Tuesday, 30 March 2010

For Dan

Ma Boys on guard!!!

They were in a closing down sale and yelled at me from across the yard.  I resisted the ridge tile one though, he was obviously waiting for you!

Monday, 29 March 2010

It Arrived!!!

I ordered The Art of Daniel Merriam: The Impetus of Dreams back at the very beginning of February and it has just arrived.
It had to come from America and they sent it special delivery almost at once.  It didn't arrive.  The sellers told me that it was tracked and that it had had an attempted delivery but had been refused.  The tracking shipment confirmed this though there was no 'we have missed you' card that couriers always leave and someone is nearly always here.  I waited another week for the re delivery, which didn't happen either.  The phone number for USPS is free toll and there was no link to an international number, of course free doesn't work over here for their numbers.

I did a Google search to try and find an international phone number for USPS and was shocked to see a lot of searches coming up about non delivery of parcels from USPS. One post I read suggested trying the tracking number in the Royal Mail tracking which I did and was directed to Parcelforce.  And there it was!!  Arriving back in USA having been allegedly delivered here twice and refused!!

I contacted the seller, they were pleased it was found, I'm sure they could have done a little more to find to themselves that end but there you go, and asked them to re send it, extra special delivery, when it arrived with them.  It did that day.  That was last Thursday.

The delivery man informed John that it was very common for parcels to sit in a large room awaiting customs, not be cleared an sent back to sender.  No attempted delivery, no explanations.  It stinks really, especially as I paid top dollar for good postage!

But it's here and we've both been wowed by his work and the book which is full of pictures. It's going to take ages to finish looking at this one!!


After the Weekend

It's Monday.  I usually try and keep house on Monday's.  At least that's theory.  So I'm sitting here looking at paperwork that needs filing and the dust that needs writing in and the floors that need a sweep.  All in good time!

Friday's meal out was nice, unfortunately the clouds had moved in so no sign of stars that night.

Saturday I bound the Tea Ceremony quilt and it's now on the back of the settle with other things that have no other home.  I also managed to do a little more on Naturaliste and, whilst merrily free machining, put the needle through my finger.  Three times.  Well actually the first two were through the skin layer on the side of my first finger but the third time was through the slightly fleshier bit beside my middle finger nail. A lot more tender but could have been worse.  I have written out in my head 'I must pay more attention' a hundred times.  Honest.

We had a lovely, brief surprise visit on Saturday morning from a Frenchman!  Well a French partridge.  We have quite an avian garden and a good list of more unusual visitors from Peacocks to Blackcaps including photos most of the time.  We have lots of regular visits from Pheasants and there are plenty of Partridge out in the lanes, they just are too shy to come into a garden usually.  He'd gone by the time I had the camera.  Whilst lurking in the hope of him coming back we did spot this little fellow on the pampas.

Every single time he managed to rip off a beak full, he bragged about it to his mates watching from the hedge and all the bits fell out.  He was there for a good 15 minutes and we sent most of the time laughing.  It's moments like this that make leaving the now very tatty pampas alone for as long as possible worth it.

John spent most of Saturday rebuilding the head of the W108 again.  He has it well and truly fixed this time, all the little glitches he wasn't happy with and that kept him awake are now sorted.  A bit of a faff but worth it just for piece of mind.  We did actually have it out of the garage last week in the hope of taking the SL out but it wasn't to be.  But the weather has turned again and having an old convertible out in nasty weather is not a good idea.

Yesterday I drew and really enjoyed myself!  The book is just a workbook and now I'm thinking I may buy the first one for the actual theory, we'll see.  I enjoyed drawing upside down very much and was pleased with the results too. 

I suppose I had better go and confront the duster...

Friday, 26 March 2010

Guild Day

Today was our Embroiderers Guild meeting.  I couldn't find my list of things I needed to join in the workshop so just remembered my note book.  A nice demonstration on fabric mounts and frames.

