Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy 2013

December is always full of celebrations in this family, we've already celebrated Dave's birthday and this year we had an extra celebration, on Saturday my lovely God Daughter Kate  married  Peter, see  her Mum's blog there are some lovely photographs of the happy couple. Then Sunday it was up early,  no time for a hangover and it was on the train to London for lunch with James and Becky plus Becky's family to celebrate James' 31st birthday, where does the time go, it seems like only yesterday I was pushing him in a pram........ Tomorrow it's Christmas Day then off we go again getting ready for another three birthdays!!!!!!
A Big Thank You to everyone that has visited my blog over the last year and to those that have left a comment an extra big thank you!  Those that haven't I look forward to maybe reading your comments during the coming year!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

What twice in one week I hear you cry!

Well it's because Betsy and I had a lovely surprise this morning, we had been out for our walk and had just got back when the postman knocked at the door! I looked at the parcel that was being handed to me just seeing the first initial of the name 'B' I was about to say 'no that's not for me'. The postman get very confused here as my neighbours houses are A&B and I'm always having to re post their letters. Anyway back to the parcel, I then saw it was in fact addressed to Miss Betsy Weaver,  we rushed to unwrap it and there was a cute little card from Hetty to Betsy and an absolutely beautiful Harris Tweed Dog Coat made by Jackie Cardy. Betsy was swiftly dressed in her new coat and she paraded around the house wearing it  as though she was in ' London Fashion Week' (now there's an idea Jackie) she looks so cute in it. This is such a generous gift from Hetty and Jackie and Both Betsy and I are over the moon. I'm so glad now that I've booked Betsy in for a wash and cut this weekend, I'm going to have to smarten myself up now too, I don't want to let the side down when we're out walking..........

Thanks again Hetty and Jackie. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A Lot of Images

The kitchen is finished, well apart from the walls, they need tiling, but us girls can only put up with so much before Christmas (that's me and Betsy). So until after Christmas we'll be happy to put up with undecorated walls, I've hung a Christmas wreath in the kitchen, very glad it didn't sell at the craft sale!

I had a great day at Art Van Go, and a surprise  bonus was when someone said 'Hello Miriam' it was Lynda Monk, she had popped into pick up some supplies and was asked by Viv to give an impromptu demonstration, which of course being such a lovely lady she did......

Lynda Monk

On my way back home from Art Van Go I stopped at Sewfine in Watford and picked up a new sewing machine a lightweight Janome, that I'd ordered  I've not had a chance to play with it yet.

 Kate my God daughter is getting married on the 22nd December and I was invited to her 'Hen Tea' you can read more about it on her Mum's blog. We all had a lovely time and there was soooo much food, and yes there was cake and yes, I did eat it and NO I haven't forgotten my diet.  At this time of year I find it so hard..... Last weekend Rachel came home for a few days, I can't believe that this time last year I was dropping her off at Heathrow for her trip to Australia. Sunday the rest of the family joined us for lunch as it was Dave's birthday. I cooked the first roast dinner in my new oven with no disasters, a good rehearsal for Christmas Lunch. Monday Dave took the day off work and we went out for Lunch with his Dad. Tuesday it was the Material Girls Christmas do, so much food and I just cant say NO!!!!

This year I took part in ALQS7, I posted my quilt to Scarlett in Chile, I've heard from Scarlett that the quilt arrived safe and she is pleased with it. The quilt I received came from Claudia she lives in Brazil, I'm really happy with the little quilt the colours and the work are beautiful, just right for Christmas.

The Quilt I sent to Chile

The Quilt I received

Today we decorated the Christmas tree (last year we didn't have a tree, new puppy and only Dave and I here) To start off Betsy was very interested but then she got tired of it all and went for a lie down but couldn't help coming back  to have look, fingers crossed the tree remains intact until at least Boxing Day!

The Tree in One Piece

That was hard work.....

What's He got?

 You  do know it's raining!!!

Help ME, don't let him take me......

I give in..... wait till I get back, paw prints all over your clean floor!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

What's Going On?

