Monday, 11 July 2011

I’m feeling like I have multiple personalities

I don’t know about anyone else but with a blog, website, smugmug, flickr, twitter and the Gods only know what else, I’m feeling like I have some sort of split personality.

There are bits here, bits there and all with different looks etc.  Well my brain can’t cope anymore, so a couple of weeks ago I decided they all needed consolidating somehow.  A similar look and feel would be a start but even better would be to pull everything together, preferably in one place.

Decision made the madness truly started.  I swear I’ll go bald from all the hair pulling if I don’t get it sorted soon.  I’ve spent hours poring over support files and even resorted to asking for help at work.  The upshot of all this stress is that the hosting for the websites has been changed and I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that the blog must move as well.

Blogger has been brilliant but it simply doesn’t provide me with the level of control I’m now looking for – or if it does I can’t figure out how to do it.

So the upshot is that if you’d like to keep following my ramblings on life, the universe and 42 you will need to look here…

This blog will stay here so hopefully any links to it will remain valid but all new posts will be on the new blog.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Work In Progress

This last week has been busy and unfortunately sewing machine-less.  So I decided to spend my little sewing time working on my version of the Forever Friends Bag by Lynette Anderson.

I decided to do the motif as simple stitchery instead of appliqué.  In part because I really need the hand stitching practice and partly because I can do it sitting on the sofa watching tv.


It also gave me a wonderful excuse to buy more of the variegated threads that are available.  Yeah, yeah I know… any excuse hehe…

I’m not quite finished as I’m super slow with hand stitching but I’m having fun.  Ooooo and my sewing machine is now back home safely much to my relief.  Thanks to everyone who sent their prayers and good vibes for his return.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Isn’t it weird…

Isn’t it weird when normally separate areas of your life join up.  This happened to me today when I was reading a colleagues copy of New Scientist.  This issue was a few weeks old but an article caught my eye which I thought you might be interested in.

It was about a 5 year project called Leapfrog (yes it’s an acronym, no I don’t remember what for) that has been working towards automated custom tailoring.  The basic idea is that you would be scanned by lasers that would then adjust various ‘standard’ patterns to your measurements.  Changes could then be made by you, to provide even more individuality, and then at the press of a button your info would whoosh off to an automated factory.  That’s where all the robots would make your made to measure suit or garment.


I swiped this image off the Leapfrog website.

They had some pretty funky ideas in there as well such as metal mesh adjustable tailors dummies the controlling computer could easily alter to your exact size.  Then pins would pop out and hold the fabric in place (yes I had many macabre thoughts at that point in the article). 

It was all fascinating stuff but the guy they interviewed from Savile Row didn’t seem concerned by the competition.  He believed that lasers and computer software would never be able to replace the judgement of a good tailor.  I hope he’s right… if the robots get so sophisticated they can offer sensible fashion advice, I think we’re in serious trouble as a society.  I mean just imagine what a hacker could do!?!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Just a short, brief little post.  I’ve just heard that the patient has made a full recovery and can be collected on Friday.  Yup, that’s right…

My beloved sewing machine is coming home!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Something to cheer me up…

Last week I placed my first order with Quilter Cloth after hearing about them from a friend.  Soon this arrived…


I eagerly opened it to find…


Tanya Whelan Dolce Lana Green

and this…


Princess Mirah Tropical Punch

and OOoooooo my… THESE…


Summertime Friends 7 Fat Quarters


If my sewing machine had been working properly then I would have been in heaven.  As it is they are sat on the side awaiting it’s return.  All I can do is dream about the scrummy things I can make with them.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Please say a little prayer

Friends.  Please take a moment to bow your heads and say a little prayer to whatever deity you believe in, or if you don’t believe, to just send out healing vibes into the universe.

A member of the household is sick.  Exactly how sick is not yet known and we are determined to remain hopefully at this point in time.  My beloved Brother Star 120E has been hospitalised.


This photo of the patient was snapped quickly on my mobile just before heading off in the car to drop him off.

It started with a small snuffle in which the occasional sneeze caused  a brief tensioning problem.  However over a few weeks the sneezing has worsened until there was nothing to do but face the inevitable.  The sewing machine equivalent of phoning NHS direct.  The advice given along with much searching on the internet led to one inevitable conclusion.  Hospitalisation and full diagnosis by a professional was in order.  Given this will involve invasive procedures I took care to reassure him it would be as painless as possible.  If a transplant is needed he will go immediately on the transplant list and I won’t rest until I find a suitable donor.

