If last (!) week was a week of ‘lasts’ this is one of ‘firsts’! A big change of job and the steepest learning curve I have encountered for a long time. Lucky I like a challenge. I have enjoyed the ‘first’ of many journey’s to Carlisle. Setting off from beautiful Oxenholme station

stopping briefly at Penrith DSCN0616

to arrive at Carlisle in time for work.

The journey gives me an opportunity for reading or crocheting. In no time on my ‘first’ journey I hooked up a couple of little flowers that I will use to sit in the centre of some new flower brooches. DSCN0601

It’s fun to be back in a city. Having been born in the Lake District I actually grew up in the centre of London. I loved it but now I’m a wee bit older I like things a little more sedate. Carlisle is a small friendly city just perfect for my return to urban life. I’m looking forward to having chance to explore it. Here’s the first installment. This is what I see as I walk out of the station

Impressive isn’t it?

If all this ‘first-ness’ gets too much I can always enjoy what is left of AlWs beautiful and delicious cake with a  properly brewed cuppa, aaaaaahhhhhhhhh…….

and reminisce…

Enjoy the long weekend.

PS I was going to change my blog name because I felt slightly dishonest still calling myself Library Lady – gone but not forgotten – however as I can’t figure out how to, it looks like we are stuck with Library Lady! Hope you don’t mind.

a BIG week

I said it would be a BIG week and here’s the reason why…I’m leaving the library service!!!!!  From Sunday night I can no longer be called Library Lady! Its an exciting time for me but as I am sure you can imagine a sad one too. I have had some wonderful adventures over the last six years (who can ever forget Pumpkin Monsters???) and made some very very good friends. I can honestly say it has been a privilege to work for the library service and I am very proud to have spent time in such an important branch of public service.

Kendal Library is like a big family and it feels a bit like leaving home…gulp. Yesterday was the LAST of all the LASTS I’ve done, the last Rhymetime, the last Saturday (Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), the last Toddler Tales and the ‘last list’ goes on….

But Frances and I had one more children’s Batty Bat Hat session to run. Here’s Red with Frances ready to run us to Grange Library,Frances and Red

And there were no shortage of Batty Bats fluttering around the library,

When we got back it was time for a special lunch at Waterside Cafe (all veggie restaurant, yummeeeee), DSCN0548

This was a real treat and a chance for me to say goodbye (au revoir really) to some very important people. But there was more to come. Amongst their many talents my friends at the library know how to put on a spread

It really was a leaving do with a purpose, raising over £100 for Marie Curie (did I ever mention she was Polish?).

For which some lovely folk had also made and baked things to raise funds

I had two very special cakes made by AlW (her husband AW had also put together the bunting!),

A spectacular bouquet DSCN0562

Some wonderfully thoughtful gifts and a collection of cards I will keep to remind me of happy times whenever I feel blue

One of the gifts (thank you Frances) allowed me chance to get us all to join in an unforgettable and rousing rendition of “I’m a little teapot”, so that’s everyone trained for Rhymetime! Sorry guys I just had to do it. What a smashing bunch. Aren’t I a very very lucky girl?

I am going on to pastures new but still within the Council. They will be very different pastures and I am sure I will miss my friends at Kendal Library but I have a wealth of marvelous memories (and a huge repertoire of rhymes) to take away with me. Talking of which, so that Frances will never forget the paperbag Puffins we made in the May half-term I left a little gift of my own,

BIG THANKS to all the wonderful staff and patrons of Kendal Library. But as Arnie said “I’ll be back!”…well I don’t want fines on me books.

KC does puddings

Its been a busy old week. But very pleasant for all that. My buddy JG said she had left a bag for me in the staff room…look at the treasure trove I found!

I had to have a play with these lovely threads and tried crocheting a little Pelargonium brooch in the pink and green Sylko Perle with a 2.25mm hook – perhaps not quite as vivid as my camera makes it seem.

The pattern comes from my old favourite:

I reduced the number of flowers from 5 to 4 making it a little easier to create the blossom effect of the flower cluster.

The end of the working week (almost) was spent with AlW and AW (I’m going to have to get a better system of ‘naming’ my chums while preserving their anonymity. I’m beginning to get in a muddle so you must be too, sorry) at friends KC and MR’s enjoying an evening of deliciousness and conversation.

My photos don’t do the spread any justice as I missed all the lovely salads, veggies, fish and veggie ‘schnitzel’ because I was too busy eating! KC reminded me to get my camera out as she wanted it known that she DOES DO PUDDINGS! I can testify to KC’s pudding making (excellent KC, excellent), although I think the trifle (again greed got in the way of me taking a photo before it had started to vanish) may have had a touch of the AlWs about it!

Its five months since we all shared KC and MR’s wedding day. A special and wonderful occasion. Looking through their beautiful wedding album brought back happy memories of that day for all of us. Big happy sigh time…..

