24 December 2009


This is my last post before Christmas. Getting everything ready for a trip down south first thing Christmas morning and an anxious eye on the weather to see if it'll be safe to go. There were snow showers last night and this morning, but the weather is gradually warming and is thawing slightly, so we'll wait and see.

Here are some photos of Christmas trees. Shopping trips recently to Wakefield after work and Leeds just this last Saturday and there are some lovely decorated trees out there.

This is the tree outside Wakefield Cathedral. It stands alongside what was the German Market. The market didn't last out until Christmas as it was closed down.
And this is the one in City Square, just opposite the railway station. In the background is the Old Post Office, which now houses restaurants and bars.

And here is our own Christmas tree. Had to buy a new one this year (we only have artificial trees, never real) and this one is said to fool Father Christmas that it's a real one. I say that after several sherries and mince pies he won't notice the difference!!

Last year I bought a snowmen decoration which has multicolour lights and has a lovely glow from our bay window and they are really cute. Here they are again.

20 December 2009

Christmas Makes and Surprises

I saw this on another blog and I thought, why not, lets be part of a Show n Tell and so I'll share what I've made this month...
The December BQL Challenge quilt and above is the front, below is the back. I blogged this a short while ago but I never showed the back of this little quilt (it's only 12" square).
Those snowmen look rather jolly, don't they. This is the last BQL challenge and will miss what will come in the next month. I'm sure there are more things out there to challenge me.
Another item that I've made has been a Christmas card with my needlefelting machine and stitched onto card. This was for the Embellisher Group and was sent to Pam in Port Talbot. I hope that she likes this. The background is made from white velvet with cream scrim and some Angelina fibre trapped between the layers. The Christmas tree is green wool roving with Angelina fibre and green organza. Then the tree was punched onto the background fabric. I zigzagged around the edge with a glittery thread before sewing onto the card.

Now the surprises
As for the surprises, as part of the same swap I received this card from Janet. A lovely rich looking figgy pudding, with some flames on the top. It really looks lovely.
Another surprise was this wonderful little stocking with this gorgeous little deer button on the top from my friend Chris. In the stocking was a tea bag with a little verse to remember her on Christmas Day when I have the tea. Lovely!

13 December 2009

Here's Freddie

After a quick dash down south as mentioned in my last post and lovely to have time to see my son Jamie and his family and have a cuddle of the new baby.

So here he is, Freddie. When we visted Carly and Freddie were still in hospital he could have had an infection so has been on antibiotics to be on the safe side, but they should be out of hospital soon, if not out already, by this time.

08 December 2009

Somethings happened now

Today we've had big news - daughter-in-law Carly had her baby - a week late. He is quite a size, weighing in at 10lbs 4oz and his name is Freddie. No pics to show as yet, I think Jamie is too tired but he'll e-mail some tomorrow, so I hope to share then. Hopefully we'll have a quick dash down south to see the new arrival (and his family of course).

Meanwhile I have also managed to finish the last of the challenge quilts and this one below is my December one.

This is a quick mosaic with raw edged pieces of fabric (my choice was Christmas fabrics throughout, pinned and stitched on. For the edging I have some ricrac with gold metallic thread through it. I didn't have enough of either the red or the green to go all around so opted for 2 opposite sides in red and the others in green. I shouldn't have used a green fabric background to place this on as the ricrac edging doesn't show up to well. But I am pleased with my effort and it was very quick to do.

06 December 2009

Not much happening...

I hoped to say that I've done sewing and I am in the process of doing the December Challenge quilt, but not finished, nothing to show yet. More importantly I was hoping to say that I have a new grandchild, due 1 December, but nothing yet, my poor daughter-in-law is still waiting.

I did say in my last post that I had photos from our visit to Manchester so here goes. 3 weeks ago we went to The Lowry which is an arts complex with theatre and galleries then over the bridge on the Manchester Ship Canal to the Imperial War Museum north. It was a wet day again - the last few weekends have been like that- but at least most of what we went to see was indoors and it was an enjoyable day out.
And here's another view of The Lowry..

This is the outside of The Lowry, the entrance has this peculiar shovel thing above it.

Going over the canal via a swing bridge across to the Imperial War Museum North. There is a connecting pathway with occasional mosaic pictures in it.
This is the outside of the Museum, looks very grey and gloomy, just like the weather. There is an observation platform the top of the tower.

I hope next time I have some news.

29 November 2009

Been further North

Just come back from a weekend away near Bishop Auckland, to celebrate his birthday, my birthday and our anniversary - they are very close together and it saves buying each other presents. Disappointingly the weather was really awful returning home today, hoped to have taken a gentle jaunt home stopping at a few places on the way, but it was chucking it with rain. By the time we returned home it stopped raining - argghhh!

