Friday, 16 November 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good:

I was very fortunate to recently win not one, but two giveaways.

The first was from Tactile Fabrics through Plum and June's blog - I got a beautiful bundle of delicious Art Gallery fabrics. These look as though they have a higher thread count than most quilting cottons and feel gorgeous.( I am a little worried though, as my daughter has been eying them up)

The Second giveaway was from Sarah of Pings and Needles - my comment on the Turkey Hat picture was her favourite ( I think she was being kind!) and Sarah sent me three lovely FQ's of chocolatey brown fabrics - yum - low calorie too.

The Bad:

It started when
1) My hairdryer died and had to be replaced,
2) Then the dining room light fitting fizzled and died too
3) Followed by our lovely (but rather expensive) coffee machine (hopefully due back from being (expensively) repaired next week)
4) But the final straw? (And I really rally hope it is the final)The washing machine died completely last week. The new one is being delivered today - anytime after 7 am....

And The Ugly?

See 4) above!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Constructive Destruction

We have the tree surgeons in today for much removal of old and battered conifirs and a dead juniper tree. This was the scene from the back door about an hour ago before they started:
It's not looking much like that now!

Half Term Visits

We had another flying visit up North during half term, and finally got round to taking the children to my all time favourite National Trust property - Cragside.

Despite being a very large house, it actually feels quite comfortable, and liveable in. There were lots of patchwork quilts on beds:

And I liked how all the needlework was left out in the (ladies) sitting room

The autumn colours outside were beautiful too - much more vibrant than we have seen at home. Cragside is in Northumbria and I suspect that it is just colder enough to bring out these colours as the leaves turn and fall.

I just wish we had had more time and could have done some of the walks through the Estate.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

City Lights Quilt

I've finally managed to finish my City Lights Quilt top -

and press ganged the 12 year old into displaying it in the garden for me. Sadly it doesn't do the fabric justice. I also realised half way through sewing it together that it might have been a bit easier if I had trimmed all the blocks, but fortunately it doesn't seem to have affected it much.

I also got some fabric through recently from Pink Castle Fabrics in the States (they've got a fantastic discount code at the moment until the end of the month)

Some lovely Tula Pink, some of Laurie Wisbrun's perfectly perched and some of Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley Pie Basket (I love this print) with a touch of Joel Dewberry to finish. It's going in the stash - for now.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

MORE Happy Mail! (AKA a very happy byproduct of Christmas Shopping)

Okay - so I know it feels too early for Christmas Shopping, but I also have 6 birthdays of family and godsons between 30 November and 30 December so I need to get cracking!(For fear of cracking up completely).

Anyway a lovely parcel arrived from The Book People. And amongst all the Christmas presents I had treated myself to Mollie Makes Christmas. I hadn't been going to as I already have quite a lot of Christmas Books, but as it was cheaper than buying  a magazine, I decided to risk it.

I am so glad I did! It is lovely. The projects (19 of them) are very much in the style of the Mollie Makes magazine. There are a Festive Ideas and Christmas Inspiration sections with the blog and web addresses of crafters and makers (Looking forward to some new inspirational sites :-)  )

There are so many different types of projects -

Super cute Needle felted houses - I might finally have to succumb to the felting bug:

A cheeky amigurumi reindeer:

Lovely folded paper Christmas tree:

Fabulous purple felt wreath:

I'm seriously considering giving this one a go (even with the risk my daughter will want it as it's her favourite colour). I thought it might be a bit expensive as you need 1.5 metres of felt, but I discovered that would cost about £11.25 (plus postage and packing) from paper-and-string, which doesn't seem too bad.

There are also a couple of knitting projects, a lovely tote bag with a modern santa applique as well as some other sewing, crochet and papercraft items. My absolute favourite though is this:

Shame I don't have an i-pad (nor is that likely to change) but the direction say it is easy to scale down to fit other gadgets - so I think my i-pod touch may be getting a new cosy very soon.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Happy mail!

I got a new book through the post today, courtesy of Amazon UK. (I seem to do a frightening amount of purchasing through Amazon - is it just me, or does anybody else find that?) This time thanks to a gift voucher that I got for my birthday earlier in the year.

It is Pretty in Patchwork : Holidays by John Adams (also known as Quilt Dad). There are some lovely projects in it - the gift card holders that double up as Christmas Tree Ornaments, some gorgeous wine bottle gift bags (I'm not sure I could face giving those away - I might have to ask for them back in fear that they would get put in the bin, and that wouldn't be in the spirit of gift giving at all), table runners, quilts, pillow cases, I could go on and on.

