Tuesday 27 December 2016

10 Most Popular Posts of 2016

Hi there everyone

Well, here we are, so very nearly at the end of another busy and eventful year. Two big highlights for me this year have been Martin retiring and, more recently, the arrival of my beautiful new nephew, Bobby James, who is just too adorable for words 💕💕💕

I am sure he will be featuring from time to time in my upcoming posts and am really looking forward to the adventures that I know we will all have together.

It's that time of year when it's nice to look back and see which of my posts were your favourites, so here we go with the top 10, in reverse order of course ...

Beautiful Britain - Harrogate, Yorkshire
In 10th spot we have the ramblings of our annual catch up with old work friends. This year we had a glorious weekend in the very lovely Harrogate.
We are already booked in for our 2017 catch up, when you will be able to see what we get up to in Betws-y-Coed.

Beautiful Britain - Beningbrough Hall, Yorkshire
We've managed to take in quite a few new National Trust property visits this year, including Beningbrough Hall, which we visited during our trip to Harrogate.  That's another one ticked off our list and your 9th favourite post for 2016.

Beautiful Britain - Beaulieu & Hythe, The New Forest
In 8th spot is another Beautiful Britain post. This time from our most recent holiday in The New Forest. It seems that you all found Beaulieu as beautiful as we did.

HM@No27 - Armitage Village Day
You've also enjoyed reading about our adventures out and about with the craft stall this year and in 7th spot is my post about our day out at the Armitage Village Day, which was our first real trip out with the craft stall.
A Christmas Wedding
The 6th favourite post of 2016 takes us right back to this time last year when Christmas started off with Chris and Jenny's wedding celebrations, with a surprise visit from these guys ...

5 Reasons we loved Wykewood in Yorkshire
Back in May we stayed in our first 'Gorgeous Cottage', in Yorkshire and you loved reading about what made it so special, with the post coming in as being the 5th most popular post of the year. We are already looking for another of their cottages for another trip to Yorkshire in 2017.

HM@No27 - Chancel Primary School Summer Carnival
Coming in as the 4th favourite post of the year is another trip out for us with the Hand Made at Number 27 craft stall. This time we were at the Chancel Primary School Summer Carnival, where the weather eventually picked up and we ended up having another lovely afternoon.

Beef Strogonoff ... with Quark
In spite of trying out lots of new (SW) recipes this year, I haven't actually posted that many recipes, but this Beef Strogonoff dish, made with Quark, went down really well, being the 3rd most popular over the year.

Nature in Art - Gloucester
Back in September I met up with an old friend and we loved our visit to Nature in Art, just outside of Gloucester. We were blessed with glorious weather and made the most of our wander around the outdoor sculptures on display. It seems that you all liked it too, as it was the 2nd most popular post of this year.

Beautiful Britain - Aldeburgh, Suffolk
In top spot for 2016, and this was by a country mile, was one of the most lovely days that Martin & I have enjoyed this year. We visited the Suffolk coast for the first time ever this year and Aldeburgh was one of the first places we visited. It really was one of the most lovely and unusual places that we have ever visited. I'm so glad that it was your most popular too.

So that's it from Life of Pottering for 2016. Thank you all so much for reading and letting me share some of the fun things that we've done and the beautiful places that we've seen with you.

Hopefully there will be more to see in 2017 so I do hope that we see you there.

Have a great New Year everyone. See you in 2017

Monday 19 December 2016

Beautiful Britain - Cows, Horses & The Knightwood Oak, The New Forest

As well as the days out and about that I've already shared with you, we did quite a bit of driving around during our recent holiday in The New Forest.
Over the course of our two week stay we saw lots of cows and horses roaming the landscape and took far too many pictures to be able to share them all with you, so I've selected some of my favourites.

Starting with the cows ... 

... and then on to the horses ... 

When it came to the landscape of the area, our first impressions were a bit disappointing. What we were seeing, in the main, could only really be described as barren 'scrubland'.

Desperate to find the beauty of The New Forest, that lots of people had told us about, I hit Google and looked for 'the best places to take photos in The New Forest, and came across The Rhinefield & Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drives, which sounded like they might just hit the spot.
We spent a very pleasant afternoon exploring the Drives, which gave us the real feeling of being in 'The Forest', which looked beautiful, with the sun shining through the canopy.

It also gave us chance to visit The Knightwood Oak, which is the New Forest's most famous tree. It is thought to be one of the oldest, with age estimates ranging from 450 to 600 years old. The girth of the trunk close to ground level is just over seven metres!

So that, my lovely people, is the last of my posts from The New Forest. Overall we had a lovely holiday. There are some lovely places to visit and, if the weather is good and you like getting out and about it is definitely worth a visit.

Would we go back? I'm not sure, but we will definitely be booking a holiday to the Isle of Wight, probably next year as we absolutely loved what we managed to see on our day trip.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about our visit to The New Forest ... we did manage a quick pitstop at Stonehenge on our way home, but I'll tell you what we thought about that over the next week or so.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Beautiful Britain - Hurst Castle, The New Forest

This is the last but one post from our October holiday in The New Forest. This was our last big day out and the plan was for a mooch round Milford-on-Sea, with maybe a wander along the prom to take some photos of the beach huts.

