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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Back to reality...

Well the wedding is over, and what a fabulous day it was.  Beautiful weather, beautiful bride, beautiful everything!!

We had such a wonderful time but now it's over I can relax, think about my holiday at the end of next week, and get on with some more sewing and felting.  I did make quite a few things for the wedding though, which i can now reveal.  Firstly, I made lots of things for the centre of each table: a small, circular cloth edged in polka dot bias binding;  a table name made from a wooden teapot shape covered in vintage style paper with the name of the table written on (my husband made the wooden stands) and I also arranged the flowers in the little jugs on each table.

Continuing the theme, I then made a table plan board using polka dot fabric stapled onto board, with smaller teapots with the table names on.  My daughter attached a peg to the back of each one so that she could clip the guests' names to them and attach them to the board.  She also, I'm really proud to say, made the bunting flags-the first time she's attempted anything like that (so glad I bought her a sewing machine for her last birthday!!).

On the bunting theme - I made metres of it!! It was all around the room and looked so pretty.  We put some on the sweetie shelves along with some pretty, covered wooden hearts.  I also did some bunting for behind the top table.

Finally, I also made some bags.  Two little Dorothy bags for the flower girls and a lacy clutch for the bride.

I think I'll set up as a wedding planner!!  It's got to be more fun than trying to get teenagers to understand the rudiments of the English language (she said with a sigh).

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Book and bag blogpost.

I've just finished reading a great book - The Abomination by Jonathan Holt.  It's the first in a trilogy, is set mainly in Venice (that hooked me straightaway, to be honest - one of my favourite places), is a thriller/crime novel and involves the CIA, the carabinieri, the US military, the mafia and the catholic church.  Oh, and a computer hacker. A heady mix to be sure but it was well written, pacy and I can't wait for the next instalment.

I've been very busy making stuff for our daughter's wedding on 5th October.  Obviously I don't want to spoil the surprise for our guests but I can reveal the handbag that I made for myself. I used a frame from  and bought some vintage navy velvet.  The lining I already had in my stash.  I'm really proud of how it turned out:

Don't worry, I'll bore you all rigid with wedding stuff after the event, but to tease  you here are some of the things I used to complete all my projects:
  • lace, fabric, ribbon
  • wood, glue, paint, marker pens
  • wall stapler, sewing machine
  • bondaweb, thread, scrapbook papers
See you soon.  Thanks for visiting x

Thursday, 29 August 2013


I'm drowning in bunting, clutch bags, basket liners etc etc!!!  Five weeks till the wedding.  Keep checking - if there's a lull I'll do a proper post.
Thanks for popping by,
Chris x

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The windmills of my mind....

This hot weather has not been good for blogging activity. It seems to have stifled all my writing inspiration which is very unusual. It's also the end of the school year and those that know me well understand that I generally enter a vegetative state for a couple of weeks at this point. 
I had the idea, the other day, of decorating the walls of the downstairs loo with lots of my favourite quotations and, during one sultry night when I couldn't sleep they were coming into my head thick and fast:

  •  Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood - "It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea"  
  • My favourite book of all, my comfort read, Gerald Durrell's My Family And Other Animals - "Then suddenly the sun shifted over the horizon, and the sky turned the smooth enamelled blue of a jay's eye." 
  • Seamus Heaney - too many to list but Blackberry Picking reminds me of going on walks with my Granny - "Our hands were peppered with thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's."
  • Dickens, writing in Victorian times but so relevant today.  I can almost imagine Mr Gove coming out with the following: ‘You are to be in all things regulated and governed,’ said the gentleman, ‘by fact. We hope to have, before long, a board of fact, composed of commissioners of fact, who will force the people to be a people of fact, and of nothing but fact. You must discard the word Fancy altogether. 
  • And, of course, so many quotations from Shakespeare that I find it hard to pick one although the first that comes to mind is "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine..." from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
I suspect that I could cover the walls of the whole house if I were to get started on this, so have reluctantly decided to put it on hold for a while.  The more I read, the more quotes I could come up with.  On the subject of which, I've managed to re-read all of the Shardlake novels by C.J.Sansom which has fired up (once again) my interest in all things Tudor although still not sufficiently for me to have another go at Thomas Penn's The Winter King. I had it for Christmas (2011!) but it's such a weighty tome I still haven't managed to get very far with it.

