Friday, 27 August 2010

Together Again

Well Chris wasn't due to fly in until Thursday evening, but best laid plans of mice and men and all that.  We had a call a 22.40 Wednesday night that sort of went, 'Hi Mum, I'm at Victoria now and the bus leaves in a bit.  I'll be down in Ringwood at 01.25am, can you pick me up?'  So we set the alarm as we were already in sleep mode and went a picked him up later, a whole day early! 

So here are my kids, Chris and Elsa together for the first time in 18 months.  That is a long time when you're young and even longer when he only left for 6 months to start with.  The dogs are over the moon, so much excitement at once!

Everything is all washing and cooking and downloading and upgrading and chatting and busy, busy, busy!!  Very precious brief moments of madness for our very small family.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A Study in Concentration

First time free motion quilting!

Elsa brought down her quilt top she has made, it was a kit given to her a few weeks ago. I must just tell you that all the points are perfect! (Proud Mum moment there). We bought some backing and border fabric and last night she worked out what kind of quilting she would like. The colours are bright and zingy and should cheer up any winter’s day it’s snuggled under! (bad photo but it's pinned over several other projects!)
In one of the bottom squares she has embroidered our visit to Ireland and the date as a reminder of a lovely holiday, it is Irish Chain after all.  This morning she has been practising the FMQ on a quilt sandwich and is starting to find a feel for it. I think she could be on the top by this afternoon!

Monday, 23 August 2010

After the Weekend

The weather is still not too great here so neither is the light. Results of my FNSI.

This is the Jenny BOM on our bed with the sashing done.

And these are the borders. The bottom row shows that I have started the roll back of the edges. They will be added with the corner stones.

Yesterday we had a club gathering at Beaulieu, the National Motor Museum, and a rare shot of our three girls together.

Mike spent ages Saturday cleaning them all up and it was mostly drizzle all day, they still looked rather nice, thanks Mike. But it’s a fabulous hour long drive down the length of the New Forest so that bit was fun too. Elsa even managed to sit in the car and do some sewing.

And this morning whilst doing the Monday morning chores we also managed the pick and blanch another batch of beans for the freezer.

I also refilled the seed feeders for the birds. We are now doing this about every 5 days, there are so many babies about. It takes a full 3 gallon bucket of seed, 2 gallons of nuts (but they only need filling every alternate time), 6 fat balls and 2 fat blocks and a 2 litre jug of niger seed.

Plenty of family time this week and Chris flies in sometime late Thursday too. Can’t wait to see him.

Have a good week all.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Friday Night Sew In

Well the Friday Night Sew In was more of an afternoon of Whilst I Was Waiting. John was out fishing and Elsa and Mike were due down early evening so I thought I would sew the corner blocks and sashing to the Jenny BOM, the top is now a completed square and I also sewed the blocks and four strips for each side borders. I guess I feel a little bit of a cheat this month as it was the afternoon and I haven’t had time to take photos with visitors. Also the light is appalling here with all this rain.

Tomorrow we have a club car show so will be busy then too. Monday for photos hopefully!!!

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Happy Birthday John

 On his birthday he found this!

He’d bought a new Watchman probe thing for the oil tank (amazing what some people find exciting for their birthdays!) and was fitting it. He then noticed a few wasps. And then a few more. This nest is about 10 inches long and very lovely to look at but we’ve called in the exterminator. Wasps are unpredictable at the best of times and this is quite near a door into the house.

I’ve been busy putting the Jenny BOM together. Just the borders to do now so pictures then.

Maggie: scrim. It was another one of those really cheap throw away items. It’s a very loose, open weave cotton fabric that used to be used to clean cars and windows, usually on the shelf alongside stockingette. You could buy it in rolls about 3 meters long for very few pounds. Then someone thought to try dying it. Now it’s hard to find and very expensive for what it is! Another fabric art victim!!

John has cooked a roast tonight. It’s what he wanted to do because he loves doing it so, on his birthday I’ll sit back and relax! Lol

Happy **nd birthday John! xxxxx

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Busy Day

I managed to do a fair bit today. As well as tidying the ever growing pile of quilt/stitch/ fabric books on top of the book shelf I made...
16 of the corner squares to the sashing on the Jenny BOM.

8 more of the 4 inch Minis.

The first cut on the Mystical Mondays.

And I started this.

We went to Salisbury yesterday and on the way in there are fields that have just had their crop taken off and they left lovely quiltable lines. I’ve had the hand dyed scrim for a while and they seemed to want to be a part of this little quilt.

Also Oscar, who has always thought he was a dog, finally decided to step up the ante and try and be the dog’s dinner instead.

Monday, 16 August 2010


“An irregular form, with projections”.

A pattern in Stitch magazine with 15 faces. Of course I didn’t have the exact materials but whoever does? Aren’t these things made to be adapted to what’s at hand? I’ve used Stef Frances’ 12 strand silk split into 6 strands and a bit of perle. It works and I’m happy with it.

