Sunday, October 25, 2015

My Favourite Pouch

Hello Dear Readers

I am again joining Super Mom - No Cape for her Vintage Stitchery Party.

My project today, has a little of each of the following:
  • hand quilting, 
  • embroidery (my name/date label),
  • and, Vintage fabric!


Click on any photograph if you wish to see a larger picture.

Fungi hunting!

This weekend Darling Hubbie, a neighbour, and I, and a small group of other like-minded souls, went on a "Fungi Hunt" with a fungi expert, and a City of London Commons Ranger, on our local common.

We had a very pleasant two hour walk, in ideal weather - cool, but bright - with a lovely group of interesting  people.

My reason for mentioning this walk is to say how pleased I was with this little pouch I made a couple of years ago from a Tilda pattern.

I hadn't used the pouch much before this walk.

Front of pouch

The Tilda pattern used high-volume fibre felt - which I didn't have. I prefer polyester wadding anyway, and I like my bags to have body so they stand up on their own, for that reason I used a medium weight wadding, and hand quilted the back and front.

Pouch closure.
Pouch closure.

I added a loop closure and a toggle (hand made by DH, trimmed from a branch of our own cherry tree in the same fashion as the toggle in my Embroidered Town Ruck), and pockets too!  A large pocket, and a tiny one for a pen.

Inside of pouch
The little loop on the right is the pen pocket.

I have turned the pouch inside out to show the detail of the pocket clearer.

You can probably make out the dividing line
 between the two pockets, and inch in on the right.

Tilda suggested the pouch be used as a makeup bag but I decided I'd like a bag on a belt, and added belt carriers.

Back of pouch with belt carriers

I also added a wrist strap which can be clipped onto a belt carrier, if I don't wish to use the belt.

Wrist strap and pouch

Have I mentioned, I have been really pleased with "My Favourite Pouch"?

The pattern is from "Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle", and the book can be found via Google.

Have you seen Tilda's blog?  It looks very pretty. They have a new book out - in Norwegian! The English version is not out until December. Oops, I'm sounding like an advertisement again!  I must point out I have no affiliation to Tilda's World, I just like their stitching makes.

Front and inside lining.
Here you can see the matching lining
 on the inside of the bag's flap

The pouch was very useful on our walk as, thanks to the pocket being big enough to slip in either my notepad or the camera, or both, I was able to either quickly make notes on my tiny notepad, or take photographs of the fungi we were talking about, and I had my hands free in an instant to be able to hold and look at the amazing specimens of fungi!

Favourite Fungi
This is definitely the fungi I liked most!
But the fungi themselves will have to be the subject for another blog post as I must bring this post to an end, as it is now time for bed!


Do have a peep at Susan's blog - Super Mom - No Cape - to see what lovely projects everyone has been stitching. Today's free downloadable is a lovely alphabet pattern.

Thank you for visiting.

You can let me know you've dropped by... just leave a comment below.  I usually answer here, and, if you tick the box to receive follow up comments, my response will find its way to your email box! And I will be along to visit you too!

I do hope you have a great week!


Barbara xx

Monday, October 19, 2015

Beginning Crewel Work

Hello Dear Reader,

I am linking to Super Mom - No Cape's Vintage Stitchery Party No 28, today.


The year I joined my local handicraft group the project we all worked on was "Creative Crewel". The topic was "fruit"! I think crewel work was new to many of the members. It certainly was to me!

I used to be hooked on cross-stitch, but once I started crewel work I couldn't stitch enough embroidery!

My fruit!
My first Crewel work

One of our members, who directed us in this project, had dyed all the fabrics that we used - the blue silk for the backing and the coloured blanket wool for the "fruit".  This was my first embroidery project and whilst I was working on this project I was also stitching my Embroidered Town Ruck, which was mainly inspired by the "fruit" project. 

Here is everyone's work being attached to the final piece, which is now hanging on display in our craft room.

Everybody's work!
The blue here isn't quite right, but you can see the ideas everyone else had.

The blue shown in this photograph does not truly represent the colour of the fabric (as it was taken under fluorescent light). The previous photograph, which was taken in natural light, reproduces the colour exactly.

Funnily enough, this month, we are again stitching Crewel work.

To my horror, the day we were getting our instruction my train was delayed, and I had been rushing around so much that morning that I had to buy a sandwich for lunch en route too! I was late to my handicraft group, and when I arrived the instruction was already under way!

My pattern.
This is my chosen pattern and I was intending to work
 from this picture, however it isn't really clear enough.

Our instructor, (not the same lady who took the aforementioned project) is yet another member of our group, brought along lots of patterns and books for us to choose from.

