Thursday, 30 June 2011

Summer wear

This last week the weather has been so hot, after being really grim. Our summers are getting stranger and stranger making holiday planning very difficult.
You may remember quite a few of my early posts were about my Great Aunt Margaret, in particular all the cool stuff that came to me once she had passed away. I didn't know her very well but looking through her stuff and seeing connections to myself was a nice way to get to know more about her life.
So with this in mind we are going to stay at Margarets old flat for a week, a whole week! Our first ever family holiday.

My last sewing project before we go is this little beauty. Margarets fabulously retro swimsuit! I've filled out, a little, since having Joel so this style looks great on my shape. Though the bust is a bit too big, even with the boning taken out so I'm doing a quick snip and tuck on the boob compartments. It's in great condition, I wonder if it was ever even worn?

There is a pool at the flats so I thought I really must wear this for our morning swims. Just hope the lovely hot weather holds out! I'll send you all a postcard x


Last night all the local girls were herded past our house to get their hair cut. You should have heard the noise they made. I bet they feel better for a trim today. Unfortunately Joel missed them but Mr B and I watched from over the garden gate. Good Life :)

Nature and Nurture

Me again. You can see I'm making the most of Joels nap times. It's great to write though, I miss having the time to contemplate and express myself at a leisurly pace on here, still I get to bank my photos and ideas and draft write in the evenings. My creativity has had to adapt to family life, like everything has.
Our lane has been more colourful lately.... 

With this bank of fox gloves lining the way up hill
Bees were dashing in and out of the trumpets, too fast to photograph though.
There is all sorts of interesting grasses too, Joel was reaching out of his pram to stroke them. They felt lovely.
Bright red Sorrel and dainty Buttercups broke the greenery up

Joel likes holding the different grasses.

Friday, 24 June 2011


A long time ago I lived in Lancaster, it's not my favourite of places so I didn't stay long, one place I always wanted to visit but never got around to was Williamson Parks Butterfly House. So when Lisa and Margot suggetsed a trip out there Joel and I jumped at the chance.

It was mega mega hot in there so we had to peel off a few layers before hunting for winged treasures but just look at what we found!

Butterflys are well into their bananas
They eat them through a straw coming out of their face
Margot and Mummy counting fish in the ponds
We were lucky enough to get to see the butterflys in their cocoons. They hatch in a special cupboard and the keeper takes them out once they have had a chance to dry their wings off.
Some of them looked just like jewels, with gold spikes. They were amazing.
It was nice to cool down in the breeze when we got out, Margot and Joel had a wee chat about who had spotted the most winged beauties while Lisa and I supped Lady Grey tea in the sun. Lovely Jubbly :)

Up Up and away!

Three weeks ago Joel cracking crawling, he'd been commando crawling for about a month before then, last week he started pulling himself up on things. After many bumps and bangs he is now coasting around the house using handles, radiators and even Myrtle to get about.

We can see now why people say treasure the moments you have with your little ones, he is not yet a year old but already striving for independence.

Playing cups at his Grannys
Preperations are underway for his first birthday party, which he is sharing with his first friend, Rory (born just a few hours after Joel) It's more than a birthday party though, we had planned to do a naming day at six months but time just flew by and it's only now that I feel able to organise anything. So we'd like to look at this day as being a celebration of arrival, acheivement but most of all our love for our boy.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Lifes Work

I've not been able to visit many exhibitions since having Joel, it isn't very easy to hop on a train and go see what's hot in the cities gallerys when your days are made up of frequent meal times, nap times and wriggle time!

So it was nice to go and see a local group of stitchers work at the methodist church near where I used to live. KEB told me about it, as her mum is part of the group, we went together for a look one Saturday morning.
The church was filled with tables displaying yard after yard of patchwork, quilting, embroidery as well as bags and cushions and toys all made by the church stitching group.

There was a competition for the favourite piece. We both voted for this one as we spent a long time looking marvelling at it's appearance and concept.

It was a table cloth made from recycling her mothers and grandmothers old linens (tea towels and tray cloths), with some additions of her own (an unused wedding presents of tea towels) Where the cloth was already partly embroidered she used the same style to fill that towel, otherwise taking inspiration from any pattern in the weave.

Here's a plan of what was used and where.

This section, a tray cloth, was extra special as it was made by the creator herself when she was 13 when there was still rationing on materials.

My mum has a huge collection of linens like this, one day I'd really like to work on a similar project. Perhaps even turn them into a duvet cover or bedspread?

This was a selection of teddys that made us smile. Like someone has tried a face, then thought no, but just left  it half done. Brilliant.

The one and only other textiles exhibition I saw was in The Dales Countryside Museum in the pretty town of Hawes. We stopped off here on a day out to Yorkshire, it had a river and waterfall right under the main street!

We only ended up in the museum as we needed the loo, but just look at what I found in one of their education rooms!

