Saturday, 17 February 2018

Safeguarding and chores.

Today I had to attend a training for Guide leaders on the new safeguarding laws and regulations. Not  much had changed since the last training I attended but it's well worth staying up to date with the policies and procedures and generally refreshing the old memory. Lucy attended the same training last week and hopefully it means that we should be able to spot any issues early should they arise and get the person the help they need more quickly. The training took most of the day and all the discussions and activities left me feeling drained. Unfortunately once I got home I had to go straight out again as I needed to do a major grocery shop. It's always depressing when there is very little food in the house. Now sitting here writing this I'm feeling very pleased as my training is all up to date and I've a full food cupboard and fridge. Time to relax.

For Christmas 2015 John bought me a dolls house. It's a wooden house, 1:12 scale and you need to decorate it and put it together. I didn't start making it in 2016 because we were busy decorating and finishing the work that was needed on our own house. I'd planned to make it last year but there just never seemed to be the time when I had the energy to do it. So here we are in February 2018 and both parts of the house are still in the boxes. The house comes as two separate parts. The main house is two floors plus the roof also opens. In addition there is a basement that you can add to the house. John bought both parts. It's now time to get this project started so Richard and I opened the box with the basement pieces and set it up on the floor.

We just set the pieces up to see how it would look. There are grooves to help the pieces fit together which helped it all stay in place. I love the railings in front of the house. The front opens along the split to the right of the stairs so you can access the rooms. The rest of the house will sit on the flat top of the basement. It was so much fun seeing how it all fits together. It's now got to be painted inside and out before we finally put it together. I'm currently making decisions about whether to paint the outside walls or to use brick paper to cover it, plus I've got to decide how to decorate the basement rooms. I think I'm almost there with my final ideas.

Last week I received my quilty treat box. This is only a small treat box and arrives early each month. You don't have a choice what's in it but I've now had it for a year and I've always been very happy with the contents. This month there was some beautiful batiks.

Each month they give you a pattern plus any additional items needed to make up the pattern. This month it is a sew tidy. I don't think I'm going to make this as I have several zip lock bags that I use to keep my projects tidy but I have a couple of ideas for the fabric. For now I'm just enjoyed stroking the fabric and feeling the happy vibes from the cheerful orange.

This week I've driven myself slightly mad trying to find the grandmother's garden quilt I'm working on for Lucy. I have all the flowers for the next row but couldn't find what I'd already made. Eventually earlier this evening I found it in a box with the other fabric that had been sorted to use in this quilt. It's supposed to make life easier when you keep everything tidy but I just forget where I've put things. Now I can stitch the next colour ring on. This quilt is very slow but it is all hand stitched so I don't feel so bad about the speed.

This is a totally scrappy piece. Each round moving outwards from the middle is one of the colours of the rainbow and the round I need to add is Indigo and Violet. We decided to combine the two colours in the same round as they can be quite similar. The hexagons are 1 inch in size so it's going to take a little time to complete this project.

I have been working on some sewing but it's getting a little late now so I'll tell you about that tomorrow and if Richard can get a good picture I show you how Scamp and Picasso have decided to share my lap in an evening.


Where to start?

It's been a while since I last posted and as a result I'm not sure what to share with you first Last week I had fun showing you what I made for the 'Put a little love in your Quilt' blog hop. It was exciting to take part in a blog hop again and I'm slowly visiting everyone who took part to see what they made. My table topper has been gracing the top of my coffee table, there for all to see. However, even with the topper as a reminder, my dear husband John  managed to totally forget about Valentine's day. Never mind we're going away the last weekend of February and he has promised to buy me some fabric from my favourite quilt shop.

This week is lovely as I haven't been at work so I've had time to catch up with life and my blog reading. Yesterday evening I had a relaxing time catching up with Barbara's road trip over at Cat Patches  I had to go back quite a way so I could get the flow of their journey and as always Barbara's photos were amazing. I've also had time to do some sewing but there isn't a lot I can show you as the bits I've made are for another blog hop in early March.

So what can I tell you about? Well on the 30th January John and I went on another walk to discover more of London We started at Greenwich station and walked as far as Limehouse station which is only just over 5 miles. We had planned to walk further but there was so much to see that we run out of time. If we had continued the walk we would have been walking in the dark. From Greenwich station we walked to Island Gardens. On the way we came across a public toilet, which was most welcome, but was also gloriously old fashioned with heavy wooden doors and toilet seats, lots of white tiles and big pull chains. It took me right back to when I was a young girl and all the public toilets were fitted out like this.

Just inside the park was a statue of King William IV

A little further along the path in front of the Maritime Museum was this ship in a bottle. 

I once watched a video on how they get the ships into the bottle and you can see how it is done here.

We walked up the hill to the observatory and took pictures of the museum and across London.

