30 May 2009


The postie just brought me this little parcel, which contained a roll of stabilizer that Manxgirl wanted to give away. It will be so useful for bags, applique etc, thank you so much Lou!

I've just heard that Julia from Albion House Crete is hoping to come over in August for a spot of Fabric Guild browsing and a visit to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC. Julia is a very creative and energetic person, she quilts, paints, photographs and cooks!

29 May 2009


I wanted to express thanks to one or two of you bloggers out there!

First of all Julia, a friend from Crete, who introduced me to patchwork and quilting. If she hadn’t persuaded me to take her to the Fabric Guild when she came to stay I would never have bought that first batch of fabric and got started on my first quilt…

Then there are all the lovely people in Blogland whose tutorials, patterns and photographs inspired me and helped me to get going, especially Bonnie at Quiltville, whose instructions were so easy to follow. I didn’t know there were so many crafty people out there until I started searching for a quilt pattern!

And of course those people who make bags – when I ran out of beds to make quilts for and wanted some inspiration for using up the scraps and leftovers – along came the ‘crazy patchwork’ and ‘string piecing’ people, and those who generously posted patterns online for bags and purses!

Also, of course, my family, who patiently waited while I sewed and stitched and generally neglected them, watching me becoming gradually more hooked on the whole quilting thing. Special thanks need to go to my husband, who bought me a new sewing machine using his business Nectar points. Before I started quilting and crafting the only sewing I did was to run up the occasional pair of curtains or a new cushion or two. My sewing machine was my mother’s old 1950s New Home flatbed, quite adequate for curtains but not much else. My only regret is that I didn’t start this hobby years ago!

PS, this is the view from my sewing room the other day when it was sunny on one side of the house and raining on the other!

27 May 2009


What do I do with a day off and a bag of velvet remnants? Well this is the result, I like it, hope you do too! I lined the bag with some lovely co-ordinating print which never looked quite right for any of my quilt designs

First I sewed strips of velvet together, added batting and some calico for backing and quilted down the seams. The resulting fabric was then made into the bag and the lining added separately. I put a little zip pocket in the lining just to finish it off and added the closure with a magnetic clip. Velvet is difficult to work with as it frays like mad and my floor was covered in little bits after I had finished, but I think the result was worth it!

25 May 2009


Oh heck! These Mondays do come around quick!
Well this week's FMM subject is 'how did you meet your significant other?', so here goes! The rules are as before and can be found in Kasey's blog.
I had been divorced, after a disastrous first marriage at age 18, which lasted 14 months, details of which I won't go into. My parents had got used to me NOT being at home, so I got a job in a hotel about 30 miles away, just to get away from the area and my ex. Life was fun-filled, but deep down I was very lonely and really wanted a special 'someone' in my life. Working and living in a hotel allowed me to meet lots of different people, but most of them of course were just passing through, so that special relationship (or, indeed, ANY relationship) never seemed to happen.

A friend of mine at the hotel was in a similar situation and had bought a 'singles' magazine in which were lots of 'lonely hearts' adverts. We giggled a bit over some of these (in those days they were all pretty innocent, not like some we see in the papers today) then decided we would sit down and answer a couple each. Some of the replies I received were, to say the least, weird. There was no way I would have met up with any of these guys, especially the one who sent me a bunch of dead buttercups inside his reply letter! There was one, however, which was slightly more interesting than the others who I decided I would like to meet. The only trouble was, he lived in Birmingham and I lived in Sussex - a three hour drive apart.

We corresponded for a few weeks and spoke on the phone, then arranged that he would come to the hotel for a weekend break and we would see how we got on; unfortunately that didn't happen as he found he needed to work that particular weekend, being self-employed and all that. So on my very next day off I drove up to see him in a borrowed car. He lived on his own in a cute little cottage with a huge Great Dane, which was old and smelly and slightly off-putting, (the Great Dane not the cottage!) however we found we got on really well and had lots to talk about but I really didn't think this person was my ideal partner, so on my return to the hotel I decided not to see him or his Great Dane again!

John had other plans and, a few days after I returned home, he arrived unexpectedly. This happened on several occasions, he would just drive down after work and appear when I was least expecting him! In between visits we would talk on the phone for hours. This was January/February of 1981. By April we knew we wanted to be together and by June we were married! It will be our 28th anniversary next month so I think he must have been Mr Right after all! Thank you John for being so persistent, I'm glad your heart was lonely at the same time as mine! HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE - IT'S A HOLIDAY HERE!

24 May 2009


After what must have been the wettest, coldest and most miserable spring on record, yesterday and today we finally have warmth and sunshine! I made the most of yesterday, mowing the lawn and weeding the veggies whilst taking a few snaps of the flowers that are in bloom at the moment (everyone seems to like looking at flower photos!)

Here are a couple of different Aquilegia (or Granny's bonnets I think they're called). These are one of my favourite early summer flowers, they flower gracefully above everything else in the border and then produce hundreds of seedlings which are so pretty and delicate I can't bear to dig them out! Each new seedling is a slightly different flower as they tend to cross-pollinate and never look like the originals.

This is one of my very garish Azaleas which really brightens up a dull corner. I love bright colours.

And this is a geranium Johnson's Blue, which has also spread around the garden nicely, another beautiful colour.

And this is my newly-weeded, slug pelleted (sorry but there are hundreds of the things down there eating all my nice veg) vegetable patch. You can see betroot in the foreground, the leaves of which you can eat in salad, so as I'm thinning them out I'm putting them in the salad bowl. Behind the beetroot is some mange-tout, which the snails have had a go at but hopefully I've saved them in time. Over the back is the strawberry patch - yum!

