Monday, January 17, 2011

And the winners are.............

Gill, who was first out of the hat and will receive the top hanging


Black Bear Cabin, who was second and will receive the other

Ladies - if you could send me your snail mail addresses to my email address I will get them in the post to you asap

Sorry everyone else - I wish I had one for everyone

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

All scarved out............

.............. and onto stitchy things
I've exhausted my supply of scarf wool - knitted the lot - seven in total

I shan't knit any more for now as the local shop has no other colour alternatives and I can't be bothered to hike 30+minutes to another town to pick up more from the Saturday afternoon market
So as Kate is organising another round of her quilt swap, and as I tentatively signed up for it, plus the deadline is looming at the end of this month, I decided to give it a go
Applique it is then
And life does have it's way of throwing surprises in your path
I bought this teeny bunch of daffs for £1.50 from a local supermarket on Sunday morning expecting them to all be yellow with orange trumpets
Obviously not - what a delight to watch and see how each one turns out :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It was nineteen years ago today..............

............ since Nigel and I stood in the Registry Office in Skipton and promised that, in sickness and in health, for better for worse, for richer for poorer til death do us part, we would be there for each other always

We then moved onto the beautiful priory church at Bolton Abbey to have our marriage blessed in front of as many of our family and friends as could make it on that chilly grey January day

Sadly those times were pre-digital cameras, at least in our house anyway, so I have no photos to hand - our wedding album and any framed photos are still in boxes since our move here five plus years ago so I can't even scan anything to show you - maybe I'll dig them out and scan them in for our twentieth next year

You will have to make do with a much more recent photo of us with wrinkles and extra pounds a plenty

We've gone through lean and more affluent times, had our ups and downs, supported each other through serious illness and redundancies but somehow I feel that our love has grown and deepened with each passing year

To my darling Nigel I'll give you the cue for a song

You're the best thing that ever happened to me.......................

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Scarves abound.........

............. where patchwork fabric fears to rear its head
I am a bit of a scarfaholic on the quiet - I own dozens in different colours and styles and use them to accessorise my outfit each day, particularly when the weather is chilly
These two took, at most, two or three hours each to knit up with only 7 stitches on the needle - a slightly awkward knitting style but the quick growth is very rewarding - the colours are a little bleached, the plain one is a much richer juniper green - photography obviously isn't my strong point!

Long time readers of my blog may remember back in October 2009 that I showed you the quilt I made for me dear friend Sue, a breast cancer patient, who was about to have a mastectomy - if you click on the word 'quilt' above and scroll down the first picture is the quilt I made for her

She had a very successful operation followed by radiotherapy and has made a wonderful recovery throughout this past year

As she started her journey with pretty large breasts she decided that when she had the combined mastectomy and breast reconstruction operation she would go for a smaller end result

Of course this meant that, immediately post-op, she was sporting a somewhat lopsided look with the unaffected breast about an F cup size and its reconstructed neighbour a neat and manageable C cup - so the diagonal look has been de rigeur for about 12 months

Early in December the time came to go in to have the untouched breast reduced to match

The op went well and she was so proud of her new boob

That is until she returned just before Christmas for her post-op check

Obviously because of her history the hospital tested the tissue they removed at the reduction

To her shock and great disappointment she was told they had found another tumour in this tissue and the long and short of it is she will go back into hospital on Tuesday for a full mastectomy on the second breast

Of course the good thing about all this is that this tumour is a third the size of the original and wouldn't have been visible on a mammogram for probably another two or three years but she did say in hindsight she wished she hadn't let them talk her out of a double mastectomy in the first place

However it would seem someone's hand was on her shoulder when she originally plumped for a smaller reconstruction at the first op

In her usual inimitable fashion she also found one other positive out of all this - at least she won't have to ever have another mammogram

What's that saying about clouds and silver linings? :)

So, as her favourite colour is cerise, I whipped up this little number to cheer her up as she heads down this next portion of her journey

Thursday, January 06, 2011

It was a very teary breakfast...........

