Thursday 21 November 2013

Running behind - as usual........!

I can hardly believe it is over a month since I last updated my Blog - the weeks are passing too quickly and there has been much going on within my life.... but I would like to share with you some of my finishes.  What would I do without these wonderful hobbies - they keep me calm and sane and occupied, never lonely with a needle in my hand or with my Bernina in front of me purring away!
Back in the beginning of November Nicola (Scarlet Letter Challenge) and I got together and had a wonderful day at Cowslip making Christmas sacks and stockings - it was such fun and very productive. Here is the stocking which I made - it is almost finished - just backing and binding to do:
I went to Cowslip again last weekend for their Christmas Craft Fair - it was full of wonderful treasures and I managed to tick a few presents off my list.

I have been busy patchworking with some of the fabric purchased at the FOQ:

Both of these have now gone to Carole at Butterfly for longarm quilting. I have also collected two from her:  this one is now with little George on his bunk bed, and he loves it which is great:

And the one above is for..... yet to be decided!  This is similar to the wedding quilt which I recently made, just slightly more colourful - I love the pattern which is out of Jo Colwill's new book called "Cushions and Quilts".
I am now desperately trying to get on with Christmas quilts and cross-stitch:  I pulled everything out of the cupboards and baskets in my sewing studio the other day looking for one particular piece of fabric - I did eventually find what I was looking for but not until I had caused complete Sewing Room chaos!!  .... oh dear!  Will it ever be tidy again - probably not until the New Year! - watch this space!!:
Oh well, at least I have reminded myself what fabric is tucked away in my Studio!
I am making a small fun Christmas quilt for an almost 2 year old who is arriving from Australia shortly for Christmas:  hopefully it will keep him warm:
and I am cross-stitching some little gifts, lovely pattern from Nikyscreations:
I have also been busy making chutney's and pickling onions:  I love filling up all these jars and  hopefully the taste will outweigh the smell of vinegar that lingered in the kitchen!:

I am really looking forward to Christmas as Robbie and Nisha will be with us in Devon along with Dot and Maarten:

so we should have a really fun few days just enjoying spending time together in front of a log fire, playing Scrabble with maybe the odd glass of wine!!
Sadly we lost our dear old cat Reg at the end of October, he was nearly 16 years and was much loved, I do so miss him:
but we still have Bosun:  here he is helping me load the dishwasher!:
And Fran and Angelo have a new addition:  Miu Miu arrived in their London home last weekend!:
He is so so gorgeous!  I cannot wait to have a cuddle!
Well I must get back to my patchwork else that quilt will never be done in time.  Now the days are so short I have limited hours in my Studio as once the light goes I have to stop:  but at least we get to eat earlier every evening which makes Rodney happy!
I hope all of my Blog Followers are well, and keeping busy - I so enjoy following your blogs, they are full of inspiration and ideas.  Have a good week everyone... I will try and update more regularly.

Monday 14 October 2013

Busy days ...

Well as Autumn comes along fast and furious in the Tamar Valley I have been busy with my patchwork, making the most of sunny days in my Studio:  I bought this lovely fabric at the FOQ in August, and have put this quilt together - fun and bright:  a nine-patch plus a square, set on point:
I just need a bit more fabric for the border which I ordered from The Cotton Patch over the weekend, so once that comes I can finish it and then it will be off for long-arm quilting.  The fabric is Secret Garden by Nel Whatmore.  I met her at Birmingham and she is such a lovely lady:
I get a great feeling of satisfaction using the fabric I purchased recently - why is new fabric always more appealing than the yards and yards, and more yards purchased years ago!  I loved it all once, so guess I will love most of it again - in time!
I have been cross-stitching lots too and at last am back sewing the beautiful SL Country Life sampler:
I have also just started Saxony:  this will be a year long project - it is a very long sampler - but I am loving it. I will post a photo next time.
I now need to get out my patterns for Christmas stockings - only the children of those I know will appreciate the work involved will get one.  There is nothing more soul destroying than putting in all those sewing hours and then barely an acknowledgement.  Luckily it is rare, but I am very selective who I make for these days. My time is too precious.
Talking of "thank-you's", my God-daughter Maggie just LOVES her wedding quilt - it obviously hit the mark and I have had such a lovely thank-you from her - it made my day!

I have re-discovered the perfect item of clothing for the winter months - dungarees!!!  I just love them - easy to wear, comfy and practical.  I managed to get 2 pairs from New Look (not a shop I usually go into but I saw them hanging up by the door as I passed by their shop in Tavistock last Tuesday).  One pair in black denim, and another in blue denim. And they were less than half price in the Sale!  I am set up for the cold winter months now - I don't need anything else!

Rod wears "bib and braces" all the time as he spends most of his time in his workshops, or cutting logs etc. - so I have decided that if I can't beat him I might as well join him!

I am off now to tidy my sewing studio - and take out the tomato plants which have been on the window cill all summer - they have produced well but just the green ones are left now, so chutney making later this week. Nothing better than home made chutney and pickle with the left over meats at Christmas!

Thank you for stepping into My Quilting Life - have a great week.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Success follows disaster ...!

