Friday, July 20, 2007


Yay - I'm on holiday now!

I'm off to the Lake District for a week, and then going up to Scotland. The first week I won't have any internet access at all, the second I might. So anyone who tries to contact me may not hear anything for a couple of weeks.

In the mean time I'm more worried about when I'm going to get my hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! I haven't pre-ordered as it's going to be everywhere. I'm just not sure when I'm going to get out to buy it as we are supposed to be going away tomorrow. Perhaps it we stop off at the supermarket to buy petrol....

Photo hunt - Tiny


Tiny brings only one thing to mind for me.

DS was born 6 weeks premature and spent 3 weeks in the neonatal unit after he was born. Looking at him now, you'd never know he started out so tiny.

End of the week

The end of this hectic week can't come fast enough! I've been covering at work for 3 colleagues across 2 departments who are either on holiday or off sick. And as if I dodn't have enough of my own stuff to do, and we've had external consultants in all week that I've had to look after!

In the evenings, when I've had the energy, I've been stitching on my RR which now looks like this.

This is Through the Woods by LHN. I'm really pleased with the progress I've made as I was struggling to get anything done when I started. I think I'll have to redo the French knots on the snowman as he looks rather cross-eyed! Or maybe it just adds character? I'm amending the design slightly to make it a bit narrower and longer, but there's no time to finish stitching it now.

I won't be stitching on it any more as there's too much going on between now and the posting date, so I'll be packing it up and getting it ready to post. I feel very strange having to post it off to someone completely different, knowing I won't see it again for several months. However, I'm looking forward to receiving Cheryl's and am wondering what to stitch for her.

Here are the photos of DS's poppies I meant to post last week. Aren't the colours gorgeous?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Definately me!

It's so long since I did one of these -

You Belong in Winter

Quiet, calm, and totally at peace...
You're happy to be at home, wrapped in a blanket, completely snowed in
Whether you're lighting a fire or having a snowball fight, you always feel best in the winter.

And I was a winter baby too, of course!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Notes on some Dalkeith families, part 1

No stitchy news at the moment, so a bit of family history!

George Wilson m. Jean Walker

Janet Mary Agnes Marion Isabella

Porteous Chisholm
descendants descendants

On 5th January 1799, in the parish of Gladsmuir, George Wilson, described as a Militiaman from Pencaitland married Jean Walker from Gladsmuir (5). The 1841 census suggests they were both born around 1772 – 1776 in locations outside Midlothian (2).The East Lothian location of the marriage might suggest similar East Lothian origins for both Jean and George.

In all, George and Jean had seven known children, five daughters who survived to adulthood, and two children who died in infancy (1). No record has been found of the births or baptisms of these children, but it is likely they were born in Dalkeith. Later family history suggests George and Jean may not have been members of the Established Church so any baptism may have taken place elsewhere and not been recorded in the parish register.

Jean Walker died, probably in Dalkeith, on 17 July 1841 and George Wilson on 30 June 1842 (1). They are buried in the New Burial Ground, Dalkeith with daughters Mary, Janet and Agnes, Agnes's husband, James Porteous, and their family.

George Wilson in his will (4) names four executors: George Gray, banker in Dalkeith, James Porteous Grocer, John Chisholm Tobacconist both in Dalkeith and Alexander Steel, Baker in Pathhead. Very usefully, George also described three of his exectors as his sons in law, James Porteous as the husband of daughter Agnes, John Chisholm as husband of Isabella, and Alexander Steel as husband of Marion (4). George Gray, a well known public figure in 19th century Dalkeith (3), must have been a family friend as he was to later generations of Wilson descendants.

George Wilson worked as a merchant, a draper, and possibly also a grocer and handloom weaver, and at least some of his drapery business appears to have been taken over by his daughter Janet following his death (6). Janet appears to have continued with the business until the 1860s (6) and died, in her 80s, in 1885 (1) having never married. Her 1885 death certificate describes her occupation as ‘Proprietor of Houses’. Janet was predeceased in 1843 by her sister Mary (1), aged around 30, who also died unmarried.

Marion Wilson married Alexander Steel (4), Baker in Pathhead on 27 June 1838 in Crichton/Dalkeith (7). They had one known child, Jane Walker Steel, baptised on 1 June 1845 (7). Jane Walker Steel died in Crichton parish on 10 Jul 1857. Marion Wilson died in Crichton in 1874 and Alexander Steel in 1891 in Edinburgh.

