New sources of inspiration … as if I need any new projects :-)

I am on leave at the moment which is wonderful. I am also self-isolating since we have had a couple of positive cases at work. That is not quite so wonderful but does mean I have an excuse not to go out at the moment. The weather has been variable anyway so I am very content to stay in and knit and sew. Fingers crossed I will be released back into the wild later this week and hopefully will be taking a little trip away with my sister.

The self – isolation, of not just myself but colleagues does mean that more of our teaching is moving online from next week. We have tried really hard to keep things going on campus but sadly it has got to the stage that this is not possible for some of the classes. On the bright side that means less travelling to work, which saves time and money so I have decided to use that to invest in some more small businesses that I have found via Instagram.

These were suggested to me and as you will see, they could not be more perfect for me. I have made many similar projects over the years, mainly for sale at Yarndale and love working with these shapes and fabrics.

I am not sure when I will start these projects, they may have to be retirement projects as I am still in the middle of all of the knitted animals. However they will not go off and I will be really looking forward to doing them.

They are both creators that use English Paper Piecing, I love working with hexagons, as you know if you have been reading this blog for a while, but look at all of this gorgeousness from Elise and Emilie. The pictures are all from their Pinterest page here.

They have various different versions of EPP flowers, the Starflower which is the top picture, Mayflower in the middle and Dillyflower which is the third one. Don’t you just love that bottom picture with all the colour and joy 🙂 Just the thing to brighten a wet Autumn day.

They are all utterly gorgeous and would make fabulous little gifts when used on needlecases or pincushions. I think the Dillyflowers would make an amazing quilt. The company are based in the USA but supply digital downloads through their Etsy site.

The other one is called Vintage Sewing Box and it was this gorgeous Hexagon Sewing Box that I fell in love with, again available as a digital download from her shop. Pictures from her website.

I really love this Hexagon Sewing Case as well and that is going to be my next purchase.

She has so many wonderful creations on her blog which I am going to spend lots more time reading, and lots of free tutorials here, including these gorgeous little needlecases. She also has a Youtube channel with lots of very helpful tutorials.

They are all definitely people who are my kindred spirits, look at all that gorgeous Liberty fabric! Absolute heaven and I am very happy to be able to support some more small businesses.

I hope that you are having a good week, I had forgotten just how tiring the start of term is, so it is amazing to have a bit of a relax and still be in my pjs at 11am in the morning. I hope that you have a good time ahead, with lots of relaxation planned as well.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Sea, sky and spectacular textiles

We had an amazing time at Bambrugh, the weather was fantastic and the location wonderful with so many stunning views.

My friend Jo, who I have known since Polytechnic in the 1980s, is lucky enough to actually live here. Her partner is a member of the castle staff and they live in the gatehouse. Her photos of the beach during lockdown where she took daily walks were one of the reasons I wanted to revisit the area.

We also met one of the people we know from re-enactment, Dave the moneyer, he has been there all summer with his Viking set up. It was lovely to see him, chat about events and know that at least he has had a good season.

After visiting the castle we had a picnic on the beach and a walk (and paddle) along to the end where there was a wonderful maze like path back through the overgrowth to the other side of the castle.

When we return next year we shall visit some of the beaches further down which give the opportunity for more of these stunning views. Since we returned I have had many photo prompts from the castle Facebook page and these are just some of the amazing photos taken in the area. The final photo is by Jamie Dobson, I don’t have any information on the others.

Inside the Great Hall of the castle was a patchwork hanging that was really fascinating. It consisted of applique as well as a large area of patchwork made of diamonds. The hanging itself was around ten feet high and looked like an immensely time consuming piece of work. Although there was no label with the piece that I could see further research came up with the fact that it was made by Russian prisoners during the Crimean War. I should have guessed that it was a military uniform piece as I have seen similar in quilt exhibitions before.

