Saturday, 31 October 2009

A Christmas witch?

Yes, yes, I know it's Hallowe'en, but this really is intended for Christmas. I saw one of these dolls in my local quilt shop and thought it would make a lovely Christmas present for my nine year old niece. It came as a panel and I finished making it up yesterday, just in time for a final October flourish.

And I have to admit that I fell off the wagon yesterday. Do you have the same problem as me? I often go into a quilt shop thinking 'I'll treat myself to some fabric' and then find that I'm overwhelmed by the choice and end up with nothing. Well, yesterday I popped over to Midsomer Quilting with no intention of buying anything, just to check up on things since I'm stewarding at their Quilt Show this afternoon. And there were a load of new £5 a metre rolls in; and I loved the bright, bold colours; and they clicked in my head; and I thought I might have the germ of an idea; and so I bought a whole load! I'll try and show you a picture tomorrow. I'll also try and take some photographs at the Quilt Show this afternoon.

If you're into that sort of thing - happy Hallowe'en. And if you're not, then best wishes for All Saints' Day on Sunday, and for All Souls' Day on Monday.

Friday, 30 October 2009

A popular tree

When we first moved here, in the spring, this tree became a magnet for all the little birds in our garden once we had hung some bird feeders on it. During the summer it received few visitors, but this morning I had a real treat. As well as a robin and a dunnock, there were blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits and coal tits. I only wish my camera was good enough to keep up with their swift movements and take some photographs of them.

I'm looking forward to our winter visitors.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The American Museum In Britain

... to give it its full title. We enjoyed our visit to the museum yesterday. There's a very good, well laid out exhibit charting the history of America which both adults and children seem to enjoy. Then there are a series of period rooms, showing what American houses might have looked like at intervals of 50 years. These rooms use original walls, floors, ceilings, panelling etc from houses that have been demolished or updated, together with contemporary furniture and furnishings.

There is also of course an exhibition of American quilts, which I very much enjoyed looking at, and rugs, which were less interesting. What particularly fascinated me about the quilts was both the large size of many of the pieces that were used in, for instance the Baltimore quilts and a spectacular Bethlehem Star quilt, and the uneven-ness of many of the pieces. Quite encouraging. Less encouraging was the minute stitches in much of the quilting, I don't think I could ever make stitches that small and still get through all the layers.

They also have a series of temporary exhibitions, and this time there was a display of American Folk Art.
From October 2009
This tea towel shows part of a wonderful redwork quilt which gives a glimpse into life at the time. I particularly love the block third from the bottom on the right hand side, which shows a man pushing a woman with a parasol in a wheelbarrow!

Next year is going to be wonderful for quilt lovers, as there is to be a special exhibition of classic American quilts in Bath, together with an exhibition of historical British quilts at the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A busy few days

Well, it's been a busy few days. The weekend was most uncomfortable, as I wasn't able to sit down because my back was so painful, so I either had to stand or lay down. By Monday it was improving, and by yesterday, when I went to the chiropractor, it had improved further. It seems that I strained a ligament in my lower back, so the only real cure is time. But the chiropractor did some work on my back which eased things a lot.

So, thank you to everyone who has been so kind as to send me their wishes for a speedy recovery.

Number One Son came to visit on Monday, and to stay for a couple of days. We haven't done a lot, because he was very tired after his first half term's experience of full time teaching. Last night we went to the Theatre Royal in Bath (thank goodness I was able to sit down for long enough by then!) to see Mrs Warren's Profession, by George Bernard Shaw. Felicity Kendal (you may remember her from The Good Life) played Mrs Warren. It was a very good production, and we enjoyed watching a straight play. It was also very thought provoking, and we had plenty to talk about for the half hour it took us to drive home afterwards.

Today we are going to visit The American Museum, again in Bath, before Number One Son drives home. It's a while since we visited and I'm looking forward to seeing it again, particularly the quilts.

