Saturday, 30 June 2012

Kiwi Invasion (2)

                                  No idea what this rose is called, but I'm glad it's here!

I promised myself that I would jot something down each day so that I wouldn't forget events/ chronology etc etc because as you know I like to present a pretty professional front on this here blog.......(snigger). And of course, I  never got round to doing it. I take the photos and I'll just have to hope I can dredge up some commentary to go with each one!

First up, here is a photo of Bessie-Van where we have been laying our pretty little heads each night to sleep. Today she goes back to LynneK who will soon be off on her travels once more, but it has been terrific to have our beds parked at the bottom of the garden for 10 nights! From here on we will be living it up at The Red Cat Hotel, our local hostelry which hosted Krissie's birthday dinner. We are in good company here, as Jilly Cooper and her husband Leo spent their honeymoon at this very pub. (reference for middle-aged Brits only, probably!) Since then of course there have been lots of visiting rugby clubs which lowered the tone somewhat but they now have their own clubhouse (we own a couple of bricks!) so life is a bit quieter now.

The boys always love to help Poppops in the garden, Dylan when he was younger in particular, and now Fraser. Here he has built a drystone (brick) wall...yes, really/. The bare feet are because they go barefoot even to school in NZ and because Poppops hadn't noticed little bare toes and bricks together....

                         Fraser pointing out the 'brick made out of stone' in his wall.

                                                               Fraser 'doing squirting'

Jim bought Dylan a remote controlled helicopter, which actually only Dylan can get to fly properly!

                                   3 chaps discussing the finer points of aero-dynamics

Meanwhile Fraser and Nanny were indoors making the party cake. He is a superb egg-cracker.

                                        Decorating the cake....everything but the kitchen sink!

                                                                 Chef's perks!

Jim took the boys to Sandringham where they did the Yellow Route which Poppops said was the easy one and Dylan knew was NOT.....and so they got lost....but all was well and they found their way home.

                                          Huh! Easy -peasy, my Dad was a Marine!

                                 Some fantastic wood sculptures on the way round the trails.

                                      Yay! We made it out of the Deep Dark Wood!

So in-between showers the boys are having a good time. They've had fun with their cousins and friends and we've all sorts of things planned for next week. This week-end will be a big family lunch, and Dylan is starting his Holiday Scrapbook to be taken to school on his return home.

Not much in the textile way of things in this post - I am quilting in spare moments and am on track to finish it in time to go into Krissie's suitcase. Beccie has asked for a very special cushion - I'll make the cover and she will buy the cushion at home to save space. We've been poring over 'teenage bedroom makeovers' on Pinterest as that's what's happening when they get home; we found some great ideas.

So, more holiday news and piccies next post, but also some good news on the textile front for me. But you'll have to wait and see! Bye for now, I won't say anything about the weather as I know it's probably as bad where you are as it is here. If you live in Lincolnshire it's a whole lot worse, I am so sorry for them. Hopefully next week will see a change. xxx

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Kiwi Invasion (1)

                                               Putting out the Bunting for The Arrival!

Well, apologies for nto being up to speed with reading and commenting on your blogs....but I feel I'm excused....there has been a pretty good excuse! The Kiwis arrived an hour earlier than expected and it was great! We all managed to squeeze in somehow and things are not too bad on the where-can-we-put- things front, we seem to have assimilated most of the stuff. Thank heavens for Lynne's Bessie-van (I haven't taken a photo yet, I must do that tomorrow.) which Jim calls the Gin Palace or The Passion Wagon depending on who is around! I promise you, LynneK nothing unseemly has been going on there! It is very comfortable, though and you can watch the starry sky through the window in the roof!

I did discuss having the children's photos on the blog and daughter-in-law Krissie and son Kit were fine with that. Previously I had been over-careful not to even mention family names. However I read other folks's blogs and see many of you are quite relaxed about it. So here is Fraser drawing pictures for nanny with his favourite marbles to hand.

The weather was so bad we had to keep them occupied indoors, which meant colouring, marble runs, carefully monitored amounts of time on electronic games, reading....and 3 hours at the park with Poppops in the wind and very light spitting rain.

                                    Dylan sneaking a bit of extra electronic time!

We had a gathering of the clans on Friday as it was Krissie's birthday and all her brothers and sisters arrived at ours then we all went out for a meal at our local hostelry.

                                  Auntie Krissie geting broody over her new nephew.

                                          And Uncle Kit just doing what comes naturally.

                                               Bex, Krissie and Kit ready to party.

                                                                  Birthday Flowers

                                         Granddaughters Morgan and Bex sharing a giggle.

