New England House – Winter etc.

Hello everyone,

Just a quickie to show you what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks. It’s the fourth New England House by Bothy Threads. Their kits are a dream to stitch. I found working with the three different shades of white quite challenging but it was worth it.

First page done…1Second page…2Third…3Fourth…4… and finally, the backstitching and beads.5

I’m really pleased with how Winter has turned out. The photos don’t do it justice because the snow has a bit of icy sparkle and there’s beads in the door wreath and on the garlands.

I’ve really enjoyed stitching this set. Here are the others in case you missed them earlier.

This one is SpringSpringHe comes SummerSummer 5This is FallFall

They are all being gifted to my sister. She loved the first one so much that I simply had to complete the set. I was supposed to be stitching them, one for each year but I couldn’t help myself.

What next I wonder? Will I return to the ABC Bears or something completely different? Maybe I should get on with the SAL project first or something new from the stash. I love to start new projects. So much choice!

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I Spy Something Beginning with S

Hmmm….something beginning with S? Can you find it?

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Sorry about the photo taken in poor electric light. Well, can you see him? You can now 🙂 Here he is sitting right at the top of my Christmas tree. It’s Santa and he flew all the way on his sleigh from Germany to be with us.

IMG_20151229_133019202Santa was made by Annett, my blogging friend. She’s very clever and  kind. Annett’s lovely blog can be found here. She has clearly explained how she made twin Santas with great photos too. As you can see, Santa is feeling very at home here. He watches us watching TV and eating too much LOL. Thank you for the lovely surprise Annett. We’ll put him away in the Christmas decorations box when the holidays are over, ready for all of our future Christmasses 🙂

Santa’s little elves were also busy buying and making me crafty presents too. This bundle of gorgeousness arrived from my friend Claire who lives in France. Claire knows that I love hedgehogs, including the real one who lives in my garden. He doesn’t come out in the winter because he has a long sleep so this cross stitch will be a good substitute for him around here 🙂

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Claire also sent some lovely extra handmade tree decorations. I’ve got lots of Claire’s mini makes on my tree 🙂 There’s a new bookmark which is going to be used in the book below and also one of Claire’s latest triumphs, an elongated purse. She has made lots of coin purses for gifts this year but I don’t use a purse so she made me a deeper version. I’m going to store all of my spare bobbins inside. The fabrics both inside and out are gorgeous. There was also another bookmark for my OH which he won’t give up for the photo because he’s using it! We both say “Thank you!”.

My dear friend Lin sent me this loom. It’s a rather ingenious contraption. I’ll let you see what it makes when I’ve used it 🙂 In the meantime you can play at guessing what it does. Lin was very concerned that her gift was bashed to bits inside the parcel because it had arrived at her address in a sorry state. However, the contents were perfect so she needn’t have worried. I’m looking forward to trying it out very soon. The good thing was that my OH intercepted the post when the parcel arrived. He won’t allow me to even touch parcels addressed to me if he suspects they are gifts. I only want to have a squish so I can think about what MIGHT be inside LOL. Anyway, he squirrelled this one away so I couldn’t get my hands on it. Thank you Lin. I know I’ll have a lot of fun with this 🙂

IMG_20151229_133254955My daughter chose to buy something from my wish list. It was still a surprise because my wish list is always a work in progress. She knows how to keep me quiet 😉 Much appreciated.

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I’m already enjoying making the Loyal Union Sampler from another book that my sister bought me. You can follow my progress here, on my other blog (which is soon to be updated). The Farmer’s Wife sampler will follow LUS. Let me know what you think if you’ve already made this quilt.

Last but not least, my OH gave me another cross stitch chart by Ink Circles. I love this series. It should keep me out of trouble for a while. I have two cross stitch projects on the go at the moment which already breaks my own rule of only ever having one project of each craft discipline in progress at any one time. Cirque des Triangles is in a queue but not necessarily at the back.

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So, that’s my crafty Christmas and a jolly nice one it was too 🙂 Thank you everyone!

What’s your favourite crafty gift this year?

What did your mother used to tell you when you were younger?

My friend Izz over at Isabel’s Needleworks has just given me an idea…..

I mentioned to Izz that it’s been blowing a gale here in the north east of England for the last few days. She told me that her Mother used to tell her to put rocks in her pockets so she wouldn’t blow away in the wind LOL. Well, my Mother used to tell me not to pull a silly face in the wind because it would stay that way after the wind had gone. I was so afraid to pull silly faces in my early chidhood!

So, here is your challenge….

Leave a comment below to tell us all what your Mother or other female elder used to say to you, not necessarily about wind. Let’s all have a good old giggle at their Old Wives’ Tales. Please tell us the country that these sayings were used in so we can see how far around the world the same things were said.

Fun, fun, fun…..who’s going to be first?

