Friday, 18 April 2014

Good Friday

jesus carries cross

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God shouldst die for me?

He left His Father's throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race!
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Three Minutes On Thursday #11 - Ripping Yarns

3-minutes [3]

This will be my last TMOT post for a while. I’m busy sorting out my sewing and craft room at the minute [it will be needed as a guest bedroom frequently in the next few weeks] so I thought I’d share some hints and tips on organising supplies.


Balls of wool are fine when they are new, but at the end of a project, the remaining yarn can easily collapse into a tangle. Make sure you wind the wool neatly into a tidy ball. But do not pull the wool tightly – that will take all the life and bounce from the yarn.

woolThere is an easy to follow guide here. My own practice is to wind 10 times in one direction, then turn through 90º and wind 10 more, then through 90º again – thus I am winding front to back, side to side, and ‘round the equator’. That gives me an evenly shaped ball.

If you are troubled by balls of wool rolling under the sofa, or being attacked by the cat, keep them in a wool holder. In my youth, Grannies had strange beehive shaped containers. You can still buy plastic wool holders - or you can simply recycle an empty wipes box.


wool holder


Don’t let your embroidery floss get into a tangle. The plastic storage boxes are not too expensive and usually come with a set of ‘floss bobbins’ – or make your own from cardboard.

dmcstore box

floss cardshomemade cardsIf you do rewind the skeins, my tip is to get into the habit of copying the DMC shade number from the paper band onto the card [whether it is a pristine white bobbin, or a piece cut from an old Christmas card or cereal packet]

I don’t do much stitching from fancy charts nowadays, but knowing the shade colour is helpful if you want to match up some 702 Kelly Green anytime [that colour pops up frequently in Christmas Charts I have noticed] Don’t forget too, if you are making your own bobbins, to cut 2 slits, for the start and end of the thread, to stop it unwinding and tangling.


If you store bias binding or ribbon wrapped on cards, make a note of the length. It saves a lot of time [and unwinding] if the card says “1.5 metres”

I usually tuck in the end of the tape, or slip it through a slit in the card- pins have a nasty habit of rusting, marking or leaving large holes.


Finally, whether you are up there with Heather, Tamara and Chinello, as a potential GBSB finalist, or just someone who replaces the occasional loose button, never despise those mini sewing kits. You know, the ones that come in the bedside drawers in some hotels, or in Christmas crackers, or as wedding favours for lady guests [I always regard that as rather sexist, actually!] Now you have decluttered your purse of all those reward cards [like this] you will have room to tuck one of these little marvels in there. Or put one in the pocket in your filofax, or in that little pocket inside your handbag or laptop case. Because they really are incredibly useful.

  • the safety pin can help when there is a zip malfunction
  • the needle is useful for removing splinters, adjusting the time on a watch [or car clock]
  • a piece of thread can often hold things together without actually needing to be stitched.
  • I used my kit to mend a friend’s spectacles once – she had lost the tiny screw holding the arm – and the fine needle went through the hole, and I was able to sew the arm in place temporarily till she could get to the opticians.

Keeping threads, tapes and yarns tidy means they will be usable for future projects. Happy stitching!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Thank You!

LCM~logoBack in February, I spent half term week using up my baby wool, knitting for the Mission.

Jon kindly delivered the package for me – and then I posted a few more bits a few weeks later.

I have recently had a phone call from Joy Gadsden, who is their Support Co-ordinator. She said they had been overwhelmed by the response – including lots of anonymous donations of cardis and blankets. The hospitals have gratefully received all the items they can use – and more have gone to the Community teams, to help the young teenage Mums on very low incomes.

IMG_1584Joy says she obviously cannot thank the anonymous donors – but if that includes some of you, dear blogfriends, please accept this post as a sincere message of thanks from Joy, the LCM, and all the mothers and babies who have been blessed by your kindness

And thanks from me too, for taking up the challenge with me. I will let you know next time LCM have another appeal like this.


cheers barWhen we visited Boston on our Silver Wedding trip to the USA in 2004, we naturally wanted to see the Cheers Bar from the TV show. We visited the place where the external shots were filmed.

cheerslogoThen we went to Faneuil Hall on Market Street, where there is a replica Cheers Bar. Bob chose to eat “Soup in a Bread Bowl” for his lunch.

At last, 10 years later, I have got round to making this at home. I found a recipe online, and used my breadmaker to make the dough.

Makes 4 ‘bowls’ – Prep 30 min, rising 2 x 40 min, cook 30 min

  • 1 sachet easy blend yeast
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 440g bread flour
  • 2 tsp polenta [cornmeal]
  • 1 egg white [beaten with 1 tbsp water]
  1. Make the dough with first six ingredients [by hand or in a machine] Let it rise 40 mins
  2. Knock back, divide into 4 equal round loaves. Place on lightly greased baking sheet sprinkled with 1 tsp polenta. Allow to rise 40 mins, preheat oven to 200ºC
  3. Brush loaves with half the egg wash, sprinkle with remaining tsp polenta.
  4. Bake 15 mins, remove from oven, brush with remaining egg wash. Return to oven, bake further 10-15 mins till golden brown. Cool on wire rack
  5. To make bowls, cut 1cm thick slice from top, scoop out centres, leaving 1.5cm shell [keep crumb for other purposes!]
  6. Fill with soup, serve immediately.




Here’s the first two, filled with thick homemade carrot soup. The second two bowls were frozen, to be filled with chilli con carne. The bowls are about 5” across and hold a good portion of soup.

