Monday 23 July 2018

Christmas in July

Carol from Just Let Me Quilt has organised another great blog hop. Thank you Carol. I love Christmas and so wanted to be part of it. To get into the mood I put up the tree.

Now all I need are the presents.

I had two projects I wanted to make for this hop. The first I've completed. Quite a while ago I bought a Christmas panel as I thought it would make a great wall hanging for our hall during the festive season.

My Christmas tree is always decorated in Red and gold. This panel had the gold in it but lacks the red. However I decided it would add a touch of elegance to the hall. It took me ages to decide how to quilt it. I decided to quilt round the baubles and the vase. I also stitched snow flakes down the background.

I decided to bind the panel with red and gold to tie it into the rest of my Christmas decorations. Quilting round the baubles makes them really stand out.

I thought I had stitched round all of the baubles but looking at the photo I can see I missed a couple. Back to the sewing machine.

My second project hasn't progressed very far. I was only supposed to be working 2 days for the last two weeks and that left 3 days for sewing both weeks. More than enough time to complete the project but the reality was that I worked for 5 days both weeks  and we were away overnight on the middle weekend. So much for planning! 

The pattern I'm making is Scrappy Friends. 

Scrappy Friends Quilt

The star blocks are all made. The background is white and the stars are deep green. I'm adding an extra row of blocks to make it a square quilt. It's two weeks until my holiday when I'll be able to get this quilt finished. .

With Christmas in mind, whilst in Salisbury I bought a new decoration for my tree. It's made of Olive wood and is about 4 and half inches tall.

Here's the schedule for the hop. Go and start celebrating Christmas early by visiting them all. I can't wait to see what everyone has made.

July 23

July 24

July 25

July 26

July 27

Is it too early to start buying presents?


Sunday 22 July 2018

Slow Stitching

It's Sunday, a day to slow down, relax and take time to enjoy life. Time to be with family and time to really be aware of what's going on around you. Time to enjoy the things you are doing. I'm really enjoying having some slow time today. Last week was a disaster for time. There just wasn't enough of it and everything felt rushed. I think I'm getting a little too old for all the rushing involved in everyday life. Maybe this is how a hamster feels as it madly runs round its, run run and never get anywhere! Well at least the hamster stays fit and active. All the rushing means there's limited time to eat properly so lots of snacks that just add weight and too much to do means little or no exercise time.However you will be pleased to know that I'm ever hopeful that work will slow down a bit in the near future.

This week I've had very little time for hand stitching or in fact sewing of any kind. Today I had space to make a start on a new project of hand stitching. Lucy and I run Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers and this year the programme is being renewed. This includes all the badges they can earn. Lucy and I decided that we wanted to keep a badge blanket with all the old badges that are being retired plus all the new ones. We bought one of the official brownie blankets and made sure we had all the old interest badges. 

I love that the blanket had 'Brownies' heat pressed into it. I was going to sew all the badges on as a diamond but the badges aren't all the same size so it just wouldn't work . I'm sewing them so two are sewn as diamonds and then one as a square, then two more diamonds across the side of the blanket.

This is my summer holiday project as we finished our weekly meetings last Wednesday. Most of the girls broke up from school for the holidays on Thursday. We aren't meeting again until September.It will be strange having a free evening on Wednesdays for a few weeks.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching. Why not pop over and see what everyone has been stitching.


Monday 16 July 2018

An anniversary and a trip

July 2nd was my 35th wedding anniversary. Both John and I completely forgot about it until the following weekend when we realised we'd missed it. For our anniversaries we try to either have a nice meal out somewhere special or go away on a short trip. We decided a short trip to Bath would be good as I wanted to go to an exhibition and it is due to finish at the end of the month. John managed to book a room for us at a lovely pub outside Bath and all that was left was to plan our trip. I spent the week trying to get myself up to date at work so I could go away with a clear conscience but that didn't happen however I didn't let it dampen my pleasure at all.

On Saturday morning we were up early to water the garden before heading out of London. Although we left early the day was very hot so it was nice that the air conditioning was working well in my car. We stopped once to buy coffee and treats but otherwise made the journey to Bath in one go. We headed to The American Museum in Britain which is based at Claverton Manor near Bath. I've been there several times before but this time I wanted to see the 1718 silk patchwork coverlet that was on display until 29th July. We decided that we needed some light refreshment before we started our visit, so we sat for a while on the terrace enjoying the view and planned our itinerary for the day.

Our first stop was the Folk Art area as this is where the 1718 coverlet was on display. The coverlet is the oldest known and date inscribed patchwork coverlet in Britain.It's on loan to the museum from The Quilter's Guild Collection. Being so old the coverlet is delicate and so protected by a layer of glass The date is inscribed on the block below the heart in the centre column. This photo was taken upside down as the date faces the other way.

