Books · Cooking · Crafts · Cross Stitch · Jottings · Knitting · Witterings

Now where was I……..

Remember this list

  • have finished a piece of cross stitch, a book related one too, that has been on the go for a while.
  • I have started and finished a knitted hedgehog.
  • I have started another piece of cross stitch…..
Lizzie Kate Designs – using up all the threads I have acquired in the past years.
  • I am busy trying to finish a pair of socks…..
This is sock 2. Sock 1 just needs to be re-grafted as I did it wrong. I am nearly at the end of this one so perhaps a finish soon…….
  • I have completed a jigsaw which had been hanging around for over 2 years and is now complete, so I started another one…..
  • I am now starting to think about Christmas Presents, and ones that I could possible make……


  • I have been away to somewhere new and would love to tell you all about it….
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • Stanley is still delighting everyone and is now 17 26 weeks old, with teeth as sharp as razors and a personality to match!

This was the day he arrived:


This is him today:



  • I want to share some of my baking virtually of course……

So whilst I have not crossed anything else off my list, I have at least shown you some works in progress.

Which means I need to rethink my list:

  • Finish the socks
  • Complete another part of the cross stitch – it will eventually look like this I hope

  • Finish at least one Christmas Present and make it up from the pieces you can see from the photograph earlier on in this post
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • More of my jigsaw that I started needs to be done, this one cannot possibly take 3 years!
  • Baking pictures. Although I am debating this at the moment, due to having got on the scales and seen that whilst I managed to lose an impressive 5 and 1/2 stone in 2012. I have seriously failed to maintain this weight loss. I readily admit to myself that this is probably one of the reasons for the lack of momentum with many things in life at the moment, this blog included.

Trouble with crafting is you start other projects and therefore I picked up a free pattern, the needles and bought some wool and then……..


Whoops! Another thing for the list then

  • Finish the V neck cardigan.

Think that might be enough for the list for the time being.

You may or may not have noticed, but I have made no mention of books on this list. I probably should because whilst I am reading, I am not writing reviews. Not having enough time at the moment, work has turned busy as I have had to increase my workload and probably will be like this until I finish for Christmas on the 18th December. Also I refer back to my lack of momentum. But I am reading and enjoying it so please be patient. My only challenge will be to perhaps actually write a November Roundup post and see where that takes me.

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Jottings

The Library

I seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment in finishing things off and crossing items off lists. I do like the satisfaction that crossing something off your list can bring.

  • I have finished a piece of cross stitch, a book related one too, that has been on the go for a while.
  • I have started and finished a knitted hedgehog.
  • I have started another piece of cross stitch…..
  • I am busy trying to finish a pair of socks…..
  • I have completed a jigsaw which had been hanging around for over 2 years and is now complete, so I started another one…..
  • I am now starting to think about Christmas Presents, and ones that I could possible make……
  • I have been away to somewhere new and would love to tell you all about it….
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • Stanley is still delighting everyone and is now 17 weeks old, with teeth as sharp as razors and a personality to match!
  • I want to share some of my baking virtually of course……

This time I am sharing some stitching. I dread to think how long I have had Little House Needleworks ‘The Library’ on the go.

Looking back I posted this picture in July 2011 – yes 2011!

Picture 098

And there was an update in December of the same year, yes still 2011.

The Library - July 2011

And then it went a bit quiet clearly for around 4 years. Anyone who does any sort of craft will probably know this, plenty is started and plenty hangs around. Which is why periodically I go through a finishing off phase. I also think because Cross Stitch is not as popular as it was, it takes a back seat. Just like phases, it will become popular again I am sure.

So if you have waiting to see the finished picture for the last 4 years I can only apologise but here it is


Please excuse the photography it is not one of my many hobbies!


And a bit more of a close up. This was literally hot off the needle.

It will now transfer to the tin where I keep all my finished but unframed items… who knows what for but one day it may have a frame and reside happily upon my wall.

The trouble is when you get to the end of something, you are inspired to start something else, especially something which has been hanging around in your baskets,boxes,drawers etc for a while. I am drawn to particular designers and ideas and very much like pieces that contain words.

But for what I have started next….. that will come in another post.



