Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Our pond (85)

I don't know why it is, but I just haven't felt like writing for the last few days. I've enjoyed reading about what everyone else has been doing, and I've been up to several things myself, just haven't felt like blogging. Anyway, just to let you know that I'm still alive and kicking, here are a couple of photographs I took on Monday.

We think we have three frogs in the pond at the moment, though of course there could easily be more - two adults and a youngster. I spotted the two adults sitting on the edge of the pond the other day, for all the world like an old married couple!

We also have five goldfish, though if Rosie was anything other than the fat, lazy, dozy cat that she is, we'd probably have fewer than that by now.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Strawberry Crush finished (84)

Hooray - my Strawberry Crush is finished. It's been a bit of a slog. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery part of it, making the blocks, but was unhappy when I laid them all out together as per the original instructions. It was too busy and too bright. After leaving the blocks lying on the spare room bed for a couple of weeks I decided to put some of them together to make a smallish quilt - sort of single sized. The borders are a pale lime green which seems to tone the rest down quite well. The quilting isn't brilliant - hence no close-ups. I did straight lines around the stars and the octagon shapes and then meandered in the rest. That bit wasn't too bad, although I did end up with a few bunched up bits here and there. Then I did meandery loops in the side borders and loops and leaves/hearts in the end borders. They aren't very good, rather uneven and too many 'slips'. But, it's done, washed and on my bed for now.

Strawberry Crush Plus One will be a wall hanging using the rest of the star blocks - or possibly some cushion covers. Strawberry Crush Plus Two, Three etc will be some tote bags made out of the remaining large triangles. The rest of the blocks will find their way into something, some day, perhaps.

So now I'm off to eat some strawberries and creme fraiche to celebrate!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

A quilt in a day (83)

I don't know why it is, but since my productive day last Wednesday, I just haven't felt like blogging. I've been doing various things - quilting my Strawberry Crush, visiting No 2 son in Brighton, visiting my sister-in-law, shopping, all the usual things - but just not blogging.

But I have made a very speedy quilt. My mother-in-law's health deteriorated rather rapidly over the last few days. Her lap quilt desperately needed washing but she was reluctant to give it up even for a few days, so I set to late on Saturday afternoon to make her another one. It had to be done quickly so I decided on a strippy quilt - I already had a jelly roll so it went together very quickly. I pieced the back from the last few strips and a few other 30s style fabrics I had and managed to finish the binding on Sunday evening. Then yesterday morning we heard that she was being taken into a local hospice, so we rushed over to visit and help out. I was so glad I'd pressed on and got it finished. The pictures are taken with my mobile phone so are not the best quality. She was pretty much asleep the whole time because of the medication, but I think she liked the new quilt a lot.

The weather's been lovely here over the past few days, sunny and warm but not hot, so we've been able to sit out and watch the tomatoes and courgettes grow. The strawberries are just about finished I think. Today I need to have a good tidy up, then finish quilting the Strawberry Crush and start on the borders. I'll be glad to get that one done.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Some finishes (82)

Today was one of those days when I tied up lots of loose ends and finished several things. I also made this cute Runaround Bag - one of the Lazy Girl Designs.

I finally finished the binding on my two redwork cat stitcheries - I finished the first one ages ago. Of course, I spotted a problem as soon as I put them with the first one - that one had the binding on the bias, these are straight on! Well, they'll just have to do, I'm not re-doing them - it'll have to be one of those "Who can spot the deliberate mistake?" things.

Then I managed to finish the quillow for my niece, who will be 8 next week. It's a bit loud, but I expect she'll like it - and the backing is a lovely girly pink polka dot. The backing looks awfully wrinkled but it's not that bad really.

And finally, there's this cute chook - this one's for my father-in-law whose birthday is on Friday, but I'm definitely going to be making one for myself. Don't you just love the way he's sitting there with his legs crossed? And here's the birthday card I made.

It seems like an awful lot, but apart from the bag and the card the rest was just finishing off bits and bobs.

Sorry the pictures are a bit all over the place, but I'm experimenting with Picasa - it's quicker to load than Blogger, and you can click on the pictures to make them larger - so hopefully I will get the hang of it.

The Roman Baths (81)

If you're interested in Roman history, then this is one for you. But beware - there's lots of photographs and lots of historical facts.

