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Friday, 30 May 2008

We Make Meet

Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
In an effort to get prepared for the up coming We Make fair Helen (Angharad) and I met up for a coffee and planning session in Windsor last Sunday. It was good to be able to bounce ideas off each other and we've come up with a list of all the stuff we'll need for the fair. Now I just need to get the time to get/make it all!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The pink and white one

The pink and white one
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Time is flying by and the We Make craft fair is rapidly approaching and I haven't made nearly as much stuff as I would have wanted to what with builders and everything. Still I managed to steal some crafting time whilst my husband was away the other week and had a bit of a felt making frenzy. These sheets will be make up into flower corsages.

The green one

The green one
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
This one will probably become leaves.

The orange and pink one

The orange and pink one
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat

The purple one

The purple one
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat

The red one

The red one
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat

Saturday, 12 April 2008


I saw this packet mix in Sainsburys the other day and just couldn't resist getting it if only to have the cookie cutter. I rationalised it to myself at the time that I was buying them because Calum would have great fun baking them with me - yeah right! It's not as if he's even seen an episode of Dr Who yet. Anyway I had great fun baking them and they aren't too bad taste wise for a packet mix, but I think in future I'll be making them as gingerbread biscuits with chocolate chips for the round bulb bits (not sure what the technical term is - maybe a Dr Who afficionado can advise me).

Sunday, 6 April 2008

A little bit of history

Couldn't resist buying this wooden bobbin with white merino roving from Wingham Woolwork when I saw them in their newsletter. They come from worsted spinners Joseph Horsfall of Halifax which have now closed down. Wingham Woolwork bought up all their stock of wool and it came on the bobbins that they used for spinning. Each bobbin holds about 1kg of roving so it should keep me busy for a while. I'm planning to knit, felt and dye some handbags from it.

Saturday, 5 April 2008


I thought I'd share with you the link Ichiro sent me to the lovely Sakura photos: http://www.imamiya.jp/haruhanakyoko/haruhana/photograph01.htm

New Fabrics

New Fabrics
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
I'm really not supposed to be buying any new fabrics at the moment. I have a huge stash that I haven't had time to do much with, but when hippyofdoom posted the link to Ichiro's Kimono Fleamarket website I just couldn't resist! I have to say the service from Ichiro was fantastic - very polite, prompt delivery and they've sent me some beautiful pictures of the cherry blossom (sakura) which is currently in season.

Front Page Glory

Yay! Thanks to Curiositykilled's fabulous treasury that she was so kind to include my rose garden brooch in I found myself on the Etsy front page today when I logged in. Congrats also to all the other great UK'ers who also featured. Great timing as my shop could do with a bit of a boost as I haven't had much time to make new things for it recently t's been languishing a bit. Hopefully this will give me the spur to rev it up a bit.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Nooooo my pear trees!

Nooooo my pear trees!
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Tis a sad day. When we moved into this house about 6 years ago now there were two lovely pear trees in the garden. Ok so they were rather over grown, but we got some very yummy pears every October. At the moment we have the builders in putting in an extension to the back which will form part of a new kitchen diner - I've been waiting for this work to happen for a couple of years now, so I'm really happy that things are finally starting to happen, but yesterday I came home to find the two pear trees are now sadly deceased. Apparently the builiding regulations inspector took a disliking to the being to close to the foundations and ordered them gone (or v.expensive foundations twice as deep). *Sob*

I think it will be a long while before our garden is in any fit state for anything, but I'd like to think we get some new pear tree planted at some point.

Centerparcs Whinfell Review Continued

As promised I'm finishing off my review of the Whinfell Centerparcs. For the final part of the review I'm going to concentrate on the resteraunts on site (again apologies for the complete lack of photos - so unlike me!). All of the accomodation on site has good kitchen facilities so you don't need to eat out at all - we mostly ate at home (made the most of having a willing Mum to do all the cooking for me), but we did try out a couple of places.

