Tuesday 31 October 2023

Happy Halloween


When I went out on Saturday evening I found I was passing witches and ghouls as I walked to the local supermarket. Worrying since it wasn't Halloween. I think the local medical college  was having a party event. Fast forward to this evening and I decided it was safer to stay indoors and get on with my stitching rather than having to avoid more witches.  I had sweets and treats at the ready in case any young witches, wizards or ghosts came calling but the door bell didn't ring. Unfortunately there are no young children of an age to go trick or treating. They are either teenagers who just want to meet up with their friends or they are still young babies.

It's very quiet in our house this evening as Richard and Lucy left for a short break in Paris with their sister, her partner and son. They travelled to Paris on the Eurostar and have an Airbnb booked for their stay. Missy is already walking round the house wondering where they are. I hope she settles when we head for bed.

This evening I have stitched while watching TV and I've finally finished the bag ladies quilt. I'm so happy to have this quilt finished. It is my 2nd finish in the month. The quilt was started in 2017 and it was my third oldest UFO.

My second oldest UFO is the hexi quilt and it feels good to have started the quilting on this project. It feels even better to be completing old projects. Tomorrow when I get home I may start a block on the dinosaur quilt. I haven't cut all the background fabric for this quilt yet but I have done enough to start one of the blocks. It all depends how tired I am tomorrow evening.

A short post tonight but it is good celebrating a finish.

Take care


Saturday 28 October 2023

Quilting and crafting

Today has been a busy but fun day. I started the day by making a wholemeal loaf. I love homemade bread and got into the habit of making it regularly during the lockdowns for covid. I promised myself I would continue making bread at least once a week but as time has gone on I've lost my bread making mojo. Earlier this week I made a loaf which disappeared very quickly so I started the morning by baking another loaf. It is delicious.

While the dough was rising I got on with the quilting on the hexi quilt. I managed to get another three blocks completed by lunch time. John and I had decided that this afternoon was going to be a craft afternoon. John was hoping to finish the build of his Vulcan plane model and I wanted to do some work on my dolls house.

My plan was to use the little bricks I had bought to cover the chimneys of the house. The bricks are individual and I'd bought full bricks, half bricks and corner bricks. There are two chimneys on the house and I bought enough bricks to complete one. I didn't know how difficult it would be to get the bricks looking good, hence why I only bought enough for one chimney. It took me all afternoon to complete the chimney and I now need to do finishing touches. I am very happy that I managed this fiddly job on all four sides of the chimney. I need to grout to fill in the gaps between the bricks. The edges where the chimney is attached to the roof will be finished with a lead strip. The bricks I bought are made to look old and weathered.

This evening I had planned to finish attaching the binding on the bag ladies quilt but I felt rather tired and so I watched a movie on the TV instead.

Tomorrow I need to do some preparation for my class on Monday but hopefully I will have time for some more quilting and to finish stitching on the binding. I also need to take Missy for a long walk. It was raining heavily today and so she only got to pop out into the garden when needed.

Take care


Friday 27 October 2023

Quilting, stitching and baking

This week at work has been pretty hectic but the joy of only working 4 days is that today I'm free to do some sewing. In my head I made some plans, start the quilting on the hexi quilt, do some slow stitching, maybe make a cake and then I thought just take the day as it comes. This is what unfolded.

To start with Missy's quilt was finished a couple of days ago and she is using it and has made it her own. Her sleep mat is in Richards room and her quilt was laid out on top of the mat. She has scrunched it up and added a couple of cushions that she has stolen from Richard's chair. She likes her quilt and has made herself a snug bed. The photo just show the  quilting on the star including the heart.

Having finished Missy's quilt I made a start on stitching the binding down on the bag ladies quilt. I've been working on it again this evening and I'm now over halfway. This should be finished tomorrow evening.

This morning I started the quilting on the hexi quilt. This quilt was started in 2014 as my quilt for the rainbow scrap challenge that year. I am keeping the quilting simple by going round the hexes and then adding two rows of stitching to each side of the block. I went off this quilt once it had been stitched into a top. This was for two reasons, I didn't like the colour combinations and it isn't particularly well sewn. I started my blog in 2012 and picked up quilting again that year. When I say picked up quilting again I have to admit that until that time I'd never completed a quilt and in 2014 I was still a novice at adding sashing and borders. I really should have taken the sashing apart and re stitched it but I decided to leave it and cope with the anomalies. By the time the quilting is finished there will be a few 'glitches' where the sashing isn't even or the fabric is not cut straight. Even with anomalies the quilt will fulfil its purpose very well. I completed 3 blocks this morning.