The kitchen floor has been tiled it looks really good (Betsy was a nightmare), so Thursday and Friday while the electrician was working  she went to stay with  her  Mum, Dad and the rest of her doggy family. She became firm friends with a four week old Schnoodle, he apparently bullied her relentlessly (I think they have the same Dad), he is such a cute little thing, I was telling Dave and showed him the video Nita sent of them playing, his words were NO!!!! DEFINITELY NO!. He's a worried man, he thinks I want another dog, hmmm! Today there's a plasterer here and Betsy is so tired from her two days away she has settled down and is sleeping it off! Hopefully when the kitchen fitter starts work on Monday she'll be as well behaved as she is today...... ( I know it would have been sensible to have the floor tiled after the plastering but the cooker is being fitted on Tuesday and the floor needed to be ready before then.....) Meanwhile I'm stitching, stitching, stitching, thankfully I'm working on an Large Art Quilt for the Seeking Artemis Exhibition so when the heating is off I'm keeping warm.

 I did go to the William Morris Gallery, it has definitely improved since my last visit. I remembered it being very dark, no longer (apart from where the light would affect the exhibits). It's a lovely light museum with a very nice cafe (No I didn't have any cake). If your in London it is well worth  visiting and it's free, whilst there I  got to see the Society of Designer Craftsmen exhibition too!

One of many wooden printing blocks with brass inlay 

Wallpaper (sorry about the reflection)

The Winter Craft Market wasn't such a great success, at least I didn't make lots of bits specifically for this occasion. I tried but I don't think I'd bother doing it again.

Really good news I have the feeling back in my knee, I went for the first physiotherapy session this week. I was told that as I have no symptoms at this point they would usually be discharging me. I've got exercises to do and I'm  back next week to see how I'm getting on, and they are going to enrol me in six sessions of Pilate's that should be fun!

Now I can walk properly Betsy is back to having longer walks which we have both missed, that's when the weather allows, I don't mind the cold its the rain that makes things horrible.

This week I'm going to my regular C&G class and as an extra on Friday I'm off to Art Van Go with the class for a demonstration and then a play with the products, this could prove to be an expensive day, tell you more next time!

Oh well off to make another coffee for the plasterer......

Monday, 12 November 2012

It's all about remembering and giving thanks this month, so I thought I'd add this image of a poppy with a bee, I took this photo on a visit to RHS Hyde Hall way back in 2011.

This image of a WW1 cemetery and was taken in Belgium in December 2010 you can read more about this trip here

We've had a lovely family celebration since my last post my Uncle Alf was 90 years old and he invited the family to join him for Sunday lunch you can see more on Super Gran's blog.

Now for an update on my leg/knee saga, first thank you for your comments on my previous few posts. On Saturday I went to see the Doctor and get the results of the blood test and MRI, it appears that there is a constriction in a section of my spinal cord. The nerves that serve my lower leg and knee are affected by this.  There is good news the lower part of my leg is no longer numb, the Doctor thinks that with conservative care my knee should improve greatly too, I start physiotherapy next week. And no surprises I need to loose weight...... oh dear just when I'm getting a new cooker and a new kitchen I had such plans for some domestic goddessing!!!!!! I'll have to give it a go but with everything low or no fat....

Amanda thanks for your comments and yes it is scary isn't it.  I hope you are feeling a lot better. The choice was mine to do all the design work again for the City and Guild, apparently you don't have to repeat it if you've already completed the certificate in a certain time scale. It might be worth looking into if you really want to do it.

This weeks a full week, Tuesday Material Girls monthly meeting, Wednesday C&G we are visiting the William Morris Gallery. I've been there once before years ago, it's recently been refurbished and has a new cafe, I was going to say there will be cake, but there wont be any for me........ Thursday and Friday the floor in the kitchen is going to be tiled. Oh I wish I could go away for a week or so and come back when it's over. I know Betsy is going to hate all the disruption. It all seemed such a good idea at the time......

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Climbing a Cliff to Jools

Since my last post things have moved on a little with my leg/knee I've seen a Neurologist, he thinks that there could be some nerve damage in my back.  Quite rightly he wouldn't give a definite diagnosis until I'd had a MRI and a blood test, so this week has been taken up travelling back and forth to the hospital. I've an appointment to see him on the 10th November, I'll know what's going on then hopefully he'll have the results of the scan etc. In the meantime my leg is no better or worse, I have difficulty climbing steps and stairs, walking Betsy is a challenge, but we are managing.

Sometime ago I bought tickets for Dave and I to go to a  Jools Holland concert at The Cliff's Pavilion, Southend on Sea.  So Wednesday evening we set off, unfortunately parking was full close to the theatre, the name of the venue gives it away 'CLIFF'!  Walking up the many steps to the venue was very slow, oh soooo slooow....... But  well worth the effort, when I booked the tickets Marc Almond was the guest performer but on the night it was Roland Gift ( Fine Young Cannibals), I have to say I wasn't disappointed , the other guest was  Ruby Turner. We both really enjoyed the night and we'll be going to see Jools Holland again, I can recommend it.

