Saturday, 30 July 2011


I seem to be talking a lot at the moment about the two up two down cottage with the two foot thick walls nestled in the Lancashire moors.
First it belonged to my Great Aunt and Uncle, Thora and Jimmy.
Then more recently to my Mum.
So here we all are outside the front door in 1972.
Auntie Thora is the one in the shocking yellow, the other is her elder sister
Great Auntie Winnie.

I wrote about our recent trip up there yesterday, but there was some unfinished business.
The little pink dress.
Discovered being worn by an old Dolly of mine with a droopy eye.
Ooh that's nice I thought.
It was then rediscovered a little while later in an old family photo album.

Yes folks that really is a very young Nora in the roof garden of our flat above
Liptons supermarket.
The dress was made by the fair hand of the above mentioned Great Auntie Winnie the tailor.
It is now hanging up in dining room where I can admire it hourly.
I feel as though I have been living in the past a lot recently.
But may be that is just the nature of spending time back in the bosom of your family.
So I thought I would tempt you with a glimpse of things to come.

A one word clue is all you are going to get.
Love Nora xx

Friday, 29 July 2011


The boys and I have just returned from a few days in the north, visiting my Ma.
My Brother the boy's Uncle Matty and their Cousins flew in from Copenhagen to join us.
And so the fun began.
The children ran wild all over the chamomile lawn, yes really a chamomile lawn

and partook of the traditional family pursuit of beating their uncle up at any given moment.

After which Uncle Matty and I sat down over a bottle or two of cold beer to some serious time travel.
The trouble is one of the many things I have inherited from my Ma is the hoarding.
Only this time she took it to another level.
She had been through the boxes in the loft and it would appear she still owns more or less
ALL of our childhood toys.
All of which she had brought up to her old stone cottage on the Lancashire moors for the grandchildren to play with.
It was like stepping in to a museum of our childhoods.

Matt's cars.

The rag dolls I made in the 1980's.

The spanish tambourine Great Auntie Winnie brought back from one of her holidays touring the religious high spots of Europe.

And best of all, minus one arm, two feet, his super mega motor bike and the red windy uppy thingie, Evel Knievel!
On the fun we had with him in the hot summers of the 1970's in the lane outside this very cottage. Winding him up, letting him go, hoping he would do a wheelie this time and please oh please make it over the row of double decker busses this time Evil!
I will be back with more tails of the north tomorrow.
Love Nora xx

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Spotted last Saturday afternoon in St Leonards on Sea on my way to check out fabrics and trims at Wayward, sadly no Betty today.
How can any one have ever thought this was a good idea.
Though like spotting a nasty car crash whilst driving on the opposite carriage way I can't stop looking at it.
Love Nora. xx

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Last Saturday was the date of my last kids sewing class for this academic year.

Next stop Halloween where unusually for me I already know what we will be making.
But more on that much nearer the time.
We were making flags. It was great the kids all designed and decorated the flags them selves.

Due to to total organisational melt down on my part I had only one sample ready to show them before the class started. It was great. They let their imaginations run wild and all came up with such different things.

I love watching the children work and over come problems.
Some come with a VERY clear idea of what they want to do.
One girl very close to my own heart came with her design already drawn out this time.
It was ambitious, it was fiddly, it was time consuming. But she wasn't going to change anything.

It was more or less finished by the time the class finished.
She has the summer break stretching before her to finish off the fiddly bits.
The boys are my favourites. I know I shouldn't have favourites, but they just make me laugh so much. The things they make.
A killer Pokemon monster with an extra leg in this case.

Children alway surprise you. You think you know them you think you have it sussed. You make preparations made on these assumptions, then they all go and do something very different.

One young lady turned up in fury ear muffs in the middle of July and made a snow flake flag.

It looks fab, she enjoyed it, we kept quite.
And Oscar, lovely Oscar who is only 6 did all this by himself while us adults and quite a few children cooed and cuddled his baby sister.

Well done to all my lovely children,there just isn't the space to show you all here today, have fantastic summers all of you.
Lots more pictures of the day over on flickr.
Love Nora xx

P.S have you signed up for the do what you love stitched post card swap yet?
This is my third and they are always such great fun.
And be warned the Ninja's are abroad again.
I shall be telling all soon.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Look what the Hippy discovered today.
Isn't she beautiful?

Such a tiny tiny fragment of a life already lived.
Left behind, caught up behind the door frame in our little box room.
I wonder what the rest of the wall paper looked like.
Who chose it.
Who hung it?
When did it grace the walls of my little tumble down end of terrace?
Who would lie in bed making up stories about the little Welsh Woman.
And what were those stories.
Not for the first time in life I find my self wishing inanimate objects could talk.
I shall return with tales of children's sewing workshops and some light knitting.
Love Nora xx

Sunday, 17 July 2011

You wake up to find a gormiti city in your garden

You find a golden Dalek in the newly replenished fruit bowl.

There is a plastic pig with what looks suspiciously like a comb over on your towel when you come to have a bath before bed.

And most worryingly of all you find Dr Who with his quiff removed wearing a garrote round his neck next to the kettle.

