Today, I'd like you to meet Ms. Scarlet Sweetheart; my Valentine's make for Sal, my blog partner for this year's Love Swap.
Sal told me she likes red and grey, and purple, polka dot fabrics and likes quirky - cute and unusual; I thought one of my rabbits might fit the bill. The swap also involved hearts, sewing notions and something red, and something delicious to eat.
Let me tell you a bit about Ms Scarlet - also known as 'Red' to her bunny chums.
She is made of the softest velvety velour, and stuffed with polyester stuffing, her eyes and mouth are sewn with embroidery threads. She is wearing her best Valentine's cotton heart print dress, polka dot apron, with little shells buttons and leggings trimmed with broiderie anglaise. As Ms. Scarlet really wanted to impress the Yorkshire Sewist with her sewing credentials, she is carrying her needle case bag, which also holds her Lancashire passport as she is crossing into Yorkshire! She loves cakes, but as she's on a diet has brought a cinnamon candle to sniff. She also took chocolate and some Blackpool rock for Sal's boys. Ms. Scarlet is delighted to be going to Yorkshire as she loves watching James Martin, the Yorkshire Chef, on the T.V. and hopes she might meet him one day.
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I had a lot of fun with this bunny and was really chuffed when Sal emailed me to say that she really liked Ms. Scarlet who was 'totally her little sewing buddy'. I also packed sewing notions: cute fabric, sewing needles that I thought might be useful along with a sewing pattern of a shoulder bag with a fox and cat design that was an unexpected charity shop find - just right for Sal.
SAL'S GOODIES FOR ME!
All neatly boxed and packed with pink tissue paper. I was quite naughty this time, and not as disciplined as Sal, and opened my package before Valentine's day, but no earth shattering punishments happened, and I wasn't disappointed. In fact the contents were an absolute delight.
Delicious, irresistible chocolates, pretty heart notions, lovely multi-coloured embroidery thread, lots of sparkly hearts, the cutest 'me to you' valentine card, a large piece of paisley design jersey material and a sewing pattern. (now that's a challenge Sal has set me. It is a long time since I've made any clothes with a pattern.) I love the material colours which I think would look fabulous matched with denim. And there's more - here I am wearing Sal's gorgeous hand made item, which has been sewn ever so neatly and the colours work so well together - this beautiful, patchwork scarf in my favourite blues and lavender.
Thank you so much Sal.
I love it all .XOX . . . . You can find Sal at www.theyorkshiresewist.uk
And, a huge thank you to Tracy from www.madaboutbagsuk.blogspot.co.uk for organising the Love Swop.
I love seeing so many seed heads revealed in winter. . . .some early morning frost on sedums - their common name are Ice Plants. . . The later morning sun reveals spring bulbs and a few herbs. . . . .
Hellebores beneath the apple tree.
A lovely moist tea loaf, recipe courtesy of Lucy's nana. The oven a little too hot, hence the cracking;
I've started crocheting a lap blanket, that keeps me warm and cosy these cold dark evenings, so easy to do whilst watching the television, with this chunky Robin wool from a sale basket outside a local wool shop.
Being winter, and our lovely old apple tree has been pruned, One main branch had to be sacrificed due to age and woodworm, but overall the main shape is still in tact to see another year of blossoms. Before the pruning B.
getting to grips with the clematis that had sprawled over shed fence and hedge, strangling everything in its wake. I like cottagey and natural but even I had to agree this had got out of hand.
Thought I should finish this post by sharing these beautiful sunset photos, over the Irish sea at mythological Cleveleys, Mary's shell, taken by my son on phone last weekend, as we walked along the prom'. You can find out about this huge shell at (www.visitcleveleys.co.uk).
And, yesterday, seagulls flying on the thermals against a clear blue sky day. Just can't resist going to the look at the sea every time, just to make sure that the vast expanse of water and rolling waves are still there.
A view of the early January skies - The Crescent Moon and Venus. And the top of my 'magic apple tree'. I like to think of it as a magic apple tree, after the one in Susan Hill's book of the same name. This is part of my quiet space; a silent, wintery moonlit sky, a bare magic apple tree, dormant, hiberating, a sense that this new year is beginning slowly. All is well and I am also re emerging slowly, feeling the air around me.
Wishing you a magical joyeous and wonderous 2017.
. . . . Bare branches against a blue wintery sky. . . . . Almost the end of another year . . . . .
Many will be glad to see the end of 2016 with, celebrity deaths, wars, a world in chaos. My own small world, not even a footnote on the world's stage play, would seem to rank as an epic - one full of change, particularly in the later half of my sixty-fifth year.
A dear uncle has passed away, another great-niece was born, and my youngest son got married. I gave up teaching my lovely yoga class, moved from the countryside to the coast. . . . B. was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer and has come out the other end with a very good prognosis; a sign for both of us to actively seek a simpler, healthier lifestyle. . .We re-discovered a dear friend after 30 years, and as she said,' Alive, alive, alive, a live O' ...... much to be thankful for! . . . . . . So to the end of my year . . .and singing 'Aulde Lang Syne'
Lit candle (from my sister from a previous Christmas, unearthed after the house move) lit in memory of, and respect for, absent family and friends. . . . .
A fine day yesterday, I walked past an open door of the parish church, catching a glimpse of a Christmas tree, but the snow white decoations in the leaded window caught my eye.
Christmas seemed to come and go in a flash this year. A quiet one for us this year, just B. and me to please ourselves. .. although we did 'Skype' with the boys families in a 3-way link up, a first for us. An afternoon walk on a windswept beach Christmas Day, along the prom' a glittery decorated bench, some painted stones wishing 'Josh' a happy Christmas. . . . Festive milk-bottle tops reminding me of my childhood. A card of Che and Beck's October wedding,on the mantelpiece. . . . Christmas stocking I made for my new-born great-niece Annie's first Christmas.
