Pulling the shutters down

henry_5[1]It’s the end of the month which means it’s the end of the August photo a day challenge and I have two days to catch up on. I have decided not to partake in the September one, mainly so I can concentrate on blogging about the crafts I have been up to but also to stop boring people to death with my less than rubbish snaps. Depending on the prompts, I may do the October one if I miss it though so never say never. Anyway, today’s hint is ’10am’, so naturally, being as it’s a weekend, any sewing enthusiast would relish the time to pursue their current stitching project. So this is what I was getting up to at 10am this morning and have only stopped for my tea and toast dinner break 🙂

ribbon_loom_herbert[1]Yesterday’s hint was ‘nearby’ so I thought I’d share this gem. Last week we went to The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum which is very close (a 15 minute train ride) from our home. It was a lot bigger than we expected and was such a lovely place to visit. On arriving, you are greeted by this giant (and still functional) ribbon weaver which after watching an attached video of it working, is a marvelously effecient  and incredible piece of machinery. We found lots of other craft related treats that I will probably go into at a later date.

imagesThe summer journal has also reached it’s last day today, which is a shame because out of the two topics, I have really enjoyed answering the questions. It has given me a chance to learn more about other bloggers and vice versa and certainly started some great conversations so thank you to everyone who has provided such lovely chatting for the past few weeks and of course to Fanwy, who very kindly provided such interesting prompts for us to yabber on about.


Yesterday’s was: “If nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies”

There was no question with this but I presume it meant to ask opinions on change. I think change is good, but I like to know about it to prepare myself beforehand. I like to feel secure and that I know where I am, so usually I favour a not too changeable lifestyle. On the other hand though, I still love adventure and excitement so change is obviously good, just in a refined way hehe.


” “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity , to what we would have others think of us” – Jane Austen. Would you agree?”

I completely agree. I don’t class the two words with the same meaning, although sometimes they do work simultaneously depending on the context. I am not vain at all, I actually hate looking at myself and shy away from any photo’s where I am not goofing around and have to be serious. But I have a huge amount of pride in myself, as in I would be too proud to go out without being clean, smelling nicely and wearing suitable attire. That isn’t because I want to show off, but because I have been raised that you have to take pride in your appearance and basically not go out of the house ‘like a tramp’ as we used to get told if our teeth weren’t brushed. And rightly so, too. I certainly don’t dress up like I’m going to a ball when I leave the house and never feel I look nice, but being clean and not looking like I’ve just rolled out of bed makes me feel comfortable and with a little bit more pride in myself. If I ever leave the house with greasy hair or with dirty clothes on I just feel paranoid and even more ugly than normal, which isn’t fun. That’s not to say I am proud of my appearance, far from it, I would love to change nearly all of the way I look, but just that I have too much pride to appear unwashed or grubby and not to at least try and polish a turd 😉



A blessing in disguise

20140827_181954[1]My stepkid’s and I made these for theirs and their Dad’s pudding so is my ‘dessert’ photo a day entry. They were really simple to make, just standard cornflake cakes, but as we had run out of Tate and Lyle’s we just used gingerbread coffee syrup instead. They may not look to appetising, but I am told they are ‘perfect for breakfast on Christmas’ and these are the only ones left from a huge batch so they must be quite nice 🙂

 imagesToday’s summer journal prompt is: ” ‘If you tell the truth then you don’t have to remember anything’ Mark Twain. Write about a time you made an excuse and were almost found out”

I totally agree with Mr. Twain, I also don’t have a good enough memory to be able to uphold a fib and hate being lied to so I endeavour not to lie and be a hypocrite. On the whole, if I tell a porky it is usually to protect someone or in order to uphold a surprise. I can recall a long time ago I had a hospital appointment for something quite sensitive and it happened to be falling on a day when I was supposed to meet my sister. I knew it would worry her senseless if I told her about having to go so instead of being honest with her I pretended I was unwell (to be fair, it wasn’t that far from the truth). Trouble was, the hospital I attend is a train and bus ride away from here and of all people to spot after getting off of the train whilst running for the bus, my sister appeared. After me cancelling she had made an impromptu trip to the city for a shopping trip which meant I had to very sneakily avoid her and hop onto the bus. I also knew that I had to get the same bus back from my appointment to catch the train so more ducking and diving would ensue. It was all pointless in the end though as she found out anyway because I’m such an awful liar and so I have given up trying to conceal the truth from her now as she can see straight through me! 🙂

