Thursday, 25 September 2008

Stitcher's Angel (122)

Hooray! My three Stitcher's Angel gifts are finished and the last one has gone in the post today. I know that my partner doesn't have a blog and doesn't know mine so I think I'm safe to post photos now. There's a needlecase, a pincushion and a wall hanging.

It's been great fun making these, even though I was extremely reluctant to part with each and every one, so many thanks to Helen for organising the swap. 

 My Secret Santa gift is also made and will be on its way very soon - terribly early for Christmas I know, but I just want to get it out of the house before it gets lost under all the other Christmassy things that will be going on.

Sunday, 21 September 2008


It looks as if it's going to be yet another beautiful autumn day. DH is just about to leave for his Sunday morning run. Most Sundays his club runs from the health club and sticks to local paths, but every month he organises a run slightly further afield, what he calls an 'expeditionary run'. Today they're running on the North Downs, a hilly ridge that runs across England just south of London. Part of the run takes them through a school set in parkland designed by Capability Brown. Before becoming a school the estate was owned by the Coleman's Mustard family. He thinks the run is about 8 miles long and has plenty of hills to contend with. Rather him than me.

Yesterday was gorgeous too - we really are having our Indian Summer after all. We went to Brighton to meet No 2 son and his partner for lunch. Brighton was absolutely packed, the sunshine had brought everyone out. 

We were late getting there because we had people come to view the house (they might be serious as they brought parents and brother-in-law and stayed for about 45 minutes!) but at least that meant that we managed to find a seat in the restaurant. This is one of the Lanes, the narrow pedestrian streets that date from way back when - I don't think cars have ever been allowed down them, and most are even narrower than this.
From Brighton 21/09/2008 08:59

These pictures are from a shop called Choccy Woccy Doo Da!
From Brighton 21/09/2008 08:59
From Brighton 21/09/2008 08:59
I'm sorry about the reflections, but really wanted to take these photographs to show you. These amazing confections are all made out of chocolate. The shop makes all its own chocolate, and you can buy small bags and boxes of individual chocolates, but it specialises in making the most wonderful cakes for special occasions. Friends of ours had one for their Civil Ceremony and for their joint birthday party. Delicious.

After lunch we walked down to the beach, which was absolutely full to bursting
From Brighton 21/09/2008 08:59
From Brighton 21/09/2008 08:59
- I reckon the shopkeepers made more yesterday than throughout the whole summer!  We had ice creams for dessert - can you see DH wearing his new shirt that I made him? Brighton Council has done a huge amount of work over the last few years developing the sea front. There's no sand, but it still attracts lots of people because of the activities available and the number of shops and cafes.
From Brighton 21/09/2008 08:59
We sat on the beach for about an hour just chatting and throwing stones. Here's No 2 son setting up a target.
From Brighton 21/09/2008 08:59
I couldn't resist taking yet another (rather blurred) picture of the old pier
From Brighton 21/09/2008 08:59
- I've written about it before, but it was the original Victorian pier that sadly got burnt down some years ago and there just isn't the money available to restore it.

Once home we were in time to see the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. I love that show (in America it's called Dancing with the Stars) and it really tells you that autumn is here - every Saturday evening until Christmas you'll find us glued to the screen at about that time.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Gray's elegy in a country churchyard! (120)

Strictly speaking, it's not really a country churchyard, but you get the picture. So, apologies to Thomas Gray.

It was another glorious autumn day, perfect for a late afternoon walk in the local cemetery (now, that does sound a bit weird!). St Mary's is our parish church. The building dates from the twelfth century, although much of the outside was renovated during Victorian times (I'll try to get some more photographs of the church another time). The graveyard is large and has

been in use throughout its history, although the oldest graves I can identify date from about 1750. So many of the tombstones are weathered too much to read any of the engravings. Does anyone know why these old gravestones have a second mini gravestone at the back of them ?

There are of course the obligatory yew trees
dominating the scene, and , sadly, many broken tombs, though there are notices up that the Borough Council are working their way through the different sections to repair and renovate the tombs and memorials. 

There is also a huge Victorian edifice, set up to commemorate a man and wife, but I have no idea now who they were.

Even though it's surrounded by roads it was an 
oasis of peace and serenity this afternoon, with just the background humof traffic, the buzzing of bees, birds chattering and squabbling and children using it as a shortcut on their way home from school.

I think the thing I love most about cemeteries are the human stories to be read there. I love to imagine the background to those bland statements, or flowery verses. Here are pictures of just a couple of them. So sad to think of the number of children that families lost in those days.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Lots of pictures (119)

I don't know if I'm happy to be reminded that I'm 60 now, but I guess it's okay if it's accompanied by a belated birthday gift! A present arrived from my sister-in-law and her family - the family are known for being late for everything! DSL is great at finding presents that are fun and useful, made much easier for her I'm sure now that I have several hobbies. She sent me several lovely fat quarters and a paper crimper. I used the paper crimper to make a thank you card and look forward to finding ideas for the fabric. 

