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Planned Quilt

January 29, 2011

Last week I was browsing a new quilting website, when one caught my eye.  It was bold, but simple, and looked quite stunning…and I fell in love with it, thinking that it would be perfect for the bedroom.

It is called Black Tie, and there are only four colours involved…black, white, red, and beige…so I downloaded the instructions and printed them off.  All I have to do now is to work out how many squares I would have to construct, plus border, and how much fabric will be needed for a bed-sized quilt, as this one is only 45″ square.

The fabrics will have to be sourced and purchased elsewhere, as there is nothing to be found in Lincoln that is suitable for patchwork.  (Oh for the days when there was a choice of drapery stores, plus a lovely little patchwork and quilting shop on Steep Hill!)

Take Time Out To Sharpen Your Axe

November 6, 2010

Two lumberjacks set off into the forrest to begin their day’s work.  By mid-morning they had cut down the same number of trees.

When they stopped for lunch, one of the lumberjacks was looking as fresh and relaxed as he had when he started that morning, the other was looking decidedly worn out.

Refreshed, they began the afternoon’s exhausting work, but the second lumberjack was beginning to get annoyed because the first lumberjack had cut down a lot more trees than he had, so he began to work even harder, chopping away at the trees as if his life depended on it.

At the end of their shift, the first lumberjack had cut down twice as many trees as the other guy…and he still looked as fresh and relaxed as he had that morning.

The next morning, the second lumberjack decided that he would work even harder so that he could cut down even more trees.  By the end of his shift he was feeling quite pleased with himself, as he had doubled his quota…but again, the first lumberjack had cut down twice as many trees as he had.

This went on for a week, and in the end the exhausted and infuriated second lumberjack demanded to know how the first guy always managed to do more than he did, and still look fresh and relaxed:  “Besides, every time I see you, you are always sitting down…just what is your secret?!  Is someone helping you??!

The first lumberjack looked at him and smiled, and told him that there was no secret.  “Every time you have seen me sitting, I have been sharpening my axe.  You cannot cut down many trees with a blunt axe!”

Have you taken time out to sharpen your axe today?

Why Do They Do That????

November 1, 2010

Well…it’s been a while, but this has really peed me off!!      Why do they do it????

My beef is with companies who change a product, but don’t change the name!  It’s a different product, for f**K’s sake!!!  Change the name!!!!!

OK, I hear you ask, what has got me wound up now??  Fabric softner, that’s what!!  Comfort, to be exact.  I finally found one that smelled gorgeous called Sunshine…it had a nice fresh scent with a hint of amber or sandalwood.  Then it’s name apparently changed to Sunshiny Days…and it stank like lavatory cleaner!!  It was vile!!!    😦

Anyway, Robert came home from shopping, last weekend, and said that Sunshine was back on the shelves…so he bought some…YAY!!!  Washing was bunged in the machine, powder, then a liberal dose of Sunshine.  Sandi was a happy bunny…until clothes were dried and I went to iron them…!  Lavatory cleaner???!!!!  AAAARRRGH!!!!!!  VILE!!!!

Why do they do that????  It’s misleading the customer…in fact it’s cheating the customer!!!!!

Just A General Waffle

October 30, 2010

Well, well, well…time to write another blog, I guess.  Like the title says…Just A General Waffle…so…what shall I waffle about???

This year has been a year of change all round…work, home, etc. and not just for us, as friends have had their own changes to deal with…both good and bad.

Whatever people may say about such social networks as Facebook, I am thankful to it for my growing number of friends who share the same interests as me.  For years, prior to getting the computer, I felt like I was a minority when it came to a love of books, history, costume, and all things Regency/Napoleonic/Empire…and longed for someone to talk to and share observations, thoughts and ideas.  Thanks to Facebook, I now have that outlet.  Aren’t computers great!!

