Thursday, 29 July 2010

The 16 Done

Just to show what 16 different 4 inch (well 4.5 with sa) minis look like!  This was most of Sunday taken up.

Month 6 will be through the door probably on Monday with the next 8.  As I said, I'm not overly fond of some of the fabric choices but I'm sure there will be a better picture when they are all together. 

It’s been thankfully breezy the past few days but the nights are still quite warm. This place is really classed as a bungalow with bedrooms in the roof so it becomes very hot up there, about 27 the past few nights. With that and being a lady now slightly over 40 and coming into a certain time of life, being hot in bed doesn’t have the same meaning anymore!! When we were pulling the place apart John had proper air conditioning fitted upstairs and I am forever grateful, temperature goes down to about 20. That going and the Climarelle Suprelle mattress comforter I bought the other week and I’m actually sleeping like a baby. Something I have never done well, perhaps all those years of sleepless nights are catching up but I feel good on it.

We heard from Chris on Sunday, his calls are always few and far between. Indonesia does not have too many places for signal or internet especially on the more remote islands. Of course he is having a ball surfing every beach they can find. He will be home at the end of August and I can’t wait to see him. I know we saw him in Australia last November but 18 months away is a long time, I’d better look out for some warm clothes, he’s going to feel the difference.

We took Winnie the 108 out for a run around yesterday. I did have the camera but no photo stops really. John has had a bit of a tweak with the rear suspension and she is now sitting straight. She is a lovely, big, comfortable ride of a car with windows like a greenhouse! She does attract more comments and people having a look than Gwen the 107. Great fun!

Today I am sewing. I have been trying to lock myself away all week and failed each time. I will be a She Bear if I don’t do something upstairs today! Now I’ll just wait for something to come up.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Friday Night Sew In

Last night we had our first potatoes from the garden and they were wonderful!

After catching up on the news I went upstairs for the Friday Night Sew In.

First I finished the pennant for the Olympics SEE HERE. As we are not allowed to actually use any form of Olympic branding including the date 2012 (!!) I am waiting to hear back as to whether I can put on MMXII instead. They can’t brand everything and it seems daft not having some form of linking to the actual event. I must say that I was rather smug when I realised just before I finished it that I had used the colours of the rings. I didn’t even think of that at the time!

I then cut 16 of the Magical Minis. All these pieces are to make 4 inch blocks. Yes they are fiddly and no I’m not overly fond of some of the fabrics but I didn’t choose them. Block set 6 is due through soon so I really need to make these.

I also made the four corners of the Jenny Rayment BOM from Justhands On TV. I also cut and started sewing block 9 so nearly there with this quilt, just the sashing and edges.

I did have the TV on whilst doing this and watched Toby dig up some of his potatoes on Gardeners World. Beat you to it Toby!

Appologies to Maggi and...

First, huge apologies to Maggi for not showing her beautiful fabric after it arrived on Tuesday!!!  I have been stroking it, honest!  It is wonderful and there has been some definite ear marking going on.  Thank you so much, keep dying! (That always sounds so awful but you know what mean).

And today is the start of the Big Butterfly Count which we will be doing at some point.  We have been watching the buddleias for the past couple of weeks already.  If you have 15 minutes to spare, perhaps you could join in too.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Pennants and Playtime

A rather quick Embroiderers Guild meeting today, over by lunchtime. It was more of a pre summer break up meeting. I didn't manage to do too much. I had started my pennant for the Olympics so carried on with that. Not far to finish it now, then photo.

Tonight is the Friday Night Sew In (see the link on the right hand menu) which I'm quite looking forward too. I doubt if there is much on TV so I'll be in two minds what to do. The hand stitching in front of a boring box or upstairs with Bob. Only time will tell!!!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Montacute House

Yesterday we visited Montacute House in Somerset.

It has quite a number of tapestries but this is the Hunter Tapestry (1788) in all it's newly cleaned gloriousness.  It had just returned from Holland and was very bright and clear and every woven line was visible in great, minute detail.

Needle Point and Petite Point on a screen.  Not sure I'd have the patience for that amount of work anymore.

Graffiti on the glass done by the house owner and his son, Edward and Edward Phelips.  I do hope they didn't use the best family diamonds! 

And then there was a part of the sampler collection on display.  The work is stunning and mostly worked on fine linen.  I did my best taking photos but the light was very low.  In the end I bought the book (The Goodhart Samplers) for the better quality and over 120 of the rest of the collection.

For those not familiar with our 10p, it is 24mm or just short of an inch across. The stitches are minuscule!

