Sunday, 27 March 2011

Newts and workshops

This morning Christopher spotted a tiny newt on the paving slabs in the courtyard garden, presumably making its way to the pond as it's the breeding season. So tiny, and so perfect.

I've not been able to do any sewing this week, since my sewing machine was being serviced. I was getting such withdrawal symptoms that I was tempted to dig out my old Singer Featherweight, but I've been pretty busy so never got around to that. I collected the machine on Friday and hope to do a little sewing this afternoon. But then, we're off in our camper van for a week, so more hand sewing only, if I have time. We're going to a campsite where we can get a train easily enough into London, and have three shows booked, and plan to visit a couple of museums or art galleries as well. And I have definite plans for a visit to Liberty.

I've been to two workshops this week. The first was to make a Surprise Box; I made a box with trays last year so this wasn't too difficult to get made.

I think I'm going to keep it in the van to use when we go away.

Yesterday I was at the last of a series of 6 workshops, one a month, where we've been designing and making our own machine embroidered masterpiece. Yesterday we made the frame for it; fiddly and time consuming, but worth it as it makes the finished picture look quite professional.

I really wasn't too sure whether I'd like it as I was working through the process, but now that it's finished and framed I'm quite pleased with it. 

The clocks went forward an hour this morning, for BST, and I find it quite disorientating to have lost an hour. I don't seem to have been up for long and it's already nearly 12 o'clock. 

See you in a week or so,

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


I've been hearing it all day, the gentle purring sound of frogs in our pond. And now I've come to bed I can still hear them outside the window, which I keep a little bit open. They are, to put it reasonably politely, 'at it like knives'.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Going crazy ....

from lack of sewing.

Last week I couldn't get into my sewing room - so hand sewing only.
Over the weekend I was busy cleaning the kitchen and getting it into some sort of order - no sewing at all.
Yesterday I had to take my sewing machine to be serviced. It will be away for up to a week.
This week I have my first assignment to write for my Open University course. It's due in on Friday and I'm way behind. I have a workshop on Thursday which loses one day, and I'm pretty tied up with things today, which leaves me two days to write it - so no sewing at all. 
Next week we're going away for a week's holiday - hand sewing only.

I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms and beginning to forget what I had on my mental list.

I just hope that the week after that is a little quieter so I can just sit and sew on my sewing machine.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Stage One Complete

The kitchen fitter finished his part of the job yesterday at lunch time - he worked like a steam engine as he was keen to drive back to his home in Scotland yesterday with as much daylight as possible. Why they sent a fitter from Scotland, way up in the north of the UK, down to us in the south west is a mystery.

We're really pleased with the way the cupboards look. I've got loads of cleaning to do though, before I can start putting everything away as all the surfaces and all the cupboards and all the doors are covered in a layer of very fine brick dust. Then the whole house needs to be cleaned as that's got brick dust everywhere too.

We have temporary worktops for the time being, until the granite worktops are made. They're coming next week to measure up and then it will be a couple of weeks before they can be fitted.

We also need new flooring, new tiles and then get everything decorated, so it's going to be another month or so before it's properly finished. I can't wait.

On the left there's an alcove for Rosie's bowls to go and next to it is a cupboard for our wellie boots.

Next to the sink, on the left is a dishwasher. We've never had one before so it's going to be fun learning how to work it.

A wonderful new cooker.

I'll try and remember to take some photographs of the nifty cupboards some time soon.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A Day off

Yesterday we took a day off from kitchen watching and went out. We first visited a large village/small town called Bruton. A very pretty place, which has kept much of its mediaeval architecture. We had coffee - well in my case a smoothie - at a cafe which is in a converted chapel; it looks very modern inside, though they have kept much of the chapel in tact, the balcony area being used as an art gallery.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

After strolling around Bruton we went to Stourhead, a house and garden owned by the National Trust. We didn't have time to look at the gardens, but will do that another time. The house was built in about 1740 for a wealthy banking family, as their holiday home (some holiday home) in the Palladian style which was popular then.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

I wasn't able to take many photographs inside the house because they have to keep the rooms so dark and although I could use my camera I wasn't allowed to use flash.

When we got home we found that David the fitter had done a great deal of carpentry work and plumbing, but it didn't look greatly different to bother taking a photograph. I'll take one this evening though.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Give away winner

Thank you to everyone who has been commenting on my posts lately, and I've now drawn a winner for my double anniversary give away. I wish I could send something to all of you, and one of these days, if I ever have a big win on the Lottery, perhaps I will. But for this time it's number 5,

And number 5 is Karen, of Log Cabin Quilter. I've no idea what I'm going to put in the package Karen, and it's certainly going to have to wait until the kitchen is finished and I can get back into my sewing room, but if you let me have your address I'll get a little something off to you as soon as I can.

Monday, 14 March 2011


The kitchen fitter is amazing. He started at 8.30 this morning and by 5.00pm he'd ripped out all the cupboards and fitted this run of new cupboards. It's looking good. Don't you love the little bit of lower worktop, especially for me for when I'm baking? Being just 5 foot I find it really difficult mixing in a bowl on the normal height worktop, so requested this.