I did take along Arabesque, which is slowly getting there, now on the Trapunto part, but was busy chatting, looking at what others were doing and generally people watching which I find endlessly fascinating!

I arrived home and my book order arrived including The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook and sketchbook.  I have been toying with doodling again for some time and, as this is the workbook version, decided to buy it in the hope it will push me to concentrate a little.  I know Nina loves the original book and it was often out when I first started her pastel classes a few years ago.  We will see where it takes me.  I've always classed my self a a copyist rather than an artist.  Nina, several of the girls in the group and my old friend Caron can produce the most amazing artwork just off the top of their heads, I have to work from something.  I would make a good forger but not very often a spontaneous 'this is my work' type. Perhaps now is my time to develop this a little more and not be so het up when the result isn't a virtual photographic copy!

We're having dinner at the pub tonight, all of a 100 yard stagger home.  Mustn't forget the torch, it soooo dark out here a night, something that took a while to become used to but it's more than worth it on a clear night!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

I Did Warn You

Yesterday I awoke with a rather swollen eye.  Not too sure why, it didn't hurt or itch, it just was.  Perhaps I had put some cream in it the night before when getting ready for bed and it reacted.  Anyway, it's all better today and I could finally finish the Tea Ceremony quilt top. 

As I said, I made a pattern for the centre and then decided to let rip free motion!  I am a terrile stickler for things being just so.  I find it very hard to just be free.  I was so tempted to draw the feathers either directly onto the fabric or, again, on the Golden Threads paper, but I didn't!  I did draw the spine but everything else was made up as I went along and I really quite enjoyed myself! I only bought the top to use as a pratice piece anyway and I certainly worked out a few motions with this one!  I did the dark red in straight lines and vermicelli as a contrast to the feathers. The thread was King Tutt and I really like the build up of colour along the spines.  I still don't like the actual colours too much though.



Drawn centre and free feathers

Just the binding and it can go in the pile of 'Now What Do I Do With It?'s.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Ho Hum

Well we awoke in the clouds again today.  It's as the weather on the desktop says, sprinkles!

I didn't manage to finish the quilt top last night and today, for some reason, I've run out of oomph.  It's probably the weather.  I'll try and finish it later this evening.

I have just put some lovely free range chicken and the last of the winter garden vegetables in a casserole on the Aga for dinner and John has lit the fires.  I think we're almost going back into hibernate mode!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Oooo I Ache!

Last year I had the last one in a series of mystery quilts from Quilters Haven. It was called Tea Ceremony and it made up like one giant block, so, easy to sew but it was in colours that I wouldn't actually go near normally. Perhaps that's a good thing.

There were the bright green sections, almost plain, the orange tan sections, also nearly plain, and burgundy flowered sections. I can't say I took to it very much at all actually.

I finished the top and it went over the banister at the top of the stairs where I seem to keep tops waiting backing, batting and quilting and it has stayed there gradually being buried and ignored.

I knew the plain blocks needed fancy quilting and not on the mid arm. It was going to be a job for Bob the Bernina. I ordered a matching King Tutt thread in both the green and the tan. They then sat on my work table for another few months.

I have become a firm believer in trusting my instincts and the little people in the back of my head. If I have a problem or something isn’t going naturally, I leave it and let the little people work on it for me. Sometimes they find an answer quickly but other times, like with the quilt, it takes a little longer. I know something is brewing in there but I’m not always let in on the secret. When they are ready, they flick a switch and I have a light bulb moment.

That happened yesterday evening. I was to swap the colours of the threads around; I was going to do the green on green and tan on tan, but not now. I worked out the centre section on Golden Threads paper and sewed away. I love free machining, but this wasn’t. It was following lines I had drawn. I carried on and then had to spend twice as much time tearing out the paper. I’m still sane but only just.

Today I was not going to spend ages planning, drawing, copying, sewing, tearing, tweasering and vacuuming! I was going to free machine!

