Saturday 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone. 

 Picasso can't wait for his turkey dinner. Scamp has always loved Christmas and this year he will be getting an extra special Christmas dinner.

Take care, stay safe and enjoy the magic of Christmas.


Sunday 5 December 2021

Virtual Cookie Exchange Blog Hop.

 Today is the start of the 2021 Virtual Cookie Exchange Bog Hop. Thank you Carol from Just Let me Quilt for organising the hop. I can't wait to get some more cookie recipes.

Our favourite sweet treat is Millionaires shortbread. We don't have it very often as it's quite calorific but I always get asked to make it for high days, holidays and birthdays. The recipe remains the same but I alter the chocolate topping. Usually I just use milk chocolate but sometimes I add dark chocolate and sometimes white chocolate

I've told you about this treat before but I've never shared the recipe. Here it is if you want to make it. I'm sorry but I don't have the imperial weights. If you want them leave me a comment and I'll add them on my next post.

For the shortbread. 

250g plain flour

75g caster sugar

175g butter

Mix the flour and the sugar together. Rub in the butter until it resembles bread crumbs. Knead the mixture together until it forms a dough, then press into the base of the 20-22 square prepared tin with sides. Prick the shortbread lightly with a fork and bake for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Leave to cool in the tin.


100 g butter

100g light muscovado sugar

397g condensed milk

To make the caramel, place 100g butter or margarine, 100g light muscovado sugar and the can of condensed milk in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Continually stir with a spatula to make sure no sugar sticks to the bottom of the pan. (This can leave brown specks in the caramel but won’t affect the flavour.)

Turn up the heat to medium high, stirring all the time, and bring to the boil, then lower the heat back to low and stirring continuously, for about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.

For the topping, melt 200g plain or milk chocolate slowly in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Pour over the cold caramel and leave to set. Cut into squares or bars with a hot knife.

I also made some cinnamon treats.  I love cinnamon and it certainly tastes like Christmas.

I've still got a lot of preparation to do for Christmas but I have time to try out other treats so I'm looking forward to visiting the other blogs taking part. Here is the schedule.

Slow Stitching.

Yesterday John and I took a walk around the local cemetery. During the lockdowns this was our go to venue for walking. A walk around the perimeter path is one mile and usually you see lots of birds and sometimes foxes. Yesterday was sunny but with a biting wind so we decided on two circuits. There were a few wild flowers but not a lot else. We saw about 6 magpies and a few pigeons. Most of the trees were bare of leaves but the grass was long and very green as a result of the rain. The walk was very refreshing and enjoyable.

Back at home I set about completing the cushion I'd started. I'd laid the tree shapes out to work out the layout. The final layout is slightly different.

I found a small piece of wadding that would do the job and with that attached to the front piece I was ready to get on. I needed to cut some fabric for the tree trunks and then I used my baste glue to hold the trees down whilst I stitched them. I used a straight stitch for the applique and I stitched in the ditch between the border and the centre panel. Next I sewed the backing pieces together before completing the cushion. I've just popped some wadding in the completed cushion so I could take the photo. I need to tidy up the threads and I'll need to buy a cushion pad this week.

In the evening I started the stitching on the penguins. I started with the border as that was the first colour thread that came to hand. It does mean there isn't much to see so far. This is a small piece so shouldn't take very long. I may even get it all finished today.

Plans for today include taking Scamp for a walk. This week his outdoor activity has been short trips into the garden since we have had a lot of rain. Fortunately being a small elderly dog he doesn't need a lot of exercise but he does enjoy his walks. Today rain is predicted but at the moment it's dry. Unfortunately Scamp's health is deteriorating and the lump on his muzzle has grown. His left eye is being pushed a little by the growth so he looks a bit squinty on the left side of his face. He's not demonstrating any signs of pain and is eating well so our vet is confident he is comfortable and still enjoying life. We are all rather sad as his prognosis is probably 3 to 5 months so we are giving him lots of cuddles and treats and making sure he is happy. Scamp is my constant companion when I'm sitting and working on the computer or hand stitching. He's currently curled up on my lap whilst I'm typing.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. Do pop over and see what people are working on.

Take Care


Saturday 4 December 2021

Pillow cases

Yesterday was busy but fun. I had some ironing to do and I had also set myself a task of sorting cupboards and drawers out. Not all on the same day as that would not get done. One drawer/cupboard to go through when I have a day off and just check it is clean and tidy with nothing in it but the contents that are supposed to be there. You know what happens, people pop things into the wrong place and it seems to stay there. I decided this would help to stay on top of everything. If you spend a little time sorting each day then there is less chance of clutter accumulating. With 4 adults in the house clutter seems to breed. 