Behind the museum you can see Canary Wharf's cluster of tall buildings. London has clusters of tall buildings with low level buildings in between and of course no tall building is allowed to block line of site of St Paul's in the city.

The next photo is looking slightly to the right from the one above and I've put an arrow to mark the milennium dome or the O2 Arena as it is now known. The last time we visited the 02 was to see Neil Diamond last year.

We retraced our steps down hill and past the Maritime Museum and we passed by the Royal Naval College as we headed to the Thames.

Once at the Thames we walked along the riverside path  towards the Cutty Sark. I couldn't fit it all in as I couldn't move back any further due to the river being in the way.

The Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship that was built on the River Clyde in 1869 and was one of the last tea clippers to be built. 
Following the opening of the Suez Canal 1869 steamships were able to take the shorter route to China, so the Cutty Sark was only used for the tea trade for a few years. After that it was used to carry wool from Australia and on this route the ship held the record for the fastest journey time to Britain for ten years. Steam eventually took over this route and so the ship was sold to a Portuguese company in 1895 and was renamed. In 1922 the ship was bought by retired sea captain Wilfred Dowman, and it was used as a training ship in Cornwall. After his death ownership of the Cutty Sark was transferred to the Thames Nautical Training College. In 1954, the ship was transferred to permanent dry dock at Greenwich, London, for public display. In 2007 whilst undergoing conservation the ship was badly damaged by fire. It was restored and reopened to the public in 2012

From here we went into the Greenwich foot tunnel to cross under the Thames. From the opposite bank we could see the Cutty Sark. The dome in front of the ship is the entrance to the foot tunnel

As we came out of the foot tunnel we spotted a small coffee shop and we stopped to enjoy tea and carrot cake. It was very yummy. Back on track we were following the Thames Path which took us past several wharf's and docks each with their own name. In the past different industries had operated from each wharf. Several buildings remained  but many had been re-purposed often into living accommodation.

This is the remains of the dock where the Great Eastern was built. The SS Great eastern was a steel steamship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and built at the Millwall Iron works on the Thames

We briefly left the Thames path to head towards the Millwall outer dock. On the way we passed this old chapel now being used as a theatre and meeting place. The Frankenstein poster was rather appropriate for this Gothic building.

We spent some time investigating the outer dock which is now used as a water activity centre. These two dockside cranes remain. They look a little like alien invaders.

Back to the Thames path where we saw the base of a huge dock crane forming the base of an outdoor area for the floors in these flats. Great re-purposing and design.

The base of this crane was huge and rather scary to walk under.From here looking across the Thames this was the view.

This shows another cluster of tall buildings in the City of London (otherwise known as The Square Mile) which is north of the river. The tower on the left is the Shard a 306m high tower of steel and glass which is south of the river at London Bridge.

Leaving the Thames behind we headed into Narrow  Street which runs parallel to the river. This is the oldest street in Limehouse. Here we found this cute statue but I can't remember why it is here.

Looking one way down the street. Many of the buildings are being done up and modernised.

We walked through Rope maker field to the Regent's canal towpath

and on into Limehouse Basin

We crossed the footbridge next to the lock and weir. The weir was fascinating.

We past a few more large boats and narrow boats before heading to Limehouse station which is on the DLR - docklands light railway.

From the station it was a quick journey home with only one change to get onto the Northern Line tube. A great day walking and lots to see. I'm finding these walks fascinating as they are taking us to areas of London I've not explored before or if I have it was a long time ago.

At home Picasso was in serious cuddle mode, first from me, then John and finally Lucy.

He really does get in some odd positions and being a black cat he isn't the easiest to take pictures of.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my dolls house which I'm really excited to be starting to build.


Thursday, 8 February 2018

Put a little love in your quilt.

Today is my turn to show you what I made for the 'Put a little love in your quilt' blog hop. A very big thank you to Carol from Just Let Me Quilt for organising the hop. I love blog hops as it's a chance to see what everyone is making and to visit some new blogs. I love discovering new blogs to visit and making new friends.

For the hop I chose a small project to make as work has been very busy since the beginning of the year. This proved a very good move as for the last two weeks many of my colleagues have been off sick with flu. The resulting extra work has left me too tired to do a lot of sewing but I managed to complete my project.

I decided to make a table topper for my coffee table that I could use to celebrate Valentine's day. I have a table runner for my dinning table which I made a while back and this little candle mat that is my only attempt at paper piecing.

My coffee table is hexagonal and the table topper I usually use is made in a hexagonal shape using hexagons. I decided to stick with the hexagonal shape but this time to use applique.  This Christmas I was given a Fat Quarter bundle of Christmas fabric which had two pieces with hearts on the pattern. Using these and a plain white background it was easy to get the project going. I machine appliqued the hearts to the background using a blanket stitch. The quilting was a small meander and the binding is machine stitched to the front and hand stitched at the back. The mitred corners were a little taxing!