Train of thought

waterliles[1]Before I use this photo for the ‘dull’ photo hint, I don’t mean to offend any art critics so apologies if I do. After my visit to the Tate Modern, I was quite shocked by how much Waterlilies by Monet was lacking in vivid colour. Obviously being one of a set, this was painted somewhere between 1890-1930 so could be why some of the colour has been lost. Of course it is still beautiful and awe inspiring, that is unquestionable and it was a conversation starter which in my opinion is a big part of art (as is being a poet who didn’t know it hehe) 🙂

100_1584Today’s hint was ‘travel’ and although this picture might not be all that inspiring, it was our view from the steam train we took a ride on which was very awesome! I may just be being a hopeless romantic, but there is something so magical about this mode of transport that takes you back to a bygone era. It was so very nice pretending like we were in some kind of Hitchcock film that we all want to go on another one!


imagesYesterday’s summer journal prompt was : “We all like to feel clean. Bath or shower? Do you have a preference?”

Not really, depends on ease at the time. When it’s too hot, I need a quick clean fix or I’m really grubby then I’d have a shower. If it’s cold, I’m unwell or want to relax, I’d soak it up in the bath.


“How good are you at ‘loving’ yourself”

Ooo, that’s a bit of a deep one Fanwy! As much as I know that you should love yourself, nobody is perfect, yadder yadder… the answer is not very. I don’t think it is easy for anybody insecure to love themselves and I truly don’t always see a reason to do so. I am happy being quietly confident enough to stand up for my opinions, defend myself and be friendly to total strangers and don’t feel like I have ever had to love myself to achieve this. I give all of that spare love not wasted on myself to others which is a much more rewarding thing and stops me from being ‘up myself’ or arrogant which I think are both very ugly traits 🙂

“I just need a labotomy and some tights!”

bosworth3[1]Chainmail seemed to be a perfect candidate for yesterday’s photo hint ‘mail’. This lot was at the battle of Bosworth museum and would have been worn by the soldiers fighting amongst the rabble. Image lumbering round with this lot on your back? Not for the faint hearted!

20140826_115959[1]Today’s hint is ‘breakfast’ and as I don’t eat in the mornings, I thought I would just photograph one of my favourite films instead with the word in the title hehe. Cheesy as they are, I love the 80’s brat pack movies and this one is the best in my opinion. So much so that my sister and I have so many quotes from it that we regularly use in our normal speech pattern.

376380_10151037976708676_273371269_nYesterday’s summer journal prompt was: “A character on TV once said ‘You can never have enough shoes, gloves or handbags’. What is your opinion?”

I think Andy Warhol said something about never having too many shoes, but I’m afraid I don’t share his opinion. I have a few pairs of shoes, a pair for when it is is really cold and rainy, 2 pairs for the sunshine, my wellies and my ‘mucky’ shoes for painting/gardening in. That is all. They are all practical but still pretty and get used regularly. I have never owned a pair that don’t get used as I think it is totally unnecessary and a waste of money. Everybody has their ‘thing’ that they like though, so fair play to anybody with a penchant for feet holders. It’s just not me, nor are the gloves, I have one pair. The female side of my whole family seem to have an obsession with handbags, my mum and gran have so so many but prefer to use mainly just one in particular but again, that’s not me. I have a bag that I love and use that to death until it falls apart. Then I try and stitch it up or mend it in anyway I can until it’s Christmas and I may get a new one.

“List 5 trees that grow within half a mile of your home”

English Oak (a fair few acorns have been collected from this one), Ash, Aspen (these remind me of caterpillars), Elm and Crab apple. I think these are the names anyway, I am no tree surgeon though so may be wrong. I associate them with certain characteristics. Oak is the acorns, Ash is the non singular leaves, Aspen is the caterpillar one, Elm is the oval leaved one with coarse bark and the Crab apple is the one with the obvious little fruits. Anybody more in the know than me please feel free to correct me as I am probably wrong 🙂

Out of fashion

2013-10-29 00.06.19So, this is the latest Henry update, which is also my entry for the ‘style’ hint. Check out those shoulders, I’m sure something Kate Moss would die for 😉

country28[1]‘Fragrant’ gave me a good excuse to share the above photo for today’s prompt. This was at the back of the apothecary at the Black Country museum and would be commonplace in a pharmacist’s back garden during the Victorian era. The smell oozing from all the herbs and spices was so beautiful and would have provided the key ingredients in all of the weird and wonderful potions dealt out to cure patients.

