Saturday 31 December 2022

Goodbye to 2022

John and I are enjoying a quiet evening at home watching the BBC adaptation of Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling). There are fireworks going off every so often even though it's only 9:30 and the people who live across the road are having a party. I think my years of partying all night at New Year are long gone, but I still enjoy staying up to watch the fireworks and raise a glass to the incoming year.

This last year has been a bit up and down.  In April we bought home Missy, our cockerpoo puppy and In May my grandson Aubrey was born. He was 7 months old on Christmas day and is a happy active little baby. He is crawling and pulling himself up on the furniture. On the down side my older brother Ian died and our pets, Scamp 15 and Picasso 20 also died. Since September my health hasn't been great due to covid, flu, a nasty fall and the awful cough, cold and chest infection that has been circulating. I'm really ready for a new year to begin and I've been getting organised so I can get back to sewing.

I did do some sewing this year but not a lot. My main finish was the Noah's Ark quilt for Aubrey. 

I also made a baby quilt for one of my colleagues. I love the butterflies. 

Apart from a couple of cushion covers and table toppers that's all I've finished this year. When I look back I'm not sure what I've been doing with my time.

In preparation for the New Year I've sorted my sewing cupboard and my fabric supplies. I've checked my threads and made a list of the supplies I need. Now I need to organise a trip to my favourite quilt shop, a treat for early in January.  My sewing journey restarts tomorrow, January 1st 2023.

Take care


Friday 25 November 2022

A visit to Corfe Castle

I said I'd post about our trip to Corfe Castle on Monday but I ended up injuring myself in the morning while walking the dog. I always walk Missy before I go to work ,at about 6:30. It was really dark and we walked down one road where some of the street lights were out. As we walked past a tree I didn't see the raised tree roots and the next thing I knew I was on the floor. Missy was whimpering loudly and my face was hurting and there was more blood than I would have liked. We abandoned our walk and went straight home so I could stop the bleeding and get cleaned up. It took some time to calm Missy down from her fright. Over the next few days I started to realise I had other injuries including my hands, wrists and knees. So I have been resting and have made good use of the time to catch up on my reading. 

On the Sunday of our weekend away we wanted to visit Corfe Castle. Corfe Castle is both a village and the name of the castle that sits on top of a hill overlooking the village. The castle is a magnificent ruin with the oldest parts dating back to the 11th century. The castle was built following the Norman invasion of 1066 and unlike most castles from this time was partially built of stone which means it was of high status. We had hoped that Sunday would be dry but the rain clouds started gathering as we drove to the castle. We were well prepared with waterproof clothing and so we set out to enjoy our visit.

We visited the castle on the 30th October so they had pumpkins for people to take home and carve for the following day. As you can see the path up to the castle is quite steep and the stones were very slippery after the rain that started just after I took this photo. You can't see it in the photo, but a zip wire had been set up from the castle to the path. This was for intrepid teddy bears and other cuddly toys to show their bravery. As the day wore on more and more children were arriving with the toys. I've marked the zipwire in the picture below.

As we walked up the hill the view was very good and you could watch the rain rolling in.

The rain produced a pretty rainbow, the end of which seemed to be rather close. One young girl wanted her dad to help her go and look for the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Although the castle was a ruin there was plenty to see and the National Trust who now own it had put up a lot of information boards to help people understand the layout. With the rain it was quite dangerous in places due to wet stone and mud.

John and I often tend to wander around on our own and so I surprised John when we met up by taking his photo. He'd found a deep alcove to the left of the photo to shelter from the last shower.

At one corner of the castle I found this dragon having a rest. He just wanted to nap so I left to and went in search of John as I needed some coffee.

We made our way down from the castle, stopping to watch a couple of teddy bears descend on the zipwire. We walked around the village and then found the café where we settled for a coffee and a cream tea. It was lunch time but the café had hardly any staff and so weren't serving lunches. A cream tea proved a good substitute. It was still raining when we returned to our car and so we decided to cancel our next stop and drive straight home. We had an enjoyable and restful weekend and it seemed a good idea to drive home in the light since it was now raining heavily.

