Sunday, 22 February 2015

Dorset Weekend

Thank you all for your brilliant comments on last week's post. I don't think this week has been quite so hectic although we have been away for a few days this weekend.  I think the post title rather gives the destination away, don't you?

We stayed in this lovely B & B just outside Dorchester in a small village called Winterbourne Steepleton.  At first we were upgraded to a beautiful room with a four poster bed.  Now I'm not keen on four poster beds, never slept in one mind, but just don't fancy it.  A bit claustrophobic for my liking.  But, as I didn't want to make a fuss I thought I would at least have a look at the room after all the lady had been very kind to upgrade us.  Well you probably all think I'm completely potty!! It was a stunning room, beautifully decorated with comfy chairs too, but I kept looking at this bed thinking there's no way I can sleep in that.  My husband even tried to get me to 'try it out'.  Not what you're thinking!!! But there was no way it was going to happen and after about 10 minutes of uming and ahing (as I didn't want to make a fuss) we had to ask to be moved to the room we had originally booked which is also a lovely room, very cosy, just not quite so big as the other.  That suited me fine though! How relieved did I feel that night sleeping in a normal bed :)  

Do you think I was completely mad? 
How do you feel about sleeping in a four poster bed?

We were planning a couple of walks over the weekend and were very lucky with the weather as on Thursday when we arrived it was tipping down and didn't stop all day.  Friday was a lot better, no rain at all, a little dull but we could cope with that.  We stopped off briefly to see Hardy's Monument

It was built in 1844 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Amongst other things, Hardy became famous as it was in his arms that Nelson died, saying the immortal words 'Kiss me Hardy'. 

Here is a view from the monument 

After this brief visit we made our way to Abbotsbury for the start of our first walk.

Here we are half way up the first hill, looking back towards Abbotsbury 
with Chesil Beach in the background

I took loads of photos but added just a few more photographs here.  The beach you will see in these photos is Chesil Beach.
Chesil Beach is 18 miles (28 kilometres) long and, on average, 160 metres wide and rises to 12 metres in height. It is a pebble beach connecting Portland to Abbotsbury 
and then continuing north-westwards to West Bay near Bridport. 

On Saturday we had an equally stunning walk from Lulworth Cove,
past Durdle Door to White Nothe (Whitenose).
We took the coast path from Lulworth Cove and returned by the higher path on the ridge.  We were luckier with the weather today and had quite a bit of sunshine and also a hail storm!

Look at these wonderful views.

 Lulworth Cove

 Durdle Door
Durdle Door Arch
We had just walked down the hill opposite and were half way up this one!
Looking across to Portland
Looking down the coast towards Weymouth
And on the return journey, the hail storm!

I could go on and on.  I took over 100 photos.  I just couldn't resist them.
I wont bore you with any more though.
I'm off over to Handmade Monday now
to have a mooch around.
Thanks for reading and I'll see you there

PS. As I was so happy with these photographs and the beautiful views whilst on our walks I am going to link up to Planet Penny for Happy Friday No.8
I wonder what has made you happy this week?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

What a week!

Well what a week this seems to have been!  It began last weekend with my trip to Manchester to stay with my friend and a visit to the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show.

Before I go any further though I would like to thank you all for your comments on last week's post.  I really enjoyed reading them but unfortunately I had no time to reply to them and very little time to comment on any of your blogs.  I managed a quick visit to a few of you to keep up with what had been going on but that is all I'm afraid. The heat gun I used is a craft one very similar to one like this.

I had a brilliant time with my friend.  We talked non stop all weekend, much of it about sewing and crafts.  I arrived on the Thursday and our evening's entertainment was watching the first of The Great British Sewing Bee.  Couldn't have been better timing.  Like minded friend to catch up with, bottle of fizzy and the Sewing Bee.  Perfect evening :)

On Friday we visited the show but I have to say I was a little disappointed.  I usually go to the one in Exeter, near where I live, but thought the Manchester one would be bigger and better, hence the weekend away.  Unfortunately it was almost identical! So, although we enjoyed ourselves it was a bit of a let down.

We went for a Snowdrop walk in the gardens of Rode Hall on Saturday.  They had a farmers market and we bought some wonderful cheese to have with crackers and wine for tea.