I've now completed three more Dear Jane blocks. 
I'm hand piecing them and enjoying the time spent sitting quietly listening to the radio. I've not enjoyed applique before, but have tried a new method which works for me - I use freezer paper on the back and leave it on until I have finished stitching, then slit the backing fabric and remove the paper. (Apologies for the creased backings in both photographs - I can never find the 'perfect' setting - what do you do?)

And finally, I can show you some pictures of the bag I sent to Jo-Anne (at
 The Carter Clan) for Linda's Bag and Bucket Swap. It's made from a pattern in Anni Downs' little Simple Pleasures book.

Well, it's a glorious early autumn day here, blue skies, sunshine and that gorgeous hint of a chill in the air. Tanya's post (at Taniwa) about cemeteries has made me feel like taking a walk to our local graveyard, which should look wonderful today. Perhaps I'll remember to take my camera.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


Today's the day - the postman brought my bag from Linda's Bag and Bucket Swap. It was made by a lovely lady called Liz in Australia - you should really look at her blog if you haven't discovered it yet, she does so much absolutely beautiful craft work. 

The bag is wonderful, a design I haven't seen before, but I know how useful it will be. I think I can put it to immediate use for my Dear Jane blocks. The stitchery is exquisite - she must have perfect eyesight, I could never get my stitches that small I'm sure.

The bag is a Bronwyn Hayes design from her book 'Flowerbed', and the angel stitchery is also from this book. Isn't it gorgeous?

This lovely sewing machine is from a design by Ella and Skysie.

This is the needlecase, with a dinky little button on it. There's also space at the back of it to tuck something in.

There are two pockets, one for scissors - isn't the scissors charm cute, I've never seen one of those before - and one for a pencil.

This drawstring bag is attached to the middle of the bag, at the base, and will be so useful for keeping fabric, patterns, etc in.

Then there was an Australian tea towel - you can never have too many tea towels can you?

And some lovely fabric. Aren't I the lucky one? Things like this confirm my belief that most people are absolutely wonderful and make the world a much better place. Thank you so much Liz, and I look forward to seeing your comments in future now that you don't have to lurk secretly! 

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Quilt Room, Dorking (116)

Whilst I was at the Quilt Room this morning I took a few pictures of the upstairs workroom. The building dates from early Tudor times, and has not been much altered inside since then. The Quilt Room is of course the home of the authors of The Jelly Roll Quilt Book.

This is the seating and sewing area. There's enough space for about 14 people to sit, though it's a squeeze to get round behind them. At the end there's a display wall for whatever is being taught.

This is the Dear Jane copy quilt that was on display.

From Amanda's Musings
Off to one side is the ironing area - the oak beams date from when the building was first built, and would have been the original internal wall; the beams would have been covered in lath and plaster. The narrow staircase goes down the other side of the oak beams. You can just see the kitchen door which goes to a tiny kitchen which has been carved out of the space.

They always have loads of quilts on display, at the moment many of them using the patterns in the Jelly Roll book. It gives the shop such a cosy feel. You can just see a tiny part of the shop at the bottom of the stairs.

Next time I visit I'll try and take some photographs of the shop itself.

Dear Jane, (115)

Dear Jane,

I've loved looking at your quilt and all the copies that have been inspired by it. I've enjoyed reading information about your quilt and been fascinated by the number of people who have started their own. In fact, I've been somewhat awestruck by the number of people who've decided to make the commitment to complete the whole lot. I've often been tempted to buy the book and make my own, but I've always held back - until now. 

The owner of my local quilt shop bought a complete copy of the Jane A Stickle quilt which had been displayed at a recent quilt show. She decided to put it on show once a fortnight at the shop. All I had to do to see it again was to turn up at 10 o'clock this morning. Great, I thought, I'd love to see it more closely. So along I trotted. Once there, I discovered that it was actually a short, hour-long workshop which is going to be held once a fortnight to make one of the blocks. Ah well, I thought, now I'm here ... so I bought some fabric scraps, borrowed a few tools and made the first block. And then - as if you haven't already guessed - I bought the book. So I guess that's me sorted out for the foreseeable future, never going to be bored, never going to hunt around for something to do. There's always going to be another block to do (and another, and another ....).
So, Dear Jane, here's my first block, and the start of a new journey for me,

Reluctantly yours, 

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Update (114)

The cross stitch pattern I used for the cat can be found here along with several other terrific free patterns. Thanks to Jeanne who pointed me in the right dirction.

Cross stitch, cat and caddy (113)

Life goes on much as usual. We've had a couple of people viewing the house, but nothing has come of it. The estate agent came to visit yesterday and can't really understand why it's not selling, as people seem to like the house, so it's probably just because of the current climate in the housing market. We've dropped the price again, but that's the last time. If we still don't sell in the next 6 weeks we shall take it off the market and try again next year. 

It's a lovely sunny morning here, which makes a change from all the rain and the dull, dull days we've been having. I've been taking my regular daily walk come rain or shine, and doing my exercises, but that's about the height of excitement at the moment! I'm off to see the physiotherapist again today, so perhaps he'll add to the fun by giving me some more or different exercises. Can't wait!