Our next weekend away is in a couple of weeks time, when I will visit my favourite quilt shop. I don't really need anything but it is always fun to visit.

i have done some sewing but I'll post about that soon. I need to take Missy for a walk before it gets dark and I have some cooking I want to do.

Take care


Sunday 20 November 2022

What happened to November?

This month has rushed past at breakneck speed and I seem to have missed it. The month started well with a visit to Dorset but then deteriorated as I succumbed to a cold and flu.  Unfortunately my immune system hadn't had chance to recover following covid so I'm not surprised. Just about everyone I interact with seems to be, or has been unwell. I even lost interest in sewing or reading and I'm completely out of touch with the blogs I follow. Anyway I need to stop moaning about the problems and tell you what I have managed to do over the last few weeks.

John and I took a weekend away to Dorset the last weekend of October. The weekend was much needed since October had seen the start of new student groups and all the extra work that entails. We had picked Dorset as our destination as it isn't too long a journey from home and we hadn't visited the area for a good number of years. We stayed in a smart bed and breakfast In Swanage, which is a small seaside town. We drove down on Friday evening and by the time we arrived it was dark. We settled into our room and  quickly checked out the information about places to eat. We wanted fish and chips and we wanted to eat them on the beach. We were lucky that it wasn't raining and was also warm so having found the best place in town for fish and chips we found a place facing the sea and ate our meal watching the tide coming in. Some folks were doing the same and others were taking their dogs for an evening stroll. There were few visible stars and little light pollution looking this way. The visible lights were from further round the bay.

Looking the other way you could see the lights from the town. I preferred the other view.

As we walked along the beach there was a lot of evidence of grand sand castles that had been created by children who were on a half term holiday that week.

After a tasty breakfast which included scrambled egg and salmon we set out towards Poole. We had visited here once before, many years ago, when a friend got married. Back in history Poole became an important port with the introduction of the wool trade. In the 18th century Poole was one of Britain's busiest ports. In the second world war it was one of the main starting points for the Normandy landings. It has a large natural harbour and a commercial port. We enjoyed walking along the quay and watching the boats. By this point we had walked away from the area with coffee shops and people so it was much quieter.

We had a quick look round the town but one shopping centre is very much like another and so after coffee and some food we headed back to the car. There was a nature reserve we wanted to visit which has a couple of trails we could follow.  To walk, watch some birds and enjoy being together was very pleasant after the hustle and bustle of work. There were pigs and sheep on the reserve and they were fun to watch. This little group of pigs were having a great time foraging

The holly was pretty with its bright red berries.

I loved the colour of this one, sorry I can't remember the name.

There were also a lot of rose hips. I can remember being given rose hip syrup as a child, I suppose that was to ensure we had enough vitamins.

I didn't get any pictures of the birds as they were all too far away. John has his scope we him so we enjoyed watching them from a distance. As we walked back towards the the car park we looked over the fields to see the sheep grazing.

Before we left we enjoyed a cup of tea at the café and browsed the shop. I bought a couple of little bits for Christmas. Back at the car park I noticed these fungi

and this one was very big

It was evening as we drove back to Swanage and as I parked the car this was the sky.

Red sky at night, shepherds delight', so we were hopeful that the following day would be sunny as we were going to visit Corfe castle. We walked into town and enjoyed a tasty burger in a pub restaurant before an early night. I'll tell you about Corfe tomorrow as our evening meal is now cooked and I'm very hungry. 

Take care


Monday 24 October 2022

Some Slow stiching.

The last 10 days have been busy with work and helping older daughter get her house organised. We have been helping with stripping wall paper and reconstructing old curtains for use until they know what they want in each room. In between there are joyous moments of playing with grandson who is now sitting up on his own and is generally a really happy little baby. He's teething at the moment so a little fractious at times but still gorgeous.

At home my sewing machine has stayed silent but I have been doing some hand stitching. The Christmas stitchery is moving on and is very enjoyable to work on.

