Weekends in fields

Hello there

Hope you are all well and happy. I have just got back from another weekend in a field and am busy today sorting, washing (and drying!) bits of kit and tents.

We have had a lovely time at the Midlands Living History Festival  and as befits a British summer managed to get sunburnt and soaked in the same weekend!Here is a picture of one very soaked and grass-covered medieval boot, off to dry out.

Midfest - boot

Generally though the weather was very good and we had two BBQs and bacon butties for breakfast in the sun both days – I love camping!

We are nearly at the end of the re-enactment season with only 2 more events to go which makes me very sad. I am seriously considering joining another group as well so I can have more fun in a field next year. I may do a different period so I can do some other types of embroidery!

This event was multi period so we got to watch a brilliant dark age battle on both days with lots of Vikings and Saxons from groups such as Vikings of Middle England. The battle was very good – scary to watch as they fight with no helmets and very little armour unlike our medieval guys. The pic below shows them at an earlier event and is one I ‘borrowed’ from the BBC website.

Midfest - vikings

Unfortunately I have managed to break my camera (I am lethal with cameras!) and my spare one would not work either so I have no other pics to show you. It will have to be taken to the menders this week as I am lost without it.

I have got a couple more from last weekend – taken by my lovely friend Wendy who was being our official photographer for the weekend. This one was taken from the top of Ashby Castle tower and shows the camp with our activities. I am bottom right helping with the knighting of the kids after their sword training.

Ashby - show

This is a brilliant shot of the tournament on the Sunday with me in my nun’s costume on the left.The boys’ armour and costumes look great – even in the rain!

Ashby - tourney

I have got a quiet couple of weeks work wise and a weekend at home now so am going to be doing lots of sewing.

Have just made my lovely friend Kerry a chaperon (but forgot to take a picture of it before the camera broke) and have just sent off my Summer Exchange piece so will upload pics of that when it has been delivered.

Still working on a stitched baby gift and might just get around to making that new peasant dress that I have been promising myself for the last few years. I have also treated myself to some Blackbird Designs patterns after seeing so many lovely ones on the Seasonal Exchange blog  so am waiting for those to arrive.

The one compensation about Autumn and Winter is lots of time to stitch as I seem to have done so little just recently. Also I am really looking forward to the start of the new term as I will be going to China with work again twice before Christmas – how exciting!

Take care and have a relaxing week whatever you are doing. Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Summer is here!

Well no not in terms of the weather – though it has been very nice this weekend which is a welcome respite from two days of torrential rain, thankfully we have not been flooded!

I have just had this lovely piece sent to me as a Summer Exchange from Lisa through the Seasonal Exchange blog. It is a JBW design  which as Lisa knows is one of my favourite designers and she has used the same sparkly evenweave that I love to stitch my designs on, it is beautiful Lisa thank you.

Summer Exchange - front

Summer Exchange - back

I have been spending the weekend mainly stitching and watch disaster movies on TV – there is an extreme weather disaster movie weekend on Movies 24 which is very appropriate give all the strange weather we have been having lately. I am currently working on my Summer Exchange plus a baby gift so nothing I can show yet.

I have some additional links to share with you for lovely pics of re-enactment events, Red Zebra Photography  were taking pics all last weekend at Harewood and there are some great shots including some of Swords of Mercia walking in the parade amongst the hundreds of pictures.

I met the photographer, Nigel,  from Wallace-Iles Photography  at the Tatton event – he takes some lovely shots of single re-eanactors and the effects he puts on them make the really artistic.

Next weekend we are off to our biggest re-enactment event of the year, Tewkesbury Medieval Festival – please pray for fine weather for us!

Thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

Spring – wherefore art thou?

Well I hope you have been having better weather than we have – it is apparently only 2 weeks until the official start of Summer but we have seen very little of any nice sun. I am itching to wear something other than a thick coat and gloves and hide from the rain.

However I am very lucky as I am off to Spain in 8 days so I will get some sun there.

