Thursday 27 December 2012

Calm returns!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful peaceful and fun filled Christmas holiday - the build up is just so tremendous, and then suddenly the day is over and calm returns!  Christmas was lovely, the house was warm and cosy:
and I managed NOT to over cook the turkey - I trusted Nigella's cooking times, basted regularly with maple syrup and butter and it was the best most delicious bird (apologies to vegetarians!):
We received one of the best Christmas gifts ever from the kids - a mattress topper - pure heaven!  It is just THE BEST! - I highly recommend, I just cannot wait to get into bed and sink into this amazing comfort zone!  If I cannot be found, I shall be in bed - with a book and my sewing!!

Today we are off to visit dear close friends who have rented a cottage in  Devon for the holiday period, and last night I sat by the fire sewing the binding on this quilt for my God-daughter's 4 year old son Toby:  he is now obviously in a "big bed" and needs something more appriopriate than the baby quilt I made when he was born, so I have made this quilt with farms/animals on - it is really lovely though I say it myself!
It has a gorgeous backing too:

I hope the fun family time continues for you all, and that the rain in England and the snow in the USA does not get any worse.
Tomorrow it will be "sort out new 2013 projects" day - I cannot wait!

Monday 24 December 2012

Santa's on his way!

Two Blogs in one day!! 

We are so fortunate down here in Devon - Father Chrstmas just popped in for a mince pie!

Here he is with Robbie, and our dog Ben - he didn't stop long, he has thousands of miles to travel and many presents to distribute and Rudolph was getting impatient - but guess we must have been extra good to get such a special visit!

Merry Christmas everyone! xx 


What with the endless torrential rain and Christmas without doubt creeping up on me far too quickly, it is now Christmas Eve and I am just beginning to wind down.  Carols are playing on the radio and the turkey is soaking in the most delicious smelling brine - courtesy of Nigella - this is such a wonderful way with turkey, the smell of fruit and spices is utterly divine -  the bags are bouquet garni, not teabags in case you are wondering!!:
The last cross-stitched stocking was finished (I did actually sew eleven, I am so pleased with myself!)and was delivered to my sister whilst visiting my Mother in Nottingham:
and then home to decorate Ward Cottage for Christmas: 
Here is my favourite cross-stitched Santa, made for Christmas 1991:  on the back I have listed all our close friends who came and visited us - Robert, my first husband was so very ill and everyone was wonderful tryng to cheer us up and make it special for him:  it is a real memory picture: (sorry, it is not the best photo!):
Of course I have stitched many many Santa's and Christmas pictures since then:
Here is my Noah's Ark Santa:
and this one says it all:

I also finished off a baby quilt for Sebastian James born last Sunday :  I had this ready to go once I knew baby had arrived safely!:
We received the most amazing package of cheeses and salami's sent from friends in Surrey: 
I cannot begin to tell you how exciting this was to open!

It was my son's Robbie's birthday on Saturday - and here he is with his gorgeous girlfriend Nisha and friends Jenny and Nathan sat by the fire having a celebration drink:
Now his birthday is over Christmas can really begin:  my husband Rod will be putting on his Santa outfit later and doing "the rounds" to families with young children - always such a hit!   I will post a photo!
Neither of my girls are here this year - Fran is away with Angelo enjoying some sunshine and a well earned rest, and Dot is working either side of Christmas, but with the dreadful state of the trains down here she probably would never have made it anyway - but they are here in our hearts.

I would like to wish all my friends who follow this blog a peaceful and happy Christmas. xx


Friday 7 December 2012

Not enough time!

