Musings

What happened to the snow?

Well we waited, and waited but it never came! I know, we were lucky, no snow to clear in the Maidenhead area but we should spare a thought for those who did get very bad weather last week, especially the poor souls who had all the floods up on the East coast. Its nearly seventy years since Windsor was flooded and many people in the town were evacuated from their houses. At the time my family lived in one of the roads that was badly effected. During this time I decided to make my appearance and my poor mum went into hospital knowing that she may well not be able to return home after having me. Going into labour is a worrying enough time without the added problem of your home being flooded. The fact is, we went from Old Windsor Hospital to stay with an aunt in Dedworth, while dad sorted out the family home, which, when the flood waters were at their highest, had water over the window sills. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for mum and dad but my heart does go out to the folk in the North East as they struggle to get their homes back to normal.

As dad was off while mum was in hospital, he volunteered to man the punts that were going from house to house bringing necessities to people who were housebound. This photo cropped up a few years ago and shows my uncle Bill and, I think, my dad on one of the punts. Its not a very clear photo but I believe that’s my dad in the forefront of the snap. For those of you that know Windsor, this was taken in Goswell Road, which is where Ward Royal is now.

Anyway, although we weren’t snowbound, I did manage to shut myself in my little corner and get some more things made for my Folksy shop. Here is a little preview…

This is a cushion with ‘Love’ word art embroidered on.

 

Here is a book cushion for a little boy

This is a cushion with a lovely sentiment embroidered on, it would make a nice house warming gift.

 

Little hanging hearts for the romantics among you, ready for Valentine’s day

These are all available in my Folksy shop, click on the button alongside this post, for more info.

I’m hoping to get set up to sell directly from this web site soon so watch this space…..

In the mean time, stay warm,

Jenny xx

Hello 2017

Welcome to the new year and to Cobbie’s Corner. It has been far too long since I worked on my blog so my new years resolution is to blog much more often! I’ll try not to bore you all with my musings. I have to say, I’d left is so long since the last visit to my little corner that I couldn’t get into the site and had to enlist the help of Matt at Visual Mile to get back in.

I do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, ours was magical and started early, on the 2nd of December when we went to the Christmas markets in Cologne. We were away for four days and, although everywhere was very crowded, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip. The Christmas atmosphere in the markets was something we will remember for a long time to come.

On the Saturday before Christmas, we went to Cambridge to visit to our lovely son and daughter-in-law. We went out for nice lunch with them and exchanged presents before returning home. It was great to catch up and also to see the renovations that Colin has completed in their kitchen. He has done a brilliant job! I’m very proud of how he has become such a good homemaker.

Christmas day was spent with Boo and her family and, as always, the day was wonderful. We were thoroughly spoiled from start to finish, a beautiful Christmas lunch, lots of very nice presents, drinks and games in the evening, all with the great company. We played Pictionary in the evening and I have never laughed so much, I was literally crying with laughter, so much so my ribs ached! I really didn’t think a board game could be so much fun. They do say laughter is the best medicine.

On Boxing day OH and I went for a nice walk in Windsor Great park. We started at Saville Gardens and walked up to the polo ground before circling back around the obelisk pond. It was so nice to see lots of children with new bikes and scooters, all very excited to be out.

On new year’s day we went to visit my sister and brother-in-law who were celebrating their sixty second wedding anniversary. There was quite a little gathering of family there so it made for a very pleasant visit. Normally we would also be catching up with Kate as January 1st is her birthday, but we had to make do with ‘What’s App’ greetings as She and Paul are travelling in New Zealand, a belated honeymoon after their wedding in July.

So now we are into 2017………..what new year resolutions have you made?  It’s now January 2nd…….how many have you broken already?

One other resolution/ intention of mine, is to start selling some of my craft products and, to do that, I am going to join Folksy. For those of you who don’t know about Folksy, its an on line store selling individual and unique crafts. Unlike Etsy, Folksy only sells thing made in the UK. I’m hoping that everyone who keeps telling me that I need to sell my bits and pieces will support me in this venture, and share this with their friends (pretty please).

This is my label that Colin has designed for me, I’ve had them printed ready to go!!

I will put a link on here once I have my Folksy account sorted and, in the meantime, I wish you all a healthy, happy and peaceful new year.