People met at the Jane Austen Festival have since become friends, and their worlds of re-enacting and costume-making, and of course history have inspired me.  Through them I have learned of many events…most of them I couldn’t get to…but a couple of them I did…(YAY!!)  In May, Robert and I went to Newstead Abbey for the NA (Napoleonic Association) re-enactment, and had a brilliant day, despite the changeable weather…and in the summer, I was able to go to the Burghley House Battle Prom…brilliant!

Last month we went to Bath for the Jane Austen Festival, and while staying in Trowbridge for a few days, popped over to Bristol to spend the afternoon with Natalia, where we took a ferry down river to the SS Great Britain.  In the evening, we met up with Robert’s friend, Leon, and visited a lovely little riverside pub.

The the following weekend we had Robert’s school reunion…and a bit of an adventure in London when the hotel that Robert booked for the Saturday night…was actually booked for the Sunday night!  So we had to get the tube from Waterloo and head back to Greenford to stay with friends for the night. 

The journey into London was uneventful, but it was a different matter on the way back!!  Announcement after announcement told of stations closed or the whole of the Central line closed, and as more and more people tried to find alternative routes, the place was getting more and more packed and hot and stuffy.  I was sure I was going to have a panic attack!!  It was not at all nice!!!  That evening,  the reunion was held at The Bridge Hotel in Greenford, and was a very pleasant contrast to that afternoon!!!

There have been changes at work, too, as it was discovered that there was supposed to be five cleaners and one supervisor, rather than me cleaning and supervising, with the result that I ended up running around like a blue-arsed fly every day!

At home, Robert finished papering the living-room, we got rid of the old sofas when we were given a sofa/bed, carpet was laid, the hallway has been painted white, and new downlights installed.  We haven’t finished the decorating yet, as the new architrave around the doors still needs sanding between coats of paint, and one of the over-doors still needs blocking in…it’s on-going…work-in-progress…but at least something has been done (after all these years).

So, what’s next?  Who knows…watch this space (as I’m fond of saying!)  😉

A Bit Of A Catch-Up

October 10, 2010
Now I’m here, I thought that it was about time I wrote a quick update blog…so here goes…
As you know, my last proper blog was about my day at Burghley House for the Battle Prom…and that was in July.  It is now October!  Since then I have been busy sewing, making Robert a costume for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, last month.  The shirt I’d already made.  This was followed by a waistcoat, which I ended up making just a tad too short, due to somehow cutting a chunk out of a corner!  Doh!!
Anyway, I’d bought a pattern from Reconstructing History for an 1820s tailcoat, and started to make it up in calico.  This was when when all the problems began to materialise…nothing matched up, and the shapes of the coat, collar and tails were a total nightmare!  The instructions were scant, even though the pattern promised ‘detailed instructions’!  Basically, I had to totally re-do the whole pattern and make another calico toile, re-jigging until I was happy with it.
All the time, Promenade day loomed ever closer, and I still hadn’t made any trousers!  I began to panic.  My costume was also in the process of being updated, as I had to run up a new spencer since the satin one ended up with the back splitting.
To cut a long story short, we packed up the costumes…along with my sewing kit…and headed for Trowbridge to stop with Robert’s mum for a few days.  Almost as soon as we arrived, out came the costumes and sewing re-commenced, and with Vi’s help, we did go to the ball…well, the Promenade, actually!
Robert’s sister Karen drove us to Bath, but because I had been sewing like a lunatic since I had got up, we arrived a bit late…the Promenade had already started.  We joined the column of promenaders and proceeded to have a grand day.  Because we were late, we didn’t get to meet up with friends as arranged, so didn’t know who was or wasn’t there, but we did find some of them, and had a fantastic day.
The next weekend we went to London for Robert’s school reunion at the Bridge Hotel in Greenford.  He had booked us into a hotel in Westminster, so after dropping Lynda off at her parent’s in Greenford, we headed for the tube station, only to find that there was nowhere to park.  On to the next station, car parked in tiny carpark, and off to town we went.
Waterloo!  I so wanted to go this year, only I didn’t mean the flippin’ station!!!  Anyway…a walk to the hotel…only to find that it was booked for Sunday night!  We ended up laughing about it as it only cost a couple of pounds…lol!  Robert phoned Lynda’s parents and explained what had happened, so we headed back to Greenford to stop the night with them…only things began to go a bit wrong.
After a quick drink at The Wellesley, at Waterloo, we headed back to the underground…and an announcement that a station had closed, the Central Line was closed, etc., etc.  We attempted to find another route to get back to Perivale, where the car was parked, but another announcement, followed by another, then another, and more and more people cramming onto the platforms and the tunnels between different stations…OK, I cannot remember any order, just tunnels, platforms, announcements, backwards, forwards, more and more people…I was beginning to panic…I just wanted to get out!  Suffice it to say, we got back to Greenford in one piece, and went to the reunion that evening.
Since then…nothing much has happened.  I tidied up some of the mess that had accumulated whilst I was mad sewing woman, only for it to creep back as I’m still in a creative mood and want to make something else…or finish a couple of the things I’ve already started…
Whatever I do, you can bet your bottom dollar that it won’t be very interesting…so I won’t bore you with it…lol!!

