Friday 26 September 2014



late Middle English: from Old French retret (noun), retraiter (verb), from Latin retrahere "pull back".
Move back or withdraw
Withdraw to a quiet or secluded place
An act of moving back or withdrawing.
An act of changing one’s mind or plans as a result of criticism or difficulty.
A signal for a military force to withdraw.
A military musical ceremony carried out at sunset, originating in the playing of drums and bugles to tell soldiers to return to camp for the night.
A quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.
A period or place of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation.
withdraw, retire, draw back, pull back, pull out, fall back, give way, give ground, recoil, flee, take flight, beat a retreat, beat a hasty retreat, run away, run off, make a run for it, run for it, make off, take off, take to one's heels, make a break for it, bolt, make a quick exit, clear out, make one's getaway, escape, head for the hills.

of all these definitions I like the last one the best.

head for the hills.

that's what I'm doing. 
to a quiet and secluded place. 
where there will be relaxing. 
but probably no rest. more likely late nights chatting.
or quiet.  see above.
I don't expect there'll be any bugles.
or any withdrawing military forces.
but there will be friends and sewing and laughter and cake and wine.

back soon. 

Tuesday 16 September 2014

the slowest ever quick charm square quilt

quite some time ago (6 years..... maybe) I bought a little charm pack of fabric thinking it would be fun to make up a simple and quick quilt.

piecing the quilt took not much time at all, I went for the simplest design possible with huge areas of white sashing.

for a variety of reasons the quilting took rather longer......

my little helper for one.
and choosing a backing fabric.
oh and straight lines that weren't straight.
then once I'd finished it I decided the lines weren't enough and went back and filled in some more...

and then the next stumbling block. I'd used a charm pack. all the fabrics matched from one designer and colour range. I never work like this. I normally sew with the children's old pyjama's and random fabrics that I like/have in the house/got given scraps of by a friend....
I tried for months to find some more of the fabric, but could only find one of the designs and I didn't think it would make a good binding. I dithered about using a plain colour, or some of the backing, or just using white.

in the end I remembered the golden rule "when in doubt go for spots."

and finally it was finished.

just in time to become a birthday present.  I'm not going to admit how long it took me if I'm asked......

Friday 5 September 2014

random things summer holidays weeks 5 and 6 and the start of a new term

week 5.

Five days at the Yorkshire Coast, walking, reading (August's #year in books - Life after Life by Kate Atkinson - I described the plot to the family who repeatedly asked "is she dead yet?" until I'd finished it.   Even without this I found the plot a little disconcerting.......) fossils, fish and chips, ice creams and wave watching,

then long drives on busy motorways, a day of wizards and witches and all things magical, then a day of cake and party clothes and champagne.

week 6.

More motorways, idle wandering through Cambridge colleges in the rain, friends and feasting, a cup of tea in the park with a lovely magical bean, more motorways, returning home with the Mount Everest of laundry, doctors appointments and shopping for school trousers,

then a coffee lady and some lattes, a magic bag of liberty scraps and some quilt planning advice, a huge chocolate cake with so much chocolate and sugar it could kill someone apparently, a party on the beach, wine, laughter, endless cups of tea, all in all the perfect end to the holidays.

new term.
new school for E, new uniforms (the new trousers are already too short, how is this possible?) new timetables and planners and satchels, new routines, newly quiet house.
It could take a bit of getting used to.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

holiday snap shots from the Yorkshire coast

Whitby Abbey. Standing proud on the cliffs overlooking the sea there are steep steps to climb to reach the Abbey, but it's always worth it. As a bonus the exercise makes you extra hungry for the annual gluten free fish and chips.

Looking north towards Saltburn.

Looking South towards Port Mulgrave.

Stormy seas.
The rescue helicopter. Stormy seas and playing on the harbour wall don't mix, the lifeboat went out to rescue someone who was washed out to sea......... Broken bones but no lasting damage apparently, but the lifeboat crewman we spoke to thought they were very lucky.

There are blue skies in some of these photos, but the weather was described by the forecaster as unseasonably cool. I think I would have gone so far as to say it was cold..... 
Still wonderful though, relaxing, quiet and peaceful, with bracing walks and plenty of cake. Perfect.