Yesterday we went to Surrey to a car show which was quite a disappointment. Coming back we looked for somewhere for lunch (on a Sunday in the summer holidays. ! ) As we drove back through West Sussex we passed Petworth House and went in there. A bit of a mistake. Even though it was just gone 2pm the restaurant was very full. After we finally managed to sit and eat we went around the house. If you’re into paintings, van Dykes', Turners', Gainsboroughs’ and the like, you’re in for a treat. But that’s about all there is. That and the fallow deer herd. Very little furniture, no textiles at all and you could only go around the ground floor. Some of the paintings had been restored and the change of varnish was absolutely stunning. They could have been painted last week. Every brush stroke was visible and the colours so vibrant.

Just before bed I walked up the garden with the dogs and had a near miss with a bat. Then another. The pair of them were swooping around the buddleia bush where there must have been a rise of insects for them. I called John out and we watched them for quite some time. I hope they find the box up the Tree of Heaven!

The next Friday Night Sew In has been announced as this Friday, 20th. Not sure I will do much as Elsa and Mike will be arriving but I’ve signed up. See the button on the right for more info.

If you’re going to FoQ this week, have fun. If you’re showing at FoQ, good luck. If you’re not going, think of the money you won’t have to spend!! I had an email from Valdani last week; they have a booth at the show (E46). I have drooled over their threads for some time, especially the little balls of variegated perle, but, because they are US, I’ve resisted buying. There are hand dyers over here and the customs has no charge for them!! If you're passing their booth, have a look.

Now on to another project to finish!

Friday, 13 August 2010

A Nice Find

John was up in the vegetable area digging up the potatoes yesterday because the rats have started raiding them. Tully had a field day although she didn’t catch anything, Ruger’s not allowed to try, he’s too big! When John went to put the potato tops on the compost he found this beautiful slowworm on the heap. It’s only the second we have found here and they are always welcome. Certainly much more than the rats!

All the heather is out on the heaths now and I borrowed a little to bring home to paint. Our honeymoon was in the Cairngorms and we had icing heather on our wedding cake and flowers in my bouquet and on the tables so it’s a special little plant for us. My first watercolour in far too long!

Last night we had a good display of the meteor showers and today we are going to wash all the rugs so fingers crossed the weather stays fair!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

SAH Robin Block 2

I wanted to link the two blocks so I started with a lower row of the 1 inch squares, added a piece of gold silk and layered with a pink and then blue organza. They are all stitched onto a piece of calico by machine outside the seam allowance. I want to do some hand stitching on the layers but that can wait until later.

Whilst I was uploading I also thought I would show you this little (4 inches) thank you card I made in the embellisher a couple of weeks ago. It should have arrived at its destination by now (if the post office hasn’t lost yet another item of mine) so should be safe to show.

Thank You and Progress

Thank you for the nice comments on our anniversary. We had a lovely day going over to Bovington where the Dorset Arts and Crafts association had their annual show. We were going to go to the tank museum too but the show was quite large and took some time to go around so we will save that for another day after the school holidays. We did have a nice lunch at The Martyr’s Inn at Tolpuddle. And if you are interested in who the Tolpuddle Martyr’s are, what they did affected everything we do today, you can see info at the museum.

I had a lovely day of sewing yesterday, with my ladies in the morning then upstairs later. The Hever quilt is ready for posting and I’ve sorted out a few other projects so they are to be picked up and finished! That’s the theory. The list on the right is really an embarrassment.

John ordered a bat box which arrived just before we went away at the weekend. It’s more of a concrete cylinder than a box really but I suppose it’s better insulation. For position it needs fairly free access, height and to face south east. The Atlas cedar in the front garden lost another branch in its top a few weeks ago and it was the first choice for the box. Then we thought that as the cedar keeps losing branches, perhaps it would not be such a good place! It is also where all the bird feeders are and it’s manic most of the time. In the end we placed it high up in the Tree of Heaven at the top of the garden where we can see it from the G&T hut. We know there are bats up there but there does not seem to be as many as past years. If we can help a little, we may as well.

Plenty to do upstairs and visitors later so I’m off for now!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Three Years Ago Today

After a long and very arduous journey, John and I showed the world we weren't messing around and meant business. It certainly was one of the best days of my life and I'd do it all again will bells on!

Happy anniversary my love. Xx

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Photos for Yesterday

The Mystery Monday fabrics.  We really loved the deep purple and blue green batik with trees so I thought, as it's quite dark, B the background.  Then from left to right main fabric A then C. Same colour family but I'm not sure that the value of C is dark enough.  A very hard colour to find! Then D and E same colour family, similar values and also complimentary to the blue green.  Did I understand OK so far Barbara or will I have to change something after all????

And the blocks we put together for Elsa.  Mike loves the Japanese theme and Elsa wanted to do a whole quilt top.  I said she was still very novice to go straight for the deep end, I don't want to put her off stitching altogether by starting her out on a project that would take a long time to do.  It was John who suggested a bed runner. 

We found these lovely gold on black geisha panels that we cut up and re arranged into opposite pairs in blocks of four.  They are now layered and basted and she has started hand quilting them.  The other two panels are kanji, you can just make out the shape in the tacking thread.  Elsa wanted to try appliqué and I thought the easiest way to do the kanji would be using a Hawaiian appliqué method. We did a test panel and she did it like a natural!