I may have mentioned that KC DOES PUDDINGS but she also DOES SEWING! Look at this lovely tote bag which she gave me

She has taken so much trouble to retain the symmetry of the striking pattern on the fabric. Its fantastically made and also a super size. I love bags that are able to accommodate A4 paper and folders. Whoopee! At the moment my new bag is too new and fabulous for me to risk getting it marked and dirty but don’t worry Lovely Bag your time will come very soon…I just want to admire your pristine loveliness a bit longer…am I talking to a bag? Oh dear…

This week there are BIG changes afoot, more to follow. The staff at Kendal Library will also be ‘Having A Cuppa for Marie Curie‘ so I’d better trot and start making some goodies to sell for this wonderful charity. Have a good one.

amo amas amat

Tuesday night is Latin Night. For the last few years my friend AH and I have struggled with participles, infinitives (split and otherwise), subjunctives, declensions and conjugations and that’s before we tackle Latin! Did I ever mentioned that I went to secondary school when grammar was considered a thing of the past? Perhaps it obvious was …. Comprehensive schools in the 1960s and 1970s placed emphasis on creativity and that was great until…I started learning a new language.

AH and I started learning Latin with Minimus –  ‘the mouse that made Latin cool’ – a Latin course for younger children (ermmm, AH and I are a little bit older) based on a family that lived at Vindolanda – just up the road on Hadrian’s Wall – in 100AD. After Minimus we began the Cambridge Latin Course and are currently on Book IV. DSCN0464

I know for a fact that we’ve been studying Latin for four years because on the day we first started translating Minimus AH’s neighbour popped in to tell AH that she was expecting a baby. That expectation is now a beautiful little girl of four. We may be slow but we have kept going,

and have recently been joined by another friend who is on Book II and consequently gives us an opportunity to revise what we have learnt. We have a theory that as we turn the last page of the last book (only one more to go….eeeeeek) we will be magically transformed in to natural Latin speakers. Fingers crossed.

I can’t imagine why we have taken so long… DSCN0474

Not a Dodo but definitely a bird

Yahoo! time for some needle felting.  I know I promised to show you how I needle felt a Dodo brooch, small change of plan … yesterday as I cast my eyes over the latest edition of Current Archaeology the cover photograph of a bird of an altogether different kind grabbed me. ca281_banner_280x165

Poignantly this small bronze enamelled cockerel was found along with a pottery feeding cup in the grave of a small child discovered by archaeologists in a Roman cemetery outside the walls of Roman Cirencester. It probably dates from the early 2nd century AD and was dedicated to the goddess Arcana by Ulpius Verinus a veteran of the sixth Legion. A gift for a much loved child to take to the afterlife.

While I thought that this would make a relevant edition to the brooches I make for Kendal Museum – they have a collection of local Roman finds – what most inspired me to create a brooch effigy was the pleasingly tactile shape and design of this small enamel  funerary offering. Here goes.

First I drew a template. DSCN0410

As you can see I had a bit of a struggle with the tail! I simplified things in the second version. So it turned a bit cartoonesque … Then I transfered my design onto fusible interfacing which I pressed with a hot iron onto a piece of felt fabric.

Now I was ready to needle felt my little not-so-feathered friend. I usually use locally sourced and dyed Merino wool tops but I also have some vibrantly coloured Austrian Merino tops that I bought at last year’s Woolfest.

Just a word of warning. Keep the needles out of harms way and watch your fingers while you are felting. Dry felting needles are barbed and they don’t half sting when you pull them out! I’m impatient so I always try to felt too much wool in one go. Best to remember ‘less is more’, you can always add wool its much more difficult to thin it out! Otherwise it’s a bit like colouring by numbers. Keep your needle straight, I’ve snapped several when trying to felt at an angle.

Still my little bird seems to be coming along. DSCN0440

Now all the felting is done. DSCN0442

I trim off the excess felt-interfacing backing, tidy up the rough edges


and sew on a brooch pin. DSCN0457

Voila! DSCN0458

More Foghorn Leghorn in a beret than the grandeur that was Rome but still good fun.

Batty Bats

Phew what a week. It saw me and the Children’s Librarian visiting four South Lakes’ small branch libraries to provide drop-in craft activities for local children. Here’s Red all loaded and ready to roll, perhaps our little stowaway gives a clue as to what we are going to make…. DSCN0392

Cheeky, now he’s leading the way DSCN0394

to our first port of call DSCN0395

Sedbergh was historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. This bustling little market town (it was market day when we arrived so I can vouch for both the market and the bustling) retains its Yorkshire heritage by sitting just within the Yorkshire Dales National Park at the foot of the Howgill Fells on the north bank of the River Rawthey. As you can imagine this makes it a beautiful part of the world and me a lucky so and so for living and working around here.

Sedbergh is called a Book Town because of the number and range of second-hand book shops dotted about its narrow streets. But you can’t get much more bookish than the library and Sedbergh has a wonderful little library now run by my very good friend AW. As you can see she made us really welcome. It was a great start to our Batty Bat Hat trail and as we travelled on to Arnside, Milnthorpe and Kirkby Lonsdale libraries we left a shimmer of  sequins and a cloud of bats in our wake.

Aren’t they great.

The next couple of weeks will see us at the bigger libraries adding to the ever growing colony of South Lakeland Batty Bats.  If you want to know more about what’s on at libraries all over Cumbria this link to Cumbria Libraries Facebook may prove handy. It’s going to be hectic and we may well be ‘batty’ at the end of it but it is most certainly the best part of our job.

P.S. I haven’t forgotten about the needle felting…although it may not be a Dodo! Night night.