Avis x

Chocolate Meringue Cakes

Do you like chocolate, meringue or cake? Look no further! YUM 🙂

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An interview with the Great British Bake Off team that a friend posted on Facebook gave me a kick into the kitchen today. As Terri is writing an essay at my house I thought it would be nice to provide a sweet treat as well. I have often used recipes from Sue Lawrence’s Book of Baking and have found them to be absolutely fantastic. I adapted this recipe today and had an attempt at individual cakes rather than the standard sandwich cake. I made the mixtures for the Chocolate Lemon Meringue cake as usual, but added six Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments roughly chopped into chips. I also ran 15g short of cocoa and left out a little milk to compensate. I didn’t make the mixtures one after the other, but made the cake mix up to the point of adding the flour, then made the meringue and quickly finished off the cake.

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Partly Solved Mysteries

Posted on both blogs Oh Sew Tempting and Sewing Beside the Sea.

Hi everyone,

Last week I posted about two mystery objects that I’d found when going through my late Aunt Edith’s crafting goodies. I asked for your suggestions for their uses and promised to reveal the answers to you this week. The original post is here if you want to see more photos.

I already knew what this object was used for.

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It’s a tool for making proggy mats. Proggy, or clippy mats, as we call them in the North East of England were made from wool or strips of fabric, reclaimed from worn out clothes. My maternal Grandmother, who died before I was born, was apparently an expert clippy mat maker. I wish I could have met her because I’m told she was an amazing craftswoman who could turn her hands to many different crafts.

Here is a link to some modern proggy mats on Pinterest.

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When the tool is pushed against the rug backing, the “proggy bit”, which is loaded with wool or fabric strip, pushes through. When the tool is pulled away from the rug, the internal spring makes the “proggy bit” retract back inside the metal tube.

This is the original box.

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And the instructions.

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So now you know what it is for Smile.

Now, the second mystery object is still a mystery in my opinion.

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Several readers thought it might be a hinge. There were also other ideas. I think they mean the type of hinge that stops a drop down lid from dropping too far. For example on a writing bureau or upwards on the lid of a chest. I’m not convinced it is a hinge as it doesn’t straighten so I’m still open to suggestions on that one. I just don’t understand why this would have been stored with Aunt Edith’s crafty things if it is a hinge.

So, sorry I don’t have an answer to Mystery number 2 but I hope you enjoy looking at the proggy mats anyway Smile.

Avis x

Please help me solve this mystery!

Hello again,

I have something different for you this time, two little mysteries to solve. I know the answer to the first one already but the second one has me baffled. You are welcome to give suggestions to both and I’ll reveal the answer to at least  number one next week. OK here we go…

Mystery Number One

Do you know what this is used for?

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Here is a view of the end.

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It’s been well used in my family but not by me and it’s for a certain kind of craft. The handle is made of rubber and it is quite heavy for its size. No more clues!

Mystery number two

I have no idea what this is and I don’t even know whether it is for some kind of crafting purpose but it was in a bag of crafting goodies left by my late Aunt Edith.

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It opens up to the end stopper this way.

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It can also be turned in the opposite direction to the end stopper like this.

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It is flat and made entirely of metal and has no sharp edges. It is about 4 inches long when folded.

Is it for crafting? I have no idea. I won’t reply to your comments until I reveal the answer to number 1 as I don’t want to give the game away. I would really love to find out what number 2 is for.

Happy Solving,

Avis x

I’ve been thoroughly spoiled!

Hello again!

Just popping back in again to show you some crafty birthday goodies from my birthday last week.

My lovely sister bought some things from my crafty “wish list” which will come in very handy indeed. I’ve been drooling over these for years!!

Some Bali Pops in the Brown Sugar colourway. There’s lots of lovely teals and bronzes in this pack. I have so many ideas as to what I want to make with these, it’s making my head hurt.

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She also bought sock wool, two balls of this one by Regia. It’s got lots of mossy greens and yellows and is incredibly soft and fine. Yummy!

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I’ve already got the other ball on the needles 😉 I’m knitting this free pattern from Ravelry which I tried and enjoyed last year. You can see my first pair here if you are interested.

Also, Claire from Claire93 sent me a parcel full of individually wrapped prezzies. Isn’t this the cutest biscornu you ever did see? It’s TINY! A lot of work has gone into this!

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She also made a card….perfect 🙂 I love blackwork and the threads and design are beautiful.

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Next up, some crafty supplies to add to my stash. Claire also included a leaflet with some cross stitch charts that are a perfect size for these keyrings.

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At some point I mentioned to her that I don’t have zips. I do now 🙂

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Purple fabric….I love these marbly prints.

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Last but not least, a thread organiser.

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These are made by a French lady who has a lovely blog here.

My OH has also provided the yarn for my next crocheted blanket. He knows I love colour and he also knows what I hope to do with it…..and he approves! You’ll have to wait and see what I come up with 😀

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So, a HUGE thank you each to my sister, my friend Claire and my OH who puts up with all of my crafting mess around the house…. or is he just keeping me busy….. or quiet…… or both 😆

I don’t think I’ll need to be going to the crafty shops for a while!

Aren’t birthdays fun? I’ve been thoroughly spoiled!

Happy crafting everyone 🙂

Avis x

 

Happy holidays!