Tomorrow I will do some more quilting and also do some work on one of the doll's house dolls. I have everything I need to get these made.

John and I are having a craft afternoon tomorrow and I want to spend the time tiling the roof. I also need to sand down the stairs. I was going to make a cake and some bread today but didn't so maybe tomorrow will start with some baking.

Take care


Sunday 22 October 2023

Getting things done.

Yesterday I planned to get several projects moved on, but life has a way of getting in the way and yesterday was no exception. I had started the process  of making the quilt sandwich for the hexi quilt but older daughter and grandson turned up and that put an end to sewing. It was lovely to see them and Missy was so excited. She and Aubrey chased each other round for most of the afternoon. That meant neither of them had an afternoon nap and by evening they were both a little cranky. I drove katy and Aubrey home and by the time I got back Missy had calmed.

John was out this morning and so I got on with finishing the quilting on the bag ladies quilt. I started this as part of a sew along run by Barbara from Cat Patches in 2017. I didn't finish all the stitching until 2018 and then it took a long while to make them into a top. Anyway the quilting was finished and I sewed the binding on. It is all fastened to the back with clips and once Missy's quilt is finished the binding will be stitched down. Unfortunately the photo looks a bit blurry.

The blocks are alternately quilted with cotton reels or needles and thread. I particularly like these two bag ladies. I love the style of this lady from the feather in her hat, her jewellery and pet duck.

The second lady feels more like me and I love her patchwork scarf.

At this point I met up with John and we took Missy for a long walk around the common. The common was quite muddy in places and while she was off her lead she rolled in the puddles and stomped in the mud. Time for Missy to have a bath!

Next up I set about making the quilt sandwich for the hexi quilt. That took a little time as I needed to piece the backing but eventually I had a neat parcel. I probably won't have time to start the quilting until next weekend.

Finally I carried on with stitching the binding down on Missy's quilt. I now have 1 side and a few inches to stitch.

I should finish this quilt tomorrow evening if all goes well. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching 

Tomorrow I want to work out the finished size of the Grandmother's Garden quilt as I want to get this finished by early next year, well at least by June of next year. I also have a couple of new projects I want to start since I'm finishing off two existing projects. I just love starting new things. I'm working for the next four days but hopefully there will be some time for sewing.

Take care


Friday 20 October 2023

A busy day

 As the weather is turning colder Missy really needs her quilt to be finished. I wanted to do a line of gold thread inside the stars and add a heart to the middle. All of the quilting is now done and I have added the binding. I started stitching the binding down and have almost completed two sides. I'm hoping this will all get finished over the weekend.

I needed to get all the cutting out finished for the dinosaur quilt. This is done in two stages. First the various fat quarters are cut to give the amount of fabric needed for the different blocks. Once I start the sewing I will have to cut the fabric to the required sizes and numbers of pieces for the blocks. Normally I cut as I go along but I decided I needed to be super organised for this pattern. I have folders for the different blocks just to try and keep them together. I have now finished the first run of cutting. I'd like to make a start on these blocks this weekend.

I really must get round to measuring the Grandmothers garden quilt top to see how many more hexies I need to add. It would be good to move that project forward as it is my oldest UFO. A project that I will be working on over the weekend is the dolls house dolls. So far I've sewn the 4 patterns. These are going to be very fiddly to finish off.

I had ordered some roof tiles and brick slips for the dolls house and they arrived yesterday. The are very small and will take quite some time to get stuck down properly.

Tomorrow John and I were having a 'craft' day but we may have visitors instead. Either way I'm sure the day will be fun. First thing, I have my regular podiatry appointment. I love this appointment as I leave the surgery feeling like I'm walking on air. Today I had a dental checkup and it was a much less pleasant experience, even though there were no issues with my teeth or gums.

It's nearly time to head to bed. I've left myself a little time so I can try and read a chapter of my book. I'm a little behind in my reading challenge for the year, having only read 16 books so far. Unfortunately there just isn't time to fit every thing in.

Take care


Sunday 15 October 2023

A slow end to Sunday

Our plan for today was to visit Studland Bay and then Arne nature reserve before heading home. The day was bright and clear but rather cold. I think the way to describe was 'bracing'

Old Harry Rocks are at the southern end of Studland Bay on Handfast Point and are one of the famous landmarks on the South Coast.  We enjoyed the view from the top of the cliffs.

Having enjoyed our time at Studland Bay we headed to the Arne nature reserve. We walked and did some bird watching for a couple of hours. There were Sandwich Terns that we have never seen before. It is always nice to see a new species. Later we enjoyed afternoon tea and a cake before heading home.