So please spare a moment to think positive healing thoughts and pray for a speedy return home for my beloved sewing machine.

Friday, 1 July 2011

I just couldn’t resist

I’ve bought a new sewing box for myself.  Naughty I know, but I just couldn’t resist.


Yes, I know it’s a little twee compared to my normal sort of thing with it’s blue and white spotty fabric.  But those dinky draws are just so cute!


I mean, I do have a lack of storage for my odds n bobs. I really do!


And that big drawer is big enough for a few fat quarters to be within easy reach.


The lid also comes up to show a load of little compartments and a nifty couple of shelving bits that open out to give bobbin storage.  Of course now I have extra storage, extra shopping is obviously in order hehe…

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A Sad Little Smile

Well this is a difficult post.  I’ve been sorting through some old backup files and decided I couldn’t put off sorting through a particular bunch of images any longer.


My father passed away a few years ago and I controversially decided to photograph his funeral.  It was a decision that many in my family didn’t really understand, but fortunately they kept their muttering about it out of my ear shot.  When stressed and emotional I’m not a person to cross.

In fact it was the stress and raw emotion that led me to pick up my camera.  Looking through the lens helped place a level of unreality on the day providing a coping mechanism.


The day passed in a blur and afterwards the images provided a focus for the grief to flow.  I’m a great believer in allowing yourself to grieve.  Bottling it up doesn’t help anyone.


The shots are far from my best but they serve their purpose.  I’ve not looked at them for quite some time but their effect on me is still strong.  However they don’t trigger tears anymore, but a smile…

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Look Up…

Go on… Look up.  Yup up there, just above the post title.  Can you see a change?  There is a new page here on the blog.


I’ve decided to put up a page where you can find patterns and tutorials.

Why not pop over and have a look?  Let me know what you think?

Sunday, 26 June 2011


Yesterday I went shopping with Maytheweed and we had a ‘squee’ moment.  We popped into a reasonably local fabric shop that also stocks some yarn.  Now this shop is not known for ‘high end’ or ‘luxury’ yarns, so imagine our surprise when we found some of this…


Six 100g lots of this gorgeous squishy kettle dyed merino, AND IT WAS REDUCED! Now I should point out that I don’t mean 5% or 50p off, I mean seriously reduced.  No, I’m not going to tell you by how much because you’ll hate us as a result.


There were three lots of this stunning blue and three of a similar colour way but in purples.  All were swiftly paid for and put into bags before we even considered looking round the rest of the shop (no way were they getting the chance to change their mind on the price).

It was interesting to note (which we did later over a cup of tea) that I instinctively went for the blues and she went immediately for the purples.  There was no humming, debating or envious looks at the others skeins, just a quick grab and pay.  That probably says something deep and revealing about our personalities but I’ve not had enough tea yet this morning to speculate, instead I’m going to admire my new yarn and dream of the yummy things I can make with it…

Friday, 24 June 2011

I heard a strange noise behind me…

Last weekend I decided to ‘tidy’ my dining room which also doubles as a study.  This was not a particularly ‘good’ idea given I wasn’t well and it really was a big job.  Well after much use of foul language the dining room is looking much better. Unfortunately this is mainly because all the stuff that needs sorting is now piled up in the lounge.  This includes an old printer box.

Anyway as I sat down at my desk to have a nice cuppa tea this evening (and catch up on some blogs) I heard a strange noise behind me……

There was something in the box

I quickly grabbed my phone and started recording but ran out of memory.  So there was a mad dash for the ipod to continue recording.  I was just quick enough to catch this…

The something was getting out of the box…

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A variation on a ‘Surprise’

My friend Ann has just published a new sock pattern over on Ravelry and her blog.  It’s a toe up with a little mystery twist.  The result is that you won’t be sure what it’ll look like till you try it.  This is based on altering the pattern as the colours change with a variegated yarn, so every yarn will give you something slightly different.

I’ve decided to do my own little variation on it.  A sock for my portable hard drive!


I’m using the yarn left over from a pair of socks I made last summer which moves through white, pale blue and lilac.  I’ve chosen to use the white as the highlight colour.  This means if the yarn is white I purl, anything else is a knit.

