The weather here in London UK is beautiful, it's sunny and warm. In fact I'm beginning to worry that the weather is peaking too early, after all Spring only started on Monday and the weather is already behaving like summer. I'm not complaining as it's a very welcome relief after the rain and cold of recent weeks. Our house faces south and so our through living room dining room has been bathed in sunlight all day. It's been a pleasure setting up my machine on the dining table and enjoying sewing time in the sun. I've opened the patio doors behind me and can enjoy the bird songs (and squabbles) as they visit the feeder. I'm also enjoying being able to dry my washing outside again. I do need to get out into the garden to do some weeding and general tidying, plus we will need to get some bedding plants for the pots. The sun has really lifted my mood and I have several photos I want to share with you. Unfortunately, whilst caring for our old and sick fur babies I didn't feel much like blogging or stitching but the sun has given me a boost.
Last Saturday we celebrated John's 70th birthday. His birthday was on March 15th but ahead of time we moved the day to the weekend as we knew Scamp would not live through the week. Saturday also meant that our older daughter was able to join us but unfortunately, Oliver, her partner was working, so not quite the full family complement. Between us we had decided to be a little silly. Since there was nothing big and expensive John wanted we decided to get him 70 presents. they had to be things he would like, would be able to use or that would be eaten. Richard and Lucy set the dining table with the presents so this is what John saw when he went into the room.
In the end he had over 70 presents, mostly because we all got a little excited and bought extras plus we lost count! It took a while for him to open them all but we all enjoyed the bubbly while he did so. He was amazed we'd managed to keep it all hidden away and loved the varied gifts he received.The previous weekend John and I went away to our favourite hotel, a little south of Bath. This was John's birthday weekend but I got a trip to my favourite quilt shop, Midsomer Quilting. John had put in bids on two of the 12 inch challenge quilts and having won them, he needed to pick them up. Many of the quilts in the challenge are auctioned to raise money for the local hospice. As always the shop had quilts on display.
I liked the colours in this one and the quilting was very pretty.
It was difficult to get a good picture of this one due to the lighting. I do like Dresden blocks.
The first two quilts didn't have a name with them but this one was called starburst and was advertising a class on how to make it which is taking place on 9th April.
My favourite quilt on display was this one.
It also had information about it.
Based on the Bayeux tapestry style and depicting it being made I love the things that bring it bang up to date. Can you spot the electric sewing machine? The work on this quilt was fabulous. I haven't been to the festival of quilts for many years but I may try and visit this year.
Having finished at the quilt shop we went bird watching for the day. We visited Ham Walls and Shapwick Heath. You are able to walk between the two reserves and there was a lot to see. Over the day we walked about 9 miles and really deserved the Gin and tonic before dinner. The day was warm but there was a cold wind that threaten to bring rain. In the end we were lucky and it stayed dry all day. I had fun taking photos of buds, catkins and spring flowers. I didn't have the right lens for the birds.
Off in the distance you can see Glastonbury Tor. The trees were all starting to take on a green hue as the leaves were starting to open.
I managed to get a photo of a robin. He or she was singing away.
There were Canada geese, tufted ducks, moorhens, coots, mallards and many more but this was the best I could get with the lens. Reminder to self - take other lenses when going bird watching. There were several marsh harriers and a kite which I could see through my binoculars but they don't even appear as a black dot on the photo.
The clouds cleared over the morning and I got this photo of fluffy clouds and blue sky. We had a great day.
On the Sunday we visited Lacock village and Lacock Abbey. Both have been used as venues for filming, appearing in Downton Abbey, the BBC's Pride and Prejudice and Cranford, Harry Potter and the half blood prince and Wolfman amongst others. The village is owned by the National Trust and people live in the houses in the village. The summer period must be a nightmare with loads of visitors all taking photos. I only took 1 photo of the village streets.
We spent most of our time visiting the abbey and walking in the grounds. I'll show you the photos from the abbey next time as I want to share a couple more blocks I quilted on my Austen Family Quilt. I tried to do the rope pattern and practiced it before hand. One of them is way off but 2 worked quite well. I'm not going to unpick the iffy one as it's all part of the learning process and this quilt will be staying with me.
I like how it looks on the back. I kept the second block very simple. It's a shame I can't quilt in a straight line!
My plans for today are to quilt two more blocks but I need to decide how I'm going to quilt them first. So many decisions to make. I've also finished one of the hand stitching blocks that I'm working on for the Noah's Ark quilt. I'll show you that tomorrow for Slow Sunday stitching.