Finding haberdashery heaven

Well dear readers, the travel gods smiled upon us and Ellen and I were able to go on our very long awaited trip to New York in the second week of January. We had been planning this trip since about 2018, when we watched a series called Project Runway. This was set in one of the Fashion Institutes there, and featured regular visits by the contestants to the Garment District, in particular a shop there called Mood.

We had originally planned to go 2 years ago, for Ellen’s 30th birthday but as we know the world got a little crazy and so we put that trip on hold. We had not finally decided to go until just before Christmas, as we were waiting to see if anything changed with restrictions but sorted it all out and had a fantastic time. I had visited many years ago but it was Ellen’s first trip.

As well as buying fabric and haberdashery we wanted to visit some fashion collections and museums, as well as see all the tourist highlights. I will post later about those, this post is just all about the wonder that is the Garment District. It really is amazing how many shops there are, and how much there is available, we were at points quite overwhelmed with what to buy.

We were guided by a particular vlog from someone I have watched a lot over the years, Bernadette Banner, who did a New York Garment District vlog three years ago. I don’t remember the name of every shop we went it but we did visit B and Q trimmings, M and J Trimmings, Pacific Coast Haberdashery, and of course Mood!

This was just a tiny selection of what was in one shop, they had four aisles just of zips!

Ellen was looking for sparkly fabric for a night sky inspired project and had a hard time choosing from all the loveliness, though the $450 dollars a yard fabric got put back straight away! The Garment District is right next to Broadway, so as well as fashion fabric there are endless sequins, lace and feathers available such as these beauties.

We were both very restrained, even though a small fortune could have been spent. I just bought things for very specific Barbie couture projects as it was wonderful to have very small scale braid and trimmings available. I will do a specific post about that and my plans for the purchases later.

Before the shopping we spent some time at the Fashion Institute of Technology, looking both at the display of students’ work and at their current exhibition. The student work exhibition was really interesting, as much for the design boards as for the final creations.

The current exhibition at the museum looks at the interior spaces that many of the world’s greatest women designers lived and worked in. As well as showcasing their designs there were pictures of their salons, many of which no longer exist. It was a fascinating look at these creative spaces. The gowns on display were a very varied selection, and all stunning.

I am going to be working on more Barbie couture when I get back to Spain so wanted to choose two garments from the trip to make in Barbie size. I have chosen this gold one from the museum collection as I love the beaded detail on the neckline. I may not do anything as elaborate as this but it will be the inspiration.

The other dress I have chosen is this one from the film, ‘Mrs Harris goes to Paris’, which I watched on the plane. I love this and was able to get some gorgeous fabric in New York for it. There are so many amazing dresses in that film so may make others in the future, Barbie scale only though! Picture from the above link.

We also saw a great exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, all about the history of the kimono, and how it became transformed once Japan opened up to Western fashion, and in turn how kimonos inspired other designers. Very interesting with some beautiful garments.

I am now actually in the Greek part of Cyprus where I am spending some of my winter months of exile from Spain. I am only allowed to stay there for 90 days post Brexit, but that gives me a great excuse to travel 😉

I have a friend who lives here so came to see him, to travel around, and indulge my passion for church architecture with lots and lots of visits to Greek Orthodox churches. There are also stunning coastal walks where I am now so lots of posts of all that coming up.

I finished the blackwork just before leaving Spain and am so pleased with it. Excuse the rather odd blue tint in the first picture, but I am so happy with how it all looks and plan to do some more of these on my return to Spain. It was a very quick stitch, the border took the longest but really finishes off the pieces.

I have also started and finished a mandala for my van. The design comes from a book of embroidery I bought my Mum a few years ago, and it is stitched with perle thread. It has been a very international stitch, started in Spain, worked on in England and the USA and finished in Cyprus. It just needs the felt backing attaching and it can hang in Katy.

I hope that you are all well and happy wherever you are, and if in the UK have not suffered too badly with the extreme weather. I am very lucky to still be in 19 degrees and am making the most of it.

I will be back soon with the other New York post and will update you on my Cyprus adventures as soon as I can. I am staying in a mixture of apartments and hotels so will be dependant on the quality of the wifi. Until next time, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Tis the season …..