                   Dylan and Fraser discussing the finer points of........something or other!

                                        Number one son Mike with grandson Chris

We had a lovely meal, and did lots of catching up and chatting. Jim and I left early to look after the littlest ones....yes, we have reached that stage in our lives doesn't seem so long ago that OUR parents were the ones who 'sat it out' and baby-sat.

Yesterday the sun shone and we all went over to a barbeque at Krissie's brother's home. The children ran and shouted to their hearts' content and played beautifully together. Jim and I met another branch of Krissie's family and enjoyed the chat. There was the usual disaster with the Putting Together of the Barbeque which all the men pitched in with. Then Krissie's younger sister Helga broke down in their car and had to be fetched......oh the stress!! But everything turned out fine in the end.

                                                                  Kit and Krissie

So, we are at Day Four, which has been a very Chill Out Sunday. We all needed to catch up on some sleep and not have any other commitments to worry about. Kit Krissie and Bex are watching the England match, Dylan and Fraser are in bed....though not asleep....we have had a little boy down the stairs 4 times so far..I can't sleep! Well it is very light, the sun sets over the back of the cottage, and has been shining right into the bedroom; just about to set as I type, so hopefully he willbe dropping off soon! Bye for now, will post in anpother few days when I have some new photos to show you.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Trip round the Garden

                                                          View from the Back Door.

C'mon, let's go for a quick Garden Tour. It'll be quick as it's not large, as gardens go, but a bit bigger than Natalia's balcony!

      Immediately to the right of the back door. You can just see three rose buds in a pot by the lattice.

          Other side of the lattice. This little fellow came home with us from the nursery last Friday.

            Remember this from last week? Why they say basil is pest repellant I'll never know!

I brought the basil indoors to recouperate, and I must say it is looking a lot better now. SOMETHING has been enjoying it!

        Currant bushes at the corner of the patio/terrace - we never really know what to call this area!


       View of the greenhouse ...and a handsome chappie lolling on the rose and honeysuckle arch.

                            Now then. Is this my sewing retreat? A cosy reading den?

                     HAH! I don't think so! This rather gives the game away, don't you think?

      Inside shot 'dressed' by J himself. He's been reading too many life-style mags, evidently......

That was his granddad's rocking chair. Yes, it does need dusting. No, I'm not going to do it. Oh, and that used to be my wardrobe, we bought it in a junk shop in Wymondham, with my friend Sue K. - do you remember Sue, about......oooh, 25 years ago!!!!

     I seem to remember you were responsible for me buying this for J's birthday, years ago, Sue!

                               Patch of foxgloves to the left of the 'Fishing Lodge'.

                   Coming back up the left hand side of the garden- the poppies survived the storms.

              The 'Lawn'. Yes, Words were Had about the colour of the chairs! Awaiting re-do.

                                       Top left-hand side, next to sewing room.

                                                                 Spot the rogue poppy.

                                                            But lovely with it.

So there we are - back at the beginning again. Like I sadi, it's not a huge place, our garden, but at the moment it's not looking half bad.I think it may be due to take a battering as The Kiwis have arrived!

Yes, Number Two Son and is family arrived at 4pm today. They struggled manfully with tiredness, and managed to unwrap birthday presents, eat some supper and have a good chat, but in the end they were almost asleep on their feet. Children upsatirs and asleep by 7pm and Kand K went up at 8pm. J and I will be sleeping tonight in Bessie-van, on loan from fellow Stitch&Bitch-er Lynne which will be a HUGE help. Lots planned, including a birthday tea tomorrow, big family gathering for daughter-in-law K's birthday dinner on Friday....ooooh allsorts going on. However I shall be taking loads of photos and keeping you posted. And I WILL finish that quilt for K!

PS Have just seen my 'Guest Blog' on Handmade Harbour blog - check it out!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Angels in the Architecture

                                                                Gloria-in Excelsis

St Nicholas' Chapel in town is in need of a bit of a face-lift. After all, it is 600 years old. Although no longer a parish church, it remains consecrated. Twenty years ago it was purchased by the Churches Conservation Trust, and supports a wide and varied programme which includes music, poetry and art exhibitions.In order to conduct a 'repair-in-time programme', and update the facitlites -including lighting to show off the beautiful carved angels in the roof trusses, the Trust needs to match funding to secure a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.5 million. This weekend saw The Festival of Angels, an exhibition of ....well, angels, in all kinds of media. I was encouraged by the gals in Stitch & Bitch to enter my felted wool angel, and I knew Yvonne was hard at it finishing her 'Recycled Rosie' to exhibit.