.......... this morning as I said goodbye to Sarah before I left for work

I knew her dad would come home from work after his morning meeting to take her back to uni

But someone was smiling on them today as they negotiated the often congested journey with minimal delays and only one shrewd diversion getting her back there in plenty of time to hit the supermarket for perishables while she still had dad's wheels and wallet at her disposal and then to get to Saracens rugby training this evening

I shall miss her terribly - Hatfield is at best 3 to 3.5 hours from here but it feels like the other side of the world

She will no doubt miss us all too but a little freudian slip to her grandparents when she saw them yesterday saying 'I'm going home tomorrow' means that psychologically she feels at home there which is a jolly good job as she still has another two and a half years of her course to work through.
Realistically I know that at the end of that course there's a very good chance that she'll eventually probably gain employment in one of the hospitals she's done placement in - and as none of them are remotely near to Taunton she'll probably settle on the other side of the country - but we'll cross that bridge as we come to it

I resorted to more scarf making last night as we spent the last evening of her stay companionably sofa loafing and watching the tv together

Here is the beige/grey number's brighter sister

And a start on a deeper juniper green coloured one in a slightly different but equally speedy yarn - think I'm hooked, or that would be accurate if it were crochet instead of knitting :o)

Mind you Nigel is away tonight, the kids are on 'easy tea' which is not so easy to get away with when Dad's at home as he's a bit of a meat and two veg kind of guy, so I think I may hit the sewing again - there's a bag full of assorted green fabric I've wheedled out from my stash - so Lou's little green and cream number may just get some additional work on it

Don't forget my 500th post giveaway in yesterday's post - I'm leaving the draw open to comments until next Wednesday at 6pm GMT - so if you'd like the chance of one of those two wallhangings drop me a line

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Other things creative............

............ than stitching that is

Flower arranging these beautiful spring tulips brought by one of our New Years Eve Guests - okay flower arranging is pushing it a bit - bunging them into water in a tall glass is nearer the mark but they are so colourful on these dark dismal wintry post-Christmas days

I've also been playing with yarn over the Christmas break

Crocheting and a bit of knitting

I used to knit a lot but nowadays I find my arthritic fingers prevent me from creating with the two needles to any great extent

Oddly enough I can cope with crochet with no ill effects though

In the words of a certain Australian gentleman 'Can you guess what it is yet?'

A friend had knitted herself a scarf in a matter of a couple of days
I thought 'I could do that'

On the way back from our shopping trip yesterday we popped into a local garden centre which has a small craft department

One ball of yarn, two very thick needles and around three hours later.........

A lacy scarf! - excuse the colour combination with the cardigan I only slipped the scarf on for the photo opportunity - I have another one already on the needles in various shades of peacock blue - and guess what, that one won't go with the cardigan either :o)

Not the easiest yarn to manoeuvre but boy does it grow quickly - such fun!

Tanya is having fun with another medium at the moment - stamping on fabric

I was lucky enough in the summer to win Joe Tulip's giveaway
She is the master of these particular stamps

Lovely to take your crafting in new directions

And speaking of giveaways I promised one for this, my 500th post

So if you'd like a chance to receive either of these two little embroidered wall hangings
leave a comment stating your favourite of the two and make sure that I can email you for details if you're one of the two people picked - I'm happy to post globally so comment away

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Last day of freedom............

