Wednesday 31 October 2012

In My Prayers

david an djulie hall

Saddened to hear of the sudden death of Rev David Hall yesterday. His wife Julie is a good friend who worked with me on the Connexion Executive for a number of years.  Many people have been blessed by the ministry of this couple. My thoughts and prayers are with Julie and the family right now.

Julie has the most beautiful singing voice

Halloween Horrorgami

I don’t do Halloween, on principle. I am horrified to read that this year $370 MILLION  will be spent on costumes for pets. [please don’t even consider it – send a tenner to Battersea Dogs Home instead. Thankyou]

hagan guireyBut I am currently becoming increasingly interested in papercrafts, as there seems to be a lot of ideas floating round the ether lately. Newest one that I have encountered is ‘horrorgami’ by a guy in London called Mark Hagan Guirey.

Check out the stunning video on the BBC Website [here] and look at these pictures- his new one-man show opens in London tomorrow,featuring paper sculptures based on iconic houses in Horror Films.

hagan guirey Horrorgami 2 houses

One sheet of A4 paper, a scalpel, a ruler, and no glue! Wow!

hagan guirey Horrorgami_shining

Now I’m busy thinking about nativity scenes – stable, shepherds, star, Saviour... I have a book called “The First Christmas” by Jan Pienkowski [all the illustrations are based on paper cuts] and I am wondering if JP’s art can be re-interpreted in 3D H-G style?

hagan guirey & pienkowski xmas

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Nigel Slater Is OK, But…

…having watched his recent programmes, I think Bob is just as good at putting meals together with the ingredients he finds in the kitchen! He made some pasta, and a lovely rich ragu to go with it



He took the leftover chicken and not only produced pies [without the dreaded Soggy Bottom!]

But also produced an almost instant ‘risotto’ using more cooked chicken and leftover veg


It was rich and creamy and flavourful – but instead of risotto rice, he used some Risini Pasta from Lidl, which cooks in 6 minutes! And he made some bread with regular strong white bread flour, and the addition of a little malt flour which added great colour and flavour


  1. I wish he had the time to cook like this more often, and not just when we are away on holiday – I feel very blessed to be on the receiving end of these delicious meals. Thanks Bob!

Monday 29 October 2012

A Stitch In Time

NorfolkQuilters-logoOn Friday afternoon, we went to the Norfolk Quilters’ Exhibition at the Assembly Rooms in Norwich. It was free – and it was fabulous. Here are the photos I took – there was not time to take pictures of every single quilt. Bob and I were very impressed by the diverse styles, made by groups and individuals, amateurs and pros…

quilt exhibition

Tumbling Blocks, Cathedral Window, Reverse Applique, Dresden Plate, Courthouse Steps, Crazy Quilting, Jelly Roll, Redwork, you name it – it was there!

There was one odd moment – I couldn't see Bob, and was peering around anxiously. The lady at the entrance table said “Can I help you?” and I said “I am looking for my husband” and she said “If you mean the one with grey hair, he just went up the corridor” 

Why was this odd? because we had been there over 45 minutes and Bob was the only man in the Exhibition! I could have understood if there had been other men present [with brown, black, or ginger hair]

DSCF4831I was particularly taken with the redwork quilt. I have a box of skeins of redwork thread in The Great Stash.  One of these days I may get round to trying out this sort of monochromatic stitchery…

If I ever have a spare moment!

Sunday 28 October 2012

50 Shades Of Grey? Give Me Rainbows Any Day!

I’m not discussing 50SofG here. [or “Bambi visits Sodom” as one reviewer described it] The fact that WHSmith attributes it higher profits in recent months to sales of the book appals me. I feel they are just ‘normalising’ pornography. I prefer to read books which celebrate the joy of loving relationships, not ones where people are abused both physically and emotionally.

MitfordsistersPeople kept asking me if I had read the Mitford books. I thought they were talking about those sisters [Jessica, Nancy, Diana, Unity and Pamela] But I was completely wrong!

What friends were talking about was the series of Mitford Novels by the American author Jan Karon.[website here] Set in the small town of Mitford, and featuring the Parson, Father Timothy, these books are as far from 50SofG as you can possibly imagine.

