Thanksgiving residents

Of course, we had to take Bob and Louise to Leeds Castle as it is such a beautiful place.

They were just starting to put up the Christmas decorations when we arrived so that was a nice addition to our trip. It is always great fun to take new people to our favourite places. I think I will always laugh a bit when I see the girl with the starched headdress and Anne with her ear flaps and dour looks.

They looked quite at home there!

We hurried back to Canterbury as Louise advised me that there were some items that I needed to have for my sewing kit and persuaded pao to get me some early Christmas gifts so I could get going with the sewing machine.

I also got this cute fabric – cats on the outside, sheep on the inside — sums me up perfectly.

She even helped me by sitting up and devising a better box bag pattern so I could keep in my sewing box so I could do it again. I didn’t know that greaseproof paper/baking parchment could be a good substitute for tailoring paper but it does make sense.

It was nervewracking to cut the pieces out of the fabric.

Louise very kindly did the difficult part of inserting the zipper with help from Sirius as he is a cat that likes to get involved.

He was rewarded for his efforts to get his tail sewn into the cat bag with a cat tie.

I sewed the rest of the bag once Louise had fixed up the cat flaps.

This is the strange foldy bit that foxed me with the original pattern but now I understand what I’m doing thanks to Louise’s handy pattern.

Ta-da! A very cute cat and sheep bag! Thank you, Louise!!

Louise the fixer

Remember the fox bag I was going to make? I did work on it with a friend but there was a bit of wonkiness in that the handle was twisted and we had been quite befuddled in how it all worked. When I mentioned that I’d inherited an old handcrank Singer sewing machine, Louise said she could figure out how to fix it to my very great joy.

Louise explained that the pattern we’d used was a little complex as it used the concept of darts which would be a bit difficult for a beginner.

She then resewed the ends.

Marked out where to sew across to make the darts.

And resewed the edges of the bag.

Yay! Fully functioning fox bag! I used to to store my knitting in when we headed to Leeds Castle. I left my camera in the car so I’ll have to get those photos off Paul’s when I get a moment. What a superstar, Louise is and she is so good at explaining and figuring out things 🙂

They’re here!

Bob and Louise have arrived! Yay! We are so delighted to have them come and stay with us for a few days.

No visit to Canterbury is complete without a trip to Tiny Tim’s so we didn’t dare miss a chance for a cup of tea and a snack.

They have a Bentley-inspired window theme (Bentley’s is the owner’s dog who we met at the vet’s last week).

Obligatory Tiny Tim’s photo. Sadly, no pao as he was not feeling too good.

We did bring him back a Bentley gingerbread biscuit which he pronounced ‘very good’.

First go – flower arranging

Apologies to those of you who have commented recently and not had a reply. WordPress have had some problems and your comments are not being emailed. Still trying to fix things!!

I love to make a little Christmas arrangement with candles etc every year but I’ve never actually properly learnt how to do it so I was really excited that at WI last night, we learnt to do a little arrangement and were given instructions on making a Christmas wreath (maybe I’ll do that if I’m feeling brave).

It was one of those occasions where I wish I’d been a little more swottish and sat near the front so my foilage started to get a bit free-style as I has lost the thread of what the demonstrator was saying.

I learnt how to fluff out a carnation so it looks more full by rolling, pinching and primping it.

I also couldn’t resist the chance to play with the glitter and glue.

Ta-da! A candle totally makes it. I am stupidly pleased with myself and I realise that flower arranging is so much more difficult than it looks. Some of the ladies on my table had very petite arrangements whereas mine was big and blowy. But I like it and so does Tamyra as she keeps coming to sniff it.

Fall Photos

I managed to grab a few moments in a break in the wet weather to get a few fall photos.

I’ve been wanting to get a photo of a squirrel for a very long time. A little blurry though!

I then turn around and there is another squirrel on the wall!

Working quickly and quietly, I managed to get round and take this photo. I am really pleased with it!

I saw the leaves on the steps and though they looked great.

More leaves!

Beautiful park!

Itty Bitty Kitties

My friend V got kitties today – the are called Vita and Virginia after Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf. So I guess that makes them collectively the three Vs?

Sew Pin-teresting

Sew today was the day where we tried out the sewing machine. pao watched the threading video and had a few goes at sewing added by a very interested Tamyra.

