Saturday, 20 March 2021

Welcome to Spring

Hard to believe it but finally Spring is here and it's a gorgeous day here in the North of England. We usually get the duff weather but not today!

I'm hoping the nicer weather will get me going again. Haven't had the energy or the inspitation to do anything for months. Not really sure why, don't think the lock downs have created a mental health issue, could be an age thing but I think it's more than a touch of lazyitis, more like a wallop!

Here's hoping I can get motivated this year, I certainly wasn't last year. Maybe the thought of being able to go to places will help. Well not too far away as a Med cruise or a holiday to Lake Garda which I really fancied are on the cards even if we've had the Covid vaccine.

I haven't been to the Western Highlands of Scotland for a while so that would be nice, if they'll us in! If not it will have to be Northumberland or the Lake district, both are very nice.

Time will tell whether we'll get anywhere. We might even have to do the garden and sit there! It certainly needs a lot of work doing. 

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Bring on 2021

Normally on New Year's Eve I think back of all the good things that have happened and times I've enjoyed and I always hope & pray that the next year will bring health and happiness. 

There have only been two years that have brought more sadness than joy when I've been glad to see the back of them. The first was 1970 the year my Mam died & my son was diagnosed with serious heart problems and now this year. Not bad I suppose only two out of over 70 years. 

This year has been OK for me & my family but I lost a good friend of over 50 years and a couple of other friends. It has changed our lifestyles but that's nothing compared to the grief and sadness brought to so many families with loss or being unable to visit relatives in care homes. My friend whose 100 year old Mum is in a care home has been unable to see her since March. She has fought for months to get the visits resumed as her Mum has deteriorated so much and they did resume two weeks ago but now they have been cancelled again.

However there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel with the new vaccines which seem to be being given out very quickly. Just hope that it comes in time to save lives and
restore some normality to the lives of those in care homes and their families. 

I look forward to 2021 and hope that people will respect the rules imposed on us so lives will be saved and together with the new vaccines people's lives can return to some kind of normality whatever that is.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior

Tomb of the Unknown Warrior - Westminster Abbey (Photo Mike from England)

Today is Armistice Day and it also marks the 100th anniversary of the day the Unknown Warrior was buried in Westminster Abbey. 

The idea of the Unknown Warrior came from the Rev David Railton, who had served as a chaplain on the Western Front during World War One. In 1916 
he noticed a grave in a back garden in Armentieres which had a rough cross marked "An Unknown British Soldier.

The bodies of four British servicemen were exhumed from four battle areas, the Somme, Ypres, arras and Aisne, one was selected and was transported back to Britain where he was placed into a coffin made of two-inch thick oak from a tree which had grown in Hampton Court Palace garden. The coffin plate bears the inscription "A British Warrior who fell in the Great War 1914-1918 for King and Country". The warrior could be from the Army, Navy or Air Force, and from any part of the British Isles, Dominions or Colonies. He represents all those who were killed and have no other memorial or known grave.

On 11 November 1920, the coffin was draped with a Union Flag and taken on a gun carriage to the Cenotaph, where the Queen's grandfather George V placed a wreath upon it. From there the coffin was taken to Westminster Abbey and he was buried in the west nave. 

After the service on 18th November the grave was filled with earth from the French battlefields and a temporary grave stone with the inscription:


The United States of America, conferred the Congressional Medal of Honor on the Unknown Warrior on 17th October 1921, it hangs on a pillar near the grave. 

The present black marble stone was unveiled on 11 November 1921 at a special service. It is the only grave in the cathedral that noone is allowed to walk on.

More information about the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior -Westminster Abbey 


Sunday, 18 October 2020

Finally Finshed a Quilt!

I haven't posted in a while, it's getting to be a habit unfortunately.

Well last time I posted I was really disappointed that here in the UK the only TV channel we had that was dedicated to sewing was closing down. Well there was a massive reaction to it from viewers and the great news is that it has been resurrected with a new name Sewing Street. It's on Freeview channel 74 & I think it's now on Sky which is great & it's on Youtube too so that's brilliant news. 

I and obviously thousands of others responded to the closure and voiced our disappointment at the Harrogate Quilting and Sewing Show in Oclober so a group of designers and other staff from the channel have got together and it's coming back with some of the original presenters. 

Haven't done much sewing recently but have just finished a small winter quilt from some Robert Kaufmann charm squares I bought over a year ago & didn't know what to do with them. The fabrics are lovely shades of blue, grey and silver.

Apologies for the photo quality I still haven't managed to find my proper camera's cable to download photos and the phone's camera is not brilliant. Well maybe it's me not the phone camera!

I love the fabrics but had problems finding matching ones for the borders and to back it. I think the original must be out of production now so had to try some plainish ones. Probably better as the squares are pretty busy! 

I used the On Point pattern from the Missouri Star Quilt company and followed the video here. I love Jenny Doan's videos she's such a charmer. Trouble is she makes it look so easy but it's not! Well not for me anyway. 

So it's on to the quilt as you go with hexagons another idea I got from Jenny Doan. I didn't use the templates being shown just used my own and followed the method of making the hexagons with the layers of backing, wadding and top fabric layer. The Jenny Doan video is here  and she machine stitched hers but I'm doing mine by hand 
as I'll have a bit of manipulation to do you can see they're not perfect but I like them. 

Not exactly sure what I'm going to do with them yet probably some cloths for coffee tables or even one forthe dining table if I can manage it. Might have to make the hexagons bigger for that as the  ones I've made are only 3½".  Well we'll see how it goes.