Despite the enormity of the piece on display, I cannot find any detailed information about the woman who made it or the history behind the piece other than her name was Nora Worth and she made this patchwork quilt entirely from silk ties which were collected by her neice. Nora was from nearby Gayle but after googling and googling I cannot find any further information on her.

I love the way she chose tiny triangles which echo the pointed shape of a tie itself.
Nora broke the patchworked triangles up with the manufacturers labels, of course Liberty would be there.
Section of more subtle fabrics

Thanks for the giggles Miss Wiggles

When Joel was first born Auntie Jill visited him and brought amongst other things some really funny booties made by someone at a craft fair. They were massive and had been worn by Joels giraffe toy up until the other week when it was a rainy day, boredom had set in and glancing at his feet I thought they were looking big enough for them so we tried them on.

You can't quite see their full glory in this picture. They are knitted to look like a T bar shoe over a white sock and they fasten with a button.

Joel and I laughed alot.

Teething Travels

Sleepless nights are all the rage in our house at the moment, if it's not cognitive development keeping Joel awake (which means he goes to bed but cannot switch his brain off to figuring to how to walk) then it's six teeth all on the move at once.

This means that the once short and sweet bedtime story has now been extended to the larger books on his shelf. I thought what better way to forget your troubles than to learn of far away places. Joel is too young to see the world but he can still hear all about it.

So I've been reading him the 'This Is...' range of books by M.Sasek. First published in the 1960's this series of books feature some of the finest illustrations I've ever seen. They are laid out in a fun and informative way and feature all the details about a place which children love to hear. I only have four of the books so am thinking as each birthday comes up we can buy him a new one until he has the full set.

 Last night we learned about Paris.

Places to visit of cultural interest, like the bird market. Pet birds aren't as popular over here.

Unusual places, like the cemetery for dogs. Which includes the odd cat too.

The illustrations mix in some very tactile bits of print, like tickets for the Metro.

He makes shopping look so much fun! I want to be in that flea market right now, buying French junk and having Myrtle clipped like a posh poodle

All the while encouraging children to see for themselves what the world has to offer.

We are really enjoying the books. I like to think that when he finally goes to sleep his head is full of the facts and sights of wonderful cities which one day he'll visit with us.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Memory Bunting

Almost a year ago now we celebrated Knit Natter Stitch and Chatters first birthday, a seven course pudding club made it a night to remember. It doubled as a maternity leaving do from the world of crafting in public too, though I didn't realise that at the time!

Anyway I remembered it again today when I finally got around to putting up the fabulous thankyou present the group made for me. Each member made a flag which reflected projects they had worked on during our meet ups, whether that be by technique, or the materials used.
This strand of Memory Bunting was the outcome, what a lovely idea!

I used these unusual birdy pegs to display the bunting for the photos

Here are some of my favourite bits.......

This piece of smocking was made by Alison at our first sessions. She always wondered what to turn it into.
Sharon crocheted this piece in Mr Bs favourite colours. Burnley!!
This beautiful fabric was used by Frances to make blinds for her new flat. I love the way she has used patchwork and beading to abstract the design.
I love the mini pom poms on this, one of Sharons flags.
The centre piece is Frances' carefully stitched sampler

A fantastic memento from a fantastic group. I'll keep this forever.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Windows of opportunity

So I thought that being at home with Joel would mean I could get lots of creative projects underway and also finish off some old ones. How wrong I was! Each morning I have great plans for that evening, thinking to myself 'as soon as Joel goes to bed I can start on that....' Truth is being a mum really is a full time job (and more!) so when the evening comes I'm reduced to being a brain dead sleep deprived zombie starting into the fridge wondering what on earth I can cobble together and call it 'tea'. So beyond that the evenings pan out with watching films, TV, (Bored To Death and The Mind of the Married Man) perusing blogs and articles whilst always keeping half and eye on the baby monitors flashing lights (perminantly thinking 'please stay asleep!')
However recently I've had more brain power and time so have got a few home projects under my belt, like....

A lovely set of full length silk curtains for the lounge windows. They are a kind of mauve colour and look very vintage. Joel loves playing peepo with them.

A blind for Joels room. It's blackout lined, we live in hope that this will have a positive effect on his wake up time!!!

The fabric I used was some which I bought in France years ago, little people in green with orange hair (perfect for Joels room). Cute or what!

Of course no sewing project would be complete without the 'help' of Joey the wonder cat. Here he is demonstrating a scale reference for the pattern, what would I do without him?

Transformed our bathroom with a new blind (aswell as a mirror and a cupboard, which used to be in the old kitchen, and a bright pink shower curtain, Mr B was gobsmacked) This fabric is a really great heavy weight canvas in sage green with a stunning bright pink screen print of a rambling rose.

Currently I'm on with two blinds for the kitchen windows made from Dandelions by Sanderson (I got at a snip of the price from my favourite factory shop)

I'll show you them when they are done. Best get cracking on them while little man is still sleeping. Nighty night


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