Friday Photo Challenge

Today’s photo challenge from Postcard from Gibraltar is a bit easier, the theme is garden – I think I might have just a few photos that would fit in that category!

This is an embroidery I stitched back in 2015, it’s called Butterfly Garden…

The Butterfly Garden

…and this is our garden. I started this at a workshop by Janet Browne back in 2014, she’s a local textile artist who makes amazing pictorial maps and pictures using what I would call reverse applique, she machine stitches from the back over a design drawn on paper. I came home and finished it with Bondaweb – I know my limitations! It’s a fairly accurate representation of our garden at that time, including our two dogs and five chickens!

This is a little garden scene I embroidered at the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate. Rowandean always have a stitching table, for about £5 you can sit in a little oasis of calm and stitch one of their designs. I made it into a book cover for our first Travelling Sketchbook project.

A pot of flowers in the garden, this was my first attempt at silk ribbon embroidery, it was a course at Denman college with the excellent tutor Marilyn Pipe.

…and I’ve managed a whole post on the theme of garden without a single photo of our garden! Do have a look over at Postcards from Gibraltar to see everyone else’s garden photos.


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Tea & Tents

I’ve recently had a wonderful long weekend at Tea & Tents, a camping and crafting festival organised by members of the Unofficial Women’s Institute facebook page. There were 500 WI ladies from all over England and Wales all staying at Walesby in Nottinghamshire, which is a big International Scout campsite. There were ladies of all ages, from all corners of the country, some had traveled for several hours to get there.The T&T hoodie listed all the WI’s present, I’m in Askwith with Weston WI…DSC_0006

People were in tents, camper-vans, dorms and a few like us were in caravans. I share with Donna from Cookridge Crumpets, we met at the AGM at Leeds arena a few years ago and we’ve been friends every since. We met up with Heather and Rachel from Killinghall too.20180723_100210

Three nights of WI camp – imagine Girl Guide camp with alcohol 🙂

At T&T everyone has to do their share of helping, either running a workshop, holding a talk,running an activity or just generally helping out around the campsite. There is a huge ranger of activities to choose from. Just to give you a taster, at 11am on Saturday morning you could be…

  • Friendship bracelets
  • Vintage brooches
  • Poetry blackout
  • Needle felting puffins
  • Needle felting starfish
  • Jam Jar tea light lantern
  • Deaf awareness workshop
  • Flower Crowns
  • Cheese festival
  • A history of Curry & Corsets; British women in India
  • Patchwork Christmas baubles
  • Quigong
  • Park run
  • Archery
  • Target shooting
  • Tomahawk throwing
  • Climbing Wall
  • Yarn & Yammer

…and that’s just at 11am!!

There were walks, zumba, cookery demonstrations, a church service, swimming, beer swap, cocktail making…

This year I decided not to overbook myself, just one or two booked activities a day, leaving lots of time for relaxing and socialising.

I made a patchwork Christmas bauble from a polystyrene ball, squares of fabric and lots of pins…DSC_0001

I made a lovely felt rose, both these workshops were 1-2 hours, so I can definitely see a craft club afternoon activity!DSC_0002 (2)

I taught silk painting and CPR, not at the same time!

I went to the talk on Curry & Corsets about British women going over to India 1830 -1901,  really interesting, another interesting talk was on Nepal where Kay went to Kathmandu to teach disadvantaged women to sew so they could support their families.

We had a WI talent show, a sing-a-long-a musicals, a great quiz, a WI market and lots of time to renew friendships and make new ones. We sat and star-gazed til 1am with the girls from the tent opposite, swopping jokes and ghost stories over a G&T or two!

There were competitions on jams and chutneys, knitting and sewing, best dressed tent and best campsite, and there was an amazing yarn bomb on the theme of under the sea.20180722_170126

Tea & Tents will hopefully next be held in 2020, it would be great to have a few of us from my WI, it’s a wonderful experience,  I’m hoping others might be tempted!20180722_155214


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Tall Square Year Etui SAL

It’s three weeks since I last showed you my Tall Square Year Etui, it’s a design by Betsy Morgan which was published in the Classic Inspirations magasine, each side represents a different season. Last time I had just started autumn and was still unsure about my floss choices…Tall Year Square Etui

I’m still having computer issues since changing internet provider, but luckily I’ve managed to upload one photograph!! Hopefully BT will sort themselves out soon!