Today it is persistently raining and much cooler and so this blog post is a displacement activity for all the projects I've started but not finished.  Magnus Magnusson would be ashamed of me!! I cut out the pattern pieces for a dress on Saturday and these are now all over the worktop in the study. A bridesmaid's Dorothy Bag has suffered the same fate and I fear I have temporarily lost my sewing mojo. 

The Gleiniant Brook at the back of the house had dried out to a trickle over the last few weeks and it was eerily quiet at night - usually we can always hear the stream. However, since the thunderstorm came on Sunday, it is now beginning to fill again.  it's amazing how quickly the water level rises and falls. The garden is growing like mad and we have had a glut of broccoli. The courgettes are now beginning to appear and the peas are delicious. 

The wedding plans are coming on apace and it's starting to feel very close now. I found my wedding shoes (LOVE them!) and am now searching for the perfect bag to match them. Thinking on, I've not been as idle as I thought as I have sewn lots of table centres, and have been working on many Secret Things which I have referred to before, so all is not lost.  

This post truly is a rambling so I hope you have managed to make some sense of it. Hopefully, normal service will, as they say on the BBC, be resumed as soon as possible!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

This silence has been interrupted by a blog post!

It's been, amazingly, almost a month since my last post.  My life has been hectic and has got in the way somewhat. Flaming June was not as flaming as I (and everyone else) would have liked but we have, at least, had a few sunny intervals amidst the gloom.  Exams are over, Year 11 have departed and so my teaching timetable has eased considerably, which has given me a little more time for a bit of crafting (but not as much as I would have liked).  
After a few visits to The Wool and Willow Festival in Llanidloes.  I have been busy using up my purchases of yarn from Dyed in the Wool. I used a pattern  from Sheepfold to make this lovely, frilly topped bag:

I have also been doing some applique and free machine stitching, which is new to me but very exciting to do. I'm not sure what I'll do with this yet, probably turn it into a cushion, which is what it was on the pattern from Bustle and Sew  (Appley Dappley Cushion Cover). I think it's lovely and fresh looking.  Hope you agree!!:

I've still got some of the aforementioned yarn to use up, and lots of patterns to try out.  So many lovely things to make - so little time!!

I have to admit that I have been spending a lot of down time watching The British and Irish Lions' tour of Australia and it's been very nerve wracking!! One more match left, next weekend, the series decider.  I so envy my son and his girlfriend who are 'down under', following the team as part of their "Six Months Out".
They look like they're having so much fun!!!:

Meanwhile, back at home, plans for our daughter's wedding are coming on apace.  Only 98 days to go, which sounds like a long time but I can remember when it was double that, and it's gone in a flash - eek!
The theme is Afternoon Tea (after where the proposal took place) and we have been busily plotting, planning and making for ages now.  All top secret stuff - you'll have to wait, sorry!!  Meanwhile' here's the happy couple on proposal day!

Time flies and so must I.  Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

At last - it's flaming June!

And about time too!  Even now I still expect to look out of the window and see the rain bucketing down.  May has been a busy month in lots of ways but I am rapidly becoming the Queen Of Unfinished Projects. Even as I blog i'm aware that this is a displacement activity! At the moment the list consists of: a patchwork bed quilt for the spare room; a knitted cushion cover; several felt pieces to be made into cushion covers; an embroidery to frame; a dress pattern and fabric waiting to be dealt with and a wall hanging I started on the peg loom.  I also have things I am making for our daughter's wedding which are secret until the day. One of these days I'll catch up.....

 On the plus side, I have finished the felted bag I started, 

and made a little brooch from some felt scraps.

