Friday, 20 July 2012

Scottish Islands Part Deux

 This sight greeted us at a petrol station that we stopped at in Tyndrum on our way up to Oban, our crossing point to the Isle of Mull. 

Our coachdriver stopped so DH could photograph this mirror-like reflection.  A few minutes later and the surface was ruffled by the wind.

 This is McCaig's Tower in Oban, a folly that was built to give the local unemployed some work.

Who could resist this sweet little spaniel waiting patiently at an upstairs window for his master/mistress to come home?

You are probably wondering, as was I, what these people were doing with a tent on a layby.  Sadly I din't find out but I did realise that they probably had their hoods up to deter the midges as it wasn't raining.

I always like a good reflection and this one was at the ferry in Oban.

If you click on the image above you should see the remains of crabs thrown back into the water at Fionnport, the ferry point for crossing to Iona.

 I would have loved a walk on this beach at Fionnport.

Above is the rare landscape of the Machair . We must have arrived at just the right time as the flowers were beautiful.  We were lucky enough to hear a corncrake too as we walked along, a rare sound indeed! (If you follow the link for the corncrake you can click on a button to listen to its distinctive cry).

These photos show the Abbey and its attendant graveyard where ancient Kings of Scotland, Ireland and Norway are buried.  We only had time to grab a snap as we hurried back to catch the ferry.  Another reason to return.

What a beautiful place to be remembered.

The children of Iona had been busy decorating their cycle shelter.

And finally for this post, a few texture images for you.  

The fungi on the tree in the image above reminded me exactly where the inspiration for the windchime I had bought earlier in Cockermouth had come from.

Till next time.......

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Scottish Islands

This is going to be a picture heavy post for which I make no apologies.  You can never get too many photos of beautiful Scottish countryside.  We recently had a very enjoyable week on a coach holiday in Scotland touring some of the Western Isles.

The view from our window on the Isle of Mull.

The shore below our hotel.

A lovely evening walk along the shore and below, a handsome fellow taking his evening ease on a rock.

Looking across to Ben Nevis in the far distance from the Island of Mull.

 We were privileged to watch these beautiful creatures from our bedroom window on our last night on Mull.

Above, the very beautiful Abbey on the island of Iona.

I have always wanted to  visit the island of Iona and we were so lucky on the day we went that the weather was kind to us.  High winds later in the week stopped us getting to Arran. This beautiful beach above and below was a fair distance from the quayside but it was well worth the effort of the walk.

 These sands really were this white....

This beautiful line of seaweed is sure to inspire some future work.

 And this is looking along the beach the other way.  Couldn't you just spend hours here in this peaceful place?

These sheep are enjoying the sunshine on Adionra Croft. (Sunday: I apologise, if like me, you've clicked on the photo and got an eyeful of a certain sheep doing what comes naturally ;-)  I hadn't noticed when I posted it.  It gave me a laugh to start the day today!)

A beautiful bed of cottage flowers in an island hotel.

Above and below the harbour area and the Abbey as seen from the water.

To be continued..........

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mixed Bag

Yesterday I travelled up from Grantham and my bezzy mate Ann travelled from Macclesfield and we met up at the Quilt Museum in York to view the latest exhibitions. I always look forward to visiting the museum in its beautiful building and the current exhibitions made the trip well worthwhile.  The 'Celebrating Diversity' collection made for stimulating and enjoyable viewing and the miniatures displayed in the Barbara Bailey gallery had us marvelling at the precision and intricacy of the work.  The whole exhibition was topped off by a beautiful exhibiton of strip quilts inspired by the Seaside (please excuse me for failing to note the Region number of the group responsible, I really should have made notes.)

We were greeted by very enthusiastic and welcoming volunteers, one of whom went out of her way to get me permission to take a flash-free photo of the 'Celebrating Diversity', made up of 60 squares by Contemporary Quilt Group members and which I was proud to say includes my own square.  It is undoubtedly the only time one of my quilts, albeit small, will appear at the Quilt Museum. 