No piccies taken this weekend, but will post some of a couple of weeks ago when we crossed the border to go Manchester later.

Had a thought though. I love making postcards and haven't made any lately and wonder if anyone would want to swap with a postcard with me in January as a bit of New Year cheer. I don't want to be inundated as I'll swap with up to 10 people. If you've never made a postcard then I can give you instructions. Leave a comment on this post by 10 December and I'll get in contact by e-mail.

25 November 2009

Knitting & Stitching Show Harrogate

On Sunday I went with the Barnsley Embroiderers to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate. A good place to shop and lots of things to see, but not a lot of photos as the artists there do not want photos taken, but in one of the halls there was this delightful knitted boat with knitted sea life around it. The boat was made as a project between February and September this year by the Customs House Arts Centre, South Shields and is called "Casting Off...A Coat For a Boat". (I was trying to find a link for this on the Arts Centre website, but I can't find one).
Oops! I think this photo is on its side!! You can see various sea life and a life belt.

And this one above shows a couple of lovely little seal pups with a star fish and some sea weed - all knitted.
By the time I left late afternoon it was getting dark in Harrogate and the lights on the trees were switch on. This was the view just across the road from the Conference Centre where the show was held.
And from the green looking up the main street. The Turkish Baths are to the right.

I did buy a couple of books - arty ones about sketchbooks, some magazines and threads, but no fabric or yarn (not sure what's wrong with me). I have found when I bought a new (larger) storage container with drawers in it just how much fabric I have got and I think that may have been the deciding factor in not buying any more, well, for the time being.

It was an enjoyable day out and lovely to have a wander around the exhibits and not feel rushed.

15 November 2009

Sewing Sunday

It's nice to have some time to sew and have time clear to get on with something. This week during the evenings when the television has been rubbish I've got on with November's BQL Calendar Challenge quilt and this morning I've got it finished. As you can see it's Drunkard's Path this month. I echo quilted it with some smoky coloured metallic thread and found some fuzzy yarn to edge it instead on binding. It now has pride of place on the wall in my sewing room.

The next thing to get on with is my Secret Santa offering which has to go well before the end of the month. This is just a sneaky peak and I won't show completed pics until after Christmas. One of the items that I'm making involves some sewing and flipping.And I've also make a few other things too which has used some of my Christmas fabric.
I've also been browsing some blogs this evening and when looking at Vintage Giraffe's site found a link to a blog about selvedges (or selvages in American) here . I made some selvedge postcards about a couple of years ago, but had no idea what a following there is with people using their selvedges creatively. Looks like I'll have to get my bag of edges out and see what I can make with them.

10 November 2009

Well travelled camera

Back from a week in Dorset and back to work as normal, I have to tell you the story about my camera. I’d taken this with me to take photos of my youngest granddaughter Isobel’s christening. I’d left it behind at my son’s house while I went off to Dorset to my parents’ house. He’d phoned ahead of my arrival to say that I’d left it behind, but never mind, he would be up north the next day and would pass this onto David.

Alex took the train to Darlington and picked up a hire car, he’d got off the train, went back for the bag which contained my camera (amongst other things) but the train doors were shut and the train continued its journey ending in Glasgow. Alex eventually had to drive to Glasgow to collect the bag, which someone had handed in. Fortunately all the contents of the bag were still in it – very fortunate indeed. So after returning to his home, we then were able to meet up at my other son’s in Southampton and be reunited with my camera. It was also good to meet up with my sons and daughters-in-law and all 3 (at the moment) grandchildren again before we (David joined me at the weekend) drove back up North again.

Here is a photo of the little lady with her lovely cream dress aahhh.

And with her sister Sophie and parents.

Just in time I finished a quilt for her. I made a Paddington Bear quilt, the kit that I saw at Bramble Patch a few months before, which I hope she’ll like. Before I went away I took the photo above (being held up by David). The blocks were not printed square so took a bit of persuasion, starch and blocking to get square, but I was pleased with the outcome.

I had an enjoyable stay, the chance to have time with my parents and to see friends - working and quilting - and family. Whilst down there we celebrated my Mum's 80th birthday too. Wish I could have stayed longer.

30 October 2009

A Break for a Week

I will be going down south for the week but before I leave I thought I would post a few photos. Last night David & I went to Brodsworth Hall near Doncaster for their Enchanted Gardens event, where the house and gardens were lit against the dark autumn sky. It was very busy, but well organised and it was a delight to walk around in the warmish (for this time of year) evening. Of course the bright lights are challenging for the camera so I took a lot of photos but they were more miss than hit, but a few decent-ish ones were taken.
Above is the Hall all lit up. There were different coloured lights shone on it, but when I took this it was white.And above and below, some spooky looking trees as blue light was shone from underneath some Monkey Puzzle trees and yellow for another group of trees, emphasising the autumn colours. The photos are a little fuzzy but the best I could get from the challenging conditions.
I've also put a couple of other photos, one is of the bell that I made at the Regional Day a couple of weeks ago.