I’ve not done a huge amout, but as we say, progress is progress!

The acorns were pretty quick to work as most of it is satin stitch. I worked the outer borders first, I love the colours of the thread I used but unfortunately it’s an unidentified one from my mums stash! I haven’t got a lot left either!!The oak leaves I’m working on now are proving a little more time consuming as they are the tiny cross-stitches over one thread.DSC_0038 (2)

This Stitch-a-long is organised by Avis, we post every three weeks which is just nice time as usually you can make a little progress in that time, it’s a great motivator!! Please follow the links to see what everyone else is stitching. If you fancy joining our merry group please send Avis a message.


KathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaMary Margaret,

HeidiJackieSunnyHayleyTonyMeganTimothyCatherine, Deborah



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Friday’s Photo Challenge

We are having awful internet problems this week, hence the lack of posts! We changed provider and it’s gone rapidly down hill! It’s speed is now very slow or standstill! Hopefully it will be sorted over the weekend so I can actually upload photographs and write posts again. Luckily for the photo challenge I can use photos that are already on here, but it’s still taking forever, so only two today!

Today’s theme is seaside

In September when we walk St Cuthbert’s Way we will be walking to the seaside, from Melrose in Scotland to the island of Lindisfarne just off the Northumberland coast.


This is my favourite photo at the moment, we went to a wedding at Kiama Beach, near Sydney in March, staying just yards from the beach.   My daughter Helen and I got up early the next morning and sat on the beach watching the sunrise. It was a special moment.

Kiama Beach at dawn


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Monday’s Meander Round the Garden

The garden is looking surprising green considering how dry everything is, the one thunderstorm we had last week did very little to the soil, I managed to get three plants planted the day after, but most of the beds are still like concrete!DSC_0002

It’s still looking pretty colourful though, I came home from a weekend away to find my two pots of lilies in flower, these are the giant ones, I think in the autumn I might risk moving these yellow ones to the beds in the Amber & Amethyst garden.DSC_0005

The orange day lilies opposite them are looking beautiful as well…DSC_0007

It makes a lovely view through the arch with the clematis and the roses, looking over to the lillies.DSC_0014

The clematis on the arch is Romantica, it’s looking wonderful at the moment, just covered in deep purple flowers.DSC_0003

Some of the stems decided it would be much more fun to ramble around the bed, rather than climbing the arch, so I have a mound of purple flowers in amongst the astrantia.DSC_0009

Two of the plants I managed to get in the soil last week were these two lovely echinaceas, or cone flowers, they’re a lovely rich buttery yellow colour, I’ve some purple ones to plant too at some point!DSC_0012

These rudbekias are waiting to be planted in the AA garden too. I love the colour of these, I just hope I can keep them alive until the rain finally arrives!DSC_0015



Posted in Garden, Serendipity | 12 Comments

Friday Photo Challenge

These Fridays seeme to come round awfully quick! Today’s word set by Postcard from Gibraltar is Button.

Buttons can be functional…

…they can be markers, the buttons on my Australia cushion mark Melbourne, where my OH was born, Brisbane where he lived as a child, and Sydney where his son and brothers live.

Australia by Granny Maud's Girl

…buttons can just be pretty…
Clover cross-stitch small

…adding a finishing touch…
Field of Flowers Embroidery

…they can be an alternative to sequins on my Lizzy Sewing Wallet…

…or my favourite, they can be stitched on with love , Helen made me this for Mothers Day 🙂



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Bertie the Blackbird has Fledged!

This is just a quick post as I really should be packing for Tea & Tents, an amazing crafty and fun camping weekend with 500 WI ladies from all over the country. We’re all descending on Walesby, a Scout camp near Nottingham on Friday. It’s the second time we’ve been there so at least they will know what to expect this time!

