Thursday, 8 September 2022

The End of a Reign & the Passing of an Era

It's the day that most of us have dreaded even those who are not royalists. 

Many of us grew up with her and have seen a long momentous reign in her life of service. It's such a massive loss and a shock. 

She will never be replaced.

Sunday, 29 May 2022

The Platinum Jubilee

Hard to believe it's 70 years since the coronation. I remember it well, it was the time that the sales of televisions really took off, that we collected royal photographs at school to make scrap books, we got new dresses to wear for the day & were given coronation mugs. 

I'm not an ardent royalist but have to say the Queen has been an admirable monarch, we won't see another with her qualities.

Tonight I watched a delightful programme on telly about her. The BBC's The Unseen Queen shows the Queen & her family's private life in videos, many of the photos & videos were taken by the Queen herself & her family & have never been shown publicly.  



There are extracts from a number of her speeches and some lovely comments & quotations which show her wonderful qualities & strength of character.

My favourite quotation she used is this Australian Aboriginee proverb:

        We are all visitors to this time, this place, we are just passing through. 

Our purpose here is to observe, lo learn, to grow, to love .... 

and then we return home.

Watch it if you get the chance, it's well worth it compared to the depressing stuff we're subjected to.  

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Fettle Those Finishes!

Just in case you're wondering what "fettle" means well in this case it means to sort and complete the unfinished things I've started that are lying about the place. 

I came across the idea here on the lovely Archie the Wonderdog website. It's basically a group of people linked by that picture above who are fettling their finishes. I'm hoping that joining this link of people doing the same thing will spur me on when I see how they're doing. Well that's the idea.

I started to go through all the items I've started to make and are now languishing in the place I call the "sewing room" (it's not just for sewing)  and there's so many so I'm making a list. That should shame me, Catholic guilt no doubt!

The list isn't comprehensive and it's limited to sewing!!!!

I apologise for the photos, some are terrible as mostly they're from my Nokia phone which isn't fantastic & neither am I at using it! Must get a new USB for my camera!


1. Log Cabin Square - Started about 2 years ago 

I started this about 2 years ago after I found an old BBC Book which had covered a TV series on patchwork. It's been lying about as I couldn't decide what size to make the cushion. Like Topsy it just growed! Eventually I stopped at 26" but needed a backing & at that point the Lockdown started. So it's been lying around since then. 

Now I think I might make it into a firescreen cover as I've got sick of the existing embroidered ship picture. If I make it a loose cover I can change it, maybe at Christmas. Well that's the current thinking.

2. Campervan Cushion - Started early January 2022 

A friend gave me this piece of fabric which is sweet. Just the size for a cushion but trying to decide how to quilt it!

3. Bag for the Rulers - Started 3 years ago 

I started making this as I needed something to hold my rulers when I was going to classes. The idea came after I saw someone break a big expensive ruler in the boot of her car. 

On a trip to one of the Harrogate quilting exhibitions a friend & I had bought one of those rolls of 2½” fabric strips which was cheap. However it wasn't the bargain we thought as the strips were not too straight. 

My friend had stitched hers into two large rectangles to make a big bag to hold her rulers. So I decided to do the same. At the moment it's two pieces of quilted strips waiting for the lining & straps to be added. 

4. Hexagon Sewing Case - Started December 2021

On the web I came across a lovely lady, Emma. She makes beautiful items mainly using Liberty fabrics. She is absolutely delightful, her videos are so inspiring and she is so calm and clear in her instructions on her website Vintage Sewing Box. I'm adapting my sewing case from one she has made and using some of my Liberty Tana Lawn to make the teeny tiny hexagons on a lovely chambray I've been saving.   

5. Numerous Hexagons - Started abut 4 years ago

Goodness knows what I'll do with these, I just keep making them now and again. There's LOTS more!

6. Little Quilted Sewing Case - Started summer 2020

I needed a little sewing case to carry a pair of scissors, seam ripper, hold pins & needles & maybe some embroidery threads. Started this & got sick of it. 

7. Some Purple & Green Squares? - Started December 2018

Made these when I first started a quilting class then I left them. No idea why think I just forgot about them & no idea what I'll do with them. Yet!

8. Christmas Yo Yo Picture  - Started October 2020

A couple of years ago I saw this lovely Christmas picture made from rich silky fabrics. Took me too long to collect the fabrics so I put them away & then winter forgot about them until I pulled out the box with all my unfinished stuff for this list! I have about twenty yo yos (or Suffolk Puffs as some people call them) made!

9. Foundation Paper Piecing - Summer 2019 

I haven't taken to FPP,  I find it a struggle. I'm sure it's down to my lack of spatial awareness which seems to deteriorate as I age.