Spring things have been happening though – I have been clearing out my garage as part of a bit of a Spring clean and there has been Spring stitching.

As I mentioned last week not much has been going on craft wise due to general busyness but I have done a bit of knitting this week and have done the latest piece for my exchange through the Seasonal Exchange blog . My Spring Exchange piece for the exchange has just arrived with Lei in the USA so I can reveal it.

Spring Exchange for Lei

It is another design from The Workbasket  site called Quaker Tree and I have stitched it with Silk Mill threads as usual.

The fabric is some that I have had in my stash for a while, I think it might be Tanya Whelan but I bought it from my friend Lydia’s shop Spun a while ago. I thought it was lovely and bright and I decided to do a new type of finish for me with a little pillow. Lei likes it which is very good.

I have also just got this wonderful pillow from Lisa in the USA as my Spring Exchange ornie,  she must know my tastes very well as she has stitched me a lovely design from The Workbasket site, I love their pieces and this is fantastic. It is called ‘April Quaker’ it looks so lovely with my other ornies in the conservatory.

Spring Exchange from Lisa


Spring Exchange back

By the way The Silk Mill is having a sale at the moment  to celebrate their 10th anniversary with at least 10% off depending on how much you order. I am planning to go and add to my stash as I can’t resist a bargain.

Well I hope that you have a great week and see you all again soon, thanks for visiting.


More snowflakes

Well we have a few more real ones this week but I am very pleased to say that the Winter Exchange  ornie that I stitched has made its way safely to the USA to Dawn.

Winter exchange ornie front

Winter exchange ornie back

This was a design that I have had for a few years and have stitched before, this time on my favourite sparkly evenweave with Silk Mill thread over one. This was a surprisingly quick one to stitch – must be getting better at the fine count work!

I have also finished a Spring ornie for me from one of my Quaker designs – no pics as yet as I have been not been in much when it has been light.

 I have had a very busy week not only catching up from after our visit from Ofsted but also preparing for my trip to China! I will be leaving for that in 18 days but meanwhile I am off to Spain for a week of sun, sea, sand and biking! Can’t wait.

So have a lovely week and I will see you on my return. Thanks for visiting.

Winter Exchange

Well how are you all and are you lovely people in the UK snowed in yet? We have had small flurries on the hills all week and today the promised snow arrived with us – very timely as this morning I had a lovely parcel all the way from Australia (where of course there will not be any snow!) containing this wonderful ornie from Lisa V.

winter exchange 1

winter exchange 2

Lisa must know my tastes very, very well as what she stitched is perfect for me and as you can see looks very good hanging next to the little stocking on the doors with the snowflake stickers.It is Heritage Stitches design and is stitched on hand dyed Silkweaver fabric.

winter exchange 3

The snow was just starting when I took the above pic put we are nice and white now – good job I am holed up indoors tomorrow!

My exchange piece was sent this week to the USA and as soon as I hear that it has been delivered I will post pics of it.

I decided that I would make a Spring ornie for me this week rather than a Winter one as it had got a bit milder outside (the bulbs are all coming through in the garden) so have finished all the stitching on one of the Quaker Tree ornies that I mentioned last post. Just got to add beads and turn it into a little pillow ornie.

I will leave you with the some recent pics of Ellie on her nights out with friends Hannah and Becky – she did mention that there have been no pics of her for a while so will have to rectify that! The theme for one of the fancy dress nights was ‘bugs’.

Ellie bugs night out


Ellie Worcs night out 1

Hope you are all keeping warm (or cool!) depending where you are.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

A happy coincidence

As regular readers will know I am involved in some cross stitch exchanges – one that I really enjoy is the Seasonal Exchange, I got my gift from Conny some time ago and I posted a pic here a few weeks ago of the beautiful pillow she sent.

Autumn exchange 2011

What I could not reveal until my partner Kathy had got her piece from me was that this was what I stitched for her.