Sarah, Annie's Mum sent me this image of three stockings I made, the othet two for Annie's sisters first Christmas'. Hopefully next year I can get back to sewing again. . . . Meanwhile . . . .
if anyone is reading this post after my long absence ....
Here's raising a glass to you, and wishing you a healthy, properous, peaceful and very
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
Before B. and I left Herefordshire I was determined to visit Westonbury Water Mill gardens near Pembridge. We had promised to take Rory and Erin; my sister Brenda and her grandchildren Joseph and Xander were able to meet us there for a lovely family day out.
If you get chance, especially if you're local, do seek it out; you will not be disappointed. Three and a half acres filled with a tangle of ponds, streams and vividly colourful plants, swathes of grasses and many mature trees. Little surprises around every corner to fill the senses and inspire the imagination. Spiral paths, a mound to climb and fun follies, like the stone watertower, a giant cuckoo clock with 'Heath Robinson' style workings, and my favourite the sparkling grotto made from wine bottles. There is also a seating area and small cafe,and some plants for sale. The children loved the variety of spaces, fun follies and the freedom to explore. www.westonburymillwatergardens.com
My sleep has been interrupted by my impending house move and thoughts on the absurdities of car parking. We use a communal car park that has been in existence since the houses were build about sixty years ago. Its a very good, practical arrangement and also offers a fairly high measure of security. It's a council owned square of land in the centre of houses that all back on to the car park at the end of each garden. This means that everyone from their bedroom window can see into the carpark, and everyone can keep a watchful eye on all the cars parked. There are no allotted spaces as such but everyone knows who parks where, generally in the same car parking space with a bit of give and take at weekends when there are visitors who are not familiar with the arrangement. It is also where everyone puts out their bins once a week, for the dustbin men to collect the rubbish. There has never been a carparking problem. It therefore came as a surprise to be asked by the solicitor to get a sworn statement that we, and previous house owners have always parked in the car park. This statement had to be witnessed by another solicitor, at a standard cost of seven pounds between solicitors that goes straight into their pocket. Five pounds being for the written, sworn statement and two pounds for him to witness and date the map of the carpark. To get this witnessed we had to go to a different firm of solicitors. Our solicitors office is at the top of a very old building with a steep narrow winding staircase where you either get very fit climbing up, or have a heart attack! In complete contrast the solicitor at the other end of the street is in modern offices. My exercise for the day was walking quickly between the two offices, twice, - firstly my name had been spelt in two different ways on the statement, as pointed out by the second solicitor and had to be changed, and then had to go back a second time as he had only signed one page, when apparently both pages need to be signed and dated. Both solicitors had made simple mistakes and apologised, meanwhile I'm exhausted. Coincidentally, I bumped into a neighbour who had sold their house just a month ago - they had occupied three parking spaces as they were driving instructors and also owned a camper van. She was amazed when I told her what had just transpired, and told me they hadn't been asked to sign any documents about car parking, and had never heard of such a thing.
Of course this maybe something to do with car parking charges - we've never had to pay for parking only for garage rental. The parking charges in town have become astronomical - 70p for half an hour, which hardly gives you time to go to the bank. £1.20p for every hour. We know the council is strapped for cash, but it must be one of the highest charges in England.
But carparking did remind me of going to a meeting once where there were too few car parking spaces, where a councillor complained very loudly that someone had taken his carparking space, which strictly speaking didn't belong to anyone. After he had gone through the door the cleaner turned to me and said, " I expect someone a long time ago, told him he was very important , and he's never forgotten it.".
Everything's so overgrown here at the moment, grasses, styles, wildflowers, riverbanks, wooded hazel, leafy ferns and brambles all tangle over one another . . . 'hey summer hay!'
Not a great deal happening on the craft front of late. I am in the throes of planning a house move and packing up craft materials. More on the move when things become a little more certain. . . . I am also, and not without a little sadness, finishing teaching a loyal yoga class that has been with me for the past four years. ( I was initially only going to teach for a term, as I had previously given up teaching due to ill health - I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2008; fortunately, I remain healthy and cancer free to date.
Last year I got together with a Raj, yoga teacher friend who also loves sewing and crafting, and we started making yoga bags for the Haven, www.thehaven.org.uk/hereford supporting people who have breast cancer. Hereford Haven was, and has been, a godsend for me ever since.
Material for the yoga bags was donated. We asked for a donation of £7.00 for each bag - many people very generously donated much more. The side of bags were two cut out circles 7 inches diameter, and one piece of material all the way round to accommodate a yoga mat, blanket, and two blocks. Each bag was lined, a shoulder strap added and ties for closing. As you can see one talented person then decided to add her own zip.
Next week is my last yoga session, before I hand over to Yoga Summer School, where various yoga teachers donate their time and pay to the Haven Hereford.
My yoga class also run their own weekly raffle with donations of their spare change and bring in their own small prizes. Money raised is donated termly to the Haven. These small donations can be used to buy little things such as handwash or flowers to brighten up the venue. The yoga students are a lovely group of people, I will miss them all. . . Raj will take over my class in the Autumn.
A couple of weeks ago I visited my friend Corine. She runs a B &B from her home at Parliament Barn. www.parliament-barn.co.uk Corine also cuts my hair, she trained with Vidal Sassoon and Toni and Guy, and I always get a brilliant haircut. Now, isn't this the most marvellous place to go and get a hair cut - in the middle of the Herefordshire countryside, with a walk to the river with Archie, the dog included.
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