Monday 30 January 2012

A busy two weeks

Two weeks ago I needed a boost, so I drove over to "Cowslip Workshops" just outside Launceston in Cornwall and spent a peaceful afternoon catching up with my dear friend Jo Colwill who runs this idyllic patchwork haven.  Some of you will have seen Jo on Channel 4 when she helped Kirsty Allsopp with her patchwork on the recent TV series.  "Cowslip" is just one of those wonderful places where you can forget all your troubles and just revel in fabric and inspiration!

This is the view of Launceston castle from Cowslip - if ever you are down in West Devon or Cornwall this is a "must visit" place for all patchwork lovers.  And there is the added bonus of superb food in their organic cafe.

I have finished Ida's quilt using lovely bright flannels - Carole at Butterfly Quilters long-arm quilted it for me, and I found a fun alphabet panel for the backing.  It looked great and I gather it has "hit the mark" with Ida.  I even managed to get her name down the middle - "Ida" is so easy to insert being just three letters!

Little Ida will be flying off to New Zealand next month to meet her Grandparents, so I have just finished a very little cotton quilt which I hope her Mum and Dad will find useful whilst travelling - although the flannel quilt is lovely, it is too big and bulky for long distance travel so I am hoping that they will find this little treasure fits in and around their luggage and daughter a treat and becomes invaluable.  Name in the middle again!
This past week I have been in Cobham, Surrey staying with my dearest friend Lise - she had to have her 5 year old hip replacement replaced again - one of those faulty ones we have been reading about - so I have been her Chief Nurse!  We have had such fun - much reminiscing, entertaining all her visitors, coffee and cakes and wine, etc. etc. - I left her walking so much better and hardly needing her stick at all.  She is just one of those extra special friends that mean the world, true gold - she taught me patchwork 31 years ago, then cross-stitch - so she is my "teacher"!  She is so proud of all my creations now.   I sewed her this sampler many years ago which says it all: 
Now I am back home - it is cold and wet and bleak and there is snow on Dartmoor!  So - we are off down the pub for a pint of cider!  Meanwhile the roses are still blooming in the garden even in January - what a strange world we are living in!
Thank you for reading - I love your comments, so keep them coming!

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Just another day in the Tamar Valley.

It is a beautiful day in Devon - it started off misty, and we could only just see the River Tamar at the bottom of the garden:
But as the day has gone on, it has just got better and better:
The Tamar Valley is so beautiful and is looking at it's best today.  It feels as if Spring is just around the corner.

I have just posted a baby quilt off to little William, who was born on Monday morning to a very special couple - new babies are such a joy to make for:
It has a lovely Winnie the Pooh backing, so hope he will love and enjoy kicking his little feet on this one!
I have also contined with my major tidy up of "Ward Cottage":  another reorganised bookcase, and the kitchen dresser is looking good too.  My favourite cookery books got sorted - so Mary, Delia and Jamie - along with Susan Branch - are all neat and tidy and easy to get to!  What would I do without Mary Berry in my kitchen - she is the Aga Queen.  She taught me to cook -  I just love her.

The sun is shining into my studio, making it very warm and inviting, so I am now off to give it a major make-over, and then I will start on another baby quilt, this is for Ida who was born just before Christmas.  I bought this gorgeous fun fabric at the Festival of Quilts last summer - and cannot wait to get started.  My first start of 2012 -  I am a bit late with this one - so hope Ida will forgive me!
So a new blade in the Rotary cutter, a new needle in my Bernina - and away I go!