Books · Crafts · Cross Stitch · Jottings · Knitting

Jottings #16 Spring has Sprung in Snippets

It has been a while since I have had a jottings post (over a year!), or told you about some of the stuff going on. Books seem to have taken over, which is a good thing when this is primarily a book blog. However sometimes I need to remind myself and readers that I am a human and that life happens!

Back in September I got to meet Jax Blunt who blogs over here. She does a really lovely snippets post every week telling us all what she (and her family) have all been getting up to, reading, watching, eating etc. I thought it would be a lovely idea to borrow and therefore……..

Watching – Poldark. I have vague recollection of a repeat of the original series, when I was a small person. I do know it was one of my paternal grandmother’s favourite series and books. I am enjoying it and have bought the first two books to have a go at reading the stories as well.

Reading according to goodreads I am about 4 books behind on my target for the year. (Shrugs Shoulders) but the books I am reading are good and it seems that closing my eyes has been more beneficial than reading of late. However my latest read is the latest Christopher Fowler – The Burning Man (Bryant & May series) and it is out on 26 March. I hope to have a review of the book up by next weekend as I am more than halfway through now.

Eating –  too much. I had lost 5 & 1/2 stone. Sadly that seems like a lifetime ago and whilst I have not put it all back on, I have put enough back on to be upsetting me. I need to find whatever it was that triggered my weight loss before and harness it and see what happens this time.


Knitting – Random stuff to test patterns on some lovely variegated wool that I bought at Ally Pally last year as well as some socks. I am on my second pair and I think I am going to dedicate a whole post to them!

Sewing – much as I would love to be as good as those on The Great British Sewing Bee, I know I will not and frankly don’t have the time to take up another hobby. However, I can do some basic stuff on the machine and with the impending Easter HOlidays looming I hope to actually sit down and do it.

The knitting has somewhat been making my hand ache, knitting with five needles probably being the reason, so I have now and again picked up some stitching.

Painting  – Not The Great British Painting Challenge, although I am rather enjoying the programme. But these – they are yet to be fired, but I will share more about them on another post.


Feelingwarm with the sun on my back as I type this. Also a bit down as work is becoming rather trying and I have had to resort to shouting which in turn frightened enough people to have the desired effect.

Pleased  – because from this little post, I have got at least three ideas for future posts!

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Jottings · Knitting


It is a yearly outing in October that mum and I head to the Knitting and Stitching Show held at Alexandra Palace. I have mentioned many times on this blog and looking back it is almost like Groundhog Day.

2010 Visit

2011 Visit

2012 Visit

I won’t bore you with the same old details – but rest assured there were some very familiar noises on the coach. The two ladies adjacent to us, commented on every bit of driving, direction of travel, journey, the M25 and gave the poor coach driver earache no doubt. These coach drivers at the particular company we use have the patience of saints. They did come unstuck at one point when they were asking him personal questions and he said he did not see his children anymore…..silent did ensure….but no for long. Their main complaint was that there was not enough cross stitching.

Well to be fair to them, they were correct. However, everything has fads and is cyclical I am sure and therefore if you know that is the case then don’t bother coming if only to save my ears! In the years that I have been going I have seen it decline, and it is definitely knitting and other wool related crafts which are coming back in fashion. One particular stall used to be huge, as they sold so much cross stitch material, both aida and evenweave. Now though you could have walked past them and not noticed, it was that small and also they had branched out into selling other things. The lesson is if you want to stay in business then you have to go with the changes and what the market wants. The market wants at the moment, wool and material.

I will say there was a plethora of sewing machine stalls, nicely complemented by where you could by plenty of material and some wonderful material at that. I blame the Great British Sewing Bee and in fact one contestant (male) was there from that programme. I am sure this has something to do with the current economic climate and in trying to make do and mend, or create something which is unique.

Creatures of habit we did exactly the same thing we do every year, go round the outside then up and down the stalls in the middle and then split up buy what we want and then meet back together and get a second opinion on some of the things we have seen.

I know all you want to see is what I have bought, so here is the obligatory photo

photo (9)

So what do we have –

To the left of the picture there are some weaving boards. You wind the wool round the jagged edges then you weave with something contrasting. I have made an attempt but I want to get it right first, as one of them is going to be a Christmas present. There is also some lovely Oliver Twist threads there too.