This evening I picked up my hand stitching. I haven't done very much but it is slowly getting completed.

I'm really enjoying working on this piece. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. 

Take care


Saturday 14 October 2023

Another enjoyable day exploring.

Our plan for the day was to walk down to the railway station in town and find out when the trains run. These aren't just any trains, these are steam trains. We also wanted to explore more of Swanage and maybe go to the nature reserve. After a very satisfying breakfast we set off. We checked on the car on the way and as we looked out to sea we enjoyed the view. I love the sun on the water and the cloud formation.

We hadn't got too long to wait for a train. There was a train on the other line at the station but it wasn't going anywhere today.

When the train came into the station the locomotive that was pulling the train was going backwards. Several passengers rushed to get into the carriage in front of the locomotive, whilst we walked further down the platform to board. The locomotive meanwhile was uncoupled from the train, went back a little so the points could be changed and headed out on another line. In a short while it was returned on the right line backing up so it could couple up to the train. The children in the carriage were excited to be behind the engine.

On the journey we passed other engines and carriages in the sidings.

 As we got near to Corfe Castle I was able to get a photo of it. Unfortunately the carriage window wasn't very clean.

We had visited Corfe Caste on a previous visit. Our plan was to go to the end of the line and return to Corfe Castle station. This meant we could visit the last station and see the engine move back to the other end of the train. It was a very smooth operation! 

We thought we might visit the castle again because the last time we were here it was raining heavily. However we decided to have coffee in the station cafe and then look round the museum before we went into the village. Whilst we were safe in doors it rained.

Corfe has a model village so we decided to visit it. It was opened to the public in 1966 and depicts the castle and village as it was in 1646 prior to the destruction inflicted on it by Oliver Cromwell's troops during the English Civil War. It is 1/20 scale and was the idea of Mr Eddie Holland. The village took two years to build and the castle was built on a man made mound. Most of the building were made by Jack Phillips from Parkstone and he looked after the village for many years. Also in the village is a model, of the model village.

I like the depiction of the castle although several of the model cows on the bank were falling down the slope.

The model of the model village was fun and the houses were built from local stone. This one was the water mill but you can't see the wheel very well as it was in shadow,

The church had a wedding going on outside and was playing appropriate music.

Within the same setting there was a wildlife pond, a nature trail, a fairy trail that I loved and a fossil collection. We enjoyed our visit.

Next we walked around the village and popped into some of the local shops. As we weren't particularly looking to buy anything you won't be surprised that the only thing we bought was ice cream. The salted caramel ice cream that I choose was delicious.

By now it was time to catch the train back to Swanage. It was a fun but noisy journey back as there were lots of children and dogs on board. At the station I was able to make a short video of the engine that had pulled our train as it switched from the back of the train to the front for the next journey.

Back in Swanage we headed for the sea front. We wanted to walk along the front and visit the pier.  The photo is looking back around the bay as we reach the pier.

The pier is small and doesn't have any shops or fun fair rides on it. There were people fishing and one of them caught a garfish as we were watching.

From the pier we could see the wellington clock tower, except it doesn't have a clock. It was designed by Arthur Aspital to memorialise Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon. The tower originally stood on the approach to London bridge in Southwark but was re-erected in its present location in 1868. It originally had a spire but now has a copper cupola (dome).

Having left the pier we climbed the hill to Peverel Point where we saw birds playing on the rocks before heading back to the hotel.

This evening we had booked a table for dinner in Swanage. The food was delicious but it was cold walking back along the sea front to the hotel. We haven't yet decided what we will do tomorrow but it will probably involve bird watching.

Take Care


Friday 13 October 2023

A visit to the Vyne.

John and I are away for the weekend. We try to have a weekend away every other month but we are having a little run of once a month mini breaks. This weekend we are staying in Swanage in Dorset. We have some walking and visits to a nature reserve planned. Unfortunately the weather is fairly wet so it may not be as active a weekend as we hoped. However it will be restful. Today we had somethings to do before we left home, put the grocery delivery away, sort out the bins as it's collection day and pack the items we needed. We left about 10 and headed to The Vyne in Hampshire.

The Vyne started life as a collection of medieval building but was transformed into a Tudor Palace between 1500 and 1520. It has shrunk since then by approximately two thirds to the size it is today. Transforming it into a palace was the work of William Sandys who was Lord Chamberlain to Henry VIII in 1526. In 1653 when Chaloner Chute became the owner he demolished two thirds of it. The house remained in the ownership of the Chute family until 1956 when it was left to the National Trust.