The fitter arrived at 8.30 this morning and this is the kitchen at 11.00am. The fridge freezer has been moved to its new position and the cupboards on one side ripped out.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The cupboard was bare

The kitchen is now bare and empty, a bit like when we moved in two years ago but not quite as clean! The kitchen fitters are due to start tomorrow and hopefully finish on Saturday. We shall see. Here's a few snaps of the kitchen this evening.

The view as you walk into the kitchen from the hallway. You can just see the door to my sewing room at the back.

That's the sewing room door again, this time looking towards the window on to the garden.

Standing with my back to the fridge freezer, looking towards the sink and the garden window again.

Standing with my back to the sewing room door looking down the length of the kitchen. Christopher just had to get in on the act of course.

Standing in the same place and looking towards the left. The open door is the door to the dining room. That window and the other one on the same wall look out on to the lane.

I wonder what it will look like this time next week.

Green quilt

I know, I'm British and we always complain about the weather. And here I go again. I need to get a photograph of the green quilt early this morning as I'm going to a workshop all day and I must get it into the post tomorrow morning. I woke up to rain, so that was no good. Then it stopped raining and the sun came out. Hooray! So outside I go with the quilt. But there's a breeze so I can't get it into focus. And the sun is very low and bright, so no contrast. And indoors it's too dark still. But hey, ho, there we go. Photograph taken.

That's actually a disappearing nine patch block, so the pattern that shows up is purely coincidental.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Scrappy Saturday

I've finished my green quilt, but it's too late in the day to get a decent photograph, so I'll try to get one tomorrow. I've used a few more of the scraps, together with some blue and red scraps I had left to make another ring binder cover. These are a great way of using up scraps without having to think too much about  plans and designs. I've still got some green scraps left, so I'll have to get my thinking cap on for ideas - I'm hoping to get some inspiration from some of the other people taking part in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

It's been a bit of a frustrating week. The kitchen fitters were due last Monday to start on the new kitchen, so we busied ourselves clearing the kitchen before we went away for a few days last Thursday. Then on Thursday morning, just before we left, we had a telephone call telling us that the fitters couldn't start until next Monday, the 14th. We were not happy bunnies. So, of course, this week things have slowly crept back into the kitchen, and we've spent time hunting for things we weren't expecting to need. So it will have to be completely cleared out again tomorrow. Luckily we've got our camper van to do the cooking in whilst the kitchen is out of action.

Christopher is going to be largely in charge of the clear up though, as I have a day's workshop booked at Midsomer Quilting, entitled Threadplay with Dawn Cameron-Dick; I'm looking forward to it very much as well as the excuse to get out of clearing up the kitchen!


Quilt Along

Lily's Quilts QAL

I've only ever done one quilt along, Bonnie Hunter's Orange Crush, very early on in my quilting career. I wasn't too happy with that at the time, although I've learnt to love the quilt since then, apart from the quilting. So I've decided that the time has come to join in another. Lily's Quilts is just starting a dresden plate quilt along quilt that looks like fun so I've signed up for that one.

This bit is especially for Lynne, who says she's lost her blogging mojo; why not join in on this quilt along too, then you'll be able to blog about your progress.

I recently bought some Kaffe Fassett fabric 'just because it was cheap' - well it was cheaper than I'd seen it in other shops, so what was I to do? Some of it is his multi-designs-one-fabric, so that gives me 12 different designs, just perfect. All I needed was some white background fabric.

Every now and then I go through a 'Puritan' phase and feel that I shouldn't spend much money - more often than not if truth be told - so decided to go for a plain white, which would be cheaper than a tone-on-tone. I found some good quality, 100% cotton; true, it was as stiff as a board, but that was bound to come out if I washed it. So, I did, I washed it and it's still as stiff as a board. Now I'm telling myself that it will soften up once I start to handle it.

Watch this space!

Rosie clearly doesn't agree with us that spring is definitely on the way!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Double anniversary

I've delayed writing this post until today for a very good reason. This is my 400th post and also three years today since I started writing my blog.

I wrote on that first post that it seemed like a fun way to share my quilting projects and, boy, was I right. I've met so many people from around the world and shared in their projects too. There has been so much inspiration from other people that I whenever I've entered give-aways asking me to list my favourite quilting tools I've had no hesitation in putting my computer at the top of the list.

This is the photograph I showed on my first blog, the very first quilt I made. It was a small lap quilt for my mother-in-law who had recently had an operation. Sadly, my mother-in-law has since died, but the quilt is still regularly used by my father-in-law. And in a strange coincidence, the quilt I'm working on at the moment is another lap quilt, this time for my mother-in-law's sister, who is also having an operation this week. 

This is a scrap quilt, made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and was pretty quick to make. But what is taking me so much more time than that first quilt is the quilting. That was quilted in the ditch and pretty sparsely, but this time I'm quilting an all over design which is taking much longer.

I now have 53 followers, for which I'm very grateful, though I'm still not too sure what it means! But I'm delighted to have 'met' so many people over the past three years.

I can't have a double anniversary without a give away though can I? Though I've no idea what it's going to be at the moment. So, if you'd like to go into the hat please comment on this post and I'll draw a name on Monday 14th.