Monday, 20 July 2015


My recent shed building has given me a taste for woodworking as a change to dressmaking.  So, when Mum and Dad were here last week, I asked if Dad would give me a hand to make a wooden obelisk for the garden.
I searched the internet for garden obelisk plans and found one that looked reasonably simple - I wasn't about to start trying to cut mitres or anything fancy.
Anyway, we did it - I learnt the proper technique for sawing and drilling and we put it together, using this plan as a basis but adapting it to our own specs (see, I'm getting all the jargon)
And I didn't get my Dad to do it all either - he just advised and assisted - and posed
He did question whether I wanted it quite so tall, but it seemed a pity not to use the full length of the timber
I must admit, it does look a little bit big in the middle of the garden but I think when it's painted and in among the shrubs it'll be fine
Mum believes we must have been influenced by our recent trip to London, and has taken to referring to it as 'The Mini Shard'.
Anyway, it cost about a tenner in materials, and only took two drizzly days to finish - and to be honest, it wouldn't have taken that long if it wasn't such a long-winded process for my Dad and I to get down on our knees and back up again.  
I'd seen similar wooden obelisks on t'interweb for up to £100 quid, so I think it's a bargain.  It just needs to be painted and for Dad to do me a hand-turned finial (knob to you and me) for the top.

By Wednesday the  weather brightened up, so I had lots of outings with Mum and Dad - coffee with Gina for a sneaky non-weekend look at her Open Studios, visits and meals out with relatives, and on on Saturday to Art Van Go for their summer 'gathering'
Mum's not a textile artist but she was fascinated by watching the various artists demonstrating and seeing what a huge range of art materials are available.  
So, a lovely week all round - and this week has started well too - my niece called me this morning to say that they would like me to be godmother to baby Grace.  I can't tell you how proud, honoured and delighted I am to be asked.  Are WE gonna have some great times kiddo!
I'm only really mentioning it here so that I've got an excuse to post another cute baby picture.

Obelisk - The Tank (you wouldn't believe how many songs there are called Obelisk on itunes - this is one of the least worst)

Monday, 13 July 2015


She's arrived!  
My wonderful niece Sarah has just had the most beautiful baby girl.  
3 hours old
Grace Elizabeth Linda was born on 10th July - by coincidence, on Sarah's own birthday - what an amazing present!  Big BIG congratulations to Sarah and her husband Brendan.
I can't wait to go and see her and have a cuddle, especially as her Mum says she is 'adorably cuddleable'   (no, we're not sure if that's a real word either)
So, in addition to my great age, I am now a great aunt - and my parents are very proud Great grandparents for the first time.

I am hoping that I will still be fit enough when I'm about 74 or 75 to take her to her first gig - I took Sarah to see the Darkness at Wembley Arena in 2004 - no Westlife/Sugarbabes nonsense for us.

I just know how very delighted and proud and excited my sister Linda would have been at becoming a Nanny.
So, at risk of being sentimental, and just in case she does have Internet access where she is, this one's for you sis.

Grace - U2

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Swings and Roundabouts

If I have been rather quiet, it's because I've been busy 'celebrating' a horrendously big birthday.
Don't get me wrong, I've had a lovely time, it's just the number that is causing me problems.  I may have mentioned previously that I'm sure someone made a mistake with the date on my birth certificate, because I don't think I can possibly be that old.
Anyway, I spent the day (last Wednesday) at the last meeting of our Spectrum textile group.  It was meant to be our 'end of term' meeting, but unfortunately, three of the group decided to leave, and it just isn't feasible to keep it running with only 6 of us, so sadly we've had to call it a day.  On the plus side - and I do always like to find the plus - it'll leave more time for me and our mentor Gina to go to exhibitions and eat cake.  Talking of which, she made a fab chocolate birthday cake.  I forgot to take a picture, so I am just going to blatantly steal one from her blog
Tadah! (or 'ta-dah!' if you prefer, the hyphen is optional)
Then in the evening I had more cake when I went to a birthday 'sew-in' at The Creative Sanctuary the shop where I managed to convince them to take me on as a slightly more mature member of their Work Experience scheme. We stitched and chatted and ate more homemade cake, this time a delicious sponge with cream and strawberries at the centre of which was a massive firework shooting flames about 18 inches high.

