Thursday, 13 August 2009

A Year of Thoughtful Fridays and a giveaway to celebrate!

Yes, there has been a year of thoughtful Fridays posted each week over the last 12 months and I think it is time to celebrate. So here is a little giveaway and if you would like to take part do just tell me one reason you are cheerful today in the comments section and I will choose winners with the random generator thingy when I come back from holiday. Don't be shy! I look forward to hearing from you. Last day for comments will be midnight Friday 4th September. Here are the goodies you could win:
A copy of Inside Crochet magazine with lots of lovely articles and patterns inside.

400gms of hand spun yarn from Somerset - gorgeous!

A cupcake recipe teatowel - very soft and cute

And last but not least, one of my recent hand and wet-felted bags complete with a needle felted flower on the front!
I hope to hear from you and to hear all your lovely reasons for being cheerful today wherever you are in the world.

Thoughtful Friday No. 57

"Come forth into the light of things,
Let nature be your teacher."
William Wordsworth

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Letters are better!

This was an article in the Saturday Times magazine about the fact that many of us still love to write letters! Hooray! Apparently the Royal Mail processed 135 million postcards last year, 30 million more than in 2005. And combining old with new, websites such as are organising postcard exchanges for those who want to sign up and receive cards from people all over the world. Also someone at Smythson (an elite London stationer) says finding a letter among the bills and junk mail is captivating; "there's luxury to receiving handwritten letters. It brings joy to the recipient. People are starting to remember that". It is really a joy to receive a handwritten letter and when I see one come through the letter box I am truly delighted. This reminder made me want to make a pact with myself to write more letters to the wonderful friends I have.
My penfriend in Canada and I used to write regularly but now we email mostly although she is very good at sending postcards when she goes visiting places. Picking fun writing paper or cards and stickers for envelopes are all part of the fun in putting something in the mail. And it reminds me that we are actually going to see my penfriend in France in just a week's time. We started writing to one another over 30 years ago but alas letters are all too infrequent now. I did have a lovely surprise card this week from someone- a Jane Brocket card actually and it was so nice to see it in the post, all handwritten and just waiting for me to stop for a moment and take time to r e e e e a a a a a d d d d it at leisure.

I also listened to a fun podcast recently on Craftsanity where Semara O'Shea, who is someone who loves to write letters and even does it for other people, shares her philosophy and some information about the two books she has written.

So I am off to write a letter - to daughter no.2 in Uganda as one of her close friends is visiting this month and can take it with her along with some goodies.

But before I go I must tell you that I am very much hoping to do a giveaway on Friday in celebration of the fact that there has been a year of Thoughtful Friday's on here now. So hope to see you Friday!

Be uplifted!

Take a look at the following and be uplifted by the wonderful images and the beauty of colour in our world. Enjoy a few moments in your busy schedule no matter where you are.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Busy fingers!

Yes, the hands have been busy finishing off some things for others and creating some new ones! First up on the catwalk is the patchwork cushion for daughter no.1's friend. The request was all things lavender and lilac please so here we are:

Then there is the rear view

And a close up of some cute buttons I decided to include.
Next up is the delightful crochet cushion cover made from Peaches and Creme cotton, colourway "winter berry" obtained from First4yarns . It is a great cotton to work with and I just love love love the colourways. And the pattern, well it's just a giant granny square really.

And finally, the favourite and therapeutic art of felting had me rubbing and dubbing to create these little lovelies. One for a lovely friend who has a birthday next month and loves purple.
And this one which started out life as a tea cosy for my special friend in Canada but which turned out rather larger than intended so has become a sort of bag without handles - or a bathroom bag as daughter no.3 likes to call it!!! Not sure it will be in the bathroom but we shall see!
So I am getting my projects ready to take on holiday on Saturday when we are away for two weeks in France. Now what shall they be I wonder? A beanie hat for daughter no. 4's boyfriend who has a birthday at the end of this month is a must; the quilt for daughter no.2 although that could be a bit big; there has to be some crochet so either squares or the start of another blanket perhaps using yarn/cotton I have on hand? Then there must be a little embroidery too and of course the art journal with some paints and pencils - good job we are going by car otherwise there would be no room for clothes I suspect at this rate!!!

