Sunday 30 March 2008

Spring is sprung

We had Toad in the Hole last night. For those of you who aren't Brits, this is simply sausages with batter poured over them, and then roasted until risen.
I served it with mushroom and red wine gravy.Not only did the clocks go forwward here to British Spring Time but the sun shone warmly. I did some work in the garden though I am severely limited by my knee.
You know spring has definitely arrived when the first bluebell comes out.
And the pond starts to get smothered in blanket weed,
And Forget-me-nots are in flower.
These are lovely delicate late daffodils with two flowers per stem. Aren't they delightful?

These specie tulips did not appreciate the hail and snow last weekend.
And the little tree peonies have the look of something prehistoric.

Friday 28 March 2008

All I've managed to get

Not much is it? Just about 2/3 of the feathers. I'm debating soaking it in warm water to dissolve the water soluble thread before I echo round the outside of them, it would give me a cleaner line to follow. The risk is the remaining safety pins could rust. I need to start burying the threads before it becomes a big deal . The true colour of this quilt is the dark colour at the top of the screen. It's clickable (or should be). Thank you to all who emailed (and even rang me up!). I lost a few days to Fliss's washing and her birthday.

I am alive

Thanks for all the emails, I am OK just a little busy. Will get back to blogging ASAP

Sunday 23 March 2008

A bit of cakemaking and a bit of quilting

(or don't give up the day job) Fliss painting and decorating cake 2. A sort of hippy style.
A sample of the blue quilt.

Cake one was marginally better though it was marginal.

A Bit of Quilting and a Bit of cakemaking

(or don't give up the day job)

So Fliss and Will (the boyfriend) worked on ths one. Sort of hippy stlye.
I did sample of the blue quilt

Happy 19th Birthday Fliss!!!!


Saturday 22 March 2008


After having daffodils in flower in January, I suppose we should be ready for anything. We've had weather up in the 60ºs, and now near the end of March we are forecast possible snow over the Easter weekend. Early yesterday evening we had hail. All this landed in about 5 minutes. The next 24 hour forecast is high winds, sleet or snow, and or sunshine for our little part of England. (and the possiblity of more hail). My poor plants don't know what's happening to them.

Belated Mother's Day

As DD was in Barcelona for Mother's Day, we having it in our house today. I can look forward to unlimited cups of tea made for me and help round the house. Just as well as tomorrow is Fliss's Birthday, and that shall be 'her' day.
Lovely pressies. She's bought me a super evening bag. This has been a long time search for both of us, to find one small enough to be elegant, yet large enough to carry what we need, plus it must have a should strap to enable carrying a glass of wine plus a plate of food or enable us to shake hands when introduced. And it must go with what we wear, normally a bit of black if not all black. This one fits the bill perfectly and the strap can go into the bag when you don't want that 'shoulder bag' look when arriving. She got a similar one for herself too. We just won't be able to use them when we go to premieres together.

She also bought me this super Links of London keyring. I love their stuff.
My friend Pauline popped round this week carrying gifts as well. This is a product she'd found in an Alpaca shop. A very very gentle washing product. You just soak for half an hour, then spin or just drain the water away. Great for quilts with wool batting, and I have one of those alpaca battings which I've not used because I was worried about washing it. Google Eucalan to find were you can buy it. It's a Canadian product and they've changed the packaging but it seems to be available quite widely. I am the lucky recipient of two bottles so I shan't need to buy any for simply ages.

And then in Costco they had a Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner. I've wanted one of these for years but the only ones I've seen have been those bought back from the States. I just love the idea of going to bed and waking up to find it done. And the name IRobot, how appropriate in the week we have lost Arthur C Clarke. What a great guy.
And then this lovely Amyrillis has decided to grace us by coming into full flower this weekend. I bought it the other week in Ikea, so nice to have one at a time other than Christmas.

