Friday, 5 September 2014

The Joys of Bed

Apart from the obvious, we all derive a great deal of pleasure from our beds. Which is just as well as we spend a third of our lives in them. They are our battery charger, nothing is better than a good nights sleep. Beds also give us refuge and comfort, whether from illness, broken hearts or just a hangover. Or just to lounge luxuriantly/indolently, indulging ourselves in laziness. What is better than a lie-in on a Sunday morning? or late night reading. Bed is good. So, it seems only fitting that they should be treated with the very best of adornments.

This is an area where the division of the sexes is most noticable. A man's bed will have newspapers, underwear, magazines and the odd beer can strewn across it and a disturbing lack of cushions: something men hate.

Whereas a woman's bed will have four pillows, two different types of pillowcases, a duvet, a bedspread, and many, many cushions. Mine also has cats..... 

Rana Plaza, Bangladesh

Like many I watched in horror the tragic aftermath of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in  Dakar, Bangladesh. A collapse it would appear because the owner had added three floors without permission rendering it unstable.

No doubt this move was made to house more workers in the textile factories it housed so was generated by greed.

I'll tell you what's wrong with the NHS

Twenty years ago it was accepted the NHS was a white elephant, a creaking dynosaur that was haemorraging tax payers money. Then Labour came into power and decided it would be run like a business, with managers, targets, budgets, marketing. Except it isn't a business, there are no sales, profits or accountability.

If it was run as a business most of the management would have been sacked. And the wards would be clean and nurses would look after patients first, not fiddling targets, completing endless charts and paperwork. HELLO it's not a business.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Remembering Dad five years on....

Today is exactly five years since my father's funeral, made all the more memorable because we realised on the day it actually coincided with Halloween. At first I was horrified but realised afterwards Dad would have roared with laughter about that. So while I'm contemplating what a wonderful father and grandfather he was tonight my thoughts will be accompanied by a raised glass and a crescendo of fireworks.

I found something my daughter had written about him today: her eulogy and was so touched by her words I'm adding it to my blog as a fitting commemoration to him

'My Grandad was a brilliant man, I will miss him enormously, from a little girl to who i am today he played a huge part;.

I had the great luxury and honour of getting to really know him again in the last few years of his life. I loved taking him for picnics with Mum and sitting in the sun cracking up with him, . that's what I will always think of Grandad as a really funny, decent, solid and good man. He always had time for me and was always interested in everyone in his family.

I am glad we had his 90th birthday at his WRVS hall with Toby, Donna, Mum and me. I made some recordings of his war memories and am amazed at what a trooper he was. I only recently discovered what immense hardship he encountered in the war, from the loss of his first wife Alice from TB, to the phenomenal 'death  march' of seven hundred miles, imprisonment in the prisoner of war camp where he worked in the mines over five hundred feet beneath the earths surface. Sometimes I think he must have been invincible to have endured what he did and I am immensely proud of him.

Since he has passed away, in his ninety-two years of existence he seems to have left the same impression on everyone he met. A 'good old boy', a 'gent', 'old school', that's what I keep hearing.

He kept up his Army exercises until recently and would often refer to the time in 24 hours, to the nurses and carers which was amusing. He walked everywhere, which is how he kept so fit, thinking nothing of walking to Pitsea from Benfleet even well into his 'seventies.  He still walked through the hilly areas of Benfleet into his 'nineties and only gave up a year ago. He would sometimes go missing and would often find him here, there and everywhere merrily chatting away to anyone and everyone and pick him up and take him home.

I'm lucky to have had him for my Grandad will miss him enormously.'

Photo taken in desert Abu Dhabi, some of our happiest times together and he always said how much he loved it there and I think this photo says it all

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Patchwork quilts

Patchwork quilts - like lace - are enjoying something of a renaissance of late. Their history is well documented going back hundreds of years to the early settlers in America. Originally the concept came from thrift, sewing scraps of fabric together, using embroidery and applique to personalise events such as marriage or birth and even sometimes death hence the term 'comforter'. And a way of keeping warm during the bitterly cold winters and often brutally spartan living conditions.

They also provided a very important social function for the women who were often left for long periods of time while the men were away looking for work.  These social gatherings were called 'sewing bee's' where the women sat around exchanging gossip and news whilst busily stitching away, keeping their spirits high.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

How to reupholster a foot stool in patchwork

Funky and cheap ideas for the home

I had a large foot stool that I originally made back in the ‘eighties that was looking a bit well: ‘eighties. And thought about giving it a makeover but couldn't decide what, then hit on the idea of patchwork. I had some absolutely gorgeous Malabar silk and linen and embroidered swatches in vibrant colours and thought they would make a stunning patchwork covering.

So hauled out the machine and started sewing the pieces together. I wanted to create something quite exotic and unusual.

I found some vintage (old) bullion piping in the shed to finish the seam off and some bright turquoise bobble fringing for around the base.


Tools required:

Staple gun

Piping cord

Upholstery foam

Bobble fringing

I painted the old-fashioned cabriole legs bright turquoise with fuchsia pink detail and reversed the colours on the back legs.

How to make a patchwork quilt the quick and easy way

Patchwork for dummies

Not all of us have the time or wherewithal to make a patchwork quilt in the traditional hand sewn way, magnificent as they are. This method involves making the templates for a design either traditional or modern and ensuring an exact fit. And then hundreds of hours of hand sewing the pieces together.