Thursday, 31 July 2014

Month in Numbers–Holiday edition

On our trip ‘up north’ one of the things we did was to follow a tour recommended by Motorcycle News to visit some of England’s biggest things.  It makes for a great ‘Month in Numbers’!  I am linking up with Julie at Notes on Paper.

Here are some of the things we saw/visited:

Cardington Airship Hangars


The largest hangars in England, at 812 feet in length, 180 feet wide, and 157 feet high.  They were built in 1915, and were home to the ill fated R101 airship. 

Humber Bridge – The largest single span suspension bridge in the world when it was built in 1981.  It is now the 7th longest bridge of it’s type.


It has a span  of 1410m (Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco 1280m)

It contains 480,000 tonnes of concrete, with a weight of over 87,000 african bull elephants

The distance between towers at top is 36mm more at top than bottom to allow for curvature of earth. 

The centre of bridge is designed to swing 4m in high winds!


The Angel of the North


The tallest statue in England, at 20m (66 feet) high and a wingspan of 54m (177 feet).  It was designed by Anthony Gormley and made out of weathered steel.  It is said that it is the most viewed statue in England, as it lies in view of travellers on the busy roads, A1 and A167 and the busy East Coast train line.


High Force Waterfall

at 21m can’t be the highest waterfall we have to offer can it?  According to Wikipedia there are in fact 2 higher waterfalls in England.  We had fun trying out different camera settings:

Aperture f29, Speed 1/2 sec (balanced camera on ground, hence it is not very straight!)


Aperture: f4.5, Speed: 1/250sec


We seemed to be forever walking up and down steps on this holiday!  One memorable staircase was inside Durham Cathedral – 325 steps to the top, for splendid views across the town.



The North East coast is famous for it’s castles, mostly built in defence from the marauding Vikings from Scandinavia.  We visited 2 castles, Durham and Lindesfarne, but saw another 5 from the outside:

Bamburgh, Barnard Castle, Raby, Alnwick and Dunstanburgh.

We were surprised to find out that the sun rose 20 minutes earlier and set 30 minutes later in early July in Durham as compared to down south, here in Worthing! We really noticed how much lighter it was in the evenings. 

We had a fabulous trip, really packed in things to do and overall clocked up 1,070 miles on the motorbike.


Saturday, 26 July 2014


I set myself the task of finishing off some sewing WIPs this month.  Here’s what I have been doing:

Number 1.  My scrappy quilt top from ‘Sunday Morning Quilts’ by Amanda Jane Nyberg and Cheryl Atkinson.  This is ‘High Five’, and it measures approximately 58 inches square.  I may yet add some more, either on the top and bottom or all the way round.  The fabrics come from scraps I pooled with my 2 craft cabin friends, Tash and Burnice



2 Red and Yellow Bear

He appeared in the magazine ‘Love Patchwork and Quilting’, and is designed by Jo Carter.  We cut him out one Monday evening at Burnice’s craft cabin, and I was determined to finish him!  It was not easy!  He is very fiddly to sew and I had to recut a few pieces because they were the wrong way round.  The instructions don’t tell you that!  Despite all this , he has turned out really well, although I don’t think I will be making any more small plushies!  He measures about 15cm tall when sitting.


3 Piped cushion with zip!

Burnice and I made the cushion front on another Monday evening at the craft cabin.  We had bought mini charm packs and were wondering what to do with them.  I decided to have a go at piping a cushion, and rather bravely stupidly thought I would put in a zip too!  I watched loads of videos on You Tube and after a bit of trial and error, ended up with this.  I am quite pleased, not bad for a first attempt! The zip works too!


3 Peg Bag

I bought this kit at Sandown quilt show back in June, from the Cross Patch stall.  I just fell in love with the bag and bought 2 lots of ‘Candy Bars’, a pack of precut blocks, each measuring 2.5 x 5 inches.  This one is Birds of a Feather by Camelot.  I will be making more of these!


4 Loopy Scarf

This came in a Seamstar craft club box.  I subscribed for a while, but found that I wasn’t really doing anything with the kits, so I gave up.  They are lovely kits and I would recommend them.  This loopy scarf is made in gorgeous cotton lawn, but sadly I won’t be wearing it myself as it is not my colours, (and it’s much too hot here at the moment!)


5 Red Dress

This dress was hanging up in my sewing/dining room for a couple of weeks.  All it needed was the hem sewing!  It is Simplicity K1913.  I got it free with Sew magazine a year or so ago.  I had tried and failed miserably to make it before, and even tried an FBA (full bust adjustment).  Then I found that another of my local sewing shops did a dressmaking drop-in on a Tuesday morning.  I am so lucky – 2 sewing shops within walking distance – The Ecletic Maker and More Sewing.  So, over a few Tuesday mornings, Laura at More Sewing helped me fit the dress.  It’s a wee bit big now, as I have lost more weight but I love the colour!  It’s really cheap polycotton from the market.  I think I paid £2 per metre!  Now I have the bodice to fit reasonably well, I would like to make more dresses with this bodice, different necklines, and different skirts.  Watch this space!