It’s coming along quickly and I expect to have it finished soon.  Ideas like this make wonderful tv knitting Smile

Monday, 20 June 2011

You’d be forgiven for thinking….

that I’ve given up knitting.  It’s been ages since I blogged about it.  So what have I been up to?


I decided I needed a stole rather than a shawl so I frogged the Huruni shawl and started reknitting.


The yarn is silk and ooooo it’s oh so soft and squishy……  I wonder what it will look like once blocked Smile

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Retail Therapy

back-to-nature-batik-1Well I mentioned that when I visited Nicola yesterday and we indulged in some retail therapy which I thought I’d share.  To be fair we both went with a ‘shopping list’ and stuck to it so it was only a little indulgent.

I wanted some of that beautiful red batik fabric with the chrysanthemum pattern on I used for my mothers craft roll.  I simply fell it love with it and wanted some for myself.  I’m sure it should be illegal to love a fabric as much as this…


I also love chrysanthemums, they are one of my all time favourite flowers and their smell brings back so many happy memories. Unfortunately I’m not able to grow them to the standard my grandfather did.  Maybe one day I’ll work out his secret.

Add into the mix I’ve been hankering after a new work bag, something floppy with a shoulder strap, it’s no surprise that the idea of using this fabric grew in my mind.

I also bought a bundle of 6 fat quarters from the Back to Nature range.  That’s them on the left with my chrysant fabric behind.  I think they are also destined for bag making.  Exactly what pattern I’m going to use isn’t yet decided (although Best of Friends by Lynette Anderson is a front runner).

Of course there is plenty of fabric there to make a few bags so I don’t need to fret about the decision to much.  Besides I can always go back and buy more hehe……

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Cream Nic Nac Bag

Today I visited Nicola for some general sewing chat, meet the new puppy and to get some top tips for making little make up / nic nac bags.


Nicola is the queen of bag making and it was fascinating to hear some of her little tricks of the trade.  I even made a little quilted bag!  That’s it in the piccys – the cream one.  No it’s not wonkey, it’s the terrible camera on my phone hehe.  I also snapped it next to some similar bags which Nicola had already made.  All in all I think it held up ok.

Naturally there were cups of tea, some fabric shopping and lots of cuddles with Jasper the new puppy.  Of course this meant I had to undergo a full blown sniff inspection from my own dawgies when I arrived home.

Now all I have to do is remember how I made that bag and try to reproduce it without the guru at my side……

Friday, 17 June 2011

Star Kitty Pin Cushion


Among my friends we have a few sayings that tend to come up a lot.  Two of them are :

“Amazon is our friend……”


“Amazon is evil……”

The first refers to when you find something on Amazon cheaper than you would pay in the shops.  The second is for when you subsequently spend the money you’ve saved on more stuff from Amazon.

These facts of life recently led me down the path which had a Star Kitty Pincushion at the end (there is a link honest, you’ll just have to bear with me ok).  I was online to buy a quilting book recommended by a friend and up popped another book on the evil Amazon. ‘It’s Quilting Cats & Dogs’ by Lynette Anderson.  You know what happened next don’t you.  Evil Amazon ‘forced’ me to buy it.

I then spent about a week browsing through it, generally admiring and dreaming about making some of these beautiful items.  Then one evening I had some time and decided to get stuck in.  It’s a little different to the one in the book as I didn’t slavishly follow the pattern.  It’s also a much brighter kitty, the ones in the book are all in beautifully co-ordinated pastel shades, but I’m quite pleased with the results.

There are a few changes I’ll make when I do the next one (yup there will definitely be a next one) but over all I rather like my new kitty pin cushion.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Always time for tea…

There is something quintessentially English about drinking tea.  It doesn’t matter where the tradition started, or where this wonderful plant is grown, as a nation we’ve made it ours.  Oh coffee is popular and I have nothing against it – except I’m allergic so it makes me rather sick.  There is always some at home for visitors, but for me it has to be a lovely cup of tea.


I usually have at least two varieties in the cottage so I can choose the one that best suits my mood.  My favourite is Assam.  Fabulous colour and a taste to dye for, especially when you’re soaked through and in need of warming up.  Ceylon is delicate and easy going, perfect for a chilled out Sunday morning.  Darjeeling is one I can take or leave dependant upon my mood.  English Breakfast is an outstanding all rounder it’s impossible to object to.  You get the idea.

