Monday, 24 August 2009

Lucky old me.

Hi All. We've just returned from a week away in beautiful Cornwall so I'm refreshed and ready to start sewing again. As I mentioned in my last post I received a fabulous package of goodies from my Christmas in July swap partner Kelly. She sent lots of beautiful gifts, here they all are.

We had to make a Christmas stocking or santa sack. Kelly made this lovely, huge bag.

This Santa has been appliqued onto the bag with blanket stitch.

I love these jingle bells sewn onto prairie points.

Kelly also made this beautiful wall hanging.

I love the hanger, it's so pretty.

This is a shopping bag. What a great saying.

Look at this selection of delights. A magazine, Australian fabric, sewing theme badges and a pretty address book.

I even received some pretty jewellry which I've had the pleasure of wearing and a cute little bag which I used to take my jewellry on holiday in.

Just look at these cute little chaps, they'll look great on our christmas tree.

Thanks very much kelly, you sent a very generous, beautiful parcel.

Due to circumstances I received two wonderful parcels in this swap from Stephanie and Kelly and I've therefore decided to do a give-away which will be open just to other membersof the Christmas in July swap. As I've received so much I thought it would share things out a bit. I'm not giving away anything that Stephanie or Kelly sent though, they're all mine! I'll come up with a parcel of goodies, not sure what yet though. I'll post about it when I get my act together.

Bye for now, Maria.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Swap, Swap, Swapping.

Lots of pictures today all swap related. I recently took part in a seaside swap organised by Rachel. My partner was Viv from New Zealand. I made her this mini-quilt.

Slightly wonky stitching on the beach hut doors but I'm sure Viv doesn't mind.
Viv sent me a very New Zealand themed parcel which I love. It's great to be sent something personal to the area where the sender lives. I'm sure there are many seaside items that are mass produced and sold all over the world. I told Viv the story of when I bought a handbag in a small boutique in France last year thinking it would be different to what other people at home had but I've seen bags exactly the same on our local market and loads of people with them in the town.

Anyway, here is the super parcel that Viv sent. I love the New Zealand
Paua shell, it is beautiful how it shimmers in the light. There's too much to mention each gift but here they all are. Thanks a lot viv.

Another swap I recently took part in was Linda and Stephanie's Christmas in July swap. I recently showed what I sent my partner. Well unfortunately it has turned out that the lady who was partnered to send me a parcel has been ill and we thought that she was no longer taking part, Stephanie kindly stepped in and sent me a beautiful parcel.

I gasped when this beautiful bag full of gifts popped out of the box.

Here's the bag in all its polka dot glory.

Isn't this fab? It's a christmasy craft apron. Don't you just love the fabric and the way Stephanie has fussy cut the fabrics on the pockets? Unfortunately I haven't got all the pockets in the photo.

Stephanie also sent some t-cloths, recipe cards, polka dot note cards, a needle case, a super soft flannel pillow case and a knitted dishcloth. Many thanks Stephanie, you are very kind.

We have since heard from my partner and she has sent a parcel too so it looks like I'm going to be the lucky recipient of two parcels!

I haven't been very productive with my sewing over the last week but I've started my quilt for the Doll Quilt 7 swap on flickr so I better get going with that.
Bye for now, Maria.

Update: I have just received a wonderful parcel from my original Christmas in July swap partner Kelly, I will do a post about it soon.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Paying our respects in France.

Yesterday we returned from a brief trip across the Channel to France. The reason for our trip was to visit the grave of my great uncle who died, aged 21, in 1918 during the first world war. He was the eldest of six children who came from Hunstanton, a small coastal town in North Norfolk , England and was the brother of my late grandmother.
He was (I think) a motorcycle despatch rider from the Royal Engineers regiment
and he was sent to a camp
to deliver mail or messages. As it was getting late he was told to stay at the camp overnight before returning in the morning, but tragically his tent received a direct hit and he was killed.

The cemetery is just outside the town of Hazebrouk in northern France. It was used chiefly by field ambulances and fighting units of the 29th division from April to August 1918 for the burial of Commonwealth casulaties sustained during the German offensive. There are 226 first World War burials in the cemetery.

The cemetry is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Comission and we assume a local gardener maintains the land. We were hugely impressed by how beautifully kept it is. There are red roses and other plants growing in front of and between the graves and the grass is neat and manicured. It is wonderful that the final resting place of these young men, who appeared to be mostly in their 20's, is kept so lovingly and respectfully over 90 years after the war in which they died ended.The picture below shows the headstones from behind and doesn't show the planting to full effect.

The image below shows the headstone of my great uncle Charles Robert Nelson Crown. We were unaware that the the headstone was carved with the crest of his regiment (as were all the headstones) and a personal inscription which we believe his parents must have chosen. I had imagined something far more simple.

Charlie's parents or siblings never had the opportunity to visit his grave so I feel proud that three generations of his family - my dad, myself and my son - have now visited and paid our respects. His parents died in the 1950's and they never had the oppurtunity to visit their son's grave. To them France would have seemed so far away but to us it is just a few hours away. We drove to the Channel tunnel which is about 2 hours, drove onto the train and arrived in France after about 30mins and the cemetery was about another 30 minute drive. I wonder what my great grandmother and grandfather would have thought if they had been told that one day in the not too distant future you could drive onto a train that would take you under the sea to France.

Sadly my grandparents also lost their youngest son Sydney but this time during the second world war. He died age 27 as a POW whilst building the Burma-Siam railway and his grave is in the Chungkai War Cemetery Thialand. Maybe one day we be able to visit his grave too.

When we returned from our trip I stole a few minutes to look at a few blogs and was amazed by the co-incidence of the post by my seaside swap partner Viv. She wrote about an exhibition she had attended in New Zealand where she lives which was about the battle for Passchendaele, Belguim by New Zealand soldiers in 1918 during WW1.

Until next time, Maria.