But what really sold it to me were the polar bear and penguin cushion covers (and the polar bear decorative hoop!)

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Netherlands.

OK - so I think of it as Holland, but I believe that The Netherlands is the correct name. Fortunately the Dutch as a whole are very forgiving!

Sadly there weren't any tulips to be seen (well it was August) - even at Floriade. Floriade occurs every 10 years in the Netherlands, and I have wanted to see it for a long time. We had to miss it in 2002 due to having a very small, really rather ill baby at that time (Who is now a very healthy ten year with an attitude!).

Floriade wasn't what I was expecting (I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't what Floriade turned out to be). We did however have a very good (and very warm) day there. There were quite a few "educational" sections (I now know a lot more about Dutch Elm disease for example) and some amazing swathes of planting in the Dutch prairie style. It is apparently a horticultural trade show that has grown into a public show. Once I knew that, it all made a lot more sense.

 There were a section of gardens from around the world - I particularly liked this one which had a sewing theme - yes that is a sculpture of a needle and thread. The open white gazebo in the background was meant to be a pin cushion.

There were horticultural representations of famous Dutch works of art:
If you looked closely you could see that the "sunflowers" were in fact made up of fruit and vegetables.

We had spent the previous day at the Kroller-Muller Art museum and sculpture park in the Hoge Veluwe National Park (you have no idea how hard that is to pronounce) where we had seen some real Van Goghs

And some Mondrian:
  Wouldn't this be interesting to interpret as textile art (embroidery or applique perhaps - I think piecing for a quilt might be too far a step!)
 My favourite was the sculpture park. Whilst there was grumpy acceptance of it by the older two children, the five year old loved it (and not just because he got to let off some steam)

There were some very intriguing items - taking the concept of camping to a new level perhaps?
 Or even caravanning.....

Towards the end there were a fantastic series of golden head sculptures of one man, all with different expressions and different horns - except for the last which had a long pointed snout! This was my favourite - it has such life to it.

We also went for a drive through the Park where we discovered a enormous great sand dune. It was very bizarre
There were acres of it - and it was bright golden yellow - my camera just couldn't capture it. It was like "Hollywood" sand - the perfect colour and texture and so didn't seem real.

Sadly we didn't have enough time left to make use of the free white bikes in the park, but maybe next time...

Oh and we did also see lots of these:
And discovered a new food addiction - Speculoos Paste......... It is Nutella for grownups (I say this to justify why I try not to let my children have any of my rapidly diminishing supply - oh and there isn't any chocolate in it, but let's not split hairs)

Sunday, 30 September 2012

A return to Blogland

Well I never planned not posting for so long (again!) and have, in fact, written many a blog post in my head. However they are not much use there.

It was a busy summer! Quite a while ago now (blushes ) I was lucky enough to win the Simpatico bundle on Katy from "Monkey Do"'s blog, courtesy of The Village Habedashery.

I've stroked it, and looked at it, but haven't brought myself to cut into it (I've never had all the fabrics from a range before!) . I think though, that I may split it up. I was toying with the idea of  a Stained Quilt (courtesy of Sarah from Narcoleptic in a Cupboard) with a charcoal coloured sashing, but I think they will have more of an impact if I mix them up with other fabrics - they almost play too nicely together - does that make sense?So I am trying to force myself to split them up and store them in the stash.

The summer passed in a whirl of being at work,, buying new school uniform and school shoes (including discovering on the first day back to school that I had managed to buy my daughter exactly the same size shoes as she already had.......)

We had a fabulous week in Cornwall, where there was quite a bit of beach visiting and wave jumping

and some of this
(I took the opportunity to build my own whilst the children were occupied in exploring rock pools.)

We visited the National Maritime Museum on the one really wet day and had a fantastic time.

 There were five children in our group aged between 2 and 12 and they all found a lot to interest them. We would have spent longer, but we ran out of time on the parking tickets.

We also visited the amazing Eden project. We last visited 10 years ago when it was still fairly newly opened. I can't believe how much it has changed (the incredible heat in the tropical house, even early in the day, has not however.)

 The outside planting was absolutely stunning - I have no photos that do it justice.

Then it was home for a mad week of work, washing mountains and cleaning and repacking the caravan for a trip to Holland.......