I would love to know more about the piece, how many people were involved, how long did it take? Who designed the piece and where did they get the inspiration from? I would assume that this was a pattern and techniques they were familiar with from home. That is both the joy and the frustration of seeing such pieces in historic locations. I always want to know more about the people behind the work and little is recorded.

While I was doing the searching for more information I came across this amazing piece of embroidery from a textile artist called Rachel Wright. Photo from Pinterest. 

This was a commissioned piece and you can see more of her work on her Instagram page. She also has some items for sale on her Redbubble site and I particularly love this bag, might just have to treat myself!

We ended the day with another campfire, a game or two of cards, and another amazing sunset. Such simple pleasures but we were so grateful to be able to be there after all the restrictions this year.

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful country. I always travel in the UK a lot but the one advantage (there are so few!) of the current situation is that other people may have had the chance to appreciate our countryside more this year. 

I am hoping that in a couple of weeks I may be able to do some local travel as I have some time off coming up. I have a very large amount of holiday this academic year due to working nearly every Saturday and so having a day off in lieu each week that I need to use. I still have leave carried over from earlier in the summer that I could not use. We have an excellent bus service here so may do some more local exploring. 

Meanwhile there are knitted animals to finish, the mouse is almost done and is looking very cute so far, my first pair of stripey stockings and I love them!

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Back in time, or not…

Our first visit on our Northumbrian trip was to Beamish. To say we enjoyed it would be an understatement. For two heritage enthusiasts, with a particular love for social history it was an amazing day out, and we can’t wait to go back.

Things were obviously a little restricted, the trams were not running, but the buses were and we had a trip on this gorgeous vehicle.

Some of the rooms were closed off, as were some of the smaller properties and there were less interpretive staff working but that just gives us all the more incentive to return next year. We loved the vintage style mask signs.

Our tickets are valid for a year and it is such a large place we didn’t manage all of it in one day anyway. I have split the photos into two posts as I took so many.

Our first location was the 1820s hall which had a beautiful formal garden. I think it is one of the original buildings at the location, many others have been relocated or are being built as replicas. It was a really hot and sunny day so we got to see the place in the sunshine which was wonderful.

The second location was one of my favourites, a 1950s miners’ welfare hall. It was complete with all of the things that you would expect, and some that were very unexpected and really interesting. I think it was one of my favourites due to all of the textiles, and the lovely interpreter we chatted to.

I had spotted the knitted version of Muffin the Mule as we went up to the table. I remember my Grandad had a metal version of this puppet and I watched some of the episodes when I was younger.

We were also fascinated by the knitted baby in the womb which was used by midwives in the 1950s to explain birth, and particularly which way the baby was lying. I do remember having a knitted womb at my antenatal classes 30 years ago which the midwives used to explain the birth process.

As well as the wonderful textiles with crochet, embroidered tablecloths and hexagon patchwork there were lots of information signs not too dissimilar from those we are seeing today.

Diptheria was the issue then, with posters warning of the dangers of coughing and the need to vaccinate against the disease. Very relevant to the situation today and a reminder of how public health is vital despite the differences in society now. We also loved this poster stressing the importance of taking holidays to keep you healthy for work, we couldn’t agree more!

The attention to detail in the building was brilliant, they had even asked the Formica company to make them some of a 1950s pattern for their tables and had the advert outside the building. I am sure I remember this from my childhood.

The 1950s area is one that is being expanded so I am really looking forward to seeing more of it on our next visit.

We have had the first week of term, met the new Year 1s and are keeping everything crossed for teaching being able to be on campus still. It was very difficult getting to know a group of students all sat in rows with masks but we did at least have a Zoom tutorial later in the week so we could see their faces.

It was upsetting for all of us as normally this week would be full of fun and creative things that we were doing with them. However, we are adapting. I always used to say to my teacher trainees that the key to being successful is to be flexible and adaptable and that will be even more important this year.

