Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Wonky and Walking

On Wednesday my sister-in-law 'S' and I trundled off to a local craft centre to have a "play" day.  The hubby's were happy going off to the National Space Museum  in Leicester and seemed to have a good day playing 'hopeful' spacemen. We on the other hand took our sewing machines and were ready for action making a wonky pentagon table runner.  On arrival we were told to choose our fabrics....goodness with such a selection that took a bit of time, but we were all busy sewing in no time.  It was a really enjoyable day, with the 'teacher' cutting strips of fabric that we needed and making us tea.  I think all of us had a little bit to finish at home, but the majority of the table runner was complete at the end of the day.

Bright and Breezy

The Tuesday evening walk was another success, and a beautiful evening to boot. We started at Medbourne a small village just over the border into Leicestershire, (as you may have gathered I live on the borders of Northampton and Leicestershire).  We always follow the footpath markers and Leicestershire do seem to mark the footpaths very well, and just look what we found on the posts.

This carving must have only been about 6" from tip of ears to the bottom of his beard

It started with a gentle stroll, then came a couple of 'steepish' hills, but oh my goodness! it was well worth the effort once you got to the top and saw the views.

You can't see how high we are

God's own country

Crops growing rapidly 

We also had a good peek at Neville Holt where I believe you can have a stunning
evening at the Opera.  I personally have not been, but my trusty friend has, and although she wasn't keen on going to an Opera at first was totally won over and would highly recommend it.

My hands have been a bit sore lately, so I am giving them a rest from crochet but my knitted scarf is coming along.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Not much to 'show and tell' but....

Last Tuesday, saw us 'ex-water aerobics' girls on another walk through the countryside and I have to say this one is my favourite so far.  We started off in the village of Maidwell, Northamptonshire. The girls with the maps did a splendid job of navigating and what a beautiful part of the county! We walked to Bluebell Farm where the Hawk and Owl Trust look after an area which is noted for its bird life , and some of the fields looked like they had been left to grow naturally with meadow flowers and grasses to give a natural habitat for the creatures.  We met at about 7 o'clock and as we approached the conservation area it must have been the time for the Owls to beginning their hunt for supper and we were able to watch these wonderful birds swoop and soar in search of food.  It was a bit of a chilly evening, but once we got moving we all soon warmed up and the skies gave us another wonderful sunset.

Rapeseed fields, so bright and cheerful

At home we found a local guy to replace our central heating boiler and what a nice chap he was.  I now have a warm house and piping hot water for baths and showers.  On the other hand my radio/iPod docking station is once again back with the manufacturer.  They have sent two replacements and both have had different problems.......in the end I phoned the shop and said I was bringing the radio back and wanted their guys in the audio department to make sure it wasn't me messing up the b#**#* thing.  The last we heard the 'head honcho' of repairs has phoned the manufacturer, given them a piece of her mind and we are now hoping for a 'tested' replacement soon.  I won't mention the fused plug sockets, the fridge, and the fact that the car drove backwards into one of the garden pots and smashed it....yes- the car did that not me!  Thank goodness the sun is shining and we have a holiday to look forward to!

As our holiday is not so far away, I thought I had better get cracking on making some more summer pants....... I had a practice run back in January and thought they turned out O.K. so Tah Dah!

As for crafts, they have been put on the back burner, but I am still working on my 'lacy' scarf and trying to add at least two rows on the crochet blanket each evening.......slowly, slowly getting there but they will get done!

Quite a few more inches to do

Lots more inches (if not metres) to make this into a blanket

We have been given the destructions instructions for the May 'Mini Mania'. The three of us had to choose a colour a week ago. Lesley chose green, Lynda chose yellow and I chose pink but until the instructions arrived we had no idea of what or why we had picked the colours.  All has been revealed!.... We have to cut 6 x 2 7/8" squares in each colour i.e. Pink, Green, and Yellow. We can use different fabrics, but have to stay with the colours.  We then have to cut 18 x 2 7/8" squares of background fabrics and make half square triangles which we can then arrange into a mini quilt.  Sounds good doesn't it!  I think I've got my fabrics, now what to choose as my design.........I will show you once it's up and running, but why don't some of you join us in this 'mini challenge'.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mini Mania ---show and tell

Just thought I would pop in to show you April's Mini Mania...

 This one belongs to Lynda...

Oh so pretty 

This one belongs to Lesley

So neat.

and last but not least my one...

Funny that we all used pink, yellow and green fabric in the same areas, just slightly different shades.  We now have the May Mini to play with.

Update on my iPod/ radio docking station, and the boiler......radio replaced and back working......boiler to be fixed on Wednesday morning YEAH! 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

They say things come in threes!

