Monday, 30 August 2010


I had a bright idea recently - since I hate throwing away the remains of scented Yankee Candles I thought I'd see if I could amalgamate the remains into new candles. I had three jars, each with differing amounts of wax left in them but not enough, I thought, to reuse one of the original jars.
I found several web sites with information regarding reusing old wax, one of which said you definitely don't put your contaner with wax in it straight onto the heat source. So I needed to find a double saucepan.

Yesterday I went to a car boot sale and right at the beginning I found this tatty old item for 50p which I wouldn't dream of using for food but is fine for melting wax. The wax goes into the top section and water in the bottom pan, whch you then heat. The wax melts without any chance of getting burned by an accidental spill on the heat source. Then I wanted some smallish containers as I didn't know how much wax I would end up with. I found two identical tumblers - quite expensive at £1 for the two - but they'll be reusable in due course.
In the left hand glass is the wax from the remains of a single candle (Spring Bouquet) and the glass on the right has a layer of Creme Brulee at the bottom with Juicy Peach on top of that. Since I found the wax dips around the wick I poured just a little more into the first glass to even up the top - leaving none for the second candle...and couldn't find any part used candles at the car boot I went to today, of course! They'll sit on top of one of my bookcases with a gas lighter so that I can put my hands straight on them when we get another power cut. Now I shall have to scrounge old wax from friends and family!

Friday, 27 August 2010


I can't remember when I started this quilt, at least 3 or 4 months ago, though I did have some time out as it's much too humid to work upstairs when it's hot. But it's finished, label and all.
It was a follow-on from Kath's enthusiastic report about crazy quilting and this is the 3rd 'crazy' I've made this summer. It is a pattern from a US website.

I used recycled material as well as some new strips, and several thicknesses including dress cotton, curtaining and furnishing fabric.

I've Mennonite tacked it, cream cotton perle on the
strippy columns and blue on the blue stripes.

This is all you see on the back (photo on the right) and on the front you see this (below). The cotton is such a good
match you can hardly see it on the blue!

It has the virtue of being 'quick' to do compared to quilting a whole top. This one measures 45" x 45".

I couldn't make up my mind what to bind it with so cut up various lengths of material I'd used in the quilt, joined them together and am quite happy with how it's turned out.

The last thing was to do a label and I like to embroider this, rather than have a printed one, so did this last night and sewed it on this afternoon.

There's a Horticultural Show in the next village next weekend which has a Handicrafts section so I'll put it in the Quilting category and see what happens. Now what can I do...?

PS This finished post isn't how it looked pre-posting so I'm breaking some rules but don't know what... this is too untidy to be really satisfactory.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


As it was raining (again) this morning I went out to take a few photos of the the marks on my shed doors which had always intrigued me before I knew what they were. The rain changes the colour of the wood and makes the pale marks more noticeable. Do you recognise them?
Some years ago I was sitting in the garden and became aware of a munching noise so looked around to see what was causing it. An insect - yellow and black striped like a Rugby shirt - was busy scraping wood from the shed door; an industrious wasp.
According to my AA Book of the Countryside, a queen wasp emerges in the spring, finds a suitable nesting site then starts munching on dry wood, which she chews to a pulp. Later, workers take over enlarging the nest with the wood pulp while the queen concentrates on egg laying. The wasps scrape their way along fence panels, posts and wooden garden benches always leaving this intriguing pattern.
While I don't worry about wasps too much, I didn't want a wasps nest in my house a couple of years ago. 'In', because it was being built in the cavity wall and that was too close to the front door for comfort, so, sadly, it had to go.

I'm pretty easy going with the wildlife round here and would rather let it survive though I must admit the grass snake in the garden several years ago gave me a fright, especially as it was swallowing a live frog at the time and this year Ashley was busy patting - something - to get a reaction - a baby grass snake, coiled round so he couldn't get at it. So they haven't gone away... it hasn't been warm enough this year to encourage the adult to come and bask near the pond.

Saturday, 21 August 2010


Tomorrow, 22nd August, is the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth where the last Plantagenet king, Richard the Third, was killed fighting the army of the man who was to become Henry the Seventh.
During today and tomorrow, there's a 525th Anniversary Re-enactment of the battle at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre.
Don't go by what you think you know about Richard, that's Shakespeare writing for Henry's granddaughter, Elizabeth the First, so it was certainly not in his interest to make Richard a sympathetic character.
The city of York's verdict, from the Mayor and Aldermen, was '...that King Richard, late mercifully reigning upon us was...piteously slain and murdered, to the great heaviness of this City...'