I tried a couple of cat ones but didn't have much success. This was a mystery pattern from a German lady. I have sewn a few pieces but gave up. I must try harder!

No idea what I'll make with it, I just liked the picture.


10. Mini Quilt - Mini Quilt - Jenny of Elefantz - Started Summer 2019

I love Jennifer's website she has a wonderul way of writing about her family life in Australia and her faith. She is really inspiring and has lots of free patterns for quilting and embroidery as well as fantastic recipes. It's a real treat to read her blog. 

This is Jenny's photo of her mini quillt. It's a mixture of patchwork, applique & hand quilting. The pattern is free here on her blog.

This is as far as I've got. Hopefully it will eventually reside in my downstairs loo!

12. Christmas Cushions - Started December 2021

I've already completed one in traditional colours here 

but fancied trying softer shades. Not so keen on the blue one but will need to finish it. 

13. Sanderson Star Cushion - Bought Pattern - now awaiting fabric

I bought the pattern for this cushion at the Northern Quilts Exhibition at Bowes Museum last month & am waiting for the fabric to be delivered. 

The pattern is still available on the Bowes Museum Shop for anyone interested in handquilting. It's a bit ambitious for me but I want something to sit and quilt at night when the evenings are light.

Maybe this one should be in the Waiting List as it hasn't really been started yet but I'm trying to avoid starting any more things.  

14. Multiple Cross Stitch things!

I'm ashamed to say I have loads of these and some are over twenty years old. At least my sewing stuff isn't that old! I doubt I'll get many of these finished but I'll try. 

Hopefully I'll finish some of these items on my list and report back on my progress. Well that's the idea!

Think I'll finish now & will go and check on my fellow "fettlers" to see how they're getting on.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet


If you get the chance, watch this BBC programme about repairing our planet. 

It's introduced by David Attenborough & Prince William and it's a wonderful series about the damage we have done across the world but it's also an uplifting programme too looking at ways to repair the damage caused by nature and by greedy people and companies.

Tonight Shakira spoke about what the ocean means to her and some of the issues and solutions available today. Fishing or rather overfishing is just one of the problems and how technology can help to manage the monitoring and protection of the seas. 

Monday, 11 October 2021

A Sunday Morning Autumn Walk

My daughter asked us to look after her dog Esther this morning. It was such a glorious morning we decided to take her for a walk. Can't believe how sunny and warm it was for October, hardly a cloud in the sky.

These are just some random photos I took along the riverside walk. My camera is still on the blink so I used the phone although its camera isn't brilliant. I must remember to remove the Nokia watermark from the phone and ask Santa Claus for a new camera!

My main worry would be what if the river floods! 

The houses on the opposite side are nice too but there's a road in front of them.

There's a lovely park and lake nearby but today we were just following the river as we've never walked this far along the riverside.


It felt like being in The Lord of the Rings scenery. The trees were amazing. They would have looked better if I had stood still to take the photos instead of trying to keep up with my husband and the dog.

These roots were totally weird but I would have loved to hide in their when I was little.

Apparently that viaduct was built in the 19th century for the main London to Newcastle railway. I wanted to take a close up photo as the blocks of stone were absolutely huge but the trees were blocking the view when you got near it. 

Maybe we can get a better photo next time from the opposite bank of the river. Don't think we'll get such good weather again until next year.

Friday, 1 October 2021

It's Knitting Time & Time to Learn Something New!

Well now the nights are cutting in seems like time to start knitting again.

A few months ago I went a bit doo-lally and bought loads of wool in a website sale. I still say wool, can't get out of the habit & call it yarn which shows my age!

Last week I thought it was a good time to get that big box of wool out of the bedroom & get cracking! 

I saw the free digital pattern when I bought the wool and have started knitting it. Might get it finished if I can keep going with the back & fronts that I decided to knit in one piece up to the armholes so that I didn't have to stitch up the side seams. Not the best of ideas as I don't like knitting on circular needles so in Double Knitting the stitches (over 240) are squashed tight which makes it hard to see if I make a mistake. I do make them because I am usually watching telly when I knit. 

The second problem I had was joining the new balls of wool as there are no side seams and no joins at the the front ribs. So this is where I learned something new! After 70 years of knitting there's always something to learn. I did a bit of research on the "tinterweb" and found some good videos showing you how to spit or split splice. They work best on pure wool but after trying a couple of methods I liked this one by Suzanne Bryan best and have used it three times on acylic now & you can't see the joins which is amazing. It did take a fair bit of rubbing in your palms to get the friction as I have cold hands but the result was good.

Only 4" to go now! I'm making it a bit shorter than the pattern as I'm not very tall. I think I'll be making the sleeves shorter than in the picture too.

I can't find the pattern in Ravelry so I've used the link to it HERE on the Deramores website where I bought the wool. They have quite a lot of free patterns for knitting & crochet and some great Christmas patterns if you haven't already seen this site.