Rajinder Pradesh - this is an upmarket indian resteraunt, with the option to either takeaway or eat in. Mark & I ate here on the Wednesday night (it was his compensation for having to suffer the Salsa class with me) and I can heartily reccomend it. The portions are on the large side so unless you have a really big appetite I wouldn't reccomend going for a starter - we just had a couple of poppadums. I had the chicken shishlak which was a sizzling chicken tikka dish served with a salad and yoghurt dressing - very delicious! We shared a rice, naan and a gobi aloo saag - again all very nice. Mark had a lamb curry (sorry I can't remember which)which I tried a bit of and again I'd give it a big thumbs up.

The only thing I would say about eating out at Centreparcs is that as it's very much a family resort the peak time for eating seems to be between 7-9 as many people bring their children with them (but I can reccomend the luxury of bringing the grandparents to babysit). As a result of this, most places seem to be dead after 9pm, so if you do book yourself a baby sitter don't get too excited at the thought of a wild night out!

The other place we ate was the Cafe Rouge in the Village Centre. This was pretty much the same as any other Cafe Rouge you'd find on the high street and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Most of us had the special which was a pork fillet in a calvados sauce with mash - very yummy, but I didn't realise it came without any vegetables so I would have ordered some on the side had I known.

Other places we visited but didn't eat in were the Lakeside Pub, Sportsbar and the Rock Cafe. I was less impressed by. The Lakeside pub was rather brightly lit so lacked atmosphere and the food that I saw by the bar looked rather unappetising pre-prepared frozen stuff kept hot under lamps. They did have a better selection of beer here than in the sportsbar however. The sportsbar is quite popular, but I was put off by the rather loud TV's blaring out sport - I guess this is some people's idea of entertainment but I find it a bit of a turn off myself. The Rock Cafe is a kind of Hard Rock Cafe/TGI Fridays type of place. We only had a beer in here so I can't really comment much on it. They have a longish cocktail list, but again the place was fairly empty by 9pm.

Other places on site we didn't visit were Bella Italia and Cafe Fresh in the Village Centre. Yuzen (a Chinese/Thai resteraunt) in the Sports Plaza. Also there are two Starbucks that were in the process of being built whilst we were there due to open shortly.

Oh and there's also a supermarket in the Village Centre for provisions with a nice fresh bakery.

Overall I would definately reccomend it to anyone looking for a family holiday, though it can be quite pricey if you don't go out of season like we did. There are many great activities to do, but be careful not to overbook yourself or you'll end up running round like a mad thing and after all holidays are meant for relaxing! If possible I'd reccomend bringing extra familiy such as the grandparents along to do a bit of babysitting - this will allow you time to do activities together and to get out occasionally in the evenings. I know we will definately be going again some time.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Enjoying the facilites

Happy holidays - Centreparcs Whinfell review

I've just spent the last week at the Whinfell Centerparcs and have had the most fantastic time. The first time I went to a Centreparcs last year, it was just me and my husband, so we ended up playing tag team with one of us looking after the little one whilst the other one went off to do an activity - it made booking stuff a nightmare especially as the creche times didn't seem to coincide with any of the activities we wanted to do. This time I brought my parents along which gave us a chance to do things together whilst they looked after our son. I had meant to take a load of photos whilst we were there, but I ended running round so much from one thing to the other I never seemed to get the time! So you'll just have to believe me when I say that I actually managed to drum up the courage to go abseiling (probably had something to do with most of the group being under 12 years old - just would have been way too embarrasing if I bottled it in front of them when they did it)!

So for the review:

First thing was the accomodation. We had a 3 bedroom Comfort plus logde which was set in woodland and very comfortable though the decor is a little dated (I belive they are currently undergoing a rennovation program for a number of the lodges to a more modern style). We were situated fairly close to the Sports Pavillion which was quite handy for most of the activities we had booked. You have all the comforts of home apart from washing machine, but there is a laundrette on site. Down stairs there is a large open plan kitchen/dining/lounge area and one bedroom with an en-suite. Upstairs was another bathroom and two twin rooms. There's a collapsable cot provided which we put in one of the twin rooms though our little one still seemed to end up in our bed most nights!

