Sunday 25 February 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

The week has gone so quickly and I haven't quite finished all the hand stitching I set out to do but at least I've managed to complete some of it. We have been away for the weekend in the south west of England. This gave me the opportunity to visit my favourite quilt shop and for us both to do some bird watching at Slimbridge. I took some fabric and my hexie templates with me. We were outside all morning today but I got rather cold, well it was more my feet got very cold. I have nerve damage as a result of the chemotherapy and my cold feet were really painful as a result. After lunch John set off for another hour to do some more bird watching on his own while I stayed in the warm and fussy cut some fabric and started stitching the fabric to the templates.  By the time he'd arrived back an hour later I had all 12 pieces cut and had completely stitched 5 to the templates and I was about to start number 6.

The next round of 'flowers' on the Grandmother's Garden quilt will be slightly different. Previously each round has been a different colour of the rainbow but this time the middle hexie will be the rainbow colours and the rest of the hexies in the flower will be white. Interspersed will be some flowers with the Beatrice Potter characters in the middle of the flower. I was so pleased when I found this fabric.

I have some photos of my favourite quilt shop which moved home last year and also of our trip to Slimbridge. I'll show you them tomorrow. Meanwhile I'm linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching Do go and see what everyone's stitching this week. I'm hoping to get a lot of the flower blocks for the next round made this week.


Monday 19 February 2018

Limehouse to Liverpool Street

Last week whilst enjoying some annual leave John and I decided to complete the walk from Limehouse station to Liverpool street station that we had cancelled earlier in the month because we run out of time. The weather for our walk was dry, sunny and surprisingly warm for February. Our starting point was Limehouse basin where we walked around the edge to Narrow Street. Once there we joined the Thames Path. Looking back across the river we could see more tower blocks being built.

On the side we were walking there is a major construction project, the Thames Tideway Scheme which is a huge 25 km (16 mile) sewer being built mainly under the Thames through central London

From the Thames path we walked through King Edward Memorial Park and out onto the road at Shadwell Basin. Here we crossed this amazing bascule bridge.

Here is a view of it from the other side of the basin.

This bridge acts like a seesaw rolling back on the big curve on the right hand side. The bridge no longer opens as there are no boats to pass under it. We headed over the bridge as we had planned to go to the pub for lunch.  Next to the bridge are the old buildings of the 
Wapping Hydraulic Power station built by the London Hydraulic Power Company in 1890. This power station used the water from the Thames to provide power for the surrounding docks and also throughout the central London area. It was used as a model for power stations in Argentina, Australia, New York and Europe.

The pub we had planned to stop at was the Prospect of Whitby which is said to be London's oldest riverside pub. We enjoyed some ale and sandwiches for lunch and soaked up the atmosphere. I last went into this pub over 40 years ago, however the ale and the food were just as good as I remember. 

The sign says it all

After lunch we walked back over the bridge and round Shadwell basin. This is now used for water leisure activities. On the other side of the basin we had reached Wapping woods and the path we followed has an ornamental canal running alongside it.

The canal was quite shallow and there were several ducks, mainly mallards along the route. A little further on the path we came across these two rusty replica ships. These two ships were built as part of the Tobacco Dock development in the 1980's for use as pirate themed playgrounds for children but the development fared badly because of the recession and they are now disused.

We continued on our way past the Heritage Basin with it's fountain,

and it's knotted sculpture that John had to pose by,

until we came to St Katherine's Dock. By now the weather had cooled off.

I've visited this area before but not recently and I really didn't recognise anything except The Dickens Inn.

Heading back to the Thames we turned onto the river path and ahead of us was Tower Bridge

Passing under the road that goes over Tower Bridge we we in front of the Tower of London.

The White Tower, the keep of the Tower of London was obscured by the trees on this side.

Looking across the Thames we got a good view of the Shard

and also of City Hall, the home of the Greater London Assembly.

A little further along on the opposite bank is HMS Belfast which is now dwarfed by the buildings. The ship is interesting to visit and it also hosts sleep overs for youth groups.

