Sunday, 30 August 2009

As time goes by

Last Thursday was our birthday - Keith and I share one (too tight to have one each!!) and to celebrate we thought we'd pack an overnight back, jump in the car and go off into the wild blue yonder. And so we did.... but not before we'd walked the dog, put the washing on the line, cleaned the bathroom etc etc.

We took the back road to the coast passing one of our favourite walking spots - Roseberry Topping on the Northern end of the North York Moors. We were in such a hurry not to loose much more time that we set off without having lunch and so by the time we arrived at the top of Carlton Bank on top of the moor I was starving. We pulled into a parking stop and bought a huge bacon butty and mug of tea from the 'tea caravan' there. You can see the sea and for miles around up here, the thin pole whose top has disappeared off the top of the photo is a signal fire basket. This one was set up to herald in the Millenium.We arrived in Scarborough to a beautiful sunny afternoon where the whole town seemed to be in holiday mode.
Donkey rides, can't remember the last time I saw them on the beach.

Sandcastles were never like this in my day.....
We had a wonderful couple of days and stayed in a hotel at the top of the South Cliff with a wonderful view of the sea. In the evening Keith booked a meal at one of the restaurants so we thoroughly enjoyed our birthday.
Before I went I made a start on the Dotee Dolls for the MixedMedia_ATC group swap. I made two then got carried away and made another two. Now I have the problem of deciding which Dotee will go to their new homes as I've grown fond of them all. They took on personalities of their own.

I've got four postcards to finish and put in the post before Tuesday for the private swap. This one is based on a nautical theme. All sorts of ideas ran through my head but I found myself making something completely different from my thoughts. I'll post photos once they are all done.
We're off to Kent on Wednesday to see Leeds Castle, Sissinghurst and Pankhurst gardens. I did hope to get to the quilt show at Hever but not sure I'll have time as my friend Judy has just moved to a small village in Kent and I would also like to spend some time with her.
We'll be back a week then are off again, this time to Warwickshire with the U3a Garden Club after that I think we can take time to catch up.

off for the day. We thought we'd pack an overnight bag and stay out all night if we so desired.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Ripley Castle

I've been meaning to share these photos for over a week but just never got round to downloading them onto my laptop until tonight. Ripley Castle is just outside of Ripon and has its own tiny village to go with it. The Ingilby family have lived in the castle for over 700 years. We've passed the village of Ripley many times but as its just off the main A61 to Harrogate we've never been there until last Sunday when we went with the U3A to visit their gardens. As you would expect there is a lot of history attached to the castle (more a crenellated manour house really) no dungeons but it does have a priest hole. The walled gardens are beautiful but on the day we went many of the beds were being redug and the plants moved.

Still there was quite a show. You can see the magnificent hot house at the back of the picture. The entrance to the walled garden has a bell. This was where the young servant was sent by the cook to collect the daily veggies. He would ring the bell and wait for one of the under gardeners to come and take the list the cook would give him. He would then wait for the gardener to return with the goodies. He was not allowed inside the walled garden.

This is the back entrance to the hot house which leads directly to the walled flower and kitchen gardens. There were several single under gardeners and they all lived in bothies built onto the back of the hot house (they were lucky they had central heating in the wall of their bothy coming from the hot house).

This is one of the bothies, now used to store plant pots.

Today they grow modern and medieval vegetables (above is not an artichoke but something beginning with a C - forgot its name). They also grow old varieties of apple but are not allowed to sell them or use them, they are grown for their seed and go to various agricultural bodies.

Trees are one of the attractions at Ripley and many were planted around 1840. This sweet chestnut tree has a very convoluted trunk and I saw this lady in the folds. Not everyone could see her, some thought I was hallucinating so can anyone else see her?

This Beech is self perpetuating. They do not know why but where the branches have reached the ground they have rooted and new trees have grown there.

I always knew the U3A were a lot of tree huggers - again can't remember the name of the tree but its a Canadian redwood. The bark is warm and spongy and just asks to be touched.

And here is our own little tree hugger - Buster on his morning walk in the local woods.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Take a Stitch Tuesday

I've made a start on the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge - again - the photos are in reverse order. The threads I've used so far are fine pearl type threads in varigated colours. I set out with the idea of using monochromatic colour scheme. I've used various shades of white on white and cream on cream 100% cotton and perhaps I would have been better to have used a counted thread background for some of the stitches. Week 4 was Buttonhole Wheels, some are with the bars on the outside, some with the bars on the inside and some have an extra detached row of buttonhole stitch.
Week 3 - Arrowhead stitch, not one of my favourites and I'm quite sure I could have done a better job if I'd thought about it a bit longer.

