Hope you are having a nice weekend. I am having a lovely relaxing yet creative one but just thought I would show you a few pictures from the lovely (sunny!) Jazz Festival last week.

You may remember the event last year was very, very wet so it was a real pleasure to have brilliant sunshine all weekend – in October, in Yorkshire.

It also put paid to all those comments about, ‘why don’t we have the festival at some other time of year’. As if you can ever guarantee nice weather in England!

Here are some pictures of the parade (courtesy of our local paper’s website ) with the brilliant Tongues of Fire – loved that machine, very steam punk!

Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival 2

Jazz Festival 3

Jazz Festival 6

Jazz Festival 7

Jazz Festival 8

And this is a great picture of my lovely friend Bob who plays with several excellent bands including The Graham Browning Trio and String-fellows.

Jazz Festival

I managed to get away from my box office duties for a little bit to see the lovely Sugar Sisters and had a boogie to the late night band Bugalu Foundation who were excellent. Will definitely look out for future gigs from them.

Am finishing off the Christmas present aprons with the hexi design on the front and making a patchwork washbag this weekend in between stitching more hexis for future projects.

Hopefully I will be able to show you some completed stuff before I leave for Spain next Friday – I have lots of spa and Jacuzzi visits planned ūüôā

I am also doing some cooking – experimenting with muffins again and I have made some chocolate and orange ones with passionfruit curd inside (curd courtesy of the National Trust shop). I can safely say they are delicious and will not be around for long.

Also am planning to make some spinach and feta rolls tomorrow from this recipe to use up more of my veg box delivery.

I do love weekends at home! Take care and thanks for visiting.

Turned out better than expected

Hello again

The baking that is , the weather has been pretty bad, that lovely blend of freezing sideways rain that with wind Yorkshire does so well. So I used that as an excuse to do some baking and sewing (not that I really need an excuse but was considering a walk until the heavens opened).

I used a recipe from the BBC Food site for my gluten-free muffins, you can find it here and adapted it to a savoury mixture by adding leftover baked sweet potato and cheese.

I have found gluten-free needs more moisture and flavour as the flours (potato, rice and tapioca mainly) do not give much of these. I used the Doves Farm Gluten free self-raising blend.

Gluten free muffins 1

Gluten free muffins 2

Before they went into the oven they didn’t look very promising but came out nicely – a good crumb as Paul Hollywood (Great British Bake Off) would say and a nice colour. They could have done with a bit more flavour but ok with a bit of butter!

The loaf was an adaptation of the recipe on the back of the Doves Farm gluten-free bread flour, I added orange juice, cranberries and seeds , mainly sunflower and pumpkin my favourites :-).

Gluten free baking

Straight out of the oven it was very good, though the loaf weighs a lot and could prove a handy weapon if needed the warm slice was lovely. Later on when cold it was a bit dense and again could do with a bit more flavour but will be ok toasted.

I forgot to tell you yesterday about some very good books I have been reading, the Cobbled Court novels by Marie Bostwick.

They are a set of quilt themed novels (as in they are about a woman who owns a quilt shop) so quilting is mentioned and there are related free patterns on the author’s website. They are brilliant and I really enjoyed reading them and can’t wait to get the last couple I haven’t read, the one below will be released in April.

Marie Bostwick book

I have put myself on a strict monthly diet in terms of my Amazon books orders and have already had my quota for Jan. It doesn’t help being registered so all that lovely stuff is just a few clicks away ūüôā

I do try and buy secondhand and from the charity suppliers when I can so I don’t feel so guilty. And I do pass them on, Mum and her friends are really enjoying the Cobble Court ones I left in Spain.

Well back to making curtains now and I have a padded arming jack to start making this afternoon. Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

Catching Up

Have spent a lovely weekend catching up, on sleep, on time with old friends and today I will be catching up with the crafting I need to have finished for my Autumn Exchange.

