Saturday, 28 June 2014

Let's have a Cuppa!

I simply love quirky. And this is the quirkiest place to have a cup of tea. Come and have one with me!

Just selling wool would be good enough. But these cubby holes don't even begin to tell the story.

I will let the pictures tell the rest.

Vintage knitting patterns. The perfect place to rest your cuppa.
Pull up a chair!


Or maybe you would prefer a comfy one.



With a magazine to enjoy.
Like so many others do every day.
The perfect place for a few rows and a natter.


And if the sun comes out never fear.

A brolly to give you shade.



And if it's cold .. Well just cuddle up and perhaps have a little dream about witches and broomsticks.



And on dark days light to show your pattern up well.


And if you need to spend a penny it's easy to find the way.



And amongst all this yarny goodness another type of generosity is going on.



I could have spent all day in this wonderful shop. If ever you are in Southbourne in Dorset keep your eyes open and your purse at the ready. There are treats galore. And the tea and cakes were pretty special too!


Quirky is pretty darn perfect in my book.



Sunday, 22 June 2014

Another very special friend.

It is only two weeks until my little Dubai family come home. I am trying very hard to finish all my butterfly projects. And there really are a lot. I just want to make life easy and stress free . Dry weather would help. Walks to the river with a packed breakfast will make it special. The cookery books wil be out. Favourite recipes chosen. Just special times. Family times.

William's quilt will be on his bed and I consider myself so lucky to have the most special friends. A friend who helped me make the quilt. And another lovely friend who loves books and art more than anything else in the world.

I got up fairly late this morning and waiting in my inbox was this great poem. A monster poem. A perfect poem. I really can not wait to read it to Willaim when he is snuggled up under his quilt. My friend had been following my quilting progress and wanted to help with the last story book part . I love this so much.



Lots of little monsters were having so much fun
Jumping on the bed with a big sticky bun,
Along came William in his wellies and his hat
And said very sternly "Now stop all that!
You're making such a mess of my new bedspread
I think you should all go outside instead!"
All the little monsters hung their heads in shame
And sorrowfully said "It was just a game
We didn't really mean to make such a to do
We promise we'll clean it all up for you."
Later that night getting ready for bed
William peeped round his door and in astonishment said
"Grandma look! my quilt, it's so soft and so clean
As if a monster party there never has been!"
Grandma smiled as she whispered"Things aren't always what they seem
Perhaps it was just a lovely fun dream."
William sighed as he snuggled and settled to sleep,
"Grandma, I love all my monsters and forever will keep."

This quilt has become so much more than pieces of material.



Saturday, 21 June 2014

A trip back in time in East Ogwell.

We moved to East Ogwell village in 1988. A long time ago now. Really I was returning to East Ogwell as I had moved to this pretty village first when I was sixteen. The view from the Village Green to Dartmoor still fills me with joy when I have been away. As you turn the corner and arrive at the green the view is stunning.


I got married in St Bartholomew's Church in 1976 and then our teaching careers took us to Dorset.

When we were planning our wedding the church bells were not in working order. They needed extensive renovation to bring them back to a full peal. A peal which was rung out all over the village to announce a wedding or a sad toll to call people together to pay their final respect to someone in the village when they had died.

My Mum was determined that the bells should peal out on my wedding day and the vicar at the time must have seen something in her, that up until that point no one else had recognised. Determination, relentless determination and energy to make things happen.

I remember him saying to my Mum, at that point not really a church goer " well if you want the bells to ring you will have to raise the money!

Well to cut a very long story short the bells rung out loud and clear on our wedding day. One of the hottest days in August 1976.

My Mum got the bug! Her list of fund raising activities for the village,local hospitals, the Kidney Unit in Exeter and other charitable institutions became a phenomenon. She actually had a kidney transplant herself but nothing stopped her. I smile when I think of her because people used to almost find it easier to say yes to her requests than no.

When she died my family placed a bench in the village dedicated to her, and my wonderful step dad who was her firmest supporter. The church put a plaque by her seat in the church she came to love.

She died in 2004 and I have missed her ever since. I walk into the church and I see her surrounded by flowers and greenery. The flower festivals she arranged were amazing.

I drive past the village hall and think of the Luncheon Clubs she started and worked tirelessly for.

I drive past the village green and think of her as Chairman of the Parish Council.

I was enormously proud of her but, I also, like many others,dreaded those words. " I just need a little help with ...." It would be the embryo of another scheme.

Of course over the years since her death others have continued her wonderful work in the village. But, I have watched from afar. I knew why. I knew that attending the Village Fair, or Flower Festival or Tennis Club Barbecue would make me miss my Mum even more.

But, this morning my Sister In Law phoned early. She has just moved into the village and her husband is away with work. She asked me to go to the Village Fair because she wanted to enter her little Westie in the Dog show. It would have been mean and churlish of me to say no. So I went for the first time since my Mum died. Ten years.


We had to book Archie, her West Highland Terrier in before the Summer Fair began . It was such a beautiful Midsummers Day.


Sideshows, games, stalls , exhibitions, barbecues and bands. All were there.


There was a super book being sold to raise funds for the a Church.


A booklet full of information.
Of course I know most of it but I love to read about my village.
My childrens village.
My Mums village.


She lived in number 5 Rose Cottages.


This is the Church she loved so much.
And here is a page all about her .... my Mum!
And there on a table was a display about women in Ogwell and there right in the middle was a picture of Mum with her beloved little dog Lucy.
Lucy is fifteen now and still alive.


I did shed a tear. I did not know that she was going to be a part of the display or the book. But, I do know she is still a part of our lives . We will never forget her but I was so proud that so many others have not either.