Yvonne and I were allocated space to the right of the altar, which included the old anchor which is dropping rust all over the place. I hadn't realised how HUGE this is, and it provided a good resting place for Gloria...she looks almost like a figure-head, doesn't she?

Gloria was made in felt and felted wool at a Madeline Millington workshop a few years ago. Obviously this is  one of Madeline's designs, so she is not for sale..though I have had several offers for her...but I love working with wool and have been creating some designs of my own.

Yvonne made Rosie from recycled sweet papers....Roses, of course, and 'found' fabric. Despite the  theme of being a 'second-hand-rose', it wasn't until she had finished setting up that Yvonne realised the wings were covered in a rose design, although you can't see in the photo because of reflected glimmer. Of course, all the spectators assumed it was meant to be!

There were  hand-crafted angels from a variety of 81 local businesses, clubs and societies. Yvonne and I were demonstrating crafts on the the Saturday, there were also a few stalls with pottery, picture framing and woven willow angels. Not to mention the refreshment tables!

     We enjoyed listening to some 17th century music played from here by a local brass band.

                          You had no idea Yvonne was musical, did you? Or angelic......

Yvonne was standing on tip-toe for this shot which is why she is looking so....uplifted! And I think the Restoration Committee will be feeling uplifted this morning as there were around 2,000 visitors over the two days. Hopefully this will go a long way to providing those much needed funds. We were amazed at the numbers through the gate, and both Yvonne and I met up with dozens and dozens of folk we knew from our various 'lives' - neighbours, friends, old colleagues, ex patients/clients, fellow textile lovers; we kept trying to find a quiet time to eat our sandwiches but the stream of visitors never stopped. A Celestial Success, I'd say!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Another Textile Jaunt

Well, perhaps not strictly a 'textile' jaunt, as no actual cloth was involved. However, there is a link - bear with me!

One of the great things I've found since starting to blog, is the connection I've made with other bloggers. Often it's just a case of regular reciprocal commenting on each other's blogs, which may be merely a sentence or two, or a more robust joining in the debate. Sometimes you find you really click with someone; you discover you have things in common beyond fabric, and 'off-blog' communications happen. Now, I'm not suggesting that because someone comments on your blog they become your 'next new-best-friend', however it is a great way to make that initial conatct with someone with whom you have interests in common.

One such blogger is Cathy at Potter Jotter. She and I have been chatting for a while now 'off-blog' and I asked if we could meet up in order for me to write up a Textile Jaunt about her. The (fairly tenuous) textile connection is that Cathy adds patchwork decoration to many of her pottery pieces. I had already checked out her website and had my eye on her stem vases.

Yesterday I cheered myself up immensley despite the pouring rain by driving across county to Cathy's home and feasted my eyes on her pots. It was a very relaxed meeting, we hit it off from the start (is it becos we is Northerners??) .

                                           Cathy emptying her kiln in the garage

We started by inspecting the kiln, which looked like a large spin dryer to me - Cathy is desperate for a larger one as her business is rapidly outgrowing this one.Then we came back into the 'pottery' which is actually the ex-study; Cathy does not 'throw' her pots, but creates them by the 'slab' method, hence she has no need of a wheel and buckets of damp clay , she can keep the whole process at a small domestic level. As she says, she has a life! As well as selling direct to the public via her website, Cathy has contracts with several National Trust shops and Anglesey Abbey, and several outlets in Norwich. I was able to photograph some items which were waiting collection.

          I particularly loved this large plaque with its quote from The Ancient Mariner

         I love this so much here are some close ups. Those polished pebbles are actually clay!

A group of ladies in the village have initiated a Sunflower Project and asked Cathy whether she could come up with sunflower related items. Of course she could.

Oh, and talking of sunflowers, Cathy was able to give me some really easy solutions to getting the image for my own Sunshine Award onto my blog - result, eh?

                               A few of Cathy's dishes incorporating patchwork blocks

                           A special commission - it's ok, the recipient doesn't read my blog!

                                                    My favourites, the stem vases

My lack of photographic expertise lets me down here somewhat, but I hope these shots give you an idea of Cathy's work. I love it! Paradoxically, Cathy admits she knows next to nothing about patchwork and quilting, though she dreams of one day having time to sit down and stitch one for herself. Wait til retirement, Cathy, bags of time then - NOT!

The time sped past but eventually I had to leave, in order to get home in time for Mollie practice....see what I mean about time, and not having any! However I 'll be back next month in order to pick up a couple of small packages......I'll tell you all about it then. Thanks so much for having me over, Cathy, great to actually meet you, and pleased we both 'passed the test'! Hope you've all enjoyed this Jaunt, see you next time.