Then following across the picture is a pin cushion from Sue Hawkins who has been a favourite of mine (and mum) for many years. It is thanks to here I have made oodles of the bookmarkers she does that have been sold and also given out as presents for many years. I have got many of her items over the years, and this is another one to add to the collection, which was bought for an early birthday present.

Then it is a plethora of felt. Two bundles of different felt sizes in different colours. Felt Fantastic is a book I have had my eye on for a while as it comes from the lovely people at Blooming Felt. There is also some felt bird shapes, a bag of felt balls and a felt iPad cover.Not sure if you can see the little black dog at the bottom right of the picture – he is a Scottie dog. He could look good on my  cover although not to be mistaken for a Radley I am sure. I need to get on the website and buy some more stuff with the 15% voucher I got at the show too! I need to buy some more red circles to make poppies with. I like the felt things, although I am not interested in needle felting or sticking my knitting in the wash to felt that up.

Not bad considering, but what I have come away with is oodles of ideas and an itch to want to try them all. Always the way, but in the meantime I will keep plodding along. I have some items that need finishing and I must crack on with the Christmas presents for this year to.

I did make a list of things to look up at home, one particular stall there sells all the wonderful Lizzie Kate, Waxing Moon Designs, Twisted Thread, Pine Mountain designs as well as many other American designers. Trouble is they are priced quite expensively and the two ladies that run the stall are very snooty – they always look down their noses at you and it puts me right off! They are a bit pushy in their sales technique. It is funny what puts you off buying from different places.

I wonder if the show in 2014 will be exactly the same? Of course it will.

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Witterings

Knitting and Stitching Show 2012

If you have been following my blog for a while or even dare I say the beginning, you may know that I have a craft creativity streak within me and I do share some stitching, knitting and other crafts on here. I get lots of ideas from magazines and websites but also from my annual visit to Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching Show. This is where there are not just stalls full of wonderful goodies to buy,  but lots of ideas and displays of what you can do with very little or a lot from, thread, materials, wool, beads, paper, wood the list is endless.

Ironically enough reading back from the last two posts about this in 2010 and then again in 2011 there are some striking similarities and 2012 is no different! So in summary, knitting is still very much the ‘in’ thing. Stitching is currently on the wane. The stalls with wool were mobbed, those without were very quiet. Ideal for me who is in the main a stitcher!

Yes, the waste of stall posts were there – the wonder mop and the magic iron! Leather handbags and chocolate! It sells the space and when you have a business head on, you realise that makes sense and it is better than empty stands but still…..

So what did I buy, not that much to be honest. Money was spent at The Blooming Felt stall which is so bright and colourful that I wanted to spend a fortune. But I got some more felt circles to make poppies this year for Remembrance and some felt purses which will end up as Christmas presents I am sure. Some buttons and flowers for decoration and I am good to go.

Decopatch is relatively new craft to have hit the stands, but there are so many things that you can glue patterned paper on to, that you could go mad with it! I didn’t, just bought a Christmas sign to decorate, and some Christmas coloured paper to decorate it with as well as more paper for the Christmas tree that I have been building from the cardboard tubes that you get from tin foil. It is a work in progress because I need a lot of tubes and don’t go through that much tinfoil!

When there is progress in some of these things, then I will update you with the odd picture or two! When the weather changes and the nights draw in, it is lovely to settle down with some crafts. And I really need to settle down with what I bought last year! It has not been touched since I got it, apart from me moving it in and out of my way in the living room.

But I could have this to keep moving round the living room:


This is a joint piece of work from many knitters round the country to form a Knitted Village. What can you spot from this small selection of pictures?

Craft is a wonderful thing that brings lots of ideas and people together. My mum and I included.

Oh and if you are wondering about the coach journey, as rereading my previous posts I do mention it! We sat in front of two ladies that did not draw breath from the moment they got on to the moment they got off on the way there….. and on the way back. I know everything about their medical conditions, their dislike of their doctor, what books they read (that was fairly interesting I admit), what their families are doing for Christmas, one daughter’s trouble with working shifts, granddaughter’s love of sweets, what food they eat, where they buy it, Buckingham Palace, how late they will be home…..on….and…..on…..and….on. They never once mentioned whether they enjoyed the day!

