Wednesday, 25 August 2010




Sewing for the greater good is something that I Nora, thats me, does feel really rather strongly about.
I know I joke about healing all the worlds ills through the medium of sewing,
but, oh oh oh make it be so!

What a wonderful world we would be living in if we could all sew the world better!
Back at the beginning of the year I was organising a sock monkey workshop.
A fun and frivolous evening
making valentines sock monkeys.
You can read all about it here.

And then the Haiti earthquake happened.
Sitting sewing in the pub with like minded souls eating nice food and drinking nice drinks didn't seem so important any more.
But then I thought
"Come on girl, put your money where your mouth is"
And Sewing for the greater good was born.
We managed to raise £150 for the British Red Cross Haiti appeal
something of which I am very proud.

But now, just as I planning the autumn programme of workshops
something even more awful and horrific has happened.
Pakistan is under water, floods raging everywhere and more to come by all accounts.

So with out further ado I would like to present
An evening of sewing and sweet smells.


We will be making decorative lavender bags
The class costs around £2 per head to put on, so at least £6 of all fees will be going to
(Once I have worked out all the costs it will probably be more)

Please come along, meet new people, have fun, learn something new, and make the world a better place all at once.

When ever I run these classes many of you post comments about if only you were nearer etc etc.
I know this blog is read far and wide, so I am going to suggest that if you can't make it along on the night, you organise your own sewing for the greater good gatherings.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy schmancy, just a few friends a bottle or two of wine and some sewing.
I am happy to help with advice, technical knowhow, and even supplies.
Leave a comment at the end of this post, or email me and I will be delighted to help.

Spread the word, forward this post to people you think may be interested or post a link to it.
Do let me know if you do this and how you are getting on.
Lets make that mad vision come true and sew ourselves a better world.
Thats it!
Have a great day. I'm off for a spot of light breakfast.
Nora xx

Sunday, 22 August 2010

To quote Sid James in "Carry on Cleo"
This past week I have been working, working, working, the old feet have hardly touched the ground.
However, and this does seem to often be the way, this week has had some amazing hidden surprises.
Every time there was an extra curricular activity I thought
well this is it the week has peeked,
and every time I was proven wrong.
I'm going to start with the best,
because I'm afraid that is the kind of gal I am.
I nearly always take a peek at the end of books, I always eat the best bits of the dinner first leaving a plate full of congealing and cooling yuckie stuff to be washed down with a glass of water and I always always always have a quick feel of the presents under the tree at Christmas.

Today, this morning, after a much needed lie in
(the children are away staying with their Lion tamer Grandma)
the Hippie and I set off for the V and A.
We went to see the Small Spaces exhibition.
Which is a collection of weird and mad structures commissioned by the museum from a group of international architects on the theme of retreat.
My favourite was this fantastic little room by Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori.

You accessed it by a step ladder and entered this beautiful calm room.

I could have spent hours in there and really really want one for myself.
I also loved this piece by Studio Mumbai Architects

This one is based on the unseen spaces people live in.
A narrow ally between a wall and the side of a building leads to a warren of rooms created from found materials where many families live.
The piece in the museum is made up of a cast of the original, including the tree, which sadly due to slum clearance no longer exists.
For both of these exhibits you had to take you shoes off which added another unexpected sensory experience.
There were 6 structures in the exhibit, but there isn't enough space here to talk about them all, however I couldn't not mention this Ash tree structure by Helen & Hard architects of Norway

which was just so beautiful in the courtyard.

On Friday I took the boys to Bekonscot model village.

The idea of this place appealed enormously to me, it being quintessentially British, I mean who else would think the idea of looking at miniature buildings, rugby matches and railways is a good day out? But was a little worried about the boys. Would the lack of bells and whistles mean they would get bored quickly?
Thankfully I was proved very very wrong.

The ginger Ninja rated it higher than H.M.S Belfast which is saying something.

It was a truly innocent day out, the humour of the setting has kept me smiling ever since. Entry was very reasonable £8 for adults and £5 for children.
Extras like the quiz were 30p and a ride on the narrow gauge railway was 90p.