And my white orchid, which is flowering like mad. To date it has 9 blooms with a 10th about to come out and another 10 buds at least on it. I put some mobile phone pics on my Facebook page too. How many more flowers will appear while I am away?

I will be going to my granddaughter's christening on Sunday in West Sussex, then after spending some time with my parents in Christchurch.

23 October 2009

A year in Yorkshire

Just a short post to mention that it was a year ago today that David and I moved from Poole to Pontefract. It's been an eventful year of missing friends and relatives, but making new friends. Finding work was a challenge, but doing temporary work at the beginning of this year, confirmed to me that I have skills that I can use, even though the numerous interviews seemed harrowing at times. I've now got a temporary contract which'll keep me going until about halfway through next year, which I'm grateful for.

I've also got to know some lovely countryside, nice places to go and visit and made the most of what seems at present like a long holiday with a bit of work in between! I love the markets in Doncaster (a town I discovered I liked when I worked there for a few short weeks) and Barnsley that are nothing like what there is down south.

I've enjoyed the visits from people that have stayed with us and have been out and about with.

Still miss Poole, but it doesn't hurt quite so much as when I first moved up here. Just thought I'd share my thoughts.

18 October 2009

Quilters Guild Regional Day

I hadn't been to a regional meeting since long before I left Dorset, so decided to go to this one for the Yorkshire and Humberside at Dewsbury, only 40 minutes drive away yesterday. The speaker in the morning was Dilys Fronks, who is shortly to retire from the speaking and workshop circuit. She told of her discovery of patchwork and quilting in the early 80's right up to the current work she is doing today and of her speciality of applique. She is best known for her wrought iron reverse applique.

There was a show and tell where I took my 10 little calendar quilts and there were a lot of others showing some fantastic work.

After lunch there were mini workshops which included a christmas bell, christmas cracker and Colonial Knot mini cushion. I went for the Christmas bell and sewn the little sections, however they aren't completed at present so I'm not showing it here just yet. Just got to be stuffed and joined together, which I hope shouldn't take too long.

However the most tempting thing were the traders, one from the Skep Mill shop (from Pudsey, Leeds) and another trader who it seems is selling off her stock. I managed to buy some fat quarters of Christmas fabrics with some country style ribbon and a metre of fabric with turtles on. Also I'd bought Dilys' book Enchanted Views, on the wrought iron reverse applique and an Australian caft magazine.
It was a great day out and lovely to be amongst quilters albeit that I didn't know anyone there, but it wasn't long before I got talking to people.

12 October 2009

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Our latest foray in Yorkshire this weekend was the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, just off the M1 between Barnsley and Wakefield. The weather started off grey and wet, however the sky broke then the sun shone and it was a glorious, if windy, autumnal day.

This part of Yorkshire is has two well known sculptors that are represented here - Barbara Hepworth (who was born in Wakefield) and Henry Moore (from Castleford). This year also had an exhibition by Peter Randall Page.

Unfortunately, I can't show you any of the exhibits as photography is for private use only so here I've just included the scenery, but the link above to the Park is quite comprehensive so do take a look. The gardens were wonderful with the autumnal colour. Below is a pic of the formal gardens with the underground gallery on the right hand side.

And this is something that I see on my way to work, on my way home and here from the park... the Emley Moor transmitter tower, over towards Huddersfield. It dominates a lot of the scenery around here.

Below is the colour of the trees in the park . This was part of the hillside area, where to the left there are sculptures by Barbara Hepworth. Husband (in the red coat) is unaware that I've got him in this pic.Below are some people taking the trek across the field to the gallery about 2 kilometres from the main gallery. The small white square just about the middle of the photo is where we were aiming for. This is looking towards Barnsley in the distance.

08 October 2009

Aren't these winter cabbages gorgeous. I could resist taking a photo of these when we went to a garden centre last Saturday. The Wentworth Garden Centre is between Barnsley and Rotherham and it has gardens for the public to enjoy that are currently being restored to their former glory. While there we saw some deer in a paddock, and the stag below, looks rather magnificent.

And there was another small fallow deer feeding from the vegetation growing just outside the fence.

Just to show I have been sewing this week, here is the BQL Challenge Quilt. If you go to my side bar there is a link to see more lovely quilts that has been made for October so far.
Not sure if you can see clearly (click on the photo to get a larger image) the pink pinwheels are 3-d folded a lovely effect in real life that doesn't quite come out in the photo. I didn't have enough of the batik to do a border, so I used and orange/brown one instead to keep with the autumnal look.

