Saturday, 25 January 2014

Monsters standing in line. I am so excited as they make a first appearance.

Thank you for such supportive comments about the stories I am writing for William. It is so lovely to be able to write them and by the wonder of the Internet he can read them in Dubai. It keeps him in touch with us and I know one day he will be able to look at them and realise just how much we love and miss him.

We leave for a Spanish break on Tuesday and I always like to clear the decks. I love to clear up.clean up and have no little niggling things half finished. That's quite a hard task when, like me you approach projects like a butterfly.

I wanted to finish the hand sewing on William's Monster Quilt. I wonder how many little blanket stitches I have worked. Too many to count but not too many to enjoy.

With the end in sight I got a bit carried away.

I finished the last set of five cheeky monsters.

 

I worked the four little monsters needed to complete the rows. These have fleecy bodies. Another little cuddly part for William to feel as he is tucked up under his quilt.

 

 

 

I worked a couple of large sections.

 

And then I got so,so impatient. I wanted to see these cute monsters lined up. Standing to attention. Ready for the Monster Mash.

Ready for the poem.

Five Little Monsters bouncing on the bed.

Ed fell off and bumped his head.

Jed phoned the doctor and the doctor said.

Stop those monsters bouncing on the bed.

 

I have loved choosing the fabrics. I have loved embellishing cute monster faces. I have loved working blanket stitches to appliqué them in place .

I am proud that I have only used fabric from my stash. Actually,I am amazed at that fact.

So,today I let them get down and be monster like on the floor. They jostled for position. They jumped into place and I just captured this first monster gathering.

 

I am so happy to see them all there.

And I am going to buy the softest wadding. I am going to back and bind. I am going to learn,conquer and make my first quilt. If I keep saying it to myself I will stop the niggling doubts about my ability.

But,the first thing I am going to do is carefully pack them all away. Sort out all my needles and thread.

I am going to have a break from these monsters. So when we meet again,after our trip I will feel fresh and confident .... I hope. Please be ready to hold my hand as I try to sew straight lines. Please be ready to help me get that batting in place. Then the binding... Eek. And as for stitching in a ditch. Help,help monster help.

 

 

Friday, 24 January 2014

Stories for William. Hodge gets Lost.

I have been meaning to write the next installment of William's adventures with Hodge, his favourite toy for ages. I have had the idea in my head for a little while but it takes quite a long time to pull it all together and ready posting.

But this morning I had a block of time with no distractions. So here we have it. The next sory just for William with our love.

He is having a lovely time in Dubai but we know he loves reading these stories about the escapades of Hodge.

It is a lovely way to remind him of how much we all love him.

So here we have it. Hodge gets Lost!

http://storiesforwilliam.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/hodge-gets-lost.html

The most amazing thing is to see how much William has grown in quite a short time! I took these photos last summer before they left.

 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Speeding along today.

We have got friends coming for a meal this evening. Another friend coming for the day tomorrow and a birthday to celebrate over the weekend so I MUST clear the decks,my mess,my works in progress.

So today it's been full steam ahead.

1.

I have finished the latest prickle of hedgehogs and delivered them to the Hedgehog Hospital in our village.

 

Some cute new names.

Yay. Ticked off the list.

2.

A blanket finished for my daughters friend.

 

 

 


Another brilliant tick.
3.

The sewing machine can go away as I have finished my bibs .. For now!

 

 

 

I have a few little Birthdays coming up soon so they will be perfect.

4.

A special parcel packed with love. I am really enjoying using these almost urban labels that my dear daughter in law made for me. They are machine stitched onto pieces or cardboard and tied with string.

She makes some lovely things.

 

 

Pop over and see her at http://sharkyknows-charles.blogspot.co.uk she has just made a banana and cinnamon loaf that looks delicious and the blankets she is hooking just now are really lovely.

So, I must not stay and chatter but I am really loving all your lovely comments and welcome to my new followers. It's lovely to have you here with me on my blogging journey.

 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Come walk with me.

I really love my home. I love being at home. For so many years I rushed, working full time with the "littlies" and we had three growing children of our own. I can remember that our home was really somewhere that was just the hub. The scaffolding that supported our lives. A cleaner came once a week which made me miss the rituals of running a home. Sunday evenings were a whirl of ironing uniforms,making packed lunches and checking homework. It was like being a hamster on a wheel. I was not a very happy hamster most of the time. I look back at that time in my life as a kind of haze. Necessary maybe, but it did not give me much time to " smell the coffee!"

