Saturday 31 May 2008


Two things have stopped me blogging about anything quilty.
One is I'm repainting the bedroom in off white and if you're wondering why it's taking so long, it's because our bedroom by UK standards is big about an 80' perimeter. One and a half walls left to go.
And madly arranging things for DDs trip to South America. Different vaccines, different medications for each country, various kinds of rucksacks, trying to get her an emergency credit card etc. etc..
And that's apart from me trying not to have a nervous breakdown.
Life might get a little more back to what's considered normal by Tuesday (or it might not).
I have been taking photos with my new phone and once I've worked out how to transfer them to my pc, I'll upload them.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Why do we worry so much?

about our kids.
Could it be because they phone you and say, 'hey Mum, I'm going down the Amazon next month"?
That does it for me and her Dad. I thought all I had to worry about was her driving or the other nutcases on the road, little did we know......
Now I have to worry about all sorts of new and unheard of dangers.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

odds and sods

My friend came back from a holiday in South Africa bearing gifts. This lovely woven bowl is woven out of the thin wires used in telephone cables. She said there were others with an even more intricate weave but this was the one in 'my' colours.

Isn't the bottom wonderful?
And these hand carved salad servers, I love them.

Each is carved from one piece of wood but carved to look like a two piece construction.

Well we finished painting the bedroom on Monday and the colour has not worked, it actually looks better in the photos than in life.

I quite liked how it looked by this mirror, sort of Wedgwood effect.

But it really doesn't go with the Toile de Jouy.
Doing a bit of weeding yesterday when I came across this chap hiding under something. Well we do live at Toad Hall so he's at the right address.

And this French butter is one of life's little luxuries. Absolute heaven.

Sunday 25 May 2008

Just to stay in touch

We're busy painting our bedroom. Dh is doing the ceiling, me the walls.
I won't bore you with pictures of watching paint dry.
Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday wishes, it nearly made it worthwhile being another year older, nearly but not quite... LOLS

Saturday 24 May 2008

Thursday 22 May 2008

Fliss is fine -updated

For those of you worried about Fliss and the bomb in Exeter, she is fine. Apparently the news at the moment is it was a nail bomb and one person is injured.

Update. It appears the only person hurt was the one with the bomb. One report has said it was a nail bomb. Another report said it went off in the toilets. Fliss has said the restaurant is a glass cube.

Further update.
Report from the BBC here
Seems rather sad

How to use your blind hem foot.

As I've been taking up curtains on the machine, I've been thinking how I've seen a couple of blog examples on how to do this the wrong way. So I thought I'd do this little sample to show you how it works.
First fold your edge to the back once and press.
Then make a 2nd wider fold along the line you want the hem to finish. Press.

You might want to enlarge this photo so you can see this next fold. You want about ¼" of the hem showing.

If you've ever wondered why the hemming foot has that piece of metal in the middle, it's so you can rest the fabric against it close enough just to catch it with the sideways stitch.

It should look like this.
Then fold back to the finished way and press. If you click on the photo below and look closely, you'll see the little hemming stitches. Now if I'd used a matching thread these wouldn't show at all.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

A sucessful domestic type of day

I finished colouring the quilt, I got the last pair of bedroom curtains prepared for taking up, I took the cat the the vets for his shots, I sorted out the cable guy for Fliss's cable phone line, I got most of the planters on the patio planted up, I did a week's ironing, I strimmed the edges of the lawn, I cooked dinner and still found time to take a few photos for you.
I'm going to leave this top for a week or two to allow the colour to really set.

The very last of the tree peonies. I shall miss them until next year.

My most favourite rose, Zephirine Drouhin. Thornless with a fabulous perfume, sadly prone to blackspot, but I'll forgive her anything.

Silly double clematis

Sunday 18 May 2008

My haul from Malvern

You know how I said I would only buy thread? Well I bought two large cones of embroidery thread and all these other tools and goodies.
I bought these to make things for our bedroom to go with the blue toile de jouy.

And then I can never resist the Carol Bryer Fallert stuff, particularly when it's going cheap. And of course more black, black is the new black and a girl can never have too much.......

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Whoo Hooo!

Just a little of blowing my own trumpet, I had a phone call this afternoon to let me know my little quilt, Cream Dream has won the miniature award at Quilts UK!
I can't remember the size but I think it's about 16" X 12"

Monday 12 May 2008

Sex in the City and hot and steamy in the bedroom

I gave up my place next to my DH at the world première in London for the Sex in the City movie. I let my DD go instead and it was a total suprise for DH when he came home to find Fliss arriving at the same time to get changed.