But the best of the journey has to go to the lady who asked the coach driver about the possible delays around Wembley Stadium (England were playing a home match that evening and it may have effected the journey back ).

Lady “You would think that Wembley would contact you and tell you that there will be heavy traffic on such a day”

Coach driver “they expect us to keep up to date with traffic, not inform us”

Lady “But it would be much easier if they told you”

Coach driver silent.

I am sure Wembley have the time, money and people to ring up every coach company up in the UK (or should that be Europe?) and warn them that their will be a football match and traffic might be bad, on the off-chance that one of their coaches might just happen to be going past Wembley. I am with the coach driver on this one silence.

And so until next year…….

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Witterings

Swimming and Sewing

From the title you could be forgiven that I have gone mad, and that these two activities do not really go together. But there is a way to combine the two.

I am a swimmer, nothing too adventurous and may I say not to the wonderful standard that the lovely Verity swims who I admire. I do it to help with weight loss and keeping fit. It mixes the week up with the other stuff I do like, PT, Body Pump to name a few. It is also something I share with my dad, who taught me and has done some brave lifesaving acts in the past as well as swim on a regular basis pier to pier at Southsea. We both actively support the local volunteer lifesaving team as well.

Normally I average twice a week and was doing so before Christmas for a long while, it is always 40 lengths which is 1Km (25m length swimming pool), on the odd occasion I have pushed 50 lengths but that is a real push. I was going after work which is not an issue because I finish at a reasonable time, sometimes later but the pool got busier with children after 5pm and there are already swimming lessons going on in two of the lanes, which limits space slightly. Time I was getting in from swimming, I was not having time to cook, well I could but I would have been eating at 8 and when you go to bed at 9 that does not leave a lot of time for digestion. I then had no time to do anything for me in the evenings so I reevaluated what I was doing.

So I thought I would give going before work a go rather than after. I am a lark not an owl so getting up in the morning is relatively easily but it requires preparation the night before otherwise it can all go wrong and you start the day playing catch up. I challenged myself this in December and thought getting up when it is still dark, getting to the pool for when it opens at 0630 and being at work by 0730 and it not getting light until gone 0830 was probably the worst time to start this. But I achieved it and I am pleased and continued this into January. Now when I come out to go to work the sun is starting to rise and I am greeted to a lovely pinky blue sky.

So I know I can get up early and do it I needed a new angle on this so challenging myself to swim an extra day than the normal twice I set myself was the order of the day. I did not go mad and just picked a particular week and said this is the week to swim 3 times – and I did. So in January I swam 11km (Last year I swam 98km in 12 months) and so far in February I have swam 3km.

So what is the point of the stitching – well as you may have realised, going swimming in the morning means you have wet costume and towels hanging round all day before you can go home and do something about it. Getting cold in the car and smelly! I am fortunate to work in a place with some lovely accommodation managers, cleaners and valets who kindly (once I had gained permission from my boss) to let me use the dryer to dry them off. Bless the lovely ladies they go one step further and actually wash them and dry them and even fold my swimming costume so precisely. They even call me ‘their little tadpole’ now! I wanted to get them something to say thank you but rather than the normal biscuits or chocolates I thought I would make something for their office and so the result is above and below

I thought the picture rather apt, the blue watery material good and the ric-ric edging matches the colour of the costume and hat! And the cake well that is why I am swimming so much – I have eaten too much cake in the past!

They loved it and why because I had thought about it, and they are more than happy to help this little tadpole out!

Crafts · Cross Stitch

The Last Christmas Card

I was not very good this year and made hardly any cards (Christmas), however I did make and send one to the little girl of one of my neighbours. I had made her mum one for her birthday and she was enamoured with it, so thought it would be a nice little gift.

That was not my intention when I was finishing the back stitching, as it is meant to say ‘Merry Xmas’ but with a sudden flash of inspiration I changed it to her name. I hope she liked it.