I've also started knitting a jacket for grandson. I'm using the same yarn I knitted his red blanket it and I'm also using red. This is a nice easy knit as most of it is in garter stitch.

I finally got round to doing some work on my doll's house. We are redecorating our hall so I decided doing some decoration on the house would help move it forward. I started painting the interior of the basement. I took it to pieces to paint ( it has groves that help hold it together) Once completed I will be gluing it together. The basement will house the kitchen and the sewing room. If I can't have one in real life I'll have one in the doll's house. The primrose yellow is the sewing room walls and the kitchen is a light grey. Once dry the painting marks disappear.

On Friday my friend and colleague, Michelle, bought a bracelet she had made from her bead collection. I'm not sure I've got the patience to do beading as some of them are just so small. The photo doesn't show the little white beads very well. They make a pleasing diamond around the green beads.

Finally Halloween is nearly here so I thought you might like a photo of grandson in his Halloween outfit. It was just too cute not to buy!

Take care 


Monday 10 October 2022

Normal service resumed following illness

I'm feeling rather battered and weak having spent the last 3 weeks (since 18th September) feeling really unwell. Having avoided the dreaded covid and having had 4 doses of vaccine I got ill. One of the students admitted coming in university although they knew they were covid positive and the rest is history. I'm pleased I'd had all the vaccines as I think I might not be here if I hadn't. I don't remember much of the first week but got excellent care from my family. Now I'm feeling very tired but ready to move on. I've been doing a little work on the computer today (Saturday) and I'm going to do some sewing a little later on. I will be asking Richard or Lucy to lift my machine onto the table as I'm not sure I can manage it but I am determined to have a fun time with some fabric. It will certainly be very soothing.

I was slowly organising myself for some sewing when Katy and little Aubrey arrived. I was really surprised how much Aubrey had grown and developed since I'd last seen him. He can now sit himself up and 'talks the whole time'.  Katy wanted a new pencil case so I offered to make her one. A nice easy project for the day. I offered Katy a range of fabrics and she chose some batiks. This was a nice quick project but by the time I'd finished I felt really tired so had to have a nap. 

The pouch is slightly bigger to accommodate the extra pens she has for the children who have lost or forgotten their. 

Later in the day I took some time out to do some hand stitching on the Christmas stitchery. I didn't do very much but at least I've made a start.

On Sunday Lucy, Richard and I went over to Katy and Oliver's new house. They moved in last week and they are still trying to get everything straighten out. I took my small sewing machine with me as Katy wanted some curtains altering. It took a couple of hours but by the time we left the curtains were hanging up at the window. I have agreed to make new curtains as they work through the rooms, redecorate and make it their own.

I went into work today and felt OK but tired. I'm taking things slowly but I hope to make time to work on my projects. I've already planned Friday as my sewing day for this week. I also need to catch up on my blog reading. I'll start that tomorrow. I need to catch up with what's been going on in blogland.

Take care


Monday 19 September 2022

Back to some sewing

It's been a while since I last posted and also since I last did any sewing - weeks in fact. Friday was a sewing day and I really enjoyed it. John wanted to go walking but I have a very painful knee so I stayed home. My knee hasn't stopped me from doing short walks so before I got started I took Missy for a walk. The weather was warm and dry and we both enjoyed our slow walk. Missy has discovered the joy of sniffs and was stopping frequently to enjoy flowers and anything else that looked like it needed to be sniffed.

Back at home I got my light box out so I could draw out another stitchery pattern. This one is done in redwork. It took a little time to trace it out. Later I'll find the thread I need to complete it. I've had the pattern some time but had originally decided not to stitch it. The pattern came in my quilting subscription box from Bramble Patch.

Next I started work on the table centre for my friend. When I last wrote I had cut the fabric. This is the pattern I'm using, it is also from Bramble Patch.

I got the main pieces stitched together and I now need to add the appliqued flowers.

In my last post I showed you the fabric I was using for the new quilt I started, so here is the pattern.

here are the fabrics again. Yesterday I finished cutting out all the triangles I need. Now I can start the sewing.