Getting about:

There are cycle tracks and footpaths throughout the site and you can hire bikes on site or bring your own. The terrain is a bit undulating though if you don't like cycling up hill. We didn't bother with bikes and just walked everywhere this time which we found easy enough.


If you have small children I would definately reccomend bringing along the grandparents to do a bit of babysitting (luckily ours are very ameniable to this as we live far away so unfortunately they don't get to see him very often). I'd also reccomend not being too ambitious and booking lots of activities otherwise you end up running yourself ragged trying to get from one thing to another (which can take a while on the large site). First off Mark did the Quad Biking experience followed by Abseiling for both of us. I somewhat foolhardily signed up for this one thinking it might be something like a rock face, but was rather daunted to see it involved climbing up to a platform about the height of my town house roof (eek), standing with your back against the wall while they check your harness then most scarry of all, stepping forward to the edge of the platform while they connect you to the second rope. Then you have to turn round and slowly lean back over the edge, letting the second rope out as you go. I'd thought going over the edge would be the worst bit, but as you can't see down at that point and you can feel the the rope is taught and holding you it's not so bad. It's just that bit when you're standing at the top on the edge that really makes your heart sink to your toes. After I'd done it the first time, I knew what was coming so it wasn't quite so terrifying - I was really pleased with myself at the end of it for not bottling out.

After the abseling, I had a quick dash back to the lodge to get changed, grab a sandwich and run back over to the village centre for the pottery painting session I'd booked (not realising the abseiling was 2hrs, I mucked my timing up a bit hence having to dash all over the place). At Whinfell the pottery painting (done in association with Flying Saucers) is done in the Green Room where they have evening entertainments. It wasn't as good a set up as in Longleat where they had a dedicated Pottery Painting cafe, but the staff there were very helpful and fetched me a cup of tea from the bar whilst I did my painting. It wasn't quite the relaxing experience I'd intended as I was still pumping with adrenaline from the absailing and my hands were shaking quite a bit, but I enjoyed myself and painted a plate to match the mug that I'd done at Longleat last year.

Wednesday we did the snorkelling session which was great fun, followed by a morning in the pool. In the afternoon I had an art class where the teacher had example paintinings with step by step pictures of how they were done for people to copy. I'm not much of a painter, but I was fairly happy with what I did (though not enough for it to be hanging on the wall any time soon) given that we only had 2 hours.

Thursday morning Mark & I went off site for a pony trek - would have been fab apart from the biting cold (really wish I'd remembered my gloves), but despite that we had a great time. Next time if we go I'd like to do the young families trek - our son was just shy of the cut off age by about a month this time, but I think he'd have been a bit little even if it was after his birthday. They did all look very cute on their tiny ponies though - just like something out of a Thellwell cartoon. After the trek we went back to the Lodge to defrost and have lunch. In the afternoon I hit the spa with my mum - very relaxing. It has a number of different spa's and saunas that you can wonder round (such as Balinese Steam room, Greek Herbal Spa, Turkish Hammam etc), two pools and lots of areas for relaxing. You can also book additionally (or seperately) for various massage/facial type treatments.

Well, with various interruptions etc this has taken me most of the day to write (yeah I know I'm dead slow), so I think I'll call it a day for now. Tomorrow I hope to have time to cover some of the other bits like the resteraunts on site. Ta ta for now.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Big thanks KMC!

Yay - thanks to some help from the wonderful KMC, I have finally managed to get 3 columns in my blog. Still need to populate them with something, but at least the framework is now in place. If you haven't come across her before, KMC makes the most excellent duct tape bags and wallets around. Her shop is definately worth a look:

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Tagged continued

Album 1 murraypage_008c
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Looking back at my tag answers, the post looked a little bare, so I thought I'd add this pic of me as a kid. Yes that was probably the last time I wore a bikini.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by the lovely Siansburys http://siansburys.blogspot.com/ and Nutty Knitter http://thenuttyknittersblog.blogspot.com/ ! This means I have to tell you 7 random facts about myself. Rules are:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

So here goes (I should warn you as I write this I've had a glass or two of wine so it should all be taken with a pinch of salt) :

1. I am a leftie - handed that is. Some might think this is a disadvantage as there are so many things that are orientated to right handed people, but for me this has resulted in me becoming near enough ambidextrous as you just have to get used to using your right hand for somethings.

