Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! And what a year it's been too...I hope next year will be better.

Having a quick read through of some of my favourite bloggers, they all seem to be doing annual round-ups of their year in blogland - and they've been blogging long enough to know that takes a bit of planning. So I won't do that.
I thought perhaps I'd simply say which are my 3 most read posts - that's easy to find as google kindly present me with a whole list of stats, and then my favourite photos.

The most read post is easy to find. It was back on July 12th and was a ta-dah moment, showing one of the little dresses I made for Dress a Girl Around the World. I think I'd sent an email to one of the organisers and mentioned that I'd been writing about it on my blog, and she kindly added a link to their site. So THIS POST has had 163 views so far - thankyou ladies!

The second most popular post from April 12th had 65 views  - Scissor keeper, pin cushion & pin box. Take my advice if you decide to make a pin box though - don't line it with felt. I don't think it actually worked as a lining...

Third up with 59 views is Mara's Sewing Kit also from April 12th. How and why it came to be made is a long story - go and read it and follow the links. Suffice to say that Mara is a teenage girl in the Philippines, who is sponsored by a friend and he was going to visit her. I had decided to make her a sewing kit and got a bit carried away... This post showed the finished kit that he took out with him.

My own favourite post though, was probably the photo tutorial I did for Mara's Needlecase. It was a joy to make and I truly hope it is giving Mara as much pleasure as it gave me to make it.

And now some photos. I've shared so are just 4, in no particular order.

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

Right - I'm popping outside to watch the fireworks and listen to the fog horns. You can't have New Year without foghorns! I might even make a little video and share it tomorrow.

PS No foghorns... and the streetlight right outside meant the video was rubbish. Ah well...

Saturday, 19 December 2015


It's been 2 weeks since I was here last and it's been hectic to say the least!
The craft fair last weekend was disappointingly slow. The weather was unpleasant - not actually raining but dark, windy and... unpleasant. There were quite a few visitors to the fair but not as many as I thought there might be considering there were 40 traders!! I bought more than I sold! But at least I did sell something. The rest has been neatly packed away while I decide what to do with it.

I did meet some lovely ladies there though. I was particularly struck by the work of Sarah Duke of Dottery Pottery. She had the most gorgeous tea lite holder - Bird and Flower Tea Lite holder - that I really wanted to buy for myself. But I'm supposed to be buying Christmas presents for other people not things for me. So I decided I would only buy it if she still had it at the end of the fair. Naturally, she sold it 10 mins before it closed!!! Never mind. She said she'll be making more in the new year, so I'll just have to wait.She also gave me some very good advice about selling online - should I ever bite the bullet and go down that route.

Work has been horrendously busy!! It's such a hugely busy time of year anyway but when you're short staffed with no help, it really is no joke.I do worry about all the things that are just being left undone...
But Monday's are still amazing - I enjoy them so much you really can't call them work! And Lyn, the lovely manager, asked if I was happy to carry on in the New Year. Like I'd say no!! I asked what she had planned for the window for Valentine's - it needs to be ready by mid-January to give people time to buy the necessary supplies, then make their Valentine a gift. I just got a "look" for that idea!! Maybe we'll get Christmas over with first. I do have a few ideas though. I made a Pinterest board specially and have started filling it!

I saw this magazine recently and decided to buy it as it had a few good ideas I fancied trying. You can always rely on Woman's Weekly for good ideas! I remember my Mum buying it every week for years and we all had a read. The things I made from it!! I still see charities selling knitted Christmas decorations that I made from the magazine pattern 30 years ago!
Anyway, one of the patterns in the magazine was for a draught excluder, decorated with beach huts and I love a row of beach huts as much as the next person. So when my niece's boyfriend said his Gran might like a draught excluder for Christmas, you can imagine the wattage of the light bulb that went on in my head!!!