Jenny xx

 

 

Retirement……..Part 2

Well, it’s happy days in the Cobbe household, my lovely OH has retired after thirty nine years of being a ‘Postie’. No more early starts and no more having to go to bed early……..we are now going to bed after the ten o’clock news, like real grown-ups! It is lovely to be able to plan days out, and even nicer, to be able to get up and go just when we feel like it. We have already had a lovely trip to Cambridge to see our son and daughter-in-law, on what was a beautiful sunny day. As some of you will know, I retired four years ago but went back to teaching for just two days a week, however, I am now going to give up my college work so I only have ten more teaching days before I too am fully retired. I have high hopes that this complete change of lifestyle is going to be wonderful for us, I am very lucky to be married to my best friend (corny as that may sound) and I just know life is going to be good to us.

Well, what else has been happening? On the sewing front, I made this little cushion for a colleague who has just moved house. Suzanne is very much a cat person so I thought the design was apt. I downloaded the machine embroidery design from www.urbanthreads.com which is one of my favourite machine embroidery sites.

check meowt On the home front, we are ‘camping’ with a makeshift kitchen set up in the snug/computer room….the builders are arriving tomorrow, to rip out the kitchen ready for a new one to be fitted. We have spent the last couple of days emptying cupboard a storing the contents in just about every other room in the house. The cooker was disconnected yesterday, so it was fish and chips last night and  takeaway tonight ….then for the next fortnight it’s salads and microwave meals! The kitchen is going to be lovely when it’s finished and if anybody  has any tips on how to treat/clean granite work surfaces, they will be much appreciated. kitchen 2kitchen 3

These are the designer’s computer impressions of the kitchen, the cabinet fronts are quite a bit lighter than shown here, more a champagne colour and the granite is a lovely rich coffee colour. Exciting times.

As the weather was so beautiful today, and to reward ourselves for two days of hard work, we decided to go for a walk in Windsor Great Park. The Valley Gardens were at their best, the azaleas and rhododendrons were glorious and we caught the tale end of the bluebells in the Punchbowl.  I had my camera with me so here are a few of the pictures that I took; P1000191P1000206azaelias I think you’ll agree, Mother Nature dressed in her best!

So, till next time, when hopefully, I will be able to show you photographs of the new kitchen, have fun and enjoy the lovely May sunshine.

Jenny xx

Back to Basics, Your Essential Guide to Make Do and Mend

I realise it is a long time since I have posted anything on my web site, and I can only apologise for ‘life’ getting in the way.

Well I’m back and raring to go….the main  reason for this is that I have been given the opportunity to write a review of a great new digital book that is on general sale,  from 21st April. This inspirational book has been collated and produced by Jen Gale who, in 2012-2013, had a year of Buying Nothing New, and writing a blog about the ups and downs of the year. I was an avid follower of the blog and full of admiration for Jen and her family. The book is called Back to Basics, Your Essential Guide To Make Do and Mend.

The book has contributions from the likes of Lauren Guthrie (my favourite contestant on the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee), Ginny Farquhar, Caoline Hannam, Becky Striepe and many other talented craft and upcycling people.

book cover

This very clever book leads you through many areas of recycling and up-cycling, from making your own cleaning products to mending punctures, re-using yarn from unpicked garments to painting furniture. One of my particular favourites is to save your used teabags to clean your windows with….I’ve tried it and it works! No more expensive window cleaning products for me.

A chapter that really drew my attention was chapter 14; UPCYCLE IT by Lynn Haughton, in which Lynn tells how the Boxing Day Tsunami was the inspiration for her venture into upcycling. It brings a lump to the throat, at the same time, making one realise how important recycling is.

Tsunami_edited-2

My next project is to re-cover an antique chair that I have been given, so I am reading (and re-reading) notes from chapter 16; RE-COVER IT by Becky Striepe.

recovering chair

If you’ve ever wanted to have a go at recycling, then I would thoroughly recommend this digital book, it is  truly inspirational read, with many projects that are all explained in detail. it is difficult to choose what to do first!

To find out more about this terrific book go to Jen’s web site www.makedoandmend-able.co.uk  The book is excellent value at just £8.

Until next time, enjoy the sunshine and keep on making do and mending.

Jenny xx

 

Just a quick post….

Where has the past week gone? It’s flown by and it’s been one of those weeks where I don’t seem to have achieved very much. I have caught up with the mundane things, ironing, housework etc. I’ve also been tidying up in the spare bedroom as we intend to move in there in a couple of weeks while I decorate our bedroom. We’re going for  complete makeover, new carpet, curtains, furnishings, so a busy time ahead………watch this space.

