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Always read the cooking instructions...

...or you might end up feeling a bit odd.  At least I did after failing to realise that the cooking instructions for my tea on Friday night (a fish cake) were for when you were cooking from fresh and that a frozen fish cake requires an extra ten minutes in the oven!  Oops!  I spent yesterday in my jamas huddled under four quilts watching repeats of NCIS.  I feel considerably better today but if my post is lacking a bit of oomph and sparkle then please forgive me!!  And don't worry, I haven't got food poisoning, just a slightly sore tummy and no appetite!  I'll be reading instructions twice from now on!!

Anyway, let's move onto more pleasant things - how about a biscornu?  (An eight-sided cushion, often used as a pincushion or scissor fob.)  There's a lovely selection of them on this site.  I'd not made one of these before so when my friend, the very talented and lovely Beryl at Knot, advertised a one day biscornu workshop at her studio I couldn't resist.  (She doesn't have a website but if you're in the Teesside area and want to find out more please email me!) Mind you, who can resist an entire day of stitching with like-minded people?!  Not me, that's for sure!

We had a wonderful time choosing which Oliver Twist one-off bundle of threads (a variety of ten hand dyed cotton and rayon threads) we wanted to use and dyeing our canvas to match/contrast. (Just to let you know that I've not used the website I've linked to but it had the best range of the bundles I could find.)  A good time was had by all as we learnt new stitches and chatted.  By the end of the day I'd done a fair bit of stitching but not as much as others who'd done counted thread work before.  I've only ever done counted cross stitch but although the counting is different (you count threads rather than holes) it stood me in good stead, I think!  It only took another few hours to completely finish my pincushion but it's taken me considerably longer to blog about it!

I'm afraid I don't have any in progress photos to share (bad blogger!) and it turns out that a biscornu is quite a tricky thing to photograph.  So here's some fairly awful photos of a fancy pincushion (notice how I'm managing your expectations?!!)

Side one - stitches include Sprat's Head (unfortunately named!) and couching.

Side two - stitches include Moorish stitch and cross stitch  

A poor photo of it from the side - this was the best of a bad lot!!
It's far too nice to ever stick pins in but looks lovely in my sewing room!

There's a good site here with step-by-step instructions on how to make a biscornu once you've completed the embroidery and I think suitable patterns would be quite easy to find.  I quite fancy a plain oversized one in velvet as a comfy cushion for my settee!  I've got some blue velvet in the loft and one of these days I'm going to drag it out and cut into it rather than just admiring it!

I'm also a little behind on sharing my hexies.  I haven't stitched any in a couple of weeks as the DPs have taken over my hand stitching time but I've got about 10 that I've stitched and not shared.  I'm only going to show you a few today as the weather is so awful this afternoon that it's hard to get a decent photo.  I managed to get this photo of Archie before the sun completely gave up - compared to now it looks like glorious sunshine!

Can't a dog get forty winks round here without being disturbed?
See that hint of sun?  Completely gone now so the rest will wait for a bit of sunshine.  These were taken on the windowsill to maximise any light available but still aren't marvellous (bad photos seem to be a theme in this post!)

Hexy 61 - I love this blue and white print!

Hexy 62 - looks better in real life!

Hexy 63 - love these windmill hexies!

Hexy 64 - nice and simple to offset some of the fancy pants hexies in the quilt!

A few weeks ago Archie and I went for a walk on our local beach - I had to go to the library and the cobbler so decided to take Archie with me and treat him to a walk through the valley gardens and onto the beach.  He loves all the smells and I love the sight and sound of the sea!  I'm afraid I forgot my camera (bad blogger...again!) but I took some photos on my mobile - they're not great (again!) but I think you'll like them!

I love the seaside - did you mention biscuits?!
I did - I thought that if I could get him to come closer I'd stand a chance of getting a half decent photo so I threw half a dozen or so tiny biscuits for him to find...I'd not counted on the local wildlife being brighter than Archie though!