72788_458730763204_1289997_nYesterday’s summer journal prompt was: “Summer fashion! Tell us about something you once wore that was a mistake (even if it’s only with hindsight) or about a trend that you considered a mistake in general – and that you refused to join in”

There are way too many examples of outfits I wore that I thought were a good idea at the time and that are now cringeworthy. Because summer fashion was mentioned, I thought I would share something that was a bad idea during a very hot evening, which is of course the above image. It was July and I was going to a fancy dress party so for some reason I thought it was a good idea to wear a Darth Vadar costume complete with a sweltering hot mask that I could barely breathe in. I was so committed (or stubborn) that I kept it on for the entire night and I can safely say I drank a fair few diet coke’s to keep me hydrated! I wasn’t the only one with a silly outfit on though, the girl next to me was wearing a fleecy onesie! *shudders* I am very pleased that I now (in my opinion) have grown past my teenage I’m going to wear the most ridiculous things phase and have a much less stupid idea of what is a good thing to put on. As far as a trend that I didn’t partake in, I think the one my friend’s did as a kid was braiding their hair. I have never done that, after seeing one of them having to have it cut out I think I was put off of the idea, plus there was no way my Mum would have agreed to that.


“Write about the longest journey you made in summertime”

Definitely the trip to South of France and anybody that has been there will tell you how boiling it is during the summer. I had to get a train from Rugby to London Euston, then a tube to Waterloo tube station where it used to be and then I walked to the Eurostar. The trip from my hometown to Waterloo had already taken 2 hours and then after the 2 hour 30 minute Eurostar journey, 4 and a half hours had already been clocked up. Then after a metro and taxi ride and jumping onto a double decker SNCF TGV for a 4 and a half hour journey, followed by another taxi trip, I finally arrived at the cruiser, our final destination (until the same journey two weeks later). So all in all, it took around 11 hours give or take, which considering how far it was to travel to, wasn’t really that long but it was baking hot and laborious so everyone kind of collapsed once we realised we could say goodbye to trains and taxi’s for a while 🙂


If music be the food of love, play on


poppies7[1]I now have three days to catch up on, so as a disclaimer, this post may be a little long!

The top image is my entry for yesterday’s ‘decorate’ photo a day hint. This was of course the display of ceramic flowers over and around the tower of London to commemorate the fallen soldiers of world war one. I am really glad I got to see this in person because it truly was breathtakingly poignant and beautiful.

mable2[1]Wednesday’s hint was ‘before bedtime’, which is usually when things of that day get reflected on, usually with me and my OH rabbiting on to each other about what we have been up to. So on Wednesday I went to my childhood holiday destination, Mablethorpe, for a nostalgic trip back before my sister jets off to Australia :-(. Nothing had changed at all, still all the same and I just managed to get a fairly deceptive photo of how sunny it was before we got caught in the rain.

2013-09-23 01.31.17I wanted to share something more craft related for today’s hint, ‘words’. I don’t often stitch letters but for Christmas last year I sewed the ‘litany against fear’ quote from Dune for our friend’s gift. I created the pattern myself, using the Atreides house symbol as a border. I sewed a present for everybody and other than my OH’s gift, I was surprised that this took the longest. Hopefully one Muad’Dib would be happy with!

indexWednesday’s journal prompt was: “I am a person who works well under pressure. In fact, I work so well under pressure that at times, I will procrastinate in order to create this pressure.”- Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee. Discuss…”

Good for Stephanie that she has the ability to do that but I don’t procrastinate on purpose, that all comes naturally. I literally tie myself up in knots overly worrying about really insignificant things that they almost always get done in time and usually way in advance. Last year’s Christmas is a perfect example of this, when I decided I wanted to make everybody a gift, I got so paranoid that I wouldn’t get it all finished in time that I starting stitching away in April to make sure it all got done. I am so eager to make other’s happy and over think things that I apply tons of pressure on myself, most of the time unnecessarily, but it works as it gets the job done and I end up with spare evening time to spend on my other projects. I do sometimes wish I wouldn’t get so sentimental about trivial things though.