The nest box on the side of the house has a camera in, and there is a little family of blue tits in there.  It's lovely to watch the baby birds snoozing away quietly until, suddenly, one of the parent birds arrives with food.  Their little yellow beaks gape open and there is a frenzy of excitement as they wait to be fed.  Hopefully they will all thrive and fledge safely.  We've been watching Springwatch on TV and some of the birds on their have not been so lucky.  Ynys Hir, where the series is filmed, is not too far from here.  It's nice to see the beautiful scenery of this part of Wales being beamed around the world!

We took our touring caravan about seventy miles to the Ceredigion/Pembrokeshire border for a few days over half term.  Newcastle Emlyn is the loveliest little town - friendly people and unusual shops.  I even bought my mother-of-the-bride outfit and a very elegant hat!  Gwennie loved the sea at Poppit Sands near Cardigan, and even deigned to have a paddle.  You can see how sunny it was!  We went to the Welsh National Wool Museum at Felindre, although I was disappointed to find nothing there made of Welsh Woollen felt.

Now. Back to those unfinished items...........

Monday, 6 May 2013

A whole week of felting fun....

It seems like such a lot has happened since I last posted here.  Last weekend was this year's Wonderwool Wales, held at the Royal Welsh showground near Builth Wells - about 35 miles from where I live in Powys.  The felting group I belong too, Funky Felters, had an exhibition of our work there over the weekend so I was there for two days. On the Friday we set out our work which took a very tiring four and a half hours, but it was well worth the effort!

The following day I was back again (on very sore feet) to view everyone else's work and all the amazing trade stands.  Too much to see, so little time to see it - which was fortunate as I still managed to spend far too much money on gorgeous items like merino wool and mulberry silk from Adelaide Walker, beautiful buttons from The Textile Garden and all sorts of lovely stash from Oliver Twists. 

This weekend, as it was a bank holiday, we took our touring caravan further north in Wales to Dolgellau. It was only a short trip to see how our 10 month-old Border Collie, Gwennie, got on as a caravanning dog.  She was absolutely brilliant so no doubt we'll be off again on another trip soon.  We went to Dolgellau so that I could go to the Fubky Felters' monthly meeting.  I managed to make a small clutch bag (not quite finished yet) and nuno felted some lovely red organza with black merino wool to make a triangular scarf, which I am quite pleased with. 

The scarf has really got me thinking about other things I can make and I can't wait, now, for some more felting time.

Thanks for reading.  All comments really appreciated!!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Where did the Easter holidays go?

Goodness knows where the holidays went!  They disappeared in a flash.  The house in Staffordshire sold and we finally moved all the rest of our furniture to Wales on a very snowy day.  The words 'quart'and 'pint pot' spring to mind here but it is all squashed in to be sorted out at leisure.  The children, who both moved out ages ago, came and had a massive sort out of all the stuff they had never taken with them.  So now the garage is full of stuff to go to the tip.
It's been quiet on the sewing front since I last posted, but I did have a day with the Funky Felters and finally got to do some nuno felting.  I used an old, black synthetic chiffon scarf and some pink merino wool tops, along with the remains of a skein of Colinette Point5 wool.  The result is a beautifully soft, warm and lightweight stole which is pictured below and I'm very happy with it,  It was a NIGHTMARE to felt and took ages.  I felt like I'd gone several rounds with Mike Tyson to produce it, but it was worth the effort!!

I ended up taking the stole home to complete the felting process, during which I was ably assisted by our beautiful Border Collie, Gwennie!

Our daughter is getting married in October so there are only six months to the big day!! It's very exciting and  I can't avoid the diet for much longer :-(   I seen to have a lot to do over the coming months.  No details as it's Top Secret, but suffice to say I have enough sewing and decoupage to keep me occupied until the big day, added to which is the temptation to make my own Mother-of the-Bride outfit.  The ones I've looked at/tried on so far seem to be horrifically overpriced which really grieves me when I know how much the mark up is on these garments.  Just the very mention of the word Wedding seems to say to retailers "Treble the price - these idiots will pay anything!".  Well not this idiot, except as a very last resort.