Entries in Edinburgh & Leith P.O. directories -


Date range
of entries



Wilson, Miss Janet

1850 - 61


High street


Steel, Alexander

1850 - 75




Steel, Alexander

1875 - 91



1. Unpublished monumental inscriptions, Dalkeith New Burial Ground, held by the Scottish Genealogy Society -

George Wilson, merchant, Dalkeith 30/6/1842 wife Jean Walker 17/7/1841 dau. Mary 5/8/1843 dau. Janet 25/12/1885 2 children d. in inf. dau. Agnes 26/1/1869 and James Porteous her husband 26/6/1876 David K. Porteous, merchant 7/3/1890 60 yrs. Rev. Andrew M. Porteous, B.D., son of above David K. Porteous d. at Ikorofiong, Old Calabar 26/1/1892 34 yrs. buried there. Mary Melville, relict of David K. Porteous 21/5/1908 73 yrs. son George Wilson Porteous, merchant 6/1/1949 78 yrs. His wife Euphemia Mercer 28/4/1961 87 yrs.

2. 1841 census, Dalkeith

Dalkeith, Midlothian, 1841 census
Enumeration District: 7
Folio 7, Page 11
Address - High Street
SurnameFirst nameSexAgeOccupationWhere Born
WILSONGeorgeM65Draper Outside Census County (1841)
WILSONJeanF65 Outside Census County (1841)
WILSONJanetF35 Midlothian
WILSONMaryF25 Midlothian

Transcription from the FreeCEN project.
3. Alexander Mitchell, Political and Social Movements in Dalkeith from 1831-1882, privately published, 1882
4. Will and Inventory of George Wilson Merchant in Dalkeith, Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories, 19 Aug 1842.
5. Parish register for the parish of Gladsmuir.

WILSON GEORGE, Militiaman from the Parish of Pencaitland, and JEAN WALKER in this Parish, gave their names in order to be proclaimed to marriage 5th January 1799, and after being regularly proclaimed were married.

6. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directories, 1850 – 1900, Edinburgh : printed by Ballantyne 1850 – 1864, printed by Ballantyne Roberts 1865 – 66, printed by Murray & Gibb 1867 – 1882, printed by Morrison & Gibb 1883 – 1900.
7. IGI online at

Friday, July 13, 2007

Well my RR is under way now as I've gridded the outline of squares for stitching. It's a bellpull type layout with six 100 x 100 stitch squares with a narrow row between each.

I've even started stitching my part of it and there's now slightly more house than there was when I took this photo. I'll be frantically stitching on this every chance I get until the end of next week when I go off on holiday, but I'll post an update before I go.

DS brought a little thank you card home from school the other day, from the teacher who we gave the gift to. It was really kind of her and I'm so pleased to think she really appreciates the gift. The response I usually get from my family is almost the opposite! So it's lovely to get such positive feedback for a change!

Finally, DH and DS are always busy in the garden, but it's quite a change this year to have such lovely flowers. Previous years have very much concentrated on fruit and veg. Perhaps as DH announced yesterday that he's getting a second allotment plot, he'll be growing more of these in the garden!

DS has been growing plants to attract butterflies. Unfortunately, we haven't seen any butterflies yet, but the little poppies are such beautiful colours! And, again unfortunately, I've left the poppy photos at home! Oh well, maybe next week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


It feels like I've been stitching those Mill Hill kits for months! But finally, I finished the last one at the end of last week and mounted two of them on card over the weekend. DS and I took one of them to school yesterday as a gift for one teacher who only works the first half of the week - she was thrilled to receive it. The other will go with us on Friday.

Lazy Daisy Days - nice thoughts for the summer holiday!

Since finishing these off, I've been gridding my RR and hope to finish that tonight. I'll then do a bit of stitching on it. However, last night I caught myself thinking wistfully of St Pete - it feels like months since I've worked on it!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Photo Hunt - Fake


The theme for this week is Fake. So, some holiday photos?

Maybe not!

The postcard is from Tobermory on the isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, known to millions of kids as Balamory.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

I love the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, it's a mine of information. Early in my research into my family history, I discovered their Debt of Honour Register and I've returned to it many times since then. Always I find it informative and absorbing, but sad as you can see the sheer number of casualties listed there.

To date, I know of 5 family members listed on the site - my grandfather, three great uncles and a cousin of my great grandfather. Each discovery in the CWGC database has led to a back story of which I was unaware and had not anticipated.

I always knew my grandfather, Alexander Colin Stewart, and his brother died in WW2. From the CWGC site, I learned he died as a civilian aboard the MV Henry Stanley. My mother had always said that he was travelling back to Singapore for his work at the time of his death (my grandparents lived in Singapore from 1930 to 1939). Now I know this isn't quite right. By December 1942, Singapore had fallen to the Japanese, so it's unlikely, to be heading there. So where was he going?

Looking on the CWGC site, I can also see the details of other casualties of the sinking of the MV Henry Stanley -

Ramsay Brown
Archibald Charles James Harry
John Charles Innes
Dennis Vincent Kelly
Stuart Low
John Morton
Noel Rushton Redfern

Before finding him on the CWGC site, I know very little about my grandfather's brother, John Henry Fraser Stewart. From the CWGC database, I learned that he was buried in Hong Kong, and a little searching on the internet led me to discover that he was a Japanese POW on Taiwan. It must have been a terrible experience.