To hold Christmas ornament workshops again! Well in my world we can do it at any point and as long- time readers know I have held workshops in July before now 😉

However this week was the workshop at my lovely sewing group. Last year the group did baubles with folded ribbon and some of them brought theirs from last year to show me, more of that later.

This year it was mainly trees with folded ribbon that people were doing, although one member did an egg, and another a bauble using the cutting into the ball technique. It was, as always, a lovely morning full of activity and sparkly ribbon.

The folded ribbon baubles that Isla and Teresa made last year were just stunning. I love the colour combinations and all of the different patterns that you can achieve with quite a simple process.

I did think that I had given up on the bauble making, partly as anything I make for friends now has to be easily posted, however after I got back from the session I got a message from a local sewing shop asking if I would do a workshop for them next October 🙂

That gives me a great reason to restock on all my pretty embellishments when I get back to the UK and make some more samples next year doesn’t it?

All of the Christmas makings are now finished so I am getting on with rest of the to-do list that I have set myself, with a few extras thrown in. I am having a quiet pre-Christmas week and have nothing planned for the week between Christmas and New Year, so will be happily ensconced in my sewing space.

I am making some more Barbie outfits, using the same pattern that I have made many times before. I spent the first few weeks of lockdown in 2020 making these gowns, and love the flexibility of the design in that it looks so good with different types of fabric and beads . There will be an evening coat of velvet to go with the dress.

These patterns are reproductions of vintage ones and can be found on Etsy at GailsDollEPatterns. They are instant downloads and very easy to use.

I am also making good progress with my Liberty log cabin squares using some vintage tablecloth material for the centre pieces. This is the bit I love the most about making these squares, deciding which of my Liberty stash I will use 😉 It also gives me chance to catch up on some sewing vlogs.

I will share progress with the Rainbow Rascals knitted dolls at some point in the future as I need to do a proper photo shoot. I am really enjoying knitting them as they are so quick and easy and I am planning two dolls and a lot of wardrobe changes for them.

I hope that you are all happy and busy whatever you are doing and are looking forward to Christmas if you celebrate it. I will be back before then with seasonal greetings, until next time have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Charlie, Quinn and Queenie, and a hot Christmas Craft Fair!

I thought I would just share with you a little update of some of the crafting projects I mentioned in my previous post. I have been very busy getting everything done for this week, in between my increasingly hectic social life 😉

It is so lovely to have so many things to do and people to spend time with, I really never expected this when I came here. I thought I would be mainly in my new craft space making, and instead I am out so many evenings with new friends.

First to be finished was the Luna rabbit, who I named Charlie. This was a commission from one of the people who entered the ‘guess the name’ earlier on this year. She had requested a rabbit for her grandson in neutral colours so I made one out of linen again and made him a winter and a summer outfit, all from charity shop clothes in my stash.

I was very pleased with the way that the formal shirt turned out, it was very fiddly but well worth it. I am very happy with my neat top stitching, that is getting so much better. It helps to have such a lovely new machine.

I finished the reindeer last weekend, they are probably the cutest things that I have ever knitted, look at that little face!

The draw for the reindeer took place yesterday, I sold some of the names earlier this week to friends at my knitting and sewing groups and the rest at the Christmas Craft Fair that was organised to support the local foodbank charity.

All of the names were sold and the winning choice was Quinn and Queenie. They have gone off to their new homes today. This raised 100 euros for the charity and we raised a lot more with the tombola and other stalls.

All of the patterns for the reindeer and clothes are from Little Cotton Rabbits. The reindeer pattern is a free supplement to the fox pattern, I knitted two of those last year for Ellen and Sarah and you just adjust the placement of the ears and add antlers and speckles.

The Christmas dress and jumper are both from the seasonal pattern sets and the spare dress from the textured dress set of patterns. I particularly loved making the textured dress as it looks so lovely and the yarn knits up beautifully.

The craft fair was held outside the charity shop on a rather hot day yesterday, it has been unseasonably warm here and it was about 24 degrees yesterday so I was glad that I was in the shade. Many of my friends had their crafting for sale. I bought this gorgeous mandala dream catcher for my bedroom from Gale.