It just so happened that someone had only that day given me a roll of suedette fabric that I could use. And although I really wanted to make the beach huts, they would have taken a lot of work that I didn't have time for right before Christmas. Plus, the recipient was said to like flowers and it just so happened that I knew I had some ready cut patchwork flowers leftover form a quilt that I could use. And the magazine pattern suggested using a rolled up bath towel as a filling, and we just happened to have an old one that hadn't quite reached the bin. Clearly it was meant to be made!!
I made it the very next day as that was the only day I could guarantee I'd have time to do it and it didn't take long at all. The hardest part was trying to hand stitch the very thick suedette fabric. The pattern called for the insertion of a 50cm zip to make putting the towel in easier but I didn't have one. I had to struggle to try and inset a rolled up towel into a tight tube with a really grippy texture! And then stitch the ends closed...When I use this fabric again, I'll rethink that bit!!
But it turned out ok and my niece's boyfriend was pleased, so hopefully his Gran will be too. He says she re-gifts just about everything given to her as she's 90 and doesn't need anything. But she does need a draught excluder as she keeps pulling the doormat up in front of the door. So she might just keep it.

And finally, as I logged in today I had a nice little surprise of seeing that the number of views of my blog has reached 4,999!!!

Admittedly, a lot of those will be mine own I daresay and an awful lot of robots like to come and take a peak too. But I know there are real people who drop in now and then, so Thankyou and I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Rubbish photos

Another dull and overcast day. In fact I think it is now drizzling too. The lighting is appalling, so no chance of any good photos. Sorry...

Tina's Allsorts, Flowers for Memories

This is the best I could manage with the flowers. Nothing else is fit to be shown to anyone...
Do they look ok?? Even the green ones??
I decided to go for the dahlia/daisy style as I liked the way the petals curled inwards like a real flower.

While I was looking for the folder to store the flower photo in, I came across a mug hug I'd made for a lady at work 2 or 3 years ago. It was made from really think felt, decorated with red hearts, beads and blanket stitch. Not to be used a s a mug hug in the end but as a pen pot. (I think this first photo would look really nice printed on a Valentine card.)

Tina's Allsorts, Heart Mug Hug

Tina's Allsorts, Heart Mug Hug

Tina's Allsorts, Heart Mug Hug

These little mice are Sugar's predecessors. It feels like such a long time since I made them... Look how they've multiplied -

Tina's Allsorts, Box of Mice

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Busy, Busy

Life has suddenly become very busy! My regular job is now at it's busiest time of year (and short staffed), there is the second job to think about - and I'm LOVING the second job!! - plus there's Christmas shopping to do...

Then there are the Flowers for Memories that I've been making. There are at least a dozen now and I'm very happy with how they've turned out. (There are enough for each of my sisters, sisters-in-law, plus some friends.) I've also been finishing off all the little things I've made for the craft fair next week - it'll be here before I know it! EEK!! And I've finally decided on prices too, along with some multi-buy discounts. I love a discount myself, so hopefully my customers will too.

I was filling sheep with lavender today and the smell was so strong I could taste it. Still can actually! It almost makes my lips tingle... There's still an awful lot of lavender left - in an airtight box. I'm quite tempted to buy a bright red christmassy fabric and make more hearts. But I really don't have the time. And I really shouldn't be buying anything else either!

It's been so busy at work recently that it wasn't until the end of this week that I had time to pop in the craft shop at lunch time for a mooch through the book section. As I walked in the door the staff who were clustered round the till all waved at me! It was lovely. Then one of the girls who doesn't work Mondays said, with a big smile, "I'll get to work with you next Monday" - wow! What a welcome!! Mondays are my new favourite day. The hours of 10-5.30 mean I miss the worst of the rush hour traffic at both ends of the day. All the staff are really friendly and so are the customers. Plus I get paid to enjoy myself. Although I must admit...I am missing having a day a week I can devote to crafting, followed by a quick walk by the sea. But you can't have it all!!

If the daylight is better tomorrow, I'll take some photos of all my wares, as well as the flowers and put them here and on facebook. By for now!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Flowers for Memories

I was hoping to visit a friend at a craft fair today but I've been fighting a sore throat all week and thought it best to stay home in the warm and rest, rather than go haring off cross country in the cold. So I did a bit of crochet instead and produced my first flower for Flowers for Memories.

