Monday, 29 June 2015

Keys to the Castle

It has long been my intention to sign up for full membership
of the Norfolk Museum Service and I'm pleased to report that
I have recently done just that.  

There's so much to look at.
As part of the package
I am now entitled to free entrance to all the museums within
the fair county of Norfolk and in particular I have gained
an "open sesame" to the Norwich Textile Collection.

Detail on a posh frock circa 1850.

More on this subject later but just so you know
they have not only a great number of Norwich shawls in their
archive but also many very fine examples of the original Norfolk
samplers on which Do Different was loosely based
as well as some other Long Dog goodies still in their kennels
and eager to be released in the future.

Difficult to photograph because flashing not allowed.

And here's the best bit - as a fully signed up member I am
now in the happy position of being able to request
hands on viewing of many items in the collection many
of which are not normally on display to the public.
Perhaps I should buy myself a pair of white gloves
to show I'm keen?

Part of a step by step stumpwork tutorial.

Towards the end of this month I shall be attending a workshop
catchily entitled "Norwich Textiles at the Time of the Hugenots"
with a promise from the curator that "This will be a special 
opportunity to view (up close and personal - my words)
some of our earliest textiles."  Can't wait.
Pictures will surely follow.  You have been warned.

Spotte motif

Inside the Castle Keep

One of the many costume exhibits

Now I know where Laura Ashley got her ideas!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

You can lead a horse to water .......

....... but you can't make him drink.  

However I think maybe
you could, nowadays, lead a Long Dog stitcher
to wine and then offer them a glass.

Sadly I haven't actually diversified into the world of
viticulture but I did come across this fruity little number
at my local supermarket this week. One quick blast on my
silent dog whistle, which I always carry about my person,
saw it leap into my trolley with the effortless grace
that only a Long Dog can exhibit.

Cheers my dears.  

Perhaps this will persuade some of you to upgrade
to sip and sew.  Just don't let it drip on your work.
Wine stains are real beggars to get out.
Aren't they dear Mrs C?  Specially Simoneau ones.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

One lump or two?

by Julia Teapot Line

Cockney tea's called Rosie Lee
One drinks it in a mug.
No need for cups and saucers,
Please don't brew it in a jug.
One drinks it when it's quite dark brown
(Pale tea's for pussy whimps).
So get your laughing gear round some
Before those bloody chimps.

Earl Grey tea is most refined
One drinks that in one slug.
Please don't cool it in your saucer
Or they'll mistake you for a thug.
One drinks it neat without skimmed milk
And just a slice of lemon.
So sip away, it's safe to say
It really tastes like heaven.

Decaf tea's the one for me
One drinks it all day long.
No fear of getting hyper
When the caffeine rush comes on.
One drinks it from one's lurcher mug
Or the one with the blue fishes.
With the cup that cheers, who needs a beer?
Tea fulfills all my wishes -

- or does it?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Only recently, you will remember, it was my sad task to write
the obituary for my friend Needle who, during his short but
productive life, had become a vital part of the legend that is Long Dog.

It would seem that his death was not to be just another of those
sadnesses that we all have to bear from time to time but the
beginning of an epidemic; the emergence of a new and deadly killer
that is casting its wicked shadow over sewing boxes and needle
cases the length and breadth of the land - SNAP! -
or to give it it's full name Sewing Needle Aperture Peristalsis.

A moment's silence please.

SNAP is always fatal and the early symptoms to look out for are a
lacklustre appearance, refusal to take thread and finally rust spots 
culminating in the head breaking off.

Only this week I have witnessed the death of two young needles
in rapid succession whilst others remain in quarantine sealed in
Tupperware containers in the fridge.

Work is currently being stepped up to create a vaccine but in the meantime
vigilance and strict personal hygiene (no more sucking the cotton
before threading) are our only weapons against this menace.

The bottom example is the worst case ever seen.

SNAP is just one of a whole raft of hitherto unknown sewing
implement killers which have recently appeared upon the scene all
of which come under the umbrella of PRICK -
Premature Recurrent Illnesses Confined to Kneedles!