It has been lovely to see my friend Anita, she showed me some of her amazing machine quilting pictures while she was here and I was very excited to learn that she has met Ricky Tims (from the Quilt Show) and knows Melly (from the Melly and me blog) and has quilted an item for her latest book!

We all met up on Friday and spent lots of time looking at old pictures of the kids when they were babies, we have 21 kids between us so lots and lots of memories of good times ūüôā

I have also been busy with the latest bunny, in between stitching and here are a couple of cute little dresses that I have made.

Blue bunny dresses

I also thought I would show you the latest in my Xmas stitching, these are still to be buttoned and backed but here are some of my fave designs from JBW that I am stitching for relatives this year.

Xmas Wip 1

Xmas Wip 4

Xmas Wip 1

Xmas Wip 2

And I have been experimenting with my bread book, had Anita and friends round for dinner so this was an adaptation of the Stilton and Bacon Rolls recipe with seeds, apologies for the quality of the photo, light not good in the kitchen!

Bread rolls Oct

I will be off to Spain next Saturday (where my mother tells me the temperature has dropped to only 28 degrees) so am planning lots more catching up on sleeping, crafting and reading – the terrace is calling!

Have a nice time whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

More domestic loveliness

Hello everyone

Well I am having a lovely autumn here, am not going to be going to China anytime soon now so I am making the most of the season in the UK with some more lovely walks, practising being a domestic goddess and still more bunny knitting ūüôā

Have been busy baking cakes and crumbles, cooking stews and soups and have just taken possession of a new cookbook, Paul Hollywood’s Bread – inspired by watching The Great British Bake Off. Today I made some delicious Stilton and bacon rolls from this recipe and have lots more great ideas for the coming weeks.

Bread book

You will notice I also have a pumpkin all ready for the now obligatory pumpkin soup with melting cheese – yum, yum.

I have just sent off another bunny, this one is a very special one as it is a present for one of my daughter’s very good friends.

Ellie is being a bridesmaid this weekend for her school friend Charlotte and the bunny is a present for Charlotte’s daughter Elizabeth. I was asked to make the dress in the same colours as the bridesmaids will be wearing and added a little hairband as well.

Bridesmaid bunny

Bridesmaid bunny 2

Here are some photos of a beautiful cottage garden from a walk on the hills above my house a couple of weeks ago. There were some donkeys in the field next to the house as well, looking very cute.

Sept walk 3 -donkeys

Cottage garden

Cottage garden 2

Cottage garden 3

Cottage garden 4

Sept walk

Sept walk 2

Also went to my favourite reservoir, they have partly drained it as they are doing some work so went right down to the water.

Sept walk 4 - Butterley

It is the Marsden Jazz Festival this coming weekend so I will be manning the Box Office all weekend. Looking forward to it and hoping for very good weather, we have had beautiful sunshine just lately ūüôā

Hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Domestic Bliss

Hello everyone

I am having a rare weekend at home indulging in some domestic bliss.

As I type this I am eating my lunch – the very tasty Olive and Chilli Sourdough bread in the picture below that I made this morning with dried olives from my friend Martin and Suzie’s Cowley’s¬†Fine Foods¬†¬†accompanied by some¬†delicious cheese from the local deli Radish.

Olive Sourdough

The recipe is by Jo Wheatley¬†and is from the Sainsbury’s magazine a couple of months ago.

I have been doing a little gardening – thankfully my lovely new house has virtually nothing to do in that respect but I have just been tidying up the pots and later I will continue making a medieval cloak for my friend Luke.

Embroidery wise I am working on a christening present for Alice, my cousin’s daughter at the moment.All will be revealed when it is finished!

Mum and I will be going to Plymouth for the christening next weekend as they have very kindly asked me to be a godmother which is very lovely!

The recipient of my Spring Exchange through the Seasonal Exchange Blog , Stephanie , has now got her gift so I can post pics of it.

Spring Exchange

Spring Exchange 2

This pincushion is from the Blackbird Designs, ¬†‘¬†A Stitcher’s Journey’, ¬†book and it is stitched on evenweave with Silk Mill thread. The charm is one I picked up at one of the knitting and stitching shows but you can get similar ones from Sitch Direct.