I did complete one little sewing project; I had seen this delightful little Origami fabric pouch on a sewing forum and tried to work out how it was made.  I had cracked it while ironing a nice square napkin (it relieved the boredom of ironing for five minutes while I tried several ways of folding the napkin to achieve the  shape of the pouch LOL) however,  Dina, AKA Bossymamma, posted the instructions on her blog recently so I decided to have a go with some nice fabric. Here is my finished project;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This little pouch would be ideal for jewellery when travelling, or make-up, or a useful holder for sewing bits and bobs. It has five pockets in all, made by the way the fabric is folded. Dina’s tutorial was really easy to follow. Here is the link to the blog; www.bossymamma.blogspot.com

Well, that’s about it for now, take care and I know I’ve said it before but, if you see someone without a smile…give them one of yours.

Jenny xx

 

 

 

 

I Believe in Angels………..

How could I not? You see, I have my very own angel, Natalie. She was taken from us at the young age of seven, but I don’t write this looking for sympathy or to make you sad but, in some small way, to pay tribute to a little girl who, although she never walked or talked in her short life, gave so much love and made me the person I am today. Anyone who follows my Pinterest boards, will see I am a collector of Angel quotes and there is also a board just for Natalie. Having said this, I also have a board dedicated to the loves of my life, which has some lovely quotes inspired by my darling OH and my dear son, Colin.

Natalie was a beautiful child, with the curliest dark hair. She endured all sorts of problems and was often in hospital, but somewhere along the way, she gave me the strength to cope. It was very hard to let her go, but, thankfully I had a very supportive network of family and friends and I know in my heart that Natalie was able to be free from the restraints of her wheelchair and run around just as  other children did. Well my little girl would be forty years old now, I do wonder often, who she would  be, what career path would she have chosen, would she have had children of her own if she had not been born with such cruel and crippling disabilities. These things were not to be, but I know I held an angel and that she is looking down on me now with the same love that was in her heart all those years ago.

As we celebrate Easter, my thoughts are with another mum, who lost her son last week. He was one of my special needs students. At nineteen, he had been confined to a wheelchair by a degenerative illness for most of his life, unlike Natalie, he was able to talk and communicated with the most amazing sense of humour. He was such a lovely person, never complaining, always smiling. Sadly he was hospitalised with pneumonia several weeks ago and never recovered. This young man will be sorely missed in college and we will a say our last goodbyes at his funeral, but I am confident that he is now free of his wheelchair and, as the song from ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour  Dreamcoat’ says, ‘There’s one more angel in heaven, one more star in the sky’. RIP Connor.

If, like me, you believe in angels, Lorna Byrne’s book, Angels in My Hair, is a wonderful read and on April 24th, she has a new book out, Love From Heaven. This is going to be a ‘must read’ for me. I shall curl up on the sofa and enjoy it, knowing my angel is sending me love from heaven on a daily basis.

 

My angel Natalie

Wishing you all a very happy Easter.

Jenny xxx

My Apologies……..

 

I am so sorry that I haven’t posted on here for such a long time, I have no excuse other that I fell out with my computer! The reason being that OH, very generously, bought me a super-duper new laptop in August and it has Windows 8 on it. I have found it so hard to get used to that I use my iPad instead when at all possible. My embroidery software still doesn’t work with Windows 8, although I have tried everything, I still get my dear old Sony Vaio out when I want to digitise embroidery designs.

Well, what has been happening in Cobbie’s little corner of the world since my last post? In September we celebrated my sister and brother-in-law’s diamond wedding with a wonderful family party in my niece’s garden. My lovely son and daughter-in-law came down from Cambridge for the weekend and we had great time. Pat and Alan were picked up from their home by a beautiful vintage Bentley, which was a complete surprise to them and had been arranged by their daughter Annie. I was privileged to make their cake, a three tier diamond shaped cake with a tier of fruit cake, a tier of carrot cake and a tier of lemon drizzle. Annie’s husband, Phil, did all the catering and the food was five star, the baked cheesecake was to die for!

 

The vintage car that picked Pat and Alan up

 

 

 

 

The three tier anniversary cake

In October, OH and I took off for Las Vegas once again. We had a whale of a time and I managed to find even more fabric and quilting shops.

November came and went in the usual round of Christmas preparations, I did manage to make quite  a few of my Christmas gifts this year, which was very satisfying.

December had us celebrating again, this time my older sister’s eightieth birthday, and guess what, I completely forgot to take a photo of her birthday cake!  Oh well, it all got eaten so I guess it was OK. We had an early Christmas day in Cambridge with Colin and Allyson, then spent Christmas day proper with my darling niece Boo and all of her family. A dear friend of ours celebrated his 60th on Christmas day and his family arranged a surprise party for the Saturday after Christmas. Brian is a great Kyle fan and his daughter asked if I could make a cake shaped as Kyle’s butt in those famous hot pants?!!! This was the resulting cake,

We also celebrated my great nephew’s thirtieth birthday the Sunday after Christmas, another cake made!