Of course the other beauty of these quilt as you go panels is that if she decides she is enjoying making them, we can rearrange them into something else, add others and she could still end up with a full size bed quilt.  One step at a time. 

Saturday, 7 August 2010

I'm in For the Mystery Mondays

We drove up to visit Elsa and Mike yesterday. In the car I managed to finish quite a few of the border strips for the Jenny BOM.  I was pleased as I think this bit will seem endless.

I also contemplated whether I should really do the Mystery Monday with Chris and Barbara especially as I've just added a list of projects I have under way to the side bar here!!  Well, seeing as we went the Quilters Haven for an hour or so this morning, I bought a bit a fabric to do it with. I hope the choice is right. I will post a picture of the fabrics tomorrow as I still haven't found the camera adapter thingy for this iPad yet!

We also bought some great fabrics for Elsa to take away with her in little quilt as you go blocks so we have spent the afternoon making them up. Again pictures tomorrow!

The 'boys' have been playing Forza 3 on the x box leaving us in peace but soon we're off out for dinner.  Have a good evening all.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Nearly There

I've put the binding on the Hever quilt.  Just a few finishing touches and it can go.  I still like it, I don't really care if it's up to quilt show standard or not, I've quite enjoyed doing it. 

But I have not enjoyed the bung it created in my sewing!  I have lots to catch upon and when it is out of the way I just know I'm going to have to push myself to do the other things!  I know I become bored quite quickly, hence having several varying projects on the go at once, ergo a project with a deadline makes me uptight. Sigh.

Anyway... I was sorting some new photos of the W108 that we had taken down in the New Forest for John to put on one of his forums and I thought I would put a couple on here.  I know most of you are not perhaps into cars but we are and I'm exceedingly proud of the work John has done on this one.  (Don't forget you can click to enlarge.)

It arrived from South Africa in 2003 and was supposedly used briefly.  We're not quite sure how as it had so many modifications done to the engine like inappropriate fuel injection etc that it hardly coughed and spluttered at all.  The previous owner then put it into storage until we bought it at the end of last year.  The body work is all genuine and fantastic with the rich, creamy paintwork of the day.  It just needed a proper clean and some attention to very little of the chrome.

John totally rebuilt the engine and Mike helped with the re wiring.  Everything, and I mean everything, had to be stripped to clean out the red South African dust, that included the fuel tank, not a nice job.  We also had to have a few bespoke parts made where it had been butchered for the injection pump and other modifications. 

She now drives beautifully, if a little dated compared to todays cars, but was a real luxury model in her day.  And just in case you do want to know, she is 1970 Mercedes 280SE W108 and we call her Winnie.

John did see a lovely plumbers van on the way back from Salisbury yesterday. 
"Don't sleep with that drip tonight, call....."

Monday, 2 August 2010

A Wonderful Day

A wonderful day starts with kisses. Then breakfast made for you. Then being told to just play for a while.


And a drive out with the top down around north Dorset and Wiltshire, a little more than was expected but then...  Lunch and Avebury...

And the Manor

Which, to be honest, had to be the most peculiar place I have visited. It looked beautiful from the outside and the gardens were immaculate but the house just oozed unwelcome. It wasn’t settled, happy or lived in. It didn’t feel as though it wanted you in it. Strange. It’s just a house. It has had so many families living in it, changing it, pouring money into it and it still wasn’t settled. That house should not be there.

But it did have an interesting bed in it. The Lady of the house had taken just one year to sew this at the turn of the last century. (Yes that was 1900 ish and one year, not earlier or longer!!).

We then walked around the stones themselves...
Some of which were rather large. (John is 6’ 3” for comparison).
And on the way home we passed the pudding of the largest man made mound, Silbury Hill. (Those white dots are sheep!)

The sky had been interesting all day but just before our valley home I managed to capture it. Rather painterly, don’t you think?

And arrived home to this...

Interflora worked overtime on my birthday!

And dinner at the pub.  Bliss!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Busy, busy Lammas Day!

And a good traditional harvest day to you all! Yes I know, it’s another one the Christian calendar decided to shove around a bit. Well actually it was quite a bit to do with Henry VIII and his slight tiff with Rome really. Also a good day for announcing possible marriage too, so, anyone you know ask for a hand?

I’ve been busy the past couple of days tidying, sorting and trying to finish a few bits. John will tell you that it has ended up with a few extra projects scattered around the house depending on where I will be sitting. I have the sashing for the Jenny BOM all cut and needing hand turning and the lovely project in the Stitch magazine on the frame and under way. I have a 25 metre card of ric rac sitting waiting for sewing into something from the Mandy Shaw book that arrived on Thursday and I have been beavering away on the Hever project. I even had the embellisher out yesterday too. I’m quite enjoying myself actually!! No photos all round for any of it yet.

Also thinking of you Maggie, and our curious metric imperial thing, I did notice that the interweave fabric needed for the Stitch magazine was 18 holes per inch and we needed 30 x 35 centimetres of it. Also when we go to the pub John has a pint of beer and I have 250 ml of wine. Great eh??!