All that said, how you drink tea is important as well.  A plastic mug just won’t do.  I know some people insist upon bone china, but given my beasties it’s rather impractical.  Hence my choice is a decent ceramic mug or cup.  I prefer a cup but sometimes only a mug will do as volume is important.


Enter my new breakfast tea cup and saucer.  I found them in a charity shop recently and just fell in love.  I love the colours and bold brush strokes.  I also love the shape of the cup which will allow my tea to cool quickly so I can drink it all before I have to leave for work.  The walls of the cup are thick enough to give it plenty of strength, but the over all effect isn’t chunky.


Of course it doesn’t just have to be for breakfast…… It works equally well when I get in from work.  Speaking of which I do believe it’s time to put the kettle on again for another cuppa……

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A bit of a rant......

Well I'm afraid this post is going to be a bit of a rant. So what has got my blood pressure up this time? The proposed industrial strike action.

My union has called for a strike on the 30th and I've decided I'm going to answer the call. Why? What has galvanised me into action? The attitudes of government ministers that's what.

Basically they want me to work longer, pay over £100 a month more into my pension and at the end they'll give me less. Now we all get that the country has financial problems - but are the big wigs in the city facing such cuts? Err no.... What about MP's with their expense accounts? Oooo surprise surprise they're not loosing out either.

Then the cherry on the cake is the thinly veiled accusations and threats being made against us if we decide to strike. We're threatening the education of the countries youth if we do apparently. You know I don't remember agreeing to giving up my rights when I decided to go into a profession where I work to help others. I'm still a human being.

Don't even get me started on the way its all being reported. So for the first time in my life I'm going to strike. If I don't, I feel that it will be seen as passively accepting what is being put forward. I don't accept it and so I will stand up and be counted....

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Mollie Makes

Last weekend I came across a copy of the second issue of Mollie Makes which people have been raving about.  It’s a new British craft magazine.  On the spine it says

Red heartmaking Red heartthrifting Red heartcollecting Red heartcrafting”

So I figured why not and bought it.  I eagerly started to riffle through later that evening as I had heard so much praise for the first issue.


Unfortunately this is where it all started to loose it’s shine.  I’m afraid to say I was rather disappointed.  Perhaps it was all the fuss I’d heard about it raising my expectations, that sort of thing.  I found myself shaking my head a lot and asking ‘why?’ 

Now I’m not saying it wasn’t beautifully produced.  It was.  They also clearly have a look and feel worked out for it all.  There were some beautiful photographs and little projects to provide food for thought.

It’s just that at £4.99 I didn’t feel it engaged me enough to cough up that amount of money on a regular basis.  I agree that there is a gap in the market which I’d love to see filled by a British magazine…… I’m just not sure this is it.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


This weekend we went to Canterbury and I visited ‘The Sewing Shop’.


This was a friendly little shop and I managed to get a few odds and bobs.  The shelves were stacked with pretty fabrics and sewing machines.  I could have spent ages having a good look round, but I was conscious that this sort of thing doesn’t really interest Mr B, so I tried to keep the visit short and to the point.

I needed a few supplies which I managed to get with minimal fuss, threads and bobbins, that sort of thing.  I also bought a long quarter of some fun fabric…


I mean really, how could I resist?  Given I’m making another crafting roll for my mother, I thought it was time I made one for myself…

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Eyes bigger than my stomach……

Tonight I went out into the garden to the ‘veg’ plot to see what I could find to snack on.  Of course the veg plot is a bit of a laugh as it’s over run with fruit, so should really be called the fruit plot.


This is what I brought back inside.  I was intending to take some nice arty shots of them but I simply couldn’t resist scoffing them straight away.  So it was a quick snap and munchie time.  Although I’m now wishing I hadn’t eaten so many so quickly…

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Big Black Labradors and Sewing

My friend Nicola is getting a new addition to her family.  A beautiful baby black labrador puppy called Jasper.  Understandably she’s wondering how this new addition will affect her sewing.

So when I looked down to the floor while sewing last night I couldn’t help but laugh.  Fortunately I managed to reach for the camera on my phone before he moved.


My big black labrador was snoring beside me completely oblivious to all the threads accumulating on his back leg.

