The hottest day of the year ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Fielke 3 - book

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

Sarah Fielke 1

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

Sarah Fielke 2

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

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

Sarah Fielke Quilting-From-Little-Things

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

 

Norwegian Loveliness

Hello everyone and a belated Happy New Year!

It seems like a very long time since I was here and while sorting out my pictures from Norway had to create a new folder, Blog pics 2016. I wonder what lovely things this folder will hold by the end of the year.

I hope that you all had a very good festive season, we did and have thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Oslo with lots of museums to see.

I am so glad that my family enjoy the same things that I do and it was great to spend so much time with Mum and the kids.

And we had snow! We got there and it was warm and sunny and all the snow had melted and then it snowed on the last day which made it all very white and pretty. I love this pic of the kids walking through the Palace park in the snow.

Norway Kids in snow

As well as the wonderful Folk Museum, which was my favourite one, we saw Viking boats that had been recovered from ship burials, the Polar explorer ship Fram that took Amundsen on his successful expedition and the Kon-Tiki and Ra rafts that Thor Heyerdal sailed in.

We did go on a boat trip as well round the little islands in the Oslo fjords one sunny morning, I would love to back to Norway in the summer one day and spend more time visiting the beaches and small islands.

Norway Boat Trip

The Folk Museum has many houses that have been brought from all over Norway and  been rebuilt there , a lot of them are open and furnished and it is just the kind of social history that we love.

I have another post lined up for you with pictures of the insides of my favourite houses, and some embroidery of course, but these are a few of the beautiful buildings.

Norway Folk Museum houses

Norway Folk Museum houses 2

This was the wonderfully painted inside of a little red guest house with a built-in bed.

Norway Folk Museum houses 3

Norway Folk Museum houses 4

Norway Folk Museum houses 5

I love the carving on these houses and storage barns, life must have been so hard for the farmers in rural Norway and it was touching to see that care that they took in decorating with painted chalk designs and ‘lace’ curtains made from newspaper as it was cheaper than fabric.

You can see why Norwegian immigrants to the USA were so successful in their settling of the mid-west being used to the harsh conditions at home. I found the wonderful picture below from this museum website of settlers at their prairie home.

Norwegian immigrants house

I was amazed to learn that one-third of Norway’s population, 800,000 people, emigrated during 1825 to 1925 mainly due to rural poverty in Norway and the chance for a better life overseas. I expect there was a lot of quilting going on both sides of the Atlantic for warmth and comfort in these houses.

My favourite building was a 13th century stave church, it was an amazing construction, reminiscent of a Viking ship with the decoration on the roof.

Norway Stave church

Norway Stave church 2

Norway Stave church 3

Later in another museum we saw some wonderful carved doors and crosses from other stave churches.

Norway Stave church cross

Norway Stave church door 1

Norway Stave church door 2

You know how much I love doors and that is an amazing door by any standards!

The rest of Oslo was also full of gorgeous buildings from the early 20th century with decorative roof turrets and ironwork.

Norway City Centre

Norway City Centre

Norway City Centre 3

Our hotel also dated from this period, it was called Cochs Pensionat and as well as being in a great location at the side of the Palace park within easy walking distance to the city it was also near lots of bars, shops and supermarkets which was great as we had a little kitchenette in our room.

Norway Hotel

This is a very similar room to ours and it was great to be able to have breakfast and a couple of meals in as well as a lovely lazy Christmas day watching films and playing games.

Norway hotel room

A very good choice again, well done Expedia for such efficient booking of accommodation, what would I do without you!

Now it is back to normal, watching the rain from my sofa and crafting while watching TV, not that I am complaining it is as always, a lovely way to spend the weekend.

I must do a catch up post on things done in 2015 and goals for 2016 post. One thing is for sure that I have done far less quilt blocks than I should have but more embroidery so it is all good!

Take care and thanks for visiting, see you soon for more Norwegian loveliness!

A prince and a princess

Hello everyone

Hope that you are all having a good week, as I told you in my earlier post we were having graduation this week and there was great excitement as we were joined for it by none other than HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, our new University Chancellor  :-)

I did think that he was probably going to be attending our ceremony as we had all been told to bring our staff photo ID and there were lots of police on campus.We were all very pleased when he arrived.

He was lovely, really friendly and relaxed, taking time to congratulate every one of the students as he shook their hands and my group were really thrilled.

Here he is on stage in the centre of this picture, you will have to believe me when I tell you that I am just out of shot to the left here, have been through every picture from our local paper’s news report and there is not one with me in, lots of all my colleagues but no actual evidence of me!!

Duke of York graduation 1

Here is another picture of him coping with our absolutely wonderful Yorkshire weather with howling gales and sideways rain , even the corporate umbrellas are folding under the strain🙂

Duke of York graduation 2

So that is the Prince news, the Princess one is that I am very, very pleased to be able to tell you that my lovely daughter Ellie, who secretly is a princess who wishes to live in a Disney castle, has got a new job!

I am so pleased as she has worked really hard to get this promotion with the National Trust and has had a lot of challenges at work this year, including arriving there last week to find water pouring into the Duke’s bedroom and she being the only member of staff on duty!

She is now the Chapel and Collections Steward at Clumber Park in Sherwood, she will be starting her new job at the beginning of December and will be moving house in a couple of weeks to a lovely apartment with 2 bedrooms – so finally she will have space for her own craft room!

One of the things she will be doing is having responsibility for this beautiful chapel, I  said it looks like a fabulous place for a photoshoot of me in medieval kit to which her response was something along the lines of having to be there at least a year before she introduces her mother the mad nun… can’t imagine what she means by that😉

Clumber Chapel

So two more lovely things in my lovely life, hope you have a great rest of the week and thanks for visiting.