On my father's side of the family, there are two brothers. William Fairlie Lambert died in 1916 and his brother George Lambert in 1917. George had just finished training for the ministry and there was a possibility that Willie would also follow this path. Many of their letters still survive and have been transcribed by the family. Their deaths had a profound impact on their family and they were very fondly remembered, stories of them being told to later generations.

Before starting my family history research, I was unaware of the existance of Alexander Charles Stewart. His father was a brother of my great grandfather, John Stewart, the brothers having been baptised in the parish of Caputh in Perthshire. While my ancestor John headed for south Lanarkshire, brother William trained as a Solicitor (possibly in Edinburgh) and settled in Turriff in Aberdeenshire. He married and had a son, Alexander Charles, before his wife died, presumably as the result of a miscarriage. However, it was only through finding the death of Alexander Charles Stewart in WW1, that I learned the story of his parents.

Behind the statistics, there is always a story - these are people, not just numbers and dates.

So, who do you know in the CWGC database?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Stitching and relaxation

Like many stitchers, for me, stitching is a means of relaxation and switching off at the end of a busy day. Sometimes I also try a bit more in the way of relaxation exercises, meditation or yoga.

I was thinking about how I feel when stitching, what it is about it that I find relaxing and I was wondering whether it might be possible to combine the stitching and the meditation. It might sound weird but I believe there’s something in it. It’s not so much meditation, but Mindfulness, being very aware of what you’re doing while stitching. Wikipedia defines Mindfulness as being “intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally”. And this it is possible to do while stitching.

Next time you’re stitching, somewhere peaceful and quiet if possible, why not give it a go?

Try this –

Become aware of your breathing. Feel the air flowing in and out through your nose or mouth. Watch your chest rise and fall with each breath.
Become aware of your needle, of the light shining on it, of the shape and feel of it in your hand.
Watch the needle as it pierces the fabric and disappears through to the other side. Feel the resistance of the fabric, feel the thread travelling through after the needle. Feel the texture of the fabric and the thread.
Watch as each individual cross is created, one leg at a time, how the thread works to form the cross, how groups of crosses work together, how different colours work together.
If you’re doing other stitches, watch how the stitch forms, how individual strands of thread work together to create the stitch.
Compare the rhythm of your stitching and the rhythm of your breathing.

This works wonders for me. I really find I can reach a very relaxed almost meditative state.

And I also find it fascinating to watch individual stitches coming to life and working with other stitches I’ve already made.

Perhaps I should go and do some more relaxation now - I'm getting all excited as I think I'll finish the last Mill Hill kit today. Here at work, I'm finding my mind wandering to all the lovely projects I could start when this is done. However, I need to focus on my priorities - next up is my round robin, the fabric for which arrived on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

June Achievements and July Plans

In June I completed the following:

1. 11 blocks on Nova

2. Mill Hill Buttoned & Beaded - Garden Medley

3. Sweetheart Tree - Opalescent Heart from the Gift of Stitching (any excuse for another photo!)

4. One third of St Petersburg part 4 (should have taken a photo of this one!)

5. Bought far too much new stash!

6. Joined my first RR - Heartfelt Friends.

7. Weight loss - 3lb lost (not the 4lb I'd hoped for, but it's a good start and the upward trend has definately been reversed!)

8. Completely unrelated to anything else - we stripped all the horrible old grey tiles off out bathroom walls last Saturday and started the preparations for installing our lovely new bathroom suite!

I'm always amazed by the number of positive things I can list here, it makes a really great way to look back at the month and get things into a proper perspective.

At the moment, my plans for July include:

1. Finish my third Mill Hill Buttoned & Beaded kit.

2. Do the preparation on my RR, outline the layout, stitch part of LHN's Through the Woods, and get it into the post.

3. Join the Fair and Square exchange (done!)

4. Start a new project while on holiday (as I don't want to be taking any of my large scroll frames with me).

This project will be Thoughtful Heart from Shepherd's Bush which is normally sold as a kit and uses Soie d'Alger silks. However, I bought it as the chart only on eBay and am planning a DMC conversion.

I'm really looking forward to this one as I love SB designs but I think I've only ever stitched one of their freebies!

5. Find some time (somewhere) to stitch on one of my Chatelaines!

6. And I really should stitch something for my Mum's birthday in August ...... (Perhaps Opalescent Heart in a different colour scheme?)

7. Add a few more blocks to Nova.

Then, of course, now that we've started to dismantle the old bathroom suite, DH and our neighbour are supposed to be installing the new one, and there's the tiling to do, and painting.

And ideally, I'd like to loose 1 to 2 lb before I go off on holiday.

So I think there'll be plenty going on to keep me busy!