Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A busy September

It's only when I went back over my September blogs to find my finishes for this month that I realised how much I've achieved. Several small quilts and some other small items.

This is my latest finish - and last for September. Number Two Son is a DJ and has recently bought himself some new headphones (or rather we bought them for him for a joint birthday and Christmas present) and I offered to make him a case for them. And then I had to work out how to make it. It's been one of those things that has presented itself to me in the wakeful hours of the night, and I finally worked out how to make it.

I didn't want to use buttons or velcro as that seemed a bit 'girly' so I used a zip around the 'equator' of the bag; I used double layers of wadding to give it a bid more body (and I've just discovered iron-on wadding, perfect for this type of project). Don't you love the fabric I found?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Keeping on top of things

My avowed intention for this autumn was to get up to date with all the odds and ends of things I've got sitting around so that I can get on with some new projects with an easy conscience. Luckily, I've never had anything much in the way of UFOs, but I do have a list of things to be done.

This kit was bought for my birthday by my brother-and-sister-in-law when they were in Seattle on holiday this year. I decided to make it into a cushion, and even managed to put a zip in the back. Sadly you can't see in the photograph, but all the fabrics are those with a dusting of gold in them, really luxurious.

I recently treated myself to Quilting Cats and Dogs by Lynette Anderson and have made these two notebook covers using patterns in there. They're destined for my two sisters-in-law for Christmas. So how's that for keeping on top of things!

We have a beautiful autumn day here today, with some very warm sunshine, so I'm now off to make my lunch and sit outside in the courtyard and then perhaps I'll be able to do some stitching out there this afternoon.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Just having fun

(I'm not too sure why the picture looks a little fuzzy, I took it about six times, and they all turned out like that)

I've spent the last two days playing with the last of the fabric goodies that I won in Angela's giveaway. There were lots of little squares and skinny strips in the most gorgeous bright colours. So I decided just to play. I stitched them together in any way that took my fancy, then quilted it by doodling all over it. The quilting in each square is different, and there are odd little bits of quilting in the filler strips too. It was great fun to make and I love the way it looks. Now I'm going to keep my eyes open for more of that colourful fabric.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

What have I been up to?

It's absolutely ages since I last posted. I don't know why, I've been busy enough since we got back from Edinburgh, but I just haven't got around to writing about anything.

Our WI (Women's Institute) group are having a competition for our October meeting, simply entitled 'Autumn', so I thought I'd make a little quilt.

The background is simply quilted with blue curves, and I've outline quilted around each of the leaves and letters. The tree has free motion quilting all over it using a variegated brown thread. I bought some brown felt ric rac, which I've never seen before and which is a bit wider than the narrow ric rac.

Whilst I was online buying the brown ric rac I couldn't resist this:

It's hugely jumbo ric rac in turquoise, purple and mint green. I've no idea what I'm going to do with it, but isn't it terrific.

It's always a bit sad at this time of the year, when we start the autumn tidying; pulling up the spent vegetable plants and annuals, clearing leaves, getting tools tidied up and cleaned. We've still got loads of tomatoes in the greenhouse, as well as leeks, swede, parsnip, turnip, swiss chard and squash growing in the garden, along with the last few beetroot, carrots and spring onions. And there are a few lettuces still there too. But I'm reaching the time when I'm going to have to start buying vegetables again, and I certainly begrudge that. Next year I'm going to try and be more organised and get some more winter vegetables in to the ground in time.

DH has decided to cut down a tree - as you do, especially when there's plenty of other jobs that really ought to take precedence!

We have (or had, I should say) a large cherry tree, which is far too near the house, never produces any cherries, loses its leaves before any other tree in the garden, dropping them into the pond, and cuts out a lot of light. So we took the decision to cut it down. So yesterday Christopher cut off all the branches (dropping even more leaves into the pond of course! And spreading them all over the garden) and cut them up either for firewood or to go to the dump. Now he's planning to cut the trunk down bit by bit, which will make lovely firewood. I don't know if he's got any plans to sweep up all the fallen leaves!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Two finishes

I was really keen to get back to my sewing machine after more than a week away, so got down to using the fabric and windmill template that I had won in Soscrappy's giveaway earlier this year. Once underway I realised that the colours were perfect for a cot quilt, so went ahead with that as a plan. I bought some suitable fabric for the border and backing and Bob's your uncle. Done.

Whilst I was away I, of course, did some hand sewing and yesterday I got it made up into this Huswif Needlecase, a free pattern from The Painted Quilt.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Well, I've caught up with all the washing, caught up with harvesting and storing or freezing the vegetables and caught up with weeding the vegetable garden. And I've been enjoying the sunshine we've had this week, taking plenty of time to sit in the garden and read. But today I've woken up to heavy rain, so I've decided to take it easy, stay in bed and write about our trip to Edinburgh.

