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Sunday, 18 February 2018

Remembrance

"Mum, are you free tomorrow as we are getting together in Cambridge"  So went the phone call I received late on Friday from younger son.  I was, and so we had a family gathering with elder son and the grandchildren all disappeared to play, as soon as they arrived leaving the adults to chat!! 

In the afternoon we headed to the American Cemetery on the outskirts of the City.  "Cambridge University donated the site and the British government authorised use of the land in perpetuity as a permanent burial ground without charge or taxation" and this is the only American World War II burial ground in the country.
Not my photo but it gives and indication of the layout

In this photo you can see the Chapel and Memorial Wall in the background.

Our first call was to the Visitor Centre, which hadn't been built when I visited last.  Very interesting and here are a selection of photos -
By the front door
 
 
Joseph Kennedy, older brother of JFK, lost at sea






I have added the next two photos in case any American readers can help
 

What a lovely idea.  We went outside, into the sunshine,
A bronze plan of the site.  The Visitor Centre at top left
 We paused by the flag
The flag honouring the latest shootings in the USA. 

and I admired the mowing of the grass in concentric rings.  Actually this is what amazes me from the road that skirts the site.  The hedges are immaculate ALL the time, absolutely square at the top and never an untidy branch.  All the memorials are crosses with the occasional Star of David - 


and we walked round the outskirts arriving at the Chapel.  On the huge outside wall -
A huge map of the UK with dots on it indicating where all the bases were

inside there are windows with each of the State's seals set into them 
 


and the doors have these plaques


A magnificent 3D wall chart showing the sorties, naval, flights and army that the Allies took part in after the Americans came into the war.  It was too large to get an better photo.
"Into thy hands O Lord"
Above the altar is a mosaic ceiling and this covers the whole ceiling.  We went outside
The Memorial Wall with its giant statues
 
Glenn Miller - "Miller Alton G - Major" -
 

- "AAF Band - New Jersey"

"Kennedy Joseph P Jr" - he was lost at sea

This is an incredibly moving place because they all have no known resting place.
The reflecting pools in front of the Chapel

You should visit if you are ever in the area.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

PJ's, gowns and flowboarding

My goodness how the time is flying by and we are nearly at the end of January and I feel that I have done  nothing except make pyjamas and hospital gowns for Pyjama Fairies!  In my December blog (I know only one blog in a month) I mentioned the 40 metres of fabric I had received from the Thomas Cook Children's Charity that I had washed and ironed and it was ready for use.  Well I have been cutting out and sewing ever since Christmas and have made 17, or is it 18 items with three to be sewn.  It doesn't sound much from 40 metres of fabric but I still have quite a few metres of the plain to use up and this can be put with other fabric that I have.  I prefer making teenage sizes and these use over 2 metres per item, especially the PJs.  From the offcuts I have made age 6 and upwards.  I also have a pile of scraps and I will be making Linus quilts out of these.

All different sizes ready to go
Following on from the last blog, I have taken delivery of a new dishwasher that I love and I have to admit is probably a lot more economical than my old one.  So good not to wash dishes by hand and more hygienic as well. 

My family were very generous over Christmas and the New Year and gave me cash.  So earlier this month I  loaded my bike onto the car and headed for this company who within two hours had converted my bike to electric.


The power assist is in the front wheel with a pannier on the back holding the battery.  I have bought saddle bags because the basket on the front has been taken off to allow for the LED screen.  I have 5 assist speeds according to the steepness of the hill when I go up but if I want to start quickly I have a boost button.  The boost should not be used too often as it drains the battery, but such fun to use!!  The only minus is that the bike is now very heavy (even without the battery) and I cannot lift it onto the bike carrier on my own now.  This means a different sort of carrier or a small hoist!   When I went cycling Sunday I was trying to run the battery down before it's first charge, so I used the boost button to go along my road.  I don't know what the motorists thought as this mad flying Granny shot past them at great speed!!

My youngest granddaughter, now aged 7, had her birthday earlier this month and I had made her a sundress like the others except this fabric was all hearts
 

Worked in 'Counter change' this form of smocking is so easy to do and this pattern is so simple - chest measurement and height is all that is needed and then a pattern that can be smocked.  This one had rows of hearts with an even distance between them so was easy to work in different coloured rows.

Grandson, my eldest grandchild aged 12, also had his birthday as well and for a treat he went 'Flowboarding' and had a brilliant time
 


I was given a pack of wool to make Attic24's Woodland blanket and have made about 10" of it so plenty still to do.  I am enjoying this and the colours are wonderful.  My Tilda Bunny is nearly finished but I am not showing anymore until it is which should be in the next blog post.

As I mentioned in the last post we had a Christmas challenge of a tea towel, to turn into anything we want.  My ideas are now being worked but I will write a full blog with lots of photos but not until April when it must be completed.  It is a steep learning curve as I am using techniques that are new to me and the next stage is vey nerve wracking!!  I hope it works or there will be one useless tea towel!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Happy New Year!!

