Books (college and beyond)

At college it was back to the fantasy world again and much more serious leisure time reading (because I was studying English Literature I read so many classics the books mentioned here are just the ones which I chose to read for pleasure). First of all Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings which I read in one, india paper, volume so it didn’t seem quite so big to get through!

Having achieved that I then found that I was hooked on large volume series so this was followed by the 19 books of Frank Herbert’s Dune series

In between times one book which I loved so much that I read it in a day was Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin, his semi autobiographical account of his time in 1930s Berlin which describes pre-Nazi Germany and the people he met.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson was my next significant effort, and I managed to work my way through the first two Chronicles (Still have to read the third as it wasn’t written or published at the time)

Then it was on to the 4 huge volumes of Tad Williams’,  Otherland science fiction (cyberpunk) tetra logy.

After all that I needed a rest 😉

Books (growing up)

As I got a bit older again, (about 8 or 9) I really started to read a lot and the favourites which I can remember were Stig of the Dump by Clive King and all of the Narnia series of books, by C S Lewis (which I read many, many times over).

At about the same time I was introduced to my first ‘serious’ book, the Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier.  A moving account of the journey of a group of children through war-torn Europe.   (I should probably read this again since my father-in-law made a similar journey to England during the war.)

The Secret Garden, the Lost Prince and a Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Thursday by Catherine Storr were good teenage novels, then I got taken over by English Literature at school through taking both ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels where I read even more, but not usually my choice of either book or author.

I’m so glad that school didn’t put me off reading for life as I hated Jane Austin and Dickens which was on the syllabus (just not my thing) but luckily I did take to T S Elliot and Shakespeare and some of the other poets, playwrights and authors we looked at.  I read so much more than this during my teenage years but these are the books which stand out in my memory, possibly because they deal with relationships (quite an important theme for a young girl 🙂 ).

Books (the early years)

From as far back as I can remember I was brought up around books with good stories and beautiful images, not least of which was the complete set of Beatrix Potter books which my Mum and Dad bought and read to me, including some of my favourites :

Then there were the Flower Fairies books by Cicely Mary Barker


I can also remember having a wonderful copy of Charles Kingsley’s Water Babies with illustrated plates by Mabel Lucie Attwell (I don’t know what happened to this book, it may even have been from the library, so I will have to ask my Mum).

Obviously there is the popular, seasonal, childhood favourite, the Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore, which was read to me each Christmas Eve and I continued the tradition reading it to my boys while they were young and still willing to admit that they’d be listening out for the sleigh bells (I still have the book from my childhood).

As I got older and started to read for myself I have fond memories of quite a few books, the Milly Molly Mandy series by Joyce Lankester Brisley; the Borrowers series by Mary Norton; the Five Dolls in a House series by Helen Clare and the Little Leftover Witch by Frances Laughlin.

I expect that up to this point my Mum had mostly chosen books with/for me.  However, I still like things in the same ‘vein” (only becoming a bit more adult) as you will see.


Japanese style bag

I bought a lovely book at the Northern Needlecraft Exhibition in Harrogate last year, Easy Japanese Quilt Style which one of the authors, Anne, was kind enough to sign for me.

Needless to say I also bought some fabric to make one of the bags in the book and also met a lady at the show who had already made the one which I had chosen to make, which she was using that day.  Well, seeing two versions of the finished bag (one on the stand and one in use) was more than enough to inspire me.  This is the image in the book, the bag is a really good size but I was advised to put some form of stiffener into the base, which is quite a large square, to prevent it from sagging when full of stuff (which my bag usually is!)

Some people use cardboard as a stiffener for bag bottoms but I prefer to use something which will wash so I opted for plastic canvas.  This is my finished bag and I’m absolutely delighted with it.

The design of the outer is made in a really cleaver way with patched triangles sewn in a ‘pinwheel’ then joined up diagonally (the lining is cut from one piece of fabric to match the shape).  I can’t describe it adequately here so have a look at the book, buy it and of course make one for yourself.  I only made a couple of changes, adding a pocket inside and putting the ties at the top so that the bag can be loosely fastened.  I would certainly recommend this pattern and can’t wait to make some of the others in the book now!  🙂