Last week was my first C&G class, a bit of a surprise we were dying fabric, I'd had problems with my email and hadn't received the information. You've guessed it, I turned up wearing a  NEW white t shirt, with no fabric to dye in fact no equipment at all. I was so glad I wasn't the only one not to bring the right equipment, what a lovely group of ladies they rallied round and soon Ann and I both had aprons buckets and fabric to dye. I think I'm going to enjoy this class! Below are the three pieces of dyed fabrics not a great image the colours are much nicer than this in the flesh, but bad light etc....... or maybe it's the photographer?

In a week or so I'm joining with another couple of textile artist and taking a stall at a craft sale, pop in if your passing!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I am OK

Update on my numb leg, on Thursday morning I went to the GP hoping to get a referral letter to see a consultant privately. A nice young doctor about 12 I think!  He took my blood pressure, first my left arm then my right (strange I thought)  he asked me to lay on the couch and keeping my left leg straight raise it up, I couldn't!  He then told me he was going to dial 999 for an ambulance as he thought I'd had either a TIA or a Stroke, WHAT?????......... at this point I started to panic and had a bit of a cry........My poor husband had only just got to work  when I phoned him to let him know what was happening.  Once in the ambulance I was checked over  by the paramedics who said that my blood pressure was slightly raised (not a surprise after the shock) but not as high as the doctor had stated and my heart rate was almost normal. I was rushed into A&E and seen straight away by a lovely doctor who after examining me said he could assure me I'd had neither a Stroke or a TIA. I told him what had happened previously, holiday, dvt etc. and that I only wanted a letter of referral to see someone about my back and numb leg and he's arranged for me to see a Neurologist privately. In the meantime I had let Dave know the situation but by now he was already on the train and on his way to pick up the car from the doctors. OMG what a day, I know it was the GP being cautious but when he said my blood pressure was so high I did ask him to take it again using a different machine but he ignored me. It wasn't my usual GP and I will be making sure I don't go to see him again.

Apart from that excitement which I could have done without I have been getting on with my C&G homework, the colour wheel again! My first class is on Wednesday I've already  missed one because of the Holiday, I did consider asking if I could postponing it until after Christmas, but there are no stairs to climb. I'm going to see the Neurologist on Thursday so after that I will know what's happening, until then a few things are having to go on hold, a visit to a gallery in London but I'm having difficulty climbing stairs and there is noway going to London would be a pleasure at the moment and I can do without the stress to be honest.

The thing is you never know what life is going to throw at you do you, but from now on I'm going to watch what I say, after the previous visit to A&E  I said to Dave the quickest way to get seen was to go in by ambulance or get drunk and taken there by the police.......

Here's hoping for a very dull and uninteresting week.

Not a great photo of a colour wheel

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Holiday in Mauritius

I wanted to share with you some of the images from our recent visit to Mauritius, the island is so beautiful and the people are lovely. Unfortunately half way through the first week of the stay I had a really bad back ache and that put an end to anymore sight seeing. Luckily the day of our twelve and a half hour flight home my back improved, so the journey home was relatively pain free! But the day after I ended up needing to visit the Accident and Emergency unit at our local hospital.  My left leg was numb from the knee to the ankle, as a precaution I was treated as though I had a DVT, luckily my sister in law (she is a nurse) was able to inject me in the stomach with a blood thinning drug until I could get an appointment at the  DVT clinic.  It was confirmed yesterday that it isn't a DVT,  thankfully. I must say that I was surprised to be asked by the hospital if they could give me the medication and to do it myself?  It is thought that I have a trapped nerve in my spine so now I'm waiting for that to be investigated. Oh dear now we feel as though we've not had a holiday!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Wish you were all here!

Honestly I do, we could make a colony of textile artist on this paradise island! Just imagine........ But for now it's au revoir from Mauritius, I'll leave you with a few photos

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Stitch after Stitch......

A little teaser of my current project so much still to do.....

Friday, 14 September 2012

Here I am ......

yet again another gap in my posting, I've been enjoying the good weather while its here. Mind you we seem to go from one extreme to another, rather chilly to wow who turned the heat up.  There is a definite change  in the feel of the early morning, Autumn is on its way!

