Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The kindness of crafters

A load of goodies received from Curlyfro swap partner in the Ravelry group A Swap in Time.  Absolutely amazing bamboo/nylon handknitted socks packaged in a Stars and Stripes bag, a set of sock blockers, stitch markers, 2.25mm double pointed needles (YES, I keep losing mine), a pack of hankies for the Spring sniffles, a little bottle of stress relief hand sanitiser, a bar of Hot Fudge cjocolate (yum), and a box of English Tea that came from Coventry here in England, all the way to the USA and then back to England  :)

Got to love crafters of all types, such a generous and caring community and I love being a part of it.


Monday, 28 September 2015

Specifically for busybusybeejay

I tried to post on your blog today, about your visit to Yarndale, but it wouldn't allow me to saying that only Team Members are allowed to post on this blog.  That is probably why there are no comments.

Saturday, 24 January 2015


So much has happened since I last posted on my blog.  I have been reading, and occasionally commenting, on all the blogs that I follow but I never seemed to get round to posting myself.  Maybe because I wasn't really doing anything that I felt would be interesting to read about.

However, my whole life changed dramatically and tragically on 29th December 2014 when my lovely, wonderful and completely irreplaceable partner, Ivan, suddenly died without warning.  I go over and over that night in my mind , and have to consciously make myself think about something else.  He died of a pulmonary embolism so there was nothing anyone could have done.  However, six incredible paramedics took turns for over an hour to keep up chest compressions and bagging him to provide oxygen, in a futile attempt to revive him.  The post mortem, two days later, confirmed that there was nothing that anyone could have done even if they had been there as he failed. 

Ever since that night, the days have fled by in a haze of sorting out the funeral and finances and everything else that needs to be done at this time.  I feel as though the world is rushing by me and I am struggling to get back on.

We had the funeral on Wednesday 21st January, and the weather did us proud with no rainy or snowy histrionics, although it was very cold.  I managed to stay relatively dry eyed in the limo until we reached the crematorium, but the sight of the crowds of people from family, friends and work colleagues all waiting to say goodbye, made me cry. 

The college where he worked, is going to have a memorial for him as he was there for 28 years and was described by all as the backbone of Construction.  They are certainly missing him.  One of his work friends is making a memorial bench for him, which will bear a plaque with his name, and will sit in the foyer of the main Construction building.  I  know that I will cry again when we go to that memorial.

I still struggle to accept and believe that he is gone.  There is this little voice inside of me that hopes that he can come back in some way, and I have to keep on telling myself that he will never come back and I have to stand on my own two feet now and look after my children.  My daughter, Amber, has been a tower of strength, taking on all sorts of jobs to help and constantly keeping an eye on me.  Alex, my son, turned 10 on the 9th January, and it was very hard to have a birthday without Daddy, but he keeps telling everyone that he won't cry and be sad because Daddy wouldn't want that.  His school, which is a special school, have been keeping a close watch on him and providing support for the inevitable times when emotions get the better of him.

I am really lucky, though, in my family and friends.  They have rallied round, helped clean my house up, sort things out, listened patiently to my inane utterings when I can't quite verbalise what I am feeling and urged me into taking more care of myself, get more exercise and eat properly.  I couldn't have coped without any of them and I can never express my gratitude enough to them.

So I have to move on.  Now my little business has to grow as I am now the main bread winner and the bills won't pay themselves.  So I take my steps into my 'new normal' in the hopes that the light will return eventually and I will be able to remember the good times with Ivan, without thinking about that awful last night.

Sorry if this post depresses you all, in a way it has helped me to get the emotion out, and to get out of the cycle of feeling sorry for myself that is too easy to drop into. 

As you can see he was a joker at heart and could always find the humour in any situation.  He would especially have loved the bit in the service when the minister asked his line manager to say a few words but upgraded him to the principal of the college.  That would have kept Ivan in joke material for months.  Quite possibly still will wherever his spirit resides now.  He was comforting in his logical and considerate personality.  I always knew that if I (or anyone else for that matter) had any kind of problem at all, Ivan would find an answer to it.  Although we always joked that I was in charge (as the only driver) in reality he was the man of the house, but he never pushed it.  Thoughtful and caring, we had a habit of knowing what the other was thinking, and frequently would say exactly the same thing at the same time. 

He would always know how I was feeling and would say or do something that would frequently astound me with his indepth understanding.  I miss him immensely and always will. 

Monday, 25 August 2014


Got fed up trying to organise my diabetes meter case, as it was too small, didn't have room for my new lancet device or my insulin pen. 


So I made myself a new case

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Never refuse work ...

however bizarre it might be.  My window cleaner spotted my sewing machine, over a year ago now, and asked if it would be possible to sew patches onto a boat canopy.  I said yes and then forgot about it.  Until this morning when he texted me to ask if he could bring it over.