The Coverlet is 67 in by 73 in and has 5 different sized finished blocks in it. The blocks range from 13 1/2 in square to 4 1/2 in square for the smallest. There are 182 blocks in all and there are 69 different designs.

The fabrics are still quite bright but originally they would have been a fabulous array of bright colours. As well as the date the inscription block also has the initials EH. I like the swan in this picture.

and the dog in this one. Can we enter this as the pet on the oldest British quilt for 'Pets on quilts' this year?

I've seen many of these blocks appear in BOM's since I started blogging.

I recently made some tulip blocks like the blocks here.

Below is a photo of an information sheet that was available. The picture was taken of the coverlet without the protective glass over it so no reflections.

Also in the same room was this quilt.

John and I spent ages wandering through the galleries, it was just so interesting. There were other pieces of fabric work around the museum

There were several quilt templates,

I really liked this beaded waistcoat, it must have taken quite a while to make.

The museum also has its own collection of quilts. They are a little difficult to take photos of because of the way they are displayed. This one was opposite a video screen and so there was a lot of reflection.

I really liked this one but I couldn't get near its label

The next one was a cartoon quilt with applique and embroidery

This one was whole cloth decorated with Candlewick embroidery.

This quilt with the red birds was beautiful but as other people were also looking at the quilts and moving the boards on which they were hung I had to content myself with this photo

I spent some time trying to work out how this pattern had been constructed. Once I read the label it became clear and I'll keep it in mind as a possible pattern in the future.

This quilt was delightfully bright and cheerful.

This crazy quilt was one of my favourites.

Here's some detail of the embroidery.

This one made good use of university pennants

My final picture is of a Grandmother's flower garden quilt

The museum also had an exhibition about the involvement of America in world War 1.

This was a small exhibition but most interesting. There was an area set up as a hospital ward and John and I really enjoyed playing the 'diagnose the patient's problem' game. We got them all right including trench foot and trench fever. As we finished this area we needed lunch in the cafe before moving on to Bath itself and our next visit.

I'll tell you about our afternoon and evening in a post tomorrow. I was at work today and once I got home Lucy and I went grocery shopping. I now need to wind down before going to bed.


Sunday 15 July 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

This weekend John and I have been away in Bath having some 'just the two of us' time. It was a great couple of days and I have some photos to show you. Tomorrow I will tell you all about our trip but for now I just wanted to quickly share my slow stitching from yesterday evening and this morning. I took Constance with me so I could work on her if I got the chance. The hotel where we stayed had a beautiful garden and so we sat outside in the cool of the evening yesterday and chatted and I did some sewing.

Unfortunately there was no way I could take the picture without my shadow. I'm currently working on the blue tote bag.

I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up 


Tuesday 10 July 2018

Appointments and more

Today was a day of appointments which always make me a little unsettled. If I get too involved with whatever I'm doing I am apt to forget to check the time which then has me scurrying around to ensure I'm not late. The good thing about having an appointment  to attend is that I didn't need to get up as early as I do for work. Last night I altered my alarm from the usual 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. but I must have made a mistake because it still went off at 6. I got up and made a cup of tea which I took back to bed so I could relax and enjoy some reading time. Scamp came and curled up on my lap and we had a very pleasant hour of together time. John needed to be somewhere at 8:30 but it was only a short meeting and once he was home we took Scamp for a long walk over the common. The temperature is slightly cooler today and it made the walk more enjoyable. 

My appointment this morning was with my surgeon who performed my mastectomy. We had a long chat and she went through the reconstruction process with me. She won't perform that operation as it's done by a plastic surgeon but she will send the referral letter this week. They won't do the surgery until a year after the end of my radiotherapy which is November but as I am no longer a cancer patient the operation is none urgent and by referring me now I will be put on the waiting list. It's a major operation and takes about 8 to 10 hours so although I'm excited at the thought I'm also rather nervous and will make my final decision once I've met with the surgeon to discuss it all. As my scar is all healed and my skin is healthy the surgeon discharged me which is another milestone passed. Whilst I'm on the drug trial I will have follow up appointments with the oncologist but will revert to the care of the surgical team for open access follow ups once the trial has ended.

The second appointment today is Scamp's annual check up and immunisations. At least he's the easy one to take to the vet. With Picasso you first have to find him and load him in his cat basket, but as soon as the basket appears he disappears. With Scamp I just have to put his harness and lead on and he's ready to rush out the door. The appointment went well and he kept perfectly still while he had his injection without being held down. The vet wants to give his teeth a thorough clean as he is 10 years old and hasn't had them done before but  that requires him to have an anaesthetic. I've also got to get a urine specimen so she can check out how his kidneys are functioning  and whether he has any infection. If there is anything abnormal then he'll need a blood test. Doggy healthcare these days is as in depth as human healthcare. 