“Music, the food of love? What do you think?”

I totally agree. There are a barrel load of songs that remind me of the people I love, usually recalling special memories of them that I can’t help thinking of every time I hear them. With most people it is one specific song, but my OH and I have an awful lot of ‘songs’. To demonstrate, here are just a couple of examples:

OH: ‘Always’- Erasure, ‘It’s no good’- Depeche Mode, ‘Tower of strength’-The mission and ‘The safety dance’-Men without hats. That is just a few hehe.

Boo (sister): Literally every song from ‘Alice in Wonderland’, as well as most Disney tunes.

Pi (brother): ‘Champagne supernova/Talk tonight’-Oasis and ‘Yesterday’-The Beatles.

Mum: ‘Always a woman’- Billy Joel, ‘Towerblock’-Julia Fordham and ‘Love is a battlefield’-Pat Benatar.

Dad: ‘Ghosts’-Japan, ‘A different corner’-George Michael and ‘Forbidden colours’- Ryuichi Sakamoto/David Sylvian.

Grandma: ‘Don’t treat me like a child’-Helen Shapiro.

…As well as a swamp of songs that remind me of certain events (that I won’t bore you with). I think it is amazing how music has the power to associate itself with a particular person or occasion and the ability to make you feel incredibly happy and also incredibly sad.


“It’s better to take a risk than miss the moment. Tell us about time that you grabbed with both hands…or maybe you didn’t…?”

On the whole, I am certainly not a risk taker, mainly due to the fact that my health holds me back from being, as well as the fact I worry consistently. When I was younger though, I was a lot more carefree and used to go on little adventures all of the time. Looking back, it was very naive and silly of me to do some of the things I got up to, but I had such a lot of fun out of it that I can’t regret those times too much. Once I had the opportunity to go out for the day with a very newly acquired friend that I didn’t know well at all. We decided to just get in the car, drive somewhere and hope to find something fun to do once we arrived at the non designated destination. Although on the journey I was still not sure whether the driver was a mad axe murderer, I was relieved to find that we ended up at the seaside, spending most of the day playing in the sea which was a much needed boost of happiness for me then and that friendship blossomed into being one that saw me out of a pretty dark time. So that’s a good example of when taking the plunge is a good thing, unfortunately a lot of other examples of the ‘YOLO’ (my stepkids tell me that means you only live once) attitude aren’t so great. Although my rebellious nature has dwindled, I still appreciate every second I have on this Earth and try to grab opportunities that come my way, busying up my time and making the most of it. It is just a lot more planned than it used to be! 🙂





making a meal out of it

bosworth27_to_do[1]My great grandma used to call a row or fight or in fact anybody slightly aggravated as being in a bit of a ‘to-do’, so when the photo a day hint is that phrase I decided to go with her terminology meaning. This very poor picture was from the huge Battle of Bosworth reenactment, where there were several hundred people (I think, I couldn’t count with them running about with weapons) having a very large ‘to-do’. It was actually a lot more epic than my photo shows, quite intimidating really having all these big burly blokes all armoured up running headlong into each other waving halberds and poleaxes about but was a brilliantly entertaining way of depicting the bloody side of this time period. I’m sure the person next to us with a super duper zoomed up camera would provide some better evidence for this than me!

indexToday’s summer journal prompt is: “Write about 5 meals you would love to enjoy again”

1. I visited South of France about 8 years ago and while there tried traditional Cassoulet. I am not sure on what the difference is between this dish and it’s counterpart, casserole, but this one certainly tasted like one of the yummiest things I’ve ever had.

2. My dad’s lemon meringue pie. Talking of my great gran earlier, this was also her favourite thing to eat off of his menu. I can remember tasting it only once and really appreciating even as a child his patisserie chefing skills. The tartness of the lemon coupled with the perfectly moreish base was divine.

3. My mum’s Australian crunchie’s. She used to have and possibly still does have an incredibly old Be-ro book full of traditional recipes and this was one of the thing’s she used to make for us when we were little as a treat. So, so yummy, as well as her Yorkshire puddings that were like giant squishy cakes. She got taught how to bake them by her grandfather, who was a baker, so no wonder we wanted them for every meat and veg meal.