Before the Romans came, saw and conquered, a Celtic tribe worshipped the god they called Sulis at the hot springs in what we now call Bath. By around AD 60/61 the Romans had taken it over and recognising its curative properties set up the baths. The town was called Aqua Sulis - the Romans were remarkably tolerant of other faiths.
The Roman Baths 16/07/2008 06:05
If you click on the picture it should take you to the album of photographs I took in the baths. Let your mouse hover over the caption to see all the writing.

I forgot to include this picture in the album, but it's too beautiful to miss out. It is made of gold and may have been part of a priest's head-dress.

 I hope you've found this tour of the Roman Baths interesting. Next time we visit I'll try and take more photographs of Georgian Bath.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Stitcheries and Sally Lunn's (80)

I haven't got any quilty stuff to show at the moment but here are a couple of little stitcheries that I finished whilst we were away. The one on the left is Bea's BOM at Capricorn and the one on the right is Lynette Anderson's latest block for her Noah's Ark BOM (the link is on my side bar). I added a couple of extras - I pinched the ideas from someone else's blog, but I'm 
afraid I can't remember who.

Here's another piece of history from Bath - this is the oldest house in Bath, built in about 1480, though the stone facade is from the 1720s. Sally Lunn was a young Huguenot baker who escaped from persecution in France in 1680. She started making a brioche type bun which became known as a Sally Lunn, and has been made on the same premises ever since. You can still buy them there. Unfortunately I couldn't taste one of them - nor a Bath Oliver biscuit 'invented' by Dr Oliver in Georgian times to help improve the health of those people who came to the spa to 'take the waters', nor a Bath bun - as I have an allergy to wheat!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Awards (79)

 And now my cup runneth over!! Lettie (othwise known as MouseChirpy) at Polka Dot Pineapple, has also given me an award. Thank you Lettie, I'm always so excited when I see you've posted a new blog, because you show such beautiful crafts and your blog is a real treat on the eye. Amelia at Amelia's Musings has also given me the same award! Thank you Amelia, I love reading about your life in America - I learn something new every day.

The rules are as follows:

1.  The winner can put the logo on his/her blog/
2.  Link to the person you received your award from
3.  Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4.  Put links to those blogs on yours.
5.  Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.

My winners are:

AMY from Amy's Passions - Amy is a busy teacher and mum, who still finds time for quilting and running, goodness only knows how she does it.

CANDACE at Wraggedypatches - Candace has become a good friend through our blogs and is always the first to alert me to any new give-aways!

Wendy, from The Running Quilter, is another quilter and runner - I love to read her blog because she is so human and funny.

Solvi, at Solvi's Blog - Solvi is from Norway and although she doesn't always write in English her photographs are sensational.

Angela at So Scrappy - another busy teacher, mother and runner, whose blog about family life is always entertaining and fun.

Deb at Somebody's Mum - Deb's blog is always a good read, certain to bring a smile to my face first thing in the morning.

Gina, from Quilting in the Valleys - Gina is a prolific quilter who lives in Wales, and who has been extremely encouraging over the last few months.

So, thank you to both Amelia and Lettie for reading my blogs and giving me this award, and thank you also to all the other blog writers out there who give me so much pleasure each day.

Awards (78)

Many thanks to Kay (Musings) who has given me my very first award, the Arte Y Pico Award. This award is given for creativity, design, interesting material and contribution to the blogging community. The rules for this award are:

1.  Choose five blogs that you consider deserve this award for creativity, design, interesting material and for contributing to the blogging community, no matter the language.

2.  Each award must have the name of the author and a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3.  Each award winner must show the award and put the name and link to the blog of the one who has given the award.

4.  The award winner and the one giving the award must show a link to the "Arte Y Pico" blog, so that everyone knows its origin.

There are so many great blogs out there that I look forward to reading, and some of my favourites may already have received this award, but if so good for them, because they're getting it again!

1.  Jenni B at Allsorts  This is such a colourful blog, full of beautiful crafty bits and bobs.

2.  Merete at en reise med sma{s}ting i bagasjen  I don't always understand what Merete has written, as she doesn't always add a translation, but her photographs are always beautiful and interesting.

3.  Jane, at Posy whose blog is just so English, and reminds me of how pretty things can be if you just take a little bit of time and effort.

4.  Shirley, at Shirley Anne's Heart, who never fails to make me smile with her enthusiasm for life and for her family.

5.  Tanya, at Taniwa, whose tales of life in Japan are such fun.

Thank you Kay, it's been fun choosing these blogs.

Friday, 11 July 2008

The Stitchers' Angel Project(77)

I've just signed up for my first ever swap. I wasn't going to join in at first as I have so much to do, but this looks like a good swap for my first try, especially as I love to stitch. Go to Hugs from Helen if you want to find out more about it.