In case you've forgotten or not seen it this is my contribution to the Celebrating Diversity (on a theme of what is Britishness')

Oops!  This is the unfinished version!

That's better!  This is the finished version.

I was going to post the photo I took yesterday but as I don't know all the artists involved I think I had better not, especially as the quilt was hanging in a gallery where photography is not usually allowed.

On Monday we had our monthly quilt group meeting and had a very pleasant, friendly evening.  We were talking about things we might do at future meetings and Frankie showed us several versions of a project which makes use of the various stitches on your sewing machine.

I think the material had been painted or dyed beforehand and then machine and hand stitches were added.  I rarely use the pattern stitches on my machine and I'm looking forward to having a play with this project which can then be used as a book cover, bag front, cushion front or mounted on a canvas, or for anything else that strikes you.

 This was the view from our lunchtime cafe in York yesterday on a very wet day.  Will we ever get any summer this year?!

Life's a bit quiet blogwise at the moment fo rwhich I apologise.  I've been really busy finishing the quilt for Festival, stitching UFO's which still are, and working on a piece for the latest International Quilt Challenge Group challenge which is on a theme of' landmarks'.  The deadline is this Sunday and I am certain I will not get the full piece finished but I am going to crack on and do my best.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


for want of a better title!  This time last year I was bemoaning the fact that time was passing in a blur and here we are 366 days later and I'm saying just the same thing.  Not that life hasn't progressed a lot in that time but I still seem to be chasing my tail.

One thing I am happy to say is that I have finished my entry for the Festival of Quilts and I'm actually happy with it.  Phew!

It probably doesn't look much different from the in-progress view I showed before but it has had a lot of stitching added to it.  

My label says that it is about my fascination with the effects of time and the elements on buildings, walls and natural surfaces.  I have tried to echo some of the shapes in the lace and the printing with my machine stitching and also with a little hand stitching.  I have deliberately left many of the thread ends loose to add to the feeling of deterioration.  If you're going to the Festival of Quilts my number is 150 and it is in the Art Quilts category.  All I have to do now is package and post it.  I just hope it hangs straight after it's been rolled up for weeks!

Bearing in mind that this was a dusty project I cleaned my machine out twice while I was working ( I used my second best machine as I didn't want to use my best one).

I do try and remember to clean my machine regularly but the hardest part is stopping myself from 'blowing' the fluff away.  I have to admit to having done it in the past but I recently read that it blows more dust in than out so I'm trying to stop.  The temptation is excrutiating!

I think I told you recently that I had been reorganising my sewing room so while I had my camera in hand I thought I'd take some of my new space.

Above is a view from the door looking into the room with my lovley Janome that I bought from a friend and which has made quilting a pleasure.  The trolley looks scruffy but it helps to support the heavier projects.  I've finally got round to working on the Roman Stripes quilt today and am getting on with adding some quilt lines.

This is looking the other way back towards the door and you can see some of the gifts I have received from internet friends and also the new chests of drawers that house a lot of my fabrics (there's another chest of drawers in our bedroom and two drawers under the bed full of fabric not to mention 2 bxes full of batting, flannel sheets and blanket).

The final wall houses our bookshelves that have always been there but now they mostly house my textile books and threads, oh, and some more fabric in one of the cupboards and in the storage boxes on the floor.  Why do we collect so much fabric when we don't have a clue what we are going to do with it!  You can probably also see Norbert who keeps an eye on proceedings and a little oil painting that I did many years ago for Grace as she loved bluebell woods. (if you've been counting you'll notice I've only shown 3 walls.  The 4th is the patio doors to the conservatory).

One day last week when the sun actually came out my DH decided he ought to get on with a bit of gardening and also clean out the gunge from the pond.  This is the result!

It gave Mum a good laugh!

You're probably aware that we have been known to take the odd cruise and today P&O are celebrating their 175th anniversary with all 7 of their ships leaving Southampton this evening with a review in the solent by Princess Ann.  The departure is underway but the weather is appalling  but I'm sure everyone on board will be having a great time.

I have to go.......DH has given me a 2 minute warning for dinner!