I was too excited not to share my happy dance with you…Bertie the Blackbird is fully feathered and ready to fly off to the framers…

Last week when I showed him to you I was near, but not that near, I still had a lot of silk shading to do.DSC_0009

On Monday it was my Embroiderers Guild meeting, I decided to concentrate on Bertie. It still didn’t seem to be moving on particularly quickly, in fact I commented to someone during the afternoon that I’d been stitching for hours with only a bit to show for it. That evening I settled down to do a bit more, and all of a sudden it was more or less done.DSC_0002 (1)

I then stitched the veins in stem stitch which did seem to neaten the leaves and finish them off nicely. As a final touch a few silver thread stitches were made around the leaf to add a little sparkle, it makes a lovely subtle effect.DSC_0008

Next to be stitched was the silver couched outline. I buried the ends with a very large needle and couched with standard Gutermann thread. I quickly learnt that to get neat corners I needed to make lots of extra stitches, they’re not perfect but I’m pretty pleased with them.DSC_0005

This evening I just had some seed beads to stitch around his eye and Bertie was finished.DSC_0006

I have really enjoyed this kit, I started it at a three day workshop with Nicola Jarvis, the designer, which was held in May. It’s really pushed me but also made me realise I can do embroidery like this. I’ve another two of her designs on my to do list now, but in the meantime I shall just enjoy Bertie.DSC_0007

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Raindrops on Roses

DSC_0006Isn’t this a gorgeous photo – raindrops on roses! Yes, it rained today!!!  I didn’t even grumble when I got wet taking these photos for Monday’s Meander Round the Garden, I was even humming the song from The Sound of Music…I am writing this to the sound of rain beating down on the roof and thunder and lightening rumbling round, and it sounds wonderful!

Over the weekend I finally got round to painting the summerhouse. It was well overdue as it was starting to have more of a shed feel than a summerhouse, a bit cobwebby and flaky paint! My OH cleaned all the algae of the bottom last weekend with a power washer, I just needed to crack on and paint it. I was also concerned that I would prevaricate for too long and the good weather would break. I’ve stuck to the same sort of colour, it’s called Willow, basically a soft green. I used a different make this time and it went on beautifully. The outside has had one coat, I still need to paint the inside and then give the outside a second coat with whatever is left. The inside is going to be Elderflower colour. I even cleaned the windows! I’m well chuffed with how the summerhouse looks now, we bought it as a wedding present to ourselves back in 2007 so it’s eleven years old, but it doesn’t look it now, well it won’t once I finish the inside, then we’ll have the great unveiling!DSC_0009

The big red crocosmias (Lucifers) next to the pond are just starting to flower, they’re starting to get a bit thuggish, but once things have died down in the winter when I’d like to move them I can never work out what’s crocosmia and what is iris! The huge inulas behind the summerhouse are getting bigger, having cleared a way through for my OH a week before, I had to tie everything back to get in to paint!DSC_0010

This orange crocosmia is one I bought at Harrogate Show a couple of years back, it seems more restrained that most and it has gorgeous big orange flowers, well big for a crocosmia! At the moment it’s down by the patio as I missed it when I was moving everything back up to the AA garden…another job for the autumn.DSC_0007

We’ve had lots of self seeded poppies this year, lovely shades of pink and purple. Just look at all the seed heads!DSC_0012 (2)

We’ve a beautiful golden smoke bush in the front garden, (Cotinus Coggygria) it’s ‘smoky’ plumes are just starting to appear. The purple version is fairly common, we’ve got two ourselves including a lovely one next to the summerhouse. I think the golden one deserves to be grown a lot more, it’s beautiful for three seasons out of four, so it certainly earns its keep.DSC_0015 (2)

I think tomorrow, after this lovely rain,I’ll be planting out all the plants I’ve been trying to keep alive during this dry spell, get them in quick whilst I can!DSC_0003 (2)



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I’m Going Down the Rabbit Hole!

It’s been three weeks since I last shared some hand quilting for our  HAQL, I had just finished a little practise piece called Spring.

I have finally started quilting  my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt. This was a monthly quilt-a-long by Sarah Fielke last year which I finished in spring. As there was so much hand sewing anyway and it was a medallion quilt, I rather rashly decided to hand quilt it! It’s big!! Like 96″ square big!

I finally managed to get a decent photo of the whole quilt too!DSC_0021 (2)

I’ve had the quilt machine basted by a local long-arm quilter called Christine Marriage, she’s quilted quilts for me before so I was very happy to see she offered a basting service. I have no where big enough to lay out the quilt flat to sandwich it, she has basically quilted lines of very large stitches all over the quilt. She suggested that I unpick them as I go along, rather than waiting to the end.