It was a happy day though and now I think I will be able to go to more Village events. And to end it in the perfect way. Archie came first in his class in the Dog Show. The Veterans Class. Time is passing us by so quickly... Even for little doggies. But he has only just moved to Devon and been honoured already.



I hope you have had a wonderful Midsummers Day too!


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Progress with the Monsters.


A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days with my lovely friend. My friend of over forty years. We met at Teachers Training College in 1973. And in 1976 she was my bridesmaid.




She retired last year and has now finished two terms of quilting lessons. How sensible to go to lessons and learn all the basics. How sensible to know which tools to use. Brilliant planning and execution. The complete opposite to me..... Me, oh that looks wonderful. I am going to make it now!

But in for a penny in for a pound. Here was one of my monsters made straight after my dear daughter in law showed me a picture of the Monster Quilt. Perhaps Ed,Ned,Ted or Fred.



My dear friend was so patient as she looked at my rectangles drawn around a cereal box. My rectangles cut out with scissors and a complete mismatch of materials. The one thing she realised knowing me as she does is that I might not know how to do something properly but I would have been upset if it had not turned out well.She showed me how to cut with a rotary cutter guided by a quilters ruler so that the seams joined up accurately.



She showed me how to roll the monsters so the quilt would go under the sewing machine needle!

I sewed and sewed. Joining,placing and seeing my monster quilt coming to life.

So clever to roll and work.

The best tip.... Use invisible thread when you are sewing in the ditch.

Wobbles do not show!



We worked for three whole days. Side by side. Metaphorically hand in hand. It was truly wonderful. Yes, the achievement was wonderful but even more, the companionship. The chance to share time and our excitement grew as the monsters began to join together. I was chuffed to bits.

We were too busy crawling all over the floor smoothing the shapes and pinning the sandwich of top,wadding and backing together to take photos.

I learnt about cutting the border and sewing it on.



And all the time pressing,ironing and checking was going on.

It felt as lovely as when someone washes up the dishes as you go when you are making a big family roast.



I had no idea it was going to be so enormous. I should have started with a table mat but it would not have been half the fun or enough to talk about!

And what a great friend. She is behind the quilt acting as a quilt holder to get the last picture.



And then it was time to come home. I was so happy to put the quilt on William's bed. It has been in place for ten days or more and I left the door open so we could see it,stroke it and just smile.



But,it wasn't finished. So,last night whilst the football was on I did the final job. Stitch,stitch stitchery stitch.

I had been tempted to whizz around with the machine and the invisible thread. But a little voice kept telling me not to. It was telling me that if something is worth doing its worth doing well. My friend of course but also every true crafts person I have ever met.

The long journey around the border took a while. A long while, but I enjoyed the rhythm of little stitches.



So nearly finished but there is one last thing I want to add for William. One of the monsters has a little pouch.

So, I am going to make a baby monster to pop in. And then when he is tucked up under his quilt he can pop his hand into the pocket and cuddle the baby monster as he drifts off to sleep.


So there is going to be one more instalment of my monster journey. I have to make that little monster. Oh, and sew on one button above one of the monsters ears where there is a tiny drop of blood. That pin hurt!

And I have a poem whirling around in my head..... It starts something like this.


Ed,Ned,Jed and Ted are four lovely monsters that live on William's bed.

Ed is red and can balance on his head

But sometimes he wobbles and falls out of bed!

Stop that wobbling say Ned,Ted and Jed.


And I think I have a verse for the monster I am going to make to go in the pocket.


There's one little monster and his name is Fred.

He's so quiet no one hears him on the bed.

But William loves him and it's often said.

Your my favourite monster hidden on this bed.


I would like to turn it into a story to read to him when bedtime arrives

If you have any inspiration for the verses in the poem please don't be shy. It would be lovely if my lovely blogging friends held my hand too. Please give it a whirl in your head too.

Thank you all for being so supportive on my Monster journey!


Sunday, 15 June 2014

I got it. As the song goes " Let's Twist Again!"

That song title shows my age! I watched my sister in law learning to knit again in Cornwall and I was so impressed with her tenacity. She kept on checking her tension and the number of stitches she needed to make a perfect six inch square. Tenacity is not one of my strongest attributes. I cheat, take the easy option, throw the project against the wall or send it to the cupboard of doom under the stairs.

But, not yesterday. After cheating and plaiting the strips of fabric to make twine I eventually sourced the you tube video with accompanying sound. I am so glad I have my technical advisor close at hands these days. Retirement is a wonderful thing.

It was such a lovely day I did the cutting of the strips in the garden. Then I stuffed all the lengths in my pocket and got twisting all day. It was therapeutic, calming and quite addictive. I listened to some of the lengthy debates about strikers,defenders and other football nonsense etc etc. But, in the main I just kept twisting.

I was so pleased to get the tension correct. Tight and firmly twisted.

I wish I had some old wooden spools to wind it onto as it would really look good, but a rolled piece of cardboard sufficed.


I liked the random coloured look but loved the nautical style of white and blue strips even more.



Looped and tied this time!



June and July are busy birthday months for us and I love wrapping presents. Love these effects. Brown paper,doilies and fabric twine all topped off with a little machined heart tag. I cut up old gardening books for the hearts and you can actually read little snippets on each one.



It even works on a gardening voucher envelope and card.



So, I really loved making the fabric twine. I was pleased with the results. It certainly uses up your fabric scraps and I felt it enhanced my parcels and if you would like a go at twisting your time away here is the link again.


Please be aware however there are a couple of downsides... There are wisps of fabric everywhere this morning. So twisting time was interrupted by some sweeping. And your hand does get a bit achey. But I had no ill effects this morning. Even though I twisted my way through hours and hours of football.

Just to close here is a picture of someone else loving a good twist and turn.



Lots of love ... Linda