I hope that all of you had a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Mine has been busy and eventful and started on the Wednesday before the holiday.  I bought my dishwasher in 1995 for my late husband's 65th birthday as he was having a party and I didn't want to wash all the dishes.  It has been feeling its age lately and I knew it was on its last legs so I decided to give it a clean through with very little crockery.  I went upstairs to my workroom and luckily didn't turn on the radio because I suddenly heard a bang, came downstairs and when I opened it smoke came out.  I ran next door to my neighbour and he could see flames inside it, so I called the Fire Brigade who came within 5 minutes.   Huge men in dirty boots, poured into my small house and with giant pliers cut the waste pipe and electric cable (that I had already disconnected) and carried it out into the front garden.  The water that had been sloshing about in the bottom (it hadn't drained at all) was now on the kitchen floor and it took me an hour to mop up and clean up after they had eventually gone, but I realise I was very lucky as it could have been worse.

The best thing was that when I came back from shopping the next day my old dishwasher had disappeared from my front garden, so maybe the scrap metal man had gone past.

Friday following this I went to Kent to stay with my eldest son and family, for Christmas and we were joined by No 2 son and family the next day and so the holiday had started.  We went to the beach on Christmas Eve and No 2 son did a 10K run -
Notice the kite surfers in the background!!
 the children built sandcastles
 

I went for a walk with my daughters in law and we watched horses being exercised.

Christmas Day passed in a blur of church, food, presents and more food, followed by games  and all too soon Boxing Day came round with No 2 son, wife and children having to leave to see in-laws.   I stayed on and we went to see the hunt assembling near a local pub ready to ride out, but the town was packed with people and cars and prevented any decent photos and then my camera battery ran out!!  This is a very popular annual event with huge crowds.
The inconsiderate girl kept getting in the picture!!

 All my Christmas presents this year for the females were my own handiwork.  Remember the hexi bag that I blogged about here, well I made one each for my daughters in law and filled them with little goodies.



I love these Japanese 'Cranes'; aren't they beautiful and elegant.

Way back and I don't know when, I made a craft carry caddy for myself and that gave me the idea to make one each for the grandchildren and put a few little things in them.
Four together
Grandson's Star Wars fabric

Clockwise from left: Cinderella, Tinkerbell and Frozen fabric
I know that these are being used already to keep things tidy.

Ellie was eight just before Christmas and I decided to make her one of the counter change smocked sun dresses with a little glittery T-shirt underneath.  I love these little dresses as all you need are the chest measurement and the height.
Little hearts and I loved this fabric as soon as I saw it
Oh, we also received our Christmas Challenge from Higham Piecemakers - a tea towel!  Based on the Great British Sewing Bee we actually have until April to turn it in to something; though my mind was blank for a few days, ideas are popping up and I am beginning to get quite excited about it.  Hope I can execute what I want to do.

Anyway I must get on as so much to do and not enough time to do it!! Is this going to be my 2018??

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A telling off!!

I was told off last week - "What has happened to your blog; nothing since 5 November."  Well I have not been slacking, as I have hand made 90% of my Christmas presents, plus a few other items that I will show you, but I was in a panic because of everything I needed to do.  As usual I did not need to worry as everything is complete and ready for wrapping!!  I cannot show any of these items until after Christmas obviously.

First item is the fabric I have received from Pyjama Fairies.  The fabric has come from the Thomas Cook Children's Charity and I requested a large bundle of 40 metres to be made into pyjamas and gowns for children between 10 and16 years of age.  Having been washed and dried, it is now ready for cutting out.


I hope to start using it next weekend but has to be used by February.

I bought two Spellbound Beads bauble kits at the Knitting and Stitching Show in October and this was the first one being made -


and the finished items on my little Christmas Tree
 

I love them both!!

At the end of November I went on a Land Conservation day at Chester Farm and all went well until after lunch when we had to start 'gardening'!  First I saw this sitting on the garden wall - not sure what it was.
Possibly a sheep's head

Anyway, we were to clear the bank in front of the house and I decided it was not for me.  I get very worried walking down a steep hill, but standing and gardening finished me off!!  I might slip and fall over backwards - such an irrational fear!

We had to make a path down beside the wall and then build a path going off to the right.   I decided that this was man's work on this occasion and left!!!!  Don't worry I am still doing my fair share of volunteering.  I have recorded two 'Oral Histories' and we led a guided tour of the 'Roman' field yesterday in the freezing cold!  It was bitterly cold.

Winter has arrived in my part of the UK and this morning I woke up to this.
... and still snowing

I fed the birds and watched the cock blackbirds trying to feed and at the same time being chased off by another one, who was defending his territory and using up all his energy.

Nothing for it but do some baking for the Higham Piecemakers Christmas party tomorrow
Ham and Stilton tartlets (Waitrose recipe)
 Here is a link to the recipe and I hope it works.

My Tilda Bunny is progressing slowly in between the Christmas makes
The skirt is finished  and though I have made her head, it still needs stuffing and attaching, and I have nearly completed one ear so I am getting there slowly.

I will not be blogging again before Christmas but it should be a bumper one in he New Year, so can I wish everyone a happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.