So remember - be vigilant and always be on the lookout for PRICK!
I know I am!

Ginger and Deb leave the room immediately - this is not
a laughing matter.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

It's a little chart x 2!

I can now proudly announce the birth of not one but two new
Long Dog's after a long and arduous labour bravely borne.

The eldest by a matter of minutes is called Sacre Coeur.

He measures 163 x 207 stitches and is priced 
very reasonably at only £6.50 as the crow flies.

The second to arrive is slightly larger and because it was
a forceps delivery and gave the midwife a bit of a scare she
has been called Merry-Go-Rounds.

She's 169 x 275 stitches
and is exactly the same price as her brother - £6,50.

Merry's so much taller than her brother but he has my needle's eyes!

No need for gushing words of congratulation or floral tributes
simply grab your plastic, click on the link below
and tell me you want to adopt one or both of these
delightful new additions to the Long Dog family. 

No stash will be complete without them.

Alternative colour suggestions:

Friday, 19 June 2015

I'm starting to get the urge to .......

...... push and make loud gurgling noises in the back
of my throat.

But I must hang on in there as I want both these designs
to go to full term.

Do you think it looks a bit like me?

The real pains are starting to come very close together now
although I couldn't actually be arsed to time them.

You probably know the sort of thing I mean by pains;
emails full of questions like -
"Well can't we see just a little bit more?"
"Can we have an advance copy as a special favour?"
"Have you given them names yet?"
"How many stitches will they measure?"
"Who's the father?" (that one really is none of your business).

There's definately a family likeness.

It won't be long now -  I promise, but for now please
just hang on, be patient and let me enjoy my
gas and air in peace.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A "black dog" day

Sometimes looking through old photo's, rather like drinking on
your own, can only lead to one thing
- a heavy dose of the "black dog".

Admittedly I won't be suffering from a hangover of the head thumping
kind tomorrow but the knowledge of that does nothing to
lift the melancholy I'm feeling today.  I don't know what got
me started but I've been looking through my rather scant collection
of snapshots of my past companions and I don't mind telling you
they brought a smile to my lips, a tear to my eyes
and a very big lump in my throat to boot.

Call for Kipling.  That man has the uncanny ability for putting
into words exactly what I've been thinking and feeling.
Grab a tissue or three and read on at your peril ......


There is sorrow enough in the natural way
For men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

My first ever dog - DeerhoundX - Fly.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

The handsome SalukiX lurcher - Spider
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find - it's your own affair, -
But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

Little Fay the greyhound as a pup.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!),
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone - wherever it goes - for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear!

The boy who stole my heart - Geordie the deerhound as a pup

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent,
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long -
So why in - Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

The mad, bad and dangerous to know - Miss Mouche!
There's only one missing from the role call but sadly I don't
have a single picture of Joe but that won't stop me from
remembering him.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Now answer me this please ......

...... what is the gestation period for a Long Dog?
Does anybody know?

Fortunately for you I do have the answer immediately to hand.
It is 10.4 weeks on average which means that if all goes
according to plan there should be another happy event
on Sunday 21st June 2015 shortly after I manage to
drag myself from my pit and my computer goes into labour.

But on this occasion it's going to be double trouble
because after today's 9-week scan the midwife
says she can definately see two charts on the images instead
of the normal one.  Luckily it won't be identical twins, that would
be just silly.  

Friday, 12 June 2015

Eleanor Rigby Syndrome

"All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?"
The Beatles

I'd just like to change that last line if I may to:
"Why must they bother me?"

I mooch around on my own a lot these days.
It's just the way things are and the point in life where
I happen to be.  Things may change, they may not,
but it's no big deal and, if I'm honest,
it's really rather nice.

However there is just one teensy, weensy little fly in my
virtually perfect ointment - the effect I appear
to have on other people, particularly strangers.

I've never actually seen what my face looks like in
thoughtful report but it never fails to prompt comments
such as "Cheer up it might never happen." or
"Penny for them."   Aaaargh!

I think I must be going wrong somewhere.

Whenever I pause to plant my bum on a bench in order to
admire the view the signal seems to go out to every nutter
in the vacinity to rock up and sit down uncomfortably close.