22 May 2009


I wanted to share some photos of our little bit of paradise in Crete...

This is a view of the village as you are walking down from the house to the local taverna

This is the view from the front of the house...

...and this is the house! We have called it Spiti Limone, or Yellow House. You can see it from the road several miles away because of the colour it is painted!
There is still much work to be done but a huge amount has been completed since we first bought the house as a renovation project two years ago. Can't wait to be going there in July, even though hubby has given me a long list of jobs to do while I'm there!

18 May 2009


As I would quite like a few new blogging friends to add to the lovely ones I alread have, I've taken part in Friend Makin' Monday

if you'd like to play along, go on over and see kasey.
today's task is to fill in my answers to the following questions:

You wouldn't be caught dead where? At an Ann Summers shop (that's saucy underwear and other things for those of you who may not know!)

Do you have any hidden talents? I used to be able to put my big toe in my mouth but that was QUITE a long time ago!

Name two things you consider yourself to be very good at: Organisation and Spelling

Name two things you consider yourself to be very bad at: Speaking to strangers and keeping in touch with friends by telephone.

Have you ever won a trophy?: No but I once won a prize for art when I was in infants school!

Name one thing not many people know about you: I once did a parachute jump from 2000 feet.

Name your earliest memory: Being pushed around the market hall in Burton upon Trent in my pram by my Granddad .

What was something the worst roommate you ever had did? Never had a roommate!

If you were about to die what would your last meal be? Possibly Lasagne with cheesey chips, followed by sticky toffee pudding with lashings of cream

Who is the most important person in your life? My husband

If your house was on fire what 3 things would you grab on your way out? If we're talking things rather than people it would be my dog, my cat and my photographs

If you want to take part then just go and visit Kasey for the rules etc.


John outside Spiti Limone (not sure why he's wearing his 'Baggies' shirt in that heat!)

John arrived home safely on Friday evening after a month away in Crete working on our little hillside hideaway, AKA Spiti Limone. He was sooooo glad to be home and to have someone to talk to, after a very gruelling journey there and back through Europe in his old Transit van.

The trip was fairly eventful; there were one or two disasters on the way and at the house, which I won't go into, but he was pleased to have done a bit more work on the spiti, and caught up with some friends, including Jude and Geoff, though some more rest time would have been good as he has come back fairly exhausted. He was too tired even to go to the West Bromwich Albion match on Sunday; he watched them lose on Sky TV at Emily's instead - they'll be in the Championship next year.

He did bring me some lovely pressies, including a nice big can of olive oil from our very own trees - thanks to Jude and Geoff's hard work, and this lovely lovely necklace from our friends Vangelis and Maria from Elounda, who make and sell beautiful jewellery. Ironically, the necklace is made from some of the Birmingham pewter which John took over for Vangelis last year! Anyway, I am sooo glad to have my hubby home again!

11 May 2009


The craft afternoon went really well, we hadn't really advertised or pushed it as we wanted to see how it went and whether we could actually cope before we went all out for it. Lots of ladies came through the doors and by the time we had been open 15 minutes we had various tutorials going on all around the room. There were crochet classes, beading, sewing, fabric crafts, card making and even hula hooping in one corner! It was so much fun that even if no-one had turned up I would still have enjoyed sewing along with a few friends. I even sold a few bags, which was a real bonus! I did have to strip all the beds to have enough items to take along but it was definitely worth it and I think we inspired others to have a go. I'm currently busy designing and making up a few more bags for the next effort.

This is Audrey who makes wonderful beaded jewellery, showing some ladies how it's done.

Jane makes lovely cards and gift boxes

And this is Gail, who crochets bags with plastic carrier bags and sells them to fundraise for Derby City Mission. Gail also teaches hula hooping and, in her spare time, is a primary school teacher!

8 May 2009


Here is my contribution so far to the Nine Patch Quilt Along made entirely from scraps leftover and cut into strips from earlier projects, and even a couple of shirts and a nightie! I must confess to making up most of these over the space of a couple of days as I simply do not have time to make one every day! Not sure what day we're on but I think I've done enough so far to keep up. I'm really not a fan of scrappy quilts but I think when the whole lot is completed it will look OK. There are quite a few duplicated blocks here but again, when I've made a few more, they should be suitably dispersed. How are yours coming along?

I've also been making a few more bags for the crafting day - this one is my latest and I would welcome some really HONEST comments about it. It started off as a book bag and sort of evolved into a handbag. It has a removable, washable lining with pockets as I thought it could possibly be used as a cosmetics/toiletries bag. Not sure though, whether this colour would be very popular! I did like the plaited velvet handle, made from a large bag of pieces of velvet I found the other day for £3 in a local craft shop. The actual bag is a piece of tapestry fabric from a market stall which sells ends of rolls and stuff.

I also used some more of the velvet to make this little flower, which I beaded and then attached a small pin to the reverse. I love these little flowers! The centre piece had to be quite large because the velvet is so thick, so instead of using a button I just stuffed a circle of velvet with some wadding.

4 May 2009



I will make something for the first five people who post a comment and agree to carry it on.
The rules of the game are below.

The first five (cinq) (cinco) (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. (No refunds... no exchanges!!!!)

2. What I create will be just for you, with love from me

3. It'll be done this year (2009).

4. I will not give you any clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. I may even create something totally unbelievable and surprise you!! Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!

5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange...or awesome...or lovely.

6. In return, all you need to do is post this text into a note/post of your own and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to it.

7. Send your mailing address if you don't live close to me! Feel free to email your mailing addy to jenny.howell at hotmail dot com IMPORTANT: This offer is null and void if I do not see you post your own note to pay this forward...and believe me, I'll look.

So. Who's playing?