I had already had a browse through Ravelry for flower patterns and came across this Orange Gerbera by Camelia Shanahan. I turned out the blanket box full of wool this morning and came across something I don't remember buying at all but it was the perfect shaded wool, from yellow to red. The pattern actually used crochet cotton, not wool, so I knew mine would come out a lot bigger - the ball band said to use 5-6mm hook but I used 3.5mm to try and keep it smallish. The pieces worked up very quickly and easily and I pinned them to my little home-made pressing board (please forgive the stains - it's very well used!) and lightly steamed them them so they weren't too curly. I soon realised if I used all the rings of petal shapes, that my flower would be HUGE! So I left out the biggest petals (top right in my pic). Instead, I added 2 more petals to the petal ring at bottom right, so it would be long enough to form a double layer. The centre is green, although the one you see in the photo I decided was the wrong shade and made another in olive green. And here it is finished, next to the pattern.

Tina's Allsorts, Flowers for Memories

Although it is perhaps more dahlia than gerbera, I am none the less very pleased with how it turned out and I quickly glued a brooch pin to the back to finish it. I think the next one will be made just in white with a bright yellow centre, for a daisy. I have a little white in Patons Smoothie that will do the job nicely. I was going to make some more in this lovely variegated wool but when I bent down to pick the ball up from the floor, this is what greeted me -


Never mind, there's enough to make some more, I'll just have to wind off the green as I get to it. Although it might be ok to make a green flower I suppose. 

My first day of my new Monday job went well - I think. It's been nearly twenty years since I worked in a shop and although I was somewhat nervous to start with I did enjoy the day and am looking forward to next Monday morning. The staff are all really lovely too which is always a bonus. Being a Monday, it wasn't overly busy, but the Cathedral's Christmas Market has just opened and apparently an awful lot of people who visit Winchester just for the Market, can't resist popping into a craft shop they haven't seen before. There are even times when they get a whole coach load of people pouring through the door together and you don't know who to serve first! Can't wait for that!!

My regular job is now really busy as well - it always is this time of year - but we have the added complication of two members of staff unfortunately now on long term sick leave. And no help to cover... By the time I was asked if I could go full time again for a while, it was too late, I already had a second job and didn't want to leave when I had only just started. So somehow I need to magic up extra hours to do someone else's work as well as my own. I get the feeling I am going to be very stressed very soon!!

With so much going on at work(s!), I haven't really wanted to do any sewing at home. Maybe my mojo has burned itself out was a bit manic for a while there. I'm sure it will be back soon though. So I'm very glad I've kept busy the last few weeks making things for the craft fair as it's happening 3 weeks today!!!  It's on Saturday December 12th at Bishop's Waltham Jubilee Hall - I've put a link on my facebook page. If you happen to live in the area, do come along and say hi - and spend loads and loads on my stall!! (Hee hee!!)

Sun 22nd Nov

I had a go at the white daisy last night and have just taken a quick photo - the lighting is rubbish today, so it didn't come out too well. But I'm very happy with how the daisy itself turned out. I made it a little differently from the first flower. Although I still followed the pattern instructions on working the petals, I just made one continuous line of them, rather than break the yarn and start again for the next size petal. I made 16 of the smallest petals, then 16 of the second size. And a simple yellow centre.

Tina's Allsorts, Flowers for Memories

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Woo Hoo!!

Woo Hoo!! I've been offered a job to fill my Mondays!!!    :-)
I noticed the local craft shop emporium was advertising for part time staff, so I popped in for a chat with the owner. (I had asked before, when I first had my hours reduced but they had nothing available at the time.) The staff in there are all lovely and I've been a customer for eight years now, so I was chuffed to bits when she just said, yes, OK, can you start next Monday? It was the most informal interview I've ever had. Very refreshing.
I haven't worked in a shop for a very long time. And never in a craft shop. I'm slightly worried about how many things I'll be wanting to make as my head starts to fill with more and more ideas...
It's only until Christmas initially, to see how I get on and whether we like each other etc but it will be very good to have something structured to fill my Mondays again. My poor old body clock still doesn't know what day it is...Or the month come to that! Is it just me or has this year just flown by? It doesn't seem possible that it's almost half way through November already - the Christmas market opens next week!

