Thursday, 1 November 2012

Why the HCOCF?

 I am very excited to be launching a limited edition rebeccamaryjane's Handbag Mirror & Pouch today to raise funds for a charity that is close to my heart: the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund (HCOCF).

"Why the HCOCF?" I hear you ask...well, just over 23 years ago I met and fell in love with a Household Cavalry soldier while he was staying at Bodney Camp.   It was all rather whirlwind (some said it would never last!)...we met over the August Bank Holiday of 1989 and I just knew I had to be with this man.  I visited him in London a few times...a tour of Horse Guards, a ball.

I did what I had to do to make the move down from Norfolk to London possible and we were living together by Christmas of that year.  By Christmas of the following year, we were married and, in the six years that followed, we had two delightful children. 


We weren't separated due to army commitments too often, but I distinctly remember the months when David was away in Bosnia in 1995, especially that awful feeling when the phone rang at an unusual hour or when there was an unexpected knock at the door.

David always returned safely to us...and for that I shall always be grateful.

David had wanted to be a soldier since he was a little boy and he did it...a job that he loved until the day he left, having served 22 years in the army.  It's his 53rd birthday today so I thought it only fitting to launch these special HCOCF mirrors today - Happy Birthday love!  We are the lucky ones.

I do hope that people like the mirrors and choose them as Christmas gifts this year so that more funds can be raised to help the HCOCF with all the work that is doing to support soldiers and their families.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Macmillan Morning at The Mac

I shall be taking part in Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning at The Mac Gallery, 12a South Parade, Doncaster, DN1 2DY on Friday 28th September 2012, 10am to 2pm. 

The ladies from Vintage Teas of Doncaster will be serving tea, coffee and cakes and there will be a variety of local, small businesses there selling their wares...a chance to make a start on your shopping for that event beginning with C in 90 days' time perhaps?

We lost my lovely brother-in-law to cancer at the beginning of 2011.  My dad was diagnosed with a GIST tumour, a rare type of cancer, in 2010.  He's doing okay and takes tablets every day in the hope that the tumour will one day be small enough and accessible enough to be removed.

If you're local, it would lovely to see you at The Mac Gallery on Friday. If you're not from around these parts, then please do try to find a Macmillan Coffee Morning taking place near you.  I know so many people whose lives have been affected by cancer and I am sure you do too so let's help Macmillan help more people having to deal with cancer by doing what we can on Friday.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Flaming Ballerinas and Flying the Nest

We moved our gorgeous girl down to London at the weekend ready to start university.  I knew it would be emotional, but I have to say that I was not at all prepared for quite how upset I would be.  There was a moment on Sunday when I thought I might never surface from my pile of soggy tissues.  It sounds rather dramatic, but I felt grief stricken and rather lost, even though I am not completely "empty nested" yet.  It is a very strange feeling indeed and I don't like it but, as my husband (who is always very level headed about these sorts of things) keeps saying, we're just moving on to the next phase of our lives.  I'm not sure whether that's a comfort or not when you think that it also means we're getting older!

Dorothy's room at the Hampstead residence is much bigger than we had expected and it was instantly transformed by the addition of the blanket that she has been crocheting over the summer.


It was her 19th birthday on Monday so we had "fake" birthday celebrations last week with cards, presents, a family dinner, silly games and home made chocolate birthday cake.

Hubby went off into the kitchen to make some coffee and do the honours with the birthday cake.  As he came around the corner into the dining room, cake in hand with candles lit, and we began singing "Happy Birthday to you...", he said "those ballerinas are candles, aren't they?"

Well...we could hardly draw breath for laughing...the ballerinas were plastic cake decorations that Dorothy had spotted in my candle box as I was making the cake earlier that day.  She recalled how she had had them on a cake that our very kind neighbour had brought round to us the year that I was laid out in bed with an injured back following the collapse of our ceiling.  That was in 2002, her 9th birthday!

Ten years on, the two ballerinas with their gold and silver headdresses and tutus were a perfect match for the gold and silver candles that I had already put on the cake.  Unfortunately, they are now a little worse for suffered a burnt scalp, the other lost her head and most of her left arm in the incident!  I shall keep them in my candle box though and they will bring a smile to my face with each birthday cake that I make!

Dorothy seems to be making lots of new friends, finding her way around and partying well during freshers' week so all is good so far!  I miss her so much, but I don't have a tissue in my hand as I write this so I am seeing that as progress!  I know she will be feeling a little up and down for a while too and there will be things that trigger a tear or two for both of us, but we will be fine!

...and we have plenty!
I am so excited for Dorothy as she begins university life at King's and starts to enjoy all the delights of living in London.  When Dorothy started school here in Yorkshire one of the other children told her "you talk funny you do". Dorothy replied "Well, I was born in London you know!" so it's as if things have come full circle really.

Meanwhile, back up north, I am throwing myself into my work and keeping myself busy (to avoid falling into the tissue box!) by spending most days at my lovely new studio, which is a great place to be. I love the light here, I love having so much space to spread my things out as I work and I love having an internet connection which means that I can try to keep up to date with things like blogging!  I am very much looking forward to welcoming people to workshops at my new place and you can see what's coming up here.  

Bye for now,


Wednesday, 5 September 2012


If you 'like' my rebeccamaryjane's Facebook page, you will know that I have a lovely, bright, new studio that I am in the process of moving into! A blank canvas, a fresh start, new things...

