Sunday, 15 December 2019

Slow stitching Sunday


It's Sunday again and time to think about the slow stitching completed this week. Over this week I have been working on prepping white hexies for my Grandmothers garden quilt. On this round I need 36 flowers. I have already completed 14 and so need another 22. Each of the flowers has a hexie in the middle which in this row is the colour and 6 hexies going round the centre. These are all white. so to complete this round I need to make 22 x 6 white hexies which is 132 in total. Since last weekend I managed to prep 29 so I still have 103 to make. We were away overnight last night and I didn't take my hexies with me as I thought I wouldn't have any spare time. I will continue working on them this week.

I have also been working on the elf slippers and these are both knitted up but needed stitching together. I have made a start on the first one. 

The toe had to be stitched very tightly to make it curl up. I still have to add the bell to the toe. The second one will be finished tomorrow and I can get them wrapped. The slippers are a joke present for Olly, Kathryn's partner. I hope he enjoys the joke.

I have some time left this evening so I'll try to stitch up the second slipper. If not it will be finished tomorrow evening. Now I just need to remember where I put the bells I have for this project.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday stitching  Go and check out the projects being worked on this week, it's always fun.


Saturday, 14 December 2019

A visit to Avebury.

Last weekend as you know was my birthday and we went away. I told you about our trip to Midsomer quilting and showed you some of the mini quilts but what I didn't show you were two of London.

The two quilts were by Stephanie Crawford. The first one  "And then three come along at once . . ."  was selected for the SAQA exhibition ‘Made in Europe’ that, in 2017, travelled to various venues in the US. 

The second one, also by Stephanie is titled 'Protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice '

Both quilts were amazing. If you want to see more of her work go to her website HERE

On the Sunday we visited Avebury Rings. Avebury is one of the main ceremonial sites of Neolithic Britain and is also one of the largest.  It was built and changed from about 2850 BC until about 2200 BC. When we arrived it was cold and windy but we decided we would walk around the whole site. Unlike Stonehenge there is more than one circle and many of the stones are smaller. 

It is made with a steep sided ditch around it. You can see the bank in the picture above  and we walked round the path on the top of the bank.

Also unlike Stonehenge you can walk among the stones, touch them and lean on them to have your photo taken. 

Leading from the rings there is a stone avenue that goes towards a long barrow at West Kennett. We took a walk along it. Many of the stones have been moved and concrete markers placed to show where they should be.

I enjoyed seeing shapes in the stones. This one I thought looked like a dog 's head and his paw coming down.

This one I thought was like a large stone person kneeling in front of the tree.

We had a good walk around the stones finishing just as it started to rain. We enjoyed a cup of tea and a cake in the cafe and I also visited the shop where I found some little gits for Christmas stockings. After that we decided to head for home whilst it was still light. As we left the area I spotted a conical shaped hill and we realised it was part of the neolithic earthworks so we had to stop and find out more.

The hill is Silbury hill and you can find more information about it HERE There have been three excavations of the hill but all failed to find burials, however they caused holes to appear in the hill because they weren't properly filled in afterwards. Because of that and erosion you are no longer able to walk up the hill. It would have been impossible due to the amount of rain that had fallen and made a moat around it.

Leaving the hill behind we drove back to London. We ignored the motorway and enjoyed the journey through the villages along the A4. 

Before I go just a quick reminder that there is a give away to celebrate my birthday. You'll find it HERE


Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Work in Progress.

It's Wednesday and for the first time this week I had time to get my Christmas quilt out of the project box and think about making the quilt sandwich. When I went shopping the other day I bought the backing fabric and I already have the wadding,  or is it batting? When visiting MidsomBirthday Giveawayer Quilting at the weekend I got some gold coloured thread for the quilting. It's gold coloured rather than metallic as I really haven't got the patience to use metallic thread for quilting  on this quilt. 

Having got everything out I decided I would add a narrow boarder to the quilt using the backing fabric. I'm pleased I did as I like the effect and it does give a better finish to the front. I am really hoping to get this quilt finished before Christmas but I'm not going to push myself. Next year will be fine if I run out of time.

Last night I was knitting the second elf slipper. I'm finishing the final decreasing to make the long toe and then I'll stitch them both together and add the bells. Hopefully they will be finished tonight.

I also took time out to make my Christmas cake. Normally this would already have been made but I'm running a little late this year. Anyway I got it all mixed this morning and then kept checking it during the 3 hour cooking time. It looks good and next week I'll decorate it.