I'll still do the craft fair in December with my niece of course but will have less time to make anything else to sell. I'm glad I've tried to keep myself busy over the last few weeks preparing for it - I really did try to take the attitude that I had a work-from-home day, not another day off.

I do feel somewhat guilty that I haven't had time to make any dresses or shorts for "Dress a Girl" for ages now. And I have yet to find the time to make the Flowers for Memories brooches I had planned on doing either. I did think I might be able to make them during lunch breaks but they have been getting shorter lately as work has now become really busy for a variety of reasons. But I will make them.  I will!

And I may not have as much time to blog in the run up to Christmas either. I've got to squeeze in some christmas shopping too...

Anyway, that's all for now, I just wanted to share my news. A new job...exciting but a bit scary too. Wish me luck!!

Monday, 2 November 2015

They've got wings!

The chickens now have wings. I was out and about today and saw some pink felt that I thought might be ok and as it was only 36p for a small square, I decided to give it a go. Well, the colour was just right and it turned out to be quite quick and easy to stitch the wings in place.

So I now have a happy flappy flock of chickens!!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Memories of a sunny day

Yesterday turned out to be a beautiful day with blue skies and a surprisingly warm temperature for the time of year. It made me think back a year, when I spent a very similar day with a good friend at Hengistbury Head. In fact, I think it was even a little warmer this time last year. It was November 1st and the temperature was over 20 deg C!
The beach huts at Hengistbury are amazing - they look more like miniature houses, never mind huts!! We had a lovely time wandering amongst them and along the beach, admiring the wonderful array of colours they were painted with shades of blue, turquoise, lavender, green and cream.

Hengistbury Head

There were quite a few owners there, making the most of the sunshine and where they had the doors open, you could see how well appointed they were and they even had an attic room, with a ladder to climb up. Oh how I wish I had a beach hut to visit as often as I could, filled to overflowing with every craft I could think of! I can't think of anything better than being by the sea while I busy myself with crafting. It would be sheer heaven. But I don't have a beach hut so I shall have to content myself with daydreams of one...
Speaking of crafting, I've been busy finishing off the Sugar Mice, giving them all whiskers -

Sugar Mice

Tina's Allsorts, chicken pin cushion
I've also made a little flock of chicken pin cushions, complete with tail feathers. I can't quite decide whether to add little wings on them or not. They look ok without them I think and I'd have to buy just the right colour felt to make the wings. And obviously, the wings should have been hand stitched in place before the bodies wre stitched together - they'll be a right fiddle to stitch on now. We'll see. I've got some fancy pins somewhere - I'll have to hunt them out and put some in each chicken.
I've also made nearly ten covered notebooks/diaries in an assortment of colours. I've not had chance to get any decent photos of them all yet. They'd look good lined up together on a bookshelf. And I thought I'd do a few simple little rectangular lavender sachets, as well as hearts. And some "sheep-shaped" lavender bags - or should that be lavender baaa-gs!! I've not photographed them properly yet. The question is, having made all these things - will they sell?... I have my fingers very firmly crossed!!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Overrun with mice!!!

The pink mice are coming along. In fact, they're breeding quite fast!!

Tina's Allsorts, Sugar Mice

Tina's Allsorts, Sugar Mice

There are another 5 that need ears and eyes and most of them still need whiskers. I tried a couple with hessian strands for the whiskers - it worked brilliantly and they didn't need to be stiffened at all. They just didn't look as good as the bright pink embroidery thread...So whiskers will be added - and stiffened - bit by bit I think.

Did I mention a while back that my mojo seemed to be missing and had been for at least a couple of years??...
Well, I think it's safe to say that not only is it back but it's back with a vengeance and I'm having trouble keeping it under control!! No sooner do I start one project, I've already thought of something else and I'm desperate to try that too!!! 

(I'm already bored with zipped purses, although I will make some more in other colours. Just not right now.)