I've been working on my piece for the Seeking Artemis exhibition that I've been invited to join, lots more about that as the date gets closer (its creeping up, alarmingly speedily). Last weekend I finished my ALQS piece and emailed the images, I'm pleased that I've taken part, last year I planned to but other things took over. I know that the rules say you can post images on your blog but I've decided not to do that until the choices have been made, there are images on the ALQS blog so take a look there.

It's done, on Tuesday I met with Janice Gunner and I've signed up to do my Patchwork and Quilting City and Guilds Certificate with her. I have work to do already, I'm looking forward to it. I know that other bloggers have posted their C&G progress either on their main blog or made a separate blog, I'm not sure whether to do that or maybe make a separate page on this blog, I'd be interested to know what you think?

With the Autumn thoughts turn to Christmas??????

And finally thank you for the comments on my previous post.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


I've blinked and I  have missed Summer, I did keep my eyes open long enough to watch and enjoy the Olympics. Brilliant, WELL DONE TEAM GB, I hope that the Para Olympics is as successful, no reason why it shouldn't be! Despite it being fairly close to home I didn't try to get tickets for the Olympics but watched at home and enjoyed every minute. I have tried unsuccessfully a couple of times for Para Olympics tickets but only half hearted, so I will be watching on TV to be  honest hearing others talk about it I think they are the best seats, plus we don't have to worry about getting Betsy looked after for the day! To be honest I wasn't very enthusiastic about the Olympics coming to London, I think it was the cost to the London Boroughs and the fact that we will be paying for it for years to come , but I'm not someone who wont say when they are wrong and I think I was wrong, it has made everyone come together and gave us all something positive to enjoy, whether we got tickets or not!

In July The Material Girls took part in the Romford Art Trail our work 'Small Prayers' was placed in St Edwards Church in the Market Place, I didn't get to see the exhibition but apparently there was positive feed back about our work.  I took my inspiration from the hymn Jerusalem, but not being a member of the WI, I found the words on the Internet, and I made a mistake ( another one). I read the words over and over, and I convinced myself that it read 'bowl of burning gold' NO it's 'bow of burning gold'. At least I got 'those feet in ancient time walk upon England's mountains Green' it's always good to give the Material Girls a laugh!!!!

Photo supplied by Margaret Lacy

  This month I've also finished quilting a large double quilt for my nephew and his fiance ready to give to them next July for their wedding present, now that's being prepared, for a change. Sorry no images yet not until after their wedding!

Bridging Waters is going to be exhibited for the last time before heading off on its travels to Canada, so if you want to see it without going to Canada this is your last chance! Maldon is a lovely place to visit, lots of little shops and good places to eat, and if you want to make a day of it Maldon isn't far from `Tiptree. So you could pay a visit to the famous Wilkinson Jam Factory, I promise you wont be disappointed in how many flavours of jam there are in their shop, they also have a brilliant cafe!

Click to Enlarge Image

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Down She Goes!

Last Sunday the flame came to the area I live in, so there were no excuses not to get into the Olympic spirit. The sun shone and everyone seemed to have a lovely time then it was home to have a lovely dinner, with the family!
 Since I was last here I've have been to a summer school with Janice Gunner again! I attended a summer school run by her a few years ago and had such a great time! I am going to start  a City and Guilds Patchwork and Quilting class run by her, the only problem being battling the traffic in the morning driving into London, but sometime these things just have to be done, at least the Olympics will be over and it will just be the normal rush hour to contend with......I'm not going to think about all the work that will be involved in the course (no I'm not stupid this will be my 4th C&G course so I do know what I'm letting myself in for, but I do like the structure of these courses) maybe I'm a C&G junky?
A few weeks ago Rachel invited us to see her skate, I'm not sure if I've  mentioned  here before she is a member of London Roller Girl's Recreation League. This was the first time we had seen her take part in a match (not sure that's the proper name for it)  it was very fast and IS very much a contact sport. We were just getting into it and understanding the rules, the whistle blew, it was over Rachel's team won!!!!! We will definitely go again even though its not easy sitting there and watching our little girl getting pushed shoved and even go crashing into the floor more than once. So far the mouth guard (all the time it took to get those lovely teeth straight), the wrist guard, helmet and knee pads work! I've posted a video Rachel is the 3rd girl that goes down, shes number 180.

A short post today, but I thought I needed to get back into posting, facebook seems to have taken me over recently.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Birthday Girl

This week Betsy and I have been home alone, Dave flew off to Johannesburg on Sunday not for a holiday, he's home again tomorrow, a long way to travel for three days work! Where next? Today is Betsy's First Birthday!

