Saturday, 26 March 2011

A Day Out Hand Quilting

Yesterday was the hand quilting day with Barbara Chainey at Cupcake Cottons.  We set off at 07.30 and had a nice drive up. Only a brief delay at Marlborough, which was unusual, and a drive around Burford when we missed the turning on the roundabout and we still arrived at 09.30 on the dot.  John and the dogs went off for a day at Lechlade fisheries and I went up to join in the sewing group.

It’s a lovely light shop with lots of fabrics and quilts to admire and room enough for classes.

Afternoon tea and the beautiful cupcakes arrived (in style if you read over on the Cupcake Cottons blog). 

I had to buy a piece of fabric or two and a lovely little wooden beehive with beeswax for quilting thread.  My effort at quilting in a hoop was passable but then I didn’t learn to drive a car in a couple of hours either.  I will try and finish the sample so I can say I achieved an end result! 

I was a great day for me meeting two bloggers in one. Thank you Barbara for travelling to the shop and to Jackie and Steph for hosting.  John’s fishing was unsuccessful but he did have a couple of chasers apparently.  Jackie and Steph were kind enough to send me home with a secret parcel for him which put a huge smile on his face though.

Elsa and Mike drove down last night too to start their move back to the south coast.  Lots of cleaning and decorating to be done over the next few days before they can move in fully but they are so excited.  And a last picture of the Imperial Fritillaries that we planted three springs ago and had done nothing each year until now.  Patience does pay in the end. 

I hope your weekend is as lovely and sunny as it promising to be down here.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Pepé Le Pew Eat Your Heart Out.

Don't you think I'm gorgeous?

Up here's good...


Ok then...

 I've just spotted another conquest.

You sure?

I'm going to sulk now.
More of the everyday antics of our resident pheasant population.  Please bear in mind that they really don't do trees if they can help it and this male is very persistent!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Time Waits For No Electrical Supply Company

Well I’m now fed up with the company supplying the track lighting (Not Stuart the electrician who is great and bends over backwards when he works!). The lights are in the room, in a box.  The track, I believe, has now arrived and is the correct one but the connectors are wrong.  Stuart has hair that is too short to pull out or I’m sure he would have by now.  He has told me that he won’t need full access like the blind man did so I have more or less moved in and started using the my space place.  

The room may be shoved in down the side of the house but it appears I am in sparrow central.  I looked up the other day at this view but then the trellis had at least 15 sparrows sat in it, a bit like Celebrity Squares, and up in the top left you can see the sparrow flats.  They have chosen to nest in the eaves at the end of the gutter instead though just above the box.  (Not far from the headboard of our bed on the other side of the wall, hmmm).
I also have plenty of visitors in the close shrubs down the side and perching on the gate right next to the desk.  The Robin has decided it’s the best place to boss everyone from, until the wrens tell him off that is and there is a regular visit from a group of Long Tail Tits as they do their rounds.  It really is amazing to be so close to them all.

The BTO has a Nest Box Challenge from 27th March which is good to take part in even if you only have a small space, every observation counts.

Jen over at Twisted Stitcher (Oz Style) (she is also doing the City & Guilds) asked about the stand used by Jan Beaney in the In Action video.  I thought it looked good too but had given up trying to find one.  Then the other day I was looking through Three Dimensional Embroidery Stitches by Pat Trott and there it was in the equipment page naming it as the Lowery Workstation, so I treated myself.  

If it helps me not have this constant crick in my neck it has to be good!  (Yes still suffering, still haven’t been able to finish Barbara’s other quilt.  The last thing you want using a longarm is stiffness in the shoulders!).  I have re bound some round hoops except one broken one which I will use as a frame. The things we find to do just to pretend to be creative!!

Thank you for all the lovely comments on the quilted top.  Barbara H was over the moon.  I also quite liked how open the pattern was.  There seems to be a trend in some of the longarmers I follow online to do such heavy quilting one wonders how stiff this makes the quilt in the end.  The Great Tits are still visiting the box Maggi, minus earplugs now too.  Yes hayfever has backed off and Spring is springing so I’m really hoping more and more it’s just the pollen of the hazels.  And Barbara C.  Ha, haha, hahahahaha.  See you Friday.

I was incensed to read Maggi’s post over on her blog To Dream To Stitch.  How can that be, no one can put a trademark on an adjective!!  Anyway it’s an English style and phrase, how dare they!!  I vote we all use SHABBY CHIC as often as possible.  Stupid people. 

Minor rant over, messy stuff to be sploshing around, I have plenty of coursework to catch up on and rugby this afternoon.  GO ENGLAND!!!  Quick pic of Ruger ready to work in the garage last week.

Oh, and don't forget, tonight is the night of the super moon and should be quite a sight at sunset.  Have a good weekend.


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Silence Has Been Golden

I've only just realised how long it's been since I last blogged.  Well I haven't been overly creative, we've only half the electrics done in the workroom due to the wrong lighting track being sent, and the blinds don't arrive until this Thursday.  Too much moving things around to fully settle in yet.  It is a great place to be though and everyone else seems to want to be in there too, which is nice really (I could always lock the door if I wanted to be that alone!!).

I was kindly given a couple of pieced tops by one of my ladies, Barbara, to use to play on the long arm.  Barbara is an incredibly particular piecer and all her work is always 110%.  I was quite worried but I did offer and she complied.  I know she will be having a top quilted for free but I need the practise too so I thought it a fair trade off (she did say it would be in the loft for another ten years other wise!).  I have discovered that deciding what to do is so hard!  And finding what to do that the piecer agrees with too can be a stumper, though I was given free rein I wanted her input. This is the result of my first 'someone else's' top.

I didn't want to do yet another all over design which would have been the easy way out.  I wanted to use the opportunity to actually think about a block design.  I managed to only use the ruler for the diagonals and freehand the in the ditch and curves.  It's not an overly dense covering but we think it works well with the log cabins.  The other top I have from her I will do a totally different way and it wasn't too hard to decide what to do on it.  More of that when it is done.

I have finished the Goldwork star, about 4 inches across.  An interesting exercise, I'm not sure I could really do lots of it but I have had a taster of another technique.

I have had nasty hay fever for the past two weeks too.  I've not really had it before other than a brief few days last year.  It seems to be dying down at the moment along with the hazel catkins so I'm hoping it's plant specific and I can plan for it.  Our field behind us seems to have Oil Seed Rape in it this year though so that may be a little interesting.  I must admit to not feeling great on the antihistamine but it's better than the hay fever.  I've also had a pulled muscle in my neck which has been very painful and the tight nerves have been giving me dizzy spells, sometimes very scary ones.  Another reason for the lack of creations.

This morning John called me to see this fellow on the bird box on the Atlas Cedar.

He is a blur because I managed to catch the moment he was drumming.  There have been Great Tits in and out of the box so if they were in there I'm sure they were rather unhappy!  We think he was using it as a sounding box as another, rather elusive woodpecker came to see what all the noise was about.

Guests for dinner tonight so slow roast Spanish lamb to be prepared and left to do it's thing before the rugby.  Have a great Sunday.