Gale also had lots of other dreamcatchers and key rings, she is going to teach us some macrame at knitting group at some point.

These cute little Christmas puddings with chocolates in were made by Mary who had lots of other versions on her stall.

Tracy and Isla had a beautiful selection of knitted and crocheted toys and clothes.

I bought one of Edith’s gorgeous candle holders last year and this year bought some of her crochet pot holders that match my kitchen.

Lynne and Linda were manning the donations stall.

I also bought these amazing hand embroidered silk handkerchiefs from Vivien, who selling them on behalf of a friend. They are so delicate and I plan to turn them into some gorgeous outfits for the Barbie dolls. I am going to spend a little bit of time in my atelier over the next few weeks getting back to Barbie haute couture.

I have also been cycling, the sky was so clear this week and the views across to the mountains have been wonderful.

My latest knitting project is Rainbow Rascals from Dollytime on Etsy. The picture below is from her website.

I love the bright colours of these dolls and have previously knitted her little snowmen. They are a very easy knit as the legs, head and body are all knitted as one piece and that includes the stripy jumper. I am looking forward to making some cute skirts to go with them. I’m not sure where these will go as they might just be kept until next year for Christmas boxes for the local charities.

I have about 6 weeks now until I go off on further travels so am looking forward to lots of lovely adventures on my bike and knitting and stitching on the sofa! I hope that you are all having a lovely time whatever you are doing. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Finally, the new craft space is finished!

You may remember that earlier this year I posted about my new sewing space, part of my bedroom, or the only other room in my tiny house here in Spain 😉 At the time I was still looking for new storage for all of my things and I am pleased to report that it is now all done.

I had been looking for a particular piece of furniture for the room for a very long time. When these houses were built, about 40 years ago, the development company supplied furniture packs, as most were going to be used as holiday homes. Over the years most people have replaced this furniture but it still does turn up occasionally and I had been after the original dining / TV storage unit for all of my craft storage.

Before that I had a wardrobe and chest of drawers that was given to me when I bought the house but a chance visit to one of the charity shops led to me getting this lovely piece delivered on my birthday in June, the day before I flew back to the UK.

I have finally finished buying the storage to go in it, and arranging all of my stash. I am so pleases with it as not only does it look lovely, it matches the doors in the house and is very traditionally Spanish in style, it is also narrower than the wardrobe so gives me more space to sew.

I have all my wool sorted by colours in these baskets.

Deciding what to bring to Spain from Yorkshire was not easy, I had a whole craft room there so concentrated on embroidery supplies and very essential fabric, mainly my Liberty, felt, and Luna and Barbie fabrics. The bottom cupboards are all full of fabric. Some things are very easy to get here, such as wool and thread as well as basic sewing supplies. Others, such as interfacing and cross stitch fabric are not so I have brought that back with me.

I have tools in the drawers and the one cupboard and use the baskets on the shelving for my WIPs.

Cross stitch fabric, Liberty and my all important hat topper are here, we have a fancy dress fiesta coming up in a couple of weeks and I am going in my tablecloth jacket and tea party hat.

The Barbie crew are very pleased to be finally out of the wardrobe and able to see the sea, they love the new craft space 😉

The smaller white unit holds tools, needles, sewing and embroidery threads so everything is accessible when I have the sewing machine out.

I have been working on the Luna commission this week, so far all pieces of the rabbit are cut out and zig zagged and I have made the ears with this check fabric.

I am using charity shop shirts again for the contrast fabric.

We have a quiet week this week as our trip to Cordoba has been cancelled by the coach company. Sadly there are no other options but we will be doing some day trips instead this autumn. At least that gives me lots of time to enjoy the new sewing space. The knitted reindeer are coming on well, all body parts are done and I am on with the shorts for the boy.

As I am not going to Cordoba I will be able to attend the lace stitching workshop which Vivienne is running next week at my sewing group. I am really excited about that as loved the Lace Day we went to in June this year. Not that I need any more projects of course but she does such amazing work, I will take lots of pictures for you.

I still have some costume collection and historic house pictures to share with you from the summer so will be back soon with those as well.

Until then I hope that you are all having a nice week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A rabbit, a quilt, some reindeer and many baubles!