Monday, 6 June 2011


I dread to think how people cope with multiple small children when they have to go somewhere.  It’s bad enough with a couple of dogs.  I mean they need food, water, poop bags…  Normally I carry this stuff in a backpack which I wear when out with the hounds.

Recently I saw this……


This isn’t the sort of thing I would normally buy, but when I saw it I had visions of doggie bags to carry their stuff round in.  I even wondered about panniers that Jake could wear.  A little harness with a small bag on each side so he could carry his own stuff.

Of course that’s not likely to be what I make out of it, but the mental vision amused me for a while.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Pretty Birdcage

This past week I took my mother away for a few nights in the new caravan.  We decided upon a venue not to far away, so off we went to the very picturesque Framlingham in Suffolk.  Then I remembered hearing about a new fabric and yarn shop in that area, a few texts later I had directions.


The shop is called The Pretty Birdcage (I have no idea why) and it’s down a little alley off the Market Square.  They stock yummy fabric and squishy yarn.  What more could a girl ask for?  Ah yes… a chair for my mother to sit on while I decided what to spend my money on.  Chairs for elderly mothers are always a good idea hehe…

First up were the fabrics.  Their range isn’t as large as some other fabric shops around the county, but since they’ve only been open a few months what do you expect.  That said there was plenty for my mother to choose from as she fancies another craft roll similar to the other one I made.

We weren’t rushed and after a little while (and many bolts of fabric being taken to the chair for inspection) she settled on these.


The top fabric is much prettier in real life and will form the outside of the roll.  The plain blue is for the lining.


In fact this pattern was available in a few colours and I much preferred the green version but since it isn’t for me I kept quiet.

Next up was the yarn.  I mean you didn’t really expect me to go into a yarn shop and not buy any did you?


3 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino leaped off the shelves and demanded I bring them home.  I recently discovered that a friend had not only got married, but become a father and ‘forgot’ to tell me!  Am I hurt about this? Yes.  However it’s not the baby's fault (it’s his idiot fathers) and so I’m thinking a knitted squishy bear or something.

The choice of colours was a difficult one.  This bear will be emigrating to Quatar once finished and I have no idea if it’s blue for boys over there.  That said should I even pick blue just because he’s a boy?  These were questions I didn’t think I could answer stood in the shop, so decided to pick colours I liked and felt would ‘hold the muck’ well.  Now where did I put that bear patter……?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Brand New Hat

Recently for no apparent reason a hat design popped into my head and just wouldn’t go away.  I tried patiently telling it I wasn’t a knitwear designer and it would be better off pestering someone else, but it just wouldn’t listen.  It kept on at me and bullying other ideas in my head.


So, given how obstinate this idea was being I finally relented and agreed to help it get out of my head and into yarn.


Enter my first ever designed hat.  It was knit out of two 50g balls of Sirdar Hug I had lying about and I’m rather pleased with it.  Yes I know there are fancier designs about, in posher wool, that show much more skill.  But this one is mine all mine and just for a little while I’m going to allow myself to feel an incy wincy bit pleased with it…

Oh and yes that is my hair dangling out beneath it and the photos were patiently taken by Maytheweed for me.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

My Water Baby

Ever since Jake broke his leg last year walkies have been shorter to allow him to rebuild his strength.  Gradually he’s been out for longer periods of time and playtime hasn’t been happening as it used to.  I’ve just been scared of him hurting himself again.

All those worries washed away over our weekend away.  He coped fine with being out all day and the highlight for him was probably playing in the sea.


He’s always been a real water baby and seeing him jumping about in the waves was fantastic. 


Of course there was lots of shaking himself off (much of which ended up over us) and he was covered in salt for the rest of the day.  That said he’s a dog and allowed a bad hair day if he wants one hehe…

Monday, 30 May 2011

My First Airshow

A little while ago I mentioned that I’d never been to an air show.  So Mr B suggested we visit the Southend-on-Sea Air Show which was on this past weekend.


Saturday was a little miserable weather wise, but Sunday made up for it.  We walked along the beach with the dogs who enjoyed playing chicken with the waves.  I got a couple of shots of Jake in the water and the look of surprise and joy as the waves tumbled over him was priceless. 

The highlight however, was without a doubt seeing the Red Arrows.


They really were amazing.  I’ve seen them on TV in the past but nothing prepares you for the real thing.  I’ll post some more shots of them soon, but right now I’m off to soak in the bath after a long but fun weekend.