And in one of the bedrooms I found a stumpwork box from 1693 depicting the Judgement of Solomon.  A little hard to photograph behind glass but beautiful all the same.

There is also a large display from the National Portrait Gallery going on there at the moment which was good to see but no photos allowed of course.  I looked Henry VIII right in the eye!  (I wouldn't of married him, I can tell you!!!)

Monday, 19 July 2010

Yesterday's Box So Far

Well this is the file box, as was.  Now stuck, stitched,and painted to within a hairs breadth of it's cardboard corners.

It's quite metallic and sheeny so quite hard to photograph.  It' now curing outside in the sun before assembly and anything else I can think of.

I enjoyed snipping and slapping and can think of a few more ways to use this.  It's a good job I don't actually go to a supermarket anymore.  If there were goats eyeballs in a piquant sauce in an interesting box I could re use....!!!  Perish the thought really but I am looking at different boxes, how they can be dis-assembled and re made.  Great for unusual present wrapping at the least.

The combines have been busy all day today.  There is dust everywhere and so many flies.  Of course they are doing the thing on my touch screen again.  They are the only ones who have any use out of it!  I was wondering if I left the swimming fish screen saver up if they would react to it. If I touch the screen the fish swim to wards my finger. Fish eat flies. 

The Last Box I Made With Jennifer

As the box from yesterday is still nowhere near finished, I'm working on it as I type, this is a picture of the last one I made at one of Jennifer's workshops back in May.  It's layered, stitched, burnt away, beaded and embroidered lightly and is about 5 inches square by 4 high.

I really must sort myself some background fabric for photographs, the oak dining table is really not a good colour to show other colours clearly!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Box Clever

I’ve had a lovely day today down at Pauline’s Patchwork doing a workshop with Jenifer Trollope. It was embellishing boxes with loads of stuff. Real Blue Peter stuff she calls it and she was right. Nice and mucky. Of course we could only do so much as there was glue and paint involved which meant drying time but plenty to be getting on with once dry properly.

John had dropped me off and of course we had forgotten what a mess Weymouth is. In fact we were not prepared for the worse mess it is now! All in the name of the 2012 Olympics and the water sports. Still there should be left behind some great tarmac. John had a busy day in the garden and then picked me up later. What he hadn’t told me of course was the smell that hit me when I walked in the door. Garlic and roasting chicken all in the Aga and ready to come out on our return. And you would all drool over his roast potatoes! A good ¼ inch crunch with super fluff inside!!!!!!!!!! Don’t mention the diet.

Anyway the lowering sun just caught the grape vine over the pergola in the courtyard this evening and it looked so nice. I’m not sure if you can make out all the grape bunches, it’s smothered (click to enlarge). I know about the viticulture bit but we don’t eat these. They are a variety called Brant, black, quiet sweet and small, very edible and they are also a little on the pippy side but the blackbirds love them so we leave them as a pre winter feast. It also has the most beautiful Autumn colour too.

Summertime Blues

Don't get me wrong, I do love Summer but there comes a point when I realise I'm wandering around in the evenings waiting for the 'evening' to start. 

In the beginning it's lovely to take handwork out into the garden but then other things start accumulating that need time in the sewing room.  It can be quite warm up there and it seems wrong to be indoors when the sun is still shining (not so much just lately though, but it is still daylight!).  Even the garden, though looking good, does not have the excitement it does at the start of the year when everything is fresh and new.

Stepped bed to the terrace.

I know I love Autumn the most and cooler days.  I like the crisp smell that happens about the end of October and the lighting of the fires.  I like the fact that evening comes at a respectable part of the day and lasts all night! Perhaps it's because quilt making suggests warmth, cosy, home, time and effort spent making something. 

I have a very valid wish this year that September takes it's time arriving and, just this year I will hang onto summer for as long as possible but I still find high summer a bit of a burden.

I followed Narelle who commented in my last post back to her blog, boy does she churn some stuff out!  She has joined a group that does a Friday Night Sew-in, read about it HERE .  I thought why not, what else do I do on a Friday night!  It's amazing where you end up when you start following threads of info on this internet thing!

Friday, 16 July 2010

SAH Robin Block 1

I've decided to join in with Kate North's Stay At Home Robin quilt. You can read more HERE on Kate's site.

As if I haven't enough piling up on my cutting table already, I just like the thought of the unpredictable journey this will take.  I have no pre conceived ideas just lots of scraps I would like to use.

