Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Monday, 28 September 2009

Sewing Machines!

I love old sewing machines. My grandmother lived with us many years ago, and she had an old treadle Singer in our hall. At an early age, she had me 'sewing' sheets of paper, with no thread in the needle. I then progressed to thread and material, dolls' clothes and then a simple skirt. By the time I was a teenager, I was making my own, very simple clothes. The feed dogs on the machine were not very good, so I used to help the material through. It took me years to stop doing this on other machines.
When we got married, my husband bought me my first electric sewing machine, a Singer straight stitch. I gave this to my grandson when we moved up here, as it had been retired years ago. I have had various electric machines since then, but I still loved the old clunkers. I started collecting them and had various treadles, hand cranks and toy machines. But then we moved from a rambling house in the country, to a smaller house in town, to save me driving sixty miles a day to work. I culled the machines, but kept my favourites, including a chain stitch machine.
When we moved up here I culled again, but now I have started adding, or should I say the islanders are adding to my collection. I was given an old Singer, which sews horizontally, instead of vertically and a couple of weeks ago I saw the machine above at a jumble sale. It was filthy, unloved, but still being used. It was calling to me, so I took it home. I spent two hours cleaning it, and it still needs more done to it, but it is lovely. It has a bullet bobbin and a hand crank. I have dated it, and it is one hundred and two years old and made in the Singer Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland. As the trader said, 'If the electricity goes out, you will still be able to sew.' Sounds good to me!

Thursday, 24 September 2009


I thought retirement (or early retirement) was supposed to be a leisurely affair - perhaps having a long lie, considering what I am going to do with the day over another cup of tea, reading a book whenever I want! Life has been MANIC here of late, and I am beginning to wilt at the edges.

It started with our fireplace This is what it looked like peviously, when we had just laid the laminate floor -
I hated it! It was cracked, chipped and I never could get the hearth to look clean. We eventully decided that it really was awful, so now my fire looks like this - It was taken out a couple of weeks ago, all the furniture, pictures etc. are spread round the rest of the house. I can't find anything! We bought a multi-fuel stove about a month ago, so it is waiting to be fitted, once all the cement has dried. On top of that, my husband went away for two days, during the worst weather we have had for ages. It was really difficult to feed the ducks and hens in torrential rain during a gale. We have had two AGMs on the one day,for associations of which we are members, and a 'do' for the doctor who is leaving the island. All in all a stressful and/or busy time. Never mind! We got more hens and ducks yesterday and also some turkeys, I am going swimming tonight and I am going to sit down later and 'chill out' with a glass of wine. Sorry for the moan. Tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Women's' Institute

The Women's Institute is an organisation throughout Britain, which meets monthly. Usually there is a talk or demonstration and then tea and sandwiches/cakes. There are two competitions a month, either baking or making something, and at the end of the evening the these are judged by the speaker.

This month we had to make something from recycled material and paint a stone. I made the jester bag from my mother-in-laws velvet curtains and an old nylon shirt of mine. The draw-string ribbon was from an old Christmas wreath. The beads and the bells were from there too. On the stone from our bay, I painted the view from my kitchen window, but I exaggerated the hills, as there is only one hill in Sanday. I got a first for my bag and a second for the stone.

The weather is changing now, with some good days, but cooler nights. I have lots of pictures of the girls out playing, during the summer, so I will be looking back, during the winter, thinking of warmer days.

Monday, 14 September 2009


We have had a pair of swallows nesting in our field shelter for the ponies all summer. This picture shows the offspring waiting for Mum or Dad to come back to feed them. They were not at all shy. Aren't they cute?

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Animal Quilts

I am still trying to catch up on myself after the summer, but I want to keep up with my blog. I made these earlier in the year for my granddaughters. I thought I would try to make the quilts a wee bit educational, so I tried to think of using materials, which would incorporate some kind of learning. Both quilts use preprinted squares of animals, with one having the names of the animals printed underneath. As well as using them for comfort and warmth, I thought the quilts quilts could be used in the following ways -
  • to learn colours
  • to learn the names of different animals
  • to learn how to spell animals' names
  • counting up the different groups of animals
  • addition and subtraction of the different groups.
The girls love them.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Teddies, Teddies and more Teddies

We are still working away on the teddies. There are over 200 now and still stragglers coming in. The last picture shows LA in the middle with Mary (74) and Susan (100) on the right, with a few of the teddies they knitted. Mary knitted nearly sixty and Susan completed sixty-five. Susan has lived all her life on the island, and she is proudly showing the card she received from the Queen, on her hundredth birthday. Mary has also lived all her life here and used to work for Sanday Knitters, a business exporting hand-knits all over the world. (Blogger has published the pictures in the wrong order, hence the funny order of talking about the pictures!)

The middle picture shows a pile of teddies, waiting to get packed, and the first picture is of LA and I wondering if we will ever get finished. We are now making the draw-string bags for the teddies, and have only fifty or so to do, before sending them off to the Mercy Ships. The islanders have been really great, knitting all the teddies and supplying wool. I have made a huge dent in my material stash, making the bags, and we were supplied with the stuffing. Unfortunately it has flattened somewhat, so I have had to go back and re-stuff some of the teddies. Never mind! The end is in sight!!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

I'm Back!!

Grovel, grovel!! Sorry I have been away for so long, but we went on holiday to Penicuik and Leeds and back to Penicuik, and then we had our granddaughters for nearly seven weeks. We had such fun! The weeks just flew by, and not much housework was done, but we certainly covered a lot of ground!

The pictures above were in an older shopping centre in the middle of Leeds. The ceilings were absolutely amazing. (Sorry about placement. I don't seem to get the hang of this.) Leeds was very hot and uncomfortable, but we had a great time seeing my son's new house, being with the grandsons again and eating wonderful food our daughter-in-law made.

As you know I was not happy with my Bernina 440. When I went to see my daughter on the way down to Leeds, I popped into the dealer. I had already been talking to him on the phone, and he tempted me with a new Bernina 630 with the embroidery unit thrown in for free. It was such a good deal! I would like to introduce you to not Lucy Locket, but Loopy Locket - no - not because I am loopy (my hearing is really good!), but because my new little beauty loops and locks to her heart's content. She is lovely, we understand each other and she sews like a dream.