You know they say it never rains but it pours!  Well that has been a good saying for us over the past few weeks.  Just after my last post our iPad/ radio docking station started to play up and as it was still under warranty we took it back and had it replaced...great you would think, until, we got the replacement home to find this new one had the same problem as the old one, so, back we go again and are still waiting for the outcome......luckily our T.V. does give us most of the radio channels (I love my radio).
Next the central heating 'combi' boiler seemed to be leaking gas, so  the  engineer promptly condemned it....no heating and no hot water.. yuc!  It's the hot water I am missing most as luckily the weather has been kind to us and I do have a few crochet blankets I can wrap myself up in.
There has to be a third thing.....yep! The garage door came off its runners.......we manage to close the door with a little bit of brute strength, but carrying  my bike through the house it not ideal.  I have called the guy that fixed it back in February but he seems to be a bit busy at the moment so Mr. D and I spent an hour or so this morning fighting fixing the 'spring/wire thing' (thing is the technical term!).  So, my weeks have been busy getting quotes for all sorts of things which takes up a tremendous amount of my sewing time.

All I can say is that I have started a number of things (unlike me!) so I can give you a bit of a glimpse of some of them.

Sat under my blanket I started to make one of the laceweight yarn scarves,  I think these may be for Xmas gifts so there is no rush.

This yarn is hand dyed Angora, and beautiful

Then I saw some bargain yarn locally that I could not resist, so have started a baby blanket.  This yarn is so soft I am really pleased with it and as 200g was only £1.75 I can't really go wrong can I?  Not sure if there will be any left, but I bought it from here

Its the 'Attic 24' pattern
One of the ladies (A)  in the crochet group fancied making this, so I thought I had better have a practice run before she started.  The stitch is not too bad, but I did have trouble making the stitch that would denote the corner,  but after conquering that little problem I find that 'A' is going to make a round one...no problem with the corner then ....phew!

Not sure making baskets is my 'thing', but love the colour

For the next 'group meet' I found  this little critter.  I thought some of the ladies that are interested in making animals might just like the little snail as well. The pattern can be found here, there is an English version or your computer can translate for you (that 'Mr Google' is a star).  I  realised (after stuffing him with all wadding) that his house needs to be stuffed with plastic beads (or the like) otherwise he just falls flat on his face.  I think that is mentioned in the pattern, but I obviously didn't understand it or just chose to ignore it,  He is quite cute don't you think?


I have been asked to help at our group in September and the theme for the day is Mini Quilts.  So looking around I found this and thought the ladies that like to hand sew might enjoy making a mini Dresden plate.  Phew!  I have gone off that idea pretty quickly.  I have not quite got all the points perfect and some of them are drastically one sided.  Not that I am a perfectionist, but thought it should be a bit better than this sample.  I will go back to the drawing board internet and have another search.  I do have one pattern that I think they may like but won't show you that just yet.

just the start

looking good so far

But those points are just not quite there

I have had a couple of evenings out walking and riding my bike.  The walks have been country walks and surprisingly informative, and the bike ride showed just how unfit I am  (again informative!).  Note to self.....get out on that bike more!

Northamptonshire countryside...beautiful

Beautiful sunsets

Tomorrow (Monday 27th April) will be a reveal of our 'Mini Mania' quilts, so with a bit of luck I will have something that is completed to show you next time.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Family time

Did you all have a Happy Easter?  Our daughter, husband and children came down for the hols. which was great.  Our eldest grandchild (J) invited his girlfriend, so the house was full, but filled with fun.  On Easter Saturday we met up with my sister in law and her family.  This is beginning to be a bit of a tradition, and its great to see all of the children (young and old) getting on so well.  We meet at a restaurant which has a lovely garden, but unfortunately the weather has never really been kind to us, so we just let the 'littlies' have a bit of a run before we hi-jack some unsuspecting person to take the obligatory photo.

Rogues gallery 

I have to ask the question....when are children too old for an Easter Egg hunt?  Obviously this lot are not too old.  Eggs were placed around our garden and the 'biggies' were let loose.

First egg to Miss J

Mr. J's girlfriend 'M' seems to be doing well

They took it slowly

The arrow is showing you the last egg standing
All too soon the weekend was over and we were left with an empty quiet house, so back in the sewing room for me and as the weather was fair Mr D was out on the golf course.

I usually go to water aerobics on a Tuesday evening,  we have been going for about 5 years and have decided to have a bit of a break.  It was getting a little boring, the fees were going up and we often complain that the water is just too cold, so this week 4 of us met up and had a walk from the village of Braybrooke. Our guide 'L' took us across a field where the old castle was buried, its just mounds of grass now, but you can see where the walkways would have been. The evening was really beautiful with a stunning sunset, unfortunately I didn't have my camera, so you just have the photos from my phone, but it does give you a bit of an idea of how wonderful it was.