The new year came in with one more cake to make, my lovely neighbour celebrated her seventieth birthday on New Years Eve. Got to say, I was pretty ‘caked out’ by then.

January and February passed by very quickly and, at the beginning of March we headed off to New York to celebrate our pearl wedding anniversary and my birthday. We had the most amazing time and enjoyed every minute of it, despite temperatures of -13 C, in fact the temperature never rose above zero for the whole week. On my birthday we made a visit to the 9/11 memorial gardens. this was the most moving experience, made more poignant by the fact that a white rose was placed by the names of victims who would have been celebrating their birthdays on that day. This is something that is done daily. There were eight people who would have shared my birthday.

 

One of the eight who shared my birthday.

 

 

Our hotel in New York

By the way, our lovely Kate is doing the London Marathon next Sunday, she is raising money for a child bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish. If you would like to sponsor her, here is the link; http://www.justgiving.com/Kate-Jones88

Now Spring is upon us once more and the blossom is looking beautiful, I have been busy dressmaking, OH is getting the garden up to scratch (when he’s not tinkering with his motor bikes), and I feel truly blessed.

I promise I won’t disappear from the blogasphere again, I have (almost) mastered Windows 8!

Take care and enjoy the sunshine,

Jenny xx

What’s in a name?

Did you have a childhood nickname? Do you still have a nickname? When I was at school, I was always called ‘Mousey’, not because I was timid or shy (no one could ever say that about me,), but because I was so small.  When I left school, my future F-I-L called me ‘Niffer’, the reason behind this was down to everyone else calling me Jen, to which he always added the the rest of my name, hence Niffer, This has stuck with one or two of the family to this day.  An old friend of ours called me ‘Titch’ back in the sixties and this again, is a name that has stayed with me, in fact, that’s the name I answer to in that particular circle of friends.

My darling OH called me by the affectionate name of ‘Cobbie’ when we were first married, That’s why Cobbie’s Corner seemed so appropriate for my blog.  Even my GP has a nickname for me, if ever I have need to visit his surgery, I am always greeted by ‘Hello little cobblers, what can I do for you today’ He has also been known to sing a rendition of ‘Jennifer Juniper’ whilst taking my blood pressure.

When my son was born, great debate was given to his name, especially to  the fact that we wanted something not easily shortened.  Colin was the chosen name, already nice and short, surely not able to be shortened? What do we all call him? Col, or CJ. I think his wife is the only person who calls him Colin.

My lovely niece, affectionately known as Boo by everyone, because her twin brother was unable to say Bridget when they first started talking, is in fact Bridget Jones. Yes, truly. This time last year Boo and I were preparing to go to Cyprus for Colin’s wedding. When we arrived and went to check in, as soon as Boo gave her name for the reservation, the young Cypriot looked at her in amazement and asked if she was THE Bridget Jones. He then told the other receptionist that he was dealing with someone famous. During our stay,  every time we went near the reception area, we were greeted by ‘hello Bridget  Jones, how are you today?’ It was another little thing that made our holiday so memorable.

 

Boo and myself with the hotel receptionist.

 Place names are another thing that fascinate me. My dad was born in a little Irish village called Newtown Mount Kennedy, I swear it takes longer to say than it would have taken to drive through the village when he was a lad. Dun Loghaire is another of the places I like in Ireland, the spelling of which belies the pronunciation, which is  Dunleary.

One of my ‘cyber friends’ from the sewing forum, has just had a life changing holiday in Australia, meeting family that she didn’t know existed three months ago. It’s a wonderful heartwarming story and it’s on her blog, Bossy Mama. My reason for telling you this is because Dina has been blogging about the trip and it really makes for lovely reading, but also, in one of the most recent blogs, Dina has told of a place she visited called Cobbity. I instantly fell in love with the place, purely because of the name, I would love to be a Cobbe from Cobbity!

So what is in a name? I like to think that all of my names have been given to me with affection over the years, I’m sure there may be one or two that aren’t so, but the important people in our lives refer to us with their own pet names and I, for one, love all of them.

Until next time,

Bye from Mousey, Niffer, Titch, Cobbie and, of course, Jenny xxxxxxx

A Busy Month!

The last day of June already, where did this month go? It has been very busy, not least because I have been working a lot of hours back at the college (from which I retired 2 years ago) helping out in what is the busiest time in the academic calender. I have been internally verifying work to go off to awarding bodies and doing some teaching as well. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t enjoyed being in the thick of it again, I love to get with my colleagues and have a good old chat and a laugh, and our students are  (mostly) a lovely bunch. Friday was the last day of term and we had a social morning, playing games, dancing and eating cake. One of the students took me under his wing to show me how to dance Gangham Style, what a shambles that was LOL. The students finished at midday and six of us staff went off to a local garden centre for a very nice lunch.