Monday 9 January 2012

Noah's Ark

As some of my friends know well, I have a love of all things "Noah's Ark"!  I just love the story - the concept of two of all God's creatures entering the Ark and being saved from the flood - it is a wonderful biblical story.  Around my home there are many little Noah's Ark gems which I will share with you.
This is a beautiful hand made Noah's Ark which I bought in the "The Old Country Store" in Intercourse, PA, USA, real Amish country.  I also purchased this gameboard on the same trip from the Quilt Museum shop in Lancaster, PA.  I went on this wonderful holiday 3 years ago with my two closest friends - Lise and Lyn - run by JJN Amish tours (the best quilting tours ever I think!) - we stayed in Lancaster, toured around the many lovely villages where the Amish live, we even had dinner with an Amish family, saw many quilts and bought many yards and yards of fabric!  I took an empty suitcase and filled it till I could only just lift it!  Worth every penny!
My dear friend Lyn made me this wonderful Noah's Ark cushion .....
Many years ago I cross-stitched this gorgeous Noah's Ark sampler.........
Between Christmas and New Year Dot (youngest daughter) and I were inspired to rearrange the bookcase in the snug - we were on a mission to make it more interesting - and tidy!  We decided to put some of my Noah's Ark treasures amongst the books - this was inspired by the addition of some gorgeous folk-art bookends (a truely inspired Christmas gift from my dearest friend Lise) - showing the Ark and animals, which you should be able to see in the middle of the middle shelf!

I love using Noah's Ark fabric in children's quilts too.
I have several Noah's Ark patterns that I want to cross-stitch this year, so watch this space!  I will keep you updated on my progress.

Monday 2 January 2012

Angie's Homemade Christmas - and Happy 2012

I was so busy sewing and patchworking before Christmas that I just never had the time to Blog - which is a shame because I love updating and showing you what I have made.  So just to finish off 2011 I will show you the end results of my hard work!  I ended up cross-stitching 7 stockings for "little people", and I even managed to sew a fun Christmas sampler in red variagated thread for us!
 I made a huge floor cushion for Dot my youngest daughter - it started off with a cross-stitch sampler "warm winter woollens" in the middle and then just grew and grew, and eventually I stuffed a 36" cushion in on Christmas Eve - was such a laugh!
I made a smaller dog cushion for Robbie, my son - only 26" - I used the pattern out of Lynette Anderson's book, adapted it a bit for the small amount of time available but it looked fabulous. 
Robbie and our Goldie "Ben" off for a walk.
I also made a cat lap quilt from the same book which was a HUGE hit.
Our 14 year old cat "Reg" decided that this was the best book in the house for him too!  I am also very excited to learn that Lynette Anderson will be visiting and teaching later this year at Cowslip Workshops - the wonderful patchwork haven run by Jo Colwill just outside Launceston in Cornwall - - what a treat to look forward to. 
My biggest decision was what to make for Fran, my eldest daughter - she has very distinctive taste and I knew I had to come up with something out of the ordinary.  Suddenly a genius idea came to me - shoe bags!  Fran wears the most beautiful amazing shoes, and has many many pairs - well she is now the Fashion Editor of British Vogue (proud Mum boasting here!) - so she is allowed!  She was so thrilled - I made three bags, and will make her more.  They are fun to make and I know she will use them when she zooms off to all the Fashion shows in NY, Paris, Milan etc . -   just need to make about another 100!

Christmas was fun - much food, much wine, much laughter.  All good. And Santa came to Ward Cottage, I guess we must all have been really good!  Here he is with Dot and Robbie.
I hadn't seen Fran since her birthday in November, and it was her partner Angelo's birthday on Boxing Day so again I had to think of something unusual as a joint birthday present - and I discovered this great poster:  it is every word from the classic book "The Great Gatsby" printed in size 4 font, so just about readable!  I also gave them a copy of the book for easier reading, and the DVD.  I think it hit the mark!
Fran and Angelo on Christmas day with Ben watching Robbie eat the "Pigs in Blankets"!
The house is now quiet again, and I have started packing away the decorations for another year.  I always wonder what will have happened by the time the Santa's make their appearance again next December.
This past year has been extremely stressful for us, due to circumstances outside our control.  And 2012 will be difficult too - but we have our health and each other - and I luckily have much fabric waiting to be made into quilts so that should keep me occupied.  Life can be strange - I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, but I'm not so sure at the moment, the reason is beyond my grasp.
One of the things I enjoy most on New Years Day is opening up the new calendars.  My absolute favourite each year is the Susan Branch "Heart of the Home" calendar, and this year is no exception.  Her watercolour illustrations and the quotations contained within are so uplifting.
So here is to 2012 and what it will bring for us, and all my blogging friends across the world. 
Let's hope it will be a Happy New Year.