He's pinching my biscuits!
And he was.  'He' being a rook who'd obviously memorised where the biscuits had fallen and had eaten five by the time Archie had sniffed out one - you couldn't see them as they were the same colour as the sand and Archie was having a hard time finding them.  Not the rook though -you've got to admire a skill like that!  I didn't think birds would eat Chappie but maybe it makes a nice change from worms and insects!

If he thinks he's getting this hole he's got another think coming...

 After a while we went up on the tops of the dunes and Archie did his knitting pattern pose

Gaze into the distance and look intelligent...

 While I admired the view

And then Archie wanted another biscuit...

Sustenance, I need sustenance - I'm in danger of fading away!

...before we went back down the steps, admired the fishing boats (and managed not to wee on any of them, thank goodness!  Oh, and that's Archie doing the weeing, obviously!) and did our usual 'wouldn't it be lovely to live in one of those' gazes...

I'd love to live in one of those houses, imagine the view!

I think I'm very lucky to live near such a lovely beach.  This is where Mam, my brother and I spent many days in the summer holidays (when it was fine enough) as we lived just ten minutes walk from the dunes - sand and egg sandwiches, paddling and sand castles, what bliss!  Even in the 'breeze' from the North Sea that often turned us blue!!!

And thank you to Sheila and Leanne - I'm honoured and it's very nice of you to say such nice things!  I'm afraid I'm going to ignore the rules (again!) and share some random facts over the next few posts...I hope that's ok?!

Random Fact (I'm stopping counting because, quite frankly, I can't be bothered to keep track!)

Pssssst!  *looks around and then beckons*  Over here!  Now, don't tell the Quilt Police (and if you happen to be one then look away now) but I break the cardinal rule of rotary cutters...I cut towards myself!  I promise I'm careful though!  Now remember, not a word to the Quilt Police, ok?!

Another Random Fact  Archie has a funny foot.  As far as I know it doesn't tell jokes, recite limericks or do impressions but there's always a first time..this was the best photo I could find of it - Archie's out on a walk at the moment or I'd take a better one!

The vet thinks someone stood on it or trapped it in a door when he was a puppy.  It doesn't affect him in the slightest but it does make those two claws very hard to clip.  I usually do it myself with my nail clippers and an emery board as it's safer than the dog claw clippers I've got.  I've never caught his quick when trimming his claws but the vet did once (it's very easy to do as the quick is almost at the end of the claw) and it needed cauterising...poor Archie!!

That's it for today - I hope you've enjoyed all the photos?!!  Even the bad ones?!  I'm off to catch up on blog reading/emails...I think a cup of tea is in order and maybe a sneaky 'you'll spoil your tea' biscuit!  Maybe my appetite is returning!

Thanks for popping in!

P.S.  Do any of you have a free Flickr account with more than 200 photos uploaded?  Does it annoy you that you have photos that are unavailable?  I'm almost up to my limit and I'm starting to wonder if I should delete some of my older photos to make room or ask for an upgrade for my birthday.  Is the upgrade worth the money or are there, as I suspect, better things to spend £15 a year on?!  I know a lot of you will have an opinion - please let me know what you think!

P.P.S.  I'm sure there was something else I meant to mention - I've got no idea what it was but I've forgotten to acknowledge something/someone please give me a not-so-gentle nudge!  Thanks!


  1. love the hexies! photos of the sea are so pretty as are the ones of Archie once again - I think I want your dog but I don't even have any pets of my own - I think I just like looking at your dog and you can continue to take care of him :)

  2. Wow - so much to absorb! First, the biscornu is wonderful, but I agree, I'd hate to stick pins in it. Much better to just gaze upon it's beauty. Second, your hexies are coming along nicely. I haven't yet been bitten by the hexie bug, but your pictures are tempting. Third - beach! Even if it's cool, I'm jealous that you have access to such a beautiful place. Fourth, my cats have funny feet, too, although it's genetics rather than an accident. They both have at least one extra toe per foot. Claw clipping is an adventure. And fifth, I bit the bullet a couple of years ago and bought the Flickr upgrade. I use it a lot, as I prefer to load my photos there and then link to them in my blog posts.