 As usual with moving, you never realise exactly how much stuff you have until you have to carry it all up and down lots of stairs and load it into and out the car!  There's been a lot of that over the last few weeks!  

My new studio at The Mac Gallery, 12a South Parade, Doncaster is much bigger, much lighter and far more suited to the direction in which I want to take my business than the room I had before.  I couldn't let the opportunity to rent this space pass by!

More stuff...and there's plenty more still to come so down the stairs we go

...and down again

I really couldn't have managed it without the help of my lovely family: here's helpful hubby, wishing I would stop taking photos and carry something!

Now that everything is there, I have started moving furniture around, unpacking and started to settle in

I might re-arrange the furniture again, but I do like my small work desk by the the window

The union flag bunting over the lovely old fireplace was carefully arranged by hubby in the early stages of the move.  He's not usually very creative so, as a sign of appreciation of his efforts, I shall keep it there for the time being!

I am so impressed with the amount of space!  I love it and I think that I will be very happy there!

 Just a few more things to sort out!

I'm so glad I chose to move, so glad the moving part is over and ready to move forward with all my plans for the future.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The best kind of post

A secondhand book I ordered from America and 10 packets of veg seeds I knew nothing about! 
(My lovely mum-in-law thought I might like them!)

Makes a nice change from bank statements and bills!


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

It was lovely to see sunshine and blue skies here on Sunday and we made the most of it by spending some much needed time in the garden.  All of the shrubs seem to have rocketed sky high with the all the water they've been getting, but the vegetable beds are not thriving as they should be.  I admit we were a little late with some of our planting, but we were picking peas, beans and carrots from the garden at this time last year. The peas have not come through at all,the beans look very sorry specimensand the green, feathery carrot tops are only just nudging up slowly from their rain-soaked bed.
Poor borlotti beans, but lovely looking lettuces
A clump of parsley has bolted, but I have to say I rather like the flowers! I will collect the seeds from them when they are ready as this variety has done really well in our garden and survived all through a Yorkshire winter!
The rhubarb has loved all the rain so I was able to cut quite a lot on Sunday to try out Nigella's recipe for rhubarb fool and to make a batch of rhubarb and vanilla jam, which is our absolute favourite rhubarb jam recipe!

Here it is releasing all its lovely juices into the sugar and taking on the flavour of the vanilla pod and seeds.  Old-fashioned I know, but I do love making jam!

I've been blocking some of my granny squares...yes, I am slowly, but surely, making a blanket for home.  An old foam seat cushion covered with a beach towel has made a perfect blocking board for my little 4" squares and, in a sunny bay window,it seems that it makes the perfect cat bed too!

Cheeky cat!

I needn't worry about the lack of peas for the time being...look what the boys brought back from rugby last night:

a huge box of full of peas from our kind farmer friends



Monday, 9 July 2012

The real value of handmade

I am always delighted to see what the ladies who come to my weekly crochet classes have been making - if you have ever looked at my Facebook page, you will have seen some of their wonderful work!  One lady, who joined as a complete beginner at the end of January, has just completed this amazing table cloth:

Beautifully crocheted in 4 ply mercerised cotton from an American pattern

35 squares, each taking about 2 hours to make, which means that 

if someone was being paid just the minimum wage to make this table cloth, it would cost more than £425 for the person's time alone, not to mention the materials!

So, when buying handmade, if somebody thinks that things are expensive, I would ask them to stop to think about time. How long did it take to make? Should the maker be paid less than the national minimum wage for his or her time?

This table cloth is not for will be treasured by the lady that made it and, to her, it is priceless!


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Flea market finds

Today is flea market day, which means that I shall be taking a wander round the stalls at lunchtime.  Last week I found so many lovely things, I could hardly believe it...and all for a grand total of £5.60!

Old books, crochet cottons, vintage buttons & snap fasteners...I'm in heaven! A vintage embroidered table cloth for 25p - it has a huge hole in the middle, but I'm not worried about that as it will be used to make more handbag mirrors or magnets.  An enormous pillow case with a beautiful crocheted edging, also for 25p.  I usually end up paying a lot more for vintage linens like these so you can imagine my delight!

Two pressed glass bowls at 20p each.  There was a lovely pale blue one too, but it was damaged so I shall be on the look out for another one of those - I wonder if there are other colours perhaps?  I found one lonely etched glass (20p) and this has now joined some others of the same design in our glass cabinet ready for when we next "pass the port"! A very grubby coffee cup in a box full of crockery grabbed my attention...I love Portmerion Botanic Garden and thank heavens for dishwashers!

As you will see, there are a lot of flowers amongst my finds:

I love these old books with floral designs on the front - this one is from the pansy series.  I've been crocheting pansies too using one the crochet cottons that I bought for 50p.

So much for so little...I wonder what I will find today?


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

£1.50's worth of happiness

I love Sweet Williams
Great British flowers in a crochet covered jar

£1.50's worth of happiness!


Friday, 15 June 2012

Back to blogging with a hedgehog!

I cannot believe it's been 10 months since my last blog post....where has all that time gone!  Well, I'm back and will try much harder to keep things up to date!

Thought I would share this from last night...

Hedgehog in the garden tucking into bird...tasty!

Back soon...I promise!