I'm having a birthday give away so if you haven't yet taken part follow this link Birthday Giveaway Good Luck. The give away will close on Monday 16th December.


Monday, 9 December 2019

Birthday Give away.

Yesterday was my birthday and I said I would have a give away.  I have  one Moda Grunge basic charm pack by  Basic grey

the pack has an array of colours as shown here.

Everyone is welcome to take part wherever on the planet you live. All you need to do is leave me a comment telling me what you'd really like to receive as a present on your next birthday.

If you follow my blog you can have another chance by leaving a second comment telling me how you follow.

The give away will run until Monday 16th December at 12 noon GMT. 

Good Luck


Sunday, 8 December 2019

Slow stitching Sunday.

This weekend John and I have been away and we had a great time. The reason for our trip was to celebrate my birthday which is today and part of that celebration was to visit my favourite quilt shop, Midsomer Quilting. I've shown you pictures of the shop before but what I haven't told you about is their mini challenge.  For several years now they have run a 12 x 12 inches challenge based on a given theme. Through December they exhibit the mini quilts and then many of them are put up to be auctioned in aid of Dorothy House which is a hospice in the local area. We were lucky enough to be visiting during the exhibition and I took a few photos to show you. I have put the quilt first and then the information about it. The theme was 'One day...'   

I loved this one of a swallow

This one caught my eye because we plan to do this walk next year.

Some of the quilts had three D aspects to them. I really liked this lily.

and the frog was getting a lot of attention.

Quite a few of the quilters had interpreted the theme through nature.

This poem is quite fun and I love the purple cow.

The owl had many admirers.

This one reminded me of the Very Hungry Caterpillar book that my children loved when they were little.

When we saw this one we both thought of Solzhenitsyn and then we read the label.

They were also having a raffle and the first prize is this piece, The twelve days of Christmas. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the artist.

The second prize is a larger version of one of the blocks from this quilt. Unfortunately the position where this quilt was displayed made it impossible to get a picture of the whole quilt.

I spent some time choosing fabric, thread and notions. This was my birthday present from John.. We got into a lively conversation with a group of women and somehow it led to everyone in the shop singing happy birthday to me. It was most embarrassing but also really nice at the same time.

We went into Bath in the afternoon and did a little Christmas shopping. It was very crowded as the Christmas market was on so we didn't stay long. We headed back to our hotel at about 5 p.m and we spent the time until dinner in our room with John having a nap and me stitching hexagons . I'm currently prepping white hexagons to complete the latest round. I've lost count of how many I need but with 6 for every flower it comes to lots. This is what I'm working on this evening. On this round all the outer hexagons are white and only the centre one is a colour. Since taking this photo I've added some more flowers.

Today we visited Avebury and walked round the ring. I'll tell you about that in the near future. For now I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching If you like hand stitching pop over and see what's being worked on this week.

Now since all the coloured centres are made let me work out just how many white hexagons I need to get this round finished. Mmm I think I might need a calculator as I haven't got enough fingers for this job.

Do come back tomorrow as I'm having a birthday give away. 


Monday, 2 December 2019

Dark and cold morning.

This morning was dark and cold outside but snug and warm in bed. I really didn't want to get up. It wouldn't have been so bad if I was staying at home but today was a work day and so I was out of the house just before 7. It took a while to clear the windscreen of ice and I needed the lights on for most of the journey. The route takes me through Richmond park and at this time of year it is very beautiful. Today the grass was white with frost and there was a mist. The trees still had leaves hanging on and they were a bold red brown colour. There were plenty of deer about, mostly fallow deer rather than the larger red deer. Driving through the park  brings a little pleasure to the morning commute to work. On the drive home I have to forgo the route through the park as it closes at 4 p.m. Today was the first day  since last winter that I've worn a scarf ( but more a shawl). I'm so glad I wore it as it was so cold in the office first thing this morning that I kept it on to try and keep warm. Work was tiring and I was pleased to get home but driving home it was dark and cold. I have no idea what the day looked like, was it sunny or dull? I hate the dark mornings and evenings and want to travel in the light again but I do love the frost  and I really hope we get some snow this year. The last time I saw snow was a very light covering on the tops of the hills in the Yorkshire Dales when we were on holiday in April 2018

I'm busy knitting the second elf slipper. I've recycled the photo from the first slipper. What's the point in taking another photo when they look exactly the same and not at all like a slipper. Looking at it like this it's a little confusing to see how it will fit together.