  3. Your hexies are looking absolutely gorgeous -- so subdued and lovely.

  4. Poor you! (((hugs))) glad to know you are better today.
    About Flickr, if you delete photos which you have linked to the blog, they won't show on the blog.

  5. I have the same problem with flickr and am not sure what to do about it! I love walking on the beach, we have one fairly near to us, but it is a car drive. I don't tend to go as much now that the kids are older! Great Archie pics

  6. Aww hope you are feeling better soon. I've ordered from Rainbow Silks and they have quick turn around times. They sell lots of textile goodies should you want to try other things. I think Oliver Twists have a website - if not they certainly have mail order - or did. Love your pin cushion, although I couldn't stick pins in it either - too pretty. Hexies look fab. Archie looks fab and well done to both of you for not weeing on the boats ;-)

    Flickr - couldn't live without the paid version. I use it to back up all my pictures and it allows you to have squillions of sets too. I buy two years at a time so it's cheaper. But I guess it depends on what you want to spend your money on.

  7. I did that same thing with fish fingers many years ago and haven't been able to face one since (well not one that I've cooked from the freezer anyhow .... a posh one at a restaurant can still be managed!) .... now I'm just plain paranoid and tend to add 10 minutes to most things I cook just in case! .... hope your stomach is all better very soon .... though staying under a pile of quilts is about all I've done this weekend too .... it's been a trying time .... like somebody had thrown me in at the deep end with those fishing boats! .... I'm just about treading water though :)

  8. Hope you are feeling completely recovered soon. I think your blue thingumyjiggy looks very Moorish! With flikr, I believe tht if you delete the photos, it still doesn`t give you extra space...I upgraded grudgingly and so glad I did. Look at it as a couple of bottles of not very exciting wine these days no?

  9. Yay for a Helen post! I giggled my way through it. Your blue thingy is beautiful, looks professionally done! I don't think I could count and visit - tho maybe that's why you finished yours later?! A trip to the cobbler gave me visions of apple pie. Oh those Americans - she's thinking...! There were a few other words that made me think a British dictionary may be needed. :->. Your hexes are pretty! And that beach looks so pretty and peaceful. If it had been Duke I'm afraid a leg would have been hiked on a boat, good for Archie! He is a cutey! Give him an extra biscuit for me!!!!! A sand and egg sandwich? Sounds crunchy! ;-)

  10. Hmmm so much to comment on. Very interesting pincushion, never heard of it before....lovely hexies, as always........great Archie pics........confused about flickr, I must have more than 200 photos.........but lastly, very worried about your rotary cutting!!Tut tut!!

  11. Well, you are not helping me at all with trying to cut down on my blog reading!!! I got to the bit about Biscornu so had to go and look....then I had to go and look for some patterns and how to do them...then I remembered I hadn't read all your blog!! You are so lucky living near the coast, I would love to be able to take Sam out on the beach every day, Archie seems to love it too! And be careful with the fish cakes!!! Hugs

  12. Oh if you could just work out the cooking time for only feeling too ill to go to work, but still able to sew could you let me know!

    Great bracing beach shots!

    That pincushion looked way beyond my patience, clever you.

    I pay for flickr (I honestly couldn't face trying to work out which pictures to lose constantly) xxx

  13. Cool pincushion, I have no patience for hexies, tried them once but they never turned out as good as i wanted them too.I have no idea about Flickr but I am in the same position almost up to the limit I expect Ill go for it for convenenience purposes as Im already loosing picnik so I have to hold on to something!

  14. Beautiful hexies as always! Glad you are feeling better, being sick to your stomach is one of the worst things.

  15. Hey sweetie,
    I pay for flickr, couldnt be arsed figuring things out so just did it...
    Your hexie quilt is going to be the most fabulous ever.
    That pinny looks gobsmackingly complicated, you have wayyy more patience than me!
    Be a veggie like me.... lol xxx

  16. The biscornu (sounds like an Italian biscuit) is a beauty.
    And Archie is a darling - hope you had some extra biscuits for him for being a good sport and sharing with the bird. And the hexies are wonderful, one day ....
    I hope you are feeling ok again now.

