Friday, 22 July 2016

A Golden Day for our Anniversary

We didn't want a fuss but we wanted to mark a very special day as yesterday was our Golden Wedding Anniversary. Yes, 50 years married to my very special husband and every year is a year I value and treasure. Two wonderful daughters, four beautiful grandchildren and their lovely fathers make up our family.  
We couldn't have all been together but we will do that very soon for the wedding of one of my daughters, so we enjoyed a meal, just the two of us, as high as we could venture in Liverpool, 34 floors up in the Panoramic Restaurant. One of the highest restaurants in England with fantastic views of the city and over the River Mersey to Wales. Well worth  a visit if you ever get to Liverpool.
Having insisted that we did not want gifts from anyone, our daughters hatched up an unexpected surprise for us by arranging with the restaurant to pay for us. The food and the service was fantastic and can be highly recommended and we had such a special time there.
They also wrote to the Mayor of Liverpool and he sent us a really personal letter of congratulations.
After a morning of rain falling like stair rods, the weather changed dramatically into beautiful sunshine especially for us, and it was once again the hottest day of the year, just as it had been for our wedding day all those years ago.

Here we are up on high showing what 50 years has done to us and we certainly look a lot different but Yes! I can honestly say that we are still happy together.

1966, when England's football team won the World Cup and some of the games were played right on our doorstep and the local streets were buzzing with crowds, cars, and all the excitement of an international event as we departed for the church to be married. 
Here we are, two youngsters at the start of a new life together and not knowing what the future held. 

Views from the restaurant looking over the famous Liver Birds, on top of the Liver Buildings, far below.

We watched the Multi Coloured Dazzle Ferry wending it's way back and forth across the River.... click on the link to see the colours of Peter Blake's design as the ship's colours don't show up very well with the bright light.You can just about spot the "thrill ride" on the waterfront where the seats spin scarily and travel up and down the centre pole.Across the river the huge warehouse type of building on the edge of the water is the famous Cammell Laird ship yard where so many ships have been built since 1828. They built the first all steel hulled ship , "Ma Roberts" for Doctor Livingstone's famous Zambesi expedition. the Css Alabama for the Confederates in the American Civil War, the Mauretania and the Ark Royal.

A couple of our lovely neighbours kindly brought around these gorgeous flowers even though we had requested no gifts.
I haven't managed to leave a Friday Smile for Annie's Blog for a couple of weeks so this one is a big bouquet of smiles from me from a very special day.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Quilt Show for Levens Quilters 25th Anniversary

It was a miserable day on Saturday.... weather wise that is, but nonetheless we decided to take a trip to see a quilt show that I had spotted advertised in a magazine so it gradually evolved into a magic day out. 
It was a special show to mark the 25th anniversary of Levens Quilters and as we love a trip to the Lake District (it was near  to Kendal so only around 90 minutes from home) it was too good an opportunity to be missed.
I took so many photographs with permission from group members so I could share them but I've only selected a range here to give an overview of the event.
There were so many more quilts to be seen and so many smaller items such as bags and the hangings in the anniversary challenge competition.  

 This beautiful quilt by Elizabeth Halldearn was exquisitely hand stitched, paper pieced and the fabric designs were perfectly fussy cut.
Detail below..... 

The exhibition was held in the Heaves Hotel and it was so perfect to see quilts on display in the bedrooms and on the beds.
I had a few attempts on the tombola to win one of the many patchwork/ quilted/ embroidered notebooks without luck but last evening I had a phone call to inform me that I had won 2nd prize in the draw. I am so thrilled that there will be a lap quilt coming via mail very soon.
Such a beautiful setting, inside and out looking to the countryside.

This next room was filled with Christmas treasures.

Another beautifully hand stitched appliqued quilt which was also hand quilted by Thelma Moeller

Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
There were several excellent traders in attendance to help me happily part with some of my cash, good refreshments and an excellent sales table where I bought several hand crafted items and lots of bargain magazines. 
All in all a really great day out, which was well worth the drive from Liverpool, and wonderful credit to the members of Leven Quilters on their excellent work setting up such a stunning show in celebration of the group's 25th Anniversary.
Congratulations to you all!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Friday Smile for Annie

I very nearly stepped upon these beautiful little pansies as I went to cross a road in a busy side road near home. 
It made me smile and I thought that if I took a quick photo, and posted it for Annie's Friday Smile, this gorgeous little treasure would be shared for a while even if it was trodden and lost within minutes of my passing by.

Pop over to Annie's blog where there will be more smiles to be had.
So many cruel, evil and horrendous things are happening all around the World so it is good to smile and think of the goodness, happiness and joy that still exists. Friday Smiles in it's own sweet way make the world a better place.... just as Annie does. 