Beware - this is a long post with lots of photographs. I want to write about our holiday all in one go or I may never get round to finishing it. And I've got lots to write about.

Edinburgh is a fine old city, but I can imagine that it would look very grey and dour for most of the year, especially in poor weather. During the Festival season it's absolutely crammed with visitors and covered in flyers and posters for all the show, not to mention all the costumed and made-up performers heading to and from their shows or staking out the Royal Mile to hand out leaflets about their shows.

This first slideshow is of photographs of Edinburgh. The castle is built on a high hill which bisects the city, with the older part on one side, the newer part on the other. In order to get anywhere in the city you have to climb steep hills, or go up staircases tucked away in narrow alleys. I certainly felt as if I was getting fitter by the minute walking around from show to show!

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There are several Festivals running during August, the Book Festival, the Television Festival, The International Festival and the Fringe Festival and probably some others. The International Festival was the original and the Fringe followed on as more and more performers wanted to take part. The International Festival uses large theatres with large audience capacity and brings in expensive plays, dance groups and musicians from all over the world. The Fringe on the other hand uses venues all over the city ranging from tiny cellars which hold no more than 12 audience members to bar rooms, churches, lecture halls, student bars, hotel rooms, marquees and tents, to name but a few. Anywhere that can be turned into a performance space with the use of a few black curtains and some lights gets used. But performers still come from all over the world.

We travelled up by train with our elder son, which took us about eight hours, and as soon as we arrived at our rented flat we dropped our bags and went straight out again. The place to start is the Royal Mile, which is cordoned off from traffic and taken over by the Fringe Festival. Anyone who isn't performing gathers there to hand out leaflets promoting their own shows, so it's a good place to begin to get a feel for what's going on. There are also several outdoor performance areas with free street shows, dancers, singers, jugglers, magicians, fire eaters, acrobats.

This next slideshow shows just some of the performers seen on the Royal Mile on one walk down there.
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So, what did we get up to in the six days we were there? Hold on to your hats and here's the list, day by day.

Monday           12.30      Alcatraz       A play about the occupants of a single hotel room over the course         of  a year
                         3.15       Piff the Magic Dragon      A magical show for adults
                         8.00       Grupo Corpo        A dance group from Brazil

Tuesday           2.00        Suspicious Package        An interactive show in which the audience (no more than six) played all the parts, and were told what to do via an iPod. We walked around the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh, occasionally meeting with other members of the 'cast' to solve a mystery
                         4.00       Extinguish      A monologue about racism and death. Absolute rubbish, but brilliantly performed
                        7.45       Dr Faustus       A cut down version of the play by Christopher Marolowe
                       10.00      Smoke and Mirrors       A burlesque variety show
Wednesday      In the morning I visited an exhibition of Impressionist paintings at the Scottish Academy of Art
                        2.55      Thought Thief        A mind reader, and we had absolutely no idea how he did any of his tricks
                        6.15      Henry VIII and his Six Wives         A comedy
                        8.30      Nina Conti           A rather rude and extremely funny ventriloquist

Thursday        In the morning I visited another art exhibition of modern art by Martin Creed
                       In the afternoon I went for a walk around Edinburgh
                       4.15       The Way to Keep Him        A Restoration comedy written in 1760
                       7.30        Piano Divalicious             A one woman show by Amy Abler

Friday      11.00       The Cape Academy of Performing Arts         A dance show
                      2.30          Cape Dance Company              Another dance show
                      4.00         Paul Merton and his Impro Chums          An improvisation show along the lines of Whose Line is it Anyway?
                       7.45        Under the Black Light          A play about two women doing the props for a Broadway show

Saturday        1.00         Joyce Grenfell          A Joyce Grenfell impressionist doing some of her songs and sketches
                       3.10        Eric's Tales of the Sea        An ex-sub-mariner telling tales of his life at sea
                       5.00        Edinburgh Tonight        A review chat show with some of the performers from the Fringe
                       8.15        Francis Ruffelle        A singer with a band, nightclub style

And there you have it, 20 shows and 2 art galleries in six days! DH and DS managed even more since they went out at night after I'd gone to bed and in the mornings whilst I was still resting. Without exception we enjoyed all of the shows to a greater or lesser extent; some were brilliant, some okay, the rest in between. But we had a terrific time, and I'd certainly go again.

And now, if you're still with me and can face yet another slideshow, here's one of the Martin Creed exhibition that I went to. I wonder what you'll think of it? I rather enjoyed it.
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If you've stuck with me all the way through this, many, many thanks and I hope you've enjoyed sharing in my Edinburgh Adventures.