Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lots of little bits and bobs

For a change this weekend's bank holiday has been blessed with wonderful weather in this part of the world
Usually the approach of a bank holiday is sufficient to send the sales of raincoats and umbrellas through the roof
But no, this time sandals and sun cream were the order of the day
Nick did manage to find a novel way to keep from getting burned - he does look uncannily like something washed up on a beach in a crime series
The sand at Bridport is a moveable feast - it seems to depend on what effect the winter tides and storms have previously had on the beach
This year the sand isn't really sand, more small pebbles which are absolute purgatory to walk on in barefeet and annoyingly want to get right into your sandals if you don't take them off
Still the type of 'sand' didn't spoil the day.
Apart from Sunday's excursion to the coast we've stayed around home
Nigel has made a really good start on the back garden (so far, no pipes!)
And I've done a little bit of this..................
to continue the jewel box quilt
And a little bit of this..............
And this...................
which has completed these
Ready for some of this.............
and more of this.............
Giving me one of these - I need another eleven to sash between the basket blocks
I'm still pondering over the cornerstones between these sashings - I'm leaning towards some sort of nine-patch but I'm not sure on the colour placement yet - mind you the other eleven sashings will give me plenty of time to make up my mind
And finally a little treat in the post
A bag from Nancy Near Philadelphia with some lovely fabrics as well - thank you Nancy, they're lovely
Right must dash - off to measure up how many paving slabs we need for the back garden

Friday, May 22, 2009

And then there were three............

How wonderful.....................
Here in Somerset the sun is shining - and even better.............
Today is an extra day off for me.
Throughout the school year there are usually five days selected by the school to use for teacher training days. The children do not attend and in my case my contract doesn't require me to either.
Because of the variety of training options around, each school sets their own training or 'Inset' days and seldom do different schools have them on the same dates.
This usually means that I get the day off and my kids go to school.
I do love inset days.
Nigel seems to think that I should be making good use of this bonus day by tidying the sewing room.
The sewing room is crying out for a bit of TLC.
I'm on a roll.................
Three basket blocks completed
And three columns of four jewel box blocks all joined together.
When I looked at this last night it seemed to be all reds (artificial light probably to blame), this morning in the cool morning light of the conservatory it's much more random, the greens seem to dominate more today.
I just love how this pattern jumps out to hit you so much more strongly in the photograph than in the flesh.
Now, do I add another three blocks to the bottom for a single quilt or do I add two columns to the side for a double quilt - decisions, decisions, decisions..........
No, a day off is not a day for having to make decisions so.............
I think, this morning, I shall return to the other project and get the fourth basket block done ready to work out the next stage.
Can't see the tidying happening somehow.
What a shame.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Triangles, triangles everywhere

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will no doubt reel with shock when you realise that I've not only been piecing but piecing triangles at that.
As a rule I just don't do triangles in any shape or form
However it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and our local fabric shop has mottled batiks at £4.97 per metre - a real bargain - these can often cost £10 to £12 per metre on this side of the pond
So I went in to spend my birthday money and came home with this gorgeous assortment - two metres of the end sand and beige ones and a metre each of the others
Imagine my surprise when I was surfing around blogland later that day to find Libby's lovely quilt in just the same colours as my three left hand choices
Must have been meant to be
I had also been inspired by Nancy's Jewel Box quilt - I've long thought I'd like to make one of these - and so I was already lowering myself gently into the uncharted waters of HST construction en masse.
Lots of strips
Cut up to use as leaders and enders (a la Bonnie at Quiltville)
To join together with the HSTs
To make Jewel Box Blocks
Nice and scrappy
Joining together to form the greater pattern - sorry forgot to turn this photo before loading it - just stand on your head or something to view it properly please :o))) Nancy was right these little babies just make themselve up
So once I was in the swing of the jewel box components my courage got the better of me and I decided to cut up the bits for the batik blocks - amazing how the colour changes under artificial lighting
And eventually the first of the four big blocks was born
A few days further down the line and here are two of the four - half way there. Believe it or not the greens all came from the same piece of fabric, don't you just love the variations in batiks
Just had to nip back to the shop this morning to secure additional yardage in these three colours - it would be such a shame to run out half way through such an enthusiastic project once I'm on a roll
Now I have two more blocks to stitch up (the HST's are already trimmed and waiting) and then the big decision about how to put it all together - after all those triangles I've a feeling there might be some applique on the horizon
Thank you blogging friends for inspiring me and giving me the courage to have a go