  17. Love the biscornu It looks so cool, never seen one of those before...yes I live in a cave. The blocks look great too. Archie must be happy...he's famous!!

  18. Hope you feel better soon. Cool biscomu and lovely hexies. I have the Flickr upgrade, for me it's worth it as I link all the photos in my blog posts through Flickr so I don't want any of them unavailable.

  19. Stunning hexies as always H! And what a beautiful place to live - serene! I upgraded to Flickr Pro cos I really value a photographic record of all that I make, and I think £15 is good value. Hope your tummy is feeling better soon, Jxo

  20. Poor Helen - hope you are all better now! Great hexies as ever and fun pincushion! Archie still as handsome as ever even with an odd foot!

    Lovely coastal pics! Can almost smell the sea air!

  21. Can I just say A-M-A-Z-I-N-G to your pincushion (I already forget what its called) and to all your hexies??!! You do beautiful work!! And I love the photos of you and Archie on the beach!! Makes me want to go take my kids and the dog for a walk on the boardwalk along the coast about 25 mins. from our house, but its nearly sunset and I'm sipping on some wine already (Sunday angst-- started a little early-- don't tell). Your captions for Archie are just spot on-- I love how you "think like a dog"-- its a true talent that any dog owner can appreciate. Here's a great and funny dog movie that you have to see if you haven't already: Best in Show. Its over 10 yrs old but its classic. I would watch it again in a second, although I don't get much time in front of the TV. Loved everything in this post-- you've also inspired me to want to make fish cakes now! (But I'll be sure to check the cooking time).

  22. Sorry that you have been feeling ill. Hope that you are fully recovered. Great post. Great hexies. Great pics of Archie. Just great. Di xo

  23. I so understand the problem of "reading" cooking directions. I once microwaved frozen french toast sticks for son, setting the timer on the length of time it took to bake them. We didn't eat the nasty juncks of coal that they became. My did they stink. That was at least 14 years ago, and he still gives me grief about it.

    Love the pictures of the ocean.

  24. Your post certainly did NOT lack Oomph and Sparkle.....
    but I am not too sure about those hexies Helen,.... if they look so much better in real life, then send them on down........... just so as I can confirm ...He hehehe
    And thanks for not asking me to "prove I am not a robot"
    Ear scratches to Archie and hope you feel better soon.

  25. 1. Lovely hexies
    2. lovely Archie
    3. yes I have the free flicker account with more than 200 photos. No I am not paying the £15, cos I am not sure what extra that gets me, I have the images on my computer anyway.
    The other thing is, if you have loaded them into a group, they stay visible within the group? Hmm. Does that mean I am taking unfair advantage of someone else who is paying?
    I will have to think about that one. What do you think?

  26. Too much to say Helen! Where to start? I love the biscornu and a larger cushion for your couch would be yum...please do. It is snowing here so I am jealous of the beach. I too cut towards myself which is Very Problematic with a large tummy in the way!!! And...there was something else but...oh wait...the cooking. Do be careful please!

  27. I'm glad you are feeling better! The biscornu is gorgeous - I love the colors. I really enjoyed the photos - love the pictures of Archie!

  28. So glad you didn't poison yourself, remind me not to come to yours for tea ;)
    the fancy pin cushion (forgive me I have no idea what the fancy name you used is!!) and the hexies look wonderful!

  29. Hope you're feeling much better now :) must have been a weekend for it! Lovely post, so much to see! Archie's looking charming as ever! :) having the same flikr dilema :(

  30. Oh I miss the beaches! We used to go down to Chichester Harbour/West Wittering on the south coast a lot and now we are miles and miles away from beaches. Whereabouts on the east coast are you? It looks gorgeous.

    Sorry about the fish cakes. It happens to us all!

