Saturday, 31 March 2012

Lay a Little Egg for Me

Even though my DGS was still feeling poorly yesterday he enjoyed feeding the chickens and collecting the egg (yes, singular!  These are SiL's chooks, two ex-battery that no longer lay, one grey chook that turned out to be a cockerel and the other poor grey hen that does all the work).

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Counting Down

I can  happily report that today my spare bed looks a lot tidier than it did yesterday morning, I am very nearly packed for Japan.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Spring has Sprung


It has been an amazingly beautiful day today and I couldn't resist sharing some of the highlights of my garden at the moment.
While I was out I took these pictures of my Stitching for Texture project, as promised.

Country Roads Quilters had a wonderfully inspiring workshop with Angela Daymond last week.  We looked at using machine and hand stitching to quilt projects and worked towards creating a fabric book of sample designs using a variety of techniques.  Angela managed to make FMQ easy and so my squiggles appear as my cover, I was even brave enough to add a few daisies.  Angela discussed scale for effect, using combinations of the same pattern in different sizes, such as on my cover, and also scaling up the designs for a full size quilt.  Not all of my pages are finished, as you can see, but I feel I have done enough on these designs and been inspired to make further books.  My next one will be a selection of "water" designs I think (but not until A.J., after Japan!)  Several members of Country Roads Quilters agreed that the quilting of a project is the part that provokes the most terror.  I think we now feel a lot more confident and willing to have more fun with our quilting too, so a big thank you to Angela.
A thank you to Tina too.  She gave me this book:

Some wonderful examples of a range of Japanese textile styles to enjoy, thank you Tina.  (Do pop over to Tina's blog for some wonderful textile creations).
If you were at the Quilters' Guild AGM and Conference in Dundee this past weekend I'm sure you had a wonderful time, and, if you listened carefully, you might have heard my name mentioned.  I have some very good news to share with you another day but now I'm going back into the sunshine.

Added 29 March:  I've just read the post Angela wrote about her workshop.  She has a photograph of me.  I was concentrating on my FMQ so hard that I didn't know she'd taken a picture!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

No More Sewing

Before I go to Japan that is!
I have just finished this bag for the current Global Piecers' swap and it will be flying off around the world in the morning.
I thought it would be interesting to show the version of this bag that I made for myself a couple of years ago, how different it looks in the fabrics I chose.  My swap partner likes bright colours so I think she will like her bag.
The swap was to make a bag to take to quilting group or a workshop.  I find this tote with all the pockets very useful and use it for classes.  It is large enough to hold an A3 cutting board and seems to expand to hold all those things we need for quilting, including lunch.  I popped the leftover fabric in with the bag in case my partner wants to make a pin cushion or bits holder to match.
Today has been a beautiful day after a chilly start and a shock to the system here as our clocks went forward.  I met my DD, DS and DDiL for lunch with DH and had a wonderful time catching up and discussing their plans.  I also ate too much but who can resist chocolate mousse, even after a roast lunch?
Everywhere the countryside is bursting into life, don't these daffodils look cheerful? 
I hope you've had a lovely weekend.  My next post will show the Stitching for Texture workshop results as promised/requested!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Stitching for Texture

Thank you to everyone who left such thoughtful comments on my last post and on Saz' blog, we really appreciate it. 
Today I have thoroughly enjoyed the workshop Angela Daymond taught at my quilt group.  It was very intensive, we learned a lot and got a lot done and you won't be surprised to learn I am in my dressing gown, sitting up in bed while I type this post and it won't be long before I call it a day!
I haven't sorted out my work yet but will post pictures when I do.  Here are a couple of pictures of ladies at work and one of Angela's class sample.  We will end up with a simple book showing a wide variety of quilting techniques and designs, combining machine stitching and hand stitching and embroidery.  Lots of lovely texture and something that will be a useful tool for many quilts to come.

