Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Summertime Blues !!

It seems ages since I blogged - in fact it' s ages since I did anything at all !! I 've missed all the lovely sunshine , and haven't been further than the bottom of the garden in over a week, and no, there weren't any fairies to be seen anywhere when I got there !!!

Seriously, though, I am feeling a lot better than I did a few days ago and I am hoping by the weekend I can get back to some kind of normality ! I am the world's worse patient for sure, and I am so glad this last week is over !!!

Nothing to report on the sewing scene other than I have made a start on my Miniature Booty Swap Quilt, but not worth showing at the moment. I did make a number of 'resolutions' whilst lying around doing nothing (VBG!) not the least being that I MUST do something to reduce the ever increasing number of UFOs, and I did manage to order a load of batting from the UK !! The idea is that this should arrive just about the time I am feeling well enough to start crawling around the floor and get some quilts put together - well, that's the master plan !!!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Best Laid Plans !

My intention this week was to try and get the Churndashes flimsy well on the way to being quilted and the binding on - but like a lot of plans, this didn't happen - in fact nothing did !!

I have spent the last 2 days confined to bed , doped up with antibiotics, trying to combat yet another bronchial infection !! I started feeling a bit 'off' over the weekend but thought it was just the start of a summer cold - Wrong! It has turned into the real thing !! Today I do feel a little better, but still very groggy and have the most awful sounding cough you can imagine (!) so its back on the old inhaler, cough syrup and any other drugs thought likely to put a halt to it !!!

The problem I had in January was bad enough, but then it was quite a hard winter, which would explain a little why one might end up with a bronchial infection - but do you know what is really bugging me now ? This is the nicest weather we have had so far this summer , temperatures are in the very high 20s, and me, I' m in bed through most of it !!!!!!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Liberated !!!

By now anyone dropping in to the Blog will have realised that I am a 'Scrappy' quilter, but I have read so much about Gwen Marston's techniques recently I got to thinking that anyone who could make me stop worrying about my points (not always good !!) was worth taking a closer look at ! Trying to find a reasonably priced copy of Gwen's 'Liberated Quilting' is like trying to find stardust as many of you know.However, I did put my name down on Tonya's virtual petition to AQS to try and get the book reprinted (the news at the moment is that there is a very slight definite maybe for a go ahead!!). So I bought this whilst in the UK , to get me going at least

Looking for something easy to start, I found this

and over the weekend made this

Not exactly the same quilt as in the illustration, I decided to make it square so that it can be used as a table topper, and of course, not quite the same standard of quilting :-) It is finished though and I am quite pleased with my first 'liberated' attempt!! What I've really got my eye on next is this, as I think this is one Wedding Ring pattern I might achieve !!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Mixed Bag

Firstly, a little of sewing , just to proove that I haven't been spending all my time gadding around the French countryside !!

A finish - Chunky Churndashes!!

Well, ready for quilting at least ! This is the third quilt I've made from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site and I've been very pleased with all of them ! My first was the Scrappy Bargello, which now resides with DS1, then the alternative setting Pineapple Blossom which you can see here , and now the Churndashes, so I certainly have a lot to thank Bonnie for . Now to try and get it quilted and the binding on next week !!

An Addition!
Two more borders on the medallion flimsy !

It is starting to look a lot better now ! Next step is 80 Flying Geese !! I wish I could take better photos of these quilts , they are just becoming too big (!) , but I am sure you get the idea !

And some information for anyone looking something to do during the next few weeks (LOL!!) - have a look at this site and the wonderful free workshops that are being offered , there is something for everyone. I promise you it has to be worth a visit ! There is also a logo if you'd like to grab it .

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Summer Has Arrived !!

Unlike our Summer so far this one is here to stay !

This is my 4 Season Quilt Swap for 'Summer' and made by Rose Marie from Toronto. It is absolutely gorgeous and the photo doesn't do it any justice at all !! The quilting is so detailed and most of it hand quilted at that ! You might be able to see some of it in this photo

and it doesn't stop there - just look at the label !

Thank you so much Rose Marie, I am just delighted !!! Thank you also to Margaret for all her hard work in arranging the Swap. Just one little regret - I wish I had known about the swaps sooner as I have really enjoyed 'playing along' !!!

One of my fellow British ex-pats here in France, Claire , has been posting views from her various windows - now I don't have such pretty views as Clare ,so won't be rushing around the house snapping from every window (!!), but thought you might like to see the view from our garden gate this afternoon

Yes, harvesting has started, the Combines are working all hours and the roadways are jammed with tractors & trailers of all ages, shapes & sizes !!! Most of the grain goes to the local co-operatives and you cannot imagine what a driving hazard this causes ! Now, please don't laugh, but this is the time of the kamakazi wood pigeons !! They flock onto the roads to get at the fallen grain, so driving at the moment consists of closing your eyes each time you come across a bunch of pigeons. They promptly take off as you approach, but goodness only knows which way they will fly !! Going up to Megan this morning I counted 42 birds in a couple of kilometres - so far I've been lucky and managed to miss them all, but one day ................!!!!!!

Keep forgetting to mention, just over 1 lb off this week (1 lb 6 ozs actually). It must have been the ice cream (Ooops !) last week-end that slowed me down (!!) but I am quite OK with that, at least its the right direction

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Bastille Day.......cont'd !