A woodland wedding with wellies!

Hello everyone

I can finally reveal the wedding outfit that I have been working on for so long as we celebrated my brother’s wedding this weekend. The jacket and shirt were finally finished with three days to go before the wedding!

We had a brilliant time, without a doubt one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to, full of personal touches from Ben and Amanda that made it really special and very memorable. There are not many weddings where the bride gets to drive a tractor as part of the day!

Amanda works at Oakwell Hall, a beautiful Tudor house and country park so most of the wedding took place there. They did have a short legal ceremony at the Registry office, here are all the family with them after signing the register.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 1

Amanda had chosen a gorgeous silk brocade for me to make the wedding jacket from, with black silk collar and cuffs. I also made a linen shirt and Amanda’s Mum stitched a blackwork acorn design on the collar and cuffs.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 17

Ben and Amanda's wedding 10

Ben and Amanda's wedding 11

Ben and Amanda's wedding 12

The most important part of the day for them was an exchange of rings in the woodland that is part of the parkland, Amanda helped to build the faith circle where we sat for that ceremony.

It was brilliant, starting with Amanda in her tractor leading all of the guests from the hall to the circle where we were all given bubbles to blow as the bride arrived.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 7

Here are the kids and their cousins Sam and Sarah enjoying the bubbles.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 8

The ceremony featured wooden rings that Ben and Amanda had made themselves and very moving vows where they promised to be each others ‘forever friends’ and go on adventures together.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 9

We had all been asked to wear wellies or colourful boots for that part of the ceremony so here are mine, my sister Jackie’s and Ellie’s boots in the leaves.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 13

Ben and Amanda's wedding 14

Ben and Amanda's wedding 15

The reception took place in the barn which had been decorated with bunting made by Amanda’s Mum Eileen and sister Kate. Ben and Amanda love wood-turning and had made all of the serving platters for the cheeses as well as a mushroom for each guest as a wedding favour.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 4

Ben and Amanda's wedding 3

It was Ben’s 50th birthday as well as their wedding and so they had a woodland cake with models of their two cats on and a wedding cheese cake, they also made all of these little mice to decorate the cakes.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 2

Ben and Amanda's wedding 16

The evening ended with a fantastic firework display, one of Ben’s favourite things.

A wonderful day made all the more special by the fact that they did everything themselves, with help from friends and family, from the food to the decorating all of it was very much the way they wanted it to be.

This is one of my favourite pictures from the day, Ben in a very fetching apron serving the canapés!

Ben and Amanda's wedding 6

The kids have gone home now so it is all very quiet and I am looking forward to a very relaxing afternoon catching up with some Christmas stitching. Have a happy week ahead, see you soon and thanks for visiting.

A Harry Potter Christmas

Our Christmas treat this year was a visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tours which involved a lot of driving around Watford for Ellie (which she managed very well – at one point it took us 20 minutes to go 800 feet!).

We had a very lovely time visiting the exhibition of props and sets from the films. We are now embarking on a Harry Potterthon and are watching all 8 films over Christmas.

The scale of the props needed was really brought home to us, from the volume of costumes for 8 films with a large cast and the amount of things that had been built, including sets of the rooms from the castle.

Dumbledore’s office was particularly spectacular, the many items that could not be bought so were made from scratch and the amazing detail of everything. Even the things that were only in the background of a shot were all beautiful.

Here are some of my favourite things.

The Banqueting Hall dressed for Christmas

Harry Potter

An Ice Sculpture from the Yule Ball

Harry Potter 2

The Clock and Pendulum

Harry Potter 3

A case full of curios in Dumbledore’s office

Harry Potter 4

The memories store in Dumbledore’s office – modelled on a chalice with so many beautiful tiny bottles

Harry Potter 5

Clocks and curios in the Prop store

Harry Potter 6

Lots of wands – all individually designed

Harry Potter 7

The Potions classroom – beautiful bottles with magic ingredients!

Harry Potter 8

Jake playing the role of Hagrid (well he is nearly tall enough!) rescuing Ellie from Privet Drive

Harry Potter 9

The wonderful model of the castle, all covered in snow.

Harry Potter 10

Harry Potter 11

It was well worth a visit and a lovely couple of days away – Ellie is now a lot better at parking in multi-storeys than she was🙂

Jazztastic!

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🙂

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.

It’s raining again …….

Hello there

The title of this blog post needs to be sung really as I am doing in my head, another wet Saturday here in Yorkshire, pity as it was so lovely earlier in the week and I was planning a little jaunt. However more time for blogging, knitting and baking🙂

This is a catch up post really (on the grounds that there are no finishes to show at present) and I have been meaning to post a couple of things for a while.

Firstly my very talented friend Helen (she of the quilts) is also making other things including these cute bunnies just in time for Easter.
She will have some for sale through her Etsy shop at some point for £6.50 but if you are interested please go and visit her at the new blog she has.

Helen's bunny

themagpiecat.blogspot.co.uk/

And I have been meaning to post some pics of Ellie as a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding. I just got the disc from her so here she is looking very lovely.

The baby in the photo is the friend’s little daughter Lizzie who I made a bridesmaid bunny for, you can see the bunny on one of the present tables in the last picture.

Ellie bridesmaids

Ellie - bridesmaid 2

Ellie - bridesmaid 3

There will be no blogging for the next couple of weeks as we are off on holiday😉

My lovely Mum will be here next weekend (it is her birthday on Friday) and then we are off to Bavaria (or Bearvaria as Jake keeps calling it – think he is expecting to see some bears) for a week of visiting medieval towns and castles. Very much looking forward to it and as usual will take lots of photos!

See you soon, thanks as always for visiting.