Having finished my chores for the day I was free to get my machine out. Katy had asked me to make a couple of Christmas pillowcases and since I had a lot of Christmas fabric I agreed. I had a white sheet we used to use at Brownies as a screen when we showed films, which we don't need anymore. The church where we meet has installed a screen in the hall. I used the sheet to cut up and use along side the Christmas fabric. This was easy straight sewing. I overlocked all the seams to keep them neat. The first one is white on th back and has  a border at each end on the front.  I folded the pillowcase so I had space to take a photo on the table.

For the second one I made the front from a large piece of Christmas fabric I had left over from the first Christmas quilt I made. To that I added a red border. I should have taken the photo before I pressed and folded them.

I had also received my subscription box and this had Christmas fabric in it plus a pattern for a cushion. so I set to work to make this. I cut all the fabric out and the Christmas trees and I prepared the front of the cushion ready to add the applique.

Here is the front of my cushion. I need to applique the trees into position but I also need to add the short trunk to each of them.

This may not be the final layout for the trees. The tops of the trees aren't bent, but the fabric is sticking up.

By this point I needed to stop as John and I were going out to dinner. I needed to wash my hair as it had gone all soft and fluffy and fly away. A while later having pampered my hair with lots of conditioner and carefully styled it I looked less like I had been dragged through a hedge!

Dinner was at Rick Stein in Barnes and we enjoyed their festive menu which included a Campari Fizz cocktail. We took a taxi, so that we could both enjoy a drink for a change, Usually I drive and don't have anything alcoholic. The evening was great fun and I'm already planning our next dinner out together.

Today I'm working on the cushion and I need to finish my blog post for Monday as I'm taking part in the Virtual Cookie Exchange blog hop. Here is the schedule.

Take care


Thursday 2 December 2021

December Goal

This year has flown by and here we are in December. Don't bother asking if I'm ready for Christmas, because I'm not. I suddenly realised today just how close it was and that almost caused a major meltdown. I needed to do something to calm my nerves as I worked out what I have to do to be ready. To help me chill out I decided to prep some more embroidery. There are 12 stitcheries in the Noah's ark pattern, so I had 11 to choose from.  John liked the two penguins and so I traced this one out first.

I used my red frixon pen to trace the pattern after I had increased the size to 160%. I decided I needed a second pattern as I have holiday booked over the Christmas period, giving me more time for stitching! For the second piece I chose the tortoises and birds.

I've pulled the threads I need for both of these and will be starting the stitching tomorrow. 

My goal for December is to complete both of these pieces of embroidery. i should be able to complete both pieces with time to spare. I am linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for her One monthly goal Link up party 

Tomorrow I will have some time to get the machine out and finish off some sewing. I want to do some quilting but I also want to start another project.

Take care


Wednesday 1 December 2021

A walk by the river.

On the weekend of November 20th/21st we went to Suffolk. I've already shared our walk on day 1 so today I'll share day 2. This was the longer walk and we really enjoyed getting out and really stretching our legs. We left our car in the car park at the hotel as we were going to walk back into Ipswich from the starting point of the walk. We took a taxi to Pin Mill, which is a hamlet on the River Orwell not far from Chelmondiston. This is on the Shotley peninsula and part of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths area of outstanding natural beauty and conservation. The little hamlet was very pretty with boats bobbing on the water and filling the boat yard. You can read more about Pin Mill Here

My first picture from Pin Mill is quite dark as the weather was a little overcast. This one is looking across the estuary.

Fairly quickly the sky lightened as the wind got up and blew the clouds away. Looking towards the boat yard.

Looking back at the water, the three swans who had headed towards us at speed, had turned away as they realised we weren't going to be giving them food.

John took a photo of the pub, The Oyster and Butt.

Having checked our route and with the sky clearing we set out on the walk. The path took us along by the river. To our left were fields and the leaves still on the trees were very pretty autumn colours.

Looking at the river there were some yachts in the distance.

I enjoyed the colours of the leaves on the ground, particularly the white ones.

On the hill to our left we could see a girls secondary school. We had passed this from the front on our taxi ride and a big sign at the gate stated how well the girls had achieved in their examinations in the summer. Later in our walk the path took us across the playing fields of the school.

In the woods we found fungi. O love the patterns created as they grow.

As we neared the Royal Harwich Yacht Club there were a lot more boats. I don't know if this was a race or just people out sailing, either way it looked a bit like organised chaos.

There were more yachts on the club's moorings.

We turned and walked a little way along the club's driveway and in the car park we found a fallen tree trunk for us to sit and enjoy some coffee. Refreshed we searched for our path that turned away from the river and entered woodland where we found more fungi.

When out walking you also have to remember to look up at times.

