Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Yarny Weekend

I didn't quite manage to take part in Friday Night with Friends, as I was in Nottingham visiting my step-sister. We did sneak in some crafting, as she too has got the bug.

Saturday was Love Your Local Yarn Shop day, so we visited her local yarn shop in the centre of Nottingham. It was a really lovely atmosphere, and there were lots of ladies set up and knitting. There were also a few being tempted by the wool surrounding them. And yes, I was tempted. Although I also feel I was very restrained!! I am planning on using this wool for some gifts, but we shall see! It is so soft to touch, and the turquoise-blue one is my favourite colour.

We also spent the afternoon at Hardwick Hall. This is a Tudor home, that housed Mary Queen of Scots for some time. It was built by Bess of Hardwick, and her granddaughter Arbella lived there. I learnt that Arbella could have inherited the throne from Elizabeth I, but James was named and seemed to have a slightly stronger claim (although they were both descended from Henry VIII's sister). It was quite fun to learn something new from that period of history. I also learnt that the Dukes of Devonshire are the same family - their more famous home is Chatsworth House, which I love visiting and is worth going to if you're ever in that part of England.

I also learnt that tapesteries were used as table coverings (like table cloths!). Not sure how I feel about all that work at risk from food spillage. There were tapestries everywhere at Hardwick Hall, and it appears it is quite famous for them. Bess of Hardwick made a lot, using material from priests robes. Some have been restored really carefully; the last owner of Hardwick Hall even painted some tapestries where the pattern had gone. It was amazing to see things that were at least 500 years old still there, mostly intact. And in some cases, it was hard to believe such intricate things were handmade so long ago.


                                                                 Mary, Queen of Scots

                                                                    Queen Elizabeth I

                                                                    Amazing tapestries

                                                   A really giant (and yummy) scone!

                                                       The back of the house

The evening was spent cross-stitching. I'm ever so close to finishing the first page of the pattern (or the crosses anyway!). Will manage that by Saturday morning (fingers crossed!)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Friday Not-so Sewing

See what I did there?? Tee hee

I managed to get a bit of cross-stitch done this weekend, but not much at all (it wasn't noticeable on a picture).

It's been the first week back in school, so a bit of a shock and felt quite sleepy each evening!

I have managed a couple of non-sewing, yet perhaps interesting things. I went to see Aladdin last Tuesday night (tut tut, a school night!) with a lovely friend of mine. It was really good! Cleverly done, sticking to the Disney movie with some new bits and pieces. I recommend! And the theatre was stunning! I ended up with a t-shirt and a programme (a tradition when I go to a show) and they gave a free mug with the purchase. Perfect size for me!

I also did a day of revision for my students on Saturday (less exciting) as their exam is next week. Made an information page for them about Photosynthesis - it almost counts as crafty as it is beautiful in my opinion and took a lot of work and planning!

Also, the lovely husband went halves with me and I got the beautiful handbag version of my purse (or the summer version). So it's half treat to myself and half wedding anniversary gift. Really love it - and going to make sure I read any books on it that I haven't already (which aren't many).

Hope you all had a more productive FNSI!

Monday, 17 April 2017

And Back to the Cross-Stitch

After my grand plans at the start of the holidays to get through lots of projects, I only finished one and managed to add one to my pile!

This second week of the holidays saw me in school for 3 days helping students revise, and lots of socialisation with people (which was lovely). I even managed to get to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast - which wasn't bad at all!

As I was busy most days, I ended up just cross-stitching in the evenings. The photos below are yesterdays progress (there is more off the hoop, but I didn't move it as both times I took a picture I was halfway through some stitching). Seeing lots of gaps filling now!


I also managed to try a new recipe - lemon and blueberry skinny muffins. Very tasty (according to the husband and his friend). Just need to refine my icing skills!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

I Couldn't Help Myself

So in a month that I have decided to use to finish projects, I managed to buy more material! (bet you're not surprised!)

It is some gorgeous pirate material that I have seen the past couple of months. I bought these fat quarters from The Little Fabric Stall in the Cambridge market; the advantage/disadvantage of nipping to town in the holidays, as she isn't there at weekends! And this material does have an intended use!

I was also tempted by this gorgeous purse from Podarok (another independent shop). It sort of fits into the sewing theme. It also has a matching bag...

