Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Italian Treat

We have just come back from 3 wonderful days in Specchia Gallone, a small village in Southern Italy:  the sun shone, the sky was blue and the change of scenery and pace has recharged my batteries!  I did very little sewing - it was too hot, and the pool was so tempting!
My eldest daughter Fran and her partner Angelo have rented this house in Specchia Gallone for 3 weeks, and for our birthday gifts this year they decided to fly us down for this mini break, along with Angelo's parents whom we had not met before.  We flew from London to Milan, then an internal flight down to Brindisi.  It was just over an hour's drive to this amazing old Italian Villa.
The house from the pool:
Looking down the garden from the balcony:
 dinner in the garden after a relaxing day reading in the pool:
Fran and Angelo are fantastic hosts and barbequed some delicious local foods, here we ate Sea Bass and Bream:
One evening we went to an amazing botanical garden located nearby:  it was all lit up in the dark, and had a fascinating cactus house:

And then we headed for their restaurant for a delicious dinner:
 I love seafood and there was plenty of it on offer:
 We visited Lecce one evening:
the buildings are made from soft creamy limestone:
and this is a Baroque masterpiece:
We visited Otranto on our last day:
the Romanesque Cathedral here was built in 1088 and has a huge mosaic floor which was made by a lone Monk in the 12th century.  He had a vivid imagination and his design includes a weird and wonderful Tree of Life along with mythical creatures and apocalyptic scenes.

The ceiling was stunning:
There are eerie walls decorated with the bones of the town's martyrs who were slaughtered in the caathedral in 1480.
Then more delicious seafood for lunch!

Thank you Fran and Angelo - we shall cherish the memories........

Saturday, 10 August 2013

FOQ Inspiration

I have just spent two full-on wonderful days at the NEC and I eventually arrived home in Devon yesterday evening after a 5+ hour journey on the M5 - all 3 lanes were a slow trickle, both directions.  Sheer volume of traffic said the lady on the radio, so nothing to do except think about the beautiful work I had seen and the glorious stalls full of temptation!
First of all I want to congratulate Jo from Cowslip Workshops.  Not only was her stall a delight to the eyes:
 but her quilt was placed 3rd in the Group Quilt category:
I am just so thrilled for her - she puts so much effort and enthusiasm into Cowslip and her work, so this result - in my opinion - was well deserved.
The stalls were as always full of beautiful fabrics and so much temptation:
Here is Lynnette Anderson's stall: (thanks for letting me take a photo Lynette!):
and of course Kaffe Fassett's quilts looked amazing on The Cotton Patch stand:

here he is signing his latest book for an unknown quilter, and of course I just had to have a copy also for the sheer delight of colour and ideas on every page!
Also one of the loveliest designers is Nel Whatmore:  I bought one of her kits last year and was back again this year for some of her latest fabrics, she is such a sweetie:
This year there seemed to be far more quilts in the Art, Contemporary and Pictorial categories:  not the sort of work I would ever attempt, but I can appreciate the hundreds of hours that has gone into each and every design.
This is so clever, a different picture each way you look::

These miniatures are breath-taking:
And I loved some of the clothes:

This cuckoo clock is great:
And here is just a random selection of  the more traditional patchwork quilts which caught my eye, always my favourites:

And those of you who are regular readers of my blog will know of my love of Noah's Ark, so I have to finish off with this gorgeous quilt:
Another great Festival and it is just wonderful to see so many beautiful quilts exhibited under one roof.
I hope the above photos have given you just a small idea of what was on show:  there are so many amazingly talented quilters out there.  Congratulations to each and every one of you and thank you for sharing your work.  You are pure inspiration.
Have a great weekend everyone.