Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Must be Summer...

So tonight, I'm messing about in my craft room (of course), listening to some banging tunes (not really) and wondering what to do with some gorjussss papers purchased recently when I hear a slow deep "whhoooooosssh" from outside.  I know that sound.  I hear it whenever the air is very still, usually early, early mornings or calm summer evenings.  And sure enough, it's the whoosh of balloons inflating ....

Balloons have been rising into the sky for the past three evenings and who can blame them.  Because I'm at the top of a building on the top of a hill, I get a close up view of the passengers in the baskets and sometimes I hear them whoop as the balloons rapidly ascend.  I had to rush to grab my camera and hang out of the window to catch these before they disappeared off into the sunset.
And when they finally did float away, I was left with a beautiful apricot coloured sun and the high pitched song of the swifts buzzing around my windows.  
I'm hoping the nice weather holds because me and Himself are off north tomorrow to the Yorkshire Dales for some walking and sight seeing.  It's a new area to us both and we're really looking forward to it.  (I haven't mentioned that there are 3 craft shops in one village alone.  Can't wait!!)

Monday, 23 July 2012

After the rain

Finally after all the rain, this weekend the sun decided to shine on the south west of England!  Out we rushed into the neglected garden of the Country House to catch up on all the weeding, hoeing and...well actually not doing any of that - just sitting outside enjoying it all :)
The raindrops were still hiding in the folds of this perfect rose and the scent was fantastic, it really filled the air but it didn't last long.  By the end of the day the petals had wilted away.
We're in deepest farming land here and the world smelled earthy and fresh when the rain cleared.  The flowers and thistles down the lane all popped out and the insects, bees and birds got busy.
This was the first BBQ of the year - very late for us as we take every opportunity to get outside and start a fire and the boys take any chance to slap a bit of cow on the griddle!
 Then for had to be...
 Bliss on a stick!  For how ever short a time it may be with us - long live summer :)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Birthday Books

What do you do when you've forgotten to organise goody bags for the end of the birthday party?  Drink Pimms You take lots of photos of the sleep over and sneak off to make them into memory books.  Phew!  Himself's youngest turned 10 at the weekend and we had 3 of his friends over for haribos some food, some running round the local park and computer games and DVD's.  

They all slept in a sticky pile in the living room and were noisy, lively, funny and good as gold.  It was a pleasure to have them stay over  :)

First step - load up a book with picture and comments printed straight onto paper
Second Step - close binding wires on the folded booklet 
Third Step - personalise!  

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Monopoly Pillow Case

Quick update on latest sewing exploits!  I had a length of the monopoly money left from the panel I used to make the quilt and used it to make a pillowcase to match.  It was all going really well until I noticed I had some orange binding left over and thought I could use that too.  
Then a 1 hour project turned into a 3 hour project, especially as I tried to work out how to finish the ends now they all had orange piping sticking out.  Ho hum, it's finished now and I'm happy I've used every last scrap of Monopoly fabric and I can move onto my next project.

Here's a sneak preview of what I'd started before I got distracted with the birthday monopoly quilt.  Himself is planning to redecorate the bedroom of the Country House and has been influenced by the lovely furnishings and faded grandeur observed on our trips to rural France.  The colours will be warm grey, white and cream and my contribution will be a quilt on the same theme.  Below is a fleur de lys just so I could see how the colours worked together.  Might turn it into a cushion.....pip pip!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Monopoly Quilt Finished!

Finished!!  It hasn't taken too long to make but the pressure's been on to have it ready in time for Himself's youngest's birthday.  It's a biggie - it's double digits - it's 10!  As I explained in this post, the youngest is daft on Monopoly and once I found out you could buy the board printed on fabric I was mentally designing it faster than you can say "where's my credit card".
You know how it is - you finish all the clever design of the top and think it's finished.  Then you layer it up and umm and ahhh over how you're going to quilt it.  I had an idea before I started what I wanted to do but then you get into those detailed questions like how tight do I want my wobbles to be.  How close to the edge will I stitch and am I seriously thinking about stitching in the ditch even though I know I'm no good at it?!  And that's before you start thinking about what colour threads you want and can you get away with using an old random fabric you've had hanging around for the backing that's not intended to be seen or will you scour the internet for the fabric you KNOW will make the difference between a quilt you love or one you just like. 
Once I'd decided on the perfect back cloth I wanted to strike a contrast with the binding.  I bravely decided on a bright orange similar to that in the chance cards on the top piece.  Brave because orange brings me out in a rash - can't bear it - but it was perfect to frame the quilt and I'm really pleased I overcame my irrational dread of orange!  I opted for a black top thread and an orange bobbin thread.  And my sewing teacher will be proud to know yes I DID make a sample block to practice my stitch length and tension on! 
The wobbly quilting was done machine embroidery style on the long arm quilter (after several trials on scrap fabrics) and not too much of the upper black thread came through and where it did, it's fine :)
And the back charts my skills development!  I've had a look at it and found the bits where I panicked and went too quickly and found other sections where I can see I was more confident and less scared of the machinery.  I can even see where I relaxed and enjoyed myself.  And now it's finished.  

I've been wondering if it will be used as a monopoly board or just used to curl up in.  I'm pretty sure it will be trailed all around the house if towels, duvets and other quilts are anything to go by.  And what happens in the life of a quilt as it matures?  Will it be packed away in an attic for a few years then rediscovered?  Will it be kept close by the owner and might he pass it onto his children if it survives that long?  I like to think some future generation will see it as a curiosity and look up "monopoly" on history websites. Happy thoughts :)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

June Mosaic

I'm always a few days late with the monthly mosaic!  I want more time to think and write about the things we've done or made and the places we've visited and it never happens.  So here is a quick summary of June with links!

There was a camping trip to Normandy with our Camping Quilt.  On our return I took a very happy delivery of the long arm quilter I'd lusted after for over a year and saved up for.  I started a very special quilt for a special little person's birthday and have now almost finished it - I'm soooo excited and I plan to show you in my next post!  The closing days of the month took us for a long weekend of camping at beautiful Rock in Cornwall.  There was a great coincidental comment on twitter this week "Who ever invented Cornwall should get a medal the size of a poppadom"  I totally agree :)  Here's the mosaic.....

Monday, 2 July 2012

Rock on!

Back from a long weekend at the seaside where we were blessed with warm sunshine and only a little showery rain.  We camped near Rock in Cornwall with relatives and new friends to support a relative doing the annual one mile swim from Rock to Padstow - and for the fish and chips!  I haven't counted up how many we were but there were 5 families and about 11ish children.  It's difficult to be certain because they run around all the time so thank goodness for the civilising influence of those in our party who not only brought home made cakes, they brought a cake stand to place them on.  Just looking at the photo makes me feel a tiny bit refined.  (See that half a scone with jam and cream on top?  I had that - delish!)
My contribution was mostly Pimms in a special boot holder.
The area is beautiful with glorious coastal walks, sandy beaches and more photo opportunities than I knew what to do with.  Even the way they park their boats is appealing. 
 A pretty red sailing boat floated along in front of us as we walked along a cliff top.

It's refreshing being near the coast, feeling the wind whip your hair and tasting gritty sand.  We were only away Friday to Sunday but it feels like we've had a proper little holiday.  I've even got sunburn!