That's me on the left!
A few snowdrops out, but it's still early days
So white against the dark soil

We enjoyed a lovely lunch in a nearby pub and ended up having a mooch around a wonderful fabric shop in Macclesfield called The Quilting Box.  It looks tiny from the front but it was bursting at the seams with fantastic fabrics.

Sunday we set off for IKEA.  Took a slightly scenic route there - a cross between my lack of knowledge of the area and some dodgy written instructions, but it was far more fun this way, and I got to see a bit of the snow (we hadn't had any in Devon).  For anyone who is interested IKEA do Bomull fabric which is a nice soft calico and at only £2 per metre it is great to use for making up dress making patterns to get the fit right before cutting out in your chosen fabric. 

And as all good things have to come to an end, it was back home on the Monday, BUT not before one last special happening of the weekend!!  Wait for it ....... our youngest daughter and her boyfriend got engaged and announced they were getting married in October this year.  As you can imagine this was just the icing on the cake.  

We are all very pleased for them both and excited about the wedding preparations too.

Even when I returned home the week still remained busy.  I was able to return to my swimming as I had been unable to go for nearly 3 weeks previously because our local swimming pool had been closed as someone had apparently 'pulled the plug out'.  Don't laugh, that was the explanation that was given!!!

I had a couple of lunch dates with more friends and managed to squeeze in an extra quilting session (as I missed out on the week before).  I'll bring you up to date on the quilting another time. We caught up with friends we hadn't seen for a fair few months on Friday lunchtime and our eldest daughter and her boyfriend came home and held her birthday get together here on the Friday evening (11 of them, 5 boys cooking homemade burgers in my kitchen!!!!!  I have to admit, they did do the washing up though!).

We finished off this hectic week with my husband cooking a valentine's meal for us and two of our friends last night. He made a very tasty meal and put a lot of thought into the presentation.  We had garlic mushrooms to start with cute little heart shaped toasts and for dessert he cut the crepes into heart shapes and made spun sugar hearts to decorate the ice cream, all topped with cointreau. Awww :) Unfortunately I was so 'caught up in the moment' and so eager to tuck in, I completely forgot to take photos!!!! 

Phew!  I am hoping to have a much quieter week next week
(although secretly I have really enjoyed it
but shhhhh ... don't tell anyone)

I'll leave you now with a short video of something that happened to me, completely out of the blue this afternoon.  After a walk with friends we met another couple who are motorbike mad (well he is anyway!).  He's been promising me a ride on the back of his motorbike for a while now and today it happened.  Here's the video to prove it!

Sorry, don't know how to rotate the video so you'll need to rotate your pc or perhaps yourself!!!! Hope it works - never uploaded a video before!

Ok I'm going to link up to Handmade Monday now and as as this has made me very happy I will shall link up with Planet Penny's Happy Friday at the end of the week too.  Look forward to catching up with you all.  
Have a great week

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Tutorial - Sweet Wrapper Textiles

As I am not here this weekend (I'm up in Manchester for a girlie weekend and a visit to the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show) I thought I would share this Sweet Wrapper Textile tutorial that I promised you recently, which I prepared earlier!! (In true Blue Peter style!)

Last week I shared a picture of a needle case and a case for my glasses that I had made from sweet wrappers.  I was asked if I could share how I made these and also was asked by a friend if I could make a needle case for her.

Sweet Wrapper Needle Case Tutorial

To make this you will need ...

a piece of felt/velvet, sweet wrappers, bondaweb, coloured thread 
and a piece of sheer fabric the same size as the felt/velvet

Place the bondaweb, rough side down, paper side up, on top of your felt/velvet

Using a hot iron and protecting your ironing board from the sticky stuff iron over the bondaweb to glue into place

Peel the paper away leaving the glue attached to the felt/velvet

Lay the sweet wrappers on top of the glued fabric in any 
design you like, it doesn't even matter if you leave a few gaps

When you have completely covered the fabric in sweet wrappers
carefully lay the sheer fabric over the top

Place a sheet of baking parchment or other non stick paper over the sheer fabric and iron to secure the sweet wrappers.  The sheer fabric will stick in a few places which will help to keep it in place when you start stitching

Now you can start free machining the sheer fabric, sweet wrapper and felt/velvet layers together

Here you can see how the stitching looks both on
the front and on the reverse

It's at this stage you need to think about what you want on the inside.  My friend asked for a couple of  pockets to keep threads in and a couple of 'pages' for needles. After stitching these in place you are then ready for the fun bit

Using a heat gun carefully melt back the sheer fabric.  It will only burn back as far as the nearest stitching.  You can see this beginning to happen in the top half of the picture above.