This first block, and I'm still not sure if I'm happy with it, was some left over 1.5 inch squares in recycled, over dyed silks. They are a little wonky but I think it could add charm, they are quite tactile, and there are plenty of options still to come.  This is my Robin, for me only and it doesn't have to be handled by anyone else.  Nice thought eh!!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Good To Be Home

Nothing like your own furniture.

Yesterday we were at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Jersey zoo as I used to know it) and it tipped it down.  Add a few thunderclaps and most of the animals were decidedly absent, sensibly keeping dry in their lovely indoor home while we, their daily entertainment, became rather wet outside. 

The weather was not much better through dinner later as we sat watching the waves crashing over the sea wall onto the hotel windows.

Later the howling was really worrying me so I looked up the met charts, a great plus for the iPad while travelling, and was not too happy with what I saw.  In fact I didn't sleep much at all after that.  It was worsening.

I told my worries to John in the morning, as he slept through like a baby of course, and he interpreted the charts from the airport for me.  We were flying home in the tiny little Jetstream today, it only seats 19 and is as light as a feather.  John had a ppl until a few years ago and used to fly himself here, there and everywhere so then he then promptly told me wonderful tales of bad weather and near misses he had had whilst flying light aircraft.  (Don't ask him about the one with the wheel not really falling off!!!)

Darling man.  And I usually love flying. 

He did have me Google the aerials of the runways and explained wind shear and approaches and all the precautions.  I just reasoned that the pilot and co pilot wanted to land safely as well and they would be doing their best.

Take off was good.  Flight over was fairly good too.  Until we reached landmass where the clouds had built up thickly over the Isle of Wight.  John had told me about flying through the canyons of the clouds before but he forgot to warn me of the joyous thrills of 'falling off a cliff' of clouds in a very small aeroplane. 

Southampton approached and we all (there were 8 passengers) could see through the cockpit to the runway ahead of us.  And then not.  And then back again.  And then on the other side.  And then gone again.  Oh joy.  John was grinning and decidedly gagging to go up front and have a proper look.  I think I was hanging onto him far too tightly for him to move or he would have gone. 

In my head I kept reminding Mother that if she wanted me to keep looking after her garden and not make the dogs homeless it would be rather nice if she could see Her way to letting up on the wind at the last minute.  She could then blow and howl and rain all she wanted even if it is St Swithens day.

She did let up, just briefly, and we were down. 

I didn't kiss the tarmac but I did hug the bonnet of the car when we got there.

We picked up the dogs and arrived home to lots of post and parcels.  One parcel was the Jinny Beyer Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns which I have been after for some time.  Amazon finally decided to catch up.  Also a Customs notice.  I assume this is for my EQ7 upgrade.  Did anyone else have the charge?  I'm always caught by them. It would be cheaper to fly to the States and buy direct.  Also The Quilt Life magazine and some late shoes I had ordered for the trip.  Plenty of reading to be doing for a while along with catching up and dieting.

I found I had taken this photo of a poster of the letter regarding the knitting effort.  It was for airmen not soldiers.  (Don't forget you can click to make any photos bigger).

Looking forward now to bed time and my really squishy feather pillow that I always miss the most.  There is nothing like your own bed.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Away Days

John has now fully recovered from his embaressment now. Thank you for the comments, people can do the funniest of things. Mind you his slippers are mid brown leather as are most of his shoes so I doubt if anyone would actually notice. He just felt a bit daft.

We're on the beautiful island of Jersey at the moment. We've had quite an exhausting day visiting museums and the castle. There was a very nice lunch down at Green Island in the middle though. We're now back at the hotel looking over St Brelades bay just about to ready ourselves for dinner. No the diet is not going well!!!

I've not found much in the way of textiles over here apart from a letter in the Jersey Tunnels War Hospital which listed the knitting efforts and items sent. So lovely, such a simple thing made a difference to some soldier.

Had a bit of a grrrr moment in the airport yesterday. We were asked if we would take part in a quick survey. We did and at the end the lady asked a few simple questions including nationality. I answered English. She wrote UK. I told her I was English and she said, "yes well I know dear but that means UK."


I know what I mean thank you madam,I am English. The Scottish man opposite us was from Scotland so he was Scottish I assume and the three people sitting next to me were from Holland, Dutch? What the hell is wrong with me being English from England? It is a major bee I have, I always fill out forms as English and if a box only offers UK I add in a comments box that I am English too.

I am pround to be me.

There rant over. I'm off to have a nice Bloody Mary (sorry Barbara G&T was at lunch).

Sunday, 11 July 2010

It's Official, I'm Married to... old Git!!  So he tells me anyway.  He's just come back from walking the dogs, with his slippers on.  Never mind John, it's not that embarrassing!