Rosie (76)

 9.15am  Yes, I know you've just dumped these quilts here so that you can wash them, but they look comfortable.
 11.00am  Yes, I'm still here and they're still comfortable!
12.00am  I know you're talking about me and I'm still not moving.
12.10pm  Well, alright, but only because I'm feeling a bit peckish.
12.20pm  Well, you've moved the quilts so will you please sit still for a little while so that I can get comfortable again. And I'm just making sure that you don't go anywhere for a while.

Home (75)

We managed to squeeze in a visit to the Roman Baths before we left Bath yesterday, and once I have sorted out the photographs I took I shall post them in a separate blog. We had an easy journey home - no rain this time. Rosie was delighted to see us and hasn't left my side since we arrived, apart from being shut in the dining room over night as usual. But she started miaowing at about 5 o'clock this morning and is sitting beside me on the bed now, purring away. Number One Son had been in each day to feed her and water the plants, so everything is the garden was looking good too.

It's great to be home. I always enjoy visiting other places, but I'm a home bird at heart, and can't wait to get home at the end of a trip away.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The American Museum (74)

Well, what atrocious rain we had yesterday. It was raining when I woke up and it didn't stop until the evening. And it was so heavy. So we had planned it just right. A leisurely start while DH read the papers and I did some sewing. I haven't done a huge amount of sewing but I have managed to finish a little redwork stitchery, which just needs borders to complete. Then we had a tour round the outskirts of Bath looking for likely areas to live (we didn't find any, I think we must have been in the 'wrong' part of the city) then on to the American Museum.

We had an early lunch in their cafe then went round the exhibitions. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photographs inside, but their website is very informative, with lots of pictures and a digital tour. There was an exhibition of early American history, as well as different rooms depicting life at different times up to the early 19th century. 

The textile room had rugs and tapestries as well as old quilts. It was rather dark in there, so difficult to see the quilts very clearly, but it was lovely to get so close to them. They ranged from real scrap/utility quilts that used up any leftover pieces of fabric (one had pieces ranging from crumb size to pieces about 10" x 25") to beautifully pieced log cabins and pieced quilts, to gorgeous crazy quilts with beautiful hand embroidery and finally a variety of appliqued quilts. How did they manage to make such tiny stitches? It's beyond me. What I was surprised at was the large size of some of the applique pieces.

The Titanic exhibition was fascinating, but by then I was really tired so looked round quickly then sat down while DH took his time. We didn't buy much in the shop. DH bought a map of the Wild West, showing where the Native American tribes originated. I bought a tea-towel with a schoolhouse patchwork pattern on it.

Today we return home, but hope to have time this morning to visit the Roman Baths and perhaps do a little more pig hunting - I can see a small quilt coming out of this (thanks to Candace for the idea).

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Yesterday we drove to some of the outlying towns and villages to look around, largely with a view to seeing whether we would like to live there. Although we decided that they weren't for us, for a variety of reasons, by far the prettiest and most interesting place was Bradford-on-Avon. It's built in a steep valley with the River Avon running through it, with many really pretty and ancient buildings. It's also declared itself a Free Trade town, which means that many of the shops and cafes stock and use Free Trade products. 

We had coffee/herbal tea and toasted teacake/flapjack in a tiny cafe which must have been in a very old building, with low ceilings, exposed beams, a rickety staircase. DH spotted some trousers and a top in a shop that sold clothes made from Free Trade Cotton and suggested I try it on. I really don't much care for buying clothes, and it is so rare that I see something that I like, that suits me and isn't extortionately priced. But this fitted the bill and he bought it for me. The picture doesn't really do it justice, but the hotel room has those hangars without hooks, that fit on to a fixed hangar on the wardrobe rail, so I ended up laying the clothes on the floor to take a photograph.

By the time we'd had lunch I was exhausted and we headed back to the hotel so that I could rest. We had planned an early dinner so that we could visit the Roman Baths in the evening, when they would be lit by torchlight, but I was just too whacked. In fact we ended up having our dinner in our room as I just couldn't face the dining room. 

I didn't take any photographs while we were out, but here's a photograph of the fabric I bought in Country Threads yesterday. Three panels to practice quilting on; some red gingham to bind the Christmas panels; the cream and red combo is to make a hanging pocket I spotted in a patchwork magazine; the jelly roll is just because I loved it - and having bought the book Jelly Roll Quilts I really ought to make something from it!