Spring appears to have sprung at last.  In fact, I have to admit that today was the first day since the end of October that I wore a pair of shoes to work as opposed to boots.  Don't get overexcited though - I still had woolly tights on!  Let's hope the warmer weather continues - it was almost tropical today as we reached the dizzy heights of 14 degrees C.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

It's amazing what a deadline can do.......

So today I have been really busy putting the finishing touches to some of my felt pieces.  I'ts a Funky Felters day on Sunday and we have a deadline to meet.  We are putting on a display of our work at Wonderwool Wales which is at the Royal Welsh Showground near Builth Wells on the 27th and 28th April.   I have redone the stitching on the poppies piece I did ages ago, added bits to the underwater piece and finished the piece I did at last month's Funky Felters Day.

Hopefully, between us we will have enough to fill the space we have been allocated.  Most of the felters are much more experienced and creative than I am so I hope I don't let the side down!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The hills are alive......

I didn't manage a Sunday post.  Too busy marking mock exam papers but now I have half an hour to share my news.  Firstly, we have sold our house in Staffordshire (finally!) which is why I have been so busy.  It's amazing the amount of junk you can accumulate in a loft over 30 years - all of which was saved because it might come in handy.  Well it didn't and now it's at the tip.  The removal van is due here next Wednesday so I need to put my mind to the tricky problem of where to put a dresser, a bureau, several bookcases and an almost six-foot long pew. The words quart and pint pot spring to mind here. 

The other weekend (seems like years ago now) I joined The Funky Felters who meet monthly near Dolgellau and spent a lovely day felting, chatting about felting and admiring other people's felting.  I managed to produce this:

It doesn't look that interesting at the moment but it was good to do some felting again.  I'm not sure what it will turn into - a cushion or wall hanging, maybe.  Also, I want to add in some hand stitching and possibly some beads.  Someone at school alarmed me by asking if they were cannabis leaves which hadn't occurred to me, but I think it needs a bit of titivation.

The hills are alive with the sound of baa-ing around here.  The daffodils are out.  The days are getting longer.  It's the Spring equinox tomorrow.  This all begs the question "Where is the Spring?"  I'm getting tired, now, of alternately waking up to frosty fields or pouring rain.  Let's hope it improves for Easter when we have family coming to stay.  I was cheered up this afternoon when Russell, our nearest farmer, brought some ewes and their lambs up the lane past our house to the fields at the top of the hill.  I couldn't quite manage a kidnapping so took photos instead:

I forgot to mention, to those who know me, that the finger is on the mend.  For those who don't, I sliced a chunk off my left index finger with a rotary cutter whilst cutting up patchwork pieces to make a quilt.  After an emergency visit to the minor injuries unit, the bleeding was staunched  and my finger wrapped up in what seemed like an enormous quantity of bandages.  Thus, my patchworking came to a halt for a while . An added bonus was that, unfortunately, I couldn't wash up either.  Clouds, silver linings and all that :-)

Anyway, now it's just scabby. So patchworking and washing up duties will resume shortly.

Thanks for reading x 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Wot no blog posts?

Thanks for popping by. I haven't forgotten to blog! I just haven't had time.  House moving is time consuming - especially after 30 years! Maybe tomorrow I will find half an hour to write something.  Come again soon :-)

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Doesn't time fly?

It seems ages since I wrote on here, and indeed it is!  Lots of things have been going on lately which has meant that mt time at the blog has been limited.  My lovely mum had her 80th birthday so lots of celebrating with family and friends was in order.  I finally finished the patchwork cushion I made for her to mark the occasion.  I hope she likes it!  

We had my equally lovely mother-in-law to stay for a few days last week.  The weather, which we had high hopes for, was very bleak and cold so there weren't many outings.  We did, however, manage a trip out for lunch to The Lion in Llandinam. And very delicious it was too!!

There have been births, so I have been felting baby booties.  It was the first felting I had done for ages and the first resist felting I had tried, so I was quite pleased with the results. On Sunday I am going felting for the day.  More on this when I get back!