I'm not on commission by the way!


Finally finished it!

I had problems with the hood. Didn't like the size of it so took it out and started again. I did that twice but still didn't like it so I got out a hoodie and used that as the shapre and knitted it to that. Thankfully it worked.

I still haven't worn it. For some reason it feels fractionally small. Not the length, the arms could do with being an inch or so wider. Might be because I've been wearing really baggy jumpers for a few weeks. It's probably be more of a cool summer day cardi!

Sunday, 26 September 2021

The Cruise

Port of Tyne

Well we did get on the cruise after all, Scotland lifted their restrictions to cruise ships entering their ports a few days before we sailed. I should have posted this earlier but have only just managed to download the photos!

I don't have many as we couldn't get off the ship in Shetland and it was a bit misty so the photographs from the ship there were poor. 

Well we haven't sailed from the Port of Tyne since the 'eighties when we took the car & sailed on the DFDS ferry to Sweden for a log cabin holiday which was great. Now the ferries only go to Amsterdam so we haven't bothered but maybe we should try a trip next year. but without the car. It's a really small port which is nice to sail from, no horrendous traffic jams or huge queues!

It was an easy car trip to the port about 45 minutes, should have been 30 but the roadworks struck again as they always do on main roads in the UK in summer. There was an absolutely huge marquee set up in the ferry terminal car park to do the Covid testing which was fairly quick and very efficiently completed.

We boarded and went to our cabin which was smaller than ones I've had before but it was clean with a small balcony, adequate storage, a big shower & the essential kettle, tea & coffee! This was a Tui ship with primarily UK passengers so they know our habits of needing kettles! 

It was good sailing out of the port, a lot of new houses and offices have been built along the river. Wish my photos were better!

I've never sailed with Tui or Marella cruises as they are called now and I'm not doing a cruise review here as there are lots of them around on the cruise sites. What I will comment on are the things that struck me sailing in a time of a pandemic.

There were numerous regulations which had to be adhered to and the ship was only half full as they weren't booking the inside cabins. Not sure I could hack one of these at the best of times we like a bit of fresh air especially in the morning and we hate air conditioning. 

You had to wear a mask walking around the ship, in the shops, theatre and only four people at a time were allowed in the lifts. You could take your mask off once you were seated in a restaurant or cafe but had to put them on if you got up to get food. All food, drinks & cutlery had to be served by staff to you even in the buffet and cafes. This seems a great idea & one that they should continue with to reduce the problems of the common Norovirus on some cruise ships.

They were not allowing people off the ships in the ports we were sailig to unless you were booked on a ship's excursion. I suppose this was to minimise the risk of bringing infection back to the ship and we knew this before we booked. The only ports we were visiting were all Scottish, Invergordon, Dundee and Lerwick and to be truthful we weren't bothered about going on the ship's excursions. It was great just to be on holiday with no shopping, cooking or housework and watching the sea from the balcony.

We did an excursion to Glamis Castle in Dundee which is the home of the Earl of Strathmore and it was the home of the Queen Mother before she married King George VI and Princess Margaret was born there.

Glamis Castle

It was the inspiration for Macbeth as King Malcolm II was murdered on the site of the present castle & Macbeth became king in 1040. The building of the castle as we know it today began in 1400.

It's not a huge place but it is rather sweet and it was really good to see the rooms which are exquisitely decorated and furnished.

I loved the ceiling in this sitting room, sorry the photo isn't very good. Think my camera is on its last legs.

Not sure how they kept it warm, the room was huge.

The little chairs in the fireplace belonged to the Queen & Princess Margaret.

Early sketch of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen's mother.

Another smaller sitting room.

This was the Queen Mother's bedroom. The cot to the right of the bed was the Queen's & Princess Margaret's as babies, the rocking horse too.


This was King George Vl's bedroom.

As the visit was during Covid there were no guided tours, we had to use an app to self guide. When it worked it was really good but it kept losing the information and you had to keep reloading so that was time consuming. 

There were lots of parts of the castle we didn't have time to see. You can book lunch there and it seemed reasonable, £16 for two courses, not bad for eating in a castle. 

There was quite a good shop and what looked like a great children's playground. 

I would have liked to see the gardens, they looked lovely and the estate is extensive but we only had about two & a half hours which really isn't enough.

The North Sea was amazingly calm for the six days of the cruise. On the way back to North Shields the ship was moving so slowly that I was sure I could have swum faster!

Just hope Marella operate more cruises from Newcastle next year.

Sunrise, Port of Tyne, North Shields

The End of a Reign & the Passing of an Era

It's the day that most of us have dreaded even those who are not royalists.  Many of us grew up with her and have seen a long momentous ...