Friday, 20 August 2010


There's so much in this poem; colour, visual imagery, the moon and the warning at the end...
I found it many years ago in a book, 'The Imperial Agent' by T.N. Murari, which continues the life of Kim, the boy in Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name.
A character in 'The Imperial Agent' says it's an Urdu poem, by Nishani, court poet to the Emperor Akbar, originally written in Persian - about Fate.


The old Enchanter, in his patchwork cloak,
Sits weaving spells to bind us to his throne,
While, seeing nothing in the turquoise vault,
We dwell in fear, uncertain and alone -
Forgetting that one night he made the moon
(By magic from a fish with silver scales),
Which in his blue glass bottle, flecked with stars,
Unerring on her course serenely sails;
He closed the stopper with a thousand seals
Of wax the candle of the moon supplied,
Since when no mortal has evaded Fate,
However long, however hard, he tried.

I love the imagery - a fish's scales make the moon, which is also a candle; our universe is in the blue glass bottle... The more I read it the more I find in it...
I hope you like it, too.

Sunday, 15 August 2010


A couple of friends and I are thinking about sharing a stall at a village fete next year and since we mostly make different things our goods shouldn't clash too much.
This is a bag I made a few weeks ago from a pattern I found online. It's quite easy, just squares of material and a lining - there's a novel strap which should suit anyone! On the left is a long strap at least 40" long and on the right there's a loop. The strap is passed through the loop then tied making it whatever length you like. Wear it as a long strap shoulder bag, a medium length to tuck under your arm or a short handle to carry the bag in your hand. I didn't want to quilt this one so I've attached buttons in each square to compliment the colours in that particular patch.
The bag's hanging on my design wall and the lines in the background are drawn onto an old flannelette sheet so that patches are always pinned on straight and level... well, more or less!

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Clicking on to Google this morning I saw the word 'Google' had been incorporated into a picture from the Wizard of Oz to celebrate the 71st anniversary. That means it was released in 1939 so that must have been when I saw it.

Things I remember - Dorothy's pretty twinkly red slippers, her dog, Toto, the singing and dancing (and Technicolour!) and my disappointment when the travellers reached Oz and found the wizard wasn't a wizard at all, or not my idea of what one should look like. He should have looked more like Mickey in The Sorcerer's Apprentice instead of an ordinary, chubby little man!
What's the proper name for the changed Google headers - does anyone know, please?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Where does a cat go when it's hot? Under the Christmas tree where it's cool and shady and he can't be seen.....this is his bottom end...

Monday, 9 August 2010


When I go down the garden for the first time in the morning the goldfish congregate by the edge of the pond - feed us, Mum! Any other time they don't bother to come to the surface.
They are self-bred but haven't seen any black ones yet this year. They're the babies and turn gold later on.
The silvery lines are the heron deterrent lines of a commercially available system and it's worked so far in the few years since it was installed. I lost all the goldfish one year and decided to have this system put in. The netting is to stop an inquisitive young cat from across the road from going fishing. I've watched it balancing on the edge to the point of falling in so now the temptation is out of reach - I hope!

Saturday, 7 August 2010


I went to Princes Risborough a few days ago. It's a small town in the Chilterns named for its association with the Black Prince (1330-1376). He owned the Manor here; the remains of some buildings are now buried beneath a car park near the parish church. The two shopping streets
are almost all individual shops in a mix of original small buildings and new builds in a similar style. The photo was taken in December about 30 years ago - you can see the Christmas trees already in the holders on the walls. There are just two small branches of national supermarkets at each end of the town.

There's a small brick Market House with open arches on the ground floor; the upper storey was rebuilt in 1824. The overhang is slated as is the roof. A small Country Market is held here

every Thursday (except in the winter) and it was formerly known as the WI market. It sells jams, marmalades and chutneys, plants, homegrown fruit and veg and all kinds of home-made goodies. Various knitted items and hand made cards are also sold.

In the centre of one side of the ground floor is the Parish War Memorial. A large plaque says the market house was restored and a new clock erected in memory of the 64 men of the parish who died in World War 1.

The smaller World War 2 plaque below has 17 names and a further plaque lies horizontally below but was covered by 7 wooden crosses from Armistice Day and I couldn't count how many names were there. On the left hand side, under Lest We Forget, there is a brass plaque in memory of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. At the other end of the town, outside the library is a brick built memorial to a US bomber pilot who died in November 1943 after steering his crippled bomber away from the town.

Two people of note with a connection to Princes Risborough are Sir Peter Lely who served as Painter to both Charles I and Charles II (painting buxom ladies) and managed to serve Oliver Cromwell, too; Amy Johnson, the first female pilot to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930, reputedly lived in the town for a while. She drowned in 1941 in mysterious circumstances while ferrying aircraft.

A pleasant place to visit.