Sewing has been a little more on hold the past few days, as I have been doing revision school (I have one more day) and I made another attempt at a driving test - my final attempt as I actually managed to pass this time! Now I'll be able to get to more and more material shops and crafting events - or will be less limited by what I can carry....tee hee!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

FnwF April - and a finish!

I have spent about 3 and a bit days this week working on a crochet cushion for my big sister (she only asked for it about 3 years ago!). The pattern I used was from CrochetSpot - they have really clear patterns, but you just have to remember the stitches are American, so can be named slightly differently to what you are used to.

I also made copious use of stitch markers this time - I can see why patterns recommend them (!)

Poor Darren this week kept thinking I wasn't listening to him; it's just very hard to count and respond to questions!


Friday was spent finishing off the flower and sewing it to the main cushion. It went slightly off centre but I'm pretty chuffed with it. It's also weirdly surprisingly weighty (thinking about it, it shouldn't be surprising that it is quite heavy but nevermind!)

And that is one of my April projects finished! Pretty pleased with it - and not sure why it has taken me so long to get around to it as it was very quick to put together in the end!

I hope you all had a lovely Friday evening sewing.

Monday, 3 April 2017

April...aka Getting Stuff Done Month

Obviously my new name for April isn't snappy, but it totally should catch on!

As I am on my Easter holidays, I decided that I should make sure they are relaxing and productive - I can have a tendency to just loose time on days off and not be able to account  for it. I have decided that I need to start working through some of the projects in my sewing drawers - basically so I have room for more projects!

I don't think I'll get them all done by the end of my time off; especially considering I have 3 days of revision school and want to get some reading in too (already finished 2 short books this weekend). But these are the projects:

A crochet cushion for my big sister; she bought the wool 2 or 3 years ago for me to make...

...a lap quilt; it was to be a gift for one person, but, again, as it has taken me years to get around to I may need to change who it is for...

...and my biggest quilt to date (I bought the material during this years FOQ, so at least it hasn't been lying around for too long!).

I have made a start of the cushion today (it is now about twice the size as in the photo but I don't have good lighting). For some reason, whenever I crochet, no matter how carefully I mark the start and count, I always end up with extra stitches. Oh well!

In other news, Darren and I went to Nottingham at the weekend to celebrate our anniversary by watching the Nottingham Panthers play ice hockey! Both they and our favourite American team won that night (with the same score, weirdly), which we feel was very nice of them to do! We can't really take photos during the match, but here is one of the warm up (it also got much fuller in there. We tend to like being there really early):

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sewing End of a Mad Week

As always, with the approach of the end of term, there is a lot of work to be done. Easter term is particularly busy as it is shorter than others, and there is Science Week in it (which, as a Science teacher, I get involved in a fair bit).

So, obviously, in a week with a lot going on and not a lot of time to do it - Ofsted arrive. Yaaaaay. For those who don't know, these are school inspectors that show up for between 1 and 2 days with half a days notice, and come and scrutinise you and the school to judge how good it is. It's an incredibly stressful time, as the school's grade from Ofsted is impacted by your teaching and paperwork (as well as a lot of other things). So that derailed the whole week, as Tuesday and Wednesday night was spent making sure everything was ship-shape for the next day.

And at the end of Thursday, we had a trip to a Chemistry lecture for our year 7s (luckily that was already organised and didn't take too much effort), and parents evening. The Chemistry lecture was very explosive, and a bit of fun for us and the kids - hope you like the pictures! I can't remember what the first was, but the second was a muffin on fire with the aid of super-cooled oxygen, and the third was a giant hydrogen balloon that exploded with enough force to open the lecture hall doors. Brilliant!

So, after this week, my plan has been to spend all weekend cross-stitching. Which I have. It has been so, so relaxing, and feels so well deserved. I decided last weekend (during FNSI) that instead of finishing colour by colour, I was going to try pattern page by pattern page. This is a technique I have seen a lot recently, and I thought I'd try it to see if it feels any faster than colour by colour. I'm not sure whether it is at the moment, but I shall stick to it for a bit. Pleased with the progress this weekend (added a little more after the photo, but this is the most noticeable difference).


I hope everyone has had a much calmer week!