Monday, 31 August 2015

Germany - Part 1 - Munich

Hello everyone! I'm back home after our trip to Germany. We had a busy time, travelling around visiting family and friends. I also made it my mission to taste as many yummy German cakes as possible and I think that I might well have achieved an A* for that!! I promise to share photos in a later blog post!

After taking the ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland, we drove as far as Heidelburg where we celebrated Mr JK's birthday. Heidelberg is an old University town with an impressive castle overlooking the market square. It was also home (in the late 19th century) to Professor Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, he of the Bunsen burner that you must have used during science lessons at school! 

Germany August 2015 R (8)

The next morning we drove down to Munich where our days were pretty busy. The first day we visited the zoo, travelling there on the U-Bahn (underground train system) which was only a couple of minutes walk from our flat. It was a fantastic day out and we were able to see a huge number of different animals. The zoo is in a wonderful setting in well-landscaped parkland and the enclosures were pretty large.

Munich zoo

The following day, we took a boat trip around the Ammersee, a lake south west of Munich. It was a beautiful morning and the water was so still, it was like a picture postcard! 

Germany August 2015 (134)

Germany August 2015 (135)

Germany August 2015 (132)

We stayed on the boat as it sailed from place to place, dropping off passengers and picking up new ones, until we reached the town of Diessen. There we disembarked, spending a couple of hours exploring the town. We walked up to a rather impressive church, passing many beautifully painted houses as we went.

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Germany August 2015 (160)

The church itself was very ornate and had a very light and airy feel. The paintings were stunning, especially those on the ceilings. A true feat of both artistry and agility!

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Germany August 2015 (174)

On the way back down from the church, we made friends with a little cat who sent some 'meows' to Flo!

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Friday saw us in a more sombre mood as we drove to Dachau, north west of Munich, to visit the Concentration Camp Memorial. Originally started as a concentration camp for political prisoners in 1933, this camp served as the model for all subsequent concentration camps. More than 41,000 people were murdered there. Despite the number of people visiting, there was a sense of quiet throughout the visit as we all tried to take in the reminders of the horrendous atrocities that had been committed.

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After spending several hours inside, we were in need of something lighter, so drove into Dachau itself and took a walking tour around the old part. It's a beautiful town, again with a castle overlooking the town and on a good day, you can see as far as the Alps. We stopped off for tea and cake in the castle grounds before walking around the garden. Here are a few highlights...


No visit to Bavaria would be complete without at least one visit to a biergarten, and we visited two on our last day! The first, south of Munich, was right by the river Isar, and not long after we had arrived, we could hear the strains of traditional Bavarian 'oompah' music in the distance. Then the first of many rafts appeared, complete with band, guests and a plentiful supply of Bavarian beer! The rafts tied up at the biergarten and the guests came in for a meal. Each band tried to outdo the others with a rendition of traditional music. Ladies wore traditional dirndl dresses while the men sported lederhosen. It was great fun to be a spectator!

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More Germany August 2015 (54)

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More Germany August 2015 (55)

The second beer garden we visited had a live jazz band playing and there were plenty of visitors soaking up the afternoon sunshine. I'll say auf wiedersehen for now, and I'll be back later this week for the next instalment! Prost! xxx

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Magic View - Style - Lines

I am quite smitten with this photo recognition trickery on Flickr - it's interesting to see photos grouped together that you wouldn't normally connect and it also has made me start thinking about the composition of my photos and how others might see them. The 'Style' section has loads of great categories. Today we're looking at lines. We're back home at the weekend, so normal blogging service will resume soon after. Don't forget you still have time to enter my Scissor fob giveaway too! See you soon. xxx

Ireland 2010 034 Germany August 2009 168 bench Flo Day 6 - more Castle Howard (19) Lovehearts cowl WIP 006 64 Crayons done! (8)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Getting fobbed off! - a giveaway

It was a good friend's birthday recently, and although I was unable to send Kat a knitted gift, I did manage to sew a little 'something' for her. When I was at Fibre East, I bought a cute sheepy scissor fob which I have attached to my sewing scissors. Kat has recently started quilting again, so I thought a scissor fob might be a fun gift for her. I rummaged through my scraps of fabric and found the perfect piece - a comical sheep. In no time at all, I had a finished scissor fob. I had some scissors in my gift box and I added some pins to the pin cushion. Quick and simple! See for yourself!

sheepy scissor fob (1)

sheepy scissor fob (3)

sheepy scissor fob (5)

Scissor fobs today are more of a decorative item, used to personalise a pair of scissors and make them identifiable. I've attached my fob to my sewing scissors to make sure that they don't get used for cutting anything else apart from fabric. Also, if I'm using them sat on the sofa, they can't slip down the side so easily. In the 18th century, because clothes didn't really have pockets, ladies used to have chatelaines to carry some of their most  frequently used items such as scissors, keys, thimbles, watch etc, suspended on a chain or cord from their waistband. 

Scissor fobs are so simple to make, you can easily make one for yourself if you'd like to. You'll need two pieces of fabric measuring 11cm by 8cm, preferably one patterned and the other plain. 

scissor fobs (1)

With wrong sides together, sew around the edges, allowing a 1cm seam, and leaving a 3.5cm opening either side of one corner. (You'll need to do this to turn it the right way round and add stuffing later.) I stitched one stitch diagonally on each corner to help with the shape when turned the right way. You can see from the photo below. Trim the corners off so that there's less bulk to deal with.

scissor fobs (3)

Turn the fob the right way out and press, folding over the corner seam where the ribbon or tape will be attached after stuffing. Push a pen lid into each corner to ease it out. Fill it with toy stuffing until it's quite firm, especially if you are going to be using it for pins too. Then it's time to attach the ribbon or tape. I found some fun tape with a tape measure printed on it - I thought this might be useful as an emergency measure! Allow about 30cm to attach to the fob. It's a little bit fiddly here as you need to tuck the ends inside the fob, between the front and back fabrics, and sew a seam close to the edge. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is, honestly! I made these in less than an hour! 

scissor fobs (6)

scissor fobs (8)

I made this one especially for a zombie-loving friend; I thought she'd laugh having to stick pins into the little zombie on the pin cushion!