We watched the Paralympics Opening Ceremony on Saturday and were enchanted, it was so different from the Olympics but still terrific. The BBC are covering lots of the action too, which is so much better than previous years.

I've managed to get quite a bit of sewing done. I've made this needlecase using a lovely cross stitch pattern but cannot for thelife of me track down where I got it from. If anybody recognises it please let me know as I would like to acknowledge the designer.

Here's Rosie checking out my progress on the Secret Santa swap. Having finished all my projects for the Stitcher's Angel swap I'm now on to that one, and making pretty good progress. It's a wall hanging with lots of machine applique, which I'm enjoying much more than hand applique. 

And finally, I've made the armchair caddy designed by Helen of Hugs'n kisses.

I need to find something to put on the back to stop it slipping off the arm of our leather sofa. Any ideas? It should be jolly useful though.

Sunday, 7 September 2008


Firstly, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I needed a moan, but didn't want to moan yet again to DH. He has enough to put up with, poor man, and worries quite enough about me already. So thank you for your positive comments, they really did help. 

I've finished the shirt I was making for DH. He's always been very fond of bright casual shirts, so this fits the bill perfectly! It's a 20s style travel print, with travel posters, liners etc. Great material. And if he doesn't really like it (he says he does, but he may be being kind) he can put it away, since the summer is all but gone now, and 'forget' to dig it out next year!

And indeed, where is our Indian Summer that usually turns up just as the children go back to school? We've had so much rain over the last week or so that I'm beginning to develop webbed feet! Luckily we don't live near a river, so no danger of flooding, but there are so many people in the UK who are suffering badly, with much flooding over the last few years. Something to take care about when we move.

The bag, for Linda's Bag and Bucket Swap, was dispatched on Friday, along with the first of my three stitcheries for the Stitcher's Angel swap. I completely forgot to take a photograph of the bag, even though it's been hanging on my door handle for weeks, so hope the recipient posts one that I can pinch for my album. My partner for the Stitcher's Angel doesn't have a blog, and doesn't seem to read mine, but I'd better not risk showing you a picture just yet.

I'm working on the last of the three stitcheries, then it's on to Chookyblue's Secret Santa Swap project, and then I've signed up for Jo-Anne's (at The Carter Clan) Christmas ornament swap. This is a new one, so if you're interested head on over there and sign up.  Am I completely mad? All these swaps take time - I'm much more careful than if they were for my own use! And then I've got family Christmas gifts to sort out, and Christmas cards to make. And I simply must get a snuggler quilt made for myself before it gets too chilly. I'm already needing to wrap up in the evening when we watch television and the shawl I've been using for the last few years just isn;t quite big enough and is starting to look a bit manky now. So, time to treat myself.

So, time to stop sitting here and waffling on. Have a good day,

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Whinge, whine and moan!! (111)

A word of warning - I'm about to have a self-pitying moment, so don't feel you have to read on!!

I haven't posted for a while. I don't know why, but I just haven't felt that I've had anything to say. Life has been going on much as usual - visited No 2 son on Saturday, No 1 son came for lunch on Sunday, visited mother-in-law on Monday, went for a first physio treatment for my knee this morning, sewing, stitching, knitting etc. But I've been feeling very low. A combination of things I think have combined to lower my spirits.

I've had CFS for about 18 months now, and I seem to have reached a plateau - better than this time last year, worse than November/December last year, but much the same throughout this year. I try to remain positive, and I know that it's not life threatening, that so many people are going through much worse times, but nonetheless, it's debilitating and frustrating. I had hoped that after a year of retirement I would be ready to look for a voluntary job that would take me out and about, and that I could join some groups that would enable me to meet new people and learn new skills. Instead, I'm stuck at home with just about enough energy to get through the day. Anything out of the ordinary means two or three days of recovery. 

I think it's worse at the moment as for so many years at this time of year I've been busy preparing to get back to school, look forward enthusiastically to a new year and a new class.

I've also been struggling with anxiety attacks - DH is planning to take a week off and had been talking about going abroad for a bit of sun. The mere thought of it caused an anxiety attack to flare up. I know we've been away in this country regularly, but I'm always ill, regular as clockwork so it's not easy.  Bless him though, he realises how difficult it is for me and is more than happy to give up the idea. And of course that makes me feel so guilty. 

Anyway, that's where I am at the moment. If anyone else has CFS or anxiety disorders I'd love to hear from you - I know I'm not alone, but it sometimes feels as if I am.

Enough, enough about my problems. Tomorrow I should be able to share a picture of a shirt I've been making for DH - if it works out. It's ready for a fitting, so fingers crossed. I hope to get out tomorrow to post my bag for Linda's Bag and Bucket Swap, and my first project for the Stitcher's Angel Swap, so I'll soon be able to show those.

Meanwhile, here's another scrap lap quilt that's at the flimsy stage; I should finish it is a day or so.