Posted in deepest sympathy to the family of MP Jo Cox, a beautiful, valuable, young woman and mother of two young children, who was horrifically murdered yesterday and to many families in Orlando who lost loved ones in the massacre there.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Bloom Quilt & Blooming Garden Friday Smiles

I haven't managed to join in with Friday Smile for a couple of weeks, over at Annie's astitchintime blog, as I have been galavanting and having a super time with my dear friend Dolores in Kent. We went out and about to some lovely places, had some lunches out and some lovely meals in (thanks to Dolores) and managed a bit of crafty time too.
Before we drove down South I finished this quilt, inspired by Lori Holt's Bloom Quilt. I made it to try out the applique  technique of lining the applied flowers with Pellon or fine Vilene before blanket stitching  them onto the background (by machine). Full details over at Bee in my Bonnet blog. It was made from scraps of fabric I had saved from other projects, except for the backing which only cost me a bargain £4 a metre.
I also finished making this table centre which will be a prize at our exhibition next week. This is so easy to make as the component parts are just 6 inch squares and they are joined to make this circle. It can be used just as a centrepiece or cutlery and napkins, sweets or gifts can be popped in to each segment.  
I made them last Christmas in seasonal fabrics and they were a great success.
This morning the sun was shining and I ventured out into the garden in my PJs to see what had popped out whilst we were away, so here is my smile for this week, a tour of my own little bit of England that I am so lucky to have.
It was so warm and the garden was bursting forth with blossom and buds.
The central flower bed is a good mix of colour and the rust coloured,  slow growing Acer was planted over 20 years ago and was a gift from our two daughter's for DH's 50th birthday. He'll be 73 soon!
We have so many sentimental shrubs around, some which our grandchildren have planted. 
The ones planted by the Brighton Belles are only in bud but this one, planted a few years ago by our little Fraulein, has really bloomed early and there is a close up of its lovely white flowers.
Planting it in 2012 
Planting it in 2012
Look at the shrub today and that cute little girl is now 6 and as high as my shoulder!

Looking down the length of the garden I noticed this branch which had grown into a crazy curve, totally different than the rest of the tree.
We really are lazy gardeners and just potter about in fine weather when we have time and a whim and these pictures are taken before any tidying has been done this year. 
It's ages since I had a veg plot but I still love to grow and use a variety of herbs.
This bay tree, which I have to keep chopping back to keep it short, was another purchase from Woolworths for £1.99, in a tiny pot, just like the Camellia tree in the background. I once cut the Bay tree down to the ground as it blocked my view from the kitchen window and it still came back.

The Forget Me Nots seeded from the garden of a lovely neighbour, Mrs Heaney, who lived over the road when we first moved here 40 years ago.  They are in the gardens of all the other neighbours and they create a blue haze at this time of year. I always remark that Mrs Heaney is here!!!
The bluebells below arrived as a gift of Nature but I think they are the Spanish ones that are pushing out the natural English variety.
This is the apple tree that was so rotten last year so we had to cut it back. I left part of the trunk so I could grow a clematis to twine around it but I am so happy to see that there is life in the old tree yet.
Catkins have arrived on the miniature weeping tree that was a gift from my SIL after his first visit almost 20 years ago. 
We joke about it as a gift and call it "the stinky tree" as it really smells so dreadful in the Summer.
It is, however, home to our family of wrens each year and we love to watch them dart in and out of their nest in there.
This is a piece of  1960s ceramic sculpture that my late neighbour was going to throw away some years ago! It has weathered many Winters and reminds of the lovely man who made it.
Thanks for calling in, hope it gave you a smile or two and now I'm off to join in some more smiles at Annie's place.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Sweeps Festival Rochester

We chanced upon this fantastic day of English eccentricity when we visited Rochester, in Kent, on Saturday. We were staying with our good friends not too far away and none of us knew in advance that this event was happening. 
 It is one of the oldest traditional annual festivals in this country and is held around the city centre. There were lots of events and live music plus an artisan fair. 

 Besides the many sweeps, there were more than 60 Morris sides from all over the country and the atmosphere was so vibrant and happy. It was wonderful to see our traditions come to life this way.
So sorry I cannot name the Morris sides except for this one with the Phoenix on their backs.

The young people in this side were so agile
The joy shines out!
There were pirates galore

Steampunk characters

Even a "wind up" fairy

The Jolly tar was being applauded for his rendition of a rousing tavern song.
Drummers young and old
Creatures great and small

Perhaps the oldest "baby" I've ever seen....

A rainbow of colours

I would love to go next year to see the Sweeps Parade and hear more of the music on the stages and in the pubs. It was such a good day out especially as we only went to Rochester to shop.