I was sewing away thinking I had plenty of time, and now suddenly there is only just over 2 weeks to go - December is going too fast, I need another month!
However, I am cross-stiching the last of 11 stockings - I definitely need to find some new patterns for next year's youngsters.  And the reactions to those that have already been given is amazing - which is really lovely, it makes every stitch so worth while.  Plus the Christmas Tree runner which I showed you in my last blog also hit the mark. I have made two more runners:

Both of these runners are for young friends who are now living in Australia - and talking of Australia, one of youngest daughter Dot's friends, who has lived in London for 8 years, is returning to Australia at the end of January.  I had promised Abby a quilt about 3 years ago now, and have felt guilty that I had never got around to making one for her.  Well - she will be going home with this "Seeds of Time":
I even managed to find some fantastic "British London fabric" which I have put on the four corners which I hope will remind her of her friends over here and her time spent living in London!:
So you can see why I am running out of time this month - I have even amazed myself that I have managed to make this large (95 ins square) quilt as well as everything else!  I think I have been sewing in my sleep! This is now over at "Butterfly Quilters" and I will collect and sew on the binding in the new year.
I have also sewn another wedding sampler:
and have recently had the lovely news that two of my God-daughters are getting married next year:  so more quilts and samplers to sew! - and so far two baby quilts to make for friends of eldest daughter Fran - I am sure as the months go on there will be more babies - and maybe more weddings, but I always love making baby quilts, they can be so much fun.
I am off up to Nottingham to see my dear old Mum next week, and on route will be seeing friends and delivering the above sampler, plus this quilt - this is a birthday present for one of my long time known friends.  Carol will be celebrating a significant birthday in January when they will be away in their home in Barbados, so I have made this is bright colours which I am hoping will look good in their beautiful home:
The weather down here in Devon has been absolutely horrendous over the past 3 weeks:  but I did manage to capture on camera this beautiful rainbow on my way home from Tavistock earlier this week:
So - I am off now to finish the last stocking, and maybe even make another Christmas runner - certainly my sewing studio needs a major tidy up (again!) before I go to Nottingham.  I shall be writing Christmas cards this weekend and wrapping some more presents.  I seem to visit our local Post Office daily at the moment.
Surprise -we have just taken delivery of a case of wine - - that will certainly be drunk before the end of 2012 - cannot wait to find out who has sent us such a great gift! I love pleasant surprises!!
I will blog again when I return from Nottingham - and when I have decorated the tree and put up some decorations.  Then the festivities can really get going!



Sunday 18 November 2012

Christmas finishes on a Cold Sunny Sunday

It is such a glorious sunny Sunday morning, but we had a frost and it is really bitter outside.  However I wrapped up and took a couple of photos to show you:
 I am trying hard now to really get on with my Christmas gifts - I have finished a 2-colour 36" square Xmas quilt, really pretty with a fun backing:
This is just a quick and easy fun xmas tree runner:
 And I am still continuing with my cross-stitch xmas stockings, I am on number 8 - so doing well.

I went over to Cowslip on Friday for their Christmas Craft Fair - it was so lovely - lots of wonderful stalls with such beautiful tempting items - I really had to hold myself in check!
I met Christine from The Sea Garden in Portscatho near Truro - she writes a wonderful blog "A Mermaid's Tail" - she had the most gorgeous stall in the upstairs barn,  It was difficult to take pictures as it was so so busy.

Have a good productive week everyone and keep warm!


Friday 9 November 2012

Home again...and sewing Christmas

Well I have had a lovely few days away, seeing Fran, Robbie and Dot - my three London based children, and Lise - one of my dearest friends who I lived next door to when I lived in Cobham:  I always stay with her when I go up, and then I went onto Nottingham seeing my dear old Mum of course and my sister Helena and brother-in-law Dennis:  so so good to catch up with everyone.

Lise and I went up to London and met with Dot (youngest daughter):  we walked from Waterloo to Covent Garden on a glorious sunny Friday morning - the views of London from the bridge are great:
Here you can see The Shard, which I believe is now the tallest building in Europe.
And this is my beautiful Dot outside "Opening Ceremony" - the lovely shop in Covent garden which she manages.  The shop is full of stunning clothes - it has a terrific atmosphere - full of surprises.  Well worth a visit if you are in that area of London.  I love Covent Garden - very buzzy!
On Friday evening Fran came down to Cobham and stayed the night - so we had a good catch-up.  Her life is so hectic and full on- so it was just wonderful to have this time together albeit short.

