Monday 21 December 2015

I forgot to add the best photos from Castell Coch

 This hexagonal room has struck me more than another room anywhere. It has been damaged and restored in places, but no matter, it is glorious.  If it has any faults, it is the limited view of the outside world. It is in the big tower.  I will let the photos speak for themselves. The panelling below these painted walls finishes at about six foot up.

 All of them are worth clicking on to enlarge, but this one of the ceiling in particular.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Don't change the bathroom just before Christmas....

I really must blog more often. Life gets in the way. I had a plan to swap out my bath tub and replace it with a shower of the same dimensions. Now troubling the rest of the bathroom or the floor tiles. Or so I thought. And whilst we were at it, we would replace both radiators in the bathrooms with chrome heated towel rails. Sounds simple doesn't it.  It appears the current tiles were not laid properly and three came up when the radiator was removed. Yes they could have been stuck down but knowing how much wetter the floor will get with a shower rather than a bath we decided to replace the floor.  Well that meant, I didn't have to have a long narrow shower so a new shower enclosure had to be chosen and bought immediately as the plumber was here.  And of course the new square shower means where the wall is wrecked from removing the tiles round the bath and will have to be replastered.  Having so much done, meant it would be a shame not to replace the sink and the loo at the same time..... and so it goes on. So why is there a quilt in the photo? This is one of my plumbers dust sheets..... It was given to him by a previous customer and already had paint etc on it. Shame on him!

I meant to take a 'before' shot but forgot.  This is fairly much how it was but the bath is full or tiles, radiators etc.
 The tiles took a lot of arranging to get an even (ish) distribution of colour and then they all had to be labelled to be laid down. I took this photo as you can often see details in a photo that are not immediately obvious. That pink tile had to be moved..... and it was.
This was half an hour ago.

Fliss came up and decorated the tree for us. Next year the tree will be downsized....

Tuesday 1 December 2015

My new toy and other irons.

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 It is a Sealing Iron. I think it is designed for tradesmen to add the edging strips on laminate worktops and the like. Unlike other irons for prepping applique this gets hot enough to do the job properly. And it has a little weight behind it to assist. The pointy end of the iron has a slight curve upwards as well and this helps too. The only improvment I would like to see is a heat proof cord like on my old iron below. Clicking on the photo above should take you to the Amazon UK page for it.
The stand is very stable which is a must.

And whilst I am on the subject of irons, this Rowenta dry iron is my favourite for patchwork and quilting. This is my seccond one. The first got dropped one time too many, but it lasted over 15 years before that happened. I cannot find replacements for it easily anymore but I did find one on Ebay which was being sold as a vintage theatre prop in it's original box. Keep your eyes open. It gets nice and hot, is heavy enough to do most of the pressing for you, but not so heavy your arm ends up hurting,

And this one was a mistake on my part. This is the first model of the little Clover iron. This one did get hot enough but because it is so light and is straight you have to use quite a lot of strength to make it work. And it kept falling off it's little stand and/or the stand would tip over so I ended up having a porcelain mug on it's side and would slip it into that whilst hot. I gave up using it years ago and went back to using the Rowenta dry iron.

To give you an idea of scale.

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This is my big steam beast. I use it for yardage and for domestic ironing. The steam has real power. Mine has 5.5 bars of pressure but the newer one has 6 bars. This is a serious investment so if any of your friends nearby has one you can try out, then do. It irons several layers of fabric in one pass. When I tell you it even irons jeans flat from one side, that gives you a glimpse of how good the are. Before I had an ironing board with a large standing area at the end, I had to have it on the window sill with the ironing board end on to it. I now use the water from my condensing tumble dryer and this one has lasted longer than the previous one. And my viscose t-shirts get a vertical steam from it. Clicking on the photo should take you to the Amazon UK page for it.
PS Don't use it with a reflective surface on your ironing board, you want the steam to pass through the fabric.

Saturday 7 November 2015

Finished and it needs a name.

And in varying colourways.

I think this last colour variation is my favourite.
Unfortunately Insanity and Kaleidescope names are already taken..... So if you can think of a good name, I would love to hear it.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Designing English Paper Piecing and the frustrations therein.....