Now I should tackle some of those scrapbooking WIPs!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Scrapbook Inspirations

One of the great things about scrapbooking is that you get to see other people’s holiday photos and get new ideas of where to go.  One place has always stuck in my mind.  The now defunct scrapbook magazine ‘Scrapbook Inspirations’ had a contributor called Jane Dean.  She used to scrapbook lovely photos of Bamburgh Castle on the coast of Northumberland in North East England.  We finally got to go there on our recent trip.  What a castle!  What a position, high above the glorious white sandy beach!

I make no apologies for showing you lots of photos:

We sat here with this view to eat our sandwiches:


As you walk down onto the beach, you get this view.


Just look at this glorious beach!  Not many people in the sea it was freezing cold!  This is the North Sea after all.


The first reference to a castle on this site is 547.  The Vikings destroyed it in 993.  The Normans built a new castle on the site, parts of which form the core of the present castle.


It is now owned by the Armstrong family and is open to the public and for weddings and corporate events.  What a romantic place to get married!  And of course, it has been used for film sets, such as Ivanhoe (1952), El Cid (1961), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), and Elizabeth (1998).


Not far up the coast from Bamburgh is Holy Isle, or Lindesfarne.  It is a magical place that can only be reached at low tide over a causeway.  Somewhere else we had always wanted to visit.  The island has a castle and a ruined priory. 


Lindesfarne’s most famous inhabitant is St Cuthbert (634 – 20/03/687).  He became a monk after a vision, and went to Lindesfarne as Prior of the Abbey around 685.  He travelled around the north of England and was known for his charm and generosity to the poor.  He retired in 676, and moved to a nearby island and became a hermit, where he died in 687. 

His coffin was opened some 9 years later, and his body was found to be preserved.  The monks thought this was a miracle and a sign of his purity and holiness, and he was made a saint.  The monks carried his coffin about with them to escape Viking incursions.  Years later, after several resting places, his remains were buried in Durham Cathedral where they remain to this day.

We like this  connection between Lindesfarne and Durham!  And I love the idea of the monks carrying his coffin around the North of England for all those years!

Have you been inspired to go somewhere because of a scrapbook page?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Scavenger Hunt Part 2: The Holiday

We have been on a road trip ‘up North’; to the North-East of England, a part of the country we had not been before.  We had a really lovely time, lots to do and see there, lovely weather (we were lucky!) and of course, lots of scavenger hunt finds!

Garden gnome.  Does this gargoyle outside Bletchley Park House count? It’s a ‘posh’ garden gnome! We visited Bletchley Park on our way up north.  It is where the secret code breakers worked in WW2 and where they broke the code for the German ‘Enigma’ machine.  We took a guided tour and were fascinated!  We may well go back there as there is so much to see.




I told you I would probably take a few of these!  The first two are in Whitley Bay.  The third in Durham, and the fourth and fifth on Lindesfarne in a little tea garden.



Sign in a foreign language

This was in an exhibition of Japanese film posters near Durham cathedral. 


Urban street scene

The streets in the centre of Durham are narrow and filled with cafes, restaurants and interesting shops!


Bird on a wire

A swallow perched on a wire spotted at Beamish Museum.  We do have a better one, but it is on Maurice’s camera.  I noticed loads of birds on wires as we rode around the countryside.  I got Maurice to stop and take a picture when I noticed a whole host of birds on wires!


Rural Landscape

This is Teesdale, near the small town of Barnard Castle.  The countryside is very pretty around there, very green!  Lots of sheep and cattle, but hardly any grains or cereals grown as there is down here.


Bus with a picture on it’s side

Here’s a Durham bus with the Angel of the North painted on it’s side.  We did visit the Angel of the North, but more of that later.


Group of Tourists

We took a guided tour of Durham castle.  Here we are trooping in!


A Bakery

Here’s the bakery in Beamish Museum.  This is in the ‘town’, where they have reconstructed buildings brick by brick and filled them with artifacts of the time.  It is on a grand scale!  There’s also a colliery and miner’s cottages of the 1890s, a 1940s farm, and a 1820s tenant farmer’s house.  A very good day out!


A Waterfall

This is reputedly he highest waterfall in England.  I am afraid it is not very impressive! It is High Force waterfall near Teesdale where I took the rural landscape above. We had fun trying to capture ‘blurry’ water.



I have lots more pictures from our holiday to show you, but they can wait for another post.