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Good News after the Bad News

I have been delighted to share "Mothering Monday" with DH, DD Saz and DGS Sam today.  In my last post I was complaining about my health, since then we have had the Ides of March, a day traditionally of bad luck and this year that seemed to be the case.  My sister twisted her back and had to take her first day off work in three years.  My friend was crashed into by a snowboarder and had her leg broken.  My big grandson fell into our pond and was very surprised and very cold.  Most worrying though was my little Sam being admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis, a traumatic period for us all.  Thankfully he is okay as you can see in the photo above.  Saz blogged about the events here.  She still hasn't got Sam's blood test results but we are sure he hasn't got the dreaded illness.
Tomorrow I am off to Country Roads Quilters and we are having a workshop with Angela Daymond, "Stitching for Texture:  Spend a day extending your stitiching and quilting repertoire by exploring both traditional and contemporary quilting stitches to create texture and line in your work. Learn how to mix hand and machine stitching for unique effect. You will go home with all your samples made into a stitched book. Hand and machine stitching workshop"  Sounds good doesn't it?  I'm looking forward to it enormously.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What Day Is It?

Oh dear I've lost a week!  Everything was going smoothly, I'd been getting on with things nicely and then, last Wednesday, my body put the brakes on!  Ouch, off to bed, painkillers, hot water bottle, fluids only etc etc, sorry for myself.  Anyway, by Sunday I was feeling well enough to enjoy some of that wonderful sunshine and DH and I had a very short walk and then a coffee in the garden, my recovery kickstarted.  I'm still being careful but have quite a backlog, some things will just have to be forgotten about for now.

In my last post I wrote about going to the bach.  I must apologise for people who don't know what a bach is.  The bach is a holiday home, mine is a wooden chalet. The term bach, pronounced batch, is used in North Island New Zealand, in South Island they call them cribs! It's interesting that as we embrace technology and reach worldwide audiences we need to take extra care to make sure we make ourselves clear.  Text messages and even emails are notorious for "being taken the wrong way" when compared with a face to face conversation or a telephone call, a lack of non-verbal communication.  Excessive use of exclamation marks doesn't make up for it!  I blithely ramble on and yet many people who read this blog (and thank you very much) are doing so in their second, or even third language, I need to take more care with the words and expressions I use but please ask if you don't understand something I write.

It is less than a month before I go to Japan, I'm hoping to share some thoughts about that soon. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Back to Bach

I'm home after a few days at my bach in Norfolk, the first visit of 2012.  It was lovely to be back, to catch up with friends, to see the sea and to find that the bulbs I planted last autumn have survived mice and other wildlife and will be flowering for us soon.
I caught up with a friend of mine and she has started a new business that I thought I'd share with you.  It'll only be of interest if you're in the Norfolk area and planning a wedding I suppose but here's a plug for Clair and "The Scrapbook Wedding Company", I hope she is very successful with it.
I didn't manage to get to the LQS so that is definitely on the list for the next visit! 
We actually stayed in for most of the time as the weather was appalling, wild wind and torrential rain (not that we don't need the water here in the east) and it was very cold, snow was forecast for Monday morning but thankfully it didn't materialise.  We had plenty to do, getting the bach ready for the new season.
We painted doors, cleaned windows, spruced up the cooker and hung new nets.  DH did manly things with silicon in the shower.  We restocked the cupboard with basic supplies - tea, hot chocolate, pepper and salt, that sort of thing.  We replaced pictures and wall hangings and I added my new quilt, Still Waters Run Deep,  to one of the guest/grandson beds.  It's almost ready.  When we next visit we will (weather permitting) weed the little garden, clean the outside of the windows and then clean out the cupboards and vacuum thoroughly.  How does a place get so dusty when it's not being used?  Then we will be welcoming family and friends to our little haven.
I hope to be able to have a little rest now before the countdown to Japan - I've already realised that some things are just not going to get done before or for the Japanese Textile Study Tour! I wonder if Bryan, our host and teacher, is feeling the same?  Read his post about house renovations here!!