........... before the start of a new term

Nick has returned to school today

Nigel has gone back to work after a lovely long Christmas break

The girls and I have a day of relative freedom before Louise and I head back into our respective schools tomorrow - today is a Teacher Training Day at both establishments

Sarah will be taken back to uni by her dad on Thursday ready for going on her first hospital placement next Monday - nerves are bubbling to the surface already

The Christmas hiatus is over and its almost all stations go

I've been busy cooking this morning with my new toy

Nigel had a small slow cooker before we even met and used it regularly

When there were just two of us both out at work all day it saw plenty of use then

But as the family has grown and I mastered the pre-set timing on the oven it fell out of favour and sat unused and unloved in the garage

At the start of the Christmas break we had a lightbulb moment and realised that Sarah could undoubtedly make use of it when she heads back to uni - the pain of having to hang around using up precious spare time in the flat waiting for things to cook could be circumvented by putting it on in the morning and letting it look after itself all day

Once I gave her a quick lesson on how to use it I realised how much we'd missed those lovely tender casseroles

A quick trawl on the net brought up its big brother - a much meatier beast at 6.2litres capacity

The princely sum of £11.99 brought home our new baby - a veritable bargain!

This morning there's a large dose of Pork with Honey and Mustard bubbling quietly away in here - some for dinner tonight, some to freeze for us and a handful of individual portions to go to uni with Sarah

I had the delight of meeting another two new babies yesterday - of the human kind

Here are the quilt recipients - Libby on the left who seems to have arrived with a New Zealand time clock built into her (awake between 12 midnight and 3am) and her elder sister, by 2 minutes, Amy on the right who is working on the more convenient and parental sleep conducive UK time.

They were both just under 6lbs born and seem so tiny - I'd forgotten just how tiny newborns can be - although mine were never that small all weighing in between 7lb 9.5 and 8lb 12 - almost half as big again. Delectable recipients for the quilts.

I've been doing a little more stitching too

Clare needs more blocks for Quilts 4 Leukaemia and asked me before Christmas for some mainly red blocks - - here are the first two - more to come :o)

On another note completely this is my 499th post - it must be time for a giveaway or two, I haven't done one for an age - last year saw me post only 18 times - this is my 4th post this year already - any comments on my next posting will go into the hat for something homemade from Chez Bebbs so call back in again soon to be included in the draw

Monday, January 03, 2011

Time to say a few goodbyes.............

........... to some old friends we shan't see for another year
Here in the UK it's traditional to remove all your Christmas decorations by Twelfth Night which is the 6th January or the Feast of Epiphany
To be honest most years I could happily get rid of the lot well before New Year

But this year, for some unknown reason, I'm sad to bid all the fripperies farewell

Our tree ornaments have been collected over the past 25 years or so from destinations both near and far

A painted pewter Father Christmas from the Mosel valley in Germany

A wooden angel from Schwerin in the old East Germany not too many years after the Wall came down

A dainty little nativity scene bought on a holiday in Lubeck in northern Germany - bit of a German theme going on here

Another nativity, this time in a poppy seed pod bought on a city break to Budapest

A lace bell brought back for me by my sister from a visit to Vienna

A beaded Santa from Berlin
A pine cone made specially for me by one of the ladies at my Monday morning quilting group
Louise's favourite decoration - a Santa with the softest beard you can imagine that I bought near my old home town in Yorkshire
A nutcracker - one of Sarah's favourites - he has several similar friends that she always insists on putting on the tree
A china bear with a heart bought from Harrods in London

The angel on the top - so similar to the one Mrs M bought the same year as ours from the same shop - Harrods again - ours has, somewhere along the line, gained a little bling put there by the children which I'm loathe to remove
A star bought from the Traidcraft stall at the church we used to attend when we lived in Gloucester - this always sits directly beneath the angel
A little blue and white horn from a trip to Amsterdam - it has several other blue and white cousins bought at the same time on other branches - well it would have been rude to resist I say

A die cut wooden ornament from the same Austrian trip by my sister

And my all time favourite tree ornament - an acrobatic Santa from a wonderful trip to Venice whose detailing is so fine and whose price seemed so breathtaking - he has a special red box to live in when off the tree - I'd be devastated to break him - but he is very naughty as he just wouldn't stay still long enough for you to see his face properly

All back safely in their boxes, to be joined by two new friends bought this year who are too big to go on the tree

A metal jingling Father Christmas I bought locally just because I fell in love with him

And last but by no means least my new much larger Nutcracker bought for me as my Christmas present from Louise - I've always wanted one of these, but could never justify the frivolity of the purchase - he has a spot just made for him on our hearth and will be welcomed each year from now on

Finally, now all the boxes are back in the loft and the furniture returned to its usual places I did promise to show you the twins' completed quilts.........