I haven't any pertinent photographs today, but here's one of a naughty Rosie sitting on my finished table runner (luckily I'd left it folded with the backing out). She never, ever sits on the stairs so I though it would be safe, but she found it and decided to break the habit of a life time. Doesn't she look guilty?

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Laid up

I'm currently trying to type this while laid out flat on my back, so forgive any typos. I tweaked my back whilst lifting the shopping out of the car yesterday, and it's now really giving me gyp. I know from past experience that the only thing to do is to lay down and let the inflammation go down and then I'll go and visit the chiropractor to get it re-aligned. So frustrating. We had planned to get out and garden today, though we've woken to rain so perhaps I might have had time to sew instead. Hey ho, patience is called for, not something I have in abundance when it comes to myself.

Meanwhile, here are my first finishes for Christmas this year. I turned Gail Pan's Christmas Wishes BOM into a table runner, and it looks stunning. I stuck to very simple, straight line quilting for this one. And I've made some little stitcheries for presents. I realise now, looking at the photographs, that I should have found a lighter background to display them. But it was lighter outdoors than indoors, and everywhere was pretty damp, so there wasn't a lot of choice.

So, think of me as I endure what could be a rather boring day, listening to the radio or trying to find something worth watching on the television. I don't think much sewing's going to get done today.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A great give-away

It's ages since I bothered to enter a give-away, but May Britt tempted me to pop across and look at this one, at Pumpkin Patch Primitives Quilt Shoppe, and the fabric collection just called to me to enter! Will you be tempted too? If you are, please mention that I sent you.

Monday, 19 October 2009

A great weekend

Number Two Son and his partner came for a visit this weekend. They didn't arrive until quite late on Friday evening, but we managed to pack a fair bit in.

On Saturday we went to Bath, and they went to the Roman Baths whilst we wandered around the shops. I actually managed to steel myself and went in to Marks and Spencer (it's a huge one and very busy on a Saturday) where I bought myself a pair of black trousers.

On Sunday we went to Longleat Safari Park. Sadly the monkey jungle was closed but we had fun looking at all of the other animals. After that Alexander and his partner went back to Brighton and we returned home.

I took loads of pictures of the animals, but sadly my batteries died before we went into the Butterfly House and before I had a tarantula sitting on my hand! These are the best of the photographs.

Saved by the postman

I'd just finished the usual chores - washing up, sorting out the laundry, stripping the beds - and had tidied up the mess I'd made in the study. And I was thinking that I ought to get out into the garden and do some weeding. But then the front door bell rang, and there stood the postman with a large box in his hand - my Stitcher's Angel swap parcel from Pia in Denmark. And my the time I'd finished going through everything and admiring it all, it had started raining! So now there's nothing else to be done but to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy the magazine.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: stitchers angel swap

Thank you so much Pia for these lovely presents, it has really made my morning. I love everything and know that it will get good use. Now I want it to stop raining so that I can get out and plant the bulbs!

And thank you also to Helen for organising this great swap again this year.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Almost Gordon

This quilt was started as a leader and ender project and was planned to be Lynette Anderson's Gordon Bear quilt - I'd won the pattern in her giveaway. But then a few weeks ago, when I wasn't feeling on top form, I just needed something that I could sit at the machine and sew. I also wanted something not too large to take to yoga classes. So I finished the bears paw blocks, added some sashing and a border and called it done.

The whole thing was made of scraps, including the backing. The sashing was material I'd bought to make a dress, but when it was finished it looked like a nurse's dress. It looks much better in the quilt.

I made these fabric boxes for the bathroom. I used a pattern in Tonne Finnager's book 'Sew Sunny Homestyle' but found the instructions almost impossible to follow, so ended up making it up as I went along.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Walking and yoga

Firstly, I want to thank all of you who have sent me such encouraging messages following my last blog. For several months now I've been wondering what was the point of blogging, what was the point of keeping in contact with people I've never met, am never likely to meet. And you've all shown me exactly what the point is. Because you're my friends. We don't need to meet, or even to know what we all look like, but somehow we've 'clicked' through the world of blogging and can hold out a helping hand across the world to each other. So - I'm sending you all cyber hugs and thanks.