By the time you have eaten the soup with your spoon, the bowl has absorbed some of the moisture and is delicious to eat! They look spectacular – I think they’d make a good starter for a winter dinner party. They were certainly a more interesting way of serving ‘soup-and-a-roll’ for lunch.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Gone Up In Their Aestivation

DSCF2731I think that I first blogged about system for tights storage here. I keep them rolled in a basket. But come 1st April, the opaque ones get put away for 6 months. In the past, I have just slung them into a carrier bag.

Then I’ve knotted the top of the bag, and chucked it high up onto the top shelf of the wardrobe. But during the year, the bag sometimes gets dislodged and falls out, showering me with multicoloured festoons of 60 denier nylon…

This year, I am being neater. It must be old age creeping up on me. I cut some rectangles of card [cereal packets, old Xmas cards etc] approx 10x15cm, to fit some polybags I already had. Then I wrapped each pair of tights neatly round a card, and slipped it into a bag.


Once they were all bagged up, I found an empty box and put them away tidily. This is amazingly geeky, but I don’t care. Bazinga!


Now they should stay in place on the shelf for the summer, till October 1st. I already knew the word hibernation, the winter sleep – but have just learned another word – aestivation – the summer sleep. Which of your garments do you set aside to aestivate?

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Reel Thing

52 projects

Last July, Bob made me a wonderful cotton reel coffee table for Cornerstones. [details here] My SIL Marion said “Oh, I’d love one of those for my conservatory…can you make me one?” So I put it on the 52 projects list. Here’s mine…



And here is the one we have just completed for Marion. She and I share a birthday, so we gave it to her last week.

I love the way Bob has edged the top with his router, and I think the varnish is a better colour. My contribution was the red corduroy ‘sleeve’ Maybe we should go into business?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Pause In Lent #6

A Pause in Lent Floss

Is it really the last one for this year? Where have the last six weeks gone?

On my birthday last Thursday, I was asking myself ‘Where have the last 50+ years gone?’

But every time I go into the lounge, I’ve seen all my cards and they have inspired this post


This week, I have been reminded time and time again just how blessed I am to have so many friends.

facebook_logoNot just the Facebook Friends. They are a strange collection - not least because they might ‘unfriend’ me at any point. Some of them are people I am regularly in contact with outside of FB –but others I hardly know, and rarely meet, and I am not exactly sure why they sent the friend request in the first place [or why I accepted – I suspect in the early days I didn’t want to offend them by refusing, and now I am a coward and don’t want to offend them by unfriending]

No I mean my real friends. This week I have experienced true friendship in lots of ways. Here’s just three examples

  • my best friend Chris in Norfolk [she has a key to Cornerstones] Last weekend she went into the bungalow and left a surprise birthday present there for me.
  • my church friend Gaz here in Leicestershire, who sent me a really encouraging text message just when I needed it
  • my blog friend Kezzie, who said on her recent Lent Pause ‘How can I pray for you?’ I mentioned my aunt in hospital miles away. Kezzie lives near her, and said she would not only pray, but would also try and visit too, if she can.

DSCF0557gary sanderskezzie

I could make this list even longer – but the point is, these are people who not only call themselves friends, but show love and friendship in their words and actions. I know I can rely on these friends, I hope they feel they can trust and rely on me.

Being let down by anyone is hard – but to be let down by someone you thought was a good friend is really painful. That’s not really happened much to me – but Jesus knew all about it - the sleeping disciples in Gethsemane, who then fled when the soldiers came, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial…


Jesus has a lot to say about friendship

My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: love each other.

In Proverbs 18 it says

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother

…which was the inspiration behind the old hymn “What a Friend we have in Jesus”. I thank God for all my friends- whether near, far – or, like Kezzie, only known via Blogland [we will meet one day, I am sure] and pray that each of you will experience true friendship, and most of all, that you too will know the unfailing friendship of Jesus.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Genie Genius

tv picture jeannie-001A friend is going to a birthday party, and the guests have been asked to wear costumes relating to their favourite childhood TV programmes. She loved “I dream of Jeannie” with Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden. She wanted a genie costume, preferably ‘bright, and orange’ [the original one was pink…but then we didn’t know that, we all had b&w tellies back then]patternI dug out the “Make it Easy” patterns which a friend gave me a little while ago. This was a Marshall Cavendish Part-work from 1984, and I had parts 1-20. They are all loose fitting, very easy garments. I found a tee-shirt top, and elasticated waist trousers. I figured I could convert these into a suitable top & harem pants, with head-dress

IMG_1823Next stop, Leicester’s “Golden Mile” I was able to buy a sari length for a very good price. This gave me an orange fabric with a greeny/blue border  just right for making the pants [I sewed simple casings on waist and ankles for elastic]

The end of the sari length was the green print, so I cut the top from that. I added some gold upholstery fringe round the bottom.Then I cut a strip of heavy interfacing, 23” x 2”, and covered it with more orange, and joined the ends. I drew round a plate to get a circle of fabric which made the top of the headdress. The remaining piece of fabric was hemmed and attached to make the scarf.


You cannot see the sparkles on the fabric – but it is really pretty and catches the light. I sewed a few gold buttons on the headdress as ‘jewels’ and also put one centre front on the trousers [it is always hard to spot front and back on these simple pants] This fabric does fray horribly – so I made sure to put the ends of the sleeves and bottom of the top on the selvedge – and all other seams were French Seamed, to enclose raw edges.

My friend will wear fancy sandals, and is borrowing a ‘Magic’ Lamp for the event. I am happy with the result, although I suspect Patrick and May on the GBSB would spot my errors. I did try very hard to match up patterns though!

Sari lengths like this are quite brilliant for producing two part costumes in matching prints. Abracadabra!!

Did anyone else watch this bizarre sitcom? I preferred Bewitched myself!