We are under enhanced restrictions in my area again but the sun is shining so I have been able to go for walks at least. I have finally finished the very difficult jigsaw and am on with a new one. I am so thankful again for my lovely home, and secure job as we enter another period of uncertainty.

I hope that you are all ok and coping with everything. I am also so grateful for my crafting as it gives such respite from all of the anxious bits of life. I am working on a new camper van embroidery alongside the knitting and enjoying some new series on Netflix, one set in space, Away, which has been excellent. However scary life is the the moment at least I am not trying to get to Mars 😉

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A little progress…with life as well as crafting!

I don’t know where this week has gone to but it has really flown by. I had two days off work this week. Ellen came up again to celebrate my birthday and we went for a little bit of charity shop browsing in a local village.

I think we were a little too early for reaping the benefits of everyone’s decluttering as they seemed to be having a lot of donations to deal with, but I did manage to get a blue blouse and lots of books. We were really keen to put some money back into the coffers of all of the charities as we know they will have been hit really hard by the lockdown closures.

We also went out to my brother and sister in law’s house and had a great evening. They have their own pizza oven that they built in their garden so we had a lovely time, sheltering under a large umbrella as you do in June in the UK, eating delicious pizza and catching up.

Pizza oven

 

We would have all been in Spain together and I would have had a chance to see their fabulous cave house but we will have to try and do that another time. They bought it a couple of years ago, and go over regularly. However, we have never been there at the same time as they go out of school holidays. Hopefully next year when I retire we can arrange that, if not before.

The rest of the week has just been lots of admin and many, many more meetings. Hopefully we are getting to the stage that everything is sorted for the new term, at least the planning we can do now. The rest will just have to wait and see until nearer the time.

The weather here has been less than summery. I was lucky enough to get out for an hour this afternoon to plant up the things I bought with Ellen but we are now back to torrential rain, thank goodness for being inside under a fleecy blanket!

I have finished some projects, the vintage embroidery hoop is done and I am very pleased how this has turned out. I love the simplicity of it and am looking forward to doing a companion piece for the other little cousin for her birthday.

Vintage dog completed

Vintage dog detail

I am doing well with the knitted animals. I have put together one of the elephants, excuse the lack of eyes, that is on the list for later today.

LCR Elephant front

LCR Elephant back

I have been knitting some dungarees from one of the new patterns that I bought this month from Little Cotton Rabbits on Ravelry. It has pockets and little button holes on the bib. How cute are these!

LCR Dungarees 1

LCR Dungarees 2

LCR Dungarees 3

Next to knit is a stripy t-shirt to go with it. I have been taking my inspiration from the Facebook page again and am really looking forward to using the other new patterns that I have bought. Look at those little trainers, so gorgeous. All photos from Little Cotton Rabbits on Ravelry.

In other exciting news my sister and I have booked a few nights at a campsite in the dales for the end of July. Ellen will be joining us for one night in a tent. We have three nights at Aysgarth where there are some fabulous waterfalls which are some of my sister’s favourite things. We are so pleased to be able to do this and are going to have a few walks and even a meal in a pub! Such a lot to look forward to 🙂

I have another busy week planned, more admin and then a couple more days off with Ellen coming to help me to do some decorating. Now there is officially less than a year left of the retirement countdown I need to start sorting things so that I can put the house on the market next year. It does not need too much doing, just really freshening up but I am looking forward to all of the steps that will bring me closer to moving to Spain.

I hope that you have had a nice weekend and have a good week ahead. 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.

vintage-log-cabin-block-11

giveaway-liberty-needlebook-1

july-bags-and-pouches-12

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.

Sunday stitching

I had a busy day last Sunday but did not manage to get the Bearpaw block made. I did get as far as sorting out the fabrics for it though but it will be a while in the making.

Meanwhile, I will show you the troublesome blocks from the previous weekend. I am very pleased with how they turned out but still slightly baffled why I have so many difficulties with the points. There is such a variety in whether they meet, overlap or are too far apart.