The chronic fatigue I've been plagued with for the last three years seems to be on its way out at last. I can walk for several miles now without getting too exhausted; I don't have to eat every two hours because my metabolism is all over the place; I don't have to have a rest every few hours after doing very little. So now I need to get fit again. So walking is on the agenda - yesterday I walked for about two miles and it was great, so I'll be off out again today, looking for a new route around the village. Roll on January - we're planning on getting a dog, who will be a wonderful reason to walk, and a companion on my walks.

And yoga too, so good for the soul. I've started a new class, and been twice now. I just love having the time to properly relax, and focus totally on ME! Learning to relax and breathe again is brilliant.

No photographs today - Christopher has borrowed my camera for a few days - but there is some sewing and crafting to share in a day or so.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

I think I'm back

I've been largely missing from Blogland for some time now, though I've continued to visit all my favourite blogs. But I think I'm back now. Fingers crossed. I've pondered long and hard as to whether I should write this blog but decided that too many people keep quiet about their mental problems and that is what allows prejudice to arise and stigma to attach to people with mental problems.

I recently realised that I've become increasingly depressed and anxious over the last year or so and finally decided that I had to do something about it. My doctor referred me to a clinic that specialises in these disorders and I'm about to start on some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) classes that will hopefully help me to deal with my anxiety problems, which really have been getting me down. The doctor has also given me some anti-depressants, which are now beginning to work, so I'm sleeping much better and also beginning to feel much 'lighter' and more positive.

I've also taken some action myself and joined a yoga class in the village and the Amateur Dramatic group in Wells, where I'm going to be helping with the costumes for this year's pantomime. The amount of exercise I was able to do when we were in Cornwall has convinced me that I'm pretty well physically now, so I need to get out and do a lot more walking or swimming. So I'm going to look for a local walking group.

So, all being well, I'm back and on the road to recovery. Please forgive me if I haven't replied to any comment you have made on my blogs, but I just haven't felt like talking much.


We've just come back from a lovely long weekend in Cornwall. On Tuesday last week our friends Carol and Albert came to visit us, and then on Thursday we all went down to stay with another friend at a property she part-owns in Cornwall. The Dome House is set on a Country Club estate and was very comfortable. The weather was extremely kind to us and we were able to do a lot of walking (the other four did quite a lot of running too) as well as use the swimming pool, jacuzzi and steam room in the Club.

On Friday we drove to Rock and took the ferry across to Padstow, famous for being home to Rick Stein, who has several restaurants and shops there. It is an extremely picturesque little town and I'd love to visit again. We bought some mackerel for supper and cornish pasties for lunch at his Deli on the harbour front. We sat by the harbour eating our lunch, harangued by noisy, demanding gulls.

On Saturday we had a very long and hilly walk into Padstow which was great but a bit tiring, so we took a taxi back.

Sunday was a bit rainy and very fresh. We walked down to Polzeath, about a mile away, which is very popular with surfers. The waves seemed to be about perfect and there were loads of people there, many with their dogs, swimming (far too chilly for me), surfing and kayaking.

We travelled home on Sunday afternoon.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Cornwall

Monday, 12 October 2009

Angel swap

The goodies I made for my Stitchers' Angel swap partner have arrived. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photographs before I sent the package off, so have to use this picture that Tracey has put on her blog Mistea Crafts. I made a couple of the projects designed for this swap - the drawstring bag and the notebook cover (which I made smaller to fit the diary). I also made a needlecase with Helen's Angel Hugs embroidery on it, and a coaster with her roses pattern. I used another of the swap designs, again made smaller, to make a wrist pin cushion. There was also a little drawstring bag with some 'hand made with love' charms in.

Many thanks to Helen for arranging this swap, it's always a lovely one to be involved in.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Lake District

I've finally got around to uploading my photographs from our holiday in the Lake District. Turn your speakers off if you don't want to hear the rather irritating music!

Click to play this Smilebox postcard: The Lake District
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