I backed it with some of the lovely fabric from my lovely friends Helen and Lucy at Material Goods and added a little pocket for scissors or an unpicker.

Well must be getting on with the sewing , hope you are having domestic fun as well, take care and thanks for visiting!

Photo Scavenger Hunt – April


Hasn’t the time flown? Nearly forgot to do this as the end of the month seems to have come so quickly.Click on the pic above to go to Kathy’s blog where you can see all the other lovely pics as well.

Most of these were taken on our recent trip to Lake Como in Italy.



We went on a boat trip across the lake from where we were to a little town called Varenna. We were just wandering up the hill on a little path and came across this villa which is now a museum and this was the view from the terrace Рwow!

Can’t live without

Can't live without

I hadn’t got the list for this month’s hunt before I went so used the computer in the hotel to check. As soon as my Mum and the kids heard this category they said ‘red wine’ – so here is a pic of the wine we had every evening – even Jake got into drinking it. Though I think I could live without it …. but do love it!



The ferry-boat going in the direction of Bellagio across the lake from our hotel on a very misty first morning.


In and out

This had to be one of my (many) door pics Рthis one from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan Рwhat a door!



While in Milan we visited the Milanese version of Harrods and this was in the Food Hall , designer water¬†. ¬†I don’t know if you can see the price tag but it says 59 euros – the phrase ‘more money than sense’ comes to mind!

Multi – coloured


From the same store these lovely Pantone mugs – have just bought Jake a couple of the cheap version of these from our local store for his ‘bottom drawer’ for going to University in Sept.

On the move

On the move

Our amazing train journey over the Alps – the Bernina Express train.



The first morning was very dull and misty but that meant there were amazing clouds clinging to the rocks in the village behind the hotel.



Ellie has just bought me this book from my wish list as a pressie for help with her dissertation -she is such a lovely daughter and it did make me smile lots and lots! I love Rick Stein, the series was brilliant and he has a lovely smile as well!



Beautiful wisteria in bloom all along Lake Como.



They would be if you tried to wear them! Miniature chocolate shoes from the Milan store food hall – yours for 35 euros.



The clematis and honeysuckle over my garden arch – just waiting for it all to bloom now.

Made with love – and surprisingly straight machine stitching!

Hello there everyone

I have just been sitting outside in my garden basking in the late evening sunshine drinking a glass of bubbly (only the cheap cava type!) and celebrating life. It has been the most glorious weekend here – hope you have had nice weather where you are.We have had a really unexpectedly hot weekend – it is never usually this hot in April in Yorkshire, to be fair it is often not this hot in Yorkshire in July.

I have spent most of the last few days finishing off my charity quilt that I posted about earlier this month. This has been a WIP for many months but I got a lot done on the last Quilt Group sewing day and wanted to get it finished to take to the Quilt Group meeting tomorrow. I am very pleased with the way it has turned out Рthe machine stitching is not perfect but better than I have managed previously.

Hospice quilt 1
The quilt front with hand quilted hearts
Hospice quilt 3
The quilt back made with fleece and a bunny applique
Hospice quilt 4
Detail of the bunny face with embroidery

The quilt was machine pieced and then mainly machine quilted – I quilted ‘in the ditch’ round all the blocks which was good for developing my machining skills and shadow quilted around the dark turquoise border. The original design had the bunny on the front but the consensus at the quilt¬†sewing day was that the front was very nice on its own so I just added some hand quilted hearts and backed it with fleece and the bunny applique.

In the style of one of the bloggers I very much admire, Hen House , I have taken pics of the finished item in the garden, lovely son Jake has been absolute star today and spent two hours mowing the lawn (not that you can see it in these pics) but it has been a great help. I have been on light duties only as my back has not been good so I have been deadheading!

I have posted lots of pics of my garden before but have been trying to take some more arty shots so this is one I took today which I really like, the garden is looking very splendid now which makes such a difference after the horrible wet and messy months.

