Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Merry Christmas ( a bit late )

I have been absent from my blog - for all sorts of reasons. Some technical and some not. However I think I am now 'back in the land of blog' - and boy have I missed you! I have been lurking in the distance but unable to post. So a slightly late Merry Christmas to you all and hope to join you in lots of 'blogging' in 2008.
Mary xx

Saturday, 3 November 2007

It's all to do with the camera.

I've really got to come clean here. I'm not the best at posting regularly and I can't really blame the full time job that I do since many of you are in the same position. I will confess that what holds me up most is the 'photo' thing. Or should I say my lack of ability with the 'photo thing'. When I started my blog I was using my husband's camera but relying on him to take a good enough photograph (how sad is that?) and upload it to the computer.
After a while I decided to get my own camera so that like many of you I could keep it with me for any photo opportunities that came my way in the course of the day. Hmm not that you would want to share any of images I come across at work! However being ever on the thrifty side I didn't want to splurge out on a new one when my daughter's 'old' one was sitting in a cupboard not being used. Even this proved to be quite a challenge as the original instructions were missing plus software to upload to the computer.
So eventually I gave up and bought myself a new one. Almost as small as a lipstick holder. How can this be - technology eh! Well I'd better stop rambling here and get to the point (thank heavens I hear you saying.) The point being that I couldn't get to grips with it and have now 'swapped' with my husband and am back where I started - story of my life?

Here are a few pics (do excuse the quality) that I have taken over recent weeks of some of my thrifty finds.
Apple crumble and mis-labelled apple and blackberry pie from the local church Autumn fayre. I find local fetes and fayres the best source of home bakes, jams, chutneys and preserves. I stock my cupboards and freezer very often after a Saturday morning visit to one. Of course I would never dream of 'passing them off' as my own (?)
This lovely granny square crochet blanket from our local Hospiscare shop - one of my favourite charities. The ladies that help are really sweet and know me as the 'sewing' lady!
This book on fair isle knitting which I will one day get round to learning!
This vintage floor standing anglepoise lamp was found by my husband on the white elephant stall while I was busy buying the crumbles and pies!! All for the grand sum of four pounds. Well spotted I say. A real help when sewing in the evenings - even with my specs I find it difficult to sew at night (sigh.. the joys of ageing).

This is my favourite of all. Bought from a dear old couple at a car boot. "Just clearing out my mother's things" the gentleman said. He was all of eighty himself!! He asked me to get it home safely and 'look after' it. I told him I would do more than that I would 'treasure it'!!

PS Thanks Betty for 'tagging' me I'm working on it! Also thank you Gill for the mention :))

Ooops just found out that the blanket pic is on twice and I have noooo idea how to delete it - so any advice would be gratefully received?

Monday, 15 October 2007

An Uncanny Likeness

I have spent the last few days with my family in Wales. My sister has been visiting from Canada and it has been lovely to 'catch up'. As always there was lots of reminiscing and my mother took the opportunity to show off old photographs. This one is me with my two older brothers, Howard and John. It was the annual school photograph and I must be all of five or six. We were all turned out in our best bit of wool (I remember the itching well!!) The sequence of events was that the eldest in the family would be sent to collect siblings from each of their respective classes. How proud I used to be when my big brothers came to collect me. We then trundled off to the hall where a cheerful photographer positioned you all, straightened ties (?) and bows (in my case) and then told a silly joke to make you smile. Clearly this didn't work with me!!When I showed the photograph to my husband he went off to my sewing space and came back with this pattern folder he gave me a few months ago. At the time he said he thought I could have been the little girl on the front - concentrating on her sewing. This was before he had seen this photograph. I have to admit I do see a resemblance. Do you ?

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Thought for the day.

I am not by nature an envious person. I have reached that time in life when I can honestly say I like my life. I consider the important things to be good health and inner contentment. That's not to say there are things that I wouldn't change if I could - but generally nothing major. Since starting out on this whole blog thing this feels like a common theme amongst many of you. It may never be said but on the whole most of you seem to share a similar opinion and I feel you are kindred spirits. Why is this? It's possibly an age thing - although I know that there are bloggers of all ages out there.I ask myself could it be the whole creative thing - be that sewing, cooking or any other craft, giving us a common bond? Or could it be the whole thrift / recycling ethos. You know the "make do and mend" principle of my parent's generation? The notion of being satisfied. Come to think of it that's probably how I'll sum up my feelings about my life "satisfied". What do you think? I have no great ambition (the dream of owning a shop full of vintage fabric that no one is allowed to buy excluded of course!) Ah well enough meandering I'm off to the car boot. If I find any goodies I'll tune in later and share. Blimey, two posts from me in one day that would be something!! I'll leave you with this NFO (now finished object ). The heart fabric is made by stitching channels through layers of fabric and 'slashing' in between with this little tool. After washing and drying you end up with a chenille type fabric. Very easy and great fun.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Love is ......