Then on  Saturday evening Robbie came down and he stayed over and then came up to Nottingham with me on the Sunday morning so he could spend a few hours with his "Granny".  She was thrilled, such a lovely surprise for her.
Here he is with Granny and my sister Helena.  My dear Mum appeared brighter than on my previous visit which was a huge relief - she is really looking much better.  Fingers crossed she stays like this over the coming winter months.  I am aiming for another visit before Christmas weather permitting, you never can tell.On route to Surrey I went to Butterfly Quilters and collected this lovely bright fun quilt which Carole had long-arm quilted for me:  I then sewed on the binding whilst staying with Lise so that I could hand over on arrival in Nottingham:
This quilt is for Helena and Dennis's 3 year old grandson Warwick who adores Thomas the Tank Engine:  I actually found it quite difficult to find Thomas fabric, but after an extensive search on the internet I found some:  I then backed it with this gorgeous panel of Bob the Builder which I got at the FOQ - unknowingly this is also one of his favourite charaters, so I did well!:
They loved it as you can see!  Just hope Warwick will like too.....!
So it was a good fun trip away catching up with those that are dear to me. 
I am  now home, and back into serious Christmas sewing:  the weeks are passing by too quickly.  And it always takes me a few days to reorientate, catch up on the washing, destroy the cobwebs etc.!  But I am back into it all again now.
Today it is grey, cold and damp - so I will now go and fill the log basket and light the fire, then I will do some baking.  Sounds good!

Having read the comments on my last post, I will put up some pictures of more of my antique samplers in due course - they are all so lovely and are an inspiration to many of us.
I hope you are all keeping well and busy - have a great weekend.

Friday 26 October 2012

Sewing Santa's and antique inspiration

Well it certainly feels like winter is on it's way down in our little corner of Devon - it is bitterly cold and bleak, time to start lighting the fire earlier and settling down for a game of Scrabble before supper - especially after Sunday when the clocks have gone back as it will be dark so early.  Never mind, all the more time for my cross-stitch:  and talking of that, here are my first 5 completed Christmas stockings:
I am so pleased at how they have come together - I am now on number 6 so getting through them in good time for Santa's visits!  There is a lot of sewing in each of them but hopefully they will become heirlooms in the future.

I am off up to Cobham in Surrey next Thursday for 3 days with my dear friend Lise - we have lots planned so it will be big fun, and then Sunday I zoom up the M1 to spend 3 days with my dear old Mum - so I shall get plenty of sewing done whilst with her.  Lise and I are planning a trip up to London, and hopefully will see family and other friends too.
I will also be sewing on some bindings as I am collecting quilts from Butterfly Quilters that Carole has long-armed her magic on: I always love seeing them after quilting, it makes such a difference.

In the past I have collected many antique samplers, so I thought I would show you some of them:

This is my all time favourite, sewn by a 12 year old called Mary Roe in 1780: the work is so fine, considering they had none of our modern aids - spotlights, magnifiers etc. these young girls did truely inspirational sewing.

I have also collected much Royal Winton china in the "Queen Ann" design - it looks like cross-stich, and looks very pretty on the dresser in our living room:
I managed to get this lovely shot of our Goldie Ben with Reg our old Tabby:  they love each other so much, it is sweet to see!:  they were watching me in amazement as I pruned the roses -I was trying to gain some brownie points!:
When I was out at Cowslip on Monday adding parrots and turtles to my Noah's Ark quilt, I took these photos of some of Jo's beautiful clever quilts which were hanging in the workroom:
No wonder we are all inspred whenever we spend time with Jo in that magical place!

Well I am off now to "move out" of my conservatory studio and back into the house - once the clocks change and the days are cold, grey and shorter it will become too cold to work in my Studio so I move into the little sitting room where I can light the fire and sew whilst being cosy.  I shall just have to try and be tidier - no pins left on the floor that the animals - and Rod - can walk on else I shall get into Big Trouble!
I trust all my followers are keeping well and busy - I shall Blog again on my return from Surrey/Nottingham.  In the meantime have a good weekend and keep busy everyone.