Andy and I now wake when we wake. He is always before me! We avoid early morning appointments and do not expect to be at any starting gate. A cup of cappuccino made in a proper machine ( a wonderful gift to us) is sacrosanct . Everything stops at 11.00 a.m and we sit together enjoying our coffee.

We love to walk every day. We garden. We have hobbies. We read. We love our family time .We love our life.

But since breaking my toe I have slowed down and "smelt the coffee" of our lives even more carefully.

I have moved about our home taking in littlle things, pausing,dreaming,remembering,reflecting, appreciating and loving.

When our house underwent an EXTREME makeover two years ago we de cluttered in a very major way. We took things to Charity Shops. We Ebayed.We gave away and then recycled. After moving out of our house for four months, nothing moved back in with us that we did not both love( well I am not sure Andy loves my wool) It was really,really hard but I have never regretted it. It was cathartic ,freeing,energising and made the things we do have so important to us.

So my hobbled wanderings these last couple of weeks have made me look again at my home and it's heart,as I see it. And I wondered if you would like to walk with me and have a peep at the things I love,and live with.

I used to sing in a choir and a wonderful lady who sat next to me became a real friend.

She was a potter and when visiting our home one day she saw Andy and I sitting in the garden on a "Jack and Jill" bench. That year for my birthday she gave us this sculpture.

I love it so much.

She has captured us completely.

Can you even see the little bows on Andy's Boat shoes?

We do have little pockets of space that are busy with things.

A windowsill full of photos.

I treasure these little ones so,so much.

My Mum, my brothers and me.

It would have been taken in 1955 I think.

The boys look so smart in their matching ties and my little dress would have been hand smocked.

I remember thinking I had the prettiest Mummy in the whole world when I was a little girl.

The next little bit of love is about a very special

print. It is called "Au Revoir" by Sheila Rock.

For us it tells our love story.

A boy from London meets a girl from Devon.

For three years they said goodbye to each other on stations.

But love has never said goodbye for us.

We even have a copy of this picture in our little house in Spain.

 

My Dad lived on Dartmoor.

He was a vet and looked after the welfare of the Darmoor Ponies.

When he became very,very Ill his last request was to see Dartmoor one more time.

He did,and his ashes are scattered there,in the place he loved so much.

The Christmas after his death Andy bought me this tiny print of Haytor which I love so much.

And Dartmoor is echoed with this other treasure I have.

I have been lucky enough to share my working career with some wonderful classroom assistants and Nursery Nurses.

Unsung heroes so very often.

When one, who was almost like a daughter to me,took up weaving she thanked me for our friendship by giving me her first creation.

Dartmoor.

Again my lovely husband secretly had it framed for me for Christmas.

It is hanging just opposite our bedroom door and I look at it every morning.

 

 

Some people may think this next little bit of my love a little sad,but I do not feel like that about this pot.

My Mum and Dad divorced when I was 16.

It was the end of a very unhappy marriage.

I do not think anybody thought I needed to take anything from the matrimonial home and I remember my brothers teasing me as I packed my childhood dolls.

It was traumatic,and years later I wished I had "things" from the home where I grew up.

I never said anything to my Mum but when she passed away I found this vase which she had packed away.

I remembered it from my childhood home and I had always loved it.

I am so happy that I have got it now and just having that one thing has made me feel so much happier about my early childhood.

And thinking of pots.

Our daughter made this vase at Primary School.

I have always loved it.

In the summer I put garden blooms in it and remember how she pressed her fingers in the clay to make the sweet decoration.

A real studio piece.

And thinking of daughters, our youngest is 27 this weekend and she is off travelling the world at the moment.

We are so proud of her and I love this happy picture of us both on holiday many years ago now.

And thinking of family photos. This little one must be my all time favourite. I think I look at it every day. We used to go camping in France and we relished every day of our holidays. A time when we could be together and just enjoy every minute.

I only have to look at it and the memories make me smile.

 

I really am not one for ornaments and these three live behind sliding doors in our bedroom which is minimalistic and uncluttered .

But every time I open the sliding doors these Hummel figures make me smile.

I had an Auntie who had a whole mantelpiece full of these little figurines.

She was the best kind of auntie anyone could wish for.

And she gave me the one with the little instrumentalists when I got married.

The little girl on the bench was a gift from my two brothers many years ago.

And lastly the one with the ABC slate commemerated when I became a teacher.

 

Last year for our wedding Anniversary we treated ourselves to this painting. The sea is in our bedroom as we drift to sleep and when we wake.

