Monday, 30 May 2011

Macro Monday

My Uncle Campbell`s beloved accordion (which he plays fabulously well).

Back from a lovely weekend in Warwick where we stayed with my Uncle Campbell and Aunt Jan.  Hello and thanks to Jan who was my 2nd follower and still reads my blog.

I spent my first 18 years in leafy Warwickshire.  We lived in a Victorian farmworker`s cottage surrounded by fields in the middle of what seemed like nowhere but was in fact totally idyllic. I went to school in Stratford Upon Avon but it was Warwick where I socialized as a teenager.  It was a trip down memory lane to wander around its town centre on Saturday and walk in St.Nicholas` Park (St.Nick`s) on Sunday morning.  My advice on this wet and rainy Monday in Somerset? Forget expensive face creams.  Re-visit childhood haunts or have a squeeze on your accordion!

Visit Lisa`a Chaos for more close-up shots.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday #7

The River Avon at Warwick

For more shadow shots, hop over to Hey Harriet

Friday, 27 May 2011

On the Steep Learning Curve

Tote bag from Hus & Hem in Ledbury - a gift from lovely friend Liz
I`ve learned this week that:
  • it`s not a good idea to baste a quilt in a room only slightly larger than the quilt
  • it`s equally not ideal to knit when you`re tired and/or in dim light
  • if you are learning to knit, you shouldn`t knit a rib while talking to your 3 year old son
  • I lose count quickly
  • I can`t pick up stitches that well
  • quilting requires patience
  • knitting requires patience
  • I have no patience

Thank goodness it`s Friday. Have you learned anything this week?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday - An hour at the Beach at Beer

All images taken at the beach at Beer, Devon England

Playing along with Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love

Work in Progress - Click Clack

Baby alpaca yarn by  BlueSky Melange in Relish and Symphonie KnitPro beechwood needles
My slouchy hat - 32 rows on...

Monday, 23 May 2011

A Storm at Sea

While I have a few things to complete, I`ve been thinking about my next project. I head back to Marrakech in a week or so and as it`s difficult to find quilting fabrics, threads, needles (you get the drift) there, I have to think ahead. This is a little challenging for me.  I`m not known for my decision making abilities.
Storm at Sea design from The Practical Encyclopedia of Needlecraft Skills and Techniques by Lucinda Ganderton
Perhaps it`s the cooler temperatures here, the different light or being near to the sea but I`ve been drawn to the Storm at Sea design.  Perhaps it`s the fact that the optical illusion caused by the positioning of the blocks makes you see rolling waves reminiscent of the eastern seaboard of the United States (where this deign originated), which I`ve always wanted to visit.  Whatever the reason and with this pattern in mind I have purchased these fabrics and will pick up some Kona white before I leave.
Today, I have to prewash my batting and the silk for Deborah`s quilt here.  So there is not much more I can do other than start knitting my slouchy hat.  Yes yes, I know it`s May...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

Work in Progress

The old lady is certainly earning her keep - over the last couple of days she has helped me make this union flag quilt top which my lovely friend Deborah commissioned me to make for her daughter Elicia. 

It wasn`t as easy as I thought using the Liberty fabrics she had chosen - they are beautifully soft but very slippery.

I used the same pattern as I used here.  That quilt was hand pieced and hand quilted.  This one will be machine quilted and it will have a 12" border in a beautiful silk fabric, which I have yet to wash.   I plan to put it in the machine on a silk wash with a mild detergent but I`m a little worried about drying it....any tips? For the backing, it will be made up of panels using the silk and some of the Liberty fabrics too - just because they are so lovely and will help prevent the quilt sliding off the bed!

I would like to get the quilt finished next week so that I can post it to Deborah in Paris before I leave for Morocco. My Ryanair allowance won`t stretch to taking it home!

Hope you have plans for a great weekend!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A friend from Switzerland Comes to Stay

Yesterday, a litle old lady from Switzerland came to visit. 

She`ll be with us for the next week or so.

She`s smallish but very well built. 

In fact, when we collected her, I had to carry her to the car and she weighed a tonne.

Sturdy you might call her.

While she`s a little jaundiced looking...what she lacks in looks and youthfulness, she makes up in experience.   

She`ll fit in well...she loves all things sewing.

She`s very very welcome.

Bernina Nova Electronic

Kindly lent to us by Bredons in Taunton - thank you!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday - The Swing

The Swing(like a giant`s sling shot big enough for two) at West Bay, Dorset

The Swing 

How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
   Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
   Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!

By Robert Louis Stevenson 1850–1894

Playing along with Wordless Wednesday over at Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Spot of Retail Therapy

So we`re back in England...well we`ve been back a week now...
The T Station at West Bay
and as I had brought some quilting with me I thought I would do some today - now that things had settled down. However, my mum`s machine had other plans.  The handwheel felt stiff and it made a high pitched scream of pain when used. We knew these were not good signs.  Admitted to triage, we oiled it, we took the bobbin shaft out and oiled that.  We brushed for lint under the plate.  Nothing.  So we did what we should have done at the beginning and phoned the machine repairer.  There was an audible intake of breath as I explained the symptoms over the phone. His diagnosis? The shaft had slipped.  We were not to continue using it under any circumstances.  It was a job for `the mechanics` and would have to be admitted for a few days. We winced.