Autumn exchange sent 2011

Yes that is exactly the same design – JBW Designs French Country 4  – how weird is that!! Don’t know if it has ever happened in the history of the blog exchanges that someone has stitched the same pattern that they have then got.

In reality it is not such a weird happening – when we get give our partner’s name we always go and look at their blogs to see what they like and if Conny did that she would have known I love JBW designs. But to choose the very same one is a very lovely coincidence as I always pick designs I would love to have myself and now I do. So thank you again Conny – I could not say too much when you first sent me the piece or Kathy would have known what she was getting!

I have had a lovely week in Spain and have done some more trips which I will post pics of later in the week. The blue wristwarmers are finished and another little JBW stocking ornie has been stitched but not yet backed. I have cast on for a second version of the wristwarmers and started another stocking (I am a little bit addicted to these – well Xmas ornies in general at the moment!).

Hope that you are all having a lovely week and will catch up with you again at the weekend.

Thanks for visting.

Lovely Stitching

Autumn exchange 2011

Hello there and hope you are all well and happy.

I have had a lovely parcel in the post – my Autumn exchange piece for the Seasonal Exchange blog  which has come from Conny at Creative Basket.It is from my favourite designer JBW and is called French Country Pumpkin 4. I love it – especially the finishing with the two different pumpkin fabrics and the very clever outlining.

Autumn exchange 2011 back

I have just finished stitching my piece for the exchange and will be posting it tomorrow. Can’t show any pics till it arrives at its destination which should take a week or so.

I have also just finished another Xmas ornie – I did post the WIP for this a couple of weeks ago when I had nearly completed the stitching. This design is from the Christmas edition of Cross Stitcher magazine and I really liked the Scandinavian style, especially the backstitching. I decided to do a slightly different finish with the ornie to fit in with the shape of the stitching. It was a bit tricky to fit the pieces round the design but it looks ok at the end (if a little asymmetrical but never mind!) I have used the Makower Joyful fabric for both front and back.Not that long now till we can get the tree out and display all the lovely new ornies!

Xmas ornie Oct

It has been a lovely sunny weekend – I have had another busy week so I have had a very nice relaxing weekend with mainly cooking and stitching. I also made it to my monthly knitting group this week so the wristwarmers are nearly finished.I am really looking forward to next weekend as I have a week off work and I am off to Spain again – lucky me! I have not got many plans as just really want a relax but Mum and I are planning a couple of trips out to see some more history so I will take some nice pics for you all.

Thank you very much for visiting and see you all again soon.

More Glamping

Hello there

You may remember last year I did a couple of posts on the art of glamorous camping or glamping – well we have been adding to our stock of glamping gear and have just spent a lovely weekend at the Tribfest Music Festival  in North Yorkshire where we had a very sunny and enjoyable weekend listening to lots of different tribute bands. My absolute faves were the Take That tribute band ‘Back for Good’  on Saturday night, I have never seen the real group but these were excellent and I very much enjoyed myself.

We had very good facilities again including the most glamping portaloos ever – of course they still got smelly but this is what they looked like. Sinks and mirrors and pretty pictures on the wall! And inside were real flushing toilets with wooden seats and everything!

Glamping 1

My sister bought me some new glamping accessories for my birthday – some wine glass holders that you can use in a  field. You just push it into the ground and it provides a very stable holder for your tipple! You may remember that I have previously posted on the little accessories we have for our drinking round the campfire and these are very lovely for when I do not have my little wine glass table. She bought them while on holiday earlier on in the summer, sorry I do not know where from. Here is Ellie modelling them for me while pouring me a little pre-mixed G and T on Friday night while getting ready to have a BBQ.

Glamping 3

As befits a sophisticated festival there were lots of lovely outfits and some wonderful fancy dress – one of my faves was the Alice Cooper lookalike on Friday night – you can just see him in the middle of this pic, complete with plastic snake!