We have finally (fingers crossed!) sold our old house in England, so we need to move out the rest of our belongings.  My husband is there today clearing out the loft.  I have no idea what's up there but I suspect lots of wood and model trains - it's a mystery to me how the ceiling has never collapsed. I can't wait, now, to get all the rest of my things into our house in Wales.  It feels as if we've been in limbo for ages although it's only been a few months. The problem will be fitting it all in.  Anyone want a few hundred books?

The daffodils are out in the garden, shivering away in the cold wind.  I have to say it feels as if we will never have any sunny days again.  The hills have been shrouded in mist a lot of the time, and even Gwennie hasn't wanted to go out in the garden for a good sniff around, although on walks she has been racing through the woods and across fields with abandon.  She has to make the most of it as the lambs will be out in the fields here soon.  There are already lots of lambs on the lower lying pastures but as we are higher up, the farmers are wisely keeping them in at the moment.  It's March tomorrow.  May it come in like a lion and go out as a lamb, as the old saying goes. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

It's dull outside....

... so here are some pretty colours to cheer us up - this is the cushion I made before Christmas as a present for my daughter.  It's got bits and pieces in it from her childhood quilt cover, curtains we had at our last house and leftovers from the curtains she has in her bedroom at the home she has now.  

I had high hopes of the weather yesterday - it was bright and sunny. But now they say we may get snow again.  A good excuse to stay in, do a bit of sewing, reading and watch some Six Nations!!  Currently I'm reading the first Harry Hole novel by Jo Nesbo - The Bat.  My husband has been reading this series for ages so I thought I'd give it a try and it's good.  A bit easier going than the historical novels I've been reading lately, although I couldn't put Wolf Hall down!  Then I began the Philippa Gregory Cousins War series about Plantagenet women and have just finished The Lady of The Rivers and have The White Queen to go at next.  I'm quite excited to start this as I recently followed the programme about Richard III's skeleton being found in a car park in Leicester. As a teenager I read Josephine Tey's book about the princes in the tower and so have always been fascinated by this period.  I better finish The Bat quickly then.  To the bookcase.........

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Twenty years on....

Yesterday my Quilting Group held a Quilting Bee. Lots of people were invited for tea and cakes (NEVER refuse tea and cake. That's the law).  Anyway, we were supposed to take something along to show and tell and panic set in.  I haven't made anything since Christmas, and I gave those away. Then I found the above. I started this piece of Cathedral Window quilting twenty years ago but never finished it.  It was lurking in my stash cupboard, looking very sorry for itself, especially around the edges which were a bit stained and grubby.  Anyway, it was duly shown and told and so now I think I should finish it.  I have also started a cushion cover using triangular patches in a heart shape which were stolen from Mrs Sew and Sew who herself had copied them from Karen.  As Mrs Sew and Sew says ' Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' so I hope they're both okay with this.  I've chosen to make mine in some lovely vibrant pinks and greens. I'll put it up when I've finished. I had a lovely drive to Llandrindod Wells today as I was on a course for work.  It's lovely to see some green after days and days of snow covered hills.  On the subject of which, there are some daffodils trying to come out in the garden which have survived the harsh weather. Spring will be early again methinks although we were awoken this morning by a tremendous flash of lightning and an even bigger clash of thunder. The weather gets more weird by the day. If we had a tsunami I doubt I'd be surprised.  And we can't blame it all on 'the rockets up in space' like my mother used to do.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Go away, snow!

Truly, I mean it.  You can have too much of a good thing.  At first the snow is lovely - pristine white, crunchy underfoot and very picturesque.  I love looking at the bare branches of trees with their frosty topping, and always want to get out my sketch book and capture the image for ever.  In the lane it's so pretty when the snow first arrives.  It's quiet because few cars venture up and you can hear the birds who are constantly on the hunt for food. But after a couple of days the snow is dirty and slushy, and it freezes overnight and the outdoors isn't an inviting place.  If the sun was shining it might be better, but it's so dark, dank and gloomy even Gwennie doesn't want to stay outside for long.  My quilting group was cancelled as some of the members, who live up in the hills, are still snowed in.  The dustbin men still can't get up the lane, so we have to drop our black sacks off at the collection point on the main road. So I've had enough of the wintry weather now and can't wait for Spring.  On a positive note, I've managed to finish the embroidery I started last week and am quite pleased with the result. In fact, I'm itching to start something new.  watch this space!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