You know I've just realised that there is a whole part of a paragraph missing from my last post!Whether this is operator error (VBG !) or by courtesy of Blogger I don't know, but it should have read :

"I have so many photos that to try and post them all would mean being here half the night (!!)so these are some of the other attractions parading the streets for our entertainment. There were troubadours and jugglers, archers and falconers, dancers and fire-eaters, fools and stilt-walkers and I could just go on and on ......................! "

It seems such a shame not to mention everyone and who knows, maybe one day I will get around to publishing all the photos on a Picasa album !!!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Bastille Day

This wasn't our first visit to Josselin's Medieval Fair, we were lucky enough to see it the
first summer we arrived in Brittany, and then it stopped! As in so many things, the organisation of the day fell on the same people year after year until it just got too much, and the fair was abandoned . I guess there are so many of us guilty of this kind of procrastination - we all like to enjoy ourselves but are not always ready to stand up and be counted when the work needs doing !!

I can't begin to describe the colours, the sounds and the smells that made the day very special, so I'll let the photos speak for themselves !!

There were costumes, both attractive

and grusome !! Check the net !!!!


and horses

The Chateau and gardens

and I could just go on and on !! It was a great day, one that saw 1,000 costumed participants joining in the celebrations and I can't imagine how many other visitors came along to pay their tribute to this pretty little town and to say

Happy Birthday !

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Tales of the Canal Bank !

A few posts ago I mentioned that we had dug our cycles out from under all the dust in an effort to boost the weight loss. Ever since then the weather has been far to dreadful to consider walking on most days, as when it hasn't been raining the high winds have still been rather frightening and certainly not my idea of cycling weather ! Today is the first day that the wind has dropped so out came the cycles and off we went to do a little trial run along the Nantes to Brest canal just outside of Josselin !

As well as cyclists, Sunday afternoon in Brittany is the traditional time for walkers. All shapes, sizes and ages and all out for a stroll after lunch, be it along the canal or river bank, through the village or even across a field, it seems as thought the whole population is taking a walk !! I didn't feel comfortable about snapping the walkers, but this is some of the activity we came across during our ride.

Boats of all sizes

going up and down locks

and in the land of Equality - a lady lock-keeper ( !!), who gets to stay here during the summer

and grow flowers like these
Something I else I saw was one of the houses I will buy when I win the National Lottery (Yeah!! In my dreams!!!)

Complete with doves and a bridge to its own private island !!

Ooops!! Almost forgot the fishermen !

We didn't manage a great distance, just a respectable 8 mile round trip ,which isn't too bad for the first time out, and the weather stayed dry for us even though there were some very black clouds around a lot of the time.

Tomorrow, which is a National Holiday, we will be back in Josselin , as the town is celebrating Bastille Day and its 1, 000 birthday (do towns have birthdays ?) with a Medieval Market & Fair where all the inhabitants and exhibitors really pull out all the stops with their costumes, so I am sure there will be more photos of life in Brittany in a few days !!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Pay It Forward

I've found something else to play at , thanks to Karol-Ann I discovered that Jo in Tas was looking for a third person to join her Pay It Forward Exchange - so I've jumped in !!

I understand that the swap is based of the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” (which I haven't seen !) where acts, or deeds, of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on with hope that the recipients will also pass it on. So here’s how it works, I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post requesting to join the PIF exchange. I don't know what that gift will be yet, or when it will be sent. Not this month now and probably not next month, but it WILL be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! What YOU have to do in return, is to pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog - So does any one want to join in ?

Friday, 11 July 2008

A Day in Rennes

Because the weather has been so grim the last week or so and there is only a certain amount of grey gloom a person can bear (!!) we decided to spend some time in Rennes today to cheer ourselves up, and what happened - the sun came out !! Not that I am complaining as it certainly made the visit more pleasant!

As well as being home to my nearest LQS (!!),Rennes is the capital of Brittany, and Brittany is quite unique in France as it boast its own parliament. I don't know what it is with the Celtic people, but we all seem to dislike being told what to do by people outside of our territory !! Just think about it - Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man and Brittany all have some form of 'home rule'. The only exception to this is Cornwall and even they have their own flag !!!

There are lots of details and some great photos of the city if you follow the link, but just in case you are short of time, here are a few of my own
Hotel de Ville
(City Hall)

Parliament Building

A selection of the timbered buildings, many of which make up the 'restaurant' quarter of the city

Anyone for lunch ??

My favourite building in Rennes is the St Georges Municipal Swimming Pool which I found quite by chance down a side street, and fell in love with. Commissioned in 1925 it is a gem of Art Deco architecture with the most wonderful ceramics ! Every time we take 'visitors' to Rennes I parade them to St Georges and ,until today , have been given the most warm welcome and treated to the 'Freedom of the Baths' ! Today it was no go, the very day I remembered the camera , for some reason the attendant would not allow me out of the foyer !! Now, I have to ask myself was it because today it was a lady attendant and every other time it has been a man ? Are the French males more courteous than the females ??

Whatever it was I didn't get in ,which is a great pity as the pool itself is just so incredibly old fashioned, with rows of little changing cubicles down each side where you go in one door fully clothed and pop out the other in your bathers and straight into the pool - fabulous !!! So I can only show you some close ups of the ceramics, but there is a good photo of the outside on this link as well as a write up.

Aren't the colours just amazing !! There is also a very fine Opera House, but today the sun was just in the wrong place and the photos were hopeless, so maybe next time !

Well, that's a little part of our day out in Rennes ! We had a lovely lunch sitting outside in the sunshine, and it will come as no surprise to hear that more fabric found its way into the shopping bag !!!