So I did what I always do when I receive disappointing news and went shopping...on the internet. 

I can`t knit. However, undeterred by this fact and inspired by  The Gentle Art of Knitting by Jane Brocket (which is unsurprisingly fabulous),  I had a fancy to make this beautiful cable stitch blanket...
but when I discovered it needs fourteen skeins of wool at £10 each and  I can`t actually cast on, it was just a little too much retail therapy for a Tuesday evening.  Undeterred, I ordered these funky needles from Loop...
KnitPro Symfonie 25cm Straight Wooden Needles
and a couple of skeins of this...
Blue Sky Alpaca Melange in Relish that I can attempt to make this (suitable for beginners)...
Jane Brocket`s slouchy hat from The Gentle Art of Knitting
Clearly such an idea is ridiculously ridiculous.  It`s May. I live in a hot climate.  I can`t knit.  I`ll let you know how I get on.  For those of you in the knitting know, and you know who you are - stand by.  I may need your help!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Macro Monday A Purple Splash

A purple rhododendron in Wayford Wood, Somerset
Joining in the fun over at Lisa`s Chaos.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday #5 - Wayford Wood

Wayford Wood, Somerset
For more shadow shots, hop over to Hey Harriet.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Design board for a Moroccan fabric and thread picture by Ansell Landen (my mum)
Playing along with Faith Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

Fabulous Giveaway

To celebrate having been a quilter for one year, Judith over at Needles & Lemons, is having a fabulous giveaway. Head over there before Suturday May 14 to have a chance of winning something wonderful to add to your stash  - actually it`s this...all of it...
Denyse Schmidt range 'Picnic and Fairground'
...and take a look at Judith`s lovely quilts. Good luck!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Business as Normal

For most of yesterday it was a typical May day in Marrakech  - hot and sunny with blue blue skies.  At 5 o`clock, this happened...the heavens opened...
...the palm trees swayed...
...those caught in the downpour used anything they could to provide some cover...
...odd things landed on the balcony... was all very odd indeed...
...but today is another day and today...`s like any other day in sunny and clear blue (well blueish) skies.  Business as normal.

yes, yes, I know I should be packing to do it now...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Macro Monday

For more close-ups, head over to Lisa`s Chaos here.

1 - 2 - 3

 A shiny red bicycle for a 3rd birthday...
fig hurling at the grandparents (a `sport` sure to catch on methinks - cheese rollers watch out)...
and a spot of climbing...
Blog lite alert - Z and I are off to England for 3 weeks tomorrow so I may not be my noisy self for a few days but I`ll be back!  Have a great week...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday #4 - Fig Tree Leaf Shadows

The fig tree at Sidi Bennour just before sunset.
For my shadow shots, visit Hey Harriet.

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Horizontal View

It`s Friday at last and so what better than a plate full of cookies...or as I like to call them, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Flapjack.
They are moist and chewy and definitely a cookie and not a biscuit. They need few ingredients, no flour, contain oats (so they must be healthy no?) and take about 20 minutes to make from start to finish and are very yummy! My kind of recipe.  I saw it over on Joan`s blog yesterday.  Thanks Joan.  By the way, I feel like I had a downer on the Duke`s cake here. Perhaps I wasn`t feeling in the best of moods when I wrote that post (note to self  - never write a blog post when in a funk) but I have changed my view - it is delicious and I will be making it again.  Soon.

On a different note I was so happy to see this morning that this photo...
had been featured in Mammarazzi`s gallery.  Have a great Friday!


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Another Pearl Necklace

Today I thought I would share with you a necklace I made shortly before I left for our recent weekend in the Lakes. I up-cycled a cultured freshwater pearl necklace I bought a year or so ago in Covent Garden, London.  They are monster white ring potato pearls and were originally strung simply with a lobster claw clasp.  They weren`t expensive but I thought I could do something better with them so I used the same technique as I used here when I made the necklace for my friend Lisa.  It uses sterling silver wire, which is soft and flexible and strong which you wire wrap around the pearls to create a link.
Silver Bali daisy beads and round beads are used in the link also. It`s a little tricky to begin with and I wouldn`t recommend doing it for the first time using a precious metal (as I did) as mistakes are made but it doesn`t take long to master and the effect is lovely. I really want to learn how to string pearls knotted on silk and so I think I`m going to have a go at that soon as I love pearls very very much.
On the home front, I`m cracking on with my hand quilting of Z`s quilt and also working on Deborah`s soon! After a difficult last few days, things are peaceful now.  I like peaceful.  Peaceful is good.