I meant to go to a craft fair today. My local haberdashers had organised their own craft fair in a local community centre and I intended to go for the last hour or so. But I completely forgot... It turned out to be such a beautiful sunny day that I decided to go to Hilliers for a splash of colour and quite forgot the time. Along with everything else...
But as luck would have it, Hilliers were also hosting a craft fair of sorts. I don't know how long it will be on - they often last a week. There was a room full of the most fabulous textile arts and crafts. I was sort of glad I hadn't taken much cash, as I would have bought loads! I settled for a a little card with a fabric seaside scene with little sail boats and this chap -

He's much the same as the chicken doorstops and paperweights that I made but he's filled with stuffing so he can be used as a pin cushion. I like the addition of  little wings and tail feathers - I might have to make some with stuffing myself!!
I had to buy him. I just had to! Whilst making the mice I kept thinking I needed a pin cushion next to me rather than use the arm of the sofa. And now I have!

I never did manage to make it to Sheffield Park, never mind Weston Birt to see the autumn colour but Hilliers has more than it's fair share of autumn glory if you know where to look. And having been visiting there for 20+ years, I know exactly where to look! I took loads of photos and will share some later when I've been through them.  For now, I'll leave you with a picture of James. Yes, this tree really is called James.And he's very handsome indeed.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Yes !!!! 9999 !!!

LOOK!!!!! It's there!!!! 9999!!!! That's nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine views!!!

 YES -  nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine !!!

Woo Hoo!!! I'm just a little bit excited!!! 

Tina's Allsorts, Stripey Blanket

If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, click here - stripey blanket. It'll take you to my project page on Ravelry. Maybe you'll be the 10,000th??? Or maybe you read my post yesterday and have been one of the people who have boosted the views over the past day? If so, Thankyou!

I can sleep well now...

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sugar Mice

I've been thinking all week on what other things I can make and had remembered a little mouse I made nearly 3 years ago. I'm still a bit stuck on the pink theme and thought a few pink mice would be nice, a bit like sugar mice - remember them?! Then I suddenly thought, I could call her Sugar the Mouse and stitch her name on the base!

Tina's Allsorts
It's been a while since I did any free motion stitching but it's a bit like riding a bike really. I got carried away and wrote it quite a few times!
I did think maybe she could have a brother called Spice (Sugar & Spice?...) and had to stop myself rushing ahead and stitching that too! One thing at a time. Or if you're me, 3 or 4  at a time. At least...

My memory played a little trick and told me she'd be quick to make. She isn't. But she is very cute!!

I couldn't find the pattern I'd used before so had to draught a new one first. And you know what? When I pulled out some of my pink fabric that was tucked away safely, one piece had a mouse body cut out of one edge from 3 years ago and it was perfect enough I could have made a pattern from it. Never mind - my new version is almost the same, just a fraction larger.

I set to making a sturdy cardboard template from my paper pattern for all the little body parts - body, ears and base - and made the first couple to remind myself how to make them. Then I got stuck in and started a little production line of pink mice - they're only part made so far. The other thing my memory forgot to remind me about was that apart from one machine stitched line for the back seam of the body, they are completely hand stitched...But I can sit and do them in the evening when there's nothing on the telly, or take them to work for a little lunchtime sewing.

So I've been busy today pressing, machine stitching, turning through and stuffing the nose. Naturally I couldn't resist a few photos along the way!

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

Tina's Allsorts

What do you think? I did wonder about filling her with lavender - I haven't yet but maybe she could have a spoonful or two. And should I stiffen the whiskers?? I did that with the mice 3 years ago - I rain a touch of glue along the threads to just separate and stiffen them a little. It was a very messy job and I was picking glue off my fingers tips for the next couple of days as well. Maybe I'll wait till they're all made, so I only have to get messy once.

My sister in law popped in while I was busy with the mice and looked at the things I've made so far and bought a large zipped purse made with a "sewing print" fabric, a matching coin purse and requested a matching notebook too. So I then got side tracked from mice and made the notebook cover straight away - they're quicker than mice too! As you can see from this picture, when I get going, things get quite untidy. And you can't get to the dining table either as I just take over!! Apart from the dining table, there was also a selection of fabric, cutting tools and trimmings on chairs, worktop and floor...

Tina's Allsorts

Yesterday someone asked if I was going to sell things on Esty, which I had considered, so I had a look at the basics of what's involved and the costs. The costs aren't as high as I expected but would still be nearly 10% of my selling price. Another thing to take into consideration when setting your prices. And just how do you price a mouse?? She's only 4" high, doesn't take a lot of fabric but takes nearly an hour to make. Answers on a postcard...