Now that I am settled back into my Spanish life I thought that I would set a few targets for this visit here in terms of crafting that I want to get completed. I have a mix of things that I have to finish, and ones that I want to do, some of which have been on the WIP pile for a couple of years. I do also have WIPs that have been around for far longer but we won’t discuss those just yet 😉

The first thing that has to be completed is another fundraising ‘name the animal’ for the local foodbank charity. You may remember that earlier this year I made a Luna Rabbit complete with changes of clothes for the Jubilee Fundraiser.

For this next ‘name the animal’ I have chosen to make this adorable pair of reindeer from Little Cotton Rabbits. I have not made the reindeer before but they are the same pattern as the fox, which I made two of last year, with modifications to the head.

I will be giving the two animals with a Christmas outfit and a change of clothes.

I already have the Christmas jumper for the boy and a pretty textured dress so just need to make a Christmas dress and a jumper and trousers set. I have a month for this so there needs to be knitting happening every day!

I am determined to sew up as I go along, I made this jumper some years ago and look at the mess that is left to sort out with all the ends to work in!

The second thing that has to happen is that I got a commission for a Luna from someone who didn’t win in June. I am going to make them a boy rabbit with a change of clothes.

The plan is to make the rabbit out of the top linen in this photo above then use the paler linen for the short and the grey flannel for trousers. The grey is an old scarf of Jacob’s and the paler linen is a charity shop shirt.

I am also using these charity shop finds for this other shirt and trousers. Hopefully these will be very quick to do as I can make a couple of outfits in a day.

We are having a few workshops at sewing group so there will be WIPs from that. We had the first one this week, learning how to make purses. I have looked at this type before for Steampunk but never done one.

This week’s workshop was just talking us through the make and sewing the clasp on a ready prepared purse but next week we are going to learn how to make the purse. I think these would make lovely gifts.

I am going to be running a workshop in December to make my beloved Christmas decorations. Over the years I have made so many different kinds of things using polystyrene shapes. This year we are going to be doing either trees, cones or baubles at the workshop.

Of course I stupidly gave all my previous ornament stash away before moving here, convinced that I wouldn’t be doing anything like this again. It all went to good homes, to various charity craft projects, but luckily the local Chinese markets have stash and I found a Christmas shop locally with the lovely ribbons in the picture below so all is good!

Lastly, if I have time after all of this activity, I would like to make a lap quilt for Katy. During lockdown I participated in a block challenge and I made lots of lovely things including these Liberty log cabin blocks.

I would love to make some more using motifs from my vintage tablecloths.

Many years ago I made a bag out of four, using one of Jacob’s old shirts for the outer fabric.

The plan is to use these 6 flower motifs above, and the 4 existing log cabins blocks and some sashing to make a little lap quilt for when I am sitting reading and it is not warm enough for the fleece blankets. I have until July to do this so that should be plenty of time lol!

So that should keep me out of mischief for a while. I also plan to stitch the first of my own Blackwork designs, that I showed you in this post. Fingers crossed I can find the time to do the other goldwork design I mentioned in that post as well, though that will not be done until next year.

What about you, what are your plans for this season? I always feel that autumn is a very good time to start thinking about new projects. Normally I am hastily putting together Christmas ornaments this season but those have all been done already.

I think it is the 35 years as a teacher that means that I always see autumn, rather than spring, as the start of things. Although there are no visible signs of autumn here really I still feel a sense of renewal of possibilities. Outdoor swimming is coming to an end, and I am looking forward to more cycling. I did 27km this Thursday with a friend, which I was very impressed about, my longest ride for about 14 years!

I hope whatever your plans you are having a lovely time. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Millions of needles …

As a keen seamstress I do have my fair share of needles for all purposes but have never really thought much about where they come from. At the Clent Hills camp site there was a brochure for the National Needle Museum in Redditch, just a short drive away, so I thought I would stop off and visit.

The museum was fascinating, it is housed in the original needle factory, dating from the late 1700s when the processes were driven by water. Redditch produced millions of needles, about 90% of the world’s production, and they were exported worldwide.

This meant that there were gorgeous displays made for national and international exhibitions. The companies also made surgical needles and fishing hooks.