Campervan Sawtooth Star 3

Campervan Sawtooth Star 4

Anyway I shall hopefully enjoy using them at some point in the future in my camper van. I am very pleased with the fact that I managed to get matching fabric from my stash for the triangle parts of the design. I decided pink would be better for the other colour as white was too harsh with the cream background of the camper van print.

Campervan Sawtooth Star 1

Campervan Sawtooth Star 2

The spotty fabric is from the scrap bin when Simply Solids was open and the turquoise is some of the wonderful ombre collection by V and Co. I love this fabric and have nearly run out so may have to treat myself to more.

I have started some new Jenny of Elefantz stitching for viewing crafting. This is one of her many circular designs from her previous monthly design club and I am planning to put a cute Liberty hexagon in the middle as I have done with other designs.

May embroidery circle WIP

I am using the variegated Mill House Designs thread that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I love using variegated thread and it works really well for these designs as I only need one strand.

May embroidery circle WIP 3

May embroidery circle WIP 2

I am currently really enjoying the latest series of Outlander and a new series called Sweet Magnolias so had a lovely time watching those while I finished this design. This week marked the last week of marking, yippee 🙂 139 pieces of work done and dusted so that makes me very happy.

There are then a couple of weeks work on finishing the doctorate and then I can take some leave. Aside from some DIY, both here and at Ellen’s if I can, I need to think about some scheduling of projects.

It seems very strange not to be making things for events or for Yarndale this summer but I would rather wait to make the Steampunk things until a little nearer the time of the actual events and we don’t really know when that will be.

I will probably devote a lot more time to quilt blocks and maybe start a new Liberty project as I have lots of scraps so I am thinking about a hexagon quilt that I can hand piece. I love the Grandmother’s Garden pattern and have seen some wonderful examples of those.

Look at this gorgeous one used as a tablecloth from Home is Where the Boat is, picture from the blog. I love the quilt and the setting is wonderful with the water in the background. Such beautiful flowers as well.

Granny Flowers tablecloth

This layout is from Alice Caroline’s web site, another one of my favourite Liberty suppliers and she actually sells pre-cut hexagon kits if you want to save time.I love that purple print in the lower right hand side, I have the green and pink versions of this one.

Granny-Flowers-hexagons

Anyway it will be fun scheduling things. I am glad to have been working during the past few months as it has made the time go very quickly but it will be lovely to have some very lazy days in the craft room.

I hope you all have a good weekend ahead. I am very much looking forward to seeing my wonderful friend Kerry tomorrow, she will be visiting me for a nice long walk up to the reservoirs. It has been beautiful weather this week while I have been inside working so hopefully it will continue this weekend as well

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

 

Flower fairies, flying geese and a bit of faith

As promised in a previous post I have some of my daughter’s wonderful creativity to share with you today. She bought a wedding dress from a charity shop a while ago, meaning to turn it into a flower fairy outfit. As she has had a little more time on her hands at the moment due to being on furlough she has created this amazing piece of gorgeousness.

Flower fairy 1

The dress started life as something very similar to my friend’s dress that I added the lace to a while ago. She has added lots and lots of artificial flowers, lace applique and beading to transform it.She is so clever and so dedicated as it took forever to stitch.

I think it looks amazing and can’t wait to see it in real life. I think we need to do a photo shoot in the woods somewhere, she has discovered some very lovely ones near her house so that will be a project for the future.

The dress is to be worn with a flower crown and these gorgeous flower fairy shoes made from artificial leaves that her friend Charlotte has created for her.

Flower fairy 10

Flower fairy 11

Flower fairy 12

Flower fairy 13

I would have had some lovely Sawtooth Star blocks to share with you today but unfortunately they have proved very tricky, or rather the flying geese part has. I do remember having similar problems last time I tried this as well. I am persevering but so far have seam ripped the centre part of the block twice so am going to try again this afternoon.

As with everything you have to have a little faith, in yourself when tackling new things and generally, especially during difficult times.