I have been playing with designing a big complex English Paper pieced quilt.

I have been saving regularly but for some reason I have lost the last few hours of work........ I don't know what happened or how. Sigh. I thought I would show you the work so far.

I started with this centre.
I did this in using the fabrics in the QuiltPro Library.

I kept going using the fabric library, but I managed to kill QuiltPro at this point when I went to add more. Apparently there is a limit to how much you can use the fabrics. This is designed as just one block and each of those pieces is a separate fabric image, that is a hell of a lot of bitmaps.

 This is the same as the previous design but using colours rather than fabrics. That puts less strain on the program and my PC.

 It needs a little cleaning up but I think it will look fabulous in fabrics.

I had put in a few more hours squaring off the design, and if I do say so myself, it was looking great..... and then I lost it........

It will never be a project for those who like to speed piece....lols. And it could look wonderful with fussy cut piecing! I hope to get more work done on it this week...

Saturday 24 October 2015

Ruler storage.

Ruler storage has always been a minor problem for me. And over the years I have come up with different solutions with greater or lesser sucess.

My very first solution was nails in the wall and hanging them on those. This works if a, you don't mind nails in your wall and b, if you have a limited number of rulers.

Then I found this plate draining rack. Which was OK but again limited the number of rulers.

Then there was this solution, an Ikea table top with a small shelf under the glass.
This worked but have you spotted the fatal flaw? When you put the cutting mat on top you can no longer see the rulers...... And my cutting mat has double sided tape to stop it slipping so it isn't so simple just to lift it up and anyway I usually have fabric and other rulers and rotary blade on top already....

So the search was on for a simple inexpensive solution and I found this little plate rack. It works and for about £5 it is a bargain.

If you click on the picture it should take you to Amazon UK's page where they sell it.

I have 22 rulers on it and there is room for more. It is about a foot in depth so takes up some space but at least I can reach them all now easily. (It has the George seal of approval) I wouldn't put the very large square rulers at the very end of it as I think that might tip it over. It might not, but I am not willing to try.  I still have nowhere to store my 36" Olippa rulers as they are longer than my cutting table is wide....

The ultimate solution would be this clear custom made cutting mat and then go back to storing them under the glass. I shall have to wait until Monday to find out how eye wateringly expensive it will be.
I hope this gives you some ideas. And if you have any idea how to store the 36" rulers, I would love to hear them. At the moment I store them upright but they are slowly bowing under their own weight.

Friday 23 October 2015

Castell Coch (PART 2)

Or her ladyship's boudoir....... (as his boudoir is relatively plain and only has a single bed..... photos will follow)
I loved this wash bowl set up. I wonder if Walt Disney ever saw photos of this place?

I think someone had a thing for monkeys.
These went all the way round the dome of the ceiling.

And these were carved into each column, Most were birds but I spied a squirrel as well but to far round the room for me to get a good photo.

 I am so pleased I took photos as these were really not as splendid with the sun shining through one window and throwing everything else into deep shade.

Her (their) bed was not comfortable with it's base made of strung ropes but then this looks so much like a love nest, I do not suppose they were overly concerned....

Monday 19 October 2015

Castell Coch (part 1, I cannot get all the photos in one post)

 I had glimpses of this fabulous fairy tale castle from the M4 motorway when we were going to Cardiff. Link to a little information of Castell Coch. And another to William Burges the architect, but perhaps even more importantly, the interiors.
It was nigh on impossible to get a photo when travelling at 70mph. I managed this last year. I looked it up and found it has many school trips visiting. I wanted to avoid hoards of screaming kids so we waited for a rainy weekend day (to keep most other visitors away as well). These photos are of just one room. Luckily the camera picked up more detail than I could see in person.

 This ceiling reminded me of something, but it wasn't until I got home and did a little research into Burges that I discovered why. My daughter went to All Saints School in Fleet connected to All Saints Church of our Parish. It had a similar ceiling. I say had, as a 17 year old boy is awaiting his fate after burning the place down. You can see the similarity here. (it has a before and after photo of the fire).

Sadly a lot of the walls are suffering from damp. It might not have the history of most of the many castles round here but it has to be the most delightful.
More posts of our visit will follow.