PS Nearly forgot!

Look how many views my Stripey Blanket has had on Ravelry!
It's been going up quite quickly this week for some reason. Not sure I'm going to see the magic 9999 though...

Monday, 12 October 2015

Vintage Buttons

Just a quick hello today. I've been busy making little zipped purses and wanted to add something to the zip tab to make them easier to grab and pull open. I thought perhaps a short length of ribbon with maybe a button threaded on it. I went through my button jar to see what might work and came across this little card of buttons. I once bought a bag of buttons in a charity shop and there were quite a few still on their original card. Looking at these, I had to stop and ask myself if I had ever worn any underwear that required buttons, never mind button that were boil proof!! I realised yes, I had once had an all in one "thing" that opened at the crotch - they were all the rage. And I was young. But it had poppers not buttons. And it certainly wasn't made form a fabric you could boil!!

PS The chocolate was disappointing. I'll stick to chocolate buttons and pringles...
And Lucy of Attic 24 has an update on the Flowers for Memories. After "going on show", they will still be sold as originally planned.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Flowers for Memories

Do you ever read Lucy's blog over at Attic24?? She's an amazing crocheter (if there is such a word) and produces the most colourful creations, all of which she shares for free. She's also very involved in what looks to be an amazing crafty weekend called Yarndale. I'll go one day - I will. I'd love to...

See all that bunting in the photo below? In Yarndale's first year, hundreds of people around the world made all those triangles to decorate the hall. Lucy received thousands of triangles and it looks amazing. I made a few myself. In year two, she asked for mandalas. Again thousands arrived - including mine. (You can see them on display again on the Attic 24 link above.)

This year, it was flowers that were requested. Sheila, in the photo below, wanted to raise funds for the Alzheimers Society and thought crocheted flowers could be used to make brooches, corsages, floral wreaths etc and then sold. "Flowers for Memories" was the tagline. Again, hundreds of people made and sent in thousands of flowers and they were able to make the most incredible display.
(To my shame, I simply never found the time to make any, although I meant to from the moment I first read about it as my mother died from Alzheimers.)

Ever since the show back in Sept, I've been checking both Lucy's blog and the Yarndale pages for news of how the flowers were going to be sold and intended to buy several myself and then give as gifts to family and friends, with a note saying where they were from and why.

However, reading Lucy's blog today, it seems that so many of the visitors to this years Yarndale said it would be a real shame to break up the display and it should "go on show" for more people to enjoy. So rather than sell the flowers, they requested donations from people asking to take photos. And they raised a whopping £1800 over the 2 days.

The whole thing sounded amazing and I wish I had been there to see it - I would gladly have given a donation, then made my own flower. I left a comment this morning and I've just gone back for another looking while writing this post and started reading the comments other people had left...some of them were vile, complaining that they had been lied to as they made flowers to be sold and now they wouldn't be. I didn't read many of them. I just couldn't.

Just look at the joy on Sheila's face with the reactions the display received. To see the whole display in "the flesh" must have been quite overwhelming and emotional and anyone who has been touched by Alzheimers would completely understand the decision not to sell.

So I think as a tribute to Sheila and Lucy's amazing efforts, I will be making some flower brooches over the coming weeks and giving them to family and friends. And for every flower, I will make a donation. So sucks to all the people who left those nasty comments - you should be ashamed.

A leaving gift

One of the ladies at work is leaving and I thought it might be nice if I made a couple of little things for her as a leaving gift. I settled on a zipped purse measuring approx 7" x 3" - I thought she could either use it for her crochet hook and scissors etc, or a pencil case at her new job. Along with a diary for next year with a matching cover. It's A6 size, so can be used on any standard sized notebook as well.

Tina's Allsorts, zipped purse

Whilst searching through my stash for trimmings, I came across a small reel of printed ribbon with the word Love and thought it might look nice to stitch a little piece to the lining. It looked so good I think I'll be doing that again! I bought some pink gauze ribbon and a single glass bead to tie to the zip pull. I want to get some labels made printed with Tina's Allsorts to stitch in the side seam inside (or maybe on the outside) but I've not had chance yet.