Have faith pillow

I made this pillow for Ellen at Christmas to remind her to always have faith in herself and that any challenges can be overcome. I was going to post about it a while ago but lost the pictures so thanks to Ellen for this one. This is one of Jenny of Elfantz designs again.

I have also just finished the heart embroidery, again by Jenny. The picture below was the last work in progress shot.

Heart embroidery

I am pleased with this now as I think the flowers detract somewhat from the wobbly lines! I am not sure how I am going to use this, probably a pouch or a bag, I think it would look good with ric rac edging.

Heart embroidery 2

Heart embroidery 3

I need to order some more embroidery hoops before I can begin a new camper applique embroidery so I am going to do a smaller circle and hexagon with my new Millhouse threads while I wait for those to arrive.

Now it is back to trying to sort of those geese, wish me luck! Have a good week ahead, take care, keep safe and thanks for visiting.

A little adventure

It does not seem a week since the last post, luckily these weeks do seem to be going by quite fast, helped by the fact that I am so busy with work at the moment. I don’t think that things are going to change very much for us here in the UK, despite the long awaited announcement due this evening, certainly not for me as I expect to be working from home for a long time to come.

I did have great excitement this week though as after 7 weeks of not going into the village I took myself off for a little walk on the Bank Holiday Friday, which actually turned into a two and half hour walk as the weather was so good and I was so glad to be outside. I am spending too much of my life staring at a screen at the moment so am making a conscious effort to do lots of other things apart from be at a computer.

Marsden May walk 1

My route took me through the centre of the village which has the river running through it and out along the canal. This is where, in the summer, the pub next to the river has chairs outside and you can go down and paddle so hopefully, if some restrictions are lifted, we will be able to do that again.

Marsden May walk 2

There are some lovely old houses here, these two cottages are right in the centre of the village and I love the wisteria and the beautiful planting they have.

Marsden May walk 4

Marsden May walk 5

I love clematis, I had lots of it in my old garden and I have one in a pot now which always gets a couple of blooms on it. My neighbour across the road has some which is just blooming now and I was very happy to come across this one in a hedge. The views across the valley to the side where I live are also lovely.

Marsden May walk 6

Marsden May walk 7

Marsden May walk 8

I also went into one of the shops in the village, I have not been anywhere where there are other people (apart from dog walkers and runners up at the reservoir) so I was a bit confused about where to stand but it was good to have a bit of normality and see that life is still out there.

I also went to the local specialist bakers on Saturday to collect my own bread (last week my lovely friend Sharon got some for me). It has been such a treat to have fresh bread, I can eat small amounts of sourdough so am going to get some every week now that they have re-opened.

I have been working on some of my WIPs and found these two that needed finishing in a drawer when sorting things. The circle embroidery is another one of Jenny of Elefantz designs and it just needed the adding of a hexagon. This will be another pouch like the one I finished a few weeks ago.She no longer has this design in her Etsy shop but does have other lovely circle ones.

Circle embroidery 1

Circle embroidery 2

Circle embroidery 3

I had abandoned this one, again by Jenny, some time ago as I was unhappy with the wobbly stitching but decided to finish it and let the wobbly bits be part of its handmade charm.

Heart embroidery

I have just had this delivery from Mill House Designs of gorgeous hand dyed thread as I am planning to do lots more embroidery over the summer.

Millhouse threads 1

Millhouse threads

I have 7 weeks of leave left to use up before September as I don’t think I will be able to travel anywhere so there is going to be a lot of time to sit and stitch. I met Steph, who owns the business, years ago at one of my knitting groups and she makes the most gorgeous hand dyed yarn, thread and beautiful buttons and earrings.

Another delivery brought me some more lovely Liberty for my blocks.

Liberty order May 2

This is from Billow Fabrics and is a collection called Spring Classics. I love the compliments slip with the attached square of Liberty as well. I have lots of smaller pieces now from all of the off cuts from blocks so am going to be making mini hexis with these at some point.