4. I love seafood. So when I got the opportunity to go to a specialised restaurant at the seaside, I grabbed it with both hands. The meal was gorgeous, lemon and ginger soaked squid rings (Calamari is one of my favourite foods), tiger prawns and tentacle stuffed with garlic infused crab meat. I know some people would wretch at that dinner, but I loved it!

5. Another nostalgic trip to France, to a tiny bakery with a totally forgotten name. The gent in there was exactly that, allowing us to sample a whole host of what he had created before we chose a torsado filled with creme patissiere and raisins and a wholemeal campagrain covered in linseed, poppy and pumpkin seeds. It might just be that it was a case of getting caught up an iconic symbol of the country or that they were straight from the oven so lovely and warm, but I would love to have these again.


Lovely as that was to reminisce of all those yummy foods, I am now hungry for everything that my pancreas would now reject me eating. Damn it hehe 🙂

Strike while the iron’s hot

20140818_122909[1]Another double post today and to start off, a silly entry for the photo hint ‘dinner’. Being the forever pedantic person he is, my stepson can’t get it into his brain that I call my midday meal dinner and evening food tea and pulls me up on it every time I call them these. I know lots of people who refer to the meals in this way, but he finds it so bizarre that I thought this would be the 17’ths entry.

arrow[1] arrow_wall[1]Due to the zoom on my phone being totally inept, the first picture is a little poor so I shared two images for today’s photo hint of ‘arrow’. Ironically yesterday’s adventures at the battle of Bosworth anniversary event proved to be a perfect place for loads of relevant snaps. The bottom image was from the museum part of Bosworth, which was a very creative way of displaying weaponry and the top one was from a huge reenactment of the battle, showing the archer’s from the War of the Roses Trust. There was an incredible amount of things to see and do, including falconry, a Tewkesbury reenactment, fire power and jousting displays and the chance to walk round an authentic medieval soldier’s camp. Was an awesome day and I have WAY too many photo’s that may crop up later on 😀

imagesSo, yesterday’s summer journal prompt was: “There is nothing better than sleeping between freshly ironed sheets, but ironing is not a popular pastime! What is your opinion?”

My opinion is if it really needs ironing, then do it, if not then why bother? I think my Mum used to find it genuinely wrong that my sister and I iron nothing but shirts (unless it’s is REALLY creased) but gave up telling us year’s ago after my several ‘It gets messed up as soon as you put it on anyway’ retorts. Oddly though, we both used to love ironing when we were kids, finding it really therapeutic and my brother has to have all of his clothes neatly pressed and folded to feel at one with the world. It’s not that I dislike ironing, far from it, I actually love doing it when it is pressing open seams or preparing fabric to sew, but just feel when it is t-shirts and trousers that there are a lot more productive things to do than the ‘wax on/wax off’ motion for hours and as long as my OH doesn’t mind, I won’t either.


“What is your favourite way to cool down during a hot summer’s day?”

Any method that is quick, like having a cold shower or sticking my head in the fridge. Apart from my feet which are abnormal, my whole body is more often than not really warm anyway so when it gets too hot I quickly start sweating and feeling sick which is pretty grim. I always find it a lot harder to cool down than warm up as well so I very rarely wear jumpers, trousers or coat’s and especially in summer, only wear clothes that would be difficult to get too hot in. If my internal thermostat goes awol, ice is always great and if that doesn’t make a difference, I jump in the shower. Works a treat 🙂

Read ’em and weep (summer journal/photo a day)

weeping_woman[1]The photo hint for today is ‘clean’ and while I know that this is of course Picasso’s infamous ‘Weeping woman’, as a child seeing a picture of this I genuinely believed she was cleaning her face. In my naive little mind I didn’t see her tears, only her tissue and it wasn’t until I saw this in person at the Tate Modern on Thursday that I fully understood the grief depicted in the painting. I was also struck by how vivid the colour’s still were and just how close to the public such a priceless piece of art was. I must admit that this isn’t a style that I tend to favour, but there is something really moving about this piece, even with it being a bizarre composition. So yeah, she wasn’t actually cleaning herself  but it’s all in the eye of the beholder, right? 😉

imagesToday’s summer journal prompt is: “Remember your best friend at school? You may or may not know where she/he is now , but write her a postcard.”

