Monday, 15 July 2019

Meanderings and makings

It's Monday when a lot of people in blog land look at what they're working on this week. Several weeks ago I started my Tuffet. A tuffet according to Mr Google is either a tuft or clump of something or a footstool or low seat. My tuffet once made will be a low seat rather than a footstool. Not a footstool because I don't want folks putting their feet in their dirty outdoor shoes on it. The fabrics in the top are Kaffe Fassett and far too pretty to rest shoes on. Anyway my tuffet top is half made and so it's time to get to work on the other half. If you remember when I sorted my fabrics I divided them into 8 groups. Counting from the left the fabrics in the first group are the same as the fifth group, 2 and 6 are the same  and so are 3 and 7 and 4 and 8.

I've made four of the sections and have 4 more to make. These will need pressing before I stitch all 8 together as they've been squashed in a project box.

I fused the remaining 4 foundation pieces to the muslin. This took a little longer than needed as I had forgotten to write down the iron temperature I used last time. Eventually this was done and I was able to get on with the sewing. Again my brain played a few tricks and I couldn't remember how I had stitched the fabric to the foundation pieces but a quick read of the instructions and it all worked nicely. I will try to finish the four pieces off tomorrow and I can then post a picture.

On Saturday John and I went walking in London. We had started walking along the Regents canal path but we had about 6 miles to do to complete and join up some of the walks in the one area so we decided to do this on Saturday. The day was warm and dry, basically perfect for walking. We started at Limehouse Basin (again) Loads of walks have this as the starting point. It's a good job it's an interesting area. The basin was fairly full with various types and sizes of boats.

There was also quite a lot of algae here and along all of the water we passed today. The weather here  in London has been very hot and humid. As you can see there has been a lot of building in this area with more apartment blocks still under construction.

We followed the Regents Canal for a while . The coot family was lost amongst the green

and this lock was completely covered. You can make out the water level looking a bit like grass.

There were flowers. I loved the colour of these ones and they were so delicate.

In Victoria Park there were two sculptures that we saw. This one is titled Bird. I didn't get the name of the artist.

The second one was titled Skyscraper.

The pond also had a fun fountain and I liked the reflection on the water. The wind began to blow towards us so we got a little wet.

I also spotted this pagoda across the lake.

We stopped in Victoria Park to enjoy a tasty and refreshing coffee. Further on we rejoined the canal and later the Lea Navigation. All waterways would have originally had quite an industrial feel as it went through the city since they were used for transporting goods. Now many of the old warehouses and other buildings are being pulled down and new apartment blocks or offices are replacing them. You can see some yellow cranes in the background on another building site.

I had fun taking pictures of trees to get the amazing array of greens on display. I loved the bright green of this tree.

In several areas planters were filled with flowers, brightening up the community.

We came across some wooden sheep grazing happily.

At Three Mills we took time out to investigate the tide mills. A Tide mill is a water mill that is driven by the rise and fall of the tide. At one time in the past there were 76 such mills recorded in London.

At this point we walked between two parallel waterways, the Lea Navigation and the Limehouse Cut. The area between the two was quite narrow. There were a lot of wild flowers along the bank of the cut.

A little further on the Lea Navigation went off to the left and we crossed this bridge to follow the Limehouse Cut back to our starting point. The cut is the water to the right of the picture

Almost finished and John took time out to enjoy the view.

We also took a slight detour to visit The Grapes, a pub that is nearly 500 years old. It is steeped in history and to bring it up to date one of the leaseholders is Ian McKellen of Gandalf fame. We enjoyed a pint of beer before completing our walk

We walked around the sides of the basin that we hadn't walked before. Lots of accommodation and lots of boats, mostly canal boats.

As always we enjoyed our walk and it filled in bits of London that we hadn't visited before.

Tomorrow work during the day but I'm hoping to finish the tuffet pieces. I may be being a little over ambitious but I'll give it a go.

Since the alarm goes off early I'm off to bed. Take care.