I also need a new pencil case. I wanted a bigger case and I decided a zipper pouch would do the job perfectly. Choosing the fabric I wanted took a little time but once I'd made a decision on that, it stitched together very quickly.

The pouch was very easy to make and I can see a couple more of these being made in the future. One would be perfect for my watercolour brushes and I need one for my make up.

By this time I was getting a little tired and Missy needed another walk so I tidied up my sewing bits. The weather was still warm and we had a lovely afternoon walk. Once home again I settled down to finish the book I was reading.

Another murder mystery. It's very well written and was one of those books where I kept saying 'I'll just read a couple more pages' when I should have been getting ready for bed.

The weekend was very busy with family. Katy and Aubrey were visiting on Saturday. Aubrey  is so interested in everything and loves it when you sing to him. He also likes to join in, making those lovely baby sounds. On Sunday Lucy and I had agreed to help Katy finish sorting out the art store cupboard at work and then go shopping. The cupboard has been sorted and cleaned to within an inch of its life. Shopping was fun and the three of us enjoyed tea and cake as our reward for all the hard work. Back at home later in the evening, I found my embroidery thread and made a start on the Christmas stitchery. I didn't get very far as I was so tired so went to bed. 

Today is the Queen's funeral and I will have the TV on for some of the coverage. The last state funeral was in 1965 for Sir Winston Churchill. I was 11 and I was fascinated by the ceremony and tradition.  

Tomorrow I'm back at work for three days and then John and I have a short break in Devon over the weekend before a weeks holiday the f
following week.

Take Care 


Sunday 28 August 2022

Slow stitching

The last time I wrote was during my annual leave. I've been back at work for a week and the time just seems to be flying by. My car went into the garage for its annual service during my holiday and there weren't any problems. I did a lot of walking but didn't lose any weight as all the walking made me extra hungry. Every year since 2014 I've taken part in the challenge to walk a thousand miles in the year. This weekend I've smashed that total and there is still 4 months of the year left to go. I wonder how far I'll have walked when I total up on New Year's eve. On the sewing front there has been bits going on but progress is difficult to quantify.

Yesterday I pulled out the grandmothers garden quilt. I'm not sure when I started this quilt but it is a long term slow stitching project. Finally, earlier today I stitched the last of the white row together. The quilt now reaches the edges of the top of a double bed. I need to add at least  one if not two more rounds of flowers so that there is an overhang. Once that is done I'll be able to add incomplete rounds to make the quilt the right finished size.. The next round is red and I already have 24 'flowers' made. I need 48 flowers to complete the round. Here's a photo I took of the quilt so far. I couldn't get it all in the picture. Because I'm adding flowers made of hexagons the quilt is hexagonal in shape. This is why I'll start to make it into a rectangle as it grows.

Getting the last row finished has been my slow stitching for today. I might have made a start on the next round but we had our grandson visit for the day.  He is very cute and is full of gurgles and giggles. Missy is fascinated by him and he managed to grab her tail today. We took them both out for a long walk so that his mom Katy could get on with some lesson preparation ready for going back to work at the start of the term.


The hot weather finally broke and we had a thunderstorm and lots of rain on Tuesday. Since then the temperature has been more comfortable. The garden still needs lots more rain but at least the plants look a little healthier.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to do some work on my quilted jacket but we have some errands to do first. I also have some marking to finish.

Take care 


Monday 15 August 2022

A finish and a start

 On Friday I set myself a challenge of sewing the binding down on the Noah's Ark quilt. It was very hot and so I wasn't sure I could get it done but I took it in short bursts. Although it is a baby quilt and therefore not that big, it was still very warm to have on my lap. By the end of Friday the quilt was finish and I just need to add the label. The quilt will be staying at our house for a while. Katy and Olly are in the process of buying a house and hope to move in early September. 

The pattern for the embroidery is by Lynette Anderson and is available from Little quilt store as a pdf. I increased the pattern size by 160%. I really enjoyed stitching the blocks. I used another of Lynette Anderson's designs 'Bunny Garden' for a baby quilt I made last year. This quilt was gifted to one of Katy's friends.