The history of the village is brilliant and can be read here.
I do love a tale of a mad eccentric.
I can't recommend it highly enough.

And finally the thing which at the beginning of the week I would have told you couldn't possibly be eclipsed.

Yep thats right "The Railway Children"
Performed live on the old Eurostar platforms at Waterloo, with a real live steam train.

I cannot tell you just how much I love the film, weeping and wailing every time.
I can reduce my self to tears just by doing a dramatic reenactment in the workroom
(a regular occurrence on a rainy afternoon).
In fact on our recent camping trip Ingrid (she's my best friend and I hate her) and I had a secret cry on a rainy afternoon in the tent when I read the
"Daddy, Daddy, oh my Daddy"
passage out loud,
oh the fun we had.
The production has had amazing reviews, so I was expecting something good.
But this was better than any of us were expecting.
The whole production was so clever and atmospheric.
And lets face it me and my two friends (Ingrid and Miss Moonie Moon, she of the beautiful cake fame) have spent a somewhat considerable amount of time in and around the glamourous west end of London town,
so we should know what we are going on about.

So there you have it three amazing trip out, try and do at least one this summer, you will have no regrets. I am very a very lucky girl to have done all three.
All this and I haven't even started about the great mirror dilemma.
More of this later in the week.
Lots of love
Nora xx

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


What is it about camping that makes every one become stereotypes?
10 minutes after arriving at Eweleaze the kids had turned feral

and us mum's had started drinking what is now called Camping Champers.

A week of fresh mackrel

bucket trees at Lulworth Cove

Kids being silly

Wood chopping

A room with a view

Dr Who Quizes

Photos taken by a two and a half yr old that make me look a) young, b) slim and c) busty.

I am of course d) none of the above

And whilst the women went off to Dorchester to go hunter gathering

The men made FIRE!

Good times, good, good times.
Roll on next year.
Nora xx

Monday, 9 August 2010


The house is in uproar, there is stuff every where, nerves are getting frayed and tempers tetchy.
But we are nearly there, nearly done.
The tents are dusted off, the beach towels packed, nora and the boys all have their new camping P.J's.
And most importantly the sloe gin has been packed and arrangements made with friends who are joining us in a day or two.
Even a long lost cousin has been tracked down through the mists of time and arrangements made to meet up.
The garden and cat sitters primed as to their duties.
The whole Flaming Family is off, off, off, to one of the most amazing campsites on the south coast.
Where we will be spending a few blissful summer days with many many friends, eating, drinking and lazing about.

See you when we get back.
Nora xx

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

On this Saturday just gone I took the ginger Ninja and two of his friends, Sophie and Louis, to one of our favourite places.
The giant car boot sale at Wimbledon Dog Track.
The kids all get £2 and they have to see how far they can make it stretch.
Its funny doing this with two children who aren't your own.
The ginger one is an old hand at this game and takes after his mother in being able to sniff out a terrific bargain, which lead directly to this hugh haul.

Sophie was much more considered and thought long and hard about every purchase and only bought things that were really good value.

Louis must have some special vibe about him as stall holders seemed to be falling over them selves to give him things for free!
My favourite was this georgous little brooch.

He literally piped me to the post on this one by seconds, and I have to admit to a certain amount of jealousy!
Any way enough about the children, lets see what the important stuff was.
I found this fantastic clutch of embroidered table cloths.

I particularly love the greeny blue scalloped edge on one of them and have big plans for it.
Here is a little close up of the embroidery on another of them, it is I think of a particularly high quality.

Then whilst rummaging in a damp and dingy looking bag, always the best kind, I found this envelope and note book.
I had to buy them.
The address was for a house on the estate really near where I grew up in Guildford!

It had a damp spotted child's collar, a floral hankie and two old stamps in it.
The customs form on the envelope said it was from New Zealand and contained a gift of a handkercheif that cost 10 cents.
Unfortunatly the top right hand corner is damaged, but I think the date is from 1967.
The lovely red note book also held its own surprises.

Useful information to process and inwardly digest for a full and rounded life I think.
Nora x