Just 2 more quilts of this challenge to go now. I have enjoyed the calendar quilts challenge a lot and like the bag one last year it's good to have something completed than being part of a larger article. I have been thinking about forgoing the challenges next year to concentrate on a large quilt. Haven't done anything big for sometime now and would be nice to do a project that I can "get my teeth into". I had cut out one postcard group and decided to scale down the postcards for now. So there may be less finished stuff and more in progress stuff instead.

29 September 2009


Sorry, had to say it - it's only just 12 weeks - less than 3 months to Cbristmas (and I apologise in advance if this depresses anyone!). So I have started early with some ideas for presents, but before that I had a stocking to make for my youngest granddaughter Isobel. As her dad, Alex, stayed with us this weekend, I made one for her ready for Christmas. A few years back I bought a panel of 3 of Nancy Halvorsen's "Peppermint & Hollyberries" Christmas stockings fronts from the Quilt Room, 2 of which have been used for stockings for the older two grandchildren. As we are expecting no. 4 at the beginning of December I needed more stocking fronts and found a similar panel from the same designer but slightly different designs which I bought at the Skep Mill in Pudsey. So I can get a 4th one in progress to a point where I just need to get the name embroidered before finishing off.

With each of the stockings that I've made I've outlined the shapes by hand on the fronts and machine quilted the backs before joining the fronts and backs with bias binding. I liked this design as it is cute enough a design for a youngster and hopefully will still be cool enough for when they get older.

21 September 2009

September Challenge Quilt

Some sewing to show on the blog for a change. If you have been following my blog I have been making a 12" quilt each month as part of the BQL challenge (see a link to the challenge quilts on the sidebar. This one has taken a little while as there were 16 x 3" log cabin squares, which given their size I found easier to foundation (paper) piece. These blocks were an exercise in colour value having the coloured centres against a light or dark background.

It was another opportunity to use my black and white fabrics as I love the contrast between both and the bright coloured centres add to the contrast. I used Stitch 'n' Tear for the foundations, as although I had to draw on the stabiliser took time I could leave that in and not have to tear it away so saving time that way.

Here it is in its glory - and yes I did know that 2 orange centred blocks were next to each other - never mind.This last weekend we went to Saltaire as David went to a model railway exhibition in nearby Shipley. As part of Saltaire's Art Week, where there were open studios, there was also a festival taking place, with market and live music entertainment. A very lively place and it seemed that best part of West Yorkshire were there it was so busy.

I then met up with David at Salts Mill and a chance to see the arty stuff there. David Hockney's paintings have a display there and it is a nice place to have a meander.

Sunday afternoon we decided to make the most of the warm sunshine (why didn't we have any of this in summer?) by going to Old Moor RSPB Bird Reserve near Barnsley to have a wander. Above is the totem pole near the entrance and there were more wood sculptures at the reserve. Not only did we see birds but there were a lot of dragonflies, one of which landed on this gate. Think I should have used macro mode to take this, but it turned out ok.There were several bird nesting boxes decorated by children dotted around the reserve and couldn't resist taking a photo of the de-luxe accommodation.

14 September 2009

(Grand) Day out in London

It's a very rare occasion that we go to London. Find it far to hectic, but a suggestion earlier this year that my daughter, Sarah, reminded us of was to see the Wallace and Gromit exhibition at the Science Museum, which we were keen to see. David and I went down to London by train, just one and three quarter hours from Doncaster, quicker than had we gone there from the south coast where we used to live, even though Yorkshire is further from London.

So arranged with my sister Wen and Sarah we met up with them, Wen's husband George and son Tyler and the six of us went to visit the London Eye as well as the Science Museum. We hadn't been on the London Eye before but before going on this there was a 5 minute 4-d film show, which was quite impressive with a flying seagull appearing to fly just in front of us.

Here's some pics from the London Eye (a mix of mine, David's and George's photo's). Below is the London Eye (from the Golden Jubilee Bridge after our ride). Following this is the view of Big Ben, then St Paul's Cathedral - now dwarfed by the office blocks that surround it.

Charing Cross train station is above with the BR Tower behind it. I remember the BT Tower once being the tallest building in London.And a time for family photos. This one above of David, me and Sarah taken by George.
Then Wen, Tyler and George taken by me.

We were quite enjoyed the Wallace and Gromit exhibition and also had a chance to see a few other exhibits within the Science Museum.

As we returned to Kings Cross and our return to Doncaster, David and I went to see the newly refurbished St Pancras rail station, which is the new terminus for the Eurostar trains. It is now a very sophisticated place to start a journey to Europe with designer shops and bars on the forecourt. There were also some notable features like the large clock, previously abandoned and now restored and in it rightful place. Also found a bronze statue of Sir John Betjemin, who wrote quite a few poems based on railway journeys.