We went to Castle Point shopping early yesterday morning before the weekend crowds hit and it was still lovely and calm (we hate shopping).  I needed some new eyeshadow but could someone please explain to me the process the women behind the makeup counters go through in the mornings?  It's sad to see what would normally pass as attractive young women caked in thick slap, 4 inch long eye lashes and oil slick lip gloss bearing down on you with latest product inhand.  As for the older one still stuck in the '60's, very hit and miss affair with the very red lippy, doing a passable Barbara Cartland x Baby Jane impression.  It's enough to put you off buying any products.

We've had Mike down with us and he managed to pick up Elsa yesterday morning so she could stay last night.  Always nice to have them here even for short visits.

The Hever project is moving very slowly though it is making some progress.  I have an urge just to do something uncomplicated today.  Perhaps I'll just go and fiddle with some fabric.   Mind you the roses need deadheading first and it's not too hot...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A Little Bit of Catch Up

The Powerball seems quite good actually, thank you for the comments.  I certainly have less sharp pains in two fingers and a gentle 'I've had a work out' ache all over the hands and wrists. Perhaps there is something in this after all.  (Me, spill Barbara?  Really! lol)

Last week I spent most of Friday and half of Saturday working on a piece for the quilt I am doing for the show.  I was pleased with how it was going and then I put the whole thing together and saw it really didn't want to work.  Miffed!  When I'd calmed down again and climbed out of the pit that nearly had me ripping everything apart I had a coffee and a trawl through my stash and came up with an alternative.  But of course there wasn't enough fabric.  John, love him to bits, put away all his toys, cleaned up and took me to Hanson's to find some more fabric.  (I think I've mentioned before it's a nice 17 mile drive out there through some lovely countryside on good roads so he loved it really).

You know how sometimes you have something so firmly fixed in your mind nothing else will do?  I now had those fabrics I had chosen from my stash in my head and nothing in the vast stock of Hanson's was like it.  I bought a couple of almost but not quites just to see.  I was still grumpy when I put them up to the project too.  I put the whole lot to one side an left it.  Usually the better option.

Saturday night I was quietly working on a bit of Goldwork and heard a rustling in the corner of the room.  The next morning was evidence of a mouse.  Not good in a work room.  Not too sure how it came in.  We don't allow the cats upstairs, the mice that were here have all been cleared out of the roof space (one of the joys of cavity wall insulation) and the only other option I think is it may have stowed away in the luggage from Ireland.  Traps set and fingers crossed now.

We also dug up all our garlic on Sunday.  The tops had caught allium rust and were just about over anyway.  The cloves are big and juicy and now drying in lovely bundles outside the back door.  Of course we couldn't resist a whole head in with the roast lamb either.  We must be rather aromatic now but no danger of vampires.

One thing I did pick up whilst at Hanson's were some of these new black gold needles.  Well they are rather nice to use.  The shaft seems to glide right through and they are a lovely length too.  I will definitely be buying some more of these.

I also found some other fabric in my stash that is doing the job I was trying to sort over the week end.  Don't you just love ending up where you started!!

Friday, 2 July 2010

My Power Ball Arrived!

I've been a little worried about the pains I have in my fingers and hands.  I know it's because I sew and I know it's because I'm ageing like everyone but if there is a prevention I'm wiling to give it a go! 

This Power Ball is supposed to be ideal for sports people like golfers and squash players and also musicians because of the concentrated efforts needed in fingers and wrists.  I don't suppose they ever considered the fine movements needed and repeated constantly in hobbies like painting, stitching and knitting.  I know RSI and Carpel Tunnel can be quite a problem and this little ball is aimed at those.

It's also a strengthener for upper arms and shoulders, another area that suffers from being hunched over sewing machines, easels and work which is so engrossing we don't usually remember to move around now and then!  This also includes the dread bingo flap area!!!  Bonus!

I'm gyroscopic ball spinning today!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Welcome To July

The month of harvests, summer fairs and crop circles!

Also those lovely dodgy weather predictions!

'If the first of july it be rainy weather
It will rain more or less for for four weeks together'

It's grey and over cast here in the south...  hmmmm.

And of course the infamous St Swithun on the 15th!

St Swithin`s day, if ye do rain,
for 40 days it will remain:
St.Swithin`s day, an` ye be fair,
For 40 days `twill rain nae mair.

I love old folklore, gives us all something to blame at the very least and some smug satisfaction when it actually works out right.

Is there ever really such a thing as a weather forecast?