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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Court of Coppola

You know I have told you already, and probably more than once :) about my eldest son Ben who is a photographer. Well some time back he was asked to do a shoot of Sofia Coppola. Below is one of the photographs and  if you click on the link you can visit the beautiful house where he carried out the shoot. He said that Sofia is a lovely lady and he enjoyed being there and getting to meet her father Francis Ford Coppola 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Gilby Skipp

I cant believe it but next Saturday Gilby will turn 1 year old! And the exciting thing is he is having his party at Grandma and Grandpa's house!!! Our eldest daughter will be here from SA and our other daughters school friend lives in London, so pretty near to us. She also has a little boy who is invited to Gilby's party so we thought it would be fun to have it here. We will have other family members here too so lots of fun will be had by all. I thought that as the trousers I made Gilby for Christmas turned out well I would make him another pair. This time I have recycled one of Grandpa's old denim shirts and lined them with nice checked fabric. The pattern is great for little children, lots of room for the 'proper' nappies that Gilby wears and not too tight around his little tummy. (lots of  babies trousers are just too stiff and tight, I am sure they can't be comfortable). I placed the 'fold' side of the pattern on the side seam of the shirt and so managed to have the double stitched seam from the shirt going down the outer seam of the trousers. 

My daughters lap top packed up and a young man from our church has given her is 'old' Mac book, So I made her a cover for it to protect it travelling back to SA. I didn't have a pattern and so it was a bit of a trial. I added a pocket to the front for the charger.  I think it could have been neater but it will do the job

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Hexie Quilt

This quilt has been a long time in the making process. The hexies come from an aunt of mine who passed away years ago. My uncle asked me if I would like a bag of her 'scraps' Would I heck?? There was actually a couple of bin bags and an old hat box with all the hexies templated and colour sorted ready for sewing together. Over the years I have used them for lots of projects. These were put together by my daughter while they were staying with us waiting for their date to go to SA and begin their ministry. The blocks then spent a few years in a bag in my cupboard until I got around to making them into a quilt. I added the binding this week and there it is...finished and ready for my daughter to take back to SA after her visit to us next week

Thursday, 26 January 2012


One of my daughters favourite past times where she lives in South Africa, is to go and visit one of the homeless shelters down on the sea front area of the city. Some time back I posted about how she helped deliver a baby over the telephone when a teenage girl had arrived at the shelter in labour. Last night she took a team of people from her church to go and 'hang out and make friends' with those who have found themselves in this desperate situation. I have never been with her to the shelter but have spoken in the past to a couple of  ladies who have been with her. They told me that my daughter 'comes alive' when she is with these people. Above are photo's taken from last nights visit. Next Thursday she arrives in the UK for 12 days...her regular 6 monthly trip out of SA for visa purposes....I cant wait but really wish she was bringing my Grandsons with her too :(
Please check her blog post today 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Patchwork Cushion

Back in the summer I posted this about my friend who had given me a bag of 'bits' that had belongs to her late mother. I have used some of these to make a couple of gifts and now that my friend is about to move house to a cottage in Cornwall I have made a cushion from her mothers patches, for her new bedroom. I have enjoyed using these lovely old fabrics, I think they are probably from the 60's and 70's, and still have plenty left for future projects....might make myself something :)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Big School!

Its been a big week for this little chap....he started 'big school' on Tuesday. In South Africa pre school goes through until the child is 6 years old and then they go into grade 1. Joseph has been at a Montessori pre school where he has been so happy and for his Mum and Dad its been quite a time to try and find the right school for him. All education in SA needs to be paid for even the local state school. They had decided that they didn't want for Joe to go to that school, their had heard from their friends how their adopted child had been bullied because although he is Zulu he had white parents. 
The school that they eventually found for Joe is close to their home and very similar to the Montessori style of school. Lots of art, gardening and creative studies as well as the regular lessons. They have made a couple of visits as a family and Joe was very excited about starting this week. he was up before the sun on his first day (its summer in SA at the moment) ready and dressed before any one else. 
It has been quite a challenge, as I have said before they are missionaries and on a low income. They have been without a car this week and so relied on lifts from their neighbour, however on Friday he had to be elsewhere, we prayed and Joe and his daddy walked up to the road to get a lift with a Zulu taxi which are small mini buses. However each taxi that passed was full, and then an elderly man stopped and offered them a lift, he then arranged to come back later to pick up our son in law and drive him back to school to collect Joe. He said whenever they needed a lift he could help them!  
God is good!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A Brief Interruption

I've been away from the laptop as hubby had a bit of a turn and ended up in 
A & E for a couple of days...back home now and  recovering so will be back later!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Funny Kids

This top photo is quite a rare occurence because on the whole the twins don't bother much with their little brother, this may be because they have always had each other and not other child in their family...I don't really know. But occasionally one of them will go and give him a toy, a kiss or just a little pat on the head. He just loves them and gets so excited when he hears them coming. 