On Thursday I went for a five mile walk with a friend, followed (naturally) by cake.  I did wonder how long one could exist on a solely cake-based diet, before developing scurvy, but I am reliably informed that if I have the odd lemon I should be fine.

On Friday I met my cousin and her husband at the Albion Pub in Islington.  
The venue was chosen as, according to the 1891 census, our Great Grandmother Alice was living and working there when she was 21. 
The pub looked good, and although it's obviously been renovated over the years, it still has lots of character and apparently the structure of the building hasn't changed much. (A bit like me!)
We went for lunch in the garden
No cake, but great fish and chips

So, am I coming to terms with my new decade?  Reluctantly I suppose. 
And like everything, it has certain benefits - I've applied for, and received my senior rail card, and yesterday I picked up a prescription and I didn't have to pay!  And only this morning I received a mailing about Saga holidays, AND a letter from the NHS offering me a medical testing kit (I won't be any more specific in case any of you are reading this over breakfast.)

So, I have to come to terms with the fact that I'll never headline at Glastonbury, I'll never learn to surf, and I'll never get invited to a Libertines aftershow party, but on the plus side, it'll cost me a third less to travel into London to gigs, and I get free drugs.

Swings and Roundabouts - Terrorvision

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Bicycle Race

Well, that was an exciting morning!  Stage Four of the Women's Cycle Tour came through Hertford today en route from Broxbourne to Buntingford - so I was up early (gardening at 7.20am, no less) and then up at the top of my road to see them come through.  There's a very steep hill coming out of Hertford (it can be a tad tough on your legs walking up, never mind cycling at full pelt)  
I stood at the Queen of the Mountain stage finish - or just opposite the Co-Op in real life.
There was no end of motorcycles and support vehicles, and I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

And then the cyclists appeared - and they were still peddling furiously (I'm sure I'd have had to get off and pushed my bike up the hill, which perhaps explains why I wasn't taking part)
 They whizzed past in a flash ....
 And then they were gone.
As cycling is so popular with the masses now, I'm surprised that more people hadn't turned out to support them or just to enjoy the spectacle - it certainly doesn't happen every day.
I'm just glad that I did.

Bicycle Race - Queen

Sunday, 14 June 2015


No stitching this week I'm afraid, but I've still had a lovely week - my parents have been visiting and I took my Dad for his belated birthday present into London and up The Shard.  It's very tall.

Not a very sunny day, but nice and clear, so we had fantastic views - to Canary Wharf
the Olympic Park
the Tower of London
and down into little gardens that you'd never normally see
We spent about an hour and a half trying to pick out particular buildings and we both really enjoyed the trip. We worked out that Dad hadn't even been on a train for about 25 years, so the whole day was an adventure.  Dad declined the offer of a window cleaning round though.
Still, I obviously couldn't allow him to laze about enjoying himself for the whole week - so on Thursday, Dad (87) and I (old bird, rapidly approaching buspass status), with considerable assistance from my friend Jill's husband (70's) built a shed! 
It was delivered on Thursday morning, we started work after lunch and by tea time it was built and the roof was felted.  Not bad, eh?  
The only job remaining on Friday was to glaze the windows.  Fortunately, my cousin and her husband came over to see Mum and Dad so we called upon Mick's glazing expertise to help finish the job.
There IS no such thing as a free lunch!
I have to admit, when I saw the size of the shed 'kit', I did wonder if I should have employed a professional to construct it, but having done it, I'm really glad we did it ourselves. I think it rates as one of my best "Me Mades"
The photo was taken on Friday, after we'd tidied ourselves up a bit.
And, just so that my Mum isn't left out - here she is enjoying the sunshine in the garden.
The week finished well too, with the week's second trip to London to meet Zoe and pay another visit to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A.  It's the third time I've been, but I dare say it won't be the last - there's such a lot to take in.  It was really lovely to meet Zoe in real life too!