Garden - April
Can never remember if this is a Skimmia or a Viburnum - anyway I have two and they are very pretty!

This quilt is going to a local children’s hospice which is opening soon so it has been a strange piece to make. I have enjoyed making it but I have been thinking a lot about who will use it and the things that they and their parents will be going through. It is a cot quilt so that make is very hard to think about especially as I have so many friends¬†who have young babies or are expecting babies. But life is often not easy and all we can really do is support people who are experiencing difficult times, be it friends who you can help face to face or others who you can give a little gift made with love.

On the subject of made with love I thought ¬†that I would show you a few recent baking goodies – one of the reasons that my son is so nice and helps out with the garden is that he gets a regular supply of cake. These are adapted from a very nice recipe from Sainsbury’s¬†magazine and are chocolate orange cupcakes – yum yum.

Version 1 - with Smarties
WI cake
Version 2 - with white chocolate stars

In other crafting news the pink Sublime baby cardi is coming on well – the eyelets have been a bit of a challenge and my knitting friend Barbara suggested stitch markers which I have been trying for the first time but have been getting a bit tangled with – they seem to slow me down a lot! The Spring exchange piece is almost complete. I am off to Spain on this week so am planning lots of lovely sitting on the terrace in the sun reading and crafting – I have four Benni Harper quilt mystery novels to take with me so am in for a lovely time!

If you read last week’s post about Mothers’ day you may remember I was writing about how much I admired all those Mums who have young kids who craft and this week at knitting group I met another person¬†who does just that. She knits, she quilts and she blogs – it was very lovely to meet Justine and I have really enjoyed looking at all her posts and links to fab fabric sites that¬†I have not come across before. I have saved them in my favourites and may have to indulge very soon! Please do go and visit her blog Sew Justine Sew¬† as it is lovely!

Hope that you have a nice week ahead and see you all in a couple of weeks – thank you for visiting.

Doing the mezzaluna

As promised here are some pics of the new Jamie at Home items. Some of these are from the party I attended a while ago but there are also some of my new purchases that arrived yesterday, also got lots of lovely things for people for Xmas which shall remain hidden! 

Jamie at Home 2
My lovely storage jars in various sizes

I couldn’t resist these – ceramic¬†topped versions of the traditional Kilner jars which I thought were very cute and very good value – tiny ones ¬£2.50 and largest ones only ¬£6 each.¬†

Jamie at Home 1
My mezzaluna, platters and terracotta

And here is my mezzaluna! I have wanted one of these for years РI bought my brother one for Xmas a long time ago but no-one has returned the favour so had to get myself one. It is a device for chopping herbs etc with a shallow bowl and double handled blade. 

Underneath that is a round wooden plate and I also bought the long bread and dip server and an assortment of terracotta bowls for tapas. Am planning to do lots of entertaining in this glorious summer we are going to be having! 

Well it has been lovely weather here Рlast night I got home late and so when I had finished tea sat outside with my free Jamie magazine and a couple of glasses of wine and just enjoyed the garden and the birdsong. Today I also sat out after tea for another hour or so РI really do love this time of year! Am planning the first BBQ of the season tomorrow Рwish me luck! 

I also had a lovely piece of stitching in the post Рmy Spring Ornament from Terry  through ASOE  arrived. 

Spring ornie
Beautiful flowers

It is now hanging on the patio doors to complement all the lovely flowers I can see in the garden. I really like the beaded hanging string РI often get stuck when trying to match stitching colours to braid for hangings and had not thought of doing that before. 

Hopefully my piece for her will arrive soon so that I can show you pics of that.

Hope that you all have a lovely sunny weekend – thanks for visiting.

Lovely weekend and Morrocan textiles

Hello there 

I hope that you have been enjoying yourselves this weekend. I have had a really lovely time with lots of socialising. This is quite unusual as I do tend to hole up a bit over Winter and not do much except sit and knit or stitch with all my candles lit but I have been very busy. 