  31. Meant to say - I've given up on Flickr. I use Picasa instead as you can upload everything on to the net and you have oodles of free space.

  32. Great idea for a large biscornu, might have to tuck that idea away to use sometime too :)
    Looks like a great day at the beach. Poor puppy, losing his biccies to the birds.
    As to flckr, I have a pro account. I'll keep it until (if) I end up hosting my photos on my own website. I like knowing that all the photos in my posts are always going to be there no matter how old the post is. I've been to some blogs where the photos aren't visible anymore on some old posts, which is always disappointing. Especially if you're trying to see something about a project relevant to something you're making

  33. Crap about the fish cakes. Hope you are fighting fit again. I am something like 400+ behind in my blog reading. I am not going to catch up. Push that read button and move forward. And I think I paid Flickr the money. What can I say? I paid Google money too.

  34. You live in an incredibly beautiful place! What a treat to be able to walk to the beach and see the sea!

  35. AHHH! The Tees river. That brings back memories I'd like to lay dormant, LOL ;)
    When we lived down near Bishop Auckland, DH used to work at Hartlepool he also used to be in the Tees Rowing Club. We were newly married at the time and so occasionally I'd go along with him to a practice session... though I'd stay in the car... One day they didn't have a cox... so in desperation they asked me... to cut a long story short... oops too late for that... I steered them into the bank a couple of times and must have swallowed more than was safe of that water! Well I didn't know the lingo!! and my right was their left... LOL..
    Great pictures! It looks wonderful where you live, I'm not far from the sea either..... ten minutes walk would get me there...
    Oh and about Flickr... my 'pro' account has just expired and I'm considering renewing it... but I'm sure it's more expensive than last year... unless I got it on offer last year... yes, reel them in and you've got them.. It is handy to be able to put all your pictures in there... suppose I'll have to bite the bullet. I prefer it to webshots or photo?something? I suppose £15 is not much more than £2 a month. Not sure who I'm trying to convince, LOL.
    Your post was a great read and made me laugh out loud a few times. Ellyx

  36. Oh I knew there was something I forgot to mention, I love your hexagons :) So pretty and your photos are pretty good to me.. Bunnyhugs to Archie..

  37. I hope you are now feeling much better, walking by the sea is one of the very best things in life. Of course we live in the middle of the country away from the sea!!!!
    The pin cushion is great and when I can't get to sleep I think of all the things I'm going to make in the future.

  38. Hey Archie (and Helen), you may wanna check this out :

  39. Hexie blocks are awesome!!! So pretty. Ok, so Archie is so cute!!! Just the sweetest face ever. Oh, I've made Sarge bleed before trimming nails. It's awful. I've never felt so bad. I had to put flour on his nail to stop the bleeding. I make Scott do it now.

  40. I love this post, and you are not a bad blogger. It took me almost a week to get here, maybe I am a bad reader. I so love you walk on the beach, and thank you for sharing it, almost like we got to come along. I paid for flickr, it is more convenient that way.

  41. Well I hope you're over the nasty tummy thing by now.
    Loved reading and catching up with you. Funny you should talk about biscornus. My hardanger group all decided to do one and I dutifully bought a pattern and supplies only to find out they had all chickened out while I was away and paid someone to make them.
    What nice places you and Archie go for a walk.Your hexes are looking gorgeous.

  42. Hi Helen

    I've nominated you for the Leibster blog award..... check it out here

    Tanya x

  43. Your biscornu looks great but what bizarre names the stitches have! And your hexies are stunning. I can't wait to see your quilt when it's done. Lovely to see Archie enjoying the beach :)

  44. Hope you're feeling better.

    Love the hexys...the windmill is gorgeous.

    Thanks for your lovely comments about Eleanor (Nickys blog)....I think she'd love Archie! They could race around together!!!


  45. fabulous post again - love your sense of humour - and thanks for those gorgeous photos of the beach (and archie of course) I'd love to live in one of those houses as well - I live about 5 hours away from a beach!

  46. ooohhh and I forgot to say I especially love hexi 62


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