Saturday, 23 January 2016

Walk: West Deane Way - Walk 3

Although it is lovely to drive out to the countryside and walk, there is something very satisfying about starting a walk from home without having to use the car. Today, I walked part of the West Deane Way walk 3 in the clockwise direction from Nynehead to Tonedale. I joined the trail at Wharf Cottage and extended the walk by returning in a circuit by roughly following the B3187.

West Deane Way Walk 3: Clockwise
Terrain: Muddy lanes, fairly flat. If you extend the walk into a circuit, it is even pavements but the second leg is mostly uphill.
Distance: 2 miles for Walk 3 (5.9km for my circular walk)
Time taken: 1 hour 20 minutes

Opposite Wharf Cottage are some interesting remains of Nynehead Lift which was part of the Grand Western Canal.

This is the view from the top of Nynehead Lift towards Nynehead Court. The walk continues into Long Copse.

The Highlights: It was lovely to see so many snowdrops along the hedgerows but there were none along the wooded lanes - maybe in a few weeks time.

The Lowlights: Unfortunately the walk ends at the sewage treatment plant at Tonedale, however if you are following the proper walk, you may wish to do an about turn before you go too near!!

Love Mrs Jones x

Note: This walk is part of the West Deane way which is a 50 mile circular route through Taunton Deane. For more information and links to all the maps, see here.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Patchwork Plans 2016

I didn't get an awful lot of sewing done last year, but already have quite a few plans for this year.

Currently making...

I have started (finally) on a quilt using the Dashwood September Blue fat quarter stack that I have now had for too long.

So, the whole stack has been cut into rectangles ready for pairing together into squares which will have some white sashing between. My original plans were something with quite largescale pieces as the features prints are quite large, so my rectangles are 24cm x 12cm.

I am currently whizzing through the initial chain-piecing, and am hoping that it will be quite a quick and easy quilt.

Patchwork Plans 2016

I have recently discovered Freshly Pieced's blog and have a huge crush on this Moroccan Lanterns pattern:

Moroccan Lanterns PDF Pattern - Freshly Pieced Quilt Patterns - 1
Image Source: Freshly Pieced

I really want to get my hands on a copy of Nancy Purvis' book Quilting from Every Angle. Her quilts are modern and really fresh. I particularly like Fossil and Vertebrae.

I am also on the lookout for a raccoon quilt block - can anyone recommend one?

What are your patchwork and quilting plans for 2016?

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Walk: Worlds End Pub Walk

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to get more active. I definitely increased my activity levels in 2015 but I want to make more of a commitment in 2016 by going out more frequently. The idea of going to a gym or exercise classes really does not appeal but I do really love going out in the fresh air for a walk, and the bonus is that apart from a pair of walking boots, it is completely free!

My first walk this year was a circular walk from the World's End pub in West Buckland, Somerset and is available to download from their website (bottom left hand side). 

The World's End Pub Walk
Terrain: Mostly quiet country lanes and (muddy) fields - some gentle undulation.
Distance: 3.5 miles
Time taken: 1hr 30 minutes

This walk quickly takes you away from the busy A38 onto a quiet country lane past the back of the orchards of Sheppey's Cider Farm and into farmland. We spotted what I think was a kestrel perched high in one of the apple trees.

The route then takes you across a footbridge into a wet and muddy field (walking boots a necessity when it has been raining). Soon after this, we were led somewhat astray by the written walk instructions which have clearly been superceded by a new public footpath {at point 2, follow the public footpath signpost to the top left corner of the field rather than the route between the hedge and fence}. Then as you emerge through the gate you turn immediately left onto the farm track.

The Highlights: The abundance of mistletoe growing in one of the orchards was a lovely sight, as was the dark fern lined cutting on the last leg of the walk. At one point you have a great view over the area and up to the Blackdowns and Wellington Monument.

We resisted the temptation to spoil our good work with lunch in the pub, but had it been a frosty day, I think I may have had to give in to a bowl of soup!

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Quilt: Christmas Mini Norway

I have been desperate to make Thimbleblossom's Norway quilt for ages and bought the pattern some time ago. I don't have time to make the full quilt at the moment, but I thought that one of the blocks would make a good mini quilt which I could use on my Christmas table this year.

I am a big fan of Nordic Noir, such as The Bridge and The Killing, and I love the fact that the design looks like it has fallen off of one of Sarah Lund's big sweaters, and at the same time it looks very festive (snowflake?)!

I am linking in with this month's Le Challenge theme: Space - thinking about making space for guests at Christmas, space on the table and making a space look festive. However, I still can't decide whether I am brave enough to risk this having cranberry sauce spilled on it or whether I will hang it up in the dining room instead.

I still plan to make the full quilt at some point, but I am definitely going to buy some jelly rolls to make it from - it is hard work hand cutting all the strips!