Once out of the woods we passed several fields where sheep were enjoying a tasty meal, the crop had been harvested.

When we reached Freston we took time out to investigate the church. The service had not long finished and the church warden was still inside. He let us wander around the little church and shared it's history with us. You can find out more HERE

There were quite a number of kneelers in the church that local ladies had stitched. Here are some of my favourites.

Inside the church was this sculpture of Peace standing in front of the Devil's door. The sculpture used to be outside but has been repaired and conserved and so was bought indoors.

Outside a replica made from wood now adorns the war memorial.

The time spent at the church provided a nice rest period and was very interesting. Below is the church from the back and the view we had as we continued on our walk.

We headed into more woodland on our way back towards the river. Once there we discovered some boggy bits of ground to negotiate. This wasn't a problem as we all had our walking boots on.

We stopped under the bridge to have lunch. We sheltered behind the big concrete pillars that hold it up, as the wind was getting quite strong and was very cold. Refreshed for the final stretch we set off again. This is the view of the bridge looking back.

In front of us as we walked along the river bank was Ipswich docks.

The bridge has to be so tall to allow the ships into the port. Carrying on along the river we eventually came to Bourne bridge which is over the Bourne, a tributary leading into the River Orwell, the river we had been walking along. One final picture of more boats moored by the bridge.

From here we walked along the roads back into the centre of Ipswich where we picked up the car and started our return journey to London. Our walk on the Sunday was a little over 9 miles. We had enjoyed a good walking weekend and we spent a little time discussing what we had seen and planning another walk in Suffolk, hopefully before Christmas.

Take care


Tuesday 30 November 2021

November finishes.


Overall November wasn't a good month for sewing but I did complete my goals for the month. I wanted to complete the binding on the Mr Hare quilt....done. This quilt is now being enjoyed by its new owner Lucy.

I wanted to put the binding on my Christmas table runner and this is also completed. This is a long runner and is destined to go on our long coffee table but the jigsaw board is on it at present. I love the appliqued deer.

This is such a cheerful table runner. Its going to make the room very festive.

The mug rugs being made for the No rings blog hop were completed. This first one has been gifted to my colleague and she is really pleased with it. She is counting the days to our Christmas break when she can get her machine out and get sewing.

The second mug rug is also a gift and will be off to its new owner in the next couple of days. I used the deer template from the table runner for this one.

The third mug rug still needs its binding but this was an addition to my planned makes for the hop. In hunting for suitable bindings for the other two I found the tea cup panel and decided to make a new one for myself. This will be a New Year addition to my desk at work.

That leaves my main goal for the month which was to embroider the elephant block of the Noah's Ark embroidery. I wanted these embroideries to be bigger so I enlarged it to 160%. I'm very happy with how this turned out. I'm trying to use up all those left over strands of threads from other projects and for this I didn't need to start of any new skeins of floss. Later today I will decide which embroidery to do next and trace it out. Since I have holiday over Christmas I may do the ark which is the biggest piece.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for the final link up of her 
November OMG It feels great to have completed all my goals for the month. I think it's the first time this year!

Take care.


Sunday 21 November 2021

Sunday stitching

This weekend Lucy, John and I headed to Suffolk to do some more walking. We wanted to complete the Stour and Orwell path. On Saturday we wanted to walk from Shotley Gate to fill in a gap between the sections we'd walked. It was only a short section and we were able to take a circular route. We started at the car park opposite a pub, The Bristol Arms. From here we walked up the road, going up hill away from the water. We met a man with his German Shepherd dog. The dog was huge and gorgeous but worried by the cars going past him on the road. We chatted to his owner for a while before continuing our walk. We soon turned off the road and headed across fields. Whilst walking we came across some fungi.

one solitary blue flower hiding behind the leaves,

and these structural plants.

There was a big flock of Brent geese but they were too far away to get a good photo. Eventually we came to the top of the hill and could look down on the river These pictures across the river were taken as we walked back along the river to the car.

Our walk on Saturday was quite short being less than 5 miles but we were all tired. We headed to the hotel where we enjoyed a cup of tea and a nap before going to dinner. We decided to go to bed early so we were well rested for our walk on Sunday as this would be about 9 to 10 miles. I'll tell you about our second walk tomorrow as I need to take the photos off the camera first.

This morning I had a little time to start my hand stitching of the binding on the Christmas table runner. I only managed one short edge but every little bit of sewing gets me nearer completion. This evening I've done a little more stitching but it's a slow job.

This week I've also been stitching my elephants. The main part of the block is done but I still have things to do to complete it. There is a border to complete, the elephants eyes and to complete the leaves on the elephant's blanket. Oh I mustn't forget the elephant's tail.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching 

Take care