 

The seashore,my favourite place in the whole world.

It's hard to end this little wander around my home.

There are other things which make me happy and which I love very much.

One day I may walk again or maybe in a different direction but for now I finish with a picture which has hung in our bedroom for what seems forever.

Youth and beauty is indescribable.

It is like mercury in your hands.

It is the evening light and the stars at night.

It is the dawn and sunrays across the ocean.

Memories of love will always be held in this simple black and white picture.

 

 

Thank you for walking with me.

 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

You make me Happy,You make me smile. Take two.

As always a big Thank You to you all for such supportive comments about my last wordy post.

I think about each and every one of them.

It has been pouring all day so I have enjoyed compiling this latest collage of pictures which have made me happy and made me smile this week.

 

1. My oldest daughter has nearly finished her hairderessing training. I am a very willing model. She cut my locks in a much shorter style. I was initially nervous about it but now I love it. The cut is so good I can style it myself and I wake up excited to wash my hair every morning.What a result.

 

2. A Christmas book which I am enjoying very much. Clear,encouraging text with the most beautiful pictures. There are snippets from bloggers and crafty folk which seem to make perfect sense and more importantly I think some of the tricks of the trade they talk about are perhaps achievable.

 

3 The brightest,zingiest pea purée. We were being all cheffy and this was delicious. Cook a cupful of frozen peas. Place in a small blender with a tablespoon of Olive oil,the juice of half a lemon, a good grating of Parmesan cheese according to taste and Salt and pepper to taste. Whizz and serve. This is delicious on crusty bread and even better as an underblanket to a scummy seared scallop. I also used it as a spread in my pitta for lunch.

4. Bunches of tulips. A lovely gift which has made me so happy this week.

So here we have it. You make me happy you make me smile. And smiles are the best!

 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Just words today. Pictures tomorrow as I found myself whittering!

Following on from my first happy post I am really pleased to say I am finding it really easy to find things that are making me happy.

One which perhaps cannot be pictorially represented is the lovely comments my followers are leaving on my blog. By being able to email a quick response to each of these lovely fellow bloggers has resulted in me feel so much happier. I really do appreciate the time taken to leave a message.

I am still sad that I have had to add a word verification to my blog but that day of over 10.000!!! Spam comments totally freaked me out.

I have totally fallen in love with some of the lovely blogs and bloggers that abide in Blogland. I hope you know who you are. Too many gorgeous ones to pick out one or two.

So, I have been thinking more about being happy since starting my picture collages. I used to hate the winter. Then I had a lightbulb moment. As I hit my late 50's a sense of my own mortality kicked in. I think this becomes especially apparent as you lose your parents and sadly my brother died too aged 54. How he would love another winter.

So, as I was hating winter I was effectively hating half the time I had left in my lifetime. So, I simply put in a mindset change. Yoga helps so much with this. As does changing every negative thought to a positive. What is the point of being retired if you do not take the time to reflect on enhancing your life..

I pinned a quotation in the kitchen which goes like this...

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

Grant me the courage to change the things I can,and the wisdom to know the difference.

That little quotation may seem twee or contrived but my goodness if you reflect upon it,it is so deep. And when I am crafting I reflect a lot.

I try and smile a lot even to myself. I try and breathe in the colour yellow. Not particularly a favourite of mine but such an uplifting colour in the winter

And lastly if I am out and about I try and speak to elderly people. When both my Mum and Mother In Law became elderly and subsequently widowed the loneliness was the worst thing for them to bear. Ill health was bad but at least they got to go to the doctors, see the nurse or visit the hospital. But days when they saw no-one were the worst,the saddest and the most depressing.

They both absolutely loved little children,but sadly as society has changed some mothers really resent people talking to their children and because of the way of the world these days children themselves are wary of strangers talking to them. Even grey haired little old ladies who both weighed about 7 stone with walking sticks.

The other day a lady walked past me and she looked so smart. She had the prettiest scarf on, little gold shoes and her hair was as neat as a pin. I was rushing around looking the complete opposite.

Anyway. I looked at her and she glanced at me. She looked so lovely but so sad. We were past each other so quickly but something made me turn and I ran to her and said. "You look really lovely today ."

She stopped in her tracks,looked at me and ascertained I was not a mad woman. Then she put her arm on mine and said.

" My dear, you have made my day. My husband died last year and I miss him so much. One of the things he used to say to me every day was that I looked lovely. No one has said that to me since until today!.