I'm happy with my new table topper and in fact I can use it as a centre piece for my dinning table as well as on the coffee table.

Now you need to pop over to the rest of today's participants and discover what they have made. I can't wait to sit down this evening with a cup of tea and go visiting.

February 8

Thank you for visiting today, please do come back soon. There will be no stitching this weekend as Lucy and I will be at camp with our Guide unit. The girls are hoping it will snow and we are hoping the temperature will stay above freezing. 

Take Care


Friday, 26 January 2018

Walking with John and Lucy

On Tuesday John, Lucy and I had been planning to complete the next section of the Capital Ring walk. We were a little concerned that we would have to cancel because the weather has been so appalling with strong winds and very heavy rain. We were lucky and the day was dry but cold. We had a few jobs to do first thing and once done we headed out on the tube. We had quite a long journey to our starting point at Woolwich but that meant we could all catch up with some reading on the train. We were planning to complete two sections, the first from Woolwich to Falconwood, a distance of 6.2 miles and if the weather was good we would walk on to Grove Park and additional 3.5 miles.

Woolwich has a long history with evidence of an iron age settlement near the current ferry terminal. Our plan of the day was to walk and not search out the settlement and so we set off along the riverside path from our starting point to the Woolwich foot tunnel. As we walked I watched the Woolwich ferry.

A ferry has probably existed here since the late 12th century. A toll used to be charged until 1889 when the people of Woolwich campaigned for it to be free. The charges were dropped and the ferry has been free to use since then. I must travel across on the ferry at some point in the future.

We very quickly came to the entrance to the foot tunnel.

The tunnel was opened in 1912 and is open 24 hours a day all year. The tunnel is 550 yards long and there are 126 steps down into it and 101 up on the other side. We all walked down but John took the lift up on the other side. Lucy and I walked up counting the steps as we went.

Here we are under the Thames.

In 1512 Woolwich Naval Dockyard was a major establishment in the area and as we walked we passed a lot of evidence of the dockyard. Looking away from London this was the view.

Turning to face the direction we were walking this was the view.

The tide was out and there were a lot of gulls and ducks on the foreshore. A little further along the promenade we came across this battered mosaic. It was installed in 1984 by the National Elfrieda Rathbone Society which helps people whose needs have not been met by education.

We passed a pair of disused cannon. I couldn't get them both in the photo.

We also passed another mosaic , this time a nearly complete one.

On the opposite bank we saw the Tate and Lyle sugar refinery in Silvertown.

We got quite close to the Thames barrier before we turned away from the Thames. Any area near a river is liable to flood and the Thames is at huge risk due to the large amount of extra tidal water at certain times. In 1953 300 people  were drowned in a disastrous flood. To prevent this happening again the Thames Flood Barrier was completed in 1984. The gates normally rest on the river bed and can be raised  by electro-hydraulic power into the upright position between the piers that you can see in the picture. It takes 45 minutes for full closure to be achieved.

On our left  we spotted the clockhouse of 1784. This was once the house and also the office of the Admiral-Superintendent of the Dockyard. It is now a community centre.

We left the river and headed to Maryon Park and Maryon Wilson Park. We stopped and ate our sandwiches in Maryon Wilson Park looking down towards the children's zoo where I saw this handsome duck, a visitor from europe.

Through the parks the walk was easy going and we made good time until we reached Eltham Common from where we headed up a steep path into a belt of ancient woodland with Castlewood, Jackwood and Oxleas Wood. Once at the top we came upon Sevendroog Castle. The name of the triangular building comes from a fortress in India that was captured by Commodore Sir Williams James. During the 18th century he owned this land. Following his death in 1784 his widow built the tower as a memorial. The best bit was it housed a cafe and the coffee and cake was delicious.

Refreshed we continued through gardens and woodland. At times it was very muddy.

When we reached Falconwood we decided to carry on to Grove Park. This brick structure is a Conduit Head. This building once housed sluices that controlled the flow of water from springs to Eltham Palace.

Just around the corner we came across this delightful church, Holy Trinity Church consecrated in 1869. It has a chapel, the Gallipoli Chapel which is a memorial to those who died in the World War 1 battle of Gallipoli.

From here we eventually reached the gates of Eltham Palace. I couldn't get a good photo due to the trees.

Here's the bridge to take visitors over the moat.

Eltham Palace was the principal country residence of the English monarchy for nearly 250 years from the early 14th century to the mid 16th century. Across the road from the palace was this cute timber framed building that dates from the 16th century which was the Lord Chancellor's lodging with Cardinal Wolsey and Sir Thomas More being residents at times.

Although the photo suggests it was taken earlier in the day it was actually taken as it was getting dark so for the remainder of this walk we upped the pace to make it back to the station before it was fully dark. 

