Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Christmas Tree decorating

Today I decorated the Christmas tree. I put it up on Friday evening with the intention that after my birthday dinner we would all decorate the tree together. My family have over the years complained that I always do the tree on my own so I thought they would all jump at the chance at being involved but I was proved wrong. No problem, I completed my favourite job of the year with just a bit of help from Richard. He helpfully put the star on the very top. I also put the nativity out but I have yet to find the Christmas table runners. I also realised I hadn't done my cards yet so spent a little time doing them. I like to send and receive cards but a lot of my friends have gone over to using e cards.  This evening I'm a little nearer being ready for Christmas.



The tree is over 7 feet and rather difficult to photograph. Years ago when the children were young the tree always had homemade decorations and this year we also have two homemade decorations.  One of the activities at the event we took the Rainbows to on Saturday was to make these tree decoration using pom poms and fir cones. Our tree is now sporting two of these decorations.


I told you I'd bought some fabric for my curtains but I hadn't taken a photo so here it is. This one is for the front window,






and this gorgeous red is for the dinning room window. 



Tomorrow I am working and in the evening we have our end of year party for Rainbows, Brownies and Guides so I won't have much free time but I must find a vegan cake recipe as I promised to make one for the half way house Christmas meal. Weston Lodge is a half way house for homeless men and on Christmas day they have a communal meal together. 

John and Lucy both have bad colds and as a result are a little grumpy at present. I have had a mild cold but feel much better. I was fit enough to have my flu jab on Sunday. I've never bothered to have one before but after this year I made the decision to do as much as possible to stay fit and well,that included having a flu jab for the first time. Several of my colleagues warned me not to as it would hurt and I'd get ill but there was no pain involved and my arm hasn't ached at all, plus I'm not planning on being unwell.

It's nearly time for bed but I can do some stitching for half an hour if I finish this post now. I'm enjoying working on Earlene. I hope the weathers OK where you are. Here in London it's cold but dry. The snow has gone and I don't think it is predicted to return in the near future.

Lyndsey




Sunday, 10 December 2017

Starting to feel a lot like Christmas

Sorry I've been missing but during most of November and at the start of December I just didn't feel like sewing or blogging. The year has been quite long and at times felt very intense so when not working I curled up with a good book, watched TV or chatted with family. Since early December I've started to get my act together and I'm ready to enjoy Christmas and get back to sewing. 

Friday was my birthday and we had a fun family evening with my daughters cooking dinner and then all of us joining in to play some silly games. Sadly Olly had to work but Lucy's boyfriend Dan joined us and coped very well with the noise that Kathryn and Lucy generate when excited. I put the tree up with the intention that everyone would help decorate it but that didn't happen. I've always done it and no one wanted to take the job from me so later this evening I'll put all the decorations on it. I'm secretly rather pleased they didn't do the decorating as it's my favourite part of the Christmas preparations.

Richard decided to make me a birthday and I was very impressed with it. It was a chocolate orange cake and tasted amazing. I managed to get a picture before we cut into it. It was very rich and very yummy.



Last weekend John and I went shopping for curtain fabric for our main room. This is a long through room with the front being the family sitting and TV area and the back the dinning area. The curtains are the last part of the room needing finishing. The curtains at the front which faces south had faded quite badly in the sun . I chose fabric on the same colour theme but patterned for the front and solid colour for the back. I've got to match up the pattern for the front curtains which will slow down the process and also meant I had to buy slightly more fabric than I needed to allow for the pattern drop. I have everything I need, lining, curtain header and thread so I can get started on them during the week. 

Last month I made a very small start on the bag lady embroider and then unpicked it so I have nothing to show from that. This month the bag lady is Earlene and last night I pulled this out and made a start. I was watching a film at the time and so didn't get very far as I got interested in what I was watching but tonight I will be doing more work on her. I finish work for Christmas on the 19th so I will have quite a bit of sewing time. We have several visitors coming over the holiday period and it's nice to sit and chat but have your hands busy with some stitching.