There were also some great examples of how needles were used, from the textile group display of current craft on the first floor to examples of vintage craft.

It was fascinating to see the displays of needle packaging and needle cases over time.

If you are in the area it is well worth a visit. We are now back from Whitby where we had a lovely time as always and met some new people. I have bought lots of fab new jewellery for my latest outfits so will put together a post about the event when I can next access good internet.

I am about to leave Ellen’s now and go to my beloved Peak District for a few days. Normal UK weather has been resumed and it is forecast to be around 17 degrees and showers for the rest of the week!

Hope that you have a good week ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Where did you get that hat, where did you get that hat?

I now have a lot of Steampunk hats and decorations for them but this is the first one that I have made from scratch. I was taught how to make medieval headwear by the very talented Kat a long time ago so I have used the same techniques here.

I was aiming for a small pill box type hat so first cut out buckram stiffening then lined it with wadding before sewing the outer fabric on. The lid was also lined with felt to give it an edge to help sew it into the top of the hat.

The blue embellishment was made in the same way with stiffening and wadding and then sewn to the hat. The ostrich feathers came from Ebay, they are just tucked in at the moment but will be pinned in when I wear it.

The lace came from stash, I think it is some my Mum may have bought here in Spain and I have embellished it with seed beads. The hat has been sewn to a headband covered in lace so I can easily wear it without pins.

I have blogged about the outfit pattern before but realised I had not specified which one it is. The pattern is Butterick B6305 and is part of their history collection, dated 1870-1880.

I have modified it a lot, as you can see the original pattern has a very fitted front with a bow at the back and an apron front. I am not very good at making fitted items, I blame my generous bust 😉

As I was quite short of time have opted to leave the front as fold over reveres, embellished with some lovely lace that I think I bought from a Steampunk market. I have a cameo brooch to keep it closed.

I just made my own pattern for the cuffs as the ones on the original pattern are very complex but I think they look pretty and showcase the blue fabric really well.

As it is a looser jacket it did not look right with either apron or bustle so I have just made a little drawstring bag in blue to complement the outfit. I still have a complete jacket minus sleeves cut and sewn, as I was going to use the same material to line it.

I also still have the front jacket facings in blue and additional material so may come back and make a more fitted blue and cream one when I have more time. Saying that I don’t have any time do I, even now I am retired and I still have two more lots of material to make outfits with that I haven’t even started, but you never know!

The skirt is very simple but I am pleased with the neat pleats and darts. I had to cut the skirt much narrower than in the pattern, the material is very stiff and so it would not drape with that amount of width.

The material is beautiful, but as it is very stiff I have had to hand finish most of the jacket seams so that they won’t rub but it should be fine to wear now. I do so love the fabric, and am so pleased that it has finally been used after a mere 16 years in stash! It will be lovely to have a new outfit for Whitby.

I have also finished some little felt and Liberty flowers that I am intending to add to my purple top hat for decoration for Steampunk and re-enactment events. I like to wear a top hat in the evenings when we go to the beer tent.

The templates for the flowers are free ones from here and I used the same ones when I was making my 1940s felt flower corsages.

I backed the Liberty with iron on interfacing so that I could use the flowers raw edged.

I am looking forward to some lovely celebrations here this week as it is my 60th birthday 🙂 We are going for afternoon tea on the actual day, one of the bars here does a gorgeous afternoon tea and they even do a really lovely gluten free one! We tested it out a couple of weeks ago with my sewing group and it was delicious.

shall miss Spain but my 90 days are nearly up so until I return will be thinking about the epic sunsets like this one the other evening.

The sky was an amazing colour and I was out for quite a while taking pictures. We haven’t had one like that for a while but they are always amazing in autumn.

I will be having an epic adventure in Katy though, so won’t be too sad. I will be back as soon as I can from the road via the miracles of the WordPress app, with hopefully some great pictures from our re-enactment events. Fingers and everything else crossed!

Have fun until I see you all again, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The campervan cushions…at last!

I know that I have been promising you pictures of the cushions for the last couple of months and I finally finished the last one yesterday. I have been having a quiet weekend sorting things out and finishing up all my projects so I can finally share them. I thought it would be useful to do a little tutorial as well for the VW van. There are lots of pictures of these cushions available but I couldn’t find a ‘how to tutorial’, so thought I would share one here.