Liberty order May 1

I have started this week’s Riley Blake challenge blocks so will post about them next week, as I intend to finish them this afternoon. Unfortunately it is raining so my plans to take a walk up to the reservoirs to see the rhododendrons will be on hold. Luckily I have lots of You Tube videos of other people’s adventures to watch while I sew.

I hope that you and your family are all well, stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Keeping myself entertained

Good morning from a mainly sunny Yorkshire. It has been good weather the latter part of this week so I have had some nice walks, which has been a good antidote to hours in the Zoomisphere. I think I had 15 hours on Zoom this week so fresh air and a view of the hills is much appreciated.

Plus, I went past the houses of a couple of friends and was able to talk to three more human beings without a screen in the way 🙂  It really is a case of appreciating the little things and seeing other people is a big part of that, at least seeing them from the neck down rather than a screen full of just heads!

As well as some embroidery and block making I have been keeping myself entertained with jigsaws. I normally do them on holiday in Spain and buy those from the charity shop there so just before lockdown I got a couple from our local charity shop. I chose ones that I thought would be too difficult for children so have been working on this for the last 6 weeks.

Jigsaw Altar 2

As you can see it is very slow going, I placed 7 pieces last week as the colours are all the same now with little to distinguish the shapes. I will keep going but don’t expect to complete it any time soon.

Jigsaw Altar 1

I have also been looking on Ebay for other puzzles and discovered the joy of Gibsons’ puzzles. They have a lot of vintage art designs and I was lucky enough to get this one delivered on Friday.

Jigsaw Gibsons 2

I have chosen puzzles that are themed to things that I love doing so am really enjoying this haberdashers’ shop. I am longing to be able to go back to my real life haberdashers and hope that they will be able to survive this situation.

Jigsaw Gibsons 1

This is my progress since Friday so you can see how much easier it is compared to the other one. I have another expected this week and am planning to buy some more but will have to ration myself to just an hour a day or I will run out of puzzles!

I have completed another block for last week’s  Riley Blake Block Challenge as I thought a fussy cut Economy Block one would be nice. I have had this tea themed fabric in my stash for about 10 years and am going to make this into a mug rug with some hand quilting on it.

Economy Blocks 4

Economy Blocks 5

This week’s block is the Nine Patch and I used the tutorial from Diary of a Quilter. As I wanted to use different fabrics for each of the squares I opted for the cutting individual squares approach rather than strip piecing so was pleased at the matching of these seams.

Nine Patch Blocks 1

I am definitely finding it easier to piece during this challenge which is good. These blocks came together very quickly as well.There is always one block with less perfect matching but that won’t be so obvious from a distance 🙂

I have also finished the embroidery on the little camper applique. I just have the backing to sew now.

Camper Van applique 1

I have trimmed the edges of the fabric and just glued them into the hoop with fabric glue and have stuck some white felt on the back which I am whip stitching to the fabric.

Camper Van applique 2

I really love how this turned out and would like to make another one for my future camper van. Especially the little flags, they are so cute!

Camper Van applique 3

Camper Van applique 4

The design is free from Flamingo Toes here. I have also discovered that she has lots of other free hoop art designs and free quilt designs for blog followers at her page here.

So-good-to-be-Home-Embroidery-Hoop

This one above is particularly appropriate for this current situation, I am very, very grateful for a lovely home to be able to stay in, safe, secure and comfortable, which is surrounded by beautiful countryside and with very good friends to support me.Photo from Flamingo Toes website.

I am still enjoying my online courses as well, this week’s ones have been on the history of textile mills and the history of the book. One of my retirement ambitions is to do more creative writing, and one of the themes I want to write about is about the mills around here, so once the doctoral rewrites are finished in June I am going to spend some of my staycation doing research for that.