Wednesday 19 March 2008

A waste of a day

Cake making in the fore again. Yesterday I made an 8" sandwich cake and a 6" pair. Stupidly I used plain flour. So today I made them again, burnt the 8" ones, make up the butter icing in the opposite quantities........ Burnt the edge of one of the 2nd lot of 8" cakes so now it's a 7 inch square.......

Steph come back, we NEED you!

I bought a longer rolling pin so I hope I can mange the fondant icing, if not I shall give up and go to Waitrose or Costco and buy a chocolate fudge cake. I might be reasonable at making quilts but cakes seem to have a jinx on them.

Tuesday 18 March 2008

The cutting away is done.

We went out on Sunday night for a posh meal so I didn't start cutting away the batting until last night and finished it this afternoon. It doesn't look very elegant at the moment does it? More like some creature from the deep.
The more I handled this batting the less I liked it. It has been like handling fine steel wool. I threw the excess on the fire and it smelt revolting. Worse than that it melted onto the logs and kept alight for about ten minutes. Imagine that was on your bed in a fire. I always throw the scraps of my batting onto the fire if one is lit. This one behaved differently.

Sunday 16 March 2008

Water Soluble Thread

It's not often I use dark fabric and dark batting with trapunto work so I took these photos today as you can see the stitch easily. You only need to quilt with the water soluble thread outside your motif so it doesn't take as long as you might think. And you don't have to be amazingly accurate as if you go outside the line the background quilting will hold down and inside the line the other stitching in the motif will hold it in place. The exception to this is when you do shadow trapunto and then you must be as accurate as you would be with the final quilting.
The back
The front.

All done to Lou Reed, Walk on the Wildside and Leonard Cohen's Allelujah (sp?) with me singing along.
I found a neat little thing on blogger toady. If you have your home town in your profile, you can click on it and it will show you all the other bloggers in your area. 107 in Fleet. Sadly most of them abandoned, but one by a skateboarding friend of my DD and one of her school mates from way back when. Seems like I might be not only the most prolific but also the 'oldest blogger in town' (sad that, grin). Though there was another blogger building a kit car with a non disclosed age who could be older........

Friday 14 March 2008

Song of Love and Hate

Well not a song but I couldn't resist the Leonard Cohen theme (grin)
My fault entirely we didn't get the bags from Ikea until Tuesday so all these quilts didn't get moved out of their bags they were in for my talk. Worse than that (and this is my fault entirely) they were folded right down the middle and into quarters. The last place you want a strong crease is right down the middle. Even worse they were folded with the right sides inward (this makes the creases on the front even deeper). I should have pulled them straight out of these bags that night and left them flat on the bed until I got the new bags. A lesson learned.

This cherry tree outside our bedroom very cleverly has opened it's blossom after all the high winds.
Another disappointment, this is the first time I've used Hobbs Poly-down. If I'm using polyester bats, I use Quilter's Dream which is a joy to use. This black batting was so tightly rolled one end is unusable it has been stretched so much. I carefully used a hair dryer on it to sort it out but it still isn't good. Not only was it tightly rolled but it was so tightly in it's plastic bag it took 5 minutes to get it out. A six inch bigger bag would mean it didn't have to be so tightly rolled and it would relax a little in the bag when it's not compressed in storage. A case of sinking a ship for a ha'peth of tar. Not only that, it isn't even. The lighter areas are the cream carpet showing through.

What I used and loved was this Quilter's Choice pencil. It wrote smoothly on the fabric and where I made mistakes, all that was needed was a quick touch up with a wet/damp cotton bud. And of course it shows up immediately unlike the white Clover pen.

With great difficulty and a kneeling pad and lots of breaks and one period of lying on my stomach I managed to get this quilt pinned. It's only 40" square but it felt like a marathon. The fabric is darker than it looks in the photo, more a dark royal blue and dark navy.
And yes my knee has swollen up again..... Duh!