Despite having a list of things he wanted to do this morning - he agreed to walk to the beach with me.

He stood patiently waiting while I chatted away to someone I knew from work for what seemed like a few minutes but was probably 20-30!

He smiled sweetly when we came upon a car boot sale.

As if all this wasn't enough, he went for the grand finale??

He spotted (how did I miss it?), this little number. A vintage wicker shopping trolley - which is full size but looks little in this picture. Before I'd even picked up it's scent he had bought it for a bargain three pound fifty.

Then my beautiful, considerate, kind husband carried it all the way back home (sigh - that's me)

Friday, 17 August 2007

And the Lazy Blogger Award goes to ......

....Mary from 'and sew to sleep'!?!? Well if there ever was such an award I would be top of the nomination list. I have been one seriously lazy blogger over the past few (5!!) weeks. I went AWOL from my blogging responsibilities. Worse than that I've been 'lurking' a little and not even leaving comments (shame on me).

My excuse....well there isn't one - well not a legitimate one - so I won't insult your intelligence by making one up. So what brought me back to the land of lovely bloggers? Well today I tuned in to find a comment from Gill telling me that I had won her give away. Thank you Gill, it really made my day.

Then there is the story linked to the yellow courgette!! This is true folks.

I have never said in my posts but I work full time as a nurse. I trained back in the 1970's, went on to train as a Midwife and then as a District Nurse. A career that has spanned 33 years to date. It is wonderful work - despite the many pressures and difficulties associated with today's health service.

I have worked with some really lovely people who over the years have become good friends. However best of all has been meeting many (too many to count) amazing people who despite the most awful problems, rarely complain and are always grateful for your help. I never fail to be humbled by this strength in people.

Yesterday I was reminded of this.
One dear elderly gentleman who can barely walk and is in constant pain gave me some of these beautiful yellow courgettes. Now to the amazing part of this story. They came from his allotment that he works on every single day. Mostly on his hands and knees!! He produces the most fantastic fruit and vegetables and grows flowers worthy of Chelsea RHS. I have never heard him complain and he always has a smile to offer.

As I chopped away at the courgettes tonight I made a decision to get on and 'do' -rather than 'putting things off".

Hence the new post after 5 weeks absence.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

I'll be back soon.

Promise xxxx

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Easy on the socks

This is a plea to all you clever knitters out there. I am overcome with the urge to knit socks. Now I'm not sure where this comes from. It's not as if it's Winter and my toes are cold (although with this weather you might think it was). It's just that I want - no need to knit socks. Problem is that although I can knit, albeit at a basic level - I am terrified of using circular needles. Seriously how will I work out how many rows I've done?? So if anyone out there can point me in the direction of a simple and very easy pattern I would be most grateful.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Where does the time go?

Do you ever wonder what you do with your time? This last month has passed by in a blur and I'm left feeling bedraggled. The reason...well I don't really know. Maybe it's just the weather that's making me feel like this. After all it is Summer and supposed to be long hot days and evenings spent in the garden?? Yeah I think that's the problem... the weather. So now that's sorted I'll move on.

Life here has been eventful. My daughter has finished her degree and had her final show/exhibition in Southampton. We all turned out at the opening night and had a great time. She has also decided to stay up there and find work. She is moving in with some friends to share a house. Although it was always a strong possibility that she wouldn't come back to Devon it now feels very final. A strange feeling.

My middle child is on an Archaeological dig as part of his degree so will hardly be home this Summer. That leaves my youngest who has just finished his GCSE's and as he proudly declares "seen the back of compulsory education". I don't have the heart to point out that he's hoping to go back to do A Levels (entirely his choice)...I think it might take the edge off his mantra!

You know as I read this back I think I may be suffering from empty nest syndrome. Although a few years ago a friend whose children had flown said that the first she realised it had happened was when her house stayed tidy and she had to wait for enough washing to accumulate before putting the washing machine on. So let me think ...tidy house, less laundry. I wish!!

The picture I've posted is WIP. A quilt for my youngest. The design is called "Bullseye Revisited". I started it at a one day workshop back in the Spring and I really must get it finished. So enough from me. Take Care all of you I'll be back ....sometime.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

The Ugly Duckling.

At last week's car boot I came upon a very 'shabby' piece of linen. That is shabby "shall I not even buy it" - not shabby as in Cath Kidston Vintage style. It really was a scrap and even the seller looked at me rather strangely when I asked the price. Looking back I think she had used it to protect some china pieces in transit. Anyway for the sum of 25 pence I became the owner of this sorry little piece of fabric. Even after washing it didn't really inspire me but I decided to rise to the challenge and give it a chance. Well lo and behold with a little effort, some cotton batting as a sandwich and an inside coat of vintage Laura Ashley this ugly duckling turned into a swan. Well I happen to think you?