And I have been and now I ache. I’ve made sure I stopped after 45 minutes and had 15 minutes break. I’ve still quite a way to go but I’m hopefully going to finish tonight so I can take it to my sewing group tomorrow and hand sew the binding.

Photos then.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Fun Day

We had an International Quilting Day today.  I picked up my friend and we made our way to the venue, neither of us knew quite what to expect.  The hall was already full when we arrived. 

There were trade stands for beading, quilting and hand dyes and embellishing and also demos from those respectives and others.  Lots and lots of chatter, catching up, making things and admiring. 

The food was great and endless tea and coffee.  We made cards, pin cushions and needle cases, bought raffle tickets and tickets for bags which were placed in the bags we wanted to win.  There was also quite a challenging quiz.

I came away contented, quite a few £££s lighter, with aforementioned pin cushion and needle case, a bag from the bag draw, a bundle of hand dyed fabric from  the raffle and I came second in the quiz with some chocolate Easter eggs.

All monies raised went to Help for Heroes and the day as a whole was great!

A Welcome to Spring

It's the Vernal Equinox, it's just after 5.30 am and the sounds in the garden are phenominal.  I think every bird that can be is out there greeting the day.  I wish I could tape it and post it here.

Friday, 19 March 2010

So What Do You Do With No Internet?

Someone moved our hill up into the clouds today.  We couldn't see anything for ages and then it rained.  Rain means dodgy internet, downpours mean NO internet.  So what did I do this afternoon with not a lot better on???  I sewed my LQuilt quilt.

*Updated photo now.*

I was fortunate enough to have enough time on line this morning to move over to this site from the Windows Live one.  A move I have done once already, changed my mind and went back and then was itchy about it for ages.  A unknowing push yesterday from Kaye gave me the incentive.  Thank you, I really do feel better for it!!

Nina's pastel classes for the next half term are also pencilled in the diary now.  It makes me focus and I'm already on the hunt for good pictures to use from recent outings.

Tomorrow I have an International Quilting Day out at Sturminster Marshall in aid of Help for Heroes.  More on that after the event.

I'm winging my way around other sites now, just while it's not raining!!!

Oh, this is my constant sewing companion on her perch in my sewing room.  I just know if she could pick up a needle, she would!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Just a Quickie…

I had a tidy up. Elsa’s cushion is finished but I’m not putting up a photo until she has seen it and I started the Pam Holland class I joined at LQuilt. http://lquilt.com/default.aspx?lang=en-US

AND the W108 started! I sounds so much better than it did before and can now move under it’s own power, just. John has to fix the rest of it now. It keeps him quite while I sew. (That’s just a lie really. We have the walkie-talkies and several times today I have been buzzed to hold/push/watch etc. But it’s all part of the fun).

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Delivery from A Far

But not the one I was hoping for. Never the less, a lovely surprise! (The book hasn’t arrived back in Chicago to be re posted to me as yet).

The postman brought me the new publication Embellish and the Product of the Month from the The Thread Studio, Australia . http://www.thethreadstudio.com/

I’m looking forward to finding out what I can do with them. I think a part of the products can be used towards something else I have going at the moment. BUT… I must finish one or two things before I start something else! I am simply running out of room!

I also managed to finish the cuff I’ve been working on the past few days on the ultra suede.

 I’m quite pleased with it as a technique, but not sure about the colours. The cabochon beads I picked up in Shaftesbury with Gilly and I had this project in mind when I saw them.

As I have the beads out still, I am putting the finishing touches to a tapestry Elsa made before making it up into a cushion and then they can go away for a little while.

(I am trying to type this whilst being evening doggy door monitor. It’s exercise I suppose but very distracting!)

I heard back from Kingston Lacy House this morning and I now have a place on their Allotment course this spring into summer. Gilly asked if I wanted to go along with her and a friend but the places were all full. They had a vacancy arise this morning so phoned to see if I still wanted to join. We only have a small vegetable plot here but I’d like a little professional knowledge. It should be fun with the girls and it’s a good excuse to see behind the walls at the House. I’m really looking forward to it (and lunch at the beautiful stables cafe!).