Although it was very nice seeing the Tower of London I didn't enjoy this part of the walk as there was just too many people. We walked along the side of the Tower going up Tower Hill to cross the road and enter the Tower Hill Memorial Gardens. Here it was very quiet with minimal people around. The memorial is to the merchant seamen killed in the war. This is just part of the memorial and the plaques are covered with the names of those who died.

There is also this anchor within the memorial.

As we left the memorial we spotted this blue plaque to Tubby Clayton. Phillip Thomas Byard Clayton was born in Australia and grew up in the city of London. He was nicknamed 'Tubby' whilst at university. During the first world war he established Talbot House in Belgium to give the soldiers some respite from the horrors of the war. The name Talbot House got shortened to TH and then to Toc H. Toc H is an international Christian movement. You can find out more about Tubby Clayton here

We passed Fenchurch Street Station and headed towards the Gherkin or St Mary's Axe to give this building its proper name. This building rises 42 stories into the air and is very difficult to take a picture of. I got this photo of it peeping through the gap between other buildings

From here we walked to Bishopsgate and took some of the side roads to investigate the old Spittlefields Market building and Brick Lane. We passed this English baroque church - Christ Church Spittlefields that was built between 1714 and 1729. 

Along one of the side streets we found another blue plaque. This time to Bud Flannagan who was born and bought up here. He was a comedian and leader of the Crazy Gang. You can find out more about him here

Back on the main road and heading back towards Liverpool Street station we came across this statue. A very much larger than life character but no indication of who it was or why it was there.

From here it was a short walk to the station and home. Another great day discovering parts of London. We don't have any more walks planned at present but we are going to try and do at least one a month. This coming weekend we are away visiting Bath and the wetland centre at Slimbridge. My hand stitching is going with me and I'm looking forward to visiting my favourite quilt shop.


Sunday 18 February 2018

A little stitching

Today it's time for slow Sunday stitching. I have a lot of hand stitching to do and I have often found that Kathy's link up for  Slow Sunday Stitching has helped me get more finished than I've expected. It all about sharing with other people, it makes you want to have some progress to show. Also as quilters and stitchers we are good at  encouraging each other as we go along. Sometimes I've found that family and close friends can be less helpful by saying something like 'gracious are you still working on that? You've been stitching it for years and I would have thought you'd have finished it by now.'

There's many reasons why a project takes a long time, for example it could be very complicated or it holds lots of memories both good and bad. For me I often put things down meaning to work on them again in a couple of weeks and then when I eventually do get back to them it takes me ages to work out where I've got to and what I should be doing. 

Today I'm working on two projects. The first, my sewing machine table tidy just needs the binding stitching to the back. I started it last month and moved very quickly to this point but life got in the way. I've finished one of the sides and so only have three to go. It isn't that big so will be completed by the end of the evening which will be great as it will give me a Friday finish (the second finish of the year). Here's the picture I posted having finished the tidy and attached the front of the binding. I love those clips for holding binding in place.

My second project I posted about yesterday, the grandmother's garden quilt. Today I lay it out on the floor to check I had enough of the purple flowers for the next round and was very pleased to find I had more than enough. I sorted out the order I wanted to add the blocks and I'm all set up to start stitching on the next row. If all goes well I'll start that later this evening.

I like to alternate my stitching so although I'll work on the hexie quilt I will also do some work on my cross stitch. Last winter I did a lot of stitching on the Christmas Tree cross stitch but so far this year I haven't touched it.  Here's how far I've got, and I hope to be able to show you some progress next weekend.

I hope you've had time for some sewing or stitching today and why not hop over to Kathy's to see what everyone has been working on. Before I can settle back down to my stitching I need to go and sort out dinner.


Saturday 17 February 2018

Safeguarding and chores.

Today I had to attend a training for Guide leaders on the new safeguarding laws and regulations. Not  much had changed since the last training I attended but it's well worth staying up to date with the policies and procedures and generally refreshing the old memory. Lucy attended the same training last week and hopefully it means that we should be able to spot any issues early should they arise and get the person the help they need more quickly. The training took most of the day and all the discussions and activities left me feeling drained. Unfortunately once I got home I had to go straight out again as I needed to do a major grocery shop. It's always depressing when there is very little food in the house. Now sitting here writing this I'm feeling very pleased as my training is all up to date and I've a full food cupboard and fridge. Time to relax.