It started on Friday night with a visit to my friend Cheryl’s house for a Jamie at home party ¬†(bit like a Tupperware party but for Jamie Oliver’s cooking stuff!). We had a¬† very lovely time – Cheryl has recently moved to a gorgeous house built in¬†1907 with so many beautiful original features showcasing the best of the Arts and Crafts movement including some wonderful stained glass and plaster work. Pity I didn’t have my camera!¬†

Cheryl is a friend from work and there were quite a few other work colleagues there with their partners so it was lovely to be able to socialise – we are so busy at work we don’t get a chance to do that much.¬†

I also bought some very nice things Рa set of terracotta tapas bowls, some storage jars and something I have been wanting for a long time Рa mortar and pestle for grinding herbs and spices to add to my stock of lovely kitchen items so I am eagerly waiting for them all to arrive. 

Saturday should have been a whole day in the garden but torrential rain stopped play РI did manage a trip to the garden centre to stock up on compost and bought some pretty Primulas and new herbs as all my old ones died out during the snow. 

I used the thyme¬†and rosemary today as we had friends round for a late lunch¬†– I experimented with a new salad¬†of ¬†butternut squash, puy¬†lentils and pickled lemon that I got from my Sainsbury’s magazine which was very nice. Am trying to do at least one new recipe a week – Jake did not try the salad but the others liked it!¬†

I realised that I did not post any pics of the textiles from our recent visit to Marrakesh (how remiss!) so here goes Рthese pics were taken in a museum behind glass so apologies for the quality. The first one used what appeared to be cross stitch on linen. 

Marrakesh Embroidery 1
Three different pieces based on tile motifs
Marrakesh Embroidery 2
Bright flower motifs on a patterned ground

This one was embroidered in silk over a patterned background but the pattern was not used for the motifs which I thought was interesting. 

Marrakesh Embroidery 3
Very fine cross stitch in mono colour on linen

This last picture looks very much like a lot of Middle Eastern and Eastern European embroidery that I have seen over the years. The standard of work was very good with exceptionally fine stitching. 

Just up from where we stayed in the lovely Riad¬†was an Aladdin’s¬†Cave of¬† textiles, ceramics etc in a government-run¬†Artisan’s warehouse – could have quite cheerfully bought the entire store but limited myself to¬† a beaded mat from this wonderful selection ….¬†

Marrakesh Shopping 3
So many pretty things.. so little time

….. a wonderful patchwork hanging for Ellie with lots of goldwork and sequins from this selection…¬†

Marrakesh Shopping 1
Patchwork - Marrakesh style

We also went to the souks (several times and got lost several times as you do and got out again in the end!). We found a fabulous lamp shop where I bought another lantern for the lounge Рjust look at all this stuff! 

Marrakesh Shopping 6
Pretty, pretty things!
Marrakesh Shopping 5
How much hand luggage are we allowed? Maybe I can just squeeze this one in!

So one lamp, several beaded items, one hanging, two tagines, one kaftan, one set of kebab skewers, lots of candles later …… really Marrakesh is shopper’s paradise – if you go take at least one empty case with you – we had three empty hand luggage cases but it was a tight squeeze on the way back!¬†

I hope you have had a very nice weekend as well.Things are going to be a little quieter here thankfully for the next couple of weeks as we have finished teaching for Easter РI have a huge pile of marking to do but am looking forward to a holiday in a week or so when we are off to Spain. 

Thanks for visiting.

Domestic bliss!

I am having a lovely Sunday doing lots of things that I have been meaning to do for ages like back up all my camera pics and little bits of domesticity that are not too taxing. It is at the moment a lovely sunny Sunday so they may even be a chance for gardening later (once I am out of my dressing gown Рdo not want to scare the neighbours!). 