I gave them to her yesterday (along with a Friday doughnut!!) and I think she liked them. Although she may not have been keen on the pink!

Today, I went to the opticians to collect my new glasses - varifocals this time, along with a separate pair for computer work. I've heard a lot of horror stories about varifocals and how hard they are to get used to but personally, I put them on and they were simply amazing! 
I can't wait to try out the computer glasses at work too, as I've needed a new prescription in them for ages. I've got them on now but the laptop sits closer to me than the screen at work so they're not quite right -  but a lot better than my eight year old reading glasses that I had been using at home!

Tomorrow I'll get to try the varifocals out when sewing. Hopefully, I'll be able to see clearly for measuring an cutting, as well as stitching. I had the camera out earlier and could actually see the screen properly!! This is what I took a photo of - 

While trying out the varifocals, I was wandering round Sainsburys reading all the labels - yes really, it was brilliant! - I saw this bar of chocolate. I couldn't believe it. Someone has actually made a bar of chocolate with salty cracker in it!! All my friends think I'm very strange because I love to eat chocolate and crisps in the same mouthful. Now they've made it!!
Naturally I bought a bar - it's only small - I'll have it later with a cup of coffee.
I also bought flowers for the lovely lady in the opticians who went beyond the call of duty to help me choose frames and lenses etc.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Autumn's first splash of colour

Just a quickie today. Remember the ornamental cherry tree outside the office window that looked amazing covered in spring blossom way back in February or March??

 Well, just look at it now -

Tina's Allsorts
It was still all green on Monday but day by day, it has changed colour. I took this picture yesterday and there was still  a little green around the bottom branches but I don't think there's any green left today.

I keep forgetting that we're into October now! (Did I sleep through September??...) I must start planning some autumn colour walks soon. I might try and get to Sheffield Park Gardens this year - it gets very busy but the colours are amazing. And there's Westonbirt Arboretum. I went there once in early spring and would love to go back in the autumn one day - I bought their guide book and the photos of the autumn colours were truly jaw dropping. It's a bit of a drive for a one day visit though. We'll see.

Enjoy the weekend's sunshine before Monday's rain!!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Autumn sunshine

After a spot of zip shopping after lunch, I should have spent the afternoon sewing but the sunshine was so glorious again that I opted to sit in the sunshine for a good couple of hours before heading to Weston Shore for a breath of air and a quick stretch of the legs. It was so warm I didn't even need a cardigan.

Weston Shore is what is classed as "a beach" in these parts. It's not much but the parking is free, there's usually an ice cream van, you can watch the birds when the tide is out and the boats when it's in. This is as sandy as it gets -

I came across this huge jelly fish, left behind by the receding tide. It must have been at least a foot across - much more had it been submersed in the water I'm sure. Never seen one here before, although I hear they're quite common.

The sunlight looked lovely as it sparkled on the water and I couldn't resist trying to take a picture on my phone, although my camera would have done a much better job. Further along the beach there were lots of wading birds having a wale of a time fishing in the exposed mud. They made a lovley sound chattering away to each other.

There hasn't been much building along the shore line at all surprisingly. If you travel up river just a little there are lots of new blocks of flats on both sides of the river but not here. Not yet at least. Not even a row of beach huts... All there is really, is a row of tower blocks that stand like sentinels at the entrance to Southampton Water. They look quite imposing when seen from a ship - or the Isle of Wight ferry...
They had a makeover not so long ago and the sea-ward end of each block was painted blue, with each building being a paler shade. They've been here my whole life, yet with a new paint job they look quite new. The thing that gives away that they're not new is that they don't have balconies. All the new builds seem to have balconies these days!!

I should make more effort to make it down here. It's a nice walk along the shore - as long as you don't want sand!

And in case you're wondering, yes, of course I bought fabric as well as zips. I saw a lovely sewing machine/scissor/button print and a matching solid, so bought a piece of each... I might put together a little kit and take it into work, along with the fabric and start cutting everything to size ready to sit at the machine come the weekend and just sew. That will speed things up no end. But what to make first? Old fabric? New fabric? Knowing me it will be new!!