Change of plans

Hello everyone, hope you are all ok. I am here and not in Worcester visiting my sister and we did not go to Budapest either as sadly my Uncle John died the week before last so I have been to Spain instead to be with the family for his funeral.

It was all very last minute and slightly chaotic but I made the right decision to change my plans. We knew on the Weds night that Mum was not going to be able to come here to go to Budapest as he has been very ill for some time and she could not leave her sister Maureen so I was all ready to fly out on my own on the Sunday as she still wanted me to go and enjoy the holiday.

He died on Friday morning and I made the decision Friday night to cancel the holiday and booked a flight to Spain for the next day and arrived Saturday night.All the family came from England so though it was a very sad time we were all together which is the most important thing to be able support each other and my Aunt Maureen who has been so wonderful and brave during his long illness. Thank God for the internet so we could all get flights with little time to plan.

The reason I was going to see my sister in Worcester with Mum was that we have just welcomed a new member to the family, my nephew Sam and his partner Paige have had a beautiful baby girl called Ava Grace and we were going to meet her. We will postpone that until later on in the Summer when Mum comes over next.

So it has been a very emotional few weeks, very happy and very sad and just brought home to all of us the value of family and the love and support that they give us at the start and the end of life.

I have made Ava Grace a mouse as a gift, you may remember I was knitting various mouse parts some time ago and here she is, designed by the lovely Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits once again.You can buy the pattern for this and all the other animals here.

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This is my first mouse and I am very pleased with her, I am calling her Ava after her recipient and although I had some trouble with the nose the rest of the knit was fine and I am very pleased with the lacy dress and the very cute little tail!

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I also made some pincushions a while ago to add to my ever growing pile, these may go to Yarndale to be sold or they may be given as gifts but I love making them, so quick and easy.Patterns for the strippy one is here and the other came as inspiration from my Pinterest board here. There were no instructions for this one so just made it up as I went along!

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Am not going to be very productive over the next few weeks as I have a huge amount of marking to do which may take up weekends as well and some other sewing that needs to be completed but will keep revisiting my Pinterest pages to remind me of all the pretty things that I really want to be doing.

Take care and keep happy and thanks for visiting.

 

 

The internet is broken!

Hello everyone, luckily not the whole of the internet or we would be in trouble but my little bit is very poorly. I have had a whole week of very slow speeds, caused by a broken copper cable that is hopefully going to be fixed tomorrow so have not even been able to load WordPress for the last few days hence my lack of posting.

So have had no chance to tell you about the lovely knitted mouse I have just completed or the pincushions I made. Will not be around for the next couple of weeks either as Mum is coming on Friday and we leave for Budapest next Sunday, on our return we go down South for a visit to Ellie, then to my sister.

So will be back in a couple of weeks with pictures of lovely Budapest, really looking forward to it as it has been on my  wishlist for a long time.

In the meantime here is a pic of lovely daughter Ellie at a Steampunk Festival this weekend, she has made new jewelry.Beautiful and talented, not that I am at all biased!

ellie-steampunk

Thanks for visiting and see you all in a few weeks.

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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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The Clock and Pendulum

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A case full of curios in Dumbledore’s office

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

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Clocks and curios in the Prop store

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Lots of wands – all individually designed

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The Potions classroom – beautiful bottles with magic ingredients!

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

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

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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 🙂