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


Saturday 8 June 2019

My brain worked it out!

I started writing this post on Wednesday when I had a little time for sewing and I pulled out the project box with my tuffet pieces in. As I explained the top is made with foundation piecing which is something I haven't tried before. However following the old adage of 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' I'll give anything a go.  When I got  the tuffet kit home I had sat and read the instructions but my brain soon got tired and I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to put the top together. As soon as I started to re read the instructions I remembered that I had meant to order an add a quarter ruler so I quickly logged into good old Amazon and ordered one. Whilst I was there I also ordered a pack of rotary blades as I haven't got any new ones and the one in the cutter is getting very blunt. I did think about ordering a sharpener but decided that I would probably end up cutting myself badly when I used it so quickly clicked buy for my two items and closed Amazon. Thanks to Prime they were with me later in the day. Because the add a quarter ruler is vital to stitch the foundation pieces I put my sewing away until today. Everyone was out of the house and so it was a nothing but sewing day. 

This is what the instructions told me to do;

The first job to do was number my 8 strips for this section and take out strip 4 and 5. I then identified the dashed straight-centre line on the foundation. I used one of my rulers to show you where the line is.

I put strips 4 and 5 together facing each other and then lined the trips up with the stitching line.

I stitched the first seam and then pressed the seam open. I worked on two foundation pieces at the same time.

The next stage was to trim the excess fabric and this is where the add a quarter ruler was needed.

It all looked a bit mind boggling but I followed it a step at a time.  I didn't take any photos as I worked through the instructions because I didn't want to lose my concentration and make a mistake. When I'm next sewing I'll take the photos of the process.  I finished off two foundation pieces and then had a late lunch.

By the time I finished for the day I had completed 4 of the 8 foundation pieces. I'm so pleased with how the fabrics are playing together. I am also very pleased to discover that foundation piecing is not as complicated as it appeared. After the first few strips I soon got into a rhythm. I have a day off during the week so hopefully I'll get the other 4 pieces made.

The family are all returning home from their various outings so I need to put away my machine and tidy up my sewing bits. I should have time this evening for some hand stitching.


Tuesday 4 June 2019

Walking on Dartmoor.

During our weekend away in Devon, John and I wanted to walk on Dartmoor. The Saturday was perfect weather for our walk. The area where we wanted to walk is used by the Ministry of Defence and normally you can't enter the area since it's used as a firing range. At certain times it's open to the public. The weekend we were there was the weekend of the 10 tors 

The 10 Tors Event starts and finishes at Okehampton Camp and is organised by the Army’s Headquarters in the  South West with support from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force as well as civilian emergency services and volunteers. It consists of two challenges, the Ten Tors Challenge and the Jubilee Challenge.

The Ten Tors Challenge is attempted by 2,400 teenagers in 400 teams of six. The teams navigate routes of 35, 45 or 55 miles (depending on age) over the Northern half of Dartmoor, visiting ten nominated tors / check points in under two days. Teams must be self-sufficient, carrying all that they need to complete their route and stay out overnight safely.

The Jubilee Challenge is run closer to Okehampton Camp and is designed for young people aged between 14 and 21 with a range of challenging conditions. Participants enter as individuals or teams and complete one of several routes suited to their abilities.

Our plan was to walk up two Tors, Yes Tor and High Will Hays Tor (the highest point in southern England). The weather was perfect and both John and I had slept really well and were full of energy.  Because Dartmoor is a high moor it was quite breezy so although it was hot we wore our coats all day.

With so many youngsters on the weekend event the army had helicopters on standby to provide medical support if needed.

In the end we reached the tops of three tors.  The walk was very enjoyable and we are looking forward to going back again to explore other areas. After our walk we decided we would go and visit Widecombe in the Moor, a village in the Dartmoor National Park which has a church known as the Cathedral of the moors due to its tall spire and its size. I took a photo of the church spire from the car park.

We arrived in time to enjoy a cream tea at the cafe. 

There was a village green

In the church we saw this  beautiful model of the Old grey mare on the way to Widecombe Fair. 

The model was first exhibited at Widecombe fair in 1959. It took 82 year old retired sailor Harry Price two years to make. It was built entirely from scrap. The model has moving parts and is an automaton. The model disappeared for a number of years but was eventually found dismantled and in boxes in Cornwall. It had been taken to a craftsman to be repaired but unfortunately he died before the job was completed. The secretary of the Widecombe history group was contacted in 2007 and the model returned to Widecombe. Members of the group volunteered to work on the restoration of the model and in 2009 it was displayed at Widecombe Fair.

On the way back to our hotel we stopped to take a photo of the Dartmoor ponies.

 We spent a fabulous day on Dartmoor and following our walk we both sleep really well.

I still have to tell you about the trip we made to Killerton House on our way back to London.  I'll do that another day. Over the weekend we were away in Suffolk and I'd hoped to do some sewing but by the evenings I was just too tired. Tomorrow is a day off and I'm hoping to fit in a little sewing, plus Saturday will be a nothing but sewing day. I want to get started on the cover of my tuffet.