2. Useless talent - I can mirror write (i.e. write backwards). No actual use for this that I can see, but it's amusing some times.

3. My favourite colours is... well I'm not quite sure as it's always changing, but at the moment I love teal, turquoise, olive green and red.

4. I am an eldest child, hence supposed to be sensible.

5. When I was about 5, I did ballet class and we had to do a show where we danced with our teddy bears. One of the other girls in class pushed in front of me so I clonked her one with my teddy bear. Don't mess with the cloth.

6. I am afraid of confined spaces. I don't have a problem with things like lifts or cuboards, but any tunnel where you have to stoop to get through freaks me out something chronic. I only have to watch someone caving on tv to start hypoventilating. Why would anyone want to do that? I managed to get into the burial chamber at Maes Howe, but only by making everyone else go in first so I had a clear route to the exit behind me.

7. I love chocolate - who doesn't?

I think most people I know have been tagged already, but here are a few that don't seem to have been:

Coldcell http://coldcellphotography.blogspot.com/
Giggleicious http://giggleicious.blogspot.com/
Kala http://karenjinks.blogspot.com/
MadebyCara http://madebycara.blogspot.com/

errr I think I've run out now. Everyone else has been tagged. Will add a few more if I find anyone else.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Travel Wallet

Travel Wallet
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat

Travel wallet

Travel wallet inside
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Well I finally got round to finishing the travel wallet. I'm quite please with how it came out, though there are a couple of tweaks I shall make to the next one. Just need to get the time to make more and get this one listed on Etsy.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Tickets, money, passport

I don't know about you, but every time I go on holiday I'm always convinced I've forgotten something important. I've found having everything in one place always helps a lot - I've been using a travel wallet I got free with one of the glossy magazines for the last year or so, but it is looking a bit tired and was never really that stylish in the first place so I've decided now that I'm sewing I should make one myself. Quite pleased with how it's turning out so far, luckily the little one had quite a long nap today so I managed to get most of it done. Just need to do the side pieces tomorrow and it will be finished. Once I see how I get on with the prototype, I'm planning to do a load more in different fabrics for my Etsy shop.

Clutter, clutter, clutter

Our house is heaving with clutter, in particular my various crafting items. I'm afraid I'm not very good at letting go of anything that I think I might have a use for (but never get round to using). I had a wardrobe clear out recently which left me with enough space (after some rearranging) to leave the bottom drawer of my chest of drawers empty only to be filled up with all my fabric stash. Some of the items wound there way back into the bottom draw (honest I will use the fabric really), but most have been bagged up for the charity shop (just need to get round to actually taking it there - ahem).

Friday, 22 February 2008

Finishing off

Turquoise velvet flower cuff
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Finally got round to finishing off my flower bracelets and uploading to Etsy - only took me about two weeks, ahem. Definately need to get myself a bit more organised about making stuff.

Most annoying

Finally got round to a bit more blogging last night and did it direct from flickr so save time uploading the photos. Now it seems to have dissapeared. Grrrrrrrr.

Spring sorting

Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
I became overcome by the urge to sort through all my buttons last weekend. So much so that I moved all my beads out of this box and into one with smaller compartments so that I can fit all my beads in here. Not sure quite what drove me to it other than generally being a bit sick of hunting round the bottom of my sewing box.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Home Farm & Paddock

Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
The farm house and paddock opposite. Unfortunately the horses had gone out on the last morning so we didn't get to say goodbye.

Murder Mystery

Knowlton 053
Originally uploaded by lizmuz
Me at the autioneer in the murder mystery. To my left my mum as inspector Clue d'eau.

Dower House

Dower House
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Ok, so I'm not keeping up with the blog entries very well. I'll try and catch up a couple in one go.

