Friday, 31 May 2013

We've been very busy

So busy there hasn't been a spare moment. Once we've recovered, we'll be back.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Gardening and Fabric choosing

Despite the cold, slow start to the year the garden is racing ahead and if the jobs aren't done soon, it may be too late- which is what happened last year. The front and back gardens desperately needed a really serious sort out last year- not a lot got done as the weather was hopeless, so everything got out of control... this year I have been making radical changes, lawns have been re-shaped, big shrubs pruned, plants moved or relocated to the compost bin. Beginning to think I might just get the garden sorted this year - the new raised beds in the back that did get made last year are settling down and stuff is growing, the hedge that was cut in half last year now has clemetis scrambling through it and the HUGE shed at the end of the garden, which really doesn't get used enough to justify the space it takes up, is about to find a new owner and I have created new luxury homes nearby for the hedgehogs that live under it to move into. By this time next year I might just have a garden that looks better and is easier to keep that way!

 Still not warm outside, so I'm back indoors before I seize up completely for some serious fabric organising. The Tula Pink Modern Sampler Quilt-along is starting, so final fabric decisions need to be made. I had been setting aside some red/cream fabrics with a  view to making a sampler quilt so thought they would them out...way too restrained and 'tasteful'. Stash search... I stuck with the red, but took out the restrained fabrics, added some different, brighter reds, stronger patterns, some sludgy greens and different images. The juxtaposition of typewriter keys and cabbages, tape measures and tulips was irresistible...

Friday, 17 May 2013

Too much excitement for one week.

 Star Trek on Wednesday was everything I was hoping and more. Awesomely good fun- I laughed, I cried, I gasped and even yelped out loud- I NEVER yelp out loud at the cinema. Going again as soon as I can. Yep, THAT good.
 Yesterday I was doing my occasional volunteering day at Waddesdon Manor. Every year a new arrangement is unveiled for the dining room, this year we have table linen sculptures. Yes, you read that correctly. Popular from the Renaissance onwards, princes and potentates with money to burn and vast banqueting tables to fill would have these amazing creations made to make their guests gasp. Using simple white, pre-starched table linen, folded and pressed with only the fingers-not ironed- sometimes shaped and sewn together, often just made from squares or lengths of fabric with wooden supports inside to hold up the more elaborate pieces, these sculptures are wondrous to see. The gentleman artist who makes these wonders is from Spain, his designs are all based on engravings of table decorations made for long ago banquets and he has taught himself how to re-create them. Joan Sallas has infinite patience and I was lucky to meet him and watch him working yesterday, sitting quietly at a large window, patiently making tiny folds in a piece of crisp white fabric that resolved, after hours of work, into an elegant peacock. He exhibited pieces at the Holborne Museum in Bath earlier this year and is working on an even larger set of designs for the various dining rooms at Waddesdon. The linen sculptures will be on show all this Summer and they really are breath-taking.

 Follow this link for the exhibition at Waddesdon Manor
 Follow this link to find out more and see some of the designs from the exhibition in Bath.

 My third thrill of the week was this morning, I decided to take part in the Tula Pink City Sampler Sew-along. It is starting on May 20th and though I pre-ordered my copy of the book way back in March and it was available in the USA weeks ago, it wasn't due out here until a week into June. But- hurrah- the books are shipping sooner and my copy should be with me by Tuesday. The book looks gorgeous; Tula is a great fabric and quilt designer and I love her idea for a modern version of a sampler quilt that you can customise to suit yourself. People taking part who have the book already are posting photos of their blocks and it is real fun to see the different fabric versions of the same blocks. Some awesome fabric combos and proof of how good the book is- as soon as they lay their hands on it they want to start making up the blocks. I think I have chosen my fabrics, but that may change once I have the book...all the more reason to get back to finishing my project using some of the new Kaffe Fassett ribbons ( also exciting) so the sewing table is a bit clearer for Tuesday!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Spring? Really?

Howling winds and thrashing rain...really not a soft and gentle Spring. There are baby birds in the hedge, Robins and Blue Tits, a triumph of optimism as the temperature is struggling to stay in double figures. The Swifts arrived ten days later than usual and yesterday morning, before the wind and the rain started, they were calling and diving around the house. I love it when they arrive. Last year they left really early,  had a rotten Summer, I doubt they managed to raise young, hoping for better this year. I was out early in the garden, sowing seeds before the weather went downhill - it is still a bit chilly for them, but if I leave it any later, it will be too late and with rain on the way to help them germinate it seemed the best opportunity. Now racing to and fro flapping my hands at the wood pigeons who have discovered the seeds- I was hoping the heavy rain would push them down into the soil and make it harder for them to find them! The rest of the week  is going to continue wet and chill, sewing of a different kind to be done. The hand applique is coming along nicely.

But I am completely distracted this morning,  wood pigeons have competition, as it it Star Trek time this afternoon. YIPPEE!

Friday, 10 May 2013


Yes, none at all. Gulp. Hand applique here I come. Scary, foolishly, over-ambitiously,  curvaceous HAND APPLIQUE. Watch this space. How cross will I be if I end up wasting my out of print Tula Pink fabrics? VERY. Calm, calm, calm...of course it will work out fine...

Gloom returns!

So out come the UFOs. Not nice weather, but great for clearing a backlog of unfinished- and rather unseasonal- business!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

While I'm busy sewing...


 ...why don't you take a stroll around the garden?

Friday, 3 May 2013

Speed Quilting....

This is today's prototype of a foundation pieced design I'm working on...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Bird in Tree-finished!

I've been going for the World Speed Stitching record to get this finished in time for hanging for the Henley Art Trail. All done and dusted, the remaining hand stitching, edging hemming and quilting took almost the whole of Series One of Game of Thrones to complete- I do like some rollicking entertainment whilst hand stitching!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A surprise arrival

A very nice surprise arrival indeed. An unwanted, unloved item in need of a new home found its way to my doorstep yesterday.  I can keep my threads and pins and scissors tidy beside the sofa, out of reach of Team Tabby, who do like a hank of thread as a playmate- they sneak up silently, reach out a tentative paw, hook them down from the table/sofa  and race off with them...not any more! And look- it has a handle, it can travel- it can follow me and my sewing to a spot in the sunshine during the day, back to beside the sofa in the evening. Perfect!