Here is the completed piece of sweet wrapper 'fabric'

To finish off the edges I chose to zig zag over two strands of a bright orange cord. Measure around the edge of the fabric allowing for a loop to use as a fastening later  and double the measurement

Zig zag around the edge being sure to go over the cord whilst securing
it to the fabric - et voila!

Add a bright button and you have completed
the Sweet Wrapper Needle Case.

Have fun!

See you over on Handmade Monday

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Chester the cat Stash Buster!

I have just come across the February Stash Link Party over at Linda's Crafty Corner and was wondering what I could enter.  I often find you never quite have the correct colours to match or contrast or the right yarn, to use up your stash so the stash just seems to get bigger and bigger!! Do you feel the same?

Well I do hope the stash buster I'm going to show you will solve all your problems in one go!!  Let me introduce you to Chester the cat.  I made him about 3 years ago now and he is very much part of the family.

He is made using Axminster carpet yarn which I salvaged from a weaver.  Once the cones of yarn have been used they cannot be put on the loom again as there is never enough yarn left to complete another carpet so they get discarded.  They are perfect for doing Jumbo Crochet but as you can imagine I have a lot left in my stash too!!  Click on Chester's name and you will be able to read all about how I made him and what started the idea off.  I used 5 strands of yarn at a time, using grey as the base and every time I ran out of a colour I just added a different one!

Chester has had lots of adventures so if you would like to read about what he gets up to click on any of the links in this post or just type Chester into the search box at the top on the left hand side.

It's about time these two little mischief makers had another adventure.  Can you think of anything they may like to try?

Thank you for reading and I hope this post has given you an idea of
what you could do with your stash!!
That's if you have any left, of course, after entering the February Stash Link Party!

Bye from me
and bye from Chester too!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Patchwork, Crochet and Sweet Wrappers!

I have so much on the go at the moment I don't know which to tackle next!

Last week's patchwork and quilting group saw the completion of my first place mat (1st of 6!) below. This is called Japanese Folded patchwork.  Not my favourite!  Too much room for error for my liking because of the bias of the fabric.  It took a bit of keeping square!

I then moved on to Somerset Patchwork.  This I enjoyed and found it very therapeutic albeit time consuming.  Lots of little rectangles, folded into triangles and sewn on by hand.  This is about the same size as one of the squares above (4").  Only another 5 to go to finish place mat number 2! Tumbling blocks for number 3 but no pictures as yet!

I have also been following a CAL over at Look At What I Made called Sophie's Universe.  But first I would like to show you another pattern from Dedri called Sophie's Garden.  I absolutely loved this one and learnt a tremendous amount from completing it. It is about 2ft across.

Now Sophie's Universe starts out life very similarly to Sophie's Garden but it will eventually grow into a blanket about 6ft square.  You can see below how far I've got so far.  This is already measuring 22".  I love them, so colourful and so interesting to do.  As soon as I've finished writing this post I'm off to start on Part 4.  Very excited!! Sad or what?

Another lovely day I had this week was making 'fabric' from sweet wrappers.  A group of like minded friends get together about once every month to play with textiles of some kind.  Last week we had a go at textile art using sheer fabrics, felt and sweet wrappers.  I made one piece of 'fabric' out of which I was able to make a case for my glasses and a needle case.  We had great fun.  I have had a request from an elderly lady, I help out, for a needle case. When I start making it I promise I will write a little tutorial to explain how I did it.  Watch this space!

And to cap it all, I tutored an Introduction to Crochet workshop today!  Loads of concentration, but great fun had by all.

Next week I am travelling up to Manchester for a girlie weekend with my friend.  I shall arrive on Thursday evening which is fantastic timing as it is the start of the Great British Sewing Bee !! yay :)  Fizzy plonk, girlie chats and The Sewing Bee.  Can't think of much better!  We are then going to the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show at Event City in Manchester.  I'll tell you all about it when I get back.  Right now I'm joining in with Handmade Monday and then going to carry on with Part 4 of the crochet along!  

Have a good week everyone!