The backing is a double width quilting cotton in a soft purple sort of floral design, it coordinates beautifully, which was lucky as I bought it off the internet! The disadvantage I have discovered (or it may be an advantage!) is that it’s quite busy so the quilting doesn’t show up much on the back.DSC_0001

I’ve set up a corner on the landing to be my designated quilting corner, I’ve got my comfy purple chair I reupholstered a few years ago, a decent light, a big window just above for natural light…and a dog at my feet!DSC_0008 (2)

I started in the middle as I understand you’re meant to do and I must admit to getting a bit disillusioned at first. It’s a heavily pieced Dresden circle in the middle so despite cutting away fabric behind there is still a lot of thicknesses in places. I decided to do a daisy design with lines going up the centre of the plain wedges and circling over the top of the pieced wedge.

I quilted in the ditch around the edge of the circle first and then started the daisy. I chose a thread which co-ordinates nicely, in fact it co-ordinates so well I struggled to see where I’ve stitched the first evening. It looked better in daylight, but when I turned it over there were more  stitches missing than I would have liked.DSC_0009

There was then a few days hiatus whilst I mulled it over, not helped by the fact that my thread has gone missing!!

I realised I was starting at what is probably one of the harder areas due to the thickness of fabric. So, I’ve moved out to the next border, the flowers on stalks, whilst I get the hang of man-handling this quilt and stitching it.

I started quilting next to the ditch round the circles, I’ve then stitched another row about half an inch out with the idea that I’ll do ‘echo’ quilting up to the edge of this border. It’s going much better, most stitches are coming through and I’m getting better at feeling them underneath.

I’ve just used a very light purple / silvery grey variegated thread for this area. I toyed with the idea of using darker threads to make a feature in themselves, but I decided the quilt is busy enough as it is without adding extra colour.DSC_0010

Hopefully in three weeks time you will see a bit more progress, but at least I’ve made a start!

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

KathyLoriMargaretKerryEmmaTracyDebConnieSusan,  NanetteSassy , Edith, and Sharon

I’m also linking up with Kathy’s quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link to see more hand-stitching.

Posted in Down The Rabbit Hole, Quilt-a-long, Quilting, Serendipity | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Balancing the Splendid Sampler 2

I’ve just finished another two blocks for my Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, the patterns are being released every Thursday on Pat Sloan’s web site, I’d only just finished stitching last weeks on Thursday afternoon so I carry straight on and pieced this weeks pattern too. I’d sashed and quilted them both by this afternoon.

Last weeks block is a cutie, it’s by Wenche Wolff Hatling, it’s called Balance and it’s all about finding balance in your life; ‘balance between time for others and time for yourself…it’s time to breathe – and let your feet find safe ground’DSC_0002 (2)

Isn’t it sweet!! It’s a vintage style elephant, I managed to needle-turn applique both the elephant and the stand, although the stand was meant to be in two colours with a zig-zag design, I know my limitations and there is no way I would get such acute triangles neat enough. I decided to do one colour block for the stand and embroider the zig-zag on it. As the details on the elephant are also embroidered it didn’t look too out of place.

Having sashed it in blue I decided to quilt it with a meandering clover design. I just used cream this time (all the others I quilted with a variegated light grey) as I didn’t want it to detract from the elephant. I stitched in the ditch around the elephant which just lifts it nicely.DSC_0005 (2)

This weeks block is a straight forward pieced one, so it didn’t take too long. Though I did learn the hard way that it’s blocks that you think are easier that you make mistakes on, probably because I wasn’t concentrating as much!!

This block is by Susan Ache, it’s called ‘Points Taken’, I love the idea that we spend ages as quilters worrying about our points, trying to get perfect points. This star deliberately has them all missed off!DSC_0004 (2)

I’d forgotten just how small some of the squares are with the SS quilts, cutting 1.25″ squares, I need to get some more Best Press to help control them! I made the centre blocks first, I was just about to sew them together when I realised I’d done one the wrong way, so I now have a spare!DSC_0001 (2)

I like this block, and my points worked out pretty well!

My original thought was to quilt this one in the ditch, but I decided to be brave with my fmq again. I quilted the star with a flame shape going up into each corner. I got a bit carried away when I thought I’d nearly finished and stitched one that filled an area for two, so I squeezed another smaller one in next to it!DSC_0006 (2)

Five blocks complete, 95 to go!!

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