We used Hot-Iron Transfer Pencils to trace our chosen patterns on to tracing paper and were told:
  • be sure to press heavily with the pencil, and in flowing lines,
  • turn the tracing paper over, pin the design to the fabric,
  • press firmly over the design with a hot iron.
BEWARE: these pencils leave permanent marks and must be covered by your embroidery, as they do not wash out.

This was new to me, because in the past I have made my own patterns by drawing onto my fabric with an ordinary pencil, which usually fades in time or can be washed out - again beware, it doesn't always wash out.

The maxim is:  try on a scrap of the same fabric before you start!

Well, I learnt something useful here, and hope this helps anyone new to stitching.

How not to do it!
Unfortunately I scorched my fabric by over
pressing it, luckily it only shows in the photograph!

Hopefully, my stitching will take the eye away from the scorching.  I will be making this into a small cushion and when it is in use I am sure it will not show.

Tools of the trade!
Tools of the trade!

My colour choices
My colour choices - although they may change as I
progress with the stitching.


Ta dah!  I've finished the house view!  Although there are white stitches to be added (the stars in the sky!) when I finish the whole sampler, I'm leaving them until the end so they don't get grimy from being handled while I'm stitching.

 It's certainly encouraging to have finished two of the scenes now!

Cocoa sampler to date


To finish today, I'd like to show you some photos I took a couple of weeks ago. I was at the kitchen sink with my hands in soapy water when I saw a sparrowhawk sitting on our hedge.  I raced for my camera and the sparrowhawk watched disdainfully as I tried to photograph him! Sorry the picture is a bit blurred, but it was a rush to catch him, and it is also photographed through the glass window!



A few days ago there were a couple of birds briefly circling above our house and the surrounding area which I imagine were some form of buzzard.  No I am not imagining it!  We have quite a few nature reserves around this area, and we are next to a common, so its the ideal countryside for all these birds.

Also, some time ago my husband went on an organised nature open day in a disused quarry (again nearby) and he was told that there are a pair of nesting Peregrine Falcons living high up within the vertical chalk face of the quarry, perhaps it was those I saw, but it was only a fleeting glimpse.


Once again, don't forget to pop over to see what the others linking to Susan's blog, Super Mom - No Cape's Vintage Stitchery Party are stitching.  Plus, each week Susan has a free downloadable vintage pattern for you to embroider! This week, the pattern is of a Ring-Necked Pheasant.


Thank you for visiting here today, and I'd really love it if you leave a comment to let me know you've been!

Until we meet again (oops, slipping into theatrical mode) I hope you have great week.


Barbara xx

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday's Five

Hello Dear Reader,

I would have liked to have joined in with Amy's "Five on Friday" (At Love Made my Home), but somehow I wasn't ready in time, so these are my Saturday's Five.


I took these photos whilst we were blackberrying a few weeks back.

We are very lucky to have lots of animals around us, of one sort or another!

Such good buddies!
They are such good buddies!

A little grooming!
A little grooming.
It was lovely to watch them drinking and grooming.

"Who are you looking at!"
This one looks like he is saying, "Who are you looking at!"

Feeling left out!
This little chap is a Jacob sheep,
looks like he was feeling a little left out!

Footpath ...
Our footpath was alongside the hedge,
behind the electrified fence.

They can look a bit frightening, but they are OK and are often put in fields that have footpaths going through them.

I sometimes worry about the dog walkers that use these paths, some of whom don't seem to bother to put their dog on a lead - and, if challenged, would say "oh my dog wouldn't chase them"!!!!


A few weeks later we saw these guys who are quite a lot younger (and, as the sign says, are Weaned Calves) not very far from our home.

Luckily this year we didn't keep hearing them, worrying that there was something wrong with them, as they were further away from our house.  When we first heard them on a previous year it was quite distressing as we thought they were in trouble, however they were just (just!?!) missing their mothers.

This year the Rangers have put up signs to let walkers know that the calves had recently been weaned from their mothers, and that they would be noisy for a couple of days, and that that is completely normal, and they will soon settle down. There is also a telephone number to ring in case passers-by spot any problems.

Weaned calves

Resting calves
Resting quietly together.


Then another evening, Darling Hubbie went up on the common in the early evening and saw these young wild deer grazing on the field just across the road from our house. He had time to run back home, get the camera and take two shots in the fading light, before they spotted him and trotted off. If you enbiggen the photos you will be able to see the deer a little better.

Wild deer

Wild deer


That same evening DH went down the garden to our shed and nearly trod on this cute little newt who was sitting happily on the floor just inside the door.


The second photo shows that DH had picked up the cardboard the newt was resting on and left it outside the shed, in waddling distance to the pond.

Newt again!


And then we have had the badger digging the lawn again.

More badger action.
A little more badger action

More badger action!
It isn't too much damage, but we hadn't planned on
having to reseed the lawn!