It was a great day out and we completed the two sections covering 9.7 miles. With the walking we did to and from the station at both ends of the day by the time I got home I had walked 14.5 miles. A rest before cooking dinner followed by a hot bath to give the aching muscles a soak and then early to bed. We have two more sections to do and we will have completed the walk. Now we can think about what we are going to do to celebrate and which walks to tackle later in the year.


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Busy Two Weeks

It seems to me that no matter how hard you try where paid work is involved it takes over more time than you are being paid for. The year started well and I had my time planned out beautifully so I had a great balance between work (the day Job) and fun (family, quilting, knitting, walking). Then we hit the flu season and many of my colleagues got ill with it or the horrid cold that's going round. Now you can't help being ill but you can take action to reduce the risk and one action is to have the free flu jab paid for by our employer and after all we are teaching nursing, midwifery and healthcare. No, most people didn't bother with the flu jab because it will make them ill! The down side for everyone else is the less people in work, the more work for the ones who are there. As a result I've had less time, or felt too tired to get on with the fun side of life. During the second week of January I did manage to keep up with my 15 minutes of sewing time each day but last week I felt shattered and just sat and watched TV or went to bed extra early. 

Anyway less of the grumbling and lets get to what I have managed to do. Well I'm quite pleased that I have found space and the energy for some sewing activity most days, spending 15 minutes or more on it. So my tally up to the 21st January is;

17 out of 21 days.

On some of the days I had to really push myself but I'm so pleased I did as sewing is my way of relaxing and I generally sleep much better on the days I've given myself some sewing/stitching therapy.

At the beginning of January I received my treat box from The Bramble Patch. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the contents but I have been working on a pattern from the box. I do most of my sewing at our dining table and if someone else is working at the other side, usually John or Lucy, they feel the vibrations from the machine. My pin cushion, stitch unpicker and scissors also get muddled with their work. So the pattern for a sewing tidy to go under the machine was brilliant.

My box contained the charm pack Caroline by Brenda Riddle Designs plus the pink fabric for the binding. I already had fabric for the backing but had to purchase some wadding. I set the machine up to take the photo as the mat isn't fully finished. As you can see I need to stitch the binding down. The button in the middle of the pin cushion also came as part of a pack in the box. The buttons are wooden so not really usable for clothing but great for craft items such as the pin cushion. When not in use the cushion can just hang off the mat or be stuffed into one of the pockets so it wont get lost. This is so close to a finish, it should be done by Friday which will make 2 finishes for January.

My job over the weekend was to unpick the heading on Richard's curtains and to replace with new. I did the unpicking whilst watching Vera on the video and just dumped them on the floor once done. They needed a good iron before I could attach the new header. 

Today is my day off so there will be sewing time later but in a few minutes we will be heading out on the next section of the Capital Ring.


Monday, 8 January 2018

Getting a very early start on Christmas?

On Sunday I made a start on my new Christmas quilt. I keep a quilt in our main room as you never know when you may need to snuggle up in one and I had planned to make a Christmas quilt for use next year but I hadn't planned on starting so early in the year. My current Christmas quilt wasn't planned, in fact it came about because I won a jelly roll of Christmas fabric.

I had to buy a little yardage to complete the quilt but it was well worth it as I love this quilt. It's on my bed at the moment and looks so pretty. It's a shame Christmas is over for another year.

So I started the new quilt because I was given several Christmas fat quarters as a present. What better way to use them up and New Year does mean it's OK to start a new quilt. I started by making the half square triangles I would need. I need 72  HST's to make the blocks for this quilt and at the moment I have 71  so I need to make 1 more. I'll do that later in the week. Today I decided to cut all the pieces I need to make the blocks. It seemed to take ages but was well worth it. 

I can't wait to start stitching it all together. In between I took some time to stew some plums. When I bought the plums they were very firm so I left them to finish ripening in the kitchen. I cut them up and put them in a saucepan with a little water and sugar. The colours were amazing.

They not only looked good but tasted really good and made a great dessert with some thick cream.

Kate from Life in Pieces has restarted her 15 minute challenge. For this challenge you have to spend at least 15 minutes each day on some form of stitching. I decided to join in as it is surprising how much you can do in just 15 minutes and it will help get some of my projects finished. She is having a link party every Sunday where we can check in and share how we are getting on.  

Results for week 1 of 2018.
7 out of 7 days of 15 minutes. 

Great result! Activities I did to achieve this included hand stitching on Earlene, sewing on badges to my camp blanket, making half square triangles and some repair sewing. I am determined to do more sewing this year and hopefully complete some of my UFO's

I got the results of my mammogram today and it was good news. Had a full check up and everything is going well. I have an appointment booked for July when the surgeon will start the system rolling for my reconstruction. So far 2018 is feeling a lot better than last year thank goodness.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I'm in work so not a lot of time for sewing but I'll try and complete my 15 minutes a day.