Safe to say ... things did not quite go to plan. I don't quite know how it happened but we ended up yomping the mile and a half along the spit to the castle. It was seriously heavy going, with shingle all the way and a mega wind blowing an absolute hooley.
We started out thinking we'd just go a little way, take a few photos and see how we got on. 
Very strangely for us, we ended up getting a bit over enthusiastic and, before we knew it, even though it was really daunting, we had gone too far to go back.
The views across to the Isle of Wight and The Needles from the spit were amazing and we spent a good while lingering, watching the progress of this big ship making its way through The Solent.
Once at the castle there was no way we were going back without a look round and, even though it was English Heritage, which meant we had to pay (being members of the opposition), we paid a visit.
First stop was the tea room, where we got our breath back and warmed up before heading out to explore.

I have to say that this is one of the biggest and most interesting castles we have ever come across.

It is a bit of a mash up having originally been built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544. It was modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870s, when the enormous armoured wings were added. Alterations were also made during both WW1 and WW2.

There is also a really interesting exhibition showing the history and workings of Trinity House, which was was of the first things that we had a look at.
It was then up top where views in all directions are amazing and we could get a real good look at how far we'd walked.
One of our favourite things about the castle was the WW2 Garrison Theatre. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I am working my way through Martin's grandad's WW1 diaries and telling his story here on Life of Pottering. At the moment we are at a point in his story when he is hospitalised and we have a number of concert playlists that he was involved in whilst in hospital. We couldn't help but wonder if this theatre was anything like the one that his productions would have been held in back in Italy in WW1.
We spent a good couple of hours exploring, before bracing ourselves for the walk back.

Our walk back took considerably longer than our walk out had. It was seriously heavy going and with creaking joints and aching legs we both struggled.

About two thirds of the way back the sun broke through the clouds and we both stopped to do a double take, it was like a light had been turned on. All of the colours instantly became more vibrant, the blues more blue and greens more green, it was just spectacular and not something that we could really catch on film, but here are our efforts.

One last effort got us back to the car ...
... but not before having a chuckle at someone who had got stuck driving over and ended up having to be towed by the tractor.
We felt quite accomplished, having made the effort to walk over and back, it's a castle most definitely worthy of a visit, but one hell of an effort to do so if you do it the way we did.

There is an easier option. A ferry runs every 20 minutes from Keyhaven, where there is plenty of parking to leave the car. I think it's safe to say if ever we visited again we would probably take that option.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

HM@No27 - My November Makes

November has been a very busy months for us at Hand Made at Number 27, with lots of Christmas orders and a couple of trips out with the craft table to some local Christmas craft fairs.

I can't share all of my makes with you, as some have been made as surprise Christmas gifts, but here is a look at some of what we've been up to ...

Dog Walking Pouches
It was a real treat to do some sewing with non-Christmas fabric for a change! These small zippered pouches have been really popular with some of my dog walking friends. 
They are just the perfect size for fitting those dog walking essentials in when out walking the pooch, and the lobster claw clip means they can be easily hooked onto a belt loop if you prefer.

Just the right size for a few bags, dog treats and your phone.
I've even made some with matching bandanas!
Gift Tags
We managed to find a couple more small dies that made a perfect addition to our gift tag range, and these stockings and baubles have gone down really well.

Christmas Decorations
My respite from Christmas fabric was short lived and I was soon back into a new Christmas decoration design.

I've been meaning to have a go at these Christmas trees for a while now and I'm really pleased with how they have turned out.
I also made a couple more of my star Christmas tree toppers.

Fabric Owls
I added some Christmas fabric owls to my owl collection, in readiness for the craft fairs. These would look fab just stood on the mantel, with your other Christmas bits and pieces.
I also did a special order for one in black and white. I really like him, he looks like he's dressed in a tuxedo and off out for a posh dinner.

Papercut Pictures
My Parisienne themed papercut pictures have been really popular and I've done quite a few of these this month. Every one is just a little bit different and I've found a leaf die, which has worked really well too.
On this set of three larger frames each one has one really special heart, built up of three different sized hearts in different papers. I really like the effect.
Doggy bows
This started as a special request from a friend for a secret Santa gift for a work colleague and I made a matching bow tie to go with one of my dog bandanas.
Following on from that I had a go at bow ties for dogs and I was quite surprised at how well they turned out. How cute are these???
And finally ....

I-Pad Case
I up-sized my mini-iPad pattern to make one for a full sized iPad in this gorgeous cat fabric.

Added to all of the making we've been up to, we have been to two Christmas craft fairs.

It's the first time we've been out with the stall to proper craft fairs, only having been to village or school fetes so far and hopes were high.

We were really pleased with how the stall looked, but sadly, footfall was very low and we only just about covered to cost of the stall, so not sure whether there was anything more we could have done to have been more successful but we were just a little bit disappointed.

Maybe we will stick to school fetes next year.

So that's it from Hand Made at Number 27 for 2016. We will be back in January showing you our December makes, so we will see you then.

Have a great Christmas everyone 😃😃😃😃😃😃