A *very* interested Tamyra (I think the flower remedies are starting to work as she is not hiding as much as she has been and has started to get interested in doing things).

pao seems like a natural.

I liked the idea of us doing a little tiny project so I thought we would do a small pin cushion using some scrap fabric I had kicking about. The white and blue is some very old Liberty Tana Lawn and the plain blue is just a piece of velvet I had kicking about. Some pretty lace or ric rac to cover up the seam. Simple?

Sirius soon caught on that something new and exciting was happening and came over for a nosy.

After a little discussion on how we were going to make the pin cushion, pao brought some tracing paper and I used a makeup compact to make up a little cutting pattern and we were ready to sew.

A bit of sewing up by hand (not very neat I know but sewing has never been a strong point) … VOILA! A pin cushion 🙂

Sew Nice

I was given a gift that I will treasure always today by pao’s grandmother. We have been wondering about getting a sewing machine for a while and been weighing up pros and cons, chatting to sewing machine owning friends, looking in shops, websites, and generally still remaining a little puzzled as to whether it would be worth getting a cheapo one, saving up for an uber one or getting something in between. I’d seen a hand crank machine being used by a friend of mine and thought that’d be nice and decided to get rid of some of the many relics of yesteryear that were cluttering up the garage as they had electrics of questionable vintage and wait for the right moment for a vintage hand crank or buy a mid-range Janome. pao was talking to his grandmother a few weeks ago and she said she’d be pleased if we would give her sewing machine a home. Bearing in mind that she’d bought it second-hand in the 40s or 50s, this machine is very old but definitely seems to be working and parts are plentiful unlike the old Vesta I had had in the garage. So the Vesta made it’s way to my friend’s happy house in Glasgow and I managed to give away the other two machines we’d found in the garage away to a happy sewing machine enthusiast friend who wouldn’t be afraid of the elderly electrics etc.

A postscript to the tale of the elderly sewing machines is that I have been loaned another machine by a friend who was loaned it by another friend but on first attempt, it made quite a loud bang and it has been consigned to the naughty corner under the stairs until it can be collected by whoever it was who loaned it to the first person (confused, much?). I have dubbed it the Christine of the sewing machine world as it started sewing on its own (pre-bang) and we couldn’t stop it without pulling out the power cord. I fear Christine may be with us for some time…

Ok, I’m rambling but I am rather happy with this Singer 99k 🙂 It has no scary electrics and parts are in plentiful supply. There are even YouTube videos explaining the threading and bobbins and servicing. I am leaving all the technical stuff like oiling and cleaning etc to pao as he loves all of that. I’m already planning in my head my first little project – maybe a mini-bag or tote. I think I may even attempt a box bag for sewing projects.

Randomly (and in case you were bored of sewing machine chit chat), I took a photo of this beautiful dog with odd coloured eyes.

Oh, and in case you didn’t like dogs, I’ve included a picture of Raymond. I was a little sad as I was walking to the car one day and I saw him sitting there looking handsome and my sad feelings faded away as he padded over to say hello. What a lovely chap, eh?

Ten on a Tuesday: 10 Things On Your Mind Right Now

1. Cheering up Tamyra. Poor kitty has been plucking out fur like mad and has a very bald rear. I’ve been doing some research after seeing the vets and chatting with the cat breeder and I’m trying her out on Bach flower remedies. Fingers crossed she responds to it. I think she enjoys having a tiny bit of wet food four times a day with the drops on.

2. Making more jewellery and brooches for Christmas fairs etc. I’ve been making mo’s for Movember and I’ve got some ideas I need to get going on.

3. Job hunting. I’d like to be in a new job for the new year. I miss being in an office and going to office Christmas dinners etc! Even a part-time job would be nice.

4. Voluntary PR work for the Women’s Specialist Group of the British Computer Society. I’m on Twitter quite a bit promoting our next event on November 20th which is all about entrepreneurship.

5. Sirius – he does love to cuddle especially now it is getting cold.

6. Warm socks. It is getting chilly here!

7. What to do with L & B when they get here 🙂 Happy happy!

8. Should I watch the finale of series 3 of Downton Abbey again?

9. How nice it was to have fish and chips for tea tonight. I didn’t feel too well today so I was relieved that the fish and chip van came to the village tonight.

10. How much I’d like a tiny kitten like Arthur to play with..

Tamyra’s good side! It would be mean to show you her many bald bits!