We actually both felt a bit teary as it reminded me so much of the day my Mum said to me.

"I have a drawer full of my favourite jewellery upstairs that I can never wear again."

When I asked her why she replied.

" Because no one is here to do it up at the back for me"

I felt such sadness that day. I wish now I had taken the whole drawerfull in to have magnetic clasps put on.

I know why I am feeling so reflective today. It is a year tomorrow since my dear mother in law died. I blogged about it then and this " circle of life " we all inhabit.

I am going to keep on trying to change any negative perceptions I have about my life. I am going to try and make every day count and I am going to continue waking every morning and slipping into sleep each night making a mental inventory of all the things which make me happy and make me smile.

After all these words I will just post my happy picture collage tomorrow.

Thank you for reading x

Thursday, 16 January 2014

All change!

Am I flexible? Not in the Yogic bendy way. My Yoga postures are somewhat brick like. But, I like to think I am flexible in my approach to life. I shall think some more on that. But, I think so.

I have talked before about the lovely charity thread I belong to. Over the years I have made some lovely,lovely friends. Some I have been lucky enough to meet in person and some whose friendship seems just as real even if it is only cemented by words and deeds.

Last week Ginny was talking about a friend of hers who is travelling to Cambodia with her husband. They only take hand luggage for their personal needs and fill up their suitcases with as much humanitarian goods as they can muster. I have always wanted to go to Cambodia and usually see the most tranquil pictures of beautiful places.

 

It is easy with its emerging tourist industry to forget its turbulent and sad past. But there is much need in the country for the poor and disadvantaged.

http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/cambodia

If you want to read a little more have a look at the link above.

So I stopped in my monster tracks and had a little search. I searched my stash and searched in my boxes.

Whenever we are out and about I love to see street stalls. I can not resist them. Last year when we were in Newquay there was one in the Main Street in aid of the Lifeboats. You can not have spent a lifetime living by the sea and not support such a worthwhile charity .

And there on the stall were these lovely baby cardigans.

 

 

I snapped them up. A double whammy. Pennies given for the Lifeboats and cardigans to tuck away for when a call from the Charity Thread was made. So they have been tucked inside the parcel which is soon to make its way to Ginny and then on to Cambodia.

I made this little set ages ago and it has been patiently waiting for such a good cause.

And to finish the woolly gifts two crochet hats I made a while back.

 

Sewing needles are precious and useful.

Villages apparently have a central store where one Is given out at a time so some needles are tucked inside.

 

And two needle cases. Maybe for a special project. I really love making these and decorating them with ribbon.

 

And lastly a packet of plasters, light and easy to transport .

So, I have stopped in my tracks. The monsters have temporarily moved aside whilst I have collected these bits and pieces together.

I will send them with love and hope they make a tiny difference to someone in a place I have dreamed of visiting.

Love really is something if you give it away!

 

 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

High Five for the next set of Monsters!

Day by day quiet sewing is going on here. Choosing,placing,pinning and stitching. I am still totally in love with this appliqué quilting malarky.

The idea of making sets is totally the way to work for me. I have printed out the picture of the quilt. 2 copies. 1 is to remind me how it will look. Or should look! The other one is covered with spots,ticks,crosses and other encouraging signs.

 

Anyway the upside of all this is that the next set of five Monsters are ready for the Monster Mash Parade.

 

And my favourite is ...

Ed .

 

I have tucked a small pad of the softest wadding inside each of these monsters. Just to add a little bit of definition to the quilt. I think a little hand might enjoy moving over the bumpy bodies.

 

Actually I think this one is pretty cute too!

So, yes, the upside. Set completed . The downside of all this choosing snippets of fabrics is the room I have commandeered for the quilting looks like a bomb has hit it. The views out the window are just as calming but the workspace NO!

At least with hooking its only small balls of yarn and a hook.

Still. I am not going to worry about it. Shut the door firmly when not in use is the answer.

My toe is continuing to make its way through the colourful bruising spectrum. And of course all this inactivity makes the wool ordering clocking finger open to temptation.

I have wanted for ages to use lovely yarns when making things. Perhaps following on this " slow crafting " journey. Make a little less but use a little more in the quality sense.

Black Sheep Wools have their clearance sale on at the moment and my morning coffee was made evn more special when the postie brought this parcel.

 

It is gorgeous. Soft,squishy and I am loving those pastel shades.

Who wants to resist temptation like this when there is no chance of going anywhere near the other January sales.