Are you out numbered?
Sometimes I crave a bit of quiet time alone with the stationary.
But mainly I think I know no better!
Love Nora xx

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Inspired by this post from Lola
I realised I had a story to tell.
A long time ago a little girl was born.
She had a bearded Red headed jazz fan for a father and a Hippy with Lancastrian - African connections for a Mother.
Two of the most important people in all of their lives were Thora and Jimmy,
the hippy mother's aunt and uncle.
They lived in an ancient two up two down cottage with out door facilities up on the Lancashire moors.
It had walls two foot thick and always smelt of baking.
It had a series of Heath Robinson style out houses that Uncle Jimmy had built him self from bits of wood he scavenged and salvaged here, there and every where.
Most memorable of which was the glass house for his tomatoes made from
rotting old sash windows.
For our own safety us children were not allowed in there.
We would arrive by train in Manchester to a huge reception party consisting of various ageing Aunties, we would be bundled on to a smaller train to Bury and then on to a bus out to our village, Tottington.
When we arrived there we would leave our heavy suitcases at the butchers to be picked up by Uncle Jimmy on his way home from work.
Then came the long walk up the hill past the dungeon,
over the field and along the lane.
The cheery white cottage was always winking at us, inviting us in, always full of food and old ladies.
After a few days of roaming round the countryside and trips to the infamous Bury market, Mum would take a trip in to the village to see the cobbler.
He had a tiny little workshop behind what is now the Chinese takeaway.
I remember it being dark and dirty with a long work bench covered in tools,
but who knows how accurate this memory is as the last time I was there my nose wouldn't have even reached as high as the bench.
It was one of the last places in all of Lancashire to make
traditional wooden bottomed workman's clogs.
The very idea of it sung sweet music in the hippy Mother's ears.
My Brother and I had a new pair every year.
For many years now they have been transported about from loft to loft as part of my Mother's many moves.
At one point I liberated the smallest pair and have had them hanging
in my various abodes ever since.
When the Ginger Ninja was born there was some debate about wether or not he should wear them, but somehow it never transpired.
Now I'm thinking "what a shame" and "can you imagine the damage he would have done with those?" in equal measure.
Love Nora xxx

Thursday, 7 July 2011

This Tuesday night just gone a flock of colourful birds alighted in this part of SW16.

I would like to say sunny part of SW16, but really it was tipping it down.
However 15 brave and hardy types donned their rain caps and came along.

Some were familiar faces, some were very familiar faces,
some were new to the whole Flaming Nora experience.

Kirsty, my glamerous assisant and I had a great time, helping people learn a new skill and create something fantastic.
Little Bird fever has defiantly set in, with many of the lovely ladies taking patterns and fabric home to make more more more.
Just look what they made.

As ever more pictures of the evening on Flickr.
Many thanks to the Streatham Festival for asking me to put a fun sewing event on for the second year running.
Their photographer John Campling came along and took some much better shots than mine. You can see them here.
Details of my next workshop, "flag in up", a sewing class for kids can be found here.
Love Nora xxx

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


It started with possibly the best curry I have ever had
(and trust me I've had a few)
and ended with a nice cup of tea and cake after a mammoth charity shop session,
with a whole lot of Mozza inbetween.
Oh and a little Wayward behaviour thrown in for good measure.
Remember Wayward and the lovely Betty?
How could you forget?
Well they now have a WALL OF BUTTONS.
Yes kids thats right a wall of buttons.

Here for your delectation and delight are some more bits of wayward goodness.

And of course because you all loved her so much last time, I give you the Beautiful Betty.

Who knew she had a blog?
Not I , but I do now.
Then it was on to the Hop Farm Festival.
Patti Smith, Lou Reid, Iggy Pop and Morrissey.
Stunning line up.
Stunning day.
Chilling and catching up with friends with a little light reading thrown in.

An affectionate hug with two of my favourite people to whom I am not related in the world during "You're the one for me fatty" involved a whole lotta fatty ladies.
So much so we could hardly get our arms around each other.
Lets politely say its middle aged spread.
And nothing to do with cake.
Then after a day of recovering, a little bit of light beach hutting
sitting watching the shadows lengthen over the beach with a glass of pimms in hand.
Trust me there is no better end to a hectic weekend.
Except it wasn't over yet.
I had been given an extra sleepover, tacked on to the end of my child free weekend.
Much thanks to my Hippy for giving me the time out I needed
and trying to make sure the house wasn't too trashed on my return.
I awoke on Monday morning to the thought that unusually for a weekend with Ingrid
I hadn't laughed till I cried.
But we had a hot date with Bexhill on sea.

Charity shop capital of the known universe.
We did about 11 in two hours, and that just started to scratch the surface!
She bought a shopping trolly, we filled it.
I bought an old school chemistry lab style stool and had to have a sit down on it when the giggling started.

The giggling soon became hysterical laughter with tears rolling down both our faces.
Only in a place like Bexhill on Sea where the average age of the residents in 97
could not one but two people come up to us and tell us to be careful or we might have
"an accident".
There was only one thing to do.
Tea and cake.

and sitting back to admire our haul.

Oh and just in case you were wondering the basket really was stuffed full.
But I will have to save all of that for another day.
Love Nora xxx