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Tea anyone?

Gosh I can't believe it's been nearly two weeks since my last post. I suppose like many of you out there I've just been really busy. Work, decorating and gardening are just a few of my recent activities. I would like to share a post about a gift that arrived in the post for me this morning. It came from my dear daughter who is in her final year at University in Southampton. She is just finishing a degree in Fine Art (just like her Dad) and at the moment she is working very hard preparing for her degree show which is on June 15th. In the middle of all this she thought of me when she spotted this beautiful felted tea cosy in a charity shop (she is her Mothers' daughter!) She has a very good eye and often spots a good bargain. So folks.... if your passing by Devon give me a call and I'll pop the kettle on and to my dear, darling girl thank you very very much. I love you lots.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

What's in a number?

I know from reading your posts that a lot of you are around my age. Of course I can't tell you all what my age is because as you know from my previous posts and comments - blogger or my key board has a bit of a problem printing the specific numbers. I really must get that sorted! Still, it's suffice to say I often run a temperature at night but don't have an infection and I have trouble remembering my name but I don't have dementia. Apparently I am suffering from a condition which is temporary and begins with M - but I can't remember what it is. Get where I'm coming from Girls?? So, all of this is my excuse for creating these gorgeous little felt baby shoes last weekend. Now all I need to do is hear from a friend or relative who is pregnant. Problem is none of them are? My long suffering other half thinks I've gone barking mad! Particularly as I have them on my bedside table to look at last thing at night and first thing in the morning!!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Thinking of Madeleine

No fancy script for this one. This caring blogger designed this button and offers us all to share it. Lets hope and pray this little girl is soon back home and the family is once again complete. Pass it on.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Recycled linen (4).

I found it quite difficult to 'use' this favourite tray cloth in a recycled project. The finished cushion is for my mother-in-law's birthday which is soon. She always appreciates and treasures any homespun gifts I have made which makes parting with this spotty job a little easier. Once again the tray cloth was already beautifully embroidered and I simply added some text and small details. The back is embellished with Yo yos. Hope you enjoy the view.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

New book - new craft?

Today this book arrived from Amazon - I do so love that website. Since I started 'lurking' and then actual blogging I have seen some lovely work with textiles and collage from some talented bloggers. It prompted me to buy this book to maybe have a go. Best of all I have booked a place for a 'taster' session on book making and binding using various medium including textiles. This is run by our local Adult Education centre. The session covers the basics and you can then decide if you wish to sign up for a longer course in the Autumn. Great idea don't you think? Best of all the first session is free and you pay five pounds for any other 'tasters' you book. So I've also booked felt-making and stained glass making. A great way to find out more about a craft don't you agree? So I hope this is the start of a new friendship with book making for me. Watch this space. Oops sorry I've just previewed and these aren't the best of pictures. Just hope it gives you a taster :))

Monday, 7 May 2007

Weird - Me?

Well I've been tagged thanks Betty and Kim. I have to share seven weird things about myself! Now I know I'm weird but not that weird so I'll only do one list :)) Here goes.

*I gave birth to my eldest son on his Dad's birthday. As did my Mother with my eldest brother.

*The fabric I use has to 'feel' right. If I touch it and it 'feels' wrong - it's out. Doesn't matter if the colour and pattern is perfect. It's still out. Lucky for me most fabric has the right 'feel'!

*I hate prawns but love prawn cocktail flavoured crisps.

*Last year I bought a job lot of craft books from a local auction room. Browsing through one of them I came across a receipt. The name on the receipt was my maiden name - both christian and surname.

*I love chocolate but definitely NOT chocolate cake.

*On a quick visit to a local DIY store I picked up a tin of paint in a shade of green I rather fancied. It was also heavily reduced!! When I got home and read the label - the colour was 'William and Mary green'. My name and that of my husband!

*I like my toast 'stone cold' before it's buttered. I've even been known to pop it in the fridge.

Well I don't know about weird - I think this list makes me sound spooky!!

So, now to the best bit. It seems I have the pleasure of tagging four people. The lucky winners are: Gill, Alison, Jo and Julia. Good luck everyone.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Recycled Linen (3)

Since it's Friday and the end of a long week,
I thought I'd share a secret???!! Oh yes are you all ears - no that should be eyes because your reading this right?
Anyhow listen carefully ..........I remember Biba. Now there's more.... I don't mean the reincarnation in today's designs. I mean the original. Yeah I knew that would shock you. You didn't think I sound that old :))) LOL- of course my age has nothing to do with me not posting a picture of myself on this blog. Definitely not - just haven't had the time?? Anyway - back to the business in hand. Where were we ? Oh yes Biba. I used to looove the clothes , make up and even the bags they put your buys in - just divine. So where is this leading you ask. Well......memories of Biba came flooding back when I found this set of four linen placemats in a car boot last weekend and a cotton pillowcase - so 70's all for the princely sum of 60pence.

