Friday, 31 May 2013

City Sampler Quilt Along

I decided that I would join in with the City Sampler Quilt Along, based on Tula Pink's new book. I'm coming to the end of my City and Guilds course and should have a bit more time to sew my own things now, and I love the look of her quilt.

Here are my first three blocks.

I'm using the fat eighth bundle of S'more Love that I won a few months ago. I don't know if there will be enough but if not I'll have to buy a bit more, won't that be tough!

Thoroughly spoilt!

That's me!

Some of you will remember that I had a new sewing machine about three years ago, a Bernina 730 with  an embroidery module. A whizzy dizzy, all singing, all dancing, very expensive machine. But - and anyone who sews will know what I mean - I never bonded with it. Right from the start it had niggly problems; the needle up/down function on the foot plate didn't work; the knobs fell off; it had to be taken back to the shop countless times because the tension was off. And somehow I never quite trusted it, or really loved it. I always felt that it had been built on a Friday!

So, when DH retired recently, he suggested that I should change my sewing machine now, because funds are likely to be more limited in the future. So I researched. Should I stick with a Bernina or try another make? Should I have another embroidery module? Should I go for a cheaper model? All the usual questions.

In the end I decided to stick with Bernina, I'm familiar with them and I love the features they have. I felt that I had never really used the embroidery module very much so could live without that. And perhaps I would go for a slightly cheaper model. So off I toddled to the dealer intending to look at the 550QE. But then I spied the new 730 model, thought I'd just have a quick look. An hour later I was hooked, no thank you I didn't want to look at the 550 QE after all.

And a month later it arrived! It's a huge beast, with a wonderfully wide throat space and, so far, I'm loving it. So fingers crossed that it continues to please.

I tried to get a photograph that does it justice, but it sits right in front of a window, which is lovely when I'm sewing, but not so great if I'm trying to take a photograph, and having the blind down doesn't really help much either.

Monday, 27 May 2013

C'est la vie!

We're just home from a rather cold and soggy week in France. We took our motorhome and went with friends who know the area we stayed in - southern Normandy - well. What can I say about our week? It was an experience, yes, that's a good way of describing it.

We had our first experience taking our motorhome abroad; I survived two ferry journeys, six hours each, without having a panic attack; I practiced a little French; we saw something of the area. We thoroughly enjoyed the company of our friends and had some extremely entertaining evenings playing cards. We had some good food both in our motorhome and in local restaurants.

On the other hand, it rained nearly every day; it was so cold I wore a vest, shirt and jumper every day and a thickish coat when we went out, I even wore gloves occasionally. But on the whole we enjoyed our trip.

I haven't got many photographs to share, mostly buildings and French rain, but here are just a few to show you.

We did have a bit of sunshine on one day and were able to sit outside, but can you see how the wedges under our wheels seem to be sinking into the ground!

The campsite was small and beautifully maintained. Serge, the Guardian, was constantly going round with his mower, rake and leaf blower.

This park was right next to the campsite, and the house contained a Lace Museum. Don't you think the house looks just like a doll's house?

What can I say?

This was the tiniest house, barely wide enough for the door and two windows. I imagine it must have had just the one small room on each floor, unless it went back a long way.

The most beautiful tiling patterns.

One of the boulangeries in the town, with a little scene in the window.

Dry but cold. We went for a lovely meal in this restaurant.

We paid a visit to the National Stud, where there were lots of horses in the stables, and some wonderful old carriages.

I think this horse was having a laugh at our expense!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

This and that

I just finished making a blouse from some of the material I bought at Liberty. The pattern is from the Craftsy class Sassy Librarian Blouse. I really enjoyed getting back to some dressmaking, and took proper care with this one, making french seams as well.

Of course, whether I'll get to wear it is yet another point. After a few days of lovely sunshine which got us all excited thinking that spring had arrived, we're now back to cold, wet and windy. Back to vests and jumpers and scarves and gloves. Not fun.

And just because I found it on the camera, a photograph of Ruby sitting on 'her' seat in the motorhome.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Visiting London

We recently went to London for C's retirement 'do' for his work colleagues. We stayed for the one night in a hotel in the Covent Garden area and had a very little amount of time for sightseeing or shopping, but I made the most of what time we had.

After checking into our hotel on Tuesday afternoon we went for a quick amble around Covent Garden.

And then on Wednesday morning I had time to visit Liberty's of London before heading to Paddington Station to catch our train home.

The London Palladium is very close to Liberty's. We haven't seen this production of Chorus Line, but we did see the original production over thirty years ago at Drury Lane.

Liberty of London, such an iconic building. I had a wonderful hour or so wandering about and looking at the lovely things they have in store. I didn't buy much as it is rather expensive, but I did buy myself a tin for keeping my seed packets in and of course I couldn't leave without buying some fabric. I bought two lengths of their Tana Lawn to make myself a blouse and a dress. I'll show you that in a future post.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Winning - and cushions

I was recently lucky enough to win a giveaway on Threadbias, and what a wonderful collection of fabrics came in the post. A fat eighth set of S'more Love by Cosmo Cricket. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it yet, apart from look at it and enjoy it.

This is a pretty dreadful photograph, but better than nothing. I'll try and get a better picture soon.

So, many thanks to Threadbias.

My City and Guilds course is nearly finished now and I suppose it was inevitable that after a quite intensive two years I should be getting a bit 'demob happy'. I really didn't want to do the tasks I was supposed to be doing so I made three cushions for upcoming celebrations instead of working.

I made this lovely owl cushion for my elder son's partner who has a birthday coming up soon.

These two are for some friends who have recently got married.

The patterns are all from Bustle & Sew