Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Happy New Year 2009

We are away for a couple of days, but I hope you have a very happy start to the new year
Auld Lang Syne here is a link to the most famous new year song, written by Robert Burns. It is the 250th anniversary in 2009 of Robert Burns birth. Jane x

Sunday, 28 December 2008


We had a wonderful Christmas, my parents came over for the day. We had roast beef, etc and Christmas pudding. I hope you had a good day too. On Saturday my Aunt and Uncle came over for the day and we had a lovely time catching up on all the news of their retirement and two young grandchildren. Finally sadly on Boxing day an elderly friend died, he had been bravely fighting bone cancer. It was a relief tinged with sadness as he was in constant pain at the end. We will always remember him as a wonderful friend who loved gadgets and conquering problems. He always had a smile and time for a chat, especially with Em and Al - he loved to hear their plans and thoughts. This photo was taken on his 80th birthday last year, surrounded by his friends and family. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas is Coming!

Hello to all my blogging friends, I am sorry that I have been away for so long, but I have returned now. School is finished - My small part in the staff Christmas panto of Robbin' Hoodie was great fun though all the rehearsals at the end of term made it very tiring. The sampler I stitched for my colleague, who was retiring in order to spend some time writing, was finished, framed and very well received. In return he gave me a beautiful sampler which had belonged to his family. He gave it to me as a gift as he thought that I would appreciate it. I love it, it is beautiful. It was stitched by a young girl in 1828 and is exquisitely done, as you can see from the photograph. It now hangs in pride of place on the stairs out of direct light. Preparations for Christmas day at home continue, and I'm very excited as it is eight years since our last Christmas at home. Mum and Dad have brought their caravan to Sussex and are spending the days with us or visiting friends. Alice has also returned from Univeristy (collected by Mum and Dad). On Monday evening we dressed the tree. It's a real one and it looks beautiful. Happy Christmas to all my readers and thank you for all your comments this year. I have enjoyed reading your blogs very much and I look forward to reading them all next year.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Nearly The End Of Term!

I haven't given up blogging, I've just become so involved in the end of term fun that blogging time has shrunk to the odd half hour every few nights. I have volunteered to be in the staff christmas panto as one of Robin Hoods Merry Men. We have to be all dressed in green with fake green beards! so I have been sewing a green shirt and I have cut out a green furry beard. When its all finished I will take a picture. My other project is for a member of our English department who is leaving after many years devoted work in our school. I am cross stitching a sampler with lots of motifs relating to their time in school. Finally next monday is our carol concert so I'm invoved with the staff carol of Deck the Halls and helping with the refreshments.

A duck in her pond has given me a blog award, thank you Duckie, I am so tickled that you think I have a cool blog.
I would like to nominate the following blogs for the award,
Alison, hey good booking,
Daisy Cottage
Kaz's Crafts
Lucy Locket and Willow's Cottage. Hope you all have a good week. Jane

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Time Flies

Hello everyone. Life has been hectic in the CC cottage for the last two weeks. Ali had a couple of asthma attacks at Uni last week which were caused by a nasty chest infection. So she went home to Granny & Grandad for five days to recover. Thanks to G & G Ali has returned to Uni today ready (almost) for lectures. We went down to Dorset for a visit over the weekend and enjoyed Granny's delicious braised steak hot pot; and we celebrated Tony's Birthday which is this week. We also had the added bonus of seeing Ali, which was lovely. Earlier in the week with school I went on a visit to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth to look at reimaging and rebranding with A level Geography students. The weather was horrible but we went up the Spinnaker Tower and had a reasonably good view. The shops were nice too. The students spent time doing their research and assessment but it wasn't easy for them in the pouring rain.
Finally I'd like to say thank you to
Rainia from Raining Sheep, she has sent me some beautiful Moo cards. Thank you Rainia, I shall enjoy using your lovely cards.

Sunday, 2 November 2008


For half term we went to Paris to visit Tony's Aunt. We had a lovely time and packed in quite a lot to our six days. The highlights were going up the Eiffel Tower with friends who also happened to be in town. Auntie loved it and admitted that she'd never been up the tower; and she's lived in Paris all her life. The views from the second floor were stunning.

Other enjoyable days out included a walk along the Champs Elysee with visits to the Citroen and Renualt showrooms for Tony, and Sephora for us girls. Another day out was spent in Monmatre and the Sacre Coeur although it poured with rain.