I hope that you are all ok, not only in physical health but in mental health as well, as this situation and being in lockdown continues it is more important than ever that we can all stay focused on positive things and I hope that you are all finding things to do that bring you pleasure as well as help you fill hours or give you respite from work.

The irony of being a teacher working from home is that people sometimes assume that we are doing nothing, when actually I have never been so busy with all the additional meetings and student support. It is good to find off screen things that bring a sense of normal and both rest my eyes and stretch out the rest of me.

Take care as always, stay safe, stay positive and thanks for visiting.

 

Armchair travel

Regular readers will know that my two biggest passions in life are crafting and travel. In a normal year I am lucky enough to have at least three holidays, mostly to Spain, but also to lovely places in the UK and lots of weekends away at re-enactment events, Steampunk and WW2 events and visiting places of interest that usually involve museums, historic houses and textiles in some form.

Obviously that is not possible at the moment and won’t be for the foreseeable future so I have been finding ways of satisfying my travel urges via the miracles of the internet. I have been watching many different ‘van life’ videos for a number of years now, partly as fact finding as I am hoping to learn to drive and buy my own little camper van in the future. However I just love watching the beautiful places that people travel to and have been watching some wonderful ones recently while sewing.

Tread the Globe are the couple who I have been following for a few years on You Tube and I am taking the opportunity to watch lots of videos that I have not seen before. They are currently in lockdown in Turkey as they arrived there just at the start of the pandemic but have been posting regularly and are coping well.They also have a very informative blog here which not only gives details of the trips but also of how much it costs them to travel which is very useful information.

Before that they had been visiting some beautiful places in France and Spain so I have been watching that to get some ideas for more places to go in future years. They recently visited Taragonna which has been on my wish list for a while as it looks so beautiful. Picture from Google.

Tarragona

I have been collecting ideas for camper van themed decor as well so that when I eventually do get my van I can decorate it. I have been very inspired by my sister who has just bought her fourth van. We went away last October in it and that really motivated me again as we had such a brilliant time. As I mentioned then I made her a VW camper van cushion some years ago and have been looking at other things to make for me as well.

I love this camper van quilt pattern by Amy Bradley designs, (picture from her site), especially the little people that the design comes with.

Camper Quilt Pattern 1

I think the camper vans are so cute and love the retro feel of this. We had many very happy holidays in larger static vans when we were children and I just love caravans of all shapes and sizes.

I found this one during one of my searches, this is a self drafted pattern using inspiration from the many different pictures of camper vans out there and I love the use of all kinds of different fabrics.

Caravan Quilt

This is from A Little Craft , (picture also from her site), and she makes all sorts of beautiful quilts in New Zealand. One day my sister and I are hoping to take a camper van tour of New Zealand when we are both retired, that would just be magical.

I have just found another version as well, this is much larger and has a tutorial with it as well and free templates for the caravan as well as a pattern you can buy for the quilt. It is by the Missouri Star Quilt Company and I have used their tutorials before.

Cute Camper quilt

I have also had this cute stitched version on to do list for a very long as well, it comes from the Flamingo Toes blog and has a detailed tutorial and a free pattern.It is machine embroidered which I am not very confident about doing but it may be a good chance to improve those skills like I have done my quilting ones.

Retro-Camper-Embroidery-Hoop-Art

There is also this very lovely camper van pot holder which is a free pattern from the Sewing for Free site here. Not only cute but a very useful make.

happy-camper-pot-holders

So I shall be keeping myself entertained with virtual travel for the moment, there are so many great tours of museums and exhibitions available at the moment as well which is interesting and can give me lots of ideas for places to go when I am retired. If all goes well I will be starting that process a year from now which is very exciting 🙂 and keeps me inspired.

I hope that you have had a good weekend, some of it has been a bit dull, wet and cold here, so I have been snuggling up in the fleecy blanket making the most of a quiet weekend and watching The White Queen on Amazon. I hope everything is ok with you and your families, stay safe, take care and thanks for visiting.