Sunday, 27 June 2010

Summer on a plate

This is the size of quilt I think I like, small enough to finish in one day, before I get bored with it, easy enough to handle for quilting. It's actually meant to be a placemat.

Yesterday was a pretty hectic day as we had friends for supper, so most of the day was spent cooking and preparing. So today I planned a 'me' day, a play day. One of our guests had remarked that the foot looked so pretty, 'like summer on a plate', and I woke up this morning with plans in my head. I knew I wanted to include a Dresden Plate, for obvious reasons, but the rest evolved as I was going along. And for once I'm not ashamed to show a close up of my quilting! I love my BSR foot, it makes it all so much easier. It's still not perfect, nor ever likely to be, but oh so much better than before. I've also been practising on small practice blocks, using ideas from Leah Day's 365 Days of Free Motion and I actually feel as if I'm getting the hang of it, at least on small samples. Goodness only knows what I'll be like on a full size quilt.

We've had yet another glorious day today, well glorious to look at it from the coolness of my sewing room, far too hot outside. And now, I'm off to water the garden and then we're going to a neighbour's for a barbecue. What a social whirl we've had this weekend!

Friday, 25 June 2010

School House block

I've just finished making this block for July for our European virtual bee. It was a bit challenging, especially the angled seams and the fact that it finishes at 6 inches, but it was fun to work on and I especially enjoyed adding the tiny, tiny embroidery in one of the windows.

My month is September, and I have yet to decide what to send out for my block, but I've still got a couple of months to think about it.

I seem to have had a funny few days. DH is away on business, and I've cleaned the whole house. I didn't fancy getting on with the second quilt for our guest bedroom, probably because I've just finished the matching quilt and I don't fancy dealing with the same fabrics all over again. I've been working on some 'liberated' blocks to make a birthday quilt for my sister-in-law for August, and I've been practising some machine quilting. I've also been doing quite a lot of hand sewing now that Wimbledon's started. So far the weather has held up, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed; though mind you some rain would be good too so that I don't have to keep watering the garden!

Thursday, 24 June 2010


Jenny of Elefantz is starting a new BOM on July 1st. You can click here or on the button on my sidebar to go and see what it's all about. She does pretty combinations of stitchery and applique so I'm sure you'll love it.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

A Box for Elizabeth

It's been a glorious day, not too hot but bright and sunny, so this morning I spent in the vegetable garden, planting up some small plants and sewing some more seeds - peas, carrots, salad leaves, radish, spring onions and beetroot. I might get one more sewing in, but the end of June is usually about the end of sewing time if things are to grow and produce before it starts getting too cold again.

This afternoon I set to and made another of the three tier boxes for another of my nieces. It was her birthday a couple of weeks ago, but there hasn't yet been a chance to get it to her; it's certainly not something I intend trusting to the Royal Mail (or whatever they call themselves these days). I'll be putting some sewing things in it, scissors, needles, pins and tape measure, and Christopher will be able to deliver it when he's next up in London for work.

Friendship Braid

I've made this quilt for an ex-colleague of mine. We worked together for about seventeen years and she was a huge support to me when I was Acting Head and at other difficult times. She's finally decided to take the plunge and retire.

I used a jelly roll which had been cut by De at Midsomer Quilting. She cuts a lot of their own jelly rolls, which is great because I hate sewing with the pinked edges on commercial rolls, I can never work out where the edge is supposed to be. Aren't the colours wonderful?

I'm pleased with the quilting on this one too. I stabilised it with invisible thread then used one of the decorative stitches to do a simple zig-zag following the pattern. In the borders I stitched a cable pattern. I couldn't work out how to turn the corners, so I've put a button there instead!

By the way, don't you love the pink and green chinese lanterns hanging outside the back door? Christopher found them at a local garden centre; they're made from a nylon type of material so can be left  outside during the summer, and they're solar powered. They look really pretty once it gets dark.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Choir videos

I've just discovered how to upload videos to YouTube. Number Two Son, who was visiting us for the weekend, took these videos of our Choir using my ancient mobile phone. The quality is dreadful, but it's fun to have them. Another time I'll get someone to make a video using my camera and see if that's any better.

Village Voices

On Saturday our Village Voices Community Choir sang at Litton Summer Fete. We repeated the same programme that we'd sung at Chewton Mendip Festival - Wouldn't it be Lovely; I Can See Clearly Now; Born Free; Tonight; The Rose, which we sang unaccompanied.You can see me here wearing the waistcoat that I made not so long ago, but inside out. We were all supposed to wear variations of black and white with touches of purple, so the inside lining of my waistcoat was perfect. It was a glorious summer day, so weren't the village lucky? It seems so often to be the norm for it to tip down on village fete days. It was quite a new experience for us to sing outside, but we seemed to make a reasonable noise.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


The Stay-at-Home Round Robin quilt that I'm making, with patterns in Popular Patchwork magazine each month, is getting quite large now about 46" square. Christopher thinks I should have stopped after the applique round, but I rather like the pieced round that I've just finished. What do you think? There's at least one more round to do, with stars, so I'm trying to decide whether to carry on and add more or to finish it now. I think I'll wait and see what the next round looks like.