Promenading in the Royal Crescent, Bath


October 5, 2010
As I still have no idea how to do anything on here…apart from writing and posting a blog LOL!…I will have to nip over and see the all-knowing Techno Gran for some help in adding and re-arranging stuff, choosing colours, etc.
When I have mastered the basics, I will think about having another blog…just for costume, Regency, and history stuff, which will be public, whilst this one will be for more general stuff…hopefully!!
Anyway, I hope that now I can get back into blogging, and keep up with it…not that there will be anything much to blog about from now on, as we have nothing planned for the rest of the year…
But you never know…!!

Welcome To My World!

October 3, 2010

Hello people of WordPressland!


Welcome to my world of random ramblings.



Burghley House Battle Prom

July 25, 2010
Two weeks ago, I had a wonderful day out to Stamford, then a short walk to Burghley House for the Battle Prom later in the afternoon.
It would have been impossible for me to go, as the tickets were £30, which I couldn’t afford…but a couple of FB friends are re-enactors, and were taking part, so they had free tickets which they offered to me.  All I had to do was arrange my own transport.  Getting there was no problem, but trying to find transport for the retun journey was nigh on impossible, as all buses and trains seemed to finish about ten o’clock!
I nearly declined the offer, but Robert said that he would drive down to pick me up after he’d finished work at the restraunt…which he did (bless him! Red heart)
Costume was optional, so I took mine to change into when I got there.  Gavin said I could use their tent, and that he would stand guard.  (He didn’t need to, as there was no-one around…I think he just wanted to be chivalrous…!  Wink )  Sarah, her mother and stepfather were riding in the cavalry demonstrations later on…Gavin couldn’t, as he’d broken his arm earlier in the week…so he did the commentary instead.
At 7pm on the dot, Carolyn Grace flew in and did a display while the orchestra played the Spitfire Prelude…stirring stuff!!  The evening included 1812 Overture with accompanying rifles, muskets and cannons…awesome!!  Later in the evening, as it got dark, the penultimate piece was Beethoven’s Battle Symphony…with rifles, muskets, even more cannons and fireworks!  It was absolutely brilliant!!  And in true prom-style, they finished with Land of Hope & Glory.
In all a fantastic day.

The Month In (Not Many) Pictures

June 1, 2010

The blog I was going to write, about our day at Newstead Abbey, didn’t materialise due to me simply not having my writing head on, so today I will attempt a quick run-down of the month…

On Bank Holiday Monday (3 May) we set out early-ish and headed for Newstead Abbey, CNV00002 near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.  Although the sky was grey and leaden, the sun was shining, and I was surprised to find that there were not many visitors about.  CNV00025 We wandered about the British camp talking to people and taking photos, then headed back to the car for lunch.  When I tried to remove the film from my SLR, the darned thing snapped, so I opened it up and pulled the film out, then re-loaded.  (What I forgot about was the lack of visitors in all those shots…blast it!!)