Today we've had snow on and off in London and it has been very exciting. We don't get snow often in London, well not the sort that doesn't melt away as soon as it lands, and very rarely before Christmas. The children by us were squealing with delight and I felt the urge to join in with them. I'm not exactly sure what it is about snow that is so exciting but it makes me so happy and it's really got me into the mood for Christmas. I'm hoping we get a lot more over this winter. I'd already got into the Christmas spirit as Lucy and I took some of our Rainbows to a Christmas event yesterday, where they made some tree decorations and food items all themed around Christmas. They had a visit from Father Christmas and there were presents for everyone. It was great fun. On our way home we walked along Piccadilly and the girls loved the Christmas window displays in the shops.

I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching  link up. 

Lyndsey

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A busy Tuesday

I seem to have been in motion all day today.  Having spent Saturday at an open day for potential students I had several chores I needed to do. First I needed to pick up my new glasses. I'd had my old frames for several years and needed a change but choosing new frames is very difficult as I'm very long sighted which makes seeing how they look a bit of a problem. I try on far too many styles and take ages to make up my mind. Collecting the new glasses is always a worry because I convince myself that I made the wrong choice and I'm going to look awful in the glasses. I collected my glasses and  love the way they look and they make everything so clear. 

Next up was to collect pet food for Scamp and Picasso and then time to walk Scamp. Normally we would walk over Wandsworth Common but today I needed to pay a deposit for a holiday we are planning for next November so we followed the road instead. On the way we spotted a blue plaque.


The plaque is on the wall of Nightingale House, a large care home for members of the Jewish faith.  The plaque is to Ted 'Kid' Lewis who was born Gershon Mendeloff. (1893 – 1970) He was an English professional boxer who twice won the World Welterweight Championship.  He is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Next stop the travel agents. This particular travel agents specialise in Pilgrimages and the one we are going on next November is to Ethiopia. This has been organised through the church we belong to so we will be travelling with people we have known for some time. This is important to me as it's a two week trip so I want to be with people I know I get on with. Having finished all my treatments I decided it was safe to start organising some exciting activities. I'll give you more details in another post.

Once home I cut the binding and got it stitched to the right side of the advent calendar. Using my binding clips I turned the binding to the back and I'm ready to get it all stitched down.1


I've been slowly stitching this evening  but a long way to go. That was after I took Picasso to the vet for his annual checkup and immunisations. He is always very interested in everything that's going on and seems to enjoy being the centre of attention.

So a day with a little stitching. My next stitching day is Thursday but for now I need to go to bed as I have work in the morning.

Lyndsey


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Cezanne and sewing

Friday was a fun day. In the morning I went to Kingston with Richard and John to do a little shopping. I didn't have anything specific to buy but I wanted to get some small items for the Christmas stockings. Whilst there we enjoyed a tasty lunch and I got some good ideas for presents. John and I had arranged to meet Katy after she finished work to go to the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery of Cezanne 's portraits. I've seen a lot of his landscapes but very few of his portraits.

I liked the Boy in a Red Waistcoat.



and this one of his father reading a newspaper



There were just too many to show you here but go on Google to find more. Having enjoyed the exhibition we went for dinner with Katy and Olly. A fun day but very tiring.

On Saturday I had to go into work for an Open Day. The day was for potential students to visit the university and have an opportunity to talk to the teaching staff about the courses they are interested in. Saturday evening I just chilled out in front of the TV. I can't even remember what I watched but it was the perfect end to a busy day. That brings me to today.

Today was my sewing day. Whilst in Kingston I'd visited the fabric department in John Lewis and bought an advent calendar panel and a metre of Christmas fabric, some of which I'll use for the backing.



I started by pressing both fabrics and then carefully cutting the advent calendar panel. When I saw the panel I thought of my younger brother Alex. Earlier this year he split up from his wife. He bought himself a canal boat and is now living on it so he must need an advent calendar to help him get into the mood for Christmas. I must admit I found making the pockets rather fiddly but I got it all sewn together and wadding and backing attached. It is now waiting to have the binding added.



I'd just grabbed my camera when Picasso settled himself onto the edge of the piece. I'm planning on getting this finished tomorrow evening. I'm using the same fabric as the backing for the binding. Whilst putting this together I remembered that I'd bought another Christmas panel last year to make up for displaying in the hall.


I just need to remember where I put it and then I can get it made into a quilt sandwich and quilted. Oh that and I need to buy some more wadding.