My best friend at primary school was actually a him. He was called Simon and as most kid’s do, we didn’t see each other as a member of the opposite sex, just as another friend who shared a love of Playmobil. I think it is a shame that as an adult it is usually deemed that there are ulterior motives if you are mates with the other gender, quite ridiculous really but that’s just the way it seems to be looked at. On the whole, most of my closest friends as a little girl and even as an adult, were mainly male (of course there are exceptions). Simon and I would be glued to each other at school, he was always my book buddy and knew that if he pushed me over in the mud I would get up and chase him around until he got covered in earth too. If only adult friendships were that easy! hehe. I won’t be writing him a postcard as I have no idea where he is, but if I did I would probably just ask him whether his kids (last I heard he had 2), read the Biff Chip and Kipper series like we did and if he still loves the Jungle Book that he used to repeatedly sing all the songs from. Probably wouldn’t say a lot more than that as I like to remember people as I knew them rather than the totally different grown up they have most likely have become. Too nostalgic for my own good hehe 🙂

Leave of absence (summer journal/photo a day)

soviet[1]soviet2[1]I have two day’s of updates to do on this post after going off to London for a couple of days to see my sister. Naughty me for neglecting the blog, but it was lovely visiting her and I’m sure some of our adventures will unfold on other posts. Well to explain the above photo’s, the photo hint for yesterday was ‘gift’, so I thought I would share one of the present’s I made for my OH’s birthday. To excuse any mistakes that the more accomplished sewers may spot, this was my first attempt at making a drawstring bag so take it easy on me! For one of his 28mm miniature model games that he enjoys, he needed a dice bag and as he is playing as the world war two Soviet Union, this bright red bag fitted the bill. It actually took me an awful lot longer than I expected, mainly because I naively forgot about seam allowance, but oddly only on the top strip that housed the drawstring. So obviously there was a lot of easing in (as my college tutor used to say) but I got there in the end. It was all lined and it was all made using the gold and red Soviet colours. I found the patch on good old Ebay and then embellished round it with yellow star buttons. Hopefully my next attempt will be better, but for now he thinks it is fit for any Stalin player 🙂

cloud[1]The second photo hint was ‘clouds’. As you can see, this was a very fluffy white clouded picture, but in a gorgeous way, making this helter skelter at the Black Country Museum look like a giant ice cream to me…


Which leads nicely onto Thursday’s summer journal prompt: “Do you have a favourite ice cream? If you could invent a flavour, what would it be?”

I’m not really a fan of ice cream, having a Mr Whippy at the seaside is great but earlier in life I wouldn’t have opted for one for a treat. It’s probably because I was never really able to have them as a kid so I have just kind of learnt to not be too keen to avoid disappointment, but I do remember enjoying the mint choc chip Gino Ginelli and one that had pistachio in it but I have no idea on it’s name. If I could bring that stuff back I certainly would as it’s the only ice cream I’ve had that I miss eating. So far as inventing a new flavour goes, it would have to be toffifee (they are amazingly yummy chocolates) and nectarine flavour. One of my favourite fruits combined with a totally moreish treat = too many carbs but an awesomely divine dish! 🙂

index“Earlier in this series we remembered making a camp. Now design a new one. This is just for you – it’s a secret place and there you can be the person you want to be. However, the entrance is a door in a tree trunk and from there an elevator whisks you up into the branches of a tree! Write about your tree house”

Well if I could have one then it would of course be magical. Anybody who entered my tree house would always be happy, they would smile until their cheeks hurt and love each other so much that they would want to build their own above ground den. You would never need for anything up there, always being warm, clean and fed and would be able to lie back gazing at the stars to your heart’s content. Of course, as it’s my magical hideout, it would be in the best spot to see all of the constellations and they would appear even brighter from up in the branches. Anybody could come and join me whenever they wanted and just have a nice time, be happy and enjoy themselves, although selfishlessly I have decided I would have a corner just for me dedicated to all my crafting hobbies where I could sit and be peaceful stitching away without a care in the world. I would have to write a disclaimer to hang on the door saying I may not answer straight away, but nobody would care anyway as they would be loving just chilling out forgetting all their worries 🙂