Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

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Autumn to Winter

In a week.

Trees in front of the house last week.
Then the wind came before
It snowed

How is the weather impacting your view today?

Wordless Wednesday

Beaded Icicle , made at a recent workshop by yours truly.

Lydiard Park

Lydiard Park

This has become one of my favourite places to walk in Swindon,not hard to find should you ever be near Junction 16 on The M4. I took an Autumn walk recently.

Loving the sunlight through the trees.
Busy, busy, busy.

He had found the only conker I saw all day.

Ice house

Back in the day before fridges and freezers, just what could you do for ice in your gin and tonic, or even to keep your Ben and Jerry’s frozen? Why build an ice house deep in the grounds so you didn’t have to see it, then get your minions to hack your frozen lake, and lug hunks of ice back to your ice house, and store it safely. Then send more minions to hack off a piece and fetch it back for cook.

I usually walk around the lake, but on this occasion set off to explore the parkland.

The fields on either side are accessible, full of dogs doing their zoomies. Apparently used for events too.

The property actually belongs to the council for the benefit of the populace. The house has a museum , only open at weekends, still not been. It is also a hotel and conference centre. We did actually stay there once, can’t really recommend it. We were in a small room, down a long corridor, and there was a wedding reception going on, need I say more. The following day we were woken by the church bells, from here,

St Mary’s.

Which was right by our window. Humph. We did however enjoy our walk round the grounds later on, full of crocus and snowdrops. Happy days.

Enough reflections, more walk..

Absolutely stunning.

Time for a sit down, and a nice mug of hot chocolate.

Guess which nitwit spilt some and had to do a mop up?

After this I went to wander around the walled garden. Now 99% of walled gardens were for the growing of vegetables. Not this one( that 99% isn’t fact, but a literary device, don’t want to be fact checked and in trouble). No, the veggies were apparently grown elsewhere, near the lake I think, also might not be true but an inaccurate recollection. There used to be a formal flower garden in front of the house. Back in day of Capabilty Brown it was fashionable to call in the landscape gardener, rip out your flower beds and create an unnatural “natural” landscape, with lakes , and like Marie Antoinette pretend you were a shepherdess. So the formal garden went, and the stones from that were used to build a walled garden. It’s much smaller than your average walled garden and certainly wouldn’t have grown enough food for the owners and staff. Normally there’s a charge for entering , but on this occasion was free because it was being used as a communal remembrance garden.

Seemed that some were for individuals, and some for generic gratitude. It was moving to see so many crosses, like this.

There was the odd splash of colour too.

I do like Chinese lanterns, not to self and forlorn patch.

But this lady fascinated me.

Just love this picture. Not sure where the original is kept. Wonder how well these remedies worked?

I was a bit footsore by now, so headed back to the car, hope you enjoyed my walk.

Those trees will have shed their leaves now I reckon , the ones at home have for sure. Already filled my wheelie bin twice, and there are still more!

Be happy,


Scrap Happy- Nov. 21

Pleased to have a finished project this month, my scrap happy house applique, dug out last month and finished this month.

Drum roll- even in its frame.

And close ups

I machine stitched it in place, only intending to hand stitch over some of it, but in the end I just kept going.

The chickens are my favourite, just so cute.

But when it comes to scraps , just look at the tail. The scraps here are genuine teeny tiny ones I had kept from the #52hannemadetags, which I am still doing every week but posting on my other blog https://avoicethroughstitch.wordpress.com/

Meantime I am linking with Kate for lots of scrappy happy posts here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/11/15/scraphappy-november-6/

A bit of stitching.

Sandra from Wild Daffodil organised some of us who had participated in the Untangled Threads Stitchbook project { soon to be exhibited at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show} into an offshoot group to raise money for charity. The latest collaboration suggested was to create a woodland inspired wall hanging. She very kindly sent me a piece of hessian on which to stitch my contribution.

I knew I had suitable threads/yarn, what I hadn’t appreciated was just how much I had. Anyway I started to play.

I began with stitching down two pieces of fabric, and then commenced slow stitching.
Just enjoying the process
And stop

I really enjoyed this and have sent it back to Sandra to join the work of others. Wonder how it will turn out?

I wondered if anyone had joined in with a group project and how you found the experience. I just love the thrill of being part of something with others, and the enjoyment of seeing the final piece. If it can give pleasure to others and raise some money, well so much the better.

WIPs and More

Hope the title of the post suggests a hodge podge of makings, and even a finishing..

