend and will be back soon with some fab pictures.Thanks for visiting.

Answering the call of the cow

On Sunday we were WWW1 Land Army girls for an event called Bonnets to Breeches at Clumber Park. This was a dramatisation of a short story about the WWW1 Land Girls who were at Clumber, written by one of the property volunteers and performed by Talegate Theatre.

One of the things that Ellie found while researching was this wonderful video where talking cows were used to appeal to women to join, so we did 😉

Here we are in our costumes, all sourced from charity shops.She even made herself this wonderful badge.

Clumber B2B 24

Clumber B2B 1

Clumber B2B 2

Clumber B2B 3

The production took place in the walled kitchen garden and was a walking performance with each scene taking place in a different part of the garden. It was performed five times during the day by the four actors, assisted by guides who were all Clumber Park volunteers and during the day about 130 people saw the production.

 

While the performances were taking place and in between them our role was to be in another part of the garden with some of the old tools to display them to the public. We had a lovely time talking to lots of people who remembered using the tools we had and to lots of children who had to guess what they were used for.Here is Ellie demonstrating the mattock.

Clumber B2B 4

Clumber B2B 5

I also got to see the performance and to hear a very moving talk on the history of the Land Girls in both world wars by Cherish Watton who runs the Women’s Land Army website.

The walled garden is beautiful, I have only been there before in winter and it looked stunning with great displays of my favourite alliums.

 

Clumber B2B 6

 

This was such a lovely day, I really enjoyed myself and would love to be able to do more volunteering there if I can in the future.Here are all of the cast and volunteers at the end of the day.

Clumber B2B cast

Clumber B2B 23

 

I am still working on the headress for Kate, some busy stitching in front of the TV, a nice relaxing thing to do after marking all day. I am just going to attach the final bits of braid and smaller pearls and then I can reveal all.

Hopefully we will have lovely weather this weekend so she can wear it and I can get some action shots for you. Hope that you have a lovely rest of the week and a nice Bank Holiday weekend if you are in the UK.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Enter the (baby) dragon

We have had a lovely weekend at Bolsover Castle for our St George’s Day show. It was so nice to see everyone again and we have some new members in the group so it was great getting to know them and they did brilliantly in the show.

We did not camp, by order of the management i.e. Ellie and I was glad that we didn’t as I am still not 100% fit and it was very wet Saturday night. However we stayed on Saturday for the group meal in the very convenient pub they have built right next to the castle so got to spend time with everyone.

This show is always a bit different as we have dragons! Not one but two and there are some great comedy moments. We start off in the morning telling the children that the Dragon Knight has brought his dragons and build it up to the bit in the show where the cutest little baby dragon appears, ably played by one of our new members Daniel this year. Photos from Lee’s photography who very kindly posted them to our Facebook group page.

Baby Dragon 2

Of course St George cannot kill the baby dragon as he is so cute and he joins the knights fighting against the Dragon Knight.

Baby Dragon1

Meanwhile the Dragon Knight captures the Princess, played by Ellie and then later in part two the large evil dragon, played by Jamie comes in.

Dragon at Bolsover

A lot of the children are quite scared by this one and Jamie does a great roar. The dragon attacks the Dragon Knight only to be finally vanquished by the screams of the children.

Dragon 2

St George rescues the Princess, if he doesn’t forget, and then we have lots of children wanting to have their pictures taken with the dragons or knights.

Bolsover - St George and Ellie

Our dragons do a great job, it is not easy wearing these costumes on a warm day where you can’t see or walk without an escort as your feet have a tendency to come loose!That is what I love about re-enactment, people are so willing to do the daftest things for the sake of the show and everyone has a great sense of humour, even after 15 years the jokes still make me laugh!

We had good weather as well, only one short bit of rain during show times and I even got a little bit pink on Saturday. We have our next event in three weeks time, Kerry is coming up this weekend so that we can sort out some veil cutting and I am going to start making a headdress for Kate one of our newer members.

Bolsover - Kate and Kerry

 

She has been in kit since last year but this was her first event at one of our shows and she has a beautiful green woolen dress. She borrowed Ellie’s circlet  and liked it so I am planning to make her one like that with black velvet, pearls and gold embellishments.

The surcoat I made last year is still going strong though I am planning to add a cross to the back in time for next year. Simon played St George this year and here we are in the tournament.

Nun and St George at Bolsover

We did a fashion talk at this show which is a new part of the event, started last year and had a good reaction from the crowd so this year I talked about the different varieties of ladies’ and men’s garments and got the group to show off their outfits.People are always amazed that we make so much of our kit and love looking at the clothes and asking us how we made things and how long they take.

A really nice start to the season and I am looking forward to the next few shows. I have also managed to finish off some of the things that I have been working on so have a pouch and a basket to show you when I can take some pictures in good light. Thankfully I am now coming home in daylight which is great so will get those sorted soon.

I am planning a few more of the scrappy churn dash blocks as they got good feedback from the girls at Wool and Wine last night and the great news is that Sarah has got confirmation that she has a stall at Yarndale again this year so the pouch and bag production will have a home!

Hope that you all have a good rest of the week, take care, thanks for visiting and see you soon.

 

Learning Hungarian

Whenever we visit a country I always try and pick up a bit of the language, as someone who teaches about language the process fascinates me and I also love to see if I can work things out from the context of being in that situation, so much easier than learning in a classroom.