Glamping 2

I am just about to buy a new tent for next year on the grounds that they are all reduced at the moment, the one we have had for the last 3 years, a Vango Tamor 500, has been great but is starting to show signs of wear and there are a couple of split poles that we have had to patch so we are going to keep that as a reserve, festival tent that kids can use (as in I don’t mind if it comes back even worse for wear) and get another Vango, this time the Icarus 500 which is an updated version. These are great tents for us as they are light weight for taking on the train, sleep 5 so plenty of room for us and all our kit and also have really good bedroom heights so that we can hang our re-enactment clothes up and get dressed in comfort.

I managed to get a good pic of the Seasonal exchange I got when I came back from Spain which was this lovely flower pillow from Lynn. I have put some ribbon on it so that I can hang it with the others in the dining room.

spring ornie from Lynn

Have not got any other finishes to show – things have been very slow around here what with all the being away and we are away again this weekend at Bolsover Castle  for our last re-enactment show of the year.

Hope you all have a lovely week and I will be back again next week with hopefully more pics of sunny camping!

Thanks for visiting.

Lovely life!

Hello there and I hope that you are all well and happy. We have just got back home from a very lovely day out – my very first trip to the Birmingham Quilt Show which was very good. I went on a coach trip with Ellie and my quilt group and when I have sorted out the pics will post them. I was very restrained and stuck to my shopping list of practical items to finish existing projects plus a very small bit of Xmas fabric (well you have to don’t you – it all needs a good home and I will probably be in China in November when the Harrogate show is on so have to stock up 😉 ).

We have been in Spain all week, lucky us, enjoying very hot weather which meant that little could be done except go to the pool or beach, read and stitch on the terrace. I have nearly completed another little stitched Xmas ornie for me (very appropriate stitching when it is 36 degrees outside!) and have been working on a baby gift as well. We did of course see the family including the recipient of our handmade gifts who I am pleased to say really liked them. Here is Anna-Mae with the cat that Ellen made her and playing with her farm quilt.

Spain - Anna-Mae cat

Spain - Anna - Mae quilt

She is so gorgeous and was a delight to watch playing with the animals and helping ‘Great Nana’ open her presents from us as well. Nana was 99 a few weeks ago and is looking forward to her 100th birthday celebrations as she just had a little party this time!

Spain - Anna- Mae Nana

We also went out for some very nice meals including a Spanish restaurant near our house which we had not tried before that had a very good ‘menu del dia’,  3 lovely courses including a half bottle of wine for 10 euros – Ellie was very impressed with the wine carafe!

Spain - Ellie wine

The flight back was brilliant, there were clear skies till halfway across France which meant I had some wonderful views and was able to get some very nice pics for the Scavenger Hunt which I will post at the end of the month. Here is the view as we left Alicante.

Spain - from air 1

And of course it wouldn’t be one of my Spain posts without a cactus pic now would it! This is variety I have not seen before which looked like little cabbages on stalks.

Spain - Aug cactus 2

And this is a palm tree waving in the wind as we waited for the bus to the beach.

Spain - palm tree

While we were away my Summer Exchange  partner got her stitched piece from me and I had a lovely little pillow from my partner in the US. I have not had any good light yet to take a pic of the pillow but here is the pin and scissor keep I sent to Gaby  in Germany.

Summer Exchange piece front

Summer Exchange piece back

This is a freebie design from The Workbasket website  called Quaker Tree which I have stitched before – again done on sparkly evenweave with Silk Mill thread. The backing fabric I bought from one of the women at quilt group who has a fabric shop and I had the ribbon already in my stash, the ribbon is stitched on to the top of the little pocket that holds the scissors. Charms as before from Stitch Direct.

Well I have a nice quiet week ahead so I am looking forward to some finishing off of stitched items including the large pile of Xmas ornie hearts I have on my coffee table! We are away next weekend and the following one so I am making the most of this time. Hope you are having a nice time wherever you are. Thank you for visiting.

A Lovely Week!