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I'd love it if you had a go at  making one for your scissors. But if it all seems like too much, I'm offering you the chance to win one in a little giveaway. It'll be my blog's 7th birthday (Really?! Have I been blogging that long?!) while we are away, so to be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is tell me what your favourite celebratory cake is and which of the scissor fobs you'd like if your name is first out of the hat. You have until the end of August to leave a comment. It's open to everyone, wherever you live. I look forward to drooling over your cake choices. (Mine is carrot cake by the way!) xxx

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Magic View - Landscape - Forest

Some more photos from my Flickr account that have been grouped together using Flickr's photo recognition and classfied as landscapes of forests. Enjoy the lush green coolness. By the time you read this, Mr JK and I should be on our way to Germany. I've scheduled a couple more posts while we are away, including a little giveaway, so pop back over the next two weeks, won't you?! I'll see you over the Bank Holiday weekend, once we've collected Flo from her cat  hotel. The cases have not yet been brought down from the loft, so she hopefully has no idea what's in store for her in the morning! xxx

Wells Boxing Day 2013 017

Day 6 - more Castle Howard (62)

Blickling Park May Day 2015 (13)

East Ruston Old Vicarage May 2012 018

London April 2011 045

Tour de Fleece 2014 Day 18 (8)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

A Cushiony Ta-dah!

It feels so good to be blogging about something I've made, after what feels like a lifetime (yes, I know, it's actually only been 7 weeks) without much creativity. Mr JK and I are off to Germany at the weekend and we will be visiting our friends Andrea and Wolfgang during the course of our travels. They became grandparents for the first time last year and it's Lenia's first birthday this weekend. I made a crocheted ripple blanket after her birth which was well received - here's a quick reminder of how it turned out ...

Baby girl ripples (4)

I thought it would be fun to make a cushion to go in Lenia's nursery too. I looked for some inspiration on Pinterest, and decided to make one with some bunting as well as Lenia's name stitched on. It was a toss up between applique and free motion stitching, but I decided on applique in the end. I haven't tried free motion stitching on my new sewing machine yet.  If I was to make it again, I would probably use a different colour thread for the applique to give more contrast. That's why I added the green ribbon and button, to make things pop a little more. I need to practise sewing curves, they were quite hard to do! But all in all, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

cushion for Lenia (1)

cushion for Lenia (2)

cushion for Lenia (4)

cushion for Lenia (8)

What have you been busy creating lately? xxx

Sunday, 9 August 2015


new wrist splint

I have been 'promoted' to a soft splint, which allows me a little more movement, so I have been sneaking in the odd round of sock knitting! I have to apply an icepack to my wrist four times a day to try and reduce the swelling, but I am hoping that it is on the mend. Fingers crossed. I am desperately trying to finish a pair of socks for Wolfgang as our trip to Germany is coming ever closer! 

Last week, my friend Diane came up from Devon for a couple of days. You may remember me teaching her to knit socks earlier in the year, and crochet basics last summer. Her teenage daughter Eve came along too and we had a wonderfully crafty time together. Eve wanted to learn to knit, so she rummaged in my stash of odd balls and chose something colourful for a simple garter stitch scarf. She picked it up very quickly and went back to Devon with scarf number two already on the needles! Not only was she interested in knitting, but Eve wanted to do some sewing too. So I showed her how to do machine applique and she made a panel which she then turned into an envelope cushion. Here's her starfish cushion - pretty impressive for a first go with a sewing machine, isn't it?!

Eve's cushion (1)

Eve's cushion (3)

Yesterday I went to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. It was a loooooooong day as he coach left at 7:30am and I got back home just after 9pm, but it was worth it. Lots of fabulous quilts on display as well as plenty of fabric on sale! I was particularly interested in the quilts that had been made by schools. Here are a couple of them...

Festival of Quilts 2015 (5)

Festival of Quilts 2015 (6)

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Festival of Quilts 2015 (10) 

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Festival of Quilts 2015 (8)

Festival of Quilts 2015 (2)

These amazing quilts were all made by primary schools (if I remember correctly) and it's definitely given me some ideas for a big textiles-based project at school next year. I'll keep you posted!

While I was there, I had a bit of a 'fan moment' when I realised that I was standing next to Kaffe Fassett! He was signing copies of his many books. I snuck a photo of him for you!

Festival of Quilts 2015 (1)

Of course I brought back a few souvenirs of my day! A couple of sewing patterns, some fabric to make a top for myself, an assortment of fat quarters, some gorgeous pieces of Liberty lawn fabric and a bag of scraps for applique. Oh go on then, since you asked so nicely, you can have a look!

bounty from festival of quilts (1)

Mr JK was in action today, running the East Coast Half Marathon. It was pretty hot, so his aim was to finish rather than go for a personal best, and he was pleased with his time. He is training for his first marathon in October, so is building up his mileage - this week he managed about 33 miles. Rather him than me! I'll be back soon with some sewing to share with you. xxx

East Coast Half Marathon 2015 (10)