All the Cross Stitching magazines out at this time of year say now is the time to start making the cards for next year, and perhaps I may well do when I feel like stitching something small. But I have got back into my stitching work which is called ‘The Library’. Checking back the last picture I showed you was in July 2011 (shock horror!) but I took it with me to my mum’s over Christmas for something to do on Christmas Eve and it has grown a bit more. I have picked it up since then as well but I am going to have to buy some more thread soon, as I have run out of some colours but want to make my order worthwhile, so going to keep going until I have exhausted the threads I do have left.

The Library - July 2011

And so for a more recent update

The Library - Dec 2011

Seeing the two pictures, makes me want to try and get it finished in 2012 at least! Although I might have to intersperse it with other knitting and the like, so much choice, so little time.

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Knitting

Christmas Cards & Presents

I have good intentions of making lots of Christmas cards but I get quite easily distracted because there is always something new to try, but eventually I do settle down to something. I have somewhat neglected my larger project for many months now, so to get back with the stitching I thought I would try a little free kit of a magazine. One to stitch because it is by Margaret Sherry and I love her designs, and stitched many before and have a lot more stitch as well.

It tested me, as the material I could tell was cheap and the amount of back stitch started to get on my nerves, however it was worth it in the end. Now I have to decide who to give this to.

And while we are on Christmas, thoughts turn to presents so having finished some scarves with some funky wool one or maybe two of these could end up as so.

The black and white scarves, of which there is two in the photo was wool from last year. The purple/blue wool (bought this year) one was a pain to knit and took a couple of goes to get into the rhythm. Not a wool I would choose again to be honest.  Wool from last year which was my mum’s choice has arrived at my needles so more scarves are imminent.

Hopefully this will produce two scarves.

From my sojourn to Alexandra Palace back in October, felting was becoming a growing craft.  I have already experimented with the poppy which I wore with pride leading up to and including Remembrance Sunday. Many people stopped and asked about it, and perhaps if I could have got hold of more of the red circles (they were out of stock) I would have a lot of orders. Next year perhaps with any profit going to The Poppy Appeal.

Keeping with a flower theme, I bought some flower shapes already cut out and beautifully thick felt, not the thin stuff from childhood although that has many uses. I wanted to decorate some bags and this was what I came up with, following no pattern this was the result. (Please excuse the wonky photography) I have since bought some more bags (brightly coloured) and more felt flowers.

So on with the knitting, the flowers and bags, the stitching…..

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Knitting

Alexandra Palace – 2011

For those who have read my blog for a while will know that I am into crafts, and that once a year I go the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace every year. Friday gone saw me doing that for the umpteenth year, in fact I think my mum and I have lost count. I reported about 2010 here and interestingly enough some of those comments still stand!

It was a great day out, as it generally is. Overall, knitting is certainly back in the forefront again, stitching is taking perhaps a back seat for a while. However, having been to many of these, everything comes round so no doubt it will change again. There was very little papercraft there which in some ways is good as I think this has now developed into its own separate shows. A great amount of material if you are into quilting which is one of those things I wish I had the time to do.

There was the stands which sold the chocolate, handbags et al and the wonder mop was there again this year competing with a wonder iron. It is only a wonder to me if it does it without any effort from me? No, did not think so!

So let us get down to the purchases, I was very controlled and restrained due to finances, and my budget that I went with, I cam back with half of it.

In the picture you should be able to spot, a tape measure – having seen an idea whilst there it involved a tape measure, more of that later in the post. Felt flowers, star and circles and balls, again another idea seen but I refused to pay £9 for something that I could make myself for very little in fact all that felt came to just £4. More wool, for more scarves, different sort of wool and I must knit this up before next year, as the wool I bought last year has got as far as this

It has now made it out of the spare room into where I sit with all my other stuff!

Back to the main picture, at the top is a kit for a Crazy Patchwork Christmas Tree which my mum bought me as an early birthday present (this has become a tradition). I have not had a chance to read up on it, but I think this could be a challenge but it looks really lovely finished. Some more paper mache boxes to do some decopatch on. This was a craft I picked up on last year, and has sustained me throughout the year, with various different projects. Finally, it is all on a cloth bag, which I bought (I wish I had bought now) as I wanted to decorate it, probably with the felt flowers or something of that ilk.

Now for that tape measure (be warned this might be a Christmas Present for many this year!)