At last!

This quilt has taken me so long to get finished, as I kept getting sidetracked. And to be honest, though I loved making the top, I really don't enjoy the quilting part. I don't mind doing the binding once the quilting's done, but I haven't learnt to love quilting yet. And this one hasn't helped me on my way either.

I straight stitched around all the triangles and in the baskets, and then thought I'd practice my free motion skills by doing a motif inside the white rectangles and triangles. I drew some motifs using chalk, stitched them, and hated them. So I washed it to see if it looked any better once the chalk was washed out. It didn't, I still hated them. So yesterday I stipple quilted in the white rectangles and triangles, right over the top of the motifs. I didn't even unpick them first. The amount of quilting is a little unbalanced now (and so am I after all that!) but the motifs have nearly disappeared and the quilt is finished.

Now all I've got to do is the quilt for the other bed in our guest bedroom!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Jenny of Elefantz set a challenge for July to make something out of a pair of old denim jeans. Well, I had a pair put to one side waiting for me to grow into (shrink into would perhaps be more accurate!) and I reckon I'm getting too old to need more than one pair of denim jeans for the garden now. So this was the perfect challenge for me. 

I used some of the stitch patterns to decorate it, and then set up the embroidery module to embroider the tulips on the top of the bag. I had a few problems, because the thread kept getting snarled up underneath, but that's probably something I'm doing wrong rather than a problem with the machine. The lining might have been better in blue, but I don't have any fabric large enough for that, so the green and purple stripe and spot will be just fine. I've put a zip pocket, a key pocket and a mobile phone pocket inside.

And now, since it's pouring with rain, and I'm in the mood, I'm off to finish quilting a quilt.


Snow? No, dandelion spores. We payed a flying visit to see family on Friday and Saturday and stopped at a motorway service station on the way. The air was full of dandelion 'fairies' and they had blown into drifts that looked uncannily like snow.

And then we had to rub our eyes yet again when we set up at the camp site. Yes, it's a camping cat, sitting quite contendedly at the next door caravan.

And then, yet another weird sight! Number One Son enjoying the sun when we went out for lunch.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Day Five

On our last day we visited Arlington Court on our way home. Arlington Court belongs to the National Trust and homes the National Crust Carriage Collection, which was absolutely fascinating. Here are just a few of the carriages, chariots, landaus, barouches, gigs, etc, which they had on show.
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Friday, 4 June 2010

Day Four

Yes, I know it says Day Three on the slideshow, but I forgot that Day Three was a washout. On the Saturday of our mini-break we went to Broomhill Sculpture Garden, which is part of an 'Art Hotel'. The hotel was set in its own little valley, very tranquil and beautiful. There were sculptures all the way up the drive and then we had coffee before we started on the garden. It wasn't really a garden, more a piece of countryside that they owned and had put sculptures in as a showcase for the artists; many of the pieces were for sale. There are loads more than those in the slideshow, but I've chosen the most interesting. There was also a gallery in the hotel which had smaller sculptures.

After looking around we shared a tapas plate for lunch - sorry, I forgot to take a photograph, but it was very yummy. In the afternoon we visited another garden, but the batteries on my camera ran out, so no photographs. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was a beautiful English country garden, with lakes and a stream and lots of specimen plants.
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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Day 3 - and a give-away

Day Three - it rained all day; we stayed in the motorhome most of the day and read and played Rummikub and sewed (well, I sewed). We went out for a drive in the afternoon, but it was still wet, so no photographs at all.

Barb over at Bejeweled Quilts by Barb is having a wonderful give-away of an Accuquilt Go Cutter - oh how I'd love one of those, my cutting is often so wonky. Much though I'd rather tell you to stay away, I suppose I have to tell you to go and check it out!

Day Two

On the second day of our trip we went to Ilfracombe, a town on the north coast of Devon. The town's a bit run down these days, but the harbour area is still pretty. The weather was glorious, blue sky and sunshine and we decided to go on a boat cruise around the coastline. Luckily, we had the sense to take some extra layers with us. I felt sorry for those people who hadn't, as it was very breezy and chilly once we got out on to the water. It was pretty choppy too, and several people started feeling a bit queazy. We were hoping to see some seals and dolphins, but the water was too rough, so we had to settle for the dramatic coastline. Look at that sea, we could almost have been in the Caribbean!
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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Day One

Last Tuesday we went to a campsite near Ilfracombe in North Devon. The campsite was beautiful, quiet and secluded with excellent amenities (I sound like a travel brochure!). On Wednesday we set off to explore. The slideshow shows you some of the sights we saw. I apologise for some of the photographs being a bit fuzzy; it was so sunny (!) that I couldn't always see the screen and had to just point and press.
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