Le Challenge 

Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 29 November 2015

3d Reindeer Decorations

I thought I would share with you some inexpensive 3d Reindeer Christmas Decorations that I made with a group of people yesterday. The brief was to find a Christmas craft activity for people of all ages that can be replicated at home and at little cost (the original card I used was from the centre of a roll of wrapping paper). I found this wonderful template on Pinterest for 3d reindeer which is free to copy and share. However, I couldn't get it to print from my ipad, so used the idea to free-draw my own shapes.

Once you have cut your shapes you need two short pieces of straw between the three shapes to make him appear 3d. I added a button nose to mine, but you could also bling it up a little...

For more inexpensive Christmas craft ideas, check out my Pinterest board.

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 26 October 2015

Sewn: Dressing Gown (Dress A Clothing for Everyday Wear)

It has been a fair while since I actually sewed myself a garment, partly because I was a little disappointed with the last couple of things I have made and also for much of the last year my weight had been unstable due to medication. But, I wanted to get back into the swing of sewing without the constraints of having to have a perfect fit, and a dressing gown seemed like the perfect solution. 

I really liked the Buchanan Dressing Gown by Gather (which is also available as a kit) and this gown by Purl Soho, but then I remembered Dress A from Stylish Dress Book: Clothing for Everyday Wear by Yoshiko Tsukiori which always looked more like a dressing gown than a dress to me!

Pattern Description
Wraparound dress with pockets


The instructions and diagrams were so clear easy to follow.

Fabric used
I found a gorgeous blush/cream medium weight cotton which I think is a perfect weight/warmth for the Spring to Autumn seasons. It probably isn't thick enough for Winter.

The back of the dressing gown should have been cut in two pieces and sewn together, but this seemed a little daft to me, so I put my pattern piece on the fold and made it just the one piece. 
I used my current dressing gown as a model for placing some internal ribbon ties in addition to the drawstring. The drawstring I have left as an external belt so that I can tie it together at the front of the gown.

I also reinforced the shoulder seams with some leftover self-made binding.

Sew it again?
Definitely - I am already envisaging it in brushed cotton! I am loving Ms Wabi-Sabi's version here.

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 19 October 2015

Toronto, Canada 2015: A Vacation

I have just returned from a wonderful vacation in Ontario, Canada visiting my family. I always knew that Canada was famous for its Autumn colours, but they were just so spectacular.

These photos were taken at Chudleigh's Apple Farm, Halton Hills where we spent a wholesome Canadian Thanksgiving in glorious sunshine picking (and eating) apples and eating the best corn barbecued whole and spread with melted butter.

One of the best ways to make the most of a short stay in or around Toronto, is to pick up a Citypass which allows you access to the top five attractions (the CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Centre and Casa Loma). You save as long as you visit three of these -we didn't visit Casa Loma.

We were blessed with brilliant weather at the CN Tower which led to fantastic views. We paid extra to go right up to the skypod which is great but you can definitely feel the sway of the tower in the wind so is not for the faint hearted!

Following on from the dizzying heights of the tower, we walked to the ROM which seemed a good idea but was much further than we thought - allow at least 45-60 minutes walk between the two (or take the subway from Union to Museum, which we did on the return journey)! We completed our long day in Toronto with a trip to see the Toronto Raptors play at the Air Canada Centre (basketball). 

No trip to Toronto is complete without a drive (about an hour) to Niagara Falls. Unless you are big into tackiness, the actual town of Niagara is not worth a second look but the falls themselves are pretty spectacular. My family did the Journey Behind the Falls whilst I had a sedate stroll around, followed by a hot chocolate in the overlooking Welcome Centre.

The drive between Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake (30-40 minutes) takes you past some beautiful Canadian countryside, vineyards and the most gorgeous houses. I just can't believe I didn't stop to photograph them. Niagara on the Lake is again a bit of a tourist honey trap but is full of lots of lovely shops, including Reiners where I indulged in a leather Moose (don't even ask how I got him home)!!

Ontario Science Centre felt a little dated and is not the easiest location to access by public transport (take the subway from Union to Eglinton, then the No 34 Eglinton East bus, getting off at Don Mills Road), however, they did have Felix Baumgartner's spacesuit and capsule and lots of hands on science for all ages.

Crawford Lake was where we saw the best Autumn colour, and is a lovely, deep lake with a boardwalk surrounding it. There are also Iroquoian longhouses here. We were lucky enough to hear a milksnake rattle its tail, and see some turkey vultures. There are also turtles in the lake, but we were unable to spot any.
Whilst we were in Canada, Er Shun, the giant panda gave birth to twins at Toronto Zoo. Whilst they will not be on public display for three - four months, it was still fascinating to see the Panda Dad, as well as an array of other animals.
Love Mrs Jones x