I have no idea where September disappeared to - this year is flying past all too quickly and I realise that I now need to sort out my Christmas projects so as to be organised in good time.
I have just finished two totally different but equally gorgeous quilts:  Maggie and Finn's wedding quilt is from Jo Colwill's new book and I am so thrilled with how this has turned out:
Maggie wanted creams and pale colours:  I am so happy with this and Carole at Butterfly Quilter's has long-arm quilted it for me with hearts: it looks so beautiful:
I have also sewn my favourite wedding sampler for them too:
I am off up to Surrey tomorrow and will be delivering this "little" package as I am am having coffee with Janet, the mother of the bride, on Friday morning.  Much more fun to deliver this early rather than carry it to the reception in  December!
I love this quilt pattern so much that I am using up the left-over fabrics and making another one, similar but different:  using slightly stronger colours - think I will keep this one!:

Then in complete contrast I have made a Big Fun bunk-bed quilt for 4 year old George:
The request was for bright and fun with pirates and dinasaurs, dogs etc. - this was such fun to make, I LOVED doing it!
My main objective was to use fabrics that George would not think were childish as he grows older - so I have added computers, and spacemen and planets and galaxies etc. - lots to look at and I hope he will enjoy this for several years.
The backing is the same as his bedroom curtains, a fabulous fun world atlas for children, with a large square of this in the corners.  This is now off to be quilted so should be able to deliver by the end of this month.

I have at last finished my Stacey Nash cross-stitch - I have struggled with this piece for some unknown reason.  I wanted to omit the Merry Christmas in the design as it is far too nice to have out for just one month of the year.  But I seemed to go wrong time and time again and ended up with much unpicking, which is very unlike me.  Then, to add insult to injury, right at the very end I was sewing the last few stitches on the stag - and a spark flew out from the fire and burned a whole on the edge of the border, it looked just as if a cigarette had been stubbed out on the fabric.  I cried .......!  I was devastated.  A total disaster ......
After much thought I carefully snipped away the black burn edge:  and then I bond-a-webbed some of the same green leaf stitches underneath the hole. 
I then took it to the framers before anything else happened and they have close-framed it and overall I am pleased.  I think unless you knew and were looking for the flaw you would probably not notice it.  What do you think?  It was the best I could do anyway!

We had some friends staying last weekend, and on the Saturday we drove down to Llanhydrock, the National Trust property in Cornwall.  It is the most fabulous place and we spent a lovely afternoon there. The gardens were still in full bloom with begonias:  so bright and colourful:
here our friends Nina and Derek look as if they have just stepped out of the country home to greet us!:

In the house there is a beautiful patchwork quilt on the Nanny's bed which I managed to photograph:
If ever you are in Cornwall and have the chance, do visit this magical place, it is my favourite National Trust property.
We have been able to have lunch sitting outside a couple of times recently in the autumn sunshine:
The Tamar Valley is looking so beautiful.

Well, I am back sewing the SL "Country Life" and will update my progress on this in my next blog - plus I will be starting the long and beautiful Saxony sampler too.  Then I have a couple of Christmas stockings to sew - the joys of our wonderful hobbies are always challenging, always enjoyable and there is always something else I want to sew or another patchwork quilt I want to put together.  Little time for housework - the spiders can relax for another day!  Just no more sparks from the fire please - I have been cross-stitching for over 30 years and this is the first - and hopefully will be the only time this has happened.
I hope everyone is well and happy and life is good and creative for you all.  Thank you for visiting My Quilting Life.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Autumn Projects

Well it is certainly Autumn down here in Devon this morning:  sunny but there is a real nip in the air.  And the trees have a slight golden tinge appearing, though the garden is still very green and my hanging baskets are surprisingly still looking great. I love this time of year.  It is so good to curl by the fire in an evening with either a good book or my cross-stitch - and a Proms concert on the radio - and next week Strictly Come Dancing returns - I love that programme!

I have started a wedding quilt for my God-daughter Maggie - she is marrying Finn in December.  She asked for pale creams/greys etc. - so have added some subtle colours to give it a lift and just hope she will like: the pattern is from Jo Colwill's book " Cushions and Qults".  I am very pleased with it so far:

I am struggling with my Stacey Nash "Christmas at Hollyberry Farm" cross-stitch - as I wanted to change the pattern and not have "Merry Christmas" on it, I have found it difficult to work out the border:  I now wished I had left well alone but hopefully it will turn out OK in the end.  I have done a lot of unpicking - not good! Picture when finished! I also have  my SL "Country Life"  to keep me going, along with another new one to start -  "Saxony Sampler".  I am waiting for the threads to arrive and then sometime soon I will sew the first stitch - I always love that moment.  A fresh piece of 36 count linen, a new pattern challenge and lots of threads asking to be made into an heirloom!  Heaven!

Talking of curling up by the fire with a good book:  I have just read a real treasure:  "A Fine Romance" by Susan Branch.  She is already well known in the USA but less known here in the UK.  I first discovered her wonderfully illustrated cook books back in the late 1980's whilst on holiday in Cape Cod.  I have been a huge fan ever since.  Her calenders are part of my daily life and this new book is wonderful.  A friend of mine - Nina - has recently been in America and amazingly was in Martha's Vineyard at the start of Susan's book tour.  She so very thoughtfully got me a copy and had it personally signed to me by Susan.  I am so thrilled, such a wonderful kind thought.  I shall treasure this book!
As Jane Austin said "There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart".

So onwards and upwards!  A new season and lots of new projects.  Once Maggie's wedding quilt is finished |I have a bunk-bed quilt to make for 4 year old George, and then daughter Dot wants an Amish quilt!  I love it - the more sewing demands my time the less time I have for housework - that is my excuse and I am sticking with it!
I hope everyone is good wherever you are in the world - and thank you for visiting my little heaven in Devon!

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........