I had to repair Lucy's work skirt as she had caught the seam slightly but that was soon done and I was able to find the bag lady for November. This month is Thelma and the information with the fabric tells me she is the cookie lady of the club. I must say I love her hair and the silver 'T' for Thelma. When I've finished writing this I'll make a start on stitching her. Maybe this month I'll manage to get her finished.



Scamp wasn't impressed when I got Thelma out to take the photo. He'd been waiting quite a while for a snooze on my lap and now I planned to do some hand stitching. In the end I got him to move and here is Thelma.



I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching Go and see what evryone has been stitching.

Lyndsey

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Continuing the Capital Ring

Whilst receiving my cancer treatment we put completing the Capital Ring on hold but on Tuesday we restarted it again. When last we walked we had reached Finsbury Park. This is one of the largest open spaces in north London.



The park was developed from the old Homsey Wood and it opened in 1862. It was very tempting to kick through the fallen leaves.  From here we crossed a major road and continued our walk along the New River path. The New River isn't new and also isn't a river. It is an artificial watercourse that was completed in 1613 so that fresh water could be brought to London from springs near Ware in Hertfordshire. Originally it was a 40 mile course that followed the contours of the land and dropped about 2 inches every mile. Gravity moved the water along.

After crossing Seven Sister's Road we reached Stoke Newington's East Reservoir. As we walked beside it with modern apartments on our right we came across these lovely characters. First there was Mole,


and then there was Toad.


I kept hoping we'd come across Ratty but we didn't. However as we walked alongside the West reservoir we came across a giant silver ball water feature


The light on the ball and the reflection in its surface makes me think of a large Christmas pudding. If I'd taken the photo from slightly further to the left it would have appeared to have greenery on the top.Behind the ball was a second water feature.


On the wall of the apartment block this creeper gave a great autumnal feel.


I took a minute to look across the reservoir


As we came to the end of the stretch of walk along the water we came across a disused pumping station. This was built in 1855 and is known as The Castle. It's now an indoor climbing centre.



I loved the towers and turrets on the building. From here we walked along the road a little way until we came to Clissold Park. This park was named after the Reverend Augustus Clissold who was a local parson in the 19th century. Against the wishes of her father, who hated parsons, he courted Eliza Crawshay in secret. Mr Crawshay owned the mansion which was known as Paradise House and after his death when the Rev Clissold and Eliza married they renamed the mansion Clissold House. The house still stands in Clissold Park.
 The arms of the benches in the park are very cute.


As we were leaving the park we walked past St Mary's Church Stoke Newington, whose spire of 220 feet sores above the park.


Down the road from the church we came across a plaque to mark where Edgar Allan Poe went to school.


In the 17th and 18th century Stoke Newington was a refuge for dissenters who were excluded from the City of London. One of the dissenters was Daniel Defoe (1660 -1731) Defoe was a writer, political activist and a secret agent and his life is marked by a blue plaque on the wall of his house in Church Street.


Not far from this house we entered Abney Park Cemetery. The cemetery was laid out in 1840 but never consecrated which meant religious dissenters living in the area could be buried there. The cemetery is also a nature reserve. There are over 300,000 graves and one of them is the tomb of William Booth (1829 - 1912) who founded the Salvation Army and his wife Catherine.


The war memorial in the cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which was set up in 1917. 


This derelict chapel was close by the war memorial, built in 1840, it's at the centre of the cemetery

It would have been interesting to have a good wander round the cemetery but the weather was quite cool and rather drizzly so we left by the main gate and followed the map until we came to the Lea navigation where it flows with the River Lea. The Capital Ring joins the path beside the Lea Navigation for 3 miles.


Springfield Marina was full of narrow boats.


As we walked along the bank I spotted the Belted Galloway cows. 


On our right was the Lee Navigation and on the left the Walthamstow Marshes Nature reserve. The marsh is one of the few remaining areas of natural wetland in Greater London. Having passed under the bridge carrying the Lea Bridge Road the navigation and the river part company and we continued to follow the navigation. Behind a long brick wall are the former Middlesex filter beds which is now a nature reserve. We went into the reserve to see the Hackney Henge. This is Hackney's version of Stonehenge. It's formed from the concrete blocks that provided a base for a pumping station

As we continued along the towpath we passed the 2012 Olympic Stadium. The area has since been redeveloped.