The rest of the weeks weather was bitterly cold but dry with some glimpses of the sun.
Finally I'd like to say a big thank you to Alison - Hey Good Booking for the lovely gifts I won in her giveaway. They arrived safely during the week whilst we were away. There is a beautiful soft pink scarf which is so cosy, a white cloth with Sweet Little Cupcakes across the corner which look good enough to eat, a wash cloth with an aida band for cross stitching a design on and a very cute reindeer for our Christmas Tree. Thank you so much Alison they are all so lovely and I shall enjoy using/wearing/looking at them. Duckie has given me an award:

I'd like to pass this award on to all the lovely people who leave me a comment. I really appreciate all your comments and I love reading your blogs too. Hope you all have a good week Jane x

Monday, 20 October 2008

Bitten by the Knitting Bug

I was well and truly caught up in the euphoria of knitting myself a cardigan that I volunteered to knit Em a shrug / bolero to wear with her lovely dress. I managed to find the perfect colour match yarn. I have knitted the back, both fronts and one sleeve but now I have stopped as I have upset a muscle in my right shoulder blade. I am hoping that with rest it will be better by the weekend as we are on half term holiday. Ouch!
I hope you have a good week. Jane x

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A Heap of Warm Woollyness

Encouraged by my wonderful blogging friends to have a go at knitting a cardigan or jumper, I decided to frog a shawl that I had lost heart in and use the yarn to make a cardigan. I looked at Knitty and found some lovely cardigans, further exploration of the web turned up Knitting Plus with lots of patterns for the larger person. I finally decided on a Sirdar pattern I had used before. So far all is going well but there hasn't been much blogging going on. I just need to finish the sleeve and then the border/collar and I'll be back. Writers block struck and no more thoughts bubbled to the surface!
Finally Saturday evening blogging mojo crept back. Emily was making some biscuits at school on Friday morning, she did her usual substitue of dairy-free ingredients and made some delicious Apricot and Cherry Stars which fortunately I photographed before they all disappeared.

The recipe for Apricot and Cherry Stars, courtesy of school:

100g Vitalite or dairy free margarine,
50g Caster Sugar,
150g Plain Flour.
7 Apricots.
7 Cherries.

1. Oven temperature Gas no5 or 190 Celsius
2. Flour the baking tray lightly.
3. In a bowl cream the sugar and margarine until pale and fluffy
4. Add the chopped apricots and cherries.
5. Fold in the flour gently
6. Ease the mixture together into a ball using your fingers.
7. Knead the ball of dough lightly on work surface
8. Roll out the dough and cut out biscuits using a star shaped cutter.
9. Bake biscuits for 10 -15 minutes until golden brown.

I have also finished my cardigan and I love it. I used chunky wool - Magnum Chunky Acrylic / Wool mix by King Cole. I think the next one I make, I shall shorten the sleeves a little but otherwise I am very pleased with it and it only took me two weeks.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Ali's Stitching.

Our eldest daughter Ali has almost completed a beautiful piece of cross stitch featuring a Georgian ballroom scene. She started stitching it early last year, she has only had time to stitch during the holidays as she is at University reading English Literature. I took a photo last Saturday when we went for a visit. We are so proud of her and all she is achieving with her studies (and stitching!) and we are looking forward to seeing her beautiful picture finished and framed.
Meanwhile at school Emily made a very tasty dairy free pizza, which she topped with tomato, chorizo, pineapple and olives. This week I have mostly been working on a baby blanket for another colleague who's expecting a baby in about six weeks time. It will be another star blanket in a different colours. Last week Little Cotton Rabbits posted about a little girl, Ellie, who is "bravely fighting a rare and aggressive cancerous brain tumour. She's already had two operations and radiation therapy earlier this year and is currently undergoing chemotherapy". Ellie's mum, Colleen, has had a lovely idea to help raise Ellie's spirits whilst she's in hospital. Something that you and I can help with. Please would you send a card or a picture to Ellie if you have time. Details of the campaign are here and there's a journal about her treatment here. So, I stitched a Mickey Mouse picture for Ellie and wrote a short letter with a photo so she could see who had sent it to her.
I have done a little more work on my poppy picture and this time the colours look much better in my photo.