Anyway I've knitted a few more centimetres and I hope to have the second one completed tomorrow. I'll then be able to stitch them together and show you the finished products. Then I need to get a little bit of a wriggle on as my younger brother Alex has lost his long multi coloured scarf I knitted him years ago and he would like a replacement for Christmas. I won't see him until January so I have a little more time to get that finished.

Tomorrow I'm working in Reading and so it will be another cold and dark morning but there is a fabric shop there and at lunch time I shall have a wander round and see if there is any fabric I'd like to use for the back of the Christmas quilt. I have some fabric for the binding.

Tomorrow is the second day of the Christmas virtual cookie blog hop. Here are the blogs you can visit. You're sure to find something you'll like.

December 3rd

December 4th

December 5th

December 6th

I need to get back to my knitting if I'm going to have these slippers finished this week.Take care.


Virtual Cookie exchange Blog hop.

To day is the start of the week long Virtual Cookie Exchange blog hop which has been organised by Carol from Just Let Me Quilt Thank you Carol for all the hard work you put in on these hops and I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone is posting this year. Last year I got a lot of new ideas and recipes.

Christmas is such a lovely time of year. For many of us it means more family time to enjoy and also sharing with our friends and colleagues. In my family the run up to Christmas also involves two birthdays, mine on the 8th and my older brother's on the 20th. When we were both very young, you know young enough that you don't fully know when your birthday is, mom used to celebrate our birthdays a month early. When I started school the teacher corrected me and told me I had several more days to wait. Mom was determined that we should enjoy our birthday celebrations before starting to celebrate Christmas so we didn't decorate until after Ian's birthday. Once I left home I started to declare the Christmas season open on the day after my birthday and this is what we usually do now. On December 1st I put up the advent calendar I made and fill it with sweets but nothing else gets added until December 9th.

The tree is very important in our house and each year we add some new decorations and sometimes retire old ones. When we first had Picasso he managed to break quite a few of the baubles as he climbed to the top of the tree but since then he's stayed on the ground. He loves to hit the lower baubles with his paw.

In November 16 we visited an old house where the staff had created a gingerbread house to look like the real building. I was very impressed with it

Since then we've had a gingerbread house. This is the first one we made.

My son has always loved Lego since he was very small and over the years we collected several of their Christmas sets. We particularly like the Christmas train.

We have Christmas quilts. The first one I made several years ago.

and yesterday I finished the top of my new Christmas quilt. I am determined that this will be fully finished before Christmas.

We also have our crib.

Food is a really important part of the celebrations but so are the traditions. Mom and I would always bake mince pies on Christmas Eve whilst sipping a glass of wine. We'd go to the midnight service and when we got home we'd open a small present and enjoy a mince pie and a cup of tea before bed. I was going to make mince pies with Kathryn yesterday afternoon but she was feeling very tired so didn't come to visit  Instead I made our favourite Chocolate chip cookies.

I also made a batch of  Spicy Raisin bars. I tried out this new recipe a few weeks ago and I thought the bars would be very good as a snack to take on our Christmas walks. .

They really are delicious and a little gooey like chocolate brownies. I cut the bars quite thin so that John and I could enjoy some without adding extra weight. Just because it's almost Christmas it doesn't mean I want to gain extra pounds.

The recipe is by Martha Day from her book Baking

Makes 30
110 g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
215 g raisins
115 g butter or margarine at room temperature
100 g sugar
2 eggs
165 g molasses
55 g walnuts, chopped.

1. Preheat a 350 F/180 C / Gas 4 oven.
    Line a 13 x 9 in (33 x 23 cm) tin with grease proof paper and grease

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices.

3. Place the raisins in another bowl and toss with a few teaspoons of the flour mixture

4. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then the molasses. Stir in the flour mixture, raisins and walnuts.

5. Spread evenly in the tin. Bake until just set, 15 - 18 minutes. Let it cool in the tin before cutting into bars

Tomorrow I will bake our Christmas cake. This is always a rich fruit cake which I then decorate with marzipan and icing. I'm rather late making it this year but it will still be very tasty.

I hope you have enjoyed visiting. I certainly enjoyed you popping in. Now go visit the other blogs on the hop today. The hop runs every day up to and including Friday 

December 2nd

December 3rd

December 4th

December 5th

December 6th

Do come and visit again soon.