Week 2 - Sheath Stitch, not a stitch I'm very good at, I find it difficult to make the stitch length even but perhaps that's more to do with the fabric I think this is one that would have been easier on counted thread fabric.

Week 1 - Bullion Stitch I know many people don't like this stitch but its one of my favourites.

I've been collecting Quaver packets way back when I did my C&G I used to make fabric with these sorts of packaging and at the back of my mind was the intension to make something 'useful'. Ah, the useful items proved to be atc's for the Surface Design Group 'Technique' ATCs. I bonded the crisp packets onto a fabric backing and cut the resultant fabric into strips. I wove the strips together and zigzagged them in place onto another piece of cotton (one of my son's old shirts). The flowers are again recycled sheers, old blouse and bits of left over fabric from other burning projects. Using a metal stencil I burned out the flowers and stitched them onto the background using beads. My techniques are burning, bonding and recycling.
When I put them together I thought they'd make quite a nice bag so I'd better start collecting more bags.
My elder son Marc has spent the weekend cycling the 'Coast to Coast' route from Whitehaven to Sunderland, about 144 miles in aid of breast cancer. One of their friends is undergoing chemotherapy at the moment for breast cancer and she is in her very early 30's. As his partner Alix's mum died of breast cancer and I'm a breast cancer survivor he thought it an appropriate charity. He did the ride with two friends and they set out on Saturday morning in a gale force wind with lashing rain. He said by the time they'd got to Keswick (about 30 miles away) they were ready to give in but they didn't. Today he is stiff, sore and achey but they've raised nearly £300 and are planning to do it all again next year but in one day!!! My own little action man.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Beginning to come out of the fog

This has been partly due to our sons and their partners who thought we needed a nice surprise for a change. They clubbed together and bought us a four day trip to Bruge but because it's not until November they got us 1st Class train tickets to London for last weekend. Marc and Alix came with us and we stayed in Russel Square where we enjoyed an early morning walk and cup of coffee while waiting for them to wake up.

I admitted that I'd been to several museums in London but never the Britsh Museum so we spent Saturday morning looking at all the treasures. Alix had wanted to see the Egyptian Mummies so that was our first port of call. I was surprised just how small Cleopatra's sarcophagus was and how wide in comparison to height it was. I think she must have been small and volumptuous either that or she took a lot of grave goods with her.

I was rather taken with these small grave dolls, I think they are called Sabuti/Subati?. The belief was that when first entering the 'other world' the newly passed over had to labour in the fields. These small clay dolls were made to carry out the more arduous duties in their stead. You can see the flails and scythes these dolls are carrying so the deceased doesn't have to work the fields.
I rather liked the idea and thought Mum would appreciate one with a duster and a vaccumn cleaner. I might just make one for her later, it would have to incorporate a bingo card somewhere there.
These mummified cats reminded me so much of log cabin and railraod patchwork blogs that I'm sure these would be easy to replicate too. There were some beautiful section of tilework in the. I think this one is from the Kings Passage. Everywhere I looked I could see quilting sources.
Sunday went to Covent Gardens then took a walk along the Thames Embankment, well who doesn't when they're in London. There were quite a few Sunday performers but I spotted (no pun intended) these trees wrapped in red and white polka dot fabric. People had written their names in each of the circles and around them. I rather liked the look.
The short break revived both Keith and I and at last I've got down to some sewing, not a lot but at least its a beginnng.
I finished Mariel's 'Ethnic House' swap card and it is now winging its way to Argentina. The back of the card and the igloo are made from layers of sheer fabrics then embroidered. I made the eskimo/Inuit Indian from left over paper fabric I'd had laying around for a while and used white fleece for the fur. I drew the face and patterns on the tunic. Finally I made a fishing pole from a bamboo stick and strung fish shaped beads on the end.
The postman had not forgotten me either and Christine's 'Feather' card was awaing my return.
Christine has not been in good health recently so I was particularly pleased to receive her beautiful card. I think I've posted it upside down!!!!

Everything is beginning to return to normal. Emptying Mum's flat and tying up loose ends has been difficult for us all but iit s something that had to be done. Mum's funeral was on Tuesday and her Wake was held at a local hostellry. My brother was a bit reluctant to go feeling he would be too upset. We persuaded him and in the end all talk and laughter about the good and funny things Mum had done relieved some of the heaviness in all our hearts. It was a time of catching up with the family and we now feel stronger and more able to face the future without her.