I drew my own template using the pictures I found for inspiration. My cushion cover is 14 by 14 inches so my backing fabric started at 16 by 16 then I trimmed it down. I drew the whole van and then used tracing paper for each individual part of the van. Then comes the fun part of choosing all of the fabrics!

I chose to use double sided interfacing to stick down the pieces onto the backing fabric. You could just sew them straight on but as I wanted to machine zig zag round the edges of some pieces and hand stitch on others it makes it more stable.

I did the ziz zags first, then the hand stitching and embellishments. The hand embroidery is all chain stitch. I have used a lot of different things from stash for these cushions, the cute little flowers come from the haberdashers here and I have them in different sizes and colours. The other laces and ric rac I have just picked up over the years, some of it is from The Range in the UK which always has great lace.

Once it is embellished it is time to make the back of the cushion. I always make envelope backs as they are the easiest method. The backing fabric is from Rose and Hubble, they have now stopped making it but you can still find plenty on Ebay. It comes in about 6 colours.

You need to cut the piece longer then the cushion by about 6 inches the give a generous overlap. I then seam both edges and then stitch the overlap together before stitching back and front of the cushion together. All cushion backs were made the same way.

For the second cushion I used some hexagons that I had in stash and just sewed them very carefully on to the backing fabric. This fabric was actually a cushion cover bought in the local Merca China homewares store. It seems a little illogical to buy a cushion cover then cut it up but it was the easiest and cheapest way of getting fabric.

The final cushion was a caravan pattern. This ended up being only a 12 by 12 inch one as I melted a bit of the fabric as the iron was too hot.. oops!

I have made smaller versions of a similar one from a free pattern by Flamingo Toes as embroidered hangings but this was a free pattern for a pot holder from Sewing4free. I combined elements of the two designs they had, and used the same tracing paper and applique technique as before. The only difference was the machine zig zag was done as the final step before making up the cushion.

I am so pleased with them and can’t wait to sort out the van when I get back. I also have bunting and fairly lights and a pretty throw that will double up as an awning/sunshade over the back doors. I have been looking at drive away awnings but they are really expensive and as I will have my tent with me for this year am going to wait and think about whether I really need one.

I will be back soon with a post about the new Steampunk outfit, am very pleased that everything is finished and I still have a week to go! Felling very organised 😉

I hope that you are having a nice weekend, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

El grupo de costura (The sewing group)

One of the things that I wanted to do when I got here was find some crafting friends. I thought that there must be a group in a place as big as this, with so many retired women and so after some searching I found a post on the local Facebook page. There are actually two groups, a knitting and a sewing one, but many people attend both. So every Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday mornings I go to the local Escuela de Adultos, which is the adult education and social centre at one of the shopping areas here.

I am so glad that I met these lovely people, not only are we having a very good time actually crafting, there are workshops so we are learning new things, and there are social events. We have been out for a group lunch, are going to be involved in a local crafting day next weekend, and are planning some more events in June as well.

I have posted before about the mannequin pincushion and the following week after Eileen’s workshop we took them all back for a group photo. I love the variety of these, particularly the creativity with the necklace and Sue’s beautiful shawl.

Last week I did a workshop on English Paper Piecing. There are a few people in the group that have already done this, and some are very experienced so I took some of the more unusual pieces such as apple cores and clam shells. There were four complete beginners and everyone was able to complete at least one shape to use as a coaster etc. Lynn, first in the row in the picture below, is now hooked and is planning to make a cushion!

Debbie is a very experienced and talented quilter and she brought her apple core coaster back the following week to finish off. I had taken some of my stash to share with the group and she has used some of the Christmas fabric that I had to make this lovely design. Her stitches are so tiny and neat!

I really enjoyed doing the workshop and have offered another one in the autumn for the pine cones/Christmas trees made of ribbon as we can get the polystyrene shapes and ribbon easily here. In fact I used to take back ribbon from Spain to make most of mine in the UK. Many years ago I wanted to go part-time at work and set up Stitches of Time as a business and re-train as a crafting teacher. Life, as they say, got in the way of that. I would never want to go back to teaching but love sharing skills with others.