For Christmas 2015 John bought me a dolls house. It's a wooden house, 1:12 scale and you need to decorate it and put it together. I didn't start making it in 2016 because we were busy decorating and finishing the work that was needed on our own house. I'd planned to make it last year but there just never seemed to be the time when I had the energy to do it. So here we are in February 2018 and both parts of the house are still in the boxes. The house comes as two separate parts. The main house is two floors plus the roof also opens. In addition there is a basement that you can add to the house. John bought both parts. It's now time to get this project started so Richard and I opened the box with the basement pieces and set it up on the floor.

We just set the pieces up to see how it would look. There are grooves to help the pieces fit together which helped it all stay in place. I love the railings in front of the house. The front opens along the split to the right of the stairs so you can access the rooms. The rest of the house will sit on the flat top of the basement. It was so much fun seeing how it all fits together. It's now got to be painted inside and out before we finally put it together. I'm currently making decisions about whether to paint the outside walls or to use brick paper to cover it, plus I've got to decide how to decorate the basement rooms. I think I'm almost there with my final ideas.

Last week I received my quilty treat box. This is only a small treat box and arrives early each month. You don't have a choice what's in it but I've now had it for a year and I've always been very happy with the contents. This month there was some beautiful batiks.

Each month they give you a pattern plus any additional items needed to make up the pattern. This month it is a sew tidy. I don't think I'm going to make this as I have several zip lock bags that I use to keep my projects tidy but I have a couple of ideas for the fabric. For now I'm just enjoyed stroking the fabric and feeling the happy vibes from the cheerful orange.

This week I've driven myself slightly mad trying to find the grandmother's garden quilt I'm working on for Lucy. I have all the flowers for the next row but couldn't find what I'd already made. Eventually earlier this evening I found it in a box with the other fabric that had been sorted to use in this quilt. It's supposed to make life easier when you keep everything tidy but I just forget where I've put things. Now I can stitch the next colour ring on. This quilt is very slow but it is all hand stitched so I don't feel so bad about the speed.

This is a totally scrappy piece. Each round moving outwards from the middle is one of the colours of the rainbow and the round I need to add is Indigo and Violet. We decided to combine the two colours in the same round as they can be quite similar. The hexagons are 1 inch in size so it's going to take a little time to complete this project.

I have been working on some sewing but it's getting a little late now so I'll tell you about that tomorrow and if Richard can get a good picture I show you how Scamp and Picasso have decided to share my lap in an evening.


Where to start?

It's been a while since I last posted and as a result I'm not sure what to share with you first Last week I had fun showing you what I made for the 'Put a little love in your Quilt' blog hop. It was exciting to take part in a blog hop again and I'm slowly visiting everyone who took part to see what they made. My table topper has been gracing the top of my coffee table, there for all to see. However, even with the topper as a reminder, my dear husband John  managed to totally forget about Valentine's day. Never mind we're going away the last weekend of February and he has promised to buy me some fabric from my favourite quilt shop.

This week is lovely as I haven't been at work so I've had time to catch up with life and my blog reading. Yesterday evening I had a relaxing time catching up with Barbara's road trip over at Cat Patches  I had to go back quite a way so I could get the flow of their journey and as always Barbara's photos were amazing. I've also had time to do some sewing but there isn't a lot I can show you as the bits I've made are for another blog hop in early March.

So what can I tell you about? Well on the 30th January John and I went on another walk to discover more of London We started at Greenwich station and walked as far as Limehouse station which is only just over 5 miles. We had planned to walk further but there was so much to see that we run out of time. If we had continued the walk we would have been walking in the dark. From Greenwich station we walked to Island Gardens. On the way we came across a public toilet, which was most welcome, but was also gloriously old fashioned with heavy wooden doors and toilet seats, lots of white tiles and big pull chains. It took me right back to when I was a young girl and all the public toilets were fitted out like this.