My Dad's Social Club

One of my ex-students works at a bookmakers and he was bemoaning the fact that they were still open despite the snow storm.  The bookies is my Dad's Social Club.  Ever since he retired he has made his way there nearly every morning, come rain or shine.  He hasn't been for a few days now - confined to barracks because of the snow - and is going stir crazy. Yes, he likes a flutter on the horses but it's more than that.  It gets him out of the house (my Mum would say from under her feet!); it gives a purpose to his daily exercise; he meets his friends and has a laugh and yes, sometimes he makes a few bob too.  If someone doesn't turn up for a couple of days, one of them goes round to find out why - they don't use mobile phones to keep in touch (he has one, but it's never switched on!).  That way they can look after each other if they need help.  Sometimes it leads to him hospital visiting, occasionally to a funeral.  The staff are lovely, and it's like his second home.  Last year my mum was getting runner beans almost daily from his friend's allotment and sometimes she gets flowers too, although she doesn't always meet the donor.  He says he goes to help "the old chaps" fill out their betting slips.  Apparently some of them can't see very well. He's 82 and thrives on it.  If my Dad doesn't want to go out to the bookies, that's when I'll start worrying.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Wednesday 16th January

It's been a very cold few days here.  There has been no snow since the small amount we had on Sunday afternoon, but a lot of that still remains on the high ground or in sheltered spots. The decking in the back garden is treacherous - frozen slush - but the birds need feeding so needs must.  The blue tits and great tits are constant visitors and we have also seen long tailed tits. The woodpecker family have also been taking advantage of the peanuts. I wonder what has happened to the nuthatches? I haven't seen any for a while. It does seem to be getting a lighter a little earlier in the mornings though so at least there is a small glimpse of Spring. 

My craft projects at the moment are making little progress.  I still have a patchwork cushion cover to finish, and a half knitted cushion cover too. I did, however, make myself a notice board for my work area last week.  I used an old cork board - a cheap one that had been lying around for ages that was basically just a piece of corkboard in a frame.  I stapled wadding to the cork and then covered the whole thing in 0.75 metres of fabric (pink with turqouise spots - very cheerful).  I used strips of ribbon anchored down with buttons.  The cork was so thin I was able to stitch the buttons right through it. I'm very pleased with it.  Very useful but looks pretty too! 

I've also just started some embroidery work that, hopefully I can do in the evenings whilst also throwing rubber bones/raggers/pullers for Gwen.  The dog is a tyrant!!  She seems to think she needs to keep us entertained every moment of the day by bringing us toys to throw. She's so full of energy and even though she has plenty of long walks involving running round fields like a lunatic, she is NEVER tired.  I wish I had some of her get up and go.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

New Year, new blogger!  

This is the first time I've attempted blogging so this is a bit of an adventure! I live in beautiful mid-Wales.  My blog will be mainly about my day to day life here, my hobbies (sewing, patchwork, feltmaking and all things arty crafty), my dog - a beautiful, six month old Border Collie called Gwen, what I'm reading and probably a few random musings.

Wednesday 9th January

It was such a beautiful day today - cold but clear and crisp. A glorious day for driving through the hills, so we went via Dolgellau to the Mawddach estuary and walked along the old railway line from Arthog towards Penmaenpool.  It was quite misty inland, in patches mainly in the valleys and many of the fields were still white with frost at lunchtime.  As we neared the sea, however, it began to brighten up.  The Mawddach estuary is a lovely place to walk if, like me, you prefer a flatter terrain. The views across the estuary are lovely and at this time of the year it's very quiet apart from the calling of sea birds.  Gwen hadn't been this near to the sea before. We didn't take her to the beach - saving that for a sunnier and warmer time of the year - but she found plenty of new things to sniff and ran and ran and ran some more, covering at least three times more ground than we did. A really good way to start the new year.