Monday, 10 August 2009

If you like sunshine and cooking take a look at this

There is a programme on BBC1 currently which shows on a Saturday morning at 11.30 called "Eating in the Sun". It is a delightful programme which includes beautiful scenery, authentic cuisine and a challenge. It is entertaining, inspirational and good fun. I have to confess an added interest in it as daughter no.1 was involved in putting it all together and every time her name comes up in the credits I just have to shout 'hooray' but that is just because I am a mum I guess and always will be!!

If you get a chance to look at it either on the TV or on BBC iplayer (for those outside of the UK) then do, I don't think you will be disappointed. Last Saturday was authentic cuisine from Tuscany including the most exquisite ravoli, wild boar and fresh figs with spiced ice cream!.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Thoughtful Friday No. 56

"An abundance mentality flows out of a deep inner sense
of personal worth and security. It stems from the
paradigm that there's plenty out there..... and enough
to spare for everybody. It opens possibilities, options,
alternatives, and creativity."
Stephen Covey

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

It is finished!

I managed to finish the first single bed size (small) quilt I have made using the disappearing nine-patch technique!! This was a gift for my mother in law who is 83 and who is someone who has done so much sewing for me and the girls over the years. As I hand-quilted the small hearts around the edge I remembered all that she had made for us; there were long dresses for me out of Laura Ashley fabric (it was the 80's!!); then maternity dresses; a dressing gown (again Laura Ashley fabric and I still have it!!) for me when I went into hospital to have my twins - she made a style that could be extended to fit the huge bump I had before and then a more slender model for afterwards; a wool suit for work; dressing gown for hubby; knitted cardis, hats, jumpers forthe girls; pinafore dresses for the girls and then as they got older something a little more stylish. She helped me with my own sewing as my mum didn't sew at all and now she has passed me her trusty Frister Rossman sewing machine!! I feel very blessed to have been tutored by her not only in sewing but also in knitting. During our engagement I knitted two cable fronted jumpers for my 6ft 4in hubby - I thought those arms would never end!!! and dear J helped me with them when I got in a muddle.
So it was with great love and gratitude that I made this quilt and gave it to her to keep her cosy as she has her afternoon nap. I am so glad I have been able to do it and I think she was quite delighted.

And of course there was someone who was very willing to try it out and see if it was comfortable before I took it away!!

Just testing it you understand!!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Another visit to Lacock

Just last week we were visiting a conference where hubby was manning a stand and on our way we looked in at Lacock. It is such a lovely little village and very picturesque. The BBC drama Cranford was filmed there as were two of the Harry Potter movies (filmed in Lacock Abbey which you can see below)

We stopped for a cup of tea at a delightful tea shop and sat down at a bench in the garden area. Look at this muma of a teapot!! Only for decoration purposes.

This is more like it! Two delicate cups and a very delicious piece of coffee and walnut cake to share! Then it was on to a delightful little shop

(check out the plants growing in the wellie boots on the step!) which sold all sorts of handmade soaps and lotions. Finally (and hubby was very patient while I browsed) we made it to our b and b where we stayed in a log cabin in the garden next to the main house where we went for breakfast. It was a gorgeous little place and we were very glad of it as much of the week was very wet indeed so we were able to stay in and read or in my case sew, knit, crochet or quilt - yes, I brought it all with me as well as my computer and work!!! There wasn't any internet access except in the house so I just about kept things going with a few mins before breakfast and before bedtime. Here is the outside

This is the view from the windows

And now the inside:

All in all it was a lovely week and of course I took the quilt to my mother in law but pictures of that we will save for tomorrow!

Thoughtful Friday No. 55

"Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid
torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to
make it burn as brightly as possible before handing on
to future generations."
George Bernard Shaw