So to begin at the beginning ..

with a finish. Harry Potter hat.

I’m going to send this to a friend’s granddaughter, who has been very brave with some operations in hospital, yet been cheerful and positive throughout. She is a big Harry Potter fan.

Halloween cup cakes.

I attended a little workshop for these. I didn’t eat them all by myself. The ghosties went off to Master T and Miss F. The spider one was especially nice.

Christmas jumper in progress

What a lot of ends to sew in. Nearly finished the back now.

Dahlias from the garden, from seeds started by Mr E, but grown on by me. Lovely to have them, a comfort.
October’s scrap happy project.

I wasn’t brave enough to do free machine embroidery, so I just machined the pieces down with straight stitch. Next, some hand stitching , maybe finished in time for the next scrap happy day.

These were fun to make, and yes I cheated they were from a ready to mix packet.
I like a simple approach to carving!

This weekend I hope to finish the back of the Christmas jumper and maybe bake a Christmas cake. Love to know your plans for the weekend, do tell please.

Be happy,

Cathy x

Out and About

October was a nice month for family outings. I began with a pumpkin picking trip with Mr B, Mrs G and Baby P.

Pumpkins aplenty to choose from at Lotmead Farm.
Yeah, a good one.

I selected one too, and I’ll share my effort at carving in another post, because my second outing with Mr T, Master T, Miss F, Mr J, Mrs M, Mr H and Toddler J is a bit photo heavy.

Destination Blenheim Palace for some fun.

The crew on parade.
First stop the maze, where it was like herding cats as everyone knew the best way to go.
See what I mean!

Finally we got out for a visit to the butterfly house

Black ones , who knew?
Good for a warm up, before venturing outside again.
Autumnal colours

Into the palace grounds

Lake by Capabilty Brown beyond the formal gardens.
Write your own caption! Can’t believe we are related!
I once queued on those steps with Mr J when he was 15 to go to the Antiques road show. I still have the mug I bought.

The Palace had gone to town on spookiness.

Outside and in. These crows did look very realistic.

Positvely Miss Haversham like.

I can just imagine poor Pip here.

There was cake afterwards, provided by my amazing family for my birthday. I do love them all so much you know.

So if you liked to know more about Blenheim Palace here’s a link- https://www.blenheimpalace.com/

And for Miss Haversham and Great Expectations- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9RUEgT9zc

I watched Great Expectations this month and it was rather good. I’m not a big fan of Helena Bonham Carter but she did make a good Miss Haversham I think.

October books- 2021

It’s been a month of thought provoking books for me. Do please let me know your thoughts, even if you haven’t read any of these books.

Jem Lester- Shtum- Jonah is 10, autistic, and can’t talk. His parents Ben and Emma are struggling to meet his needs and are now trying to select an educational setting for him. The one chosen by the local authority is unsuitable, but their choice is residential and very expensive. Emma suggests that if Ben was the sole carer there would be more chance for their selection. So Ben and Jonah move in with Ben’s father Georg. The novel takes you slowly through the painful appeals process for the school , gradually revealing just how difficult it is for them all. Towards the end everyone’s back story is told. A difficult subject told with great sensitivity. Recommend this one.

Mary Beard- Women and Power – I’d been thinking about those poor women and girls in Afghanistan , which by a convoluted way round my thoughts led me to thinking about the clever women on TV who get trolled or dropped from programmes because they got old, which made me think of Mary Beard and wondering if the library stocked her books. They do, including this book based on some lectures she gave. Her lectures led to the most disgusting and vile trolling I have heard of. So I read the book, very short and accessible- subject matter, how women have been denigrated, side lined and silenced by the male of the species from Ancient Greece to Hillary Clinton. Well worth the read.

Arundhati Roy- The God of Small Things- it won the Booker Prize. I can see why, an interesting use of language and a distinct style with a good plot. Only problem was that I struggled with it. The names and nicknames were hard for me to recall, who was who. The style was different ,but then the constant going backwards and forwards with the timeline confused then annoyed me. Language was interesting , it captured beautifully the make believe world and chatter of children who struggle to first make sense of the adult world before abandoning the attempt for their world of make believe. Throw in the caste system , love and marriage, the role if women, communism and there is a great book. Only two thirds of the way through I had had enough and just wanted the author to drop it all and just get on with telling the tale. But it did win the Booker, so that just proves I am a bit of a heathen, that I like a book to be straightforward!