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all having a happy holiday whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

It’s been a very busy time here Beside the Sea. I can announce that the blackwork project Pentecost 2 is finally finished BUT I can’t share a photo of the completed stitching just yet because Claire is also on the final straight and we agreed to publish our happy dance together. I’m sure you won’t have to wait too long to see it.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some links to the lovely crafters who sent me nice Christmas goodies in the post this year.

First up is Angela from Pretty Little Things in a Box who sent me a gorgeous handmade pincushion in traditional Christmas colours with a cute metallic snowflake. I love Angela’s blog. There is such a variety of projects to sew and reading Angela’s posts always gives me lots of inspiration and smiles.

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Thank you so much Angela! I really appreciate your kind thoughts all the way from Singapore. I’m going to add a little ribbon hanger to one corner and use it as a Christmas tree decoration every year Smile 

Next, this card arrived from my dear friend Teje in Crete. Teje’s blog was one of the first I followed when I started my other blog almost two years ago.

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I love this card! It will soon be in a frame on my wall. If you hop over to Teje’s blog you will see that she has also had a very busy Christmas making all of the lovely things for her Advent Calendar. Teje brings lots of sunshine into her reader’s lives and if you like dogs and cats you will be amazed to hear that her dog Nero can write! Thank you for all of your support and kind wishes over the last two years Teje Smile

Last but not least, thank you to Claire, my great friend who lives in France. She sent me a package which had to be left unopened until Santa Claus had visited Winking smile 

Look at these beautiful handmade tree decorations…..

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…..and a hand embroidered blackwork coaster in my favourite colour.

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There is no way I could put a cup of tea on this! It is now hanging on the wall in my sewing room so I can see it as I sew at the machine. Also, thank you so much for keeping me occupied over the last few months with the blackwork Stitch Alongs and especially on our Pentecost 2 project Smile

Claire is another one of those generous crafters who loves to share her ideas and some of her own lovely cross stitch designs are free to download on her blog Claire93. If you would prefer to read her French blog you can find it here.

I am now so far behind in reading your blogs and I haven’t posted on my other blog Oh Sew Tempting for ages! My aim over the next few evenings is to catch up on what you have all been doing.

See you soon and best wishes for 2014!

Avis x

A lovely surprise and two odd socks!

Hi everyone!

I just have to share my lovely surprise with you all this morning. I had an email from my friend Claire over at Claire93 to say she’d sent me something in the post and was worried it may have gone missing. WELL….it hasn’t! My little parcel was sitting on the doorstep, having just arrived YEY!!! Apparently, as Lewis Carroll penned, it is my un-birthday today 🙂

Here’s what I have 🙂

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A long quarter of gorgeous quality quilting fabric, ideal for stripping 🙂 I already have ideas as to what it might become. Here’s a close up.

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A card from Paris showing a picture of an amazing glass structure. I have to to see that one day! If you have followed my quilting blog Oh Sew Tempting you will know that I’m mad about maths. I love maths and anything remotely mathematical so the glass pyramid, which I now know is outside the Louvre, really appeals to me 🙂 Here is a clearer picture courtesy of http://www.betanews.com.

There’s also a fab blackwork bookmark which is made from Claire’s test piece for the Pentecost blackwork from http://www.practicalblackwork.com that we are sewing together. This is now in my work diary, which for some reason has no ribbon page keeper like they usually do. Scroll down if you want to see the design we are stitching.

So thank you so much Claire! Isn’t it lovely when you get a complete surprise? I think so. I’m feeling very smiley today 😀

I can also share a half finish today. I have completed one knitted sock of a pair 🙂

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If you have read my previous posts you will know that this is the first time I have knitted anything on four needles. I went boldly on, remembering my Mother knitting on four needles when I was small. It couldn’t be that difficult could it?? Well, should I just say, it was fiddly, VERY fiddly! However, it wouldn’t have been quite so fiddly if I’d had the brains to take a look on Youtube to see it it SHOULD be done. I realised, after I got past the heel and onto the foot part of the sock that I had been knitting on four needles INSIDE OUT!!! Honestly, what a numpty. I realised completely by accident after having turned the knitting right side out to have a look at what I’d done so far. I forgot to turn it back inside out again and continued to knit. For some reason, which took me a while to figure out, I could all of a sudden knit much faster. So, in future, I might not be such a clever clogs and have a look to see how things should be done first.  My adventure into knitting on four needles worked well in the end. I can feel a few more pairs of socks coming on but maybe I should finish this pair first 😉

And just as I type, an email has popped in from Witchylin, one of my regular readers, with a photo of her newly finished sock. At least we have a pair between us LOL.

She has kindly given me permission to share her photo with you.

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I immediately got back to her and asked what brand of wool she’d used as I love the speckly bits. It turns out we are using the same Opal brand wool which can be found at The Woolly Brew in Scotland. My daughter bought my wool from this company as a present and Witchylin has just been back to them this morning to order more. She’s got the knitting bug too! So we are two happy customers and I think the lovely ladies at The Woolly Brew deserve a “Shout out”. If you like yarn, go and take a browse. They have something for everyone 🙂

Now, I’m off to make lunch. I can’t wait for the weekend when there is going to be some serious crafting going on here Beside the Sea 🙂

Avis x