Glasshouse - Young Knives

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The End

Days 30 & 31

Day 30
Although I was only going to my beading group today, which doesn't normally involve any dressing up, I thought I'd have a fancy frock day - SewLaDiDa Sweetheart dress - I love this dress - it's one of my few dresses which suggests I really do have a waist - although sadly you can't tell from the photo cos I forgot to remove my jacket (second hand from a vintage fair)
I spent the day finishing the bracelet that I started at beading last month at a workshop led by Shona Bevan
Day 31
Final day of the challenge - and I wasn't going anywhere, and it clearly wasn't going to be a day for gardening, so I put this dress on, mainly to decide whether to keep it or not.  It's definitely not one of my favourites.
It's another Laurel, but I don't know if it's the fabric, it just looks a bit sack-like.  I don't like the neck much, nor the length of the sleeves - nothing to do with the pattern, which I really like, just my treatment of it on this occasion.  I'm beginning to think in future I should make a size down.  
Added to that, I hadn't done my hair, or put any make up on, so let's just have a close up of the only redeeming feature of this outfit ...........
Absolutely no reason to wear these indoors, except I love them.  As my intended day in the garden was thwarted, owing to inclement weather, I've had a day in my sewing room, crossing things off my 'to-do' list.
And I've finished another bit of beading
Very pleased with this, and it's reversible
So, that's MeMadeMay over for another year.  I've enjoyed fulfilling my challenge, and I've definitely exceeded the frock wearing element of my pledge.
The only slightly tricky days were when I was away on holiday - I probably need to make more sensible day-to-day outfits and leave off the fancy frock making.  
But I don't suppose I will.
The End - Kings of Leon

Friday, 29 May 2015

48 Hours

Days 27 -29
Day 27
Denim Schoolhouse Tunic and grey jersey leggings made from McCalls 6173 (couldn't be easier!)

Day 28
 I was off to see the Prism exhibition at Hoxton Arches, so I wore my Comic Book skirt (I've done a close up and mirrored the photo so you can read the speech bubbles, if you are so inclined) I wore it with a John Smedley cotton jumper and a denim shirt - both at bargain prices from a charity shop a year or two ago.
I've been to see the Prism exhibition several times in the past when it was at the Mall Galleries, but this was a much 'edgier' venue and I loved it - in fact I think it's the best Prism exhibition I've seen.
My friend Gina's work was stunning - Graffiti style images with very dense free machine embroidery
and a close up ...
I also like these tattoo-inspired pieces by Julie Harper, again very densely stitched
and another close up ....
and these beautiful appliqued and machine embroidered images mounted on cotton reels by Jacqi Adkins -
in fact, I liked them so much I bought one (with the pink and orange cotton reel at the front, towards the right)
This clever piece was also by Jacqi -
The work was incredibly varied, and whilst I liked lots of the work, including some of the delicate, ethereal pieces, it's the smash-you-in-the-face colours that draw me in to look closer.
The puppets by Charlotte Sewell were fun too..
As those who know me are only too aware, I have boycotted Tesco for about ten years, so I was amused that I liked this piece

Having spent a couple of hours wandering around the exhibition, I made my first visit to the Geffrye Museum, which was just around the corner.  The Geffrye is set in almshouses built in 1714 by the Ironmongers' Company, and shows how homes have changed over the past 400 years, and shows period room settings from the 1600s.  Well worth a visit, with gardens and a restaurant.  Needless to say I stopped for cake.

Day 29
Tartan dress using the Colette Laurel pattern
 Only two days to go.

48 Hours - The Clash