Just beautiful

The sky was on fire
I will take my camera next week.

Our next 'Mini Mania' pattern was given to us on the 1st so I set out and cut all my fabrics...... note the pieces are a lot larger than last month

Much bigger pieces this month
I have no idea why, but at first I couldn't get this first block together, but like a dog with a bone, I got there in the end
Centre block --- tick

Round two ---done

Ready for the last round

We have a "big reveal" at the end of the month, so unfortunately I can't show you any more for a week or two.

Other than that little bit of sewing I have been adding to my crochet blanket, but I am considering my options with the borders - it may have to go back to the drawing board.

 I have finally succumbed to that awful cold/flu virus that seemed to hit the country while we were overseas and I am feeling very sorry for myself.  My favourite friend this weekend has been the sofa.  I will bounce back soon x x

Wednesday, 1 April 2015


This  will be a bit of a revealing post.  Yes, I can at last show you my Highampiecemakers Christmas challenge. If you remember, the challenge was to recreate an art work of a recognisable Artist.  I did at first think of Gustav Klimt's 'The Kiss' but then went for a favourite artist of my daughter - 'Banksy'.  I chose to make some yoyo's for the balloons and even if I say it myself I thought it turned out reasonably well.  If you get a chance, go over to the Highampiecemakers blog (you might need to give it a day or two) and you should be able to see many of the ladies art work..... 
Painted the frame black and she was ready to go

The other reveal is our Mini Mania challenge.  I do believe this one caused more "hair tearing out", but at the end of the day, all were completed and look brilliant.
Mine of course started with a selection of fabrics.....

This bit took me ages

This was an option for the stars 
 but who wants to be that orderly!!

This looks crazy enough
 Now to get some of the little beggars pieced together

That looks about right
 Best way to press, I found, was a great big book and left over night

and a million pins to keep those points in place

I don't usually use pins, but lace pins is the way to go
 I had made 6 stars and cut one in half for the edge, only to realise once it was all together that I didn't have my 1/4" seam allowance.......that's what you get for trying to be clever !
Can you see the deliberate  mistake
It took me hours to unpick 

 but I finally got it all together

and these are the other two completed minis....

Today we received the next pattern.  The pieces look a little bigger, so we may still have some hair at the end of April...  

Lastly I want to show you how my, ongoing, blanket is getting on.  This blanket is just something for me to pick up and play with when I don't need to think. There are 144 of the flower squares for the centre, and now I have to decide what I want to do around the edges.

Hope you all have a Happy Easter x 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Funny how things turn out isn't it?  My friend is having a holiday so has a house/dog sitter looking after everything.  Now the house sitter (K) is an Australian taking time out from her life in Oz, to travel and get to know different areas and the folk that live in those areas -- and get to know them she has!.  We met up when she joined me in my Aqua Aerobics class, then she invited me to join her in Zumba classes held in the small town that I live.  I passed on Zumba but she has made a few friends there and after a bit of a chat it was mentioned that our church 'Holy Trinity'  has a crypt full of bones and someone, knew someone, that would be willing to open the church and give a tour.....I was invited to this and took her up on the offer.  How can an Australian visiting, for such a short time, be inviting me to visit my local church???.. WELL DONE K

We were taken through a small doorway and down the stone stairs to the crypt and could see the remains of approx. 1500 human individuals.

The doorway must have only been about 4ft. high

narrow staircase

There are many theories about the bones..

* Danes slain in battle by the Saxons  ~ the skulls do not reflect the injuries of a battlefield although some appear to have evidence of trepanning or damage by a sexton's mattock. ('tepanning' = surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into a human scull)
* Bones of men slain at the battle of Naseby or at Bosworth Battlefield ~ who would spend the money and resources to transport dead bodies from a battlefield even though Naseby is only 8 miles away and Bosworth 30 miles away.
* Remains of a monastic burial place ~ the quantity of bones seems large for a monastic burial even over centuries.
* Victims of plague epidemic ~ who in their right minds would place plague victims in a crypt or dig them up from a lime pit and place them in the crypt.

skulls and long bones

More skulls

neatly stacked 

friendly faces

George Busk in 1872 noted that " it merely represented the gradual accumulation, through a long series of years of skulls and bones removed from adjacent churchyard. The remains therefore might be taken as fair representation of the population of the surrounding  district for a very considerable period...."
It was also revealed in 2013 by an osteoarchaeologists that the ratio of bones is about 50 : 50 male to female. So I personally think he might have it just about right.  What do you think?

This is K, and I think quite a lot of folk locally will miss her when she goes to her next house-sit.

As you can see the crates/pens that house many bones are not small 
I feel quite privileged being able to get to the crypt, as I never seem to be around when they give the tours.