Here it is, draped fetchingly over my settee (I don't think it will catch on as a throw somehow) and you can see where it has torn on the piece next to the cardboard leg of my cutting table.  It is made of cotton canvas laminated onto a waterproof inner layer.  It did have waterproof coating but Window Cleaner jetwashed it and stripped it all off !!!  He was a bit annoyed with himself, but it was a happy accident as I think the sewing machine might have struggled to get through the proofing. 

I made a couple of triangular patches from spare canvas he supplied and then came the fun part ....  attaching them to this 6' by 5' ish canopy.

 Cue involvement of my daughter, Amber, as canopy model and human sewing machine extension table.  Even with her help it was hilarious, long winded and detrimental to anything within reach that could be knocked over or spilt.  It took a fair amount of logistical magic and the odd swear word or two to get it stitched, but we got there.  I am totally amazed with my machine, even with the jeans needle and the walking foot, I thought it would struggle but it sewed through 4 layers of fairly gungy boat canopy without any problem whatsoever.  Even when Amber accidentally pulled the material, the needle didn't even bend !!!  Than goodness.  It's bad enough when a fine needle snaps, goodness knows what would happen if a sturdy jeans needle snapped.

Here is Amber modelling the repaired canopy.  I think she might have a future in boatwear modelling.  The patches are still proofed and you can see how much jetwashing damaged the original.  Still he says he can recoat it. 

I got my windows cleaned for free (he normally charges £10 for the whole house) So something for everyone.  I just hope no-one wants a liner version doing cos I think that might just be beyond me.

I'm developing a range of beaded and machine embroidered butterflies, currently on hairclips, although they could be clipped onto anything.  I thought I'd run them past you and see what you think of them:

Here is one resting briefly on my nicely varnished handmade sewing extension table.  (2 days and 8 layers of varnish)  I've taken a fair few photos of them adorning various plants in my Mum's garden.  No point doing it in mine as it still looks like an accurate re-enactment of the Somme.  Now I just need to get round to putting them on Pinterest.

I'm also looking into buying a folding cutting table.  However, the Horn HiLo, which is the only one I can find that does what I want, is the best part of  a grand !!!  That will take a huge amount of teddies and pump pouches.  So does anyone out there know where I can get one cheaper, or second hand?  I want a cutting table that is higher than normal (avoids bending and backache) with the ability for the table top to fold flat so that you get your floor space back.  They seem to be like gold dust.  I can find any number of fixed top cutting tables but they take up too much space.


Friday, 25 July 2014

Embroidery on felt

I have spent most of today happily engaged in felt embroidery at The Sewing Space in Hythe, Kent, with none other than Nancy Nicholson as my tutor.  She of the wonderfully colourful folk art embroidery kits

Unfortunately my phone died and I forgot my camera, which was annoying, but c'est la vie. 

The other two ladies in the class were a mother and daughter who had travelled from Holland today, especially to take the class.  They had been looking for classes with Nancy for some time as they had come across her work in Country Living, and were really inspired by it.  Inspired enough to start out at 4am our time to get to the class at 10am.  That's dedication  :)

We were making embroidered felt wristlets.  Nancy had prepared instructions, which we hardly needed as she is so good at explaining things and was incredibly helpful and kind.   I haven't done much proper embroidery for some time and it was a challenge to remember the tricks needed to produce the more complicated stitches.  But Nancy was very patient and encouraging and I would really recommend her classes.

Big and little man had gone off for the day, to the beach, feed the ducks (and seagulls) and to the pub to meet a friend for a game of Pool.  Apparently Pool players have to be over 18, so they cheated and played it with their hands so Alex could join in  :)

This is the finished wristlet.  Photo taken at home as soon as the phone had charged enough  :)  Great fun and very rewarding.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Hopefully the link above does work.  This belongs to Potter Jotter who makes the most amazing ceramic ware, and will make it to order as well.  Definitely go and take a look. 

I've posted the above comment on my facebook page as well.

This is one of the things that make the early morning commute to Folkestone so worthwhile.  Sunrise over the Channel at Sandgate (taken through the car window admittedly)  This barely does justice to the amazing light shows we get treated to on a regular basis.  If you look hard enough you might even be able to see France on the horizon as well.
Teddies galore again.  These were for a brave young lady who lost her father four weeks ago.  Although they all look the same from a distance, each one has it's own personality and I'm told, that she sat them all on her bed and invited her relatives to claim the one that called to them.  I so love making these teddies.  However, I would love to make some from wedding dresses or bridesmaids dresses.  Or even the grooms waistcoat.  Baby clothes, old clothes that are no longer wearable but are still loved.  Even the back fabric off an old sofa that has gone to the big DFS in the sky. 
Christmas is rushing up fast, must get knitting.