I picked up a boxed set of books 1-6 on the antepenultimate day of our holiday in August in a charity shop. I paid £4.50 for SIX books [the current price is £56.57 for FOUR books on Amazon] and what is more, this set is brand new- it was clear that none of the books had been opened! Deciding that I would keep them here at Cornerstones, I have only just started working my way through them


But I am well through book 3 already. What are they like? Honestly?Well, they are comfortable stories for middle aged ladies – not particularly intellectually challenging [although Father Tim does quote George Herbert and Dietrich Bonhoeffer occasionally] but I am enjoying them as a lightweight holiday read enormously . How to describe the storyline of these books? Well…

Imagine a path drawn from Fannie Flagg to Garrison Keillor, diverting towards James Heriot now and then, and you’ll find Ms Karon somewhere along the journey.

Some of the plotlines are a bit weak and far-fetched [just like 50SofG there, then!] but they are quite charming. Father T is just about believable as an Episcopal Clergyman –although I am not over-keen on his sermons. I was tickled by the chapter where Tim went away for a while, and left a Baptist pastor to fill the pulpit in his absence – and the congregations grew greatly under the locum’s more powerful preaching!!


There’s no explicit sex or swearing, and a fair bit of Scripture quotation [mainly because Tim’s dog,Barnabas, only lies down when you shout a Bible verse at him!] The books are very popular in the USA – and Ms Karon has had to move away from the little town where she’s lived for years, because the vast numbers of visits from Mitford Fans were making life difficult for the other residents as well as encroaching on her privacy.

I’m having fun with these books

There is plenty of colourful description and interesting dialogue. They are full of reference to American products though [Swanson Pies, Miracle Whip…and other foodstuffs we don’t get over here] but the emotions and actions of the characters are the same the world over [particularly the bizarre behaviour of folk in the church] Maybe we should rename our next “Bring and Buy” sale after the fashion of the Mitford Ladies – and call it a “Bane and Blessing” instead!

Saturday 27 October 2012

What I Did LastSaturday

In the excitement and busy-ness of last Sunday and then coming away on holiday, I forgot to post these pictures earlier. This is where we went last Saturday – this is another Baptist Church in a village not too far from Kirby Muxloe.


It was the wedding of two of our friends - Andrew, the Pastor, was marrying Emily, the Youth Worker [shown here with E’s Mum]


The grass was damp, so the bridesmaids had to hitch up their dresses. I think they were grateful for their fur capelets.


After the ceremony, there were cuppas and cupcakes – and later on a three tiered wedding cake.[very autumnal in theme]


Emily works for Reality Youth Project, as does our Youth Worker, Hayley. H and co provided some great music at the evening reception.


May God bless Andrew and Emily in their new life together.

Friday 26 October 2012

This Has Really Got Up My Nose!

I love London – and it has some fine buildings. The Admiralty Arch being one of them. It is one of the highlights of Royal Events to watch processions passing through the central arch.

admiralty arch

I am a little miffed that the Government has sold the lease to a Spanish Hotel Company. I do hope the Spaniards do not remove the nose [story here] even if many of the stories surrounding it are myth

admiralty archnose locationadmiralty archnoseclose up


… zip-a-dee-ay
My oh my, what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-ay
Mr Bluebird’s on my shoulder
It's the truth, it’s actual
Everything is satisfactual
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-ay
Wonderful feeling - wonderful day!


I got a parcel! Mr Boden sent me a £10 voucher. He is concerned because I seem to be on his mailing list, but have not bought anything since about 2001 [and that was a teeshirt for £5 in a Sale] So I have treated myself to a smart new zipped pencil case – all paid for by the voucher! London scenes in patriotic colours.


Poor chap won’t make much profit from me, will he? It is ridiculously childish, but getting a parcel when I am on holiday is doubly exciting. Almost enough to make me dance round Cornerstones humming Disney songs. Thank you Johnnie B, you made my day!

Thursday 25 October 2012

Are You SURE This Looks OK, Bob?


He said it did, and took the picture! Then we went off to spend the morning in Fakenham. We came back and celebrated Bob’s birthday* with an excellent lunch at Darby’s [which is just down the road from Cornerstones]


To quote their website

“Swanton Morley itself was mentioned in the Domesday Book as having ‘a church with one and a half acres, worth two pence.’ It is now a large, rural parish, with a great pub!”

*yes, I know it is another 10 days till Bob’s birthday, but we know we will not be able to do anything over that weekend – and it was good to be able to have a special, relaxed meal together!

I Blame Kezzie!