I also completed another bird house stitchery. I need to find my crayons so I can colour the remaining stitcheries.

Today I did some cutting to start a new quilt. I only cut the strips as I need to cut a triangle template. The fabric for this quilt is Indigo Elements by Stuart Hillard for the Craft Cotton Co. I particularly like the fabric at the front of the photo.

I also cut fabric for a table centre that will be a gift for a friend. This pattern uses Antique Reproduction prints.

This week I have enjoyed reading another book. This time, The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont. I couldn't put this book down. I found myself picking it up to read between jobs and every time I stopped for a cup tea or coffee.

I think I need to take a rest from reading and get on with some stitching. Tomorrow my car is having it's annual service. John and I will drop it off and then we are going walking. It was supposed to rain this evening but it didn't. I hope it doesn't rain while we're out walking. 

Take care


Thursday 11 August 2022

A walk and stitching

I'm enjoying a very slow and leisurely break from work. There are lots of jobs I need to do but it's too hot to rush around so I've slowed the paced and I'm spending time being 'in the moment' and being 'mindful'. 

One of the jobs I need to get on with is finishing Aubrey's quilt. I set up my machine and set to work but for some reason the tension was all wrong and so a period of checking and double checking followed to get the tension right again. Missy loves to 'investigate' things and I think she may have altered the settings with her nose.  The computer screen on the machine is a blessing as it makes it quick and easy to alter all the setting but does lead to problems when people or pets decide to play with it. Once the stitch tension was corrected I got on with the quilting. I then added the binding. 

Next job is stitching the binding down. I finished off a second bird house yesterday. I was hoping to get a couple of these done a day but I'm having too much fun doing other things. This one needs a bit of a press.

Being on holiday is great for clearing that list of books that you want to read. This week I read Murder before evensong by The Reverend Richard Coles. The village of Champton is beautifully described and so are the residents. A lovely peaceful village, what can go wrong! Three murders and one suicide follow and it all seems to stem from the idea of putting a loo in the church!

Yesterday John was teaching in Reading and I offered to drive. Although I work there at least once a week I haven't really done any exploring. I do visit the shops but I decided I wanted to do a walk along the river Kennet. On the way to the river I passed Reading Minster of St Mary the Virgin. I'll explore this on another day. I'm impressed this photo doesn't have a bus in it as there was a line of them driving past at the time.


I joined the river at this point and crossed to the other side of the river by the foot bridge in the photo, to get into the shade.

Along the side of the river there were a lot of wild flowers growing. I loved the colour of these ones.

As I walked I passed the old Huntley and Palmers building. The company was originally founded in 1822 by Thomas Huntley and George Palmer. It continued to trade until the early 1990's and is now back selling a range of biscuits but no longer in Reading.

As I walked I discovered there was a riverside museum at Blakes lock. Unfortunately it was on the opposite bank so a visit will have to wait.

I continued past the weir, enjoying the birds perched on the poles. I love the light on the river and the reflections.

I walked past Blake's lock. On my walk back a boat was making it's way through the lock. I love all the greenery on the lock gates.

Further along there was a huge group of swans. They all came rushing to the side hoping I had some food with me but they were disappointed.

Then under the bridge where I found reflection of light off the river on the roof. I spent quite some time enjoying the way the light danced.

Round the corner and the Kennet joined the river Thames. I carried on walking for quite a while enjoying the birdlife and the small boats passing by. Looking across the river I saw an entrance to a marina with a swan busily sorting out its feathers.

A little further along I sat on the grass and made a couple of little sketches, nothing fancy so I won't be showing them on my blog but I found satisfaction in doing them. I walked back the way I had come . Whilst I waited for John to finish his teaching I enjoyed reading another couple of chapters of my book whilst enjoying the cold air from the air conditioning.

Currently I haven't made any plans for tomorrow or the weekend. I'll see what I fancy doing tomorrow.

Take care