I made Gilby a green garter stitch jumper for Christmas but the wool was a little too thick for an every day jumper and so I made this one with finer wool and I added a bit of a collar by picking up stitches around the neck and working a few rows in stocking stitch

I wanted to post this photo below that my son in law took when they went to cut down their Christmas tree. The people who sell the trees have a little stall with hot dogs and cups of tea. I love how the girls are just hanging out with the owners dog....they look so haphazard, Primroses hat is too small but I can imagine she insisted on wearing it because she likes it. Maggie's just standing, hands in pockets looking at who knows what? They really are a funny pair!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Soup Maker

One of my Christmas gifts was a soup maker. I am so pleased with it. We eat a lots of home made soup and home made bread so this is really useful. For those who haven't seen one before, you just chop up the ingredients and add with stock, put the setting to chunky or purée and in 20-30 mins you have piping hot soup Brilliant!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Joseph's Gotcha Day

Today is a special day.....six years ago this beautiful baby boy came home to live with his Mummy & Daddy. The top two photo's were taken a few weeks later on his first trip to visit his family in the UK...that first photo is him with his very proud Grandma. They call this day Joseph's 'Gotcha Day' Joseph had been wrapped in a blanket and left on a bench at Durban railway station on the day he was born, he was found and taken to a lovely orphanage. When my daughter and her husband called the orphanage to see how they were to go about adoption they were put in touch with a social worker. The orphanage and social worker we all Christians. Within a couple of days they received a call to say that a baby boy was available for adoption and would they like to go and meet him. When they arrived at the orphanage they were asked to wait for the owner to come and speak to them. During this time they looked at and played with all the little babies is the play room. My daughter said she just knew that none of these babies was 'her baby', they had prayed before hand that God would make it clear if the baby they were going to meet was the baby He wanted them to have. When the lady came to speak with them she told them that the baby she wanted them to meet wasn't in the play room but still in his cot. They went through to meet him and knew instantly that this was 'their baby'. Thirteen days later Joseph Ukheta Downs came home. Back then we didn't have Blackerry phones with instant messages and photo's. They didn't have very good internet connection and we had to wait two weeks before we saw a photo of Joe....that was a long two weeks. When we saw him although there are some pretty obvious differences, he was instantly our Grandson. And when we got our first sight of him in the flesh at Heathrow Airport we could hardly contain ourselves. We thank God for the amazing blessing that Joseph is to us!

Sunday, 8 January 2012


I have been reading the book of Joshua the last few days. 4:1-24 tells of how after the people had crossed the Jordan on dry land, God wanted them to build a memorial. He told them to have 12 men go and take 12 stones from the river bed, to bring them and use them to build a memorial . So in time to come, the people would be reminded of what God had done for them. I love this story, I love to look back over the years and see how God has blessed us, led us, guided us, challenged us and provided for us. .
God wanted the Israelites to be prepared, not to just go ahead into their task without focussing on Him and seeking His guidance. This is what he wants for us, to spend time with Him, reminding ourselves of what He has done for us and moving forward in faith knowing that He is with us all the way.
If you have a minute go to the blog below...The Journey.....there is an amazing story of a little girl who didn't want to forget where she had been and where God had now brought her

Friday, 6 January 2012


Its my eldest daughters birthday next week so I decided to make her a tote bag. I bought an off cut of oilcloth from Laura Ashley and used some heavy gingham fabric that I have had for some time to line it. I didn't have a pattern and so copied a canvas bag that someone had given me. 

I made pockets to add to the lining

Made the box shape corners for the base so the bag can stand up

Making the lining and outer bag both the same, I then folded in the top edge and held them in place with paper clips so as not to make holes in the oil cloth with pins

I made long straps so the bag can be carried on the shoulder and sewed them between the inner and outer bag (I am not so happy with the straps as they didn't sew as neatly as I had hoped)

But I was pretty pleased with the overall finished bag

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Grandpa's Blog

Grandpa has a blog, he's had it for a while and it is linked to our church website....the pastors blog. The problem is he isn't very good at keeping it up to date. But since I noticed that he has a new follower, our daughter and I and now someone else, he has decided to try and post more regularly. Maybe you would like to check it out

Monday, 2 January 2012

Antique Patchwork

One of the Christmas gifts I received from my daughter was these beautiful antique American blocks. They are very delicate and so I wont be sewing them but I will pay a visit to Ikea to buy some frames to display them

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Table Runner

I was given these vintage templated ( I think I made that word up) patches back in the summer and made them up into a table runner for my daughter for Christmas....couldn't post it when I made it in case she peeped!