I spotted these tape measures by sheer accident, and went back a couple of times to have a look so I could make sure I had the idea the right. This is one I made and not bought. There were animals and Christmas themed ones of course. My mum has found 7 tape measures both square and round, which can be covered and created into something other than a boring plastic tape measure. You get a lot of free tape measures when you subscribe to craft magazines over the years. Oh yes, how does it work….

So that was what I came away from, but there is more in some ways that pictures cannot express. The way all the colours are displayed in the material, the threads, the choices but also those ideas which are around everywhere. Not just on the stands but the people who were there as well. Knitted jumpers, waistcoats, badges, bags, brooches, hair pieces you name it you could probably have seen it there.  Yes, it is mainly full of a women, but there was more men than previous years, and also there is always a huge young presence there, through school and college trips I realise but I hope that these people are the next generation to keep crafts alive.

As for the journey home, I refer you to last years post. It must have been the same ladies! You can always tell a non-driver. The coach driver had a lot of patience.

Now to get on with the creating.

Cooking · Crafts · Cross Stitch · Knitting

Biscuits and Buttons

What a bizarre combination perhaps? But then when it comes to craft perhaps not?

I am hoping that readers will know exactly what this biscuit is? I was attracted to them because I love them and I have not eaten one in a while. The author/creator Oussi Gresty has made a book of many British Favourites, Custard Creams and Bourbons! I spotted this one though in a Mollie Makes magazine and the designer sells them made for a fair old price on her website.

So whilst I was in a felt mood, my mum had found some felt flowers already precut and gave them to me. Okay so what was I going to do with them, well the plan was to make some sort of remembrance poppy for Remembrance Sunday coming up in November. Red felt flower, with a button of some description  in the middle. Something unique and different, mum having a crochet poppy that she wears. Then I found some buttons which you can cover yourself with any sort of material which meant, even aida and then that could involve cross stitch. A bit of digging around, and below is the couple of attempts I have made. The one on the right, the button is made up of lots of ends of threads, it was just to get a feel for stitching something  that size and how it would look on the button.

And then I had an idea which combined more felt, buttons and the ‘C’ word. I wonder if you perhaps can see where my mind is wondering with the photo below. Sorry no prizes for guessing right.

And now for something that is neither biscuits, buttons or even pudding! Cross Stitch, needed something small and achievable as knitting a blanket when the weather is 22.5c is rather stifling! It will come in handy for a card for many a ocassion and I do like Faye Whittaker designs, something so simple about them.

And what about a sneak preview to see where (some) my stuff sits in my living room.
I had to take the knitting and wool out of the basket so you can see what else was in there. In the background is a pile of felt and some templates for shapes etc waiting to be cut and created. There is some red and green aida which can be spotted in on the pictures above. The white crinkly wool is supposed to be for making another chicken, and the pattern for that from the book is also stood up in there. You can just see my pin cushion and pins in the top right hand corner of the basket, kept in my bag of tricks which contains, pretty much everything I might need (if not then it can be found somewhere else). Then there is my scissor case, which is pretty old and grubby now but is decorated with Harry Potter Cross Stitch which came out around the time of the first film so that will give you an idea of how old it is. I really must make a new one. And finally what looks like a lot of tangled mess – well to be fair one of the little plastic bags is full of threads and handy when you just need something for a few stitches. The other bag has them all punched and secured onto cards and is gathered from the many kits I have made over the years, this was the leftovers. This is where I got the thread for the stitch buttons above from. There is actually quite a lot else in that basket that it is not visible, my current larger stitching project called ‘The Library’ and a smaller one as well, oh and I think there might be a Christmas Card to be made in there…..

So just a little bit more of an insight (perhaps too much) into what I have been up to lately and where sometimes it all springs from or more correctly spills out of the basket onto the floor!

Two aims really – finish the knitted blanket, especially as some fool  one has predicted cold weather and snow by the end of the month, yes that is October.

Secondly, it is my annual trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London on Friday, so I am going to see what ideas I might come back with, I currently have another one brewing at the moment. If I buy anything wonderful and new or if I buy anything I promise I will share with you.

Now who is for a cup of tea to go with that Jammie Dodger?