Mum and I learned quite a few words from just walking around looking at shop signs and street signs and picked up some useful words such as ‘tolni’ which means push, ‘forro bor’ which is hot wine or mulled wine which we had quite a few of, ‘etterem’ which is restaurant and our all time favourite ‘Szombat’ which means Saturday!

We visited Buda Castle on our first day which is a Baroque palace rather than a medieval castle which involved a ride up the hill in a funicular railway.

Budapest castle 2

Budapest castle 7

Next on the itinerary was the Fishermans’ Bastion next to the amazingly beautiful St Matthias church.

I am one day going to write a book of embroidery and quilting patterns based on my travels and all the wonderful patterns I have seen and this roof needs no explanation, look at those lovely hexagons!

Budapest St Matthias 2

I enjoyed taking arty shots through the Bastion windows and this reminded me very much of the cloisters we saw in Lisbon.

We also visited the Vajdahunyad Castle on the same day that we went to the fantastic Széchenyi thermal baths. These pictures are of the entrance foyer of the baths in wonderful mosaics, a real cathedral to glamourous bathing!

This is what the baths look like inside, picture from Google as we were in cossies and not carrying cameras, although there were some very silly people with their phones in plastic bags taking selfies!

It was gorgeous and wonderfully warm, the water was 28 degrees while the outside temperature was 11 degrees.

Szechenyi-Spa-Baths-Press-Photo-Outdoor-Pool

The castle was built in 1896 for the millennial exhibition and is based on lots of different architectural styles. We had a little picnic by the castle lake after our swim as it was a lovely sunny day.

Budapest H castle 1

On the way there we spotted this beautifully restored art deco house.

Budapest Art Deco House

Budapest Art Deco House 2

This one was sadly not open to the public though we did visit another art deco museum later on in the week that not only had gorgeous furniture and paintings but also gluten free cake! That was so nice after 3 days of wandering past coffee houses and bakeries just drooling over all the lovely things!

Budapest cake

A very, very lovely trip to somewhere we have wanted to visit for ages. I have some more pictures of textiles from the museums to show you in a later post, it wouldn’t be one of my holidays without a bit of textile exploration would it now 🙂

While we were away Mum and I were discussing our trip for next year. We are going to Seville at Easter but would like to visit another city next year. On the shortlist are Istanbul, Tallin, Moscow, Krakow, Dubrovnik and St Petersburg. I do love planning holidays almost as much as going on them!

Have a lovely week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting. We are in for some severe snow this week so hopefully it will not cause too much disruption, it seems to have been going on forever this winter, roll on spring!

 

Introducing Katy Cupcake

I wanted to make something for Ava’s first birthday next week but did not know what to do and didn’t have much time, only a few hours this weekend, so I did a little search earlier in the week and came across some very cute dolls.

After spending far too much time on Pinterest looking at all of the cute versions of this doll pattern that had been made, all in the name of research of course 🙂 I started the doll Saturday afternoon and had her finished on Sunday evening.

Doll finished 1

The sources for all these pictures can be found on my Pinterest sewing board.

I am very pleased with her, I have never made anything like this before, have often looked at stuffed toy patterns and thought that they were gorgeous but this is the first that I have attempted and apart from a couple of minor setbacks everything was very easy to do.

I am particularly pleased with the embroidered face, I spent quite a lot of time looking at different options then decided to embroider a whole eye but stopped halfway up, I think it looks quite lifelike.

I used a combination of two free patterns, the Black Apple Doll pattern for the body, arms and legs and the Josephine doll pattern for the head as I wanted a more rounded shape and cut my own hair pattern after looking at all of the photos on Pinterest. I also made some felt plaits which I sewed together before attaching to the head as the original doll has short hair.

I sewed the legs and arms onto the body before tacking it together but still had a few issues with that stage. I had to do the bottom seam 3 times to get the legs secured and then in the process of pulling the doll the right way out lost one of the arms. This is what it looked like yesterday afternoon.

Doll in progress 1

The instructions say, ‘flip the body’,  but it was more like a, ‘Call the Midwife’, difficult birth scene 😉 Luckily the neonatal surgeons were on hand to re-attach the arm so all was good.

I made a little elasticated skirt and a flower bow to disguise where the sewing up of the head got a little bumpy. The body is the original dress for the doll but after seeing all the cute little skirts on the Pinterest dolls I had to make one. And there you have it, one very cute little doll and all made from stash, no new purchases at all.

Am very tempted to make some more of these, I love the split arms to give sleeves in some of the inspiration photos above and the cute little shoes, we shall see how much time I have to play later in the summer!

For future dolls I would like to try and get the arms laying flatter against the body and maybe play with the proportions of the arms as well. I am very pleased with this first one though.She has been sitting next to me all day helping me write my book chapter!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Delightful dahlias

Well we are just back from our visit to Harewood, it was quite a nice day weather wise so we got some time in the garden.

As always the dahlias were our favourite, these are so pretty and the colours just wonderful.

The gardens were looking really gorgeous as well, I do love all the autumn colours of the trees in the distance. We had gone primarily to see the Victoria costumes and I took lots of pictures of those and the house which I will put in the next post.

Term has gone well so far but I am really busy at the moment with late nights and teaching Saturdays so crafting time is almost zero. Lots of planning projects in my head though and I have made the first of the Christmas ornaments which I will share with you soon.

The Yarndale stall went well, not certain how much I sold yet but had a very lovely comment from someone here on the blog who had bought some of my things so thank you Natalie! Here is the stall and you can see my bags on display at the back.

Yarndale stall - 2017

So just a short post for today, hope you are all well and enjoying the start to autumn, take care and thanks for visiting.