I have always loved being a member of craft groups and over the years have met so many wonderful and supportive people. Especially here, where many of us have been new to La Marina, or are on our own, it is brilliant to have the company of like minded people. I always think crafters are especially friendly and welcoming to others. I am lucky to have family here but many people come just with themselves and a partner to start their new lives in the sun so it is brilliant to have a way to make friends.

When I moved to Marsden I met a group of very dear friends who were not only great fun to be, with but a very much needed support during lockdown. It seems strange to think that two years ago we were planning socially distanced meet ups in each other’s gardens when the first lifting of restrictions said you could meet in groups of six. I remember my friends arriving each with their own glass and bottle, and not having too much to drink as we were not allowed inside to use the toilet!

One of the recent social events here was afternoon tea at Linda’s house where she gave us a tour around her craft rooms. I though I had a large amount in my old craft rooms but Linda has the entire under – build of her house, (like a basement but open to the outside), and three rooms full of things. It is not so much a craft room but a very well stocked haberdashery. It reminds me of the ones we see at the open air museums such as Beamish. As you can see she loves tins so I am going to look out for some nice ones for her when I am back in the UK.

What is also lovely is to have local knowledge. Certain things are more difficult to get here, probably a good thing or I would go over my craft budget each month 😉 so it is great to know which market has a good craft stall, or where you can get things like interfacing. There are also frequent trips back to the UK so people can do some imports, as since Brexit delivery costs are so high and you have to pay customs duties on all packaging. Some expats sneak Marmite into the country, we bring back Aida and quilt wadding!

Last weekend was all about finishing the cushions and making some underwear for the Luna for the Jubilee fundraising, as the consensus at sewing group was that her skirt was too short for no knickers! I was quite happy to stay indoors, not that it was raining but I have had a very active week and enjoyed my sofa time with a good drama series.

I hope that you have all had a good weekend as well. Have a good week ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The rain in Spain …..

It has been raining this afternoon. This is a rare enough event in this part of Spain to cause much discussion, although this year has been wetter than any other for 72 years. Having lived in Yorkshire for 37 years I keep telling people here that this gentle rain that they get most of the time is nothing to be concerned about 😉 I was actually secretly quite glad that it was raining as otherwise I would have felt as if I should be weeding at the front of the house, or washing my paintwork or some other useful household task.

Instead I spent all afternoon sitting watching Netflix and sewing, finishing off the project we started this morning at my sewing group here. It still feels very naughty to be doing this kind of thing on a school day, I haven’t quite got the hang of this retirement lark meaning I can do anything I like at any time but have had a thoroughly lovely time.

My new sewing group, and the knitting group that are some of the same people are lovely, so welcoming and friendly. We alternate between our own projects and workshops led by one of the group and today we were doing one of my favourite things, making a pincushion. I mentioned previously that I don’t have many left and couldn’t resist this gorgeous design. This is one of the demo versions made by Eileen who led the workshop and the pattern and an instructional video can be found here.

What I love about this is that they can be so easily customised. Eileen’s version had the apron having little pockets for scissors etc as her apron was finished using pinking shears but as I don’t have any I finished mine with lace and left out the pockets.

You can also stitch a little necklace on but I decided to trim the neckline with ric rac instead. All of the material came from my stash, all Liberty fabrics for the coloured sections. You just need some toy stuffing, rice to give it some weight, and a small circle of both felt and card for the base.

A really lovely make, I am so glad that I found this group (through an advert on the local Facebook page) as we have other exciting things planned in the next few months. It also gives me an outlet for other makes as the group do a lot of crafting for charity. I have completed the Jubilee outfit for Luna so will share that with you soon.

Granada was wonderful, I have hundreds of pictures to sort through and then I can do some posts about that. We have three other day trips in the next two weeks as well so I will be able to share lots of lovely Spanish architecture with you over the coming weeks.

This week I also start another creative writing course so I am very much looking forward to that. I am not sure if I will get much writing done until autumn as want to make the most of the time here being outdoors but am looking forward to spending time with more creative people.

I hope that you have all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.