After a little thinking I designed and made this...really it's just another take on a tote bag pattern with a button detail on the corners. I used Timtex to add strength to the gusset. Has anyone else tried this I know Amy Butler uses it in her bags. Of course I'm not comparing myself to such talent.....if only!! One thing I can be sure of is that my darling daughter will want this one!
Have a good weekend everyone.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Any excuse for a UFO.

It was glorious weather again today. After lunch I had lots to choose from...

I could clean the garden room (posh name for my lean to) windows.

I could bake (like my good Mam used to on a Sunday afternoon).

I could catch up on letter writing (except it's all phone calls, e-mails and text messages these days).


I could sit in the deck chair soak up the sun and finish this UFO. Which is exactly what I did. So what you see here is a little velvet purse made out of the left overs from an earlier project (see previous post). It's lined in pretty Liberty and embellished with a Yo yo and a little crystal button. Oh and of course just a weenie bit of hand embroidery. Trouble is I'm sure I will never use it - a bit too pretty for me. Maybe my daughter will use it for her University summer ball. We shall see.
Sorry about the quality of the photo - if you click to enlarge it looks better. If not try crossing your eyes!!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Tis the season to be jolly.

The one thing I love about this country is the seasons and the the ever changing landscape. I can't say I have a true favourite as they all offer something different but special in their own right. However I have to say that my spirit is lifted high by the sign of Spring. People smile and generally look happy [jolly?]. This year with the warmest April on record the gardens are reaping the benefit of early sunshine. Today when I popped home for my lunch break I sat in my garden and wondered at how beautiful and clever plants are. They 'hide' through Winter and then pop up and produce amazing blooms! Here are some corners of my garden that I photographed today.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Burnt Offering

Last week I managed to fit in a day at a workshop learning a wonderful, clever fabric technique. The technique was created by a lady called Jennifer Trollope who is very talented. Her work features in the journal "Fabrications Quilting UK". This technique involves layering fabric, felt and organza. After stitching the design you then "burn" through to reveal the original fabric (seen in one of the pics) This can the be embellished with beads, stitching etc. I made mine into a small scissor holder. It is so clever - even I managed it!! Although Jennifer is a very good teacher!

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Recycled Linen (2)

When I started "blogging", I seriously under estimated the amount of inspiration and motivation I would get from fellow bloggers! As a result of this clever lady's post I dug deep into my collection of old linen and found a tray cloth I picked up for pence at a car boot. It was already beautifully embroidered to a standard I could never hope to reach. However, I did feel confident enough to add some text using transfers from this fab book. The text I've embroidered looks as if it's getting smaller but I promise it's the angle the pic was taken at! Using some quilt fabric I turned the finished linen into a cushion. It's such a good feeling to give these old pieces "new life" and in a way pay respect to the women who spent hours stitching them in the first place.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

The birds are nesting.

The sun is shining, the birds are nesting. It must be Spring! Happy Easter everyone.

Monday, 2 April 2007

UFO's meet Yo Yo's

I sometimes feel like the Queen of UFO's (unfinished objects.) The problem is (and blogging adds to this) I keep finding new patterns / ideas that I just have to try out. Consequently I end up with a growing "stock" of UFO's. I've even been known to buy other people's UFO's. You know - the half completed project found in the charity shop or car boot sale that's crying out for a loving home where it will be finished! Hmmm ?? Tonight keen to try something with my newly made heart YoYo's - I suddenly came over all saintly and decided to complete a UFO. So using up some of my "traditional " Yo Yo stock - I finished this velvet bag. It's made from vintage velvet (old curtains), lined with Liberty cotton (not seen in this pic) and embellished with YoYo's. Now I should sleep like a blog oops I mean log- being such a saint and all that! Night night everyone.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Yo Yo's revisited

If ever I am travelling (or chilling out in front of the television) I keep this little box of hand-stitching beside me. Little hearts are created and alongside this all sizes of YoYo's. I LOVE Yo Yo"s. I think they are just so pretty and can be used to embellish lots of projects. Apart from this they use up little scraps that would otherwise be forgotten. So imagine my joy when I found this tutorial from this clever lady. While your there take a look at her dog collar projects - amazing! So needless to say I spent most of yesterday evening producing these little gems - click on pic to enlarge. Now I have an idea to use them in a project involving that linen tea towel. Watch this space?