On the opposite bank were restaurants selling street food.




I liked the artwork on this building.


The main Olympic stadium which is now the home of West Ham football club.


Here we left the Capital Ring to take a short detour to the station. This is where we will start the next section.

It was a great walk although I found it rather tiring. I can't wait to do the next section but we haven't set a date yet.

Tomorrow is a sewing day, I can't wait.

Lyndsey

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Lots of things going on

Wow I didn't realise it had been a couple of weeks since I last wrote a post. I'm not sure where the time has gone but it has simply flown by. I've had the chance to do some sewing in that time, taken a long walk and been away over the weekends. First a quick update on my radiotherapy that I started on 21st October. Today was my last treatment and it has gone very well. I was warned I would be tired partly due to the treatment and partly to travelling to and from the treatment centre. Probably because I've worked all the way through my various treatments, and work involves quite a bit of driving, I haven't been any more tired than usual. Staying still in one position during the treatment is tiring and sometimes quite difficult. Yesterday morning I developed an itch on my nose but couldn't scratch it until it was all done. I so wanted to move but that would have added time to the whole thing. Anyway all completed and now moving on to regular checks to make sure I don't get a recurrence or develop it in my other breast. All the scans before I started treatment back in February showed it hadn't spread anywhere else in my body so it should all be good. Thank you all so much for your encouragement and support through this year, it helped me stay positive through the experience.

I decided that I needed to catch up on some mending, not my favourite job. I had several buttons to sew back onto some shirts and a trouser hem that had come undone. There was also the Rainbow bear. This is our unit mascot and she gets a lot of love and hugs but also gets thrown around and one of her seams had developed a hole.


This doesn't look a very large hole but when I looked at some of her other seams there were several more holes.  She had lost a lot of the beads that helped her to sit up but fortunately we had gathered these up and I was able to put them back. A little while later she was her usual happy self and ready to go back to the Rainbow unit.


This was the fun bit of my mending.

I made my quilt sandwich for my mariners compass quilt. This quilt finishes at 80 x 80 inches, so not massive but still big enough to be a problem to handle. I decided it would be easier to do on the floor but that was decidedly uncomfortable on the knees so I switched to the table.  John gave me a hand and in the end we had it pin basted in record time.  We folded it neatly ready for me to start quilting next week.


The oval shape of the table makes the job more difficult than it needs to be but I love this dinning table. I'm really looking forward to starting the quilting.

I also did a little conservation work on a small framed embroidery. It had got very dirty last year when we had some work done on the house. I'd put it away to sort out some time in the future but hadn't got round to it. Last week seemed like a perfect time to clean it up.

The embroidery itself measures 2¼ by 3 inches and is done over one thread on the even weave fabric using a single strand .of embroidery floss. It took some time to get the dirty marks out of the fabric and then I needed to repair a few stitches where it had been damaged. My eye sight was much better when I stitched this way back in the good old dark ages of 1980 and now I was very grateful for my magnifying light.


The fabric that has been exposed to the light still looks a little yellow but it's a lot better than it was. Now all I have to do is re-stretch it over the mounting board and put it back in the frame.

I've also spent some time knitting but I haven't taken a photo as there isn't much progress to show you. I need to get John's jumper finished as we move towards winter. Once I've done that I need to knit another Christmas stocking so Olly has one this year. I didn't finish Abigail last month and haven't looked to see who the bag lady for this month is, I really must do that tomorrow. I was away for the last two weekends and on both occasions I took my camp blanket with me to sew on more badges. I still have a huge number to add.

I got my machine out to make a Christmas present but I can't show it here as the intended recipient reads the blog. I can't even show you the fabric as they'll guess it's meant for them, so those pictures will have to wait. I'm starting to get a little excited about Christmas and it's still early November. One of our neighbours put their decorations up on November 1st and on our walk on Tuesday we saw another home owner who loves Christmas.


It's a shame it wasn't darker as we walked past.

Tomorrow I'll show you the photos from our walk but It's bedtime and it's been a long day and quite emotional with finishing my treatments so I need some sleep. Tomorrow is also my chance to catch up on reading the blogs I follow. I'm really looking  forward to that as I miss finding out what you've all been doing.

Lyndsey