Just inside the park was a statue of King William IV

A little further along the path in front of the Maritime Museum was this ship in a bottle. 

I once watched a video on how they get the ships into the bottle and you can see how it is done here.

We walked up the hill to the observatory and took pictures of the museum and across London.

Behind the museum you can see Canary Wharf's cluster of tall buildings. London has clusters of tall buildings with low level buildings in between and of course no tall building is allowed to block line of site of St Paul's in the city.

The next photo is looking slightly to the right from the one above and I've put an arrow to mark the milennium dome or the O2 Arena as it is now known. The last time we visited the 02 was to see Neil Diamond last year.

We retraced our steps down hill and past the Maritime Museum and we passed by the Royal Naval College as we headed to the Thames.

Once at the Thames we walked along the riverside path  towards the Cutty Sark. I couldn't fit it all in as I couldn't move back any further due to the river being in the way.

The Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship that was built on the River Clyde in 1869 and was one of the last tea clippers to be built. 
Following the opening of the Suez Canal 1869 steamships were able to take the shorter route to China, so the Cutty Sark was only used for the tea trade for a few years. After that it was used to carry wool from Australia and on this route the ship held the record for the fastest journey time to Britain for ten years. Steam eventually took over this route and so the ship was sold to a Portuguese company in 1895 and was renamed. In 1922 the ship was bought by retired sea captain Wilfred Dowman, and it was used as a training ship in Cornwall. After his death ownership of the Cutty Sark was transferred to the Thames Nautical Training College. In 1954, the ship was transferred to permanent dry dock at Greenwich, London, for public display. In 2007 whilst undergoing conservation the ship was badly damaged by fire. It was restored and reopened to the public in 2012

From here we went into the Greenwich foot tunnel to cross under the Thames. From the opposite bank we could see the Cutty Sark. The dome in front of the ship is the entrance to the foot tunnel

As we came out of the foot tunnel we spotted a small coffee shop and we stopped to enjoy tea and carrot cake. It was very yummy. Back on track we were following the Thames Path which took us past several wharf's and docks each with their own name. In the past different industries had operated from each wharf. Several buildings remained  but many had been re-purposed often into living accommodation.

This is the remains of the dock where the Great Eastern was built. The SS Great eastern was a steel steamship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and built at the Millwall Iron works on the Thames

We briefly left the Thames path to head towards the Millwall outer dock. On the way we passed this old chapel now being used as a theatre and meeting place. The Frankenstein poster was rather appropriate for this Gothic building.

We spent some time investigating the outer dock which is now used as a water activity centre. These two dockside cranes remain. They look a little like alien invaders.

Back to the Thames path where we saw the base of a huge dock crane forming the base of an outdoor area for the floors in these flats. Great re-purposing and design.

The base of this crane was huge and rather scary to walk under.From here looking across the Thames this was the view.

This shows another cluster of tall buildings in the City of London (otherwise known as The Square Mile) which is north of the river. The tower on the left is the Shard a 306m high tower of steel and glass which is south of the river at London Bridge.

Leaving the Thames behind we headed into Narrow  Street which runs parallel to the river. This is the oldest street in Limehouse. Here we found this cute statue but I can't remember why it is here.

Looking one way down the street. Many of the buildings are being done up and modernised.

We walked through Rope maker field to the Regent's canal towpath

and on into Limehouse Basin

We crossed the footbridge next to the lock and weir. The weir was fascinating.

We past a few more large boats and narrow boats before heading to Limehouse station which is on the DLR - docklands light railway.

From the station it was a quick journey home with only one change to get onto the Northern Line tube. A great day walking and lots to see. I'm finding these walks fascinating as they are taking us to areas of London I've not explored before or if I have it was a long time ago.

At home Picasso was in serious cuddle mode, first from me, then John and finally Lucy.

He really does get in some odd positions and being a black cat he isn't the easiest to take pictures of.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my dolls house which I'm really excited to be starting to build.