This is when we first saw Betsy

Tiny little thing!

First day with us see the ears!

First cut and one ear wants to stand up!

Birthday Girl this morning and see the ears? They don't miss a sound!!

Last week I decided to start taking her to Obedience classes again and we are still in the beginners group, not sure we'll ever progress onto the 'grown up' group, it's not that she isn't obedient I just want her to socialise with other dogs.

I am doing textile things but not a lot I can show you, it's in the preperation stage, dyeing and over dyeing, now I need to print and then I can get on with the stitching. But just to prove that work is going on a photograph!

A bit of tie dyeing
I've added more images to the Quilt page its a quilt I made for Rachel when she went off to Uni it's one of my favourites.

Oh well better get on, need to get the ironing done and then it's off to class with Betsy! Who knows this afternoon I may get to sit and have a read in the sun, Not 'Mr Grey' finished that book last week, not sure about that book...... can't decide if I want to read the other books in the series, have you read it?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Thurrock Art Trail

One of my friends Jane Barry has work in this exhibition.

The Changing Sky of Northumberland

Several years ago we spent a holiday on the Isle of Skye on our way home we stayed one night in Northumberland, we said we'd return and spend longer and we went.

Antony Gormley's Angel of the North welcomed us, a background of a blue sky and fluffy white(ish) clouds,  was this a good sign had we left the rain behind us in the south of the country?

Waking on Sunday morning to a cloudy sky we headed  north from where we were staying in Bellingham to Berwick upon Tweed. After a stroll through the streets of Berwick  we headed into Scotland and the village of Coldstream and a visit to their museum.

Monday we drove to Hadrian's wall and visited Vinolanda Museum, I would recommend a visit to this ever changing Roman site, archaeological excavations are still taking place and you can  watch and speak to the team about their work. It was a lovely day and quite warm, but we were glad of our walking boots the ground was soggy.

The fields of Northumberland were full of sheep and cattle......

Tuesday looked as though it was going to be the best day of the week,  and so a visit to Holy Island  (Lindisfarne). It's a mile walk from the car park to the castle but well worth it. After all that walking and climbing of stairs up to the top of the castle, it was lunch at a cafe, we sat in the garden in the warm sunshine, after lunch we visited the Priory.

It was then back to Bellingham and dinner in the Hotel two doors away from the cottage we had rented for the week, the food was good so we ate there every evening and as they served real ale  why try anywhere else?

On one of our trips out we  passed a tree and I noticed lots and lots of boots trainers and shoes in the branches. Next time we passed  we stopped to have a look, there was nothing saying why, Art? This tree is miles from anywhere and I don't think it would be easy to get the shoes etc so high in the branches from the side of the road.

Wednesday we visited Otterburn Mill in the morning, now I know where the expression 'on tenter hooks' comes from, it's all to do with the drying of the woven fabric ( yesterday Country Tracks included it in the Programme). The rest of the day was spent at the cottage reading and dozing well one of us dozed while the other one read and did a bit of needlework. Well we were on holiday!

When we visited the Priory we joined English Heritage, Dave was happy, he has reach that age where he gets 'Concession'! So to take advantage of the membership on Thursday we visited Belsay Hall, Castle and the Garden.

The gardens were beautiful!

Dave decided to take the steps.... I decided to stay on the ground and take photos.....

After all that walking and climbing it was time for lunch.

Stottie was on the menu, the girl serving said it was a lump of bread with a filling! A lady standing next to us said it was a North East thing, so we both decided to try it. I chose hot beef, horseradish and gravy, Dave had hot chicken and gravy. I was a bit unsure when the girl asked 'do you want dressing with the salad'! Salad and gravy, but it actually worked really well the gravy soaked into the bread so didn't mix with the salad..... I have to say it was a lot of bread but it was lovely, not sure I could eat one every day!!!!

From there it was a drive to Kielder Forest, the weather was starting to turn and the forecast for Friday was heavy rain and strong winds.....

Time to head home we thought so it was back to the cottage pack our bags, a last dinner at the hotel ( a light one after the stottie), Friday it was  a rainy and windy journey home. No photo of the Angel of the North she was shrouded in a rainy mist.
Washing done, shopping done Betsy collected everything back to 'normal' have we been away? And guess what, the sky has changed here too, yesterday we sat in the garden in the warm sun today it's raining........Oh well, when is the next holiday?