Libby's on the left, and Amy's on the right

Sunday, January 02, 2011

On the boil at the moment.............

I thought I'd give you a little insight into what I'm working on at present

Those of you who drop in regularly will have noticed that I've not been particularly chatty or productive of late - one of my New Years Resolutions is to try and rectify that - we'll see how long I can keep it up :o)

However the baby quilts for the twins I mentioned a few posts ago have been finished this afternoon - the final stitches for the labels went in today to complete the job

I shall leave photographic evidence of this completion until another day as I want to photograph them in good light tomorrow morning but I can reassure you all that their recipients, Amy and Libby, arrived safely five days before Christmas weighing in at a respectable 5lb 15ozs and 5lb 12ozs and mum and girlies are doing very well indeed

I'd like to think that all the good wishes you sent helped with their safe arrival

We're hoping to try and pop down to deliver the quilts tomorrow

As for current projects, once Sarah's Uni quilt was finished her little sister insisted it was time she got a look in and asked for a little number in green and cream as green is her absolute favourite colour

Initially I thought about doing a Jewel Box but didn't fancy the HSTs at the moment so plumped for 4patches interspersed with other squares using a diagonal layout

This is probably getting towards the top half of the centre of the quilt assembled - I now need to cut more green and cream 2" strips to construct a whole load more 4patches to keep the process rolling - I just keep chipping away at the process when I get a few spare minutes here and there

The pattern is simple but effective - I do love the scrappy effect - once the centre is completed I may well border it in a plain green border and then I think I shall quilt it diagonally - lines of leaves across the green stripes, one leaf per square and then intersect those with big single flowers in each cream box heading at right angles to the leaves - then we'll see what the border throws up for quilting inspiration after that

Louise has recently been bitten by the crafty bug - but she's not into fabric - it's beads for her

The most exciting Christmas present for her this year was a box containing one whole kilogramme (about 2.2lbs) of assorted coloured random glass lampwork beads - she could hardly contain her delight! She spent the best part of an hour on Christmas morning sorting them into her various colour coded boxes

This is one of her latest creations - she picked up the charm bracelet (its made of a large chain threaded onto strong jewellers elastic) at the local chainstore for a few pounds and then personalised it adding all the beads in Sarah's favourite colours for her sister's Christmas present
I'm considering buying a selection of different coloured and sized pearls to give her the raw materials to make one for me soon - after all fair exchange is no robbery

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A new start for a new year

What does life have in store for us all this year?
At Chez Bebbs 2010 brought change, Sarah headed off to Hertfordshire University to start her training for a career in physiotherapy
The rest of the family carried on regardless but the chemistry of the house seemed to change with Sarah's absence
Nigel had less pressure on his time as he stopped running Sarah's rugby team
Nick and Louise continued to work hard at school as the pressure increased as they edge towards important exams over the next few years.
Nick had his ups and downs continuing to cope with his diabetes but kept up with his football
Louise passed her Grade 1 violin exam
Anne seemed to do a little less taxi driving as it would appear that Sarah was the main client
Finances became a little tighter - it's not cheap supporting kids at uni
Major milestones were reached, Nigel and Anne turned the clock on the Big Five Oh, Sarah was 18 and Anne's father became an octogenarian in the summer
All four grandparents, with the youngest at 71, were fortunate to continue in reasonable health
Anne managed to do less stitching (and blogging - but she intends to try harder this year) than she was happy with
But, all in all, looking back, fortune smiled on us and 2010 was generally a good year
So from Anne and the two gorgeous girlies
And Nigel and the fun loving boy
You are all wished exactly what you'd wish for yourselves -the very, very best for 2011