About a week ago we were lucky enough to spot a pheasant in a neighbour's front garden, but didn't have the camera to hand to take a picture as we were dashing to catch a train at the time.


I hope you are having a great weekend, and next time I intend to have some stitching to show you!


Barbara xx

Friday, October 09, 2015

A Jolly Good Cooking Day!

Hello Dear Reader,

I have so many things to say, I don't know where to start or where to stop!!

We have a lovely sunny morning here at the moment and I will be making the most of the weather with a little walk shortly.

When I woke today I wondered why I was so achy, then I remembered all the cooking I did yesterday. And entertaining too!  My mum and sister were visiting.


I recently found Cathie's lovely blog:  Cath@Home, and discovered she was starting up a linky party for recipes and meal planning, which I thought was right up my street as I am often at a loss what to cook, which is why I am linking to Cathie's What's for Dinner - Wednesday today! (Running weekly from Wednesday to the following Tuesday.)

Cathie invites us to link to existing posts, but I felt the need to introduce you to this new idea hoping you might want to join in too!


Yesterday was definitely a "Baking Day"!

In the morning I set up our breadmaking machine, filled it with the usual ingredients (which you will find listed on this post).

My breadmaker.

Then, while the breadmaker was whirring away, I decided I should use some of  the apples from our very own tree! I set about making Apple and Cranberry Muffins (but unfortunately this recipe only uses 1 apple).

The recipe says "makes 12 muffins" but I had to use a Yorkshire Pudding tin after filling the 12muffin cases, to cook the mixture that was left in the bowl - hence the large one in the middle of the picture!

Apple and Cranberry Muffins
Apple and Cranberry Muffins

The muffins aren't fancy, but they are "healthy" (if you don't count how much sugar is in them), and they taste wonderful (even if I say so myself!).

I am unable to give you the recipe for the muffins as it came from a cookbook I had purchased.  I therefore understand I would be breaking copyright law to pass the recipe on!

Suffice to say, the ingredients include oats, cranberries, soft brown sugar and wholemeal flour.

Today's bread.
Today's bread!

Then after prepping the cake mixture, and kneading the bread dough, I had to prepare dinner too!  More cooking! I am pleased to say that after eating, Darling Hubbie insisted on doing the clearing up, whilst my mum, sister and myself sat down in the comfy chairs for a nice natter.


Thank you, Cathie, for running this new Linky Party. Why not take a look at Cathie's blog for some meal ideas.

Cathie's Linky Party is a good opportunity to show off your favourite recipes, or your menu for the week's meals, and be entered into her Monthly Giveaway Draw (see Cathie's post for details)


I still have lots more to say, but not about cooking, so that will be in another post!

Hope to see you again soon.


Barbara xx

Monday, October 05, 2015

A present for a friend

Hello Dear Reader,

I am linking up with Super Mom - No Cape's vintage stitchery link party No 26.

Although this isn't vintage stitching we are also allowed to add hand embroidered items and so I'd like to show you the following.


As I don't drive, a lovely friend was giving me lots of lifts, and I decided to make a little phone pouch to thank her.

The main fabric is Osnaburg, which is a nice soft fabric, and easy to stitch. I used brushed cotton for a nice soft lining.

And fortunately I remembered to take photos!

Applique Heart, and running stitch embroidered quilting...
Applique heart, and running stitch embroidered quilting...

With a flap to keep the phone in, and a popper to keep it shut
It has a flap to keep the phone in, and popper to keep it shut

Some patchwork
And, on the back, some patchwork...

And a wrist loop
And not forgetting .... a wrist loop.

And whilst I was looking for the pictures of the pouch I found this picture that I had almost forgotten!

Our garden friend!
Our garden friend!

I hope you like foxes!  This was taken about 5 years ago, and unfortunately this little lady is no longer with us.

I took these pictures yesterday, of these lovely sparrows enjoying a splash about on our terrace.
As usual, most of the splashing had taken place before I found the camera, but I couldn't resist a few snaps.

"I'm sure there was more water here a minute ago!"
"I'm sure there was more water here a minute ago!"

"Where have the others gone?"
"Where have the others gone?"

"Never mind, there's all the more for me"
"Never mind, all the more for me!"

I hope you like my little photos.

Sorry no pics of the cross-stitch today. More next time.

We were out last week and passed a quilt shop, I couldn't resist buying some more fabric, as if I needed it!
But I felt the urge to make some more pouches, and I love these colours.

Fabric scraps
A bargain, of course!  These lovely scraps make up to
approximately the size of a fat quarter,
 and most fat quarter's cost more than £2.50!

I'm starting some Crewel work this week, so there may be something a little different here next time!

Do have a lovely creative week.


Barbara xx