Monday, November 23, 2015

A sunny morning made me do it!

Hello My Friends,

It was lovely to see the sun again today!

It is very chilly here now, as we in England are starting to get some proper winter weather.

Saturday morning we had the forecast heavy snow, it even settled for a while, but then the snow turned to rain and was gone by mid-morning!  By early evening the ground was frozen solid and the next morning DH had to run out and pour hottish water in all the bird baths to thaw them out. At lunch time we had sunshine, but it was definitely REALLY RAW COLD!

Anyway, my point was "the sunny morning made me take some photographs to show on my blog".


I am again today joining Sue of Super Mom - No Cape for her Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party.

This week I have three projects I am trying to work on:


I am sure it will come as no surprise to anyone who crafts, to find out that I am easily sidetracked.

I have recentky started this little patchwork project!

I "inherited" a package of patchwork squares, the sides of which are 1.5", and I am often thinking up ways of using them. This is a little hand stitching project. I haven't used my sewing machine yet, but it will have a frill around the top, which I will machine stitch in place.  There will be some hand quilting - yet to be stitched.

Finished patchwork purse and thread catcher in progress.
The little purse in the backgound has been lurking
 at the bottom of my blog for a while and I thought it
should have an outing as a finished item!

2nd side of patchwork purse and threadcatcher
2nd side of both 

I thought I'd make a tiny "thread catcher", but now I have decided it needs a pocket or two - to hold my needle threader, mini scissors, mini tape measure, and, maybe a mini pin tin.  A mini pin cushion would be handy too!

Could be, this will take a few weeks yet to stitch .......


A Christmas project:

I have been intending to make this red fabric (seen below) into a small Christmas bag, in order to carry a food tray. However I want to do some simple embroidery on it before bag construction commences.  I have now layered and basted the fabric ready for embroidering.  I just need to find or draw two small patterns to stitch. "Watch this space" as they say!

A Christmas project
A project for Christmas


Crewel Work:

On a visit to our local library at the weekend I was fortunate to find  "The Stitching Book", by Search Press, which has articles on sewing methods written by eight different ladies, one of them being Kay Dennis with Stumpwork - which is something else I'd like to be able to do!

Not surprisingly my main reason for borrowing this book was because it has a good section on Crewel work. I was so excited to find the book - it was the only one on Crewel embroidery I could find in the library that day.

One really useful tip I learnt was that the best way to keep track of the many differing shades of wool is to thread them through an embroidery ring, making them easy to distinguish from each other.

Organising the shades of wool
Organising the shades of wool. 

Since last you saw my Crewel flower I have outlined the lower petals with three rows of stem stitch and added French knots - unfortunately the knots on the RH petal have to be frogged - they were the wrong shade of green! Stitched before I discovered this wonderful "new to me" method of keeping track of the colours.

Latest stitching

I have recently found out that my flower pattern is from a book by Shelagh Amor.  I googled Shelagh and found a review of her book, "Crewel Embroidery: A Practical Guide",  on Mary Corbett's blog. Mary's review persuaded me this is a book I need to have!  If you read Mary's review you will see that Shelagh's book includes instruction on how to design your own pattern and this sounded just what I wanted - as I don't like using someone else's ideas/designs! I have ordered the book from Amazon and it is now winging its way, from the USA, to me! (I feel I need to point out I have no affiliation with Amazon, Mary Corbett or Shelagh Amor).


Might I suggest, if you haven't yet discovered Super Mom - No Cape's Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party, you really should pop over to see what everyone has been stitching. And Sue has another Christmas Vintage Embroidery Pattern to share this week!

Thank you all for visiting today, and for your lovely comments on my previous post, which are always much appreciated!

I love reading what you have to say, and being able to visit your blogs too to see what is going on in your world at the moment.

Hope to see you next week!


Barbara xx

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fungi Hunting

Hello My Friends,

I am joining Amy's "Five on Friday" today.

If you are new to my blog I would like to explain that in a recent post about My Favourite Pouch I mentioned that Darling Hubbie, our neighbour, and I went on a "Fungi Hunt" with a fungi expert, a City of London Commons Ranger, and a like-minded group of people a few weeks ago.

On that earlier post I showed a couple of photographs of the fungi we saw on that walk, and today I would like to share some more!

Shaggy Parasol
I think this was a Shaggy Parasol!

This is where our walk began! 

We gathered at this entrance to the Common, and, as I doubted the people on the walk would want their photographs displayed on my blog, this photo, taken a few days later, shows our meeting place and start of our walk. And, no the sweet little cat did not join us on the walk!

There were plenty of fungi to see, and these pictures are just a few of the more unusual ones. I can't promise I have the right names, I jotted them all down as we all walked and talked, but things moved fast, and there were many fungi to be seen, and lots of people chatting at the same time.

At the end of the walk our expert estimated that we had seen approximately 50 different fungi - don't worry I'm not thinking of showing all of them here, even though some were really quite lovely!

Two - Fungi that kill trees

The fungi in the following two photographs are killing the tree they are growing under or upon, respectively.

Unknown fungi

Tree killer!

Dying tree
The dying tree.

Dying tree
The dying tree from another direction.
This tree is being killed by fungi! The tree is right on the edge of a bridleway and we were told it has to be regularly monitored, by the Rangers, for the safety of the Common's users. The fungi is attacking the tree's root system, but as the track which passes the tree has low usage this means the treatment of the tree is low priority as the chances of people being injured are slim. In the future the canopy of the tree will be thinned to take weight away, and hence reduce the chances of the tree being blown down in a storm.

Three - Waxcaps

I investigated Waxcaps on the web and found a very interesting link which informed me that  all these Waxcaps are sensitive to pollution and nutrients and  would disappear if the land is treated with chemicals.