One of the activities I did with the POPs group this month, was making lavender bags, as mentioned in my previous post. Here is a picture of their finished bags.

They were very proud of their work. As a group, they also organised a coffee morning, at which the bags were sold and they had a raffle. The money raised, £102.50, was donated to McMillan nurses via World War C. I’d love to show you some pictures of the students but unfortunately I cant do that because of student confidentiality. Suffice to say they are a very happy bunch and enjoyed their fundraising.

I’ve also been busy in the sewing room, having decided to make all of my ‘thank you’ gifts for the girls at work. here is a little sample of what I have been making.

tea rugJulia's bag

 

A close up of the embroidery on Julia’s bag

 

Denise's bag

 

 

I had  a great time making these and a few other gifts.

OH is on holiday for two weeks soon, we aren’t going away but plan to have some days out. We’ve booked a day trip to France, for a bit of retail therapy and a nice meal. We are also taking my lovely brother-in-law to Duxford Air museum on one of the days. The middle weekend we have a house guest………………

Our house guest for the weekend.

Our house guest for the weekend.

Jasper is coming to stay while my sister and brother-in-law go away for the weekend. We love having him to stay, we also look after my niece’s two dogs sometimes, both of which we love having too……….

Bob and Ted asleep on the sofa

Bob and Ted asleep on the sofa

Well, we are just about to book a holiday to the States, for September, so I’d better free up the computer!!!!

I hope you are all getting the wonderful weather we have had today, long may it last.

Until next time, thank you for reading my blog, stay safe,

Jenny xxxxx

Hello agian……

Hello one and all. I hope you have enjoyed the little bit of sunshine that welcomed May, but now seems to have disappeared again! It was very nice to be able to sit on the patio with a glass of ice cold coke watching OH cut the grass, it just didn’t last long enough though. Today has been a day of dodging showers while trying to get the washing dry, oh well, at least if it doesn’t get dry, I wont have to iron it, ha, ha.

We’ve had another busy week at dad-in-laws, a six yard skip was delivered on Tuesday morning and, by teatime we had almost filled it, having cleared two sheds (and demolished one of them). We had some help from Pat and Alan, which was much appreciated, but we were all exhausted by the end of the day. On Wednesday OH and myself were back over there by 8 a.m. and this time we were taking the remaining furniture to the local hospice furniture mart. Seven trips……..each time with the Meriva crammed full. They seemed very pleased to accept our offerings, some things being sold as we were still taking things to them! Dad would have been happy to know everything was going to a good cause. I don’t think Pickfords need to worry, I never wan’t to help carry wardrobes and beds down stairs again, especially stairs that change direction half way down! The house is now completely clear but does look very sad, still we have to move on and we still have our memories, my only hope is that it  becomes a nice family home once more.

While turning out an ottoman at dad’s, I found a bag right at the bottom, in it was a metre of a pretty cotton fabric, a metre of lightweight batting and some bias binding. Now, mum-in law passed away many years ago, but she did like to sew. At this point I am going to digress and tell you that a couple of weeks ago we came across mum’s vintage Singer sewing machine, she had it when she was first married so we think it must be at least sixty years old, it still works beautifully and, as my sister-in-law didn’t want it, I am now the proud owner. It’s a lovely machine, so well made but very heavy. Anyway back to the fabric, I feel I should be making something a bit special with it but I’m in a quandary to know exactly what, like I said there is only a metre but any ideas anyone has would be gratefully received. I’d love to know what mum was going to do with it but sadly, that’s not going to happen.

This is the fabric

This is the fabric

And this is the detail, it's a very pale lemon background.

And this is the detail, it’s a very pale lemon background.

While I’m sitting her writing my blog, my embroidery machine is chugging away, working on a beautiful piece of lace that is going to be made into a lavender pouch. I’ll post a picture on here when it’s finished.

Below are a couple of bits of sewing that I have completed since my last blog, thought you’d like to see that life hasn’t been all work and no play, I’ve enjoyed these projects. The blouse was another ‘Tilly’ (of GBSB fame) pattern and the cushion was a UFO (unfinished object) that I had started ages ago and never got round to finishing. Hope you like them.

 

My pin-tucked blouse

My pin-tucked blouse

The button back detail

The button back detail

applique cushion

A cushion for my garden chair.

Thank you for reading my blog, please feel free to comment, and if you have any ideas for mum’s fabric, let me know.

Jenny xxx