More often than not they will attempt to engage me in
conversation on a bizarre range of topics or, worse still,
indulge in (albeit silent) unnerving behaviour.
Time for a swift exit Julia.

This didn't do the trick.

I did at one stage try carrying a sketch book and pencil
in order to give the appearance that I was actually "doing"
something but this only seemed to worsen the problem
as then the curious also seemed to get irresistably drawn into
the equation.

Keep walking, don't make eye contact whatever you do.

I've yet to try putting on a nervous twitch, muttering to 
myself or totally abandoning regular personal hygiene
as a deterrent.  I'll let you know should any of these
contingency measures prove to be effective.

Perhaps this look might work.  It's worth a try.

The worst case of all so far occurred just recently when
"the incredible speed-dating man" latched onto me whilst
out for a walk and within the space of a few minutes he had
regailed me with his entire family history (including pictures
of his grandchildren which seemed to pack out his entire
wallet - no money, I peeked), ditto medical history,
the in's and out's of his three failed marriages and just as
we got to how lonely he was I discovered that I still had
a secret reserve of energy and powered off as fast as my
tired little legs would carry me.

Testimonials from previous employers would have been a
liberty too far I'm sure you'll agree.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Mr Kipling

Today it's not Mr Kipling the purveyor of "extremely fine cakes"
that I want to spotlight but Rudyard Kipling the writer of
"extremely fine verse".  He's a poet who's often considered to
be a little old fashioned these days but as I'm a sweet old
fashioned girl at heart he does it for me every time.

I've got a few happy snaps that I'd like to share which were taken
at Fairhaven Gardens just at the end of last month and Kipling's words
and my photographic exposures seem to compliment each other
perfectly.  See what you think .....


Now that's what you call rhubarb.

OUR England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

View from behind the King Oak.

For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You'll find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dung-pits and the tanks,
The rollers, carts, and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.
And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise ;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

Water iris

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows ;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.

It's rhodedendrom time

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:-" Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.
There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.


Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!

I don't know what it was but it's beautiful!

And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away ! 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Is there an "f" in aphid?

The title of to-day's post is a serious question which troubles
me greatly and should be read at considerable speed.

I can, what's more, give you an immediate answer which should
also be read at nothing less than a speed of Warp 6.
Yes, there is an "f" in aphid, and to be even more precise
they're all over the first buds on my beautiful new climbing rose
which rejoices in the name "Iceberg".  

Iceberg rose

The label which was attached promised me perfectly formed, white,
delicately fragrant flowers will adorn this glorious climber from
top to bottom during the season - no mention was made of aphids
which are now swarming all over it in their thousands.

Aphidian bastards!

And what's more my aphid problem doesn't just stop there on the
rose bush.  It appears that my deadly foe the aphid doesn't limit it's
activities to the great outdoors if that's not a misnomer for the
Lock-Up courtyard garden.  These cunning little swine will go to
any lengths to get right up my nose it seems.

Imagine the scenario, I'm sure you've all been there.  You're stitching
away on some delicate little flowers whilst watching some old toffee
on the television when the ad break fortuitously arrives and you nip off
to the loo for a quick pee.  But what really takes the biscuit on this
occasion is that when I returned to my labours to my horror I discovered
that a couple of aphids had snuk in and were about to settle down
on the flower basket I was in the middle of.

Now that's just not on and without further thought I gave them both
a quick flick to get them off as quickly as possible.  Aphid One died
instantly splattered on my fingernail.  When I flick, I flick.

I declare these flowers an aphid-free zone!

However Aphid Two was a rather more sticky little varmit and in a
last desperate aphidian act of reprisal for the death of his comrade
proceeded to spread his squashed little green corpse in a slimey green
stain across my work!

Well little varmit I have the last laugh and your ploy didn't work
because I have simply stitched you out with a green leaf!
The designer always has the final say.

One lump or two?

Time for a taste of my new culinary creation which I've just taken out
of the oven and which I'm calling Rhubarb Porridge.
Anyone for a slice, I've got plenty of custard to go with?