S J Watson- Before I go to Sleep- good twisty pyschological thriller, Read in less than 24 hours. Christine has lost her memory. Every morning her husband Ben has to explain who she is, who he is, and how to stay safe whilst he is at work. Thrilled to find after I read this I had a recording of the film, which was good, but the book is much better.

Solomon Northup- 12 Years A Slave. It so happened that I also had recorded the excellent film 12 Years a Slave, which I watched this month and was pleased to see it was based on a book of the same name . I was even more pleased to get my hands on a copy of the book from the library. The film had been made a little more sensational than the book, but by and large it’s faithful to the true account in the autobiography. A harrowing read but one that is informative and very moving.

So that was my month in books and the last two set me to wondering if anyone had any thoughts on good film adaptations of books or some horrendous examples? And what about women in power, or the way older women are sidelined on TV, or the whole nightmare of trolling? Looking forward to some lively comments.

Happy reading.

Malvern Quilt Show- October 2021

Understandably other then errands and trips with family I am finding it hard to go out for just fun. I think of a nice idea then change my mind and don’t go. But I have turned a corner. On Thursday night whilst browsing the internet, ok Facebook, I came across a post in a knitting group I belong to announcing they had a stall at the Malvern Quilt Show. Now I have been to Malvern a few times when we lived in Oxfordshire, so I knew it was not too far away, I knew I would enjoy it when I got there, and admission was a mere £7 for an old bat like me. I went. I enjoyed it a lot. I took pictures.

The Malvern show is set on the Three Counties Showground, with stunning views of the Malvern Hills.

Now I confess that one of the draws not yet mentioned was that one of the exhibitors was Sheila Dalgleish, with whom back in the day when Mr T was about 4 years old and Mr J a mere babe in arms, and Mr B a mere twinkle in an eye, Sheila and I had been penfriends with a shared interest in cross stitch. Over the years we lost touch, school, work, growing old etc, but by another odd coincidence she had been at uni with my dear childhood friend Ms J, and long story short we re connected over you’ve guessed it Facebook. By now Sheila had retired and started an unexpected second career as an art quilt designer and maker. I was not going to pass up the chance to see them in the flesh so to speak.

So here are some of Sheila’s quilts and some by some other people..

A Lincolnshire group of Quilter’s calling themslevs LINQS had between them produced a series of quilts called The Viking Way

Just love this one, such fun

Another group called New Reflections Quilters also displayed several themes, one of which was trees.

It interests me that the ones I was drawn too are all pictorial. There were traditional quilts too all beautifully executed but lacking in meaning for me.

There were a few practical Covid type changes at this show from others I attended in Yorkshire, the aisles between stalls and displays were wider. You can’t look at the backs of quilts or handle them- no white gloves available. Hand sanitiser was provided at several places in the room. Many people wore masks but it was not uniform, and in the queue to enter hardly anyone did and there was no social distancing. I arrived at the start of the show on the first day and stayed about two hours. When I arrived there was pleny of space to move around, when I left at lunch time there were small bottlenecks of people. I felt safe and have tested negative this morning.

Did I buy anything? Well what do you think? What is a show without shopping? I only spend cash, that way I don’t get too carried away.

The Haul

And the really really good news is that there will be a Spring show next year. Hip Hip HOORAY.

Scrap Happy-October 2021

I was having a sort out and tidy up this week (quite a lot of that going on these day) when tucked under a pile of sunlounger cushions in the guest bedroom I unearthed a pillowcase standing to attention. It was a scrap happy project begun in January 2020, packed away ready for the house move, unpacked at this end and promptly disappeared.


Contents of pillowcase- picture frame not present.

The picture frame is what made the contents stand upright. Inside I have a load of scrappy fabrics busy auditioning for my version of the picture you can see. I had actually managed to sew the sky fabric to the ground floral fabric, before it became a UFO.

Time I think to turn the UFO into a WIP. Which is my way of saying that I haven’t a complete thing for a tahdah moment yet.

Magazine picture minus my clutter

Now for an even more shameful thing. The magazine is a Crafts Special by a UK magazine called Woman’s Weekly, dated May 2012. Humph.

So yesterday I put the fabric through it’s paces and here is the final cast, ready to have a dose of fabric spray and my attention on the sewing machine. It says machine embroidery, don’t know that I am that brave at the moment.

Anyway there it is. I have washed the pilow case and that’s now in the ironing pile so I can’t hide this away again.

Please pop over to Kate’s to see her Scrap Happy project and for the up to date links for everyone else-here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/

Thanks for coming here today.

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