This evening I did some more sewing on Constance and Lucy painted my finger nails. While she did them we watched a bit of the real housewives of New York City. Wow those ladies give me a headache. Why are they always arguing? I escaped as soon as she had finished and spent a little time drawing out the patterns for Luna Lapin from this book.

Lucy loves rabbits and I'd planned to make her one as part of her birthday present. I couldn't get the colour felt I wanted so put this project to one side for a while. I decided I'd make one for Christmas as that will give me lots of time to work on it when she's not at home. Trying to make a surprise for someone who lives with you can prove rather difficult.

The temperature now is perfect for sleeping so I'm looking forward to going to bed very soon. I just need to make sure my nails are completely dry but first Picasso is demanding attention before he settles for the night.


Monday 9 July 2018

Visit to Romsey

Last Friday, the final day of our short break, was very hot and sticky. We had time to enjoy a very tasty breakfast and pack our belongings before we needed to board the coach to head to Romsey, a market town in Hampshire. Romsey is quite small with a population of 18,000 but also has an abbey that was built in the 10th century. When we arrived in Romsey we had time to get a cup of coffee before heading to the abbey.

If you want to read more of the history of Romsey abbey click Here  We had a guide to show us around and he gave us both factual information and several of the legends attached to it.  I liked the Celtic knot patterns on the cross in the church yard. I have an embroidery pattern book somewhere that is all different Celtic designs.

The abbey was large with a very high ceiling and as you can see on the picture three sets of arches from floor to roof. None of the pillars along the nave were the same and two had stone staircases inside the pillar.

I was particularly interested in the fabric work in the abbey. There were several banners displayed throughout the building. One of the side chapels was dedicated to St George and I thought this particular dragon was quite scary.

This statue was on the wall of the chapel and the dragon seemed less aggressive and St George is rather handsome.

The abbey is dedicated to St Mary,

and St Etheflaeda. 

Our guide didn't give any information about the various banners such as when and by whom they were made. They all seemed to be of about the same age and I wondered if there had been a project to replace older pieces. There were 4 other pieces  so I took pictures of all of them.

The fabric work added splashes of colour around the building. My favourite piece however was the curtain.This is the piece that covered the top of the archway and hid the curtain rail

Curtain itself had been made using a mixture of applique and machine embroidery. You weren't allowed to touch the curtain so it was difficult to get the full beauty of the work. I took the picture in two halves.

The way the curtain had been arranged meant you couldn't see all the characters on the right half.

I took a close up of this one lady.

The banner for the Sunday School was very nice and I loved the choice of fabric and colours

The final fabric work I saw was the frontal for the altar which had a mixture of piecing, applique, embroidery and quilting.

We spent a long time in the abbey as there was a lot of history attached to it. In it's more recent history it is the final resting place of Earl  Mountbatten of Burma. He was a resident of Romsey and great grandson of Queen Victoria and uncle to Prince Phillip. Go Here to find out more about him.

After our tour we had time to investigate the town and find some lunch. We found a delightful cafe that served excellent coffee and sandwiches, and also had the most adorable puppy curled up in a basket in the corner. Having enjoyed lunch and spent a little time giving the puppy some attention we popped into the next door shop which happened to be a small quilt shop called Greenhill Patchwork run by Naomi Reading. As you walked in the fabric bolts were on the wall on your left.

In the centre was this island which had fat quarters on both sides. You can see the threads along the back wall. I was standing with my back towards the counter to take the photo. To the right of the threads there was a small back room that housed the wool.

John bought me these fat quarters. He had looked to see what solid colours I had and had also listened when I muttered about what I needed to buy so these will fit well into my FQ stash.

I bought myself these FQ's  I love all the fabrics but I particularly like the fabric with the bras on and also the monkey fabric.

To end our trip John and I enjoyed an ice cream from a local shop that made the ice cream themselves on the premises. Then it was time to head back to our coach for our journey home.  The trip away had been fun and I went home with some new dresses and fabric. The journey home was quick and uneventful. Scamp and Picasso were very pleased to see us. We have an overnight adventure booked for this coming weekend which I am looking forward to. This time it is just the two of us and I will do the driving. 

It's now 9:45 at night, and I have a little time to do some stitching before bed. The french windows are open into the garden and there is a lovely cool breeze coming in. I think tonight I will get a good night's sleep.