Now I think it's time to do some stuff for Christmas. 

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Should Have Been on the Way to Norway Today!

Midnight sun.jpg
                 Land of the Midnight Sun, Norway             
Yan Zhang  Wikimedia Commons

Yes we should have been on the way to the North Cape of Norway & the Land of the Midnight Sun on a cruise today but thanks to the virus we aren't. It was our 50th wedding anniversary last September but due to numerous health problems we didn't make the cruise we fancied in September so we booked to go to Norway this year.

We were looking forward to the cruise as I haven't been to Norway for over fifty years and I've never been that far North in Norway. Nordkapp or the North Cape as we know it is the most northerly part of Europe & is the point where the Norwegian Sea meets the Barents Sea and I have to admit I was looking forward to it.  

We're lucky living so far north in England with our lovely long light nights in summer, well when the weather's good it's light until after 10.30pm & the sun starts coming up at about 2.30am. We went for a walk tonight at about 9.15pm & the sun was going down & was brilliant but not the midnight sun.

Never mind maybe next year but it's hard to tell what's going to happen with cruising or travel abroad anywhere. Maybe it will be Scotland, it's about time I went back there.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Keep Calm & Carry On

Premium poster Keep calm and carry on
It's a difficult time for all of us but especially the "Golden Oldies" amongst us who are most at risk.

I think the most difficult thing about it is all the unknowns, how the nasty little virus is actually spread, how long it will take to go away, can you get it again, when will they get a vaccine, how can businesses survive. All really frightening stuff but the it reminded me of the saying that was developed during the war to help boost morale which was to keep calm & carry on.
We've become used to so many nice things in our lives and quite a lot of certainties too so the unknown is truly scary. Yet our parents lived through much more frightening times. They had:
  • No antibiotics to ward off the nasty infections we used to get 
  • No NHS to ensure we got free treatment
  • No welfare state to support us in our old age, in sickness or unemployment
  • No telly or phones & no internet 
  • No peace and a horrendous war to fight

No wonder they needed the morale boosting posters. Looks like we have a war to fight now which involves trying to keep healthy and helping others and ourselves to keep safe and sane too.

Our daily lives have to change and it's a bit frightening not knowing how long this will go on. I'm sad to miss meeting up with friends for quilting, meeting my sister for lunch and friends for coffee, volunteering at the cathedral, going to church and not being able to see my children & grandchildren face to face. However we have so many good things in our lives to keep us going. Time to count our blessing and have some faith. I remembered the poem that Minnie Louise Haskins wrote that King George VI quoted during the war in his 1939 Christmas speech:  

And I said to the man who stood 
at the gate of the year: 

"Give me a light that I may tread safely 
into the unknown." 

And he replied: 

"Go out into the darkness 
and put your hand 
into the Hand of God. 
That shall be to you better 
than light and safer 
than a known way."

We're relying on governments and scientists to help us. However the Dean of Durham Cathedral has written to all the volunteers and he sent this prayer asking us to remember all the people who are affected by the virus and the amazing people working in the NHS helping to protect us.
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. 
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Happy & Sad Day

Had a great day last Friday when I went on a coach trip to Harrogate with our quilting group to the Knitting & Stitching Show. Now I love a coach trip, takes me back to when I was little in the days before nyone had a car & I went on trips with my Nanna & Granddad to various places for the day. We didn't have holidays in those days, no money around to do that other than maybe a couple of days to Blackpool to see the illuminations.

I loved the atmosphere with families chattering, eating their sandwiches & singing songs on the way home. Well today we certainly did a lot of laughing & chattering & on the way home showing the stuff we had bought at the show.

There were lots of smashing things on show or to buy. I didn't take my camera as I was trying to keep the weight of my gear to carry down so my phone camera's photographs are not brilliant & it was often hard to get near enough to take a photo. 

However the sad news of the day was we discovered that Sewing Quarter which is my favourite crafting telly channel is closing down. They show such great products & with some brilliant folks showing you how to quilt, dressmake, embroider, make bags & lots more. The programmes are all available on YouTube so doesn't matter if you miss one.

I had noticed that for the last couple of weeks there has been mainly sales of stuff rather than the mix of how to make the things they sell. The sale of stuff is masquerading under Black Friday when really it seems to be a closing down sale.

Well it's big shock as it's such a popular channel, we chatted to some of the designers & staff at the exhibitions & it's come as a shock to them too. Sad that so many people will be out of work just before Christmas.

I only bought some dress fabric, a couple of little bag handles, the Sewing Quarter Advent Calendar & a Sewing Quarter Scissor mug in the photo above. 

I've opened three of the boxes in the Advent Calendar so far, I got a thimble, a brooch styled like a black Singer featherweight & today it was a seam ripper. Twenty two more to go! Just hope I am not tempted to go mad & open them all at once.

I've opened them out so you can get a better idea of what they're like! 

The mug is lovely with rose gold finger holds like scissors. Very nice! Think the original price was £39.99 for the Advent Calendar & £8.99 for the mug. I got the pair of them for £10 at the exhibition, I wouldn't have paid the full price for them even though I do like them. For a tenner they're an absolute bargain!

Now I just have to resist opening the rest of the Advent Calendar boxes.

Welcome to Spring

Hard to believe it but finally Spring is here and it's a gorgeous day here in the North of England. We usually get the duff weather but ...