Finally I will leave you with another picture of Ali's beautiful stitching. Jane x

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A Busy Week

It has been a busy week and I hadn't realised that my previous post was last Tuesday. The first of my friends at school, who is expecting her baby this week, finished last Friday. So, we had a get together at lunchtime for a gift giving. I slipped in the star blanket I had made earlier in the year. It was a hit and well recieved which was a huge relief. Emily lost a tooth and had a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Each time the Tooth Fairy visits, Em always leaves her a little letter and this time was no exception. The Tooth Fairy duly collected the tooth and left a £1 together with a reply to Em's note. Now, all the fairies that have visited so far have had pets. In the last few years we've had: Sarah & her cat Toffee; Gabriella & her puppy Ralph; Lady Lucy and her pet sheep Lucy Lamb and, this visit Serena and her pet puppy Charlie, a cocker spaniel. All was fine until she let slip that not all fairies have pets some have teddybears to keep them company on their night time journeys. Em turned to me and said I think this is a Mummy fairy (oops, I'm a big fan of TB's). I smiled and said me? A fairy? I'm too big! I wouldn't fit the costume. It made her giggle!

On Tuesday we returned to the hospital to see the consultant following on from the biopsy at the end of June. Although the results haven't returned from the hospital in London - have they lost them? We have established during the holidays that it was dairy produce making Em so ill, as soon as we stopped dairy foods the problem stopped immediately. So, Em has been discharged, hoorah!
Being dairy free may seem easy but it is fraught with problems. She can't eat butter, milk, yoghurt, cream or creme fraiche from cow, sheep or goat due to the lactose content. But then there's all the hidden dairy in sauces, cooked meats (why?) cakes, biscuits, pastry etc.
We have found soya: milk, desserts, yoghurts, Parmesan cheese substitute, free from dairy cakes and biscuits in the supermarkets. But the most difficult thing has been cheese Soya cheesly has not been a success because Em doesn't like the texture. So if you know of a different cheese which is dairy free, we'd love to know please.
Finally some stitching, I have made another Biscornu. This time its slightly larger than a 50p coin and is my own design using the DMC variegated threads. Happy crafting Jane x

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Sewing and Cross Stitch

Towards the end of the summer holidays during a visit to my local library I found some lovely books, one of which was 21 Sensational Patchwork Bags. I was only the fourth person to borrow it, so it was lovely and new.

Emily fell in love with the saddle bag so I willingly said I would make her one. She chose her favourite fabrics from my small stash and I started work. I soon realised that although I am quite experienced at clothes, I was struggling with the bag. I found it difficult to follow the instructions as there were very few diagrams or pictures of work in progress. Finally I abandoned the book and made my own bag, it could do with being a little bigger but Em loves it. The stripped fabric came from Ikea, the butterfly fabric I purchased to make a dress but never got around to it. The cat squares we found last year in a wonderful fabric shop in Sturminster Newton.

I have also been cross stitching a picture of Audrey Hepburn for Ali, which I gave her last weekend to take to her new lodgings at Uni. She loved the picture as Audrey is her favourite actress. My latest project is a beautiful poppy which was featured in the October edition of Cross Stitcher


Saturday, 6 September 2008

And the Winner is ..........

The winner of the pincushion giveaway is raining sheep for the hand needlecase and pincushion.

Then I decided to put another cushion into the giveaway so the winner of the double flower cushion is sunnie_fairy.
Congratulations ladies, please email me your addresses so I can post them to you. orac1(at)tiscali(dot)co(dot)uk

Friday, 29 August 2008

Stitching and Giveaway

In our old house I had a sewing corner which I shared with the model railway, then the railway expanded, and I put my machine in the cupboard! Emily arrived and my machine had to live in the bottom of the wardrobe as the hobbie room became her bedroom. When Alice moved out I put a small table into her room and used that as my sewing base. But now Tony has put up some shelves for me to keep my sewing on (the rest is in the cupboard) It is lovely and so much easier having everything to hand. I didn't convert the whole room as I still want Ali to come home to visit (when she's not at Uni or my parents) and I share the room with Em's computer, and the model railway is hiding on a board under the bed :-)

During the last few weeks of holiday I have been cross stitching a biscornu which is a french eight sided cushion, I found: Own Two Hands, Finishing School, and The Floss Box most helpful although if you google it there are lots of links to free patterns and tutorials for making one up.
I enjoyed it so much I plan to make some more in the future.

I have finally finished the pincushions I was making, although there are a few more I'd like to try I'm running out of holiday as we return to school on the 4th September. I made a daisy pincushion, then I stacked a couple together

Then I made a thumb cushion and an ordinary cushion.

For the giveaway I made a needlecase and matching cushion, so if you'd like a chance to win this matching pair please leave a comment and I will have a draw in a weeks time. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Jane x