Hello again

Hope you have been having a very nice week. I have –  filled with lots of lovely crafting and fun with other people while doing it. I only started crafting socially (as in joining groups) about 4 years ago when I joined the Embroiderers’ Guild but now the kids have grown up and I have a lot more free time for me it forms a large part of my social life and I love it! It is so nice seeing what other people are working on and getting advice when you get stuck and having a good laugh (and usually some cake!) while you are at it. This week was a very nice one as I went to two knitting groups, did one session at WI and spent all day yesterday at a Quilt Workshop run by Christine from my quilt group.

First of all though my Spring Exchange for the Seasonal Exchange blog  has arrived in the USA so I can show you pics of that.When I was given my partner Lisa’s name I went to look on her blog to see what sort of things she liked making and I saw that she had made this as an exchange piece for her to send off and she mentioned that she liked it so much that she would want to make one for herself in the future so I thought this would be perfect and luckily she is pleased with it.

Spring bird ornie 1

The design is called Friendship Bird Floss Ring and is from the Jan/Feb issue of Gift of Stitching magazine. It is stitched on evenweave with thread from The Silk Mill. It is the first time I have used the little pearl thread rings which I got from Sew and So.
I have seen on a few people’s blog pics of their smaller stitched items photographed outside on bushes so I thought since this is a bird it would be nice for him to be in a tree so here he is in my garden!
Spring bird ornie 2

Knitting progress with the pink baby cardi is slow but steady – not helped by the fact that I keep forgetting to do eyelet rows while I am decreasing so I have had to take back quite a few rows!

I have also almost finished my latest Xmas ornie and made a start on another this week as a demo piece for my WI meeting. I have recently joined my local branch of the Women’s Institute which meets monthly with a variety of activities on the programme. This month it was a Craft Bee and I was asked if I would like to demo something so I chose blackwork which turned out to be  good choice as no-one had heard of if. There were quite a few cross stitchers who came to my table but some people who had never tried crafts before so we had a fun evening. The pics below show my demo table and a couple of the pieces that beginners did. I used patterns from the Blackwork Archives  for the beginners as there are some very good simple designs there that you can download.

WI Blackwork 1

WI Blackwork 2

WI Blackwork 3

The quilt workshop I went to was based on a design called Stained Glass Windows. I forgot to get a picture of the original quilt that Christine had made as a demo but it was made from bold plain colours with black sashing to give the effect of stained glass. We had been asked to bring any fabric from our stash and as I have rather a lot of Xmas fabric (ahem!) rather than buying anything new I decided I would use the workshop to make an Xmas version of the sofa throw WIP.

The quilt design seemed quite complex to start off with (especially for me as I am a little spatially challenged!) as you layer seven 10 inch squares of fabric and cut them all at once into seven different sized rectangles, then you lay them out so that each block has one of each of the seven colours.

You can make any size of quilt by cutting extra sets of seven fabrics. I will probably only use 6 of my 7 blocks for the throw – I may cut out pieces for another block to make 8 blocks once I see how big the 6 are (am hoping to get some more quilting done this afternoon in between hedge cutting and other domestic duties!) Here are the three I got finished yesterday, I decided to use green sashing rather than black as I thought it looked more festive. 

May quilt 1

I am very pleased with them as it is the first time I have done a sashed block and it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I had lots of help from the others and it was very nice to see all the different colour combinations that people chose and how they turned out.

In cake news this week I have been experimenting with my recipe and have made a different flavour – vanilla with a hint of ginger (Jake approves!) – here are the strawberry and chocolate star topped versions I made for quilt workshop.

May cupcakes

Lastly I will leave you with some pics of my neighbours’ very cute cat, Henry, who was climbing in the clematis this week and very kindly posed for me. We don’t have any pets any more – all having died of old age –  but Henry comes round a lot and is very friendly.

Henry 2

Henry 1

I just love that last pic – so cute!

Well I hope that you have a lovely week ahead – I am going to be super busy as I am out every night, all social and crafting which is lovely. Thanks as always for visiting and for all the lovely comments! I especially welcome all those new people who have visited through the photo scavenger hunt