Pink Waxcap
This is a Pink Waxcap which our guide told us was really rare!
Yellow Waxcap
Yellow Waxcap
Red waxcap
Young Red Waxcap
Four - Some miscellaneous Fungi!

Fairy club fungus
Fairy club fungus, also known as Apricot Club.

Sploge fungus
This is a very unusual lichen which is only found where
 there is very clean air, called a sploge fungus.

Birch polypore
Birch Polypore
Unknown fungus
Not sure of the name of this fungi - it could 
have been a relation of Snapping Bonnet
You will need to click on the above photograph to see it better, it is not just a mass of leaves, there are tiny white stalk-like growths - which are fungi!

King Alfred's Cakes
Apparently this has a nickname of "King Alfred's Cakes"
or "Cramp Balls"
This inedible fungus has many intriguing names, such as King Alfred's Cakes or Cramp Balls or coal fungus (Daldinia concentrica), lives on dead and decaying wood, and especially on fallen ash trees, and indeed we found the fungus in a recently cut back clearing within the woods.

Woodpecker damage?
A discussion ensued as to whether the damage
to this tree was caused by Woodpeckers or not?

This next fungi is without a doubt the prettiest!

Our guide named these fungi at the time of our walk but as she didn't spell the names out I jotted them down quickly and have since spent a very pleasant  evening looking them up on the web!

Five - Teachers Homework!

When quizzed our guide would tell us whether the fungi were edible or not!

Teacher's Homework!
And this is our guide's basket of homework!  She said she
 was taking them home to read up on these further.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the fungi we found on our walk in the countryside!

We used to eat certain fungi that we were confident were edible, but recently we have become more nervous, and now we only eat the mushrooms we buy in the shop, but I'd much rather be able to grow mushrooms in our own garden!

Do you or would you eat fungi you found growing in the wilds?


Barbara xx

Monday, November 09, 2015

Crewel Work Update

Hello Everyone,

I am joining Super Mom - No Cape for her Vintage Embroidery Monday and Stitchery Link Party and I don't feel guilty joining in at the moment because Crewel Work is Vintage or maybe Antique, I'm not too sure which!

I took a few photographs of my stitching this morning, when the sun decided to show itself for a few brief minutes, but it does mean the pictures are a little pale.

Chain and Buttonhole Stitches
Blue stitches in the middle of the flower
 are chain stitches, and
the surrounding pink stitches are buttonhole stitch. 

Stem Stitches
You will notce the stem stitches, top left,
are beginning to cover the dreaded flaw!

Stem stitches
The blue stitches and the row above are stem stitches

Stab stitches
The pink stitches are stab stitches

Surface Satin Stitch and Laid Work
The pale green stitches are surface
satin stitches, with Laid Work on top.

Laid Work

I don't know much about Crewel Work, and I was worried whether or not I was stitching my Laid Work correctly.  I only have a photocopied sheet of instructions, and it doesn't include Satin Stitch or Laid Work, so I was relieved when I saw the lovely Rachel, of VirtuoSew Adventures (also participating in Super Mom - No Cape's Linky Party) had stitched a swan, using Laid Work and Couching.

When I saw Rachel's photographs of the stitching of her swan I realised this was what I was trying to do, but I wasn't sure if I should have been stitching behind the fabric, as in Satin Stitch. Rachel kindly told me that in olden times thread was so expensive you kept as much as you could on the front and the stitches on the back were tiny. With this in mind I took her advice and stitched away more determinately.

Laid Work close up
Close up on my Laid work

My colours - sketch
Because I changed the colours I am using
I had draw my own little sketch to keep
 track of them.

That's all from me for this week!

If you haven't already done so, don't forget to visit the others taking part in Super Mom - No Cape's Stitchery Party.  Sue's free downloadable embroidery pattern, today, is a Christmas template for three sizes of  "Seasons Greetings" and Sue will have Christmas themed patterns for us, for the next seven Mondays!

Thank you all for your visits to my previous post, and for the lovely comments, which are so appreciated!

I love it when you leave me your comments and it's great to be able to visit you too!

Have a super crafty week (those that can)!

Hope to see you next week!


Barbara xx

Monday, November 02, 2015

A little more Crewel Work

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for your lovely comments on my previous post. They are much appreciated!

I hope those taking part in Halloween celebrations had a great weekend, and visited some of the many blogs displaying Halloween creations.


DH and I were walking last week when we saw this spooky cat! He's a little small - just click on the photo to enlarge! He was very friendly, and I was worried he was going to follow us home. He didn't though, we out-walked him!

Spooky cat
Strange how their eyes look in the dark, isn't it?


Crewel Work

Although I had previously embroidered with wool on my handicraft group's "fruit" project (seen here), it still feels quite odd.  I would be much happier stitching with Perlè threads.  However I will persevere and finish it!

I managed to find a little time for some stitching, and this is my Crewel Work to date!

Unfortunately the fabric is a little hazardous, as it seems to be something like sacking material, and when I'm doing the inevitable "frogging" dusty fibres are flying in the air - I inadvertently breathed some in before I realised what was happening. It wasn't very nice!

The weave of the fabric is hindering neat stitching, as one cannot push the needle in just where it is needed. To the left of the flower there is a flaw in the fabric, which wasn't visible when I started stitching - and I hope to be able to disguise it in some way - I need to add a smaller flower or leaf of some type to cover it.


I am linking to Super Mom - No Cape for her Vintage Stitchery Link Party - do pop over to see more stitching projects.  Today Susan has a free PDF of Vintage Workbasket Baby Embroidery Motifs. 


Young Cattle
On the return journey the same day we saw these cattle.  They are the same youngsters previously shown on my blog, who had been separated from their mothers.

I hope you will find time to say "Hi".  I usually answer comments on this page, 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!

Have a great week!


Barbara xx