Sunday, 14 July 2019

Manic month

At work I play a little game with our college administrator. We come up with our song of the day. It must match, compliment or describe the day.  Over the weeks we've had some cracking songs but over this last month we've come to realise that 'Just another manic Monday'  could be applied to everyday. For me it hasn't just been about work. In August Lucy and I will be visiting India. We are both very excited  if not a little apprehensive. The preparation for this trip seems to have taken up so much time, thinking about what to wear as the area we are visiting is rather conservative, organising our visas, getting our immunisations (definitely ouchy). At least we don't have to worry about getting Indian money as you have to exchange currencies in India. As it's the end of the rainy season the weather may be a little cooler but it does mean there may be more mosquitoes and of course the heat plus rain makes it very humid. In between holiday preparations I've been trying to finish up all my marking as I'd love to come back to a clear workload. OK so I guess that won't happen but a girl can dream. Anyway our preparations are nearly complete so I have some spare time again and a will to get some sewing done. 

During the hot hot weather I was enjoying spending time in the garden and visiting places and I lost my sewing mojo but looking at my stash of gorgeous fabrics I have to get back to it. I spent quite some time stroking my fabrics, resorting projects and making plans on Thursday and since then I've been catching up with reading the blogs I follow plus some new ones. There is nothing like reading what everyone is making to help fire your imagination.

A little while ago Olly, our oldest daughter's partner completed his training as a chef, and on July 2nd John and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary, so last night we had a celebration meal at home. Olly loves to cook so although we were celebrating his success he did the cooking helped by Katy . All I had to do was set the table. The meal was fabulous and I think we all had a little too much champagne. There was cream involved for the dessert and when I went out to the kitchen to tidy up I found Casso looking guilty with cream on his whiskers having licked out the cream dish. 

I wish the photo wasn't blurry but he never stands still for the camera. Picasso hasn't been well recently and at one point wasn't eating at all. It took a lot of coaxing with his favourite treats to get him interested again so it was lovely to see him being his naughty self. He is an old boy. We've had him 17 years since we bought him home from Battersea Cat and Dogs home. They believe he was between 1 and 2 years old then but he may have been more.

I realised that I had never shown you the picture of the completed quilt I made for my brother. He is very pleased with it. Although this was a Christmas present I wasn't able to deliver it to him until the middle of June as our free weekends didn't coincide before then.

For next Christmas Alex has asked if I could knit him a long multi coloured scarf. I made him one many years ago but last winter he lost it and so would like a new one. I'm currently collecting together a variety of coloured double knitting yarns. He wants the colours completely random so this will be a project in the autumn whilst watching TV. No need to think or worry about the pattern. I need to check if I can take knitting on a plane as this would be great for the long flight to India.

Since I last posted I have received not one but two of my subscriptions boxes. This one contains these beautiful fat quarters and a pattern to make a sewing machine cover and a sewing caddy. I do need a cover for my Brother which has the larger aperture and will make my quilting so much easier.

The July box has these fabulous Japanese prints from Sevenberry plus Moda Bella solids in Navy. The pattern this month is for a Japanese Wall hanging and I'm currently toying with the idea of making it.

Although I haven't really done much sewing I have been working on my projects. I picked up the jumper I'm knitting for John and have moved it forward quite a lot. The jumper is knitted on a circular needle and I find I can't knit many rows at a time as the weight of the work makes my right arm ache. The wool is called Dovestone and is from Baa Ram Ewe, a shop in Chapel Allerton in West Yorkshire. This wool is a natural aran and is a blend of wool from the Bluefaced Leicester and two Yorkshire breeds, the Wensleydale and the Masham. It comes in five undyed shades and I love them all but the shade I'm using was chosen by John. The wool is very soft to handle and knits up really well but the way the jumper is knitted makes it heavy to handle after a while.

The wool for this comes in hanks and to continue knitting I need to wind another hank into a ball. I have a few more rows before I have to divide the stitches for the yoke which has a cable pattern on it.

As for my slow stitching for today I shall be working on Charlotte. When I last worked on this I was really enjoying the stitching and had hopes of completing her in a couple of weeks but too many other things got in the way. I'm excellent at letting things get in the way of doing some stitching. Anyone would think I don't like stitching but it isn't true. I realised that I tend to prioritise other things higher than having space and time for myself. Over the weeks I haven't posted I've managed to almost tame work and to get it to fit into its proper time. I've also practised saying no. No is such a liberating word, especially when being asked to do something for someone else in the late evening when you should be having a little space to chill out before bedtime. My hopes for Charlotte are to have her finished by the end of this month. Here's how far I've got.