Later on we took a wander around the house, then headed around to the field where the battle re-enactment was going to take place.  CNV00005 Here, there was another British encampment and the French encampment, side by side.

I had been looking out for some friends, who were taking part…Lisa and Adrian, who I’d met at the Jane Austen Festival last year, and Gavin (who was playing a French soldier this weekend…they take it in turns, you know.)

CNV00011 The weather had been very changeable, throughout the day, with sunshine interspersed with rain…and even a couple of very heavy hail showers…!  By the time the battle commenced, my umbrella had been up and down several times!

In all, it had been a great day out, and I was smitten with the world of re-enactment…!

CNV00030   CNV00033  CNV00031


The rest of the month was…well, I felt very down in the couple of weeks following Newstead, as it was back to normal with nothing to look forward to until September.  Then we had a mini heat-wave, and the humidity had me feeling vey low indeed.

Painting the hallway 2010 012

This bank holiday weekend , Robert wanted to get on and get the living-room carpet laid…it had been in the hallway for  long enough!  So on Saturday, we shifted junk, books, plants, and furniture out of the room and finally got it down!

Yesterday was the turn of the hallway, so while I was filling and sanding, Robert got started on the painting…we will need a new tub of paint to finish the job, but it’s looking brighter and better already. 

Painting the hallway 2010 001

Painting the hallway 2010 008 

Today, he has got the pasting table out and is carrying on with the living-room…he’s on a roll…LOL!

Painting the hallway 2010 010


Mad, Bad, And Dangerous To Know

May 8, 2010

Or A Brief Introduction Newstead Abbey And The Byrons

The Priory of Newstead was founded by King Henry the Second in about 1170,Newstead 1890s and remained thus until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry the Eighth in 1539.  The following year it was sold for £800 to Sir John Byron.

During the 17th century, King Charles the First bestowed the title of Baron upon another John, and when he died, the title went to his brother Richard, who became the 2nd Baron. 

The fortunes of the Byrons were constantly fluctuating, with money troubles and debt, but most of them distinguished themselves in one way or another.  The 2nd Baron was Governor of Appleby Castle in Newark, and the 4th Lord Byron was Gentleman of the Bedchamber to George, Prince of Denmark and was the poet’s great grandfather.

newstead_abbey The 5th Lord Byron was a colourful character, and was known locally as the ‘Wicked Lord’.  He had a violent temper, and always carried pistols in his belt.  His poor wife fled from Newstead and was immediately replaced by a servant girl who the villagers called ‘Lady Betty’.

When his son made a marriage that he disapproved of, he set about destroying his inheritance, only for his son to die before him!

In 1765 he got into an argument with his neighbour Mr Chaworth over poachers and game, which turned nasty.  They ended up fighting a duel, but Mr Chaworth was killed and Byron was tried by his peers at Westminster Hall, and acquitted.  He died at Newstead in 1798.

Meanwhile, the 5th Lord’s brother, John, became a naval officer, eventually becoming a Vice Admiral, and later being appointed Governor of Newfoundland.  He died in 1786.

The Admiral had two sons.  The elder, John, was a wild young man whose violent character and soaring debts earned him the nickname ‘Mad Jack’.  He was a gay and dashing Guardsman who returning to London at the age of 20, fell in love with the Marchioness of Carmarthen, an heiress of £4,000 a year.  She fled with her lover, and when her husband divorced her, married him.  They fled to France, where she gave birth to a daughter, Augusta.

After his wife died in 1784, Byron returned to search for another heiress.  He met Miss Catherine Gordon of Gight in Bath, an orphan and the possessor of a fortune of £23,000.  They were married in Bath, but by 1788 Mad Jack had ruined his wife by his extravagnce, and left her to face her confinement alone.  She gave birth to a son, George Gordon Byron, on 22 January 1788.  He was destined to become one of England’s greatest romantic poets, whose short life ended at the age of 36 in 1824.