I love Sundays during the winter months – we are so rarely here during the summer¬†due to all our events so¬†it is lovely to be¬†inside all warm and cosy with the prospect of knitting and DVDs later on this afternoon (hmm ….. Little House on the Prairie or Tudors Season 3 – decisions, decisions…..). I cast on for the head of the teddy I am making last night and so far so good so may be able to show you an item that looks like a bear later in the week!¬†

I do love being at home even though I love travelling. I am lucky enough to¬†live in¬†a very nice house – the kitchen is especially lovely so I though I would share some pictures of it with you so you can see the hub of my domestic creativity. I love looking at pics of other people’s houses on blogs (satisfies my inner curiosity!) so thought you might like to see some of mine. I have to say this niceness is¬†very little¬†to do with me – the whole¬†thing was remodelled by the previous owner and was one of the main reasons I bought this house.¬†

It is an old house Рabout 100 years old and is a stone built terrace that looks very traditional from the outside. It has all the original features in the hall and lounge which I love and you will have seen pics of the lovely fireplace, mantel and hall if you have looked at my Xmas decoration pictures. But then you go though to the back of the house and see the kitchen. 

Kitchen entrance
Very much a TV cooks kitchen where I can pretend to be Nigella and Delia!

The only thing that I did when I moved in was to paint the central unit and the back wall red as I felt it needed a bit more colour and add some pics . This is what used to be the old dining room of the house Рthe old kitchen is now a utility room and a conservatory was built on to be a dining room. 

Dining room
You walk through from the kitchen into here

The dining room is my creative space for large projects and sewing and is one of my favourite places to be as it has a lovely view of the garden – my cat Blackberry also likes being in here –¬†in the above pic you can see him sitting in his favourite place on the left hand windowsill above the radiator watching the birds!¬†

The kitchen looks very funky from the dining room. 

Kitchen 2
The island unit which is also a breakfast bar

The black marble worktop on this unit is great for cooking as I have loads of space to work and good for pastry as it is always cool but a bit of a nightmare to keep clean Рit shows every mark! The pictures on the wall at the back are of the New York skyline in the 1920s which is particularly significant to the story of moving into this house. 

I like to decorate my rooms in themes and the look of the kitchen immediately suggested New York loft apartment to me when  I came and did the viewing. That in itself was significant as I was off to New York the following day with some friends from the medieval group on a hen weekend. I had been trying to move house for some time and had put in two offers on other houses which had fallen through due to not being able to sell ours in time.

This property I spotted when we were on the way out one day – being in the next road along from where we used to live – so I arranged a viewing the evening before I was due to leave. I really loved it so ended up ringing the estate agents the very next day before I flew to New York and putting in an offer. A very tense 3 months followed where I thought I had lost the house for various reasons and we ended up temporarily homeless for a week as we had to move out of the old one before we could move into this! However it all worked out very well in the end.

When we first moved here four years ago¬†I didn’t have a much time for cooking as I do now due to the general busyness of work and family life. However my job role has changed and I am now no longer out in the evenings¬† and with just me and Jake here the housework is reduced¬†so I am very much enjoying the time to use the kitchen outside¬†of parties and special occasions.¬†

I have just bought a new spice rack as I am doing so much more cooking Рpreviously they were all in a cupboard and it took ages to find things but now everything is at hand! 

Spice rack
Space for 16 jars and it revolves ...... how useful

So that this post is not all about the house I shall now share some more stitching. I thought I had finished putting up pics of the gifts I made for Xmas then realised that I had not posted those of the jar decorations I made. My brother’s partner, Amanda, makes the most fantastic jams and chutney so I gave her and Ben, my brother, a jar of my Nigella’s Chilli Jam¬† each for Xmas alongside their other pressies¬†and also decided to make her some little decorated bands for jam jars.¬†

Amanda's jars 1
Aida bands of different widths with cross stitched blackberries and raspberries

The patterns came from one of my very old Cross Stitch mags and these were a great quick stitch. I bought the aida band at the Harrogate Show. Ellie also stitched one as well for Amanda but unfortunately I do not have a pic of that. 

Well thank you once again for visiting and hope that you had a happy Sunday!