My blogfriend Kezzie has some amazing hats, which she wears with great panache . And now I have succumbed and bought one. Before you tell me it is Stoptober, may I say in my defence that this was purchased using the remainder of a gift voucher I received in August.


It is a trilby from Accessorize in Norwich. I got it on Tuesday when we went into the city for the day [couldn’t find a free bench for our picnic, so ended up sitting in a bus shelter to eat it!] I love my new hat. It makes me feel taller. I must ask Bob to take a picture of me actually wearing it!

Wednesday 24 October 2012

To Flourish Like the Green Bay Tree

This afternoon, we went to pootle around Hingham, just south of here – which is an amazing little town full of much history and glorious Georgian architecture


town saign

The people here are very proud of their links with the Lincolns [when they weren’t in Hingham, the family were living here in Swanton Morley] and the church has a fine bronze bust of Honest Abe.

Bob wanted to look round Mongers Architectural Salvage




This was a great place to explore – but prices were a little steep [and I have no need of an Edwardian bath or Victorian hand made tiles] but the boss was very chatty, and had a pile of bay leaves with a sign saying “Help Yourself” [he has just been pruning his massive tree] So I did!


We walked round the village and looked in the church. Some beautiful needlepoint kneelers, and a surprisingly modern alar frontal, with a lovely 16th century Flemish stained glass window above it.





We had a cup of tea in a very friendly teashop


Were baffled by the Russians!


And even more confused by this front door


All in all, it was a fun afternoon despite the rain!

The Thrill Of What You Already Have #8

Floss did not give us any thrills in August and September – but in October she posted this one.

october clyde

And I had no ideas at all till I was sorting out the laundry. Definitely a source of cheap thrills [and frills] I love October – because that’s when I start wearing my opaque tights again [my stupid self-imposed rule – I only wear them between Oct 1st and March 31st]. And there they were, on a heap on the bed, [with the white nylon laundry bags I use to wash them in the machine ]ready to be rolled up and put into the basket.

I grabbed a blue chiffon scarf and a few pens from my bedside…


…I have to say it looks better if you stand further away**.

Not quite up to the standard of Neil Buchanan and his Art Attack version of Wall-E, but never mind!

buchanan art attackneil buchanan art attack 241108

** possibly in the next room!

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Mr Benn Is An Ordinary Fellow…

… living an ordinary life in an ordinary suburban house, at Number 52, Festive Road. One day, Mr Benn receives an invitation to a fancy dress party, and so, donning his bowler hat, he sets off to find a costume to wear. Unable to find a suitable outfit in the usual shops, he turns down a small lane and finds a shop filled with strange and unusual costumes. Inside, Mr Benn asks the fez-wearing shopkeeper if he can try on a suit of red armour; he then enters the changing room, puts on the outfit, and walks through another door... and suddenly finds himself transported back to medieval times. It is the first of many amazing and extraordinary adventures for Mr Benn…

Mr Benn Logo

Not everybody enjoys dressing up – but for children it is a really important part of play, and of learning. Last week was incredibly busy – and one of my activities was making some more dressing-up costumes – this time for the excellent Playgroup which meets in our Church Hall. African, Indian [sari and kurta], Chinese [boy’s suit] and Japanese [kimono]



There will be some Polish ones to make after half-term. The more costumes I make, the more I learn about the process -

  • make them generously sized AROUND the body – children want to put these on over their other clothes, so the garments need to be roomy round the chest/waist and under the arms.
  • make them a little bit SHORT, so they don’t become a trip hazard – and put roll-up hems on the trousers so they can adjust for different leg lengths.
  • keep the fastenings as SIMPLE as possible- elastic, press-studs [poppers] and Velcro – and always put the scratchy hooks facing OUTWARDS and the soft loops facing INWARDS towards the body.
  • add HANGING LOOPS [even to the inside of the hats] so the costumes can go back on the hangers, in complete sets, after play.
  • ‘impression’ is MORE IMPORTANT than ‘authenticity’ – so the sari is a simple skirt. [A seamed rectangle, with an elasticated casing at the waist] Then I sewed a narrower length of fabric along the side seam, which then goes over the shoulder. Much safer than wrapping the child up in a length of fabric!

More tips on costume making on these posts – here, here and finally here. the last one is the basic Nativity Costume tutorial – I adapted that for the kimono, adding a sash [with Velcro fastening]

I don’t do Pinterest – but I am fascinated that at least two dozen people have checked out my costume tutorials there. I do hope that proves they have been useful to others.