John has been very busy today!  He’s had a fight with the back axles, lots of oil and an exhaust system! I think he’s on a bit of a count down to turning it over very soon. I thought I’d better include a photo of the W108.

It’s quite a rare photo as it’s whole and moving under it’s own power into the garage with windscreen wipers going! The more John has stripped this car down the more amazed we are that it ever went at all. She’s still a rather lovely example and the joy it’s giving John is priceless.

And today, finally, the lawns were cut! We’ve had a few tidying sessions out in the garden but the lawns have been a mess. Everything pulls together when they look good. Rain is forecast for the weekend so we had a now or never moment. Well, I nagged and John mowed.

Annoys: Politicians and their inability to simply answer a question.

Joys: A decent interviewer who puts them in their place and holds them to an answer.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Birds, Beads and Blogging

It must be almost here! Spring that is. The birds have been up very early singing. The cock pheasant has be displaying to anything that comes within reach, including another cock that we don’t think is all there. His colouring is not right and he’s smaller than the hens. The rookery at the end of the village is starting to build again too unfortunately. They are on the lawn first thing most mornings with the peripheral Jackdaws, I can’t do enough to scare them off. As soon as I have slammed a window and they have gone all the garden and song birds come back. There’s never a one around with the horrid corvids about! The woodpecker is really growing in confidence and standing his ground on the feeders. Or perhaps that should be hanging his perch.

I’ve had a day or two playing with beads again this week. I might actually even finish something! It’s been a bit of an experiment with ultra suede.

I’ve found a new source of online courses, though very few are there at the moment, but I’m now doing, or will attempt to do, a portrait quilt with Pam Holland. I spent an evening looking into other blogs of needle type people. Interesting stuff out there! I have quite a few new blogs, websites and shops added to my lists now.

There was the bidding on a mini quilt in aid of Alzheimer's with the AAQI. I think the Americans are so far ahead with things like medical research that if anyone it going to find a cure for this, then they are. Unfortunately the bidding ended 3am our time and I woke to find my bid had lost out.

I ordered a wonderful, rare book from Chicago a last month and it has been delivered to the wrong address apparently! I checked on where it was and they are having it delivered back to them where they will re send it. Just my luck! It’s not the sort that can be replaced if it goes missing permanently!

On Thursday we painted the bedroom. Finally! It’s now calm hessian colour like most of the rest of the house ready and waiting for the explosion of colour from the Jinny Beyer quilt!

Yesterday I planted out the shallots and broad beans. I also dug up the last of the parsnips, leeks and cabbage. The parsnips saved the hugest until last. I put the 2pints of milk in to give an idea of size. I wasn’t brave enough to cook this one just for the two of us so we had a couple of the smaller ones. John did insist on rib of beef though. (Sorry Mike).

This morning we put the new needle bar back on the Nolting midarm machine. A bit of a panic when we couldn’t remember how it went back together as it has been so long and there weren’t any pre photos taken. It runs, not great mind. I think there needs to be some fine tuning and it’s skipping stitches and the thread is breaking. I don't want to go further at the moment as there is no backup. I’ll give Nolting a ring tomorrow afternoon and they can talk me through some fine tuning.

John had the head back for the W108 this week too. It’s been beautifully cleaned and reseated. Everything is looking promising for some good results on the next round of turning her over! Exhaust is marked and ready for welding and the wheels will be going up to Swindon next week.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Play Day Today

It’s still bright clear and freezing cold! There are the trusty snowdrops and crocus out but not a lot else. We have two daffodils in the back garden but they look so miserable. Everything else is hanging on for as long as possible. When it breaks it should be spectacular! And over in a jiffy.