Weekend before last was my Auntie Sal's 50th birthday. She organised a big party weekend down in Kent. She rented the Dower House (see picture) and Home Farm on the grounds of Knowlton Court for everyone to stay in and we had a murder mystery party in the Dower House on the Saturday (real Agatha Christie type setting - an absoloute scream). Given that it was the beginning of February we had the most amazing weather with beautiful blue skies. I stayed in Home Farm with my family - just opposite the front door was a paddock with stables and 3 horses - my little boy was absoloutely mad about them wanting to go out and look at them every 5 minutes. I'd reccomend it to anyone looking for somewhere to stay in the Canterbury neck of the woods.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

I've won, I've won, I've won!

Mouse with ear on back
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Found out this afternoon that my entry for the January UK Challenge has won wooohooo! The challenge for this month was Weird Science and my entry was a needle felted mouse with an ear on it's back. This is the first time I've managed to get round to entering the competition, so I'm well chuffed to have won it. The theme this month particularly appealed to me coming from a science background. I hummed and hawed a bit about what to do then just had one of those light bulb moments. Once I'd thought of the Vacanti mouse, I was desperate to get it finished and posted as soons as possible as I was sure someone else would have the same idea as it's such a well known photo. As it turned out, there were only two other entries this month so I needn't have worried.

Februarys theme is sweets from my childhood, so I'm going to have to get my thinking cap on for that one. Think January is going to be a hard one to follow up though!

Friday, 1 February 2008

Going down town

I'm off into London today for the first time in ages (first time since the London Etsy meet up I think) to meet my friend Jeanette who is over from Norway for the weekend. Really looking forwards to it as I haven't seen her in ages. Not one to miss up an opportuntity for a bit of habadashery shopping though I shall be calling in at VV Rouleaux http://www.vvrouleaux.com/ to augment my ribbon stash. Hopefully I'll manage to get out without spending too much money.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

A long yarn

About a year and a half ago I was up in Orkney visiting the in laws familiy when I came across an ad for the workshops of Tait & Style (http://www.taitandstyle.co.uk/) in one of the tourist brochures. Not being one to miss an opportunity to do some crafty shopping I dragged everyone else and had a look round. Their workshop is in a converted old school house in Stromness - the view from the car park is stunning looking down to the harbour. As well as all the lovely knitted goods that they are known for, they also had a big basket full of scrummy yarns. I just had to buy a couple of them. Then me, being me they sat in my knitting box for another year and half! Anyway I've finally got around to knitting the green one up over christmas and it found a buyer as soon as I posted a picture on flickr, before it was even listed in Etsy! I've just finished the second one and listed it: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=9276724

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Weight Watchers Again

Had my 2nd weight watchers meeting tonight and I've lost 2.5lb, so the truffles can't have done that much harm. A large part of the meeting is waiting for all the people to be weighed so they can start the meeting proper. I've decided to turn this waiting time to my advantage and took a little box of goodies to work on while I was sitting around waiting.

Back in November I took a course entitled 'Glamorous Corsages' run by the V&A museum. I thoroughly enjoyed it and came back full of ideas for things to make using the techniques, but what with christmas and Calum being sick it never really happend and all the material I bought got shoved to the back of the spare room where I keep most of my crafting stash. I decided to get it out again this week to make some floral bracelets. The fabric rolling technique is ideal for doing when you've got sitting around time, so I cut the pieces out the night before, put my little box of supplies together and took it along with me to the meeting. Managed to get 4 flowers made and didn't get too many weird stares.

Weight Watchers

Well I have taken the plunge and signed myself up to weight watchers properly now. As in properly going along to the meetings to get weighed and having someone tell you off if you've been naughty rather than the pretend weight watchers I've been paying for online and never actually recording my points or dieting in any way for the last goodness knows how long.

So in the spirit of my new diet, yesterday I decided to make chocolate truffles (ahem). Yes okay so not strictly diet food I agree, but I used the 'Eat Youself Thin' recepie so they come out kind of ok points wise as long as you stick to eating just one or two a day which mercifully I am doing at the moment. I used Grand Marnier for the flavouring so they're quite potent and you probably wouldn't want to scoff a whole load of them anyway. At least that's what I'm telling myself.