There is still a good way to go but let's see how I do this week. Charlotte is ready and waiting in my project bag with all the threads I need to get her finished. I can't wait for a little later today when I can relax and enjoy some stitching. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching.

I have a lot more to tell you about but it will have to wait as I need to sort out dinner and do some ironing. Believe it or not I've managed to tame my ironing mountain and for now I'm managing to keep up to date with it. Not sure how long that will last as it isn't my most favourite job.


Sunday, 9 June 2019

Cars, Stitching and cats

I'm starting with my stitching so that you don't have to read all the way down if you aren't interested in old houses and gardens. Last week I found 2 of the bag ladies that I hadn't completed. I took Charlotte with me when we went to Suffolk last weekend but I was so tired in the evenings that no sewing got done.

I had some time to work on her a little on Friday night and finished up the flowers on her skirt and worked on her scarf. So this is my starting point for this evening. I need to give her a bit of a press. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching

 When we visited Devon a few weekends ago we included some sight seeing on our way home. Killerton is a National Trust property not far from Exeter. We had visited it years ago but neither of us could particularly remember it so decided it needed a re-visit. When we were about a mile from the entrance we joined a queue of cars which rather surprised us as it was still early in the day. As we edged nearer we realised that we were visiting on the day of their annual car rally. That put paid to our quiet visit to the house but it didn't spoil our enjoyment. The meadow on the one side of the drive was resplendent with buttercups.

Because of the large number of visitors they used another meadow as an extra car park and I felt rather sad driving over such pretty flowers.

Killerton is an 18th century house near Exeter. The house has a hillside garden which we enjoyed walking in, and an estate. The house has a collection of 18th to 20th century costumes.

This was the original front door of the house and that led out onto a lawn terrace. the lawn wasn't very big and I couldn't get far enough back to take a photo of the whole of the front of the house. The picture has the effect of making it appear very big but actually is isn't. 

The estate covers some 2590 hectares which includes a steep wooded hillside with the remains of an Iron Age Hill fort on top of it. john and I walked to the top and enjoyed the views.

Before we went round the house we decided to have morning coffee with some cake. I chose a cream tea - scone, jam and cream with a pit of tea whilst John was more traditional and had coffee. Whilst we were sat in the sun enjoying our drinks the house cat came to visit us. She even had her own table to sit on.

As we left she very quickly climbed onto our table to finish up the cream I'd left.

Inside the house there was quite a lot of china on display

The dining room was much cosier and more intimate than the one at Chatsworth. I felt I culd host a great dinner party here.

There was tapestry and embroidery and other fabric work in the house.

The National Trust tend to have quizzes and  trails for children to follow around the houses and at Killerton you had to hunt out the mice in each room. Here's one resting in a flower arrangement.

  Here's another one hiding in the writing desk

The chairs had tapestry covers..

I liked this seat cover in the library.

Yet another wee mousie I found upstairs in the costume display.

 At the top of the stairs was this example of a bed covering.

I liked the fans on display 

and the unfinished slipper tops were interesting .

It was getting rather busy in the house so we decided to stroll in the garden and enjoy the flowers. The view from the top of the hill was good.

The meadows were full of wild flowers. It reminded me of my childhood when wild flower meadows were more common. Now farming is so intense there is less room for the flowers and birds.

Finally we briefly looked at the cars as we made our way back to the car park and our journey home. This Triumph was one of the visitors cars.

The old route master bus was fun. The children were fascinated by it.

I just had to take a picture of the frog eye Sprite. My older brother had one and I remember driving it to Brighton late one night to have fish and chips at the beach. Next to it is an MGB GT very similar to the one my father owned. Not that we love sports cars in my family!

Have I shown you my little Mazda MX5 I got last year? Here it is before I took ownership. It was owned by a diplomat and had only done 753 miles when I bought it.

It's the perfect car when John and I go on our adventures.

Now if I'm going to have any time this evening for sewing I need to get dinner sorted. It's due to rain here for the next few days so that means more sewing can get done as once home from work I won't be venturing out again. Pop over and see what everyone has been working on at Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching