Friday, 23 April 2010

Thank you’s and Springtime.

Dorothy thank you

You may remember that this time last year we played host to a little bear that had come all the way from South Haven Kansas and a few days ago we had a lovely package from the children in the class who had followed Dorothy’s progress on her travels.  We’ve enjoyed ready the children’s ‘thank you’ letters and there is plenty of information about Kansa for us to have a look at too.

It was such a beautiful day on Wednesday that I decided I would get myself away from the computer and have a walk into town.  I have been putting more and more weight on recently (signs of advancing years methinks!) and I really should get more exercise so a lovely sunny Spring day seemed the perfect time to start!   It was also the perfect time to give my new camera a try out.

magnolia b

Every year at this time we pass this stunning magnolia on the road into town and I have always intended to get some photographs of it.

magnolia e

This shot is looking back at the plant  from the town side.  Isn’t it spectacular?  I would love to have one of these magnificent plants in my garden, if only it was big enough (our garden, that is, the plant is plenty big enough!).

magnolia c

magnolia d

You can click on these images to enlarge them but one or two of them may be rather large.  I would really love to incorporate these wonderful blooms into a work of art some day.

On the subject of Spring I had a little wander round our garden today too,


Another brief visitor to the garden in April, the beautiful and delicate Anemone Blanda.


Another favourite, cowslips.


This tulip is a large image too.  It’s not a perfect composition but I am pleased with the way the camera has captured the image without a tripod (cos I was too lazy to go and set one up!).

duck at barge & bottle

And finally, I saw this little lady a couple of weeks ago nesting in a planter outside a pub in Sleaford.  She was enjoying a little piped music and would probably be joined by the odd smoker or two over the course of the day.  I wonder if her brood has hatched yet?

I am going to be missing for a while so don’t worry about me (lovely friends that you all are).  I’m just having a break and will soon be back wittering on as ever.  Mum is making good progress now and is getting much stronger.   My brother is doing a great job of encouraging her along so hopefully we can relax again.  She is going to meet her great-grandson on Sunday so I’m hoping for some photos of the four generations. 

Back soon!  :o)) XxXx

PS Did I say?  Our friends got back home yesterday morning.  As my friend’s back was causing her problems I think they were prioritised by the airline once the air space was opened.  I think they were quite lucky to get back so quickly.  I hope everyone else’s family and friends have all got back safely.


Tuesday, 20 April 2010

April Journal Quilt

I have had two attempts at my Contemporary Quilt Group Journal Quilt for April.  The first attempt was actually my crinkle quilt cut to size with some further stitching added but I really wasn't satisfied with it so yesterday I set to and started again.

I have called this 'Waves'.  Not very original but sometimes titles escape me. 

I made the quilt using the method given in Karen Eckmeier's book 'Layered Waves' and it went together fairly easily.

I cut and pieced the curves using the same method I used for the December Journal Quilt last year which I blogged about here.  I started by piecing various fabrics together until I had a piece of fabric larger than my finished piece would be.  I then cut through the fabric to make strips of varying widths (remembering to take account of seam allowances).  Sorry, I didn't take a photograph of the cut strips.

The next step was to arrange the strips into a design that pleased me.  I flipped some of the strips so that they were 'upside down' as I felt this improved the composition and adjusted the strips up and down so that I felt the balance was right.

The next step was to 'quilt as you go'.  Each strip was laid down onto the quilt batting and the next piece stitched to it.  The top piece is then flipped over flat and the next piece added.

I used a piece of my hand-dyed fabric for the backing and some batik for the binding.  The fabrics used in the quilt were my own hand-dyed fabrics, sun-dyed and some commercial fabrics.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sunny day

Yesterday DH and I took advantage of a beautiful sunny day to have a ride out with a view to taking time to check out my new camera.  We ended up at Naturescape, a wildflower farm near Nottingham which we visited at a similar time last year. 
Probably because of the cold winter Spring is a little bit behind and the cowslips were only just beginning to come out but primroses near the cafe were giving a lovely display.
I think this is hawthorn (or it may be wild plum).  I took the photo on Macro Zoom but unfortunately the image is grainy so I shall have to experiment more.  Maybe a tripod would be better.
DH spent quite a while trying to spot a robin singing high in a tree.
He also threw himself wholeheartedly into getting the shot he wanted (and nearly fell in a pond in the process!).
On the way home we stopped off to have a look at some very sweet lambs.
The noticeboard at Naturescape showed that someone had seen a swallow recently but we couldn’t spot any, although we did have the pleasure of watching a Red Kite rising on thermals above the field of sheep. 
My nephew (the one who’s just become a Daddy) has just set up a website showcasing his photography so if you’ve got a minute and are interested in photography have a look here.  I know I’m biased but he has some beautiful photographs.
Have any of you been affected by the Iceland ash cloud?  Two of our friends are stranded in Singapore trying to get home from a holiday in New Zealand.  I feel very sorry for them as G is struggling with severe back pain and they are both tired after their special holiday which involved a lot of travelling so they just want to come home, but there doesn’t seem to be any chance of that for the moment.  I must admit it’s very strange not to see any vapour trails in the sky.  I have heard a few light aircraft flying over from time to time but that’s all. 

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Thank You and a Little Shopping


Blogging has been far from my mind recently, as you might expect,  and I haven’t had time for much creativity apart from a little hand sewing.  With so little to say I don’t even know where to start!  Daft, isn’t it?

I should start by saying ‘Thank you’ to everyone who has left messages here or sent me emails offering good wishes for my Mum’s good health.  Mum has been making very slow progress since we brought her home from the hospital but hopefully she is going in the right direction.  Her strength is not returning as fast as she would like but I’m sure it will soon.

Yesterday I took Mum across to my brother’s for him to take over her convalescence for a while.   He lives in a pretty village near Lincoln so hopefully Mum will be able to enjoy some little strolls before too long.

On the way back home I took the opportunity to stop off at Ruskington as I knew there was a patchwork shop there that I haven’t had chance to visit before.  I had a lovely chat with the young lady who runs it with her Mum and naturally could not resist a small purchase or two.


These gorgeous inspiring buttons are about an inch and a half across and each one could provide the starting point for  a piece of work.   The colours are even richer than this photo shows.  They would look great as a closure on a notebook or bag.

I also got tempted by a beautiful panel,


The fabric is designed by Barb Tourtillote.  I’ve pinched the photograph from Clothworks website as I forgot to photograph my panel today so I’ll try and remember to take some closer shots tomorrow.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  It just spoke to me across the shop - what could I do? ;o)  Of course, I don’t have a clue what I am going to do with it, just enjoy it for the time being!

While I was in the shopping mood I popped into a hospice shop in the village and found a bargain pair of curtains (£2.99!) that are going to get dyed and repurposed.


The colour’s all wrong as the fabric is a light cream medium weight cotton and this patterning is only revealed when you hold it up to the light.  I’m thinking it’s probably got a polyester content in it so it will be interesting to see what happens when I dye it.  Each curtain is 32” x 54” so I’ve got enough for some quilt backings if nothing else.


This was the beautiful centre of Ruskington village yesterday.  The stream flows right along the Main Street and they’ve put these lovely benches for people to sit and have a chat or watch the ducks.  It was lovely sitting there in the sunshine for a few minutes.

I still haven’t finished my April Journal Quilt yet so that is going to be my priority over the next day or two.  I had adapted (cut up) my crinkle quilt and have been stitching that but I don’t feel satisfied in using it for the Journal Quilt so I am hoping to go back to the curved piecing and make a trial run for my Festival Of Quilts entry as my April quilt.  Once I get started it shouldn’t take too long.

Thank you again for all your lovely messages of support.  Have a great weekend!


Thursday, 8 April 2010

Home again

I am pleased to say that we are now back home and Mum is with us.  Her pacemaker was eventually fitted last Wednesday and she is healing up well, just needs to get her strength back and a bit of confidence and she’ll be well away.  Thank you, everyone, for all the lovely thoughts and wishes that you have left here as comments and sent to us.  It has been wonderful to have such supportive friends.  Bloggers are wonderful!

Needless to say there hasn’t been much happening on the creative front.  I am trying to get my Journal Quilt for April finished but it is going to be a bit of a sorry effort as I am low on interest and enthusiasm at the moment.  Temporary I’m sure!

So, what can I tell you?  Before we went to see Mum we had an overnight  in Nottingham meeting up with one of my DH’s blogging friends and the next day I took my DH back to the Rock Cemetery that I had taken Susan Lenz to.  DH had a great time finding lots of inspiration for his photography and he is currently blogging about it.  We explored areas of the cemetery that I hadn’t had chance to look at with Susan and I found some wonderful textures that may provide backgrounds for some future digital images. 





I haven’t had time yet but I am looking forward to manipulating these images in Photoshop.

There are some beautiful sculpted headstones in the cemetery, some of which are broken like this one below.

rock cemetery k

rock cemetery s

rock cemetery u

This obelisk above has some interesting markings on it which could easily be interpreted in stitch.

Although it was a really blustery day and I had forgotten to take any masking tape with me, I did manage to make a few rubbings of the images and lettering on the headstones.




The first two are on silk and the third rubbings are on a piece of previously dyed cotton.  Some of the flowers on the stones are beautifully carved and I hope to incorporate some of these rubbings into a piece of work. 

I don’t think I am going to be very active in blogland for a while, especially while Mum is here but I will be looking in at everyone’s blogs.  At last we are having some lovely Spring days so I hope you will all be enjoying the sunshine over the weekend.  Isn’t it wonderful to see some colour at last?  I can’t wait for the Magnolias to flower, they are an amazing plant.  I shall have to go for a walk in my neighbourhood and photograph some as we don’t have any in our garden.