I've just spoken to her after she's walked the walk down the red carpet (not sure of the colour as sometimes they use a blue one) and she was just so excited to be so close to Sara Jessica Parker. She looked gorgeous in a new little black dress with a cream satin shawl collar and cut low front and back. (Fliss that is). I don't expect them home until the small hours as the party will go on for ages and Fliss just won't want to leave, well who can blame her?

Meanwhile back home at Toad Hall, Steph came over to help me strip the wallpaper off our bedroom wall. It's quite hot this week here in England and running two steaming wall strippers made for a very warm room. We've got quite a lot done and although the longest wall is left, it has no windows or doors in it. Steph is coming back on Wednesday and Thursday and then it should be totally ready for painting.

I might get some more of the darker teal on the quilt top tonight.

Saturday 10 May 2008

Ah, that's better.

I've done a little of the more intense colour, don't you think this is so much better?

Marking finished but...

I drafted the inner feather motif and got it all marked up yesterday.
I've found that even with white behind the markings (as opposed to a brown leather sofa) the colour is not as intense as I would have liked, so I'm going to go over it with another blue/green to liven it up.
And this is the darker tree peony, I just think it looks like it's come straight off a Chinese bit of porcelain. Apparently for centuries only Chinese Emperors were allowed to have these very
special plants.

Friday 9 May 2008

72 hours in the life

of a tree peonyTuesday late afternoon
Wednesday lunch time
Wednesday after sun had gone down but not yet fully dark
Thursday morning.

And this is a deeper coloured one on another bush.
These don't flower for as long as the perennial peonies but are worth it for the sheer size of their flowers. The flowers range from 8" to even 13" or 14" on an older bush. These flowers are about 10" wide.. In the gardening directions it says to plant them in full sun, but I know the National Collection in one of the London squares has them under trees and they seem to do very well there.

Thursday 8 May 2008

New feathers

Last night I started designing the 2nd of the quilts I've entered for this year's shows but haven't made yet (gulp).I sat at my desk with a pencil and an eraser and played around until I came up with this. Most of the erasing was done to stop the feathers looking too formal. I find it quite difficult not to make the lobes even like the old feathers.
Once I was happy with it, I went over the pencil with a black pen. I then flipped the paper over (lightweight sketch pad) and copied it onto the back of the sheet. This gave me the mirror image.
The fabric is fine enough to trace through without the use of a lightbox with extra white paper behind the design. The brown lines are a disappearing Clover pen ti give me registration marks.
Whenever I've marked up wholecloths, I've always been a little sad to see the marking disappear. It's a totally different look. So this time the marking is part of the design. The fabric is pale blue and the markings are in teal and deliberately blurred. I shall stitch in teal thread to emphasize the lines.
Once I have this border design marked up, I shall design the centre of the quilt. I'm wondering whether to stick with the teal or change to a different colour for the central motif.

Photo Fun

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Squirrel, Cat and Quilt

So here he comes ready to attempt the new squirrel proof bird feeder.No problem.
See him giving me the 'evil eye'?
This is about 7' away from the sitting room window. And what does the cat do? Well what all cats do, lie on the newly quilted project.

Finally Sinclair went out and sat by the bird feeder, but off course that discourages the birds. I'm wondering if I put grease on the pole, if that shall discourage the dreaded American Grey Squirrel? They look just like rats don't they, just with bushy tails. Whoever bought the first lot over here because he thought they'd look good in his estate must be turning in his grave. These imports have decimated our native red squirrel who does far less damage to trees and plants. So much so there are very few of our own squirrel left.

Saturday 3 May 2008

Quilters just wanna have fun

I've been in the sewing room again this afternoon and it's been such fun to play with the background. The only criteria I've given myself is to keep the scale somewhat similar but allowing myself to create little bubbles of fabric. So of course I couldn't resist a feather or two.And little swirly bits.
And another feather plus a many tentacled star fish sort of thing in the foreground.
And some spirals and waves and bits like the sand when the tide has gone out.
This morning I got some gardening done but hopefully I stopped before my back ached too much. (tonight will tell) . I dug down a fork's depth and I think I got 95% of the bindweed roots. I then turned it over and broke it up into a fine tilth and spread some seeds. I thought I'd take regular photos of this bed throughout the summer so you can see if it's worked or not. I planted another clematis against the shed. From the herb section in the supermarket I bought a pot of parsley. For me this is more successful than seeds, you get about 20 plants already started for about a £1, about the same price as a packet of seed. They look a little sad at the moment but in the past they have always revived so I hope they'll do the same this year. The grass is a bit dire but the lawn mower is under repair. I found out too late on Friday to collect it so there shall be yet another weeks growth before it gets attended to. It;s only about 10 months old so it has been done under warranty.