Monday, 31 May 2010

A few days in Devon

We've just got back from a few days in North East Devon, and I've got loads of photographs to share. But they need sorting out a bit.

However, I've just realised that we're at the end of May (and how did that happen so quickly?) and I haven't got much to show for this month. I did finish this tiny runner after playing with the embroidery function on my new machine, which worked quite well. And then I played with the BRS foot, though I need loads more practice with that. It just fits onto the window sill on the landing, so I didn't just keep it as a practice piece but finished it off properly.

And while we were away I finished Block 3 of Down in the Garden, so for once I'm ahead of myself since Block 4 hasn't arrived yet.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Jenny's Give-away

Jenny of Elefantz is having a giveaway to celebrate her daughter's sixteenth birthday. She writes a lovely blog and designs such pretty patterns too, so do pop over and join in the giveaway - if you do visit, please be sure to mention that I sent you.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Block 2 and Spring Fever Bingo

I've just finished Block 2 of the Down in the Garden BOM. Lost of work in each block, easily a month's worth of embroidery, but they look so lovely once they're done. This is going to be a really special quilt.

On the new sewing machine front, I've got lots of 'ordinary' sewing that I want to catch up with and then I can devote some time to playing with all of its features, and to taking up the free lessons. But even for ordinary sewing, it sews like a dream, quiet, even stitches, good natured when it comes to bulky seams.

You should head on over the the In Stitches blog ( where they're having a Spring Fever Bingo competition, with some wonderful prizes. I'd show the logo here, only I can't seem to get it to upload to Blogger.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Peace at last 2!

Don't you sometimes just want to kick Blogger out of the window! I spent ages this morning writing my blog, and just before I went to upload it we had a power cut. Now normally Blogger saves your work as you go along and only publishes once you press the appropriate button. But this morning, it decided to save nothing and then to publish just the title! I fear some of you might have been a tad mystified.

Well, here we go for a second time.

Today has been a day of almost complete rest, after a really hectic week preparing for the Chewton Mendip Art, Music and Flower Festival, which took place this weekend. Last week was taken up with collecting display boards and setting them up; sorting and hanging all the art work and other displays and organising the church to fit everything in.

On Friday evening we had a preview of the exhibition, and about 150 people came, so the church was crammed. I was back on duty on Saturday morning, when we had a further steady trickle of people coming to look. On Saturday afternoon we went on the Hidden Garden Trail, to visit six local gardens which were open to the public just for the day. They ranged in size from cottage garden to estate, and it was lovely to be able to have a look round them.

Sunday saw me back on duty in the morning, then in the afternoon we dismantled the exhibition, packaged up all the art, returned the display boards and tidied up the church. Then I had time for a short rest before returning to the church in the evening for the concert. There were two children's choirs in the first half, and the second half had a soloist a folk group and then finally our new choir, Village Voices Community Choir. Our choir has only been singing for ten weeks, but we made a splendid noise - singing in a church helped of course - and received a standing ovation. Our leader then invited members of the audience to join us for a reprise of Tonight, from West Side Story, and about twenty of them came up to join in. It was a wonderful finale to a most successful weekend.

And here's a slideshow showing some of the exhibits in the church, I hope you enjoy it.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Chewton Mendip Festival
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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

It's arrived

From May 2010
My new sewing machine arrived last week, great excitement. So many bits and pieces in the boxes, more than I've ever had with a new machine before. Mind you, it cost so much I was half expecting the feet to be gold plated! I've had a little play with everything, the BSR foot, the embroidery module, the different embroidery patterns, but not had time yet to really spend time experimenting.

I've just finished making a waistcoat, using the pattern Amy sent me as part of the PIF swap last year. It was a real fiddle, paper piecing with the tiniest pieces of fabric.
From May 2010
The finished size of the strips in the courthouse steps and pineapple blocks came out at a quarter inch. I'm pleased with the way it's turned out though; I've deliberately made it to be reversible, so that I can wear the plainer side when I'm singing with our new choir.
From May 2010
From May 2010
When we started practising at the end of February we had no thought of singing in public so soon.

This weekend is our village Festival of Arts, Flowers and Music, so I'm going to be pretty busy. Yesterday we set up the display boards in the church, and tomorrow we set up all the art works, ready for the exhibition at the weekend. On Sunday we finish with a concert, where the Village Voices, our new choir, will be singing.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

What HAVE I done!!!

Nothing dreadful I can assure you, but very exciting and VERY expensive!

As I wrote some time ago I've been thinking of upgrading my sewing machine, and DH was all in favour, since I spend so much time on it. He thought I should go for top of the range, and didn't even blanch when I told him how much the really whizzy dizzy machines cost.

After much research I found my ideal machine (which just happens to be on offer at the moment at our local sewing machine shop) and the not-quite-so-ideal-but-I'd-be-very-happy-with-it-all-the-same machine. Talked to DH about them and bless him, he said I should go for the ideal all singing, all dancing machine. So, I got on the telephone first thing this morning (the poor chap at the shop had barely walked through the door) and placed the order. And it should be arriving on my doorstep sometime in the next 48 hours.

Oh, you want to know what I'm getting?

It's a Bernina Artista 730E. Gasp! It comes with the BSR foot (now that was fun when I tried it out at the demonstration) and an embroidery unit along with all sorts of other unbelievable goodies. I can't wait to try it out. I may not surface from my sewing room for some time after it arrives, so I'm off now to do some housework and a bit of gardening. I might even bake some biscuits for Christopher!

Monday, 3 May 2010


Dulverton is a small town on the edge of Exmoor, an area of outstanding natural beauty covering parts of Somerset and Devon in the South East of England. We took our motorhome there and stayed on a site right on the edge of the town for four nights. And we were so lucky with the weather; we had glorious sunshine and were able to sit outside quite a lot.

On Saturday we went out for a long walk in the hills around the town, then had a late lunch in Town Mills before heading back to camp for a rest. Sunday was a very lazy day. We had glorious sunshine, so strolled around the town and read our books for most of the day. On Monday we went on a Land Rover safari, which took us down lots of unmade paths and to hidden parts of Exmoor. We were lucky enough to see quite a lot of Exmoor ponies, although the deer were rather shy and could only be seen in the distance.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow of my photographs.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Touch down

I'm just back from an action packed few days.

Thursday - left at about lunch time and drove both camper van and car to Brighton, it took us about four hours.

Friday - met Number Two Son for lunch and spent the afternoon with him. Drove both campervan and car to Redhill, about an hour's drive. Had supper with some friends.

Saturday - drove car to Reigate, met Number One Son for breakfast. Drove to Essex, about an hour and a half, to a family reunion. Met up with some first-cousins-once-removed I hadn't seen for about ten years and some second cousins I'd never met at all. We had a wonderful time reminiscing and looking at the old family photographs I took along. I filled a few more gaps in the family tree. By the time we left my voice had gone! Got back to the campsite at about 10.00pm.

Sunday - Christopher drove the camper van to his old running club to run with them. I drove the car home and went to our local quilt shop, where they were having a demonstration of Bernina machines. Spent about three hours there, looking at different machines. Then drove home. Christopher has just arrived home with the camper van.

Tomorrow - collapse.

I really want to show you some photographs of our mini-break in Dulverton a couple of weeks ago, so I'll try to get on to that soon.