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The first finish - the rugby playing season is over for another year - thank goodness in the main - it will be nice for the whole family to have some respite from it, but most of all Sarah's body needs the rest and recuperation after a very hefty season
This knee - which her friends told her reminded them of a Beano comic book character's - definitely needs the rest - the only remedy for bursitis, (caused by several incidences of impact with the hard ground) is REST!
And after a very intensive and physically punishing final match (the return fixture against the Welsh Colleges which we lost 10 - 22) one disappointed and very sore girl (the tears had just been wiped away for the photo) really needs a rest too - we spent the following afternoon at A & E with suspected liver/gall bladder pain - fortunately the tests came back clear - but there were some very hard tackles in this last match
You can see here that, although I managed to get the shorts back to sparkling white, the coach had less luck with the shirts and the girls ended up playing in the blue 'away' strip - not quite the same somehow
Of course Sarah's focus now has to change from rugby to AS exams over the next four weeks - but at least the knee won't get a pounding for now.
Back to stitching I've also had a finish
For months I've not really been at all focussed on my quilting
However there's nothing quite like the deadline of a colleague's imminent maternity leave to spur me into action
She told me she'd decorated the nursery in yellow with a lime green carpet
A good enough match I'd say - and she was absolutely delighted - such a simple pattern but so effective in the right fabrics - these batiks and tone on tone fabrics were a delight to work with
Amazing what one little finish can do to waken up the creative urges
Inspiration has been forthcoming all around blogland - a gorgeous jewel box quilt courtesy of Nancy and a fabulous basket quilt rustled up by Libby
So I dug out an assortment of neutrals to contrast with colourful scraps
Rustled up a pile of HSTs to press and trim to size - me - piecing? - never!!! (I know I'm as surprised as you are)
A new stitchery design ready for embroidering
The sewing machine and iron working overtime
Busy, busy, busy!!!
Watch this space for a progress report - if I can drag myself away from the sweat shop that is ...................................

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Twas on the Monday morning the gas man came to call......

Some of you may be familiar with the wonderful comic duo 'Flanders and Swan' from the 1940's and 50's
One of their most familiar songs was the afore mentioned Gas Man song

This is a link to a You tube rendition if you wish to familiarise yourself

And a link to the lyrics

Where, you might ask, is this leading us?

Well last Saturday my beloved husband finally got round to adding the little something to the front garden that I've had in mind since we moved here.

Going back some way to the 'More Clematis Please' post in May 2006, I'd always thought it would be nice to have a line of posts linked by two levels of rope to enable us to grow more climbers up the posts and eventually along the ropes to kill two birds with one stone by indulging my love of clematis and also prettying up the view from my sewing room of the neighbours boring, brick boundary wall.
Rather than cementing the posts in and reducing the amount of plant sustaining soil in the border he opted for metpost spikes instead

Everything was progressing smoothly until the final post was being hammered in

Nigel rushed to the front door shouting frantically for my attention

The post spike had just gone straight into
a gas main!

So as you can imagine a job that was almost finished developed into an afternoon of disruption to both us and our neighbours as not one, not two but eventually five gas men in four separate vehicles turned up and blocked the entire cul de sac

The gas main turned out to supply our next door neighbours and should never have been routed across our front garden so of course they were without gas all afternoon rather than us. Thank goodness she hadn't just put a joint of meat or a fruit cake into the oven

Fortunately the gas men were able to repair the main with a minimum of disruption to both my plants and the newly tarmaced drive

And most luckily Nigel had positioned the post directly over the gas main and hit it square in the middle - had he been an inch or so to the one side of this he would have done a double whammy and caught the electric supply as well - now that might have had a very different, possibly explosive outcome

Once the men had completed the job he was able to finish the last post and here we are awaiting the climbers - a job for next weekend I feel :o)

Then - next job - sorting out the bombsite that is the back garden and turning this into an Italian style courtyard - just hope it doesn't take as long to complete as those posts in the front garden!

Don't think there are any gas mains to the back of the house!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

From white to black in eighty minutes!

Take a dreary wet afternoon in the Welsh Valleys

Add thirty girls (plus subs) with lots of racing adrenaline

Copious quantities of gooey, black, coal-dust laden mud - and why can't you clean that muddy ball on your team mate's shirt?

A referee with a somewhat ironic sponsor

An impressive breakaway run

The odd hospital pass from your fellow flanker in the face of a feisty opposition hooker

A nice lineout set piece or two

Some less than sportsmanlike stamping from the Welsh opposition (naughty naughty!!! - thank goodness my daughter wasn't in the bottom there)
And it's quite easy to step from this..........

To this............

In a matter of 80 minutes!

Of course being the team coach isn't always a hazard free occupation

But even a 12 - nil defeat didn't dampen their delight - the shorts took some getting white again though!

Such a privilege to play for your national side - roll on this Friday and the return fixture on home turf!

And just in case you thought this has metamorphasised into a totally rugby blog

I have been merrily cracking on with that baby quilt