Wonderful news

This sort of thing doesn't normally end like this and I suppose this little girl will have a long recovery time but how wonderful after being missing for so long!
The BBC report here

Thursday 13 March 2008

I found a file of old lost photos

Another of Steph's cakes. This was eight years ago when beanie babies were the craze.

The back of a kaleidoscope quilt made for my neice Katy's wedding.
The complete back.

And the front with 9 or 10 year old DD, Flissy in front.

And this gorgeous cat is Sinclair's mother. She had Sinclair the year before and she was pregnant again in this photo. I was number 4 in line for one of these kittens but sadly there were only 3 in the litter. She's a pedigree Silver Spotted British Shorthair but Sinclair's dad was just some neighbouring tom cat. Sinclair came to our family when my friend got a dog and Sinclair never adjusted to it.

Wednesday 12 March 2008

Some days some things don't go well

I came downstairs early this morning to find small blood marks on the stone floor.
I sprayed it before I found a bit of kitchen paper to wipe it clean and looked round for the remains of a mouse. No dead mouse to be found.

Then Sinclair shows up and looks very interested in the whole area. I hunt too and find a live mouse half way up the curtain we hang in front of the front door. I'm still in my nightie but we live in a cul de sac so no one is going to see me with only five houses further up the road at the crack of dawn. I opened the front door and tried to 'encourage' the mouse out the door. Three cars came past and saw me. Then a whole family walked past. I couldn't work out which was worse being seen in the front door in my nightie or them seeing a mouse dive out of my house.

Tomorrow is another day...

Happy Birthday Colin!

Happy birthday, my man! You still look great to me. All my love, Sally
Though perhaps if we'd only known that this look wouldn't last?.......

Tuesday 11 March 2008

And the winner is......

of my little draw last week
Can you email me your address? You'll find an email address for me amongst the copyright notice on the right.

Quilt in the Saatchi gallery

Vote for Ferret's 'Nude with Rope' here
We 'need' a quilt in the final list and we definitely need a quilt in the gallery.

Monday 10 March 2008

Sally tries to make a birthday cake Part 2

This is where it started to go seriously wrong. I've never used fondant icing before. It was like trying to manipulate a heavy flowing silk satin which was tearing under it's own weight.
At this point I rang Steph up again. When she said'really, you're quite pleased with how it looks' I broke down into hysterical laughter.
I thought I could stick on a patch. No. Apparently I'd rolled it out too thin otherwise I could have manipulated it back together.

The patches on the side don't look too good either.

So I did a feather as it's a shape I'm familiar with. I drew it on the icing through a very thin plastic bag with the wrong end of a paint brush.

Stuck it on with a little water.

Wide ribbon cured the sides. I painted the feather with food colourant. The 'Sinclair' cat came from the local supermarket.
As DH isn't too fussed about cakes I thought this a good dry run. Fliss hasn't had a birthday without one of Steph's cakes and somehow I can't see my meagre efforts making up the shortfall (grin).

Sally tries to make a birthday cake Part 1

Just simple sponge cake, a little difficulty getting it out of the tin, but OK so far.

I rang up Steph (who made the fabulous cakes on my blog) for a bt of advice. The butter icing was much heavier on butter than I thought it would be. This is enough for DH's cake on Wednesday and for DD's cake next weekend.
Softened the jam with a quick blast in the microwave. I seem to have lost my pallet knif so these items were test driven instead. The cake server worked the best.

Jam on first.

Then the butter icing to straighten the cake up for the fondant icing.

Sunday 9 March 2008

Crufts=Quickie post

Just to say I adored the Giant Schnauzer who won BOS!
(and thank heavens that Wheaten with the dire haircut didn't, however good the dog, that cut was unforgivable).

Ferret's One woman Show

We didn't get to Ferret's one Woman show on Friday night but we did make it today.
It is a great venue for her work, just the right size. And take a look at her in front of her new masterpiece, 'Herd Mentality' isn't it great?

I think this is the best quilt I've seen in over a year.