I have finally had a chance to use the new Superior thread, sent as a replacement by Bob Purcell, on the Jinny Beyer White Nights quilt. It did take a little mental persuasion to actually start again as I had had such problems with the last spool, I grew to hate it! The new spool is a totally different animal! It sews just like the other Masterpiece threads I have and I managed to finish another 24 blocks in good time. I laid it out on our bed to see the size and we decided, even after the borders would be added, it would still need another row of blocks top and bottom. 16 more to do. I’m going to set up to do that today then I can size it, cut the borders and then the inset triangles.

I had another Jinny Beyer quilt arrive this week too. One using her border prints. I was talking with one of the ladies at my sewing group who said she had some of the border prints and didn't know what to do with them. When I was at home later the JB email arrived and in it was this particular quilt. I guess it was meant to be! It arrived in under a week. As usual, things from the States arrive super fast, unless they snag this side with customs, then they take forever.

I also had the first group of Magical Mini blocks from Quilters Haven, Wickham Market arrive. A group of eight, 4 inch blocks mainly made of 1 inch pieces. Fun! I’m glad I will be drip fed them as I think the prospect of the whole lot would be daunting.

Block 7 of the Jenny Rayment BOM was online last week too and I finished that one over the weekend. The instructions were terrible to follow but with a little twiddling, I finally understood what she was meaning.

Arabesque is quilting up well and I have had a micro play with the trapunto. I will save the rest until I have finished quilting. Hard to not do more but I’m trying this thing called discipline. Ha ha!

Naturaliste has the base done but it’s too flat. I’m waiting for a delivery of some new threads and some silk tops to put some depth into it. I think the tops will go on with the embellisher but the threads and yarns I will hand couch before beading. John and I have already decided what will be in the quilting! You’ll have to wait and see for that one. If it works of course.

This is a picture of the first Aquarium I did. All embroidery this time and only 6 inches square where as the one in the earlier post was embellished and 11 inches.

And our great day on Sunday flying a 737!! John had a couple of take offs and landings at Gatwick we then went on to try Funchal, Madeira and I had a landing too! And an engine fire. And a control tower buzz. And an almost stall climb. Why me I don’t know!!

John’s approach into Funchal…

And mine…

I’m off to warm up Bob the Bernina.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A Full Head.

The days have been beautifully bright but the chill is still there!!! Come on Spring, keep trying!

I had the most appalling night’s sleep last night. Yes I probably had too much wine, it was Friday after all, but I have so much going on in my head it’s quite painful. Gilly rang and said, as it was such a beautiful day, would I like to go to Shaftesbury. She was right it was a lovely day and she showed me around the crafty shops and the bead shops. After a lunch stop we then went on to a couple of bead warehouses. (And we had the top down as the sun actually had some warmth in it and the heaters in the car are very good!).

I never need encouragement to spend money on craft things and these bead shops just overwhelmed me! I had one of those stupid moments where, even though I have been looking for ages for new and original beads to buy, when they were all there in front of me I couldn’t think what I wanted! I will just have to go back of course, it’s a hard life! I did top up my supplies of basic beads though, a girl can never have enough.

All night the brain has been working overtime devising things to do with the beads I didn’t buy and some things to do with those that I did. John did ask this morning if I was OK as it had been like sleeping in a lighthouse with the light going on and off all night. It was just me going to my sewing room several times to try and push things out of my head and into reality! (Sorry John X). This morning my head hurt phenomenally but, there were a few things laid out on the work table for me to peruse and ponder on today. I’ve started a piece already called Naturaliste. Whether it turns out like the picture I have in mind we’ll have to see but I'll tell you more about that when I’m a bit further along.

Tomorrow we are out in the morning flying 737’s so I won’t be sewing again until much later. The more I can do today, the better I will feel!

Ooo! I found this picture online. It was an over door panel I made in December 2000 at the Adult Education Centre, Christchurch with Elizabeth Law from Bournemouth Stained Glass. I was so pleased to find it on their web site!