Sorry about the small photographs, but Blogger wouldn't co-operate and I can't see how to make them any larger in Picasa - but I think if you click on them they should take you to a larger version.

This morning the rain is pouring down already (it's 7.00am) and the forecast is for rain all day, so we'll probably go for a drive round Bath and visit the American Museum.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Monday 7th July 2008 - being a tourist (72)

Yesterday was 'tourist' day. We had breakfast and got going reasonably quickly. The first thing we did was to go on the tour bus, which took us all round the main streets and sights of the city. The commentary was very interesting, but I particularly remember what he told us about Queen Victoria. Apparently she visited the city when she was about 11, to open the Royal Victoria Park, and one of the newspapers commented that her dress was rather dowdy. She took great exception to this and vowed never to visit Bath again - and she didn't. Even when she had to pass through Bath in her Jubilee Year she had the blinds on the train windows drawn so that she wouldn't see it!

So here are a few of the main sites of the city, together with some snippets of history for you history buffs (you can just look at the pictures if you want!!). Some of the pictures are mine, some come from a postcard CD.

There has been a recognisable settlement at Bath since before the time of Christ, but the earliest remains date from AD43, when the Romans arrived. The first church was built in 1166, but the current building dates from 1499. Like nearly all of the buildings in Bath it is built from the beautiful mellow, yellow Bath stone.

Bath features greatly in two of Jane Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, and much of the city dates from Georgian times, when it saw a huge resurgence due to the popularity of 'the waters', believed then to heal all sorts of maladies. It actually tastes absolutely foul, very sulphurous!

The Circus was built by John Woods the Elder and the Royal Crescent by his son , John Woods the Younger. The Circus was built in 1754, and is indeed a perfect circle intersected by three roads. The Royal Crescent was built in 1766. Nowadays they cost an absolute fortune, well out of our league.
The Pulteney Bridge was built in 1733, modelled on the Ponte Vecchio in Italy. It is probably the only bridge in the world that has shops on both sides of the bridge. 

Are you still with me? Can you bear a couple more photographs? I do hope so.

Bath is an ancient city and still has loads of little alleyways and narrow streets crammed full of shops. I didn't buy a lot but I did pop in to the Cath Kidston shop and buy a new peg bag and oven glove in their sale. 

And of course, I went pig hunting. Here are just a few of the one hundred pigs in Bath.

By that time I needed a rest! I don't know about you, but I never sleep well in a strange bed, and I was exhausted. In the afternoon, thanks to Gabriele and Cheryl I managed to find a couple of quilt shops in the city - one just over the road from our hotel. I didn't buy a lot, but it was lovely to wander around different shops. I'll post a picture of my purchases another time.

After that it was time for another rest, dinner and bed.

Today we're driving around the area to pinpoint other places that we would like to live, though the news on our economy is so gloomy that it may be some time before we can sell our house.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Journey to Bath - Sunday 6th July (71)

I'm writing this from my hotel room at Pratt's hotel in Bath, Somerset. We finally got going at about 11.00 am this morning. I don't know what it's like at your house, but at our house I'm always ready long before DH. There's always time to do a few more jobs. This morning I had time to make a tea-bag holder! I always carry herbal tea-bags with me, just in case, since I don't drink ordinary tea or coffee, though most places have them these days. I've learned from experience not to shift from what I'm doing until he announces that he's 'walk-out-the-door-ready'.

It hasn't stopped raining all day, we had some dreadful downpours on the way down which necessitated slowing right down and we've had a thunderstorm since we arrived at the hotel.

We stopped at a couple of places on the way here, and found a charming town called Corsham, with a really pretty pedestrianised High Street. Being a Sunday it was completely deserted, no shops open, almost no-one wandering around in the rain - apart from DH and I.

We got to Bath at about 3.00 pm, not too bad a journey all things considered. 

Pratt's Hotel was built in 1743 by John Woods the Elder, one of the city's most famous architects. It is a classic Georgian building 
with many original features. There's even a bowed landing on the staircase which was designed to enable sedan chairmen to carry their clients right back to their rooms after they had a treatment in  the spa baths.

We haven't done anything since arriving but unpack and watch the tennis, but apparently Boyzone are playing a concert at the park just behind the hotel, so we might wander down there after dinner and see if we can see anything - we shouldn't have any trouble hearing them.

I did spot this beautifully decorated pig right close to the hotel, so I shall be keeping my eyes open for more pigs as we walk around the city tomorrow.