Having parked the car we headed towards the house. On the way we passed the summer house. It is thought to be the first garden building in England with a domed roof and dates from around 1635.


Nearby was  very old oak tree which is known as the hundred guinea oak. The tree is over 600 years old and rather frail but well cared for. William John Chute who owned the Vyne was offered £100 and later 100 guineas to sell the tree for its timber. He refused to sell.

As it was around lunch time we stopped at the cafe and enjoyed a Cornish pasty each and a cup of coffee. You need to make sure you have enough energy for a visit round these old houses! I took two photos of the house, the second was to show the size better.

When I'm visiting these house I like to look at any quilts, tapestry or embroidery. In a few of the lower rooms the furniture was all under covers as there was deep cleaning and conservation in progress. Upstairs was a different story.

On two beds there were very similar quilts. They were whole cloth quilts and the fabric was quite delicate and faded but it was nice to see the designs

The colour differences were due to shadows from people in the room. There were also two chair with embroidery on them.

I had been told to ask the guide to show me the photos of 4 hand embroidered waistcoats that were found in the attics when the National Trust took over the house. They used to be on display but are now rather fragile. I took a picture of the smallest waistcoat.

and a picture that showed the detail on one of the other waistcoats. I loved the detail and colour in this waistcoat. Even the little buttons have embroidery on them.

A lot of these houses have tapestries decorating the walls. These tapestries had originally been in a different room but were relocated to the billiard room. This one was complete but went round a corner so it was difficult to take a photo.

This was part of a tapestry further round the room. The colours were so bright.

The ceiling of one of the rooms had this design over it. I'm sure there is a quilt block in there or maybe a quilting pattern.

In the drawing room there was some embroidery that had been started. This looks like a UFO that is older than any of my unfinished projects. 

The house had its own private chapel and it had some pretty floor tiles along the edge.

The route through the house took us to the kitchens and the servant quarters last. This was a store room off the kitchen.

We had a very good visit. We checked out the bookshop where John bought a book and I bought a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. We visited the gift shop but didn't buy anything. Then it was time to continue our journey to our hotel. After we had settled in and had a rest we walked into the town and enjoyed our fish and chip supper sitting looking out to sea. The end of a great day out.

Take care


Thursday 12 October 2023

Starting the quilting

Today was a work day but as I was teaching on line, from home, I was able to get my machine set up as soon as I finished work.  My plan was to make the quilt sandwich for the hexi quilt and do some more cutting for the blocks on the dinosaur quilt as well as getting some sewing done. However once the machine was set up I pulled Missy's quilt and made a start on the quilting. I had decided to keep the quilting simple and do diagonal lines across the patchwork and to outline the stars.  I managed to get all the stitching done on the main patchwork and outline two of the four stars. I have the border to do and I want to do some more quilting inside the stars as well as going round the outling.

You can just about make out the diagonals in the photo. I do have to deal with all the ends I've created so far. I would have got further but at one point missy decided to sit on my lap and push the buttons on my machine with her nose. I had to stop sewing and play tug with her before she'd let me continue. I think I need a sewing cat as Missy is not very helpful when in a playful mood.

Having finished quilting for the day I pulled out my hand stitching . I made a start on this piece a little while back but haven't spent much time on it so far. 

I still have one of the trees to finish off. I'm hoping to complete the distant fields over the weekend. Whilst watching TV this evening I put in a few stitches. 

I have several hand stitching projects I need to move forward. The big hand stitching project I want to get finished is my grandmothers garden hexi quilt that I'm making for Lucy. This has been in progress for years so it needs to be completed. There has been no fixed plan for this quilt, it is very organic and grows as the mood takes me. This is how Lucy wanted it to develop. Now it is quite big and the time has come to formalise the plans to complete it. To date it has been stitched by adding rings of hexi flowers but we want the quilt to end up square or rectangular. I need to finalise the size and work out how many 'flowers' I need to make and in what colours. This is the last photo I took of it and I have added a few flowers for the next round since then. Because it's made in rounds the quilt currently is hexagonal in shape.

Tomorrow John and I are heading to Swanage in Dorset. We want to do some walking and bird watching. We are also hoping to visit The Vyne, a house in Hampshire that belongs to the National Trust, on our journey there. I hope the weather is going to be dry but unfortunately I think there may be rain. When we are away at the coast we like to have a fish and chips supper on the beach on one of the evenings, not great in the rain. 

It's getting rather late now and I need to finish the chapter in my current book, so I'm heading to bed. Hopefully I will fit some hand sewing in tomorrow.

Take Care