Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year !!!

As well as the last day of 2008, today is also the end of my first year in Blog Land, and it has been an amazing journey!

I have learnt so much from all the wonderful people I have 'met', achieved things I wouldn't have imagined, all by joining in some of the incredible online projects available, and also thoroughly enjoyed being able to share a small slice of my life here in Brittany with those interested !! So - a big ' Thank You' to everyone who made this last year possible and so very enjoyable !!!

I wish you Health, Peace and Happiness and everything else that you wish for yourself during 2009 !!!

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda !

Bonne Annee!

Bloavezh Mat !

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Christmas Sunshine!

After all the grey and gloomy weather we've been having lately, Christmas has turned out to be cold, but dry & sunny and what more could we have ask for as an extra present ! Brittany is very beautiful in the summertime, but as we found out on Christmas Eve, Winter also has it's own beauty even at - 3C !

Bluest of blue skies

with the sun throwing shadows on the rocks and undergrowth

giving even the bleakest landscape a beauty all of its own !

We were back on the canal bank, just north of Lac de Guerledan , for a walk this time as we thought that the bitterly cold wind , the penalty for all the sunshine, would not be very kind to cyclists !! What we hadn't realised was the section of canal we were walking on was in a valley and very sheltered , an added bonus which meant that I was able to take some amazing photos !

If you look closely at the last photo, and can see a white 'line' , that is actually the vapour trail of an aircraft jetting off to who knows where !

I don't think I have ever seen a body of water as calm as this, not a breath of wind at all and the reflections were amazing !This is just a small selection (!!) , but Blogger is not playing nicely today and will only let me upload one image at a time, and as I don't want to miss today's sunshine..........I'm off (!!), but before I go, I must tell you about our one last surprise - a kingfisher flashing across the water in a burst of glorious colour, too fast for the camera though but so beautiful !!!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Season's Greetings !

Merry Christmas!
Nadolig Llawen!
Joyeux Noel!
Nedeleg Laouen ! all at Christmas Time!!!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas Panic !

All of a sudden (or so it seems!!) Christmas has caught up with us and the whole list of 'last minute jobs' has become NOW !!! All the cards have gone out and gifts for the grandchildren are safe in Santa's workshop with all the others. Menus are being finalised through to New Year just make sure that we don't eat too much :-) and the shopping list for fresh vegetables etc is ready to go !

Our last purchase will be on Christmas Eve for fresh oysters, which have become the 'starter ' to our Christmas dinner since living in Brittany, one Breton custom that DH is very happy to adopt!!! As France provides 95% of all oysters consumed in Europe and 40% of those are gathered on the Brittany coast what else would we eat ! I can't remember how many tonnes are harvested, just that it is a lot!!!

Some news on the quilting front, one Log Cabin lap size quilt finished !

As you can see when the photo was taken there was still some of the binding left to turn (now finished!), but I wanted to get a photo whilst we had a little sunshine . I must have had a premonition about the weather as it has been really grey and miserable ever since ! Don't think there is much chance of snow for us at the moment - and 'dreaming of a grey Christmas' doesn't gel somehow !!! FMQ'd all over in the end, just my own version of stippling, but I am pleased with the result and another UFO off the list !

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Comment on 'Comments'

I love it when a visitor to the Blog takes the time to leave a comment, and try to make a point of writing back when possible. Now I know a lot of messages are 'no reply' but normally there is some form of identification as to who originated it. Today I received an anonymous comment containing a link to animated greeting cards site but no clue as to who left it, not even in 'properties' .

I am a little suspicious about the message as it mentioned Jacquie Lawson cards being available. I know for a fact that Jacquie's cards are not free but only available on subscription, and given the recent scare about viruses being spread by bogus 'greeting card' messages I've decided not to publish the comment as the last thing I would want for Christmas is for my (or anyone else's !!) PC to crash!

If the message was genuine, then my apologies to the person who left it, but I do feel it is a chance I can't take - also the Blog will no longer accept anonymous comments, sorry folks !!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

'Tis The Season....!

I just cannot believe that there are only a few more days left until Christmas - what happened to 2008 ????

It is almost a year since I started blogging (!) and during this time I 've had more visitors than I ever imagined from around the world, made many new friends along the way,been inspired by and learnt from other Bloggers and, as a bonus, had lots of fun as well :-)

So even though it might seem a tad early, I'd like to wish everyone a Very Happy Christmas , and what better way to do it than with this !

I will be back with some quiltie 'stuff' in a day or two (fingers crossed!!) but today I'd like to ensure that as many of my cyber friends as possible enjoy my little surprise !

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Making New Friends ....

....or meeting cyber friends and changing them into 'real' friends!

Wednesday saw us off at the crack of dawn to drive to Angers to meet Brigitte and her husband and what a lovely day we had!

It is quite a long time since we were last in Angers and had forgotten what a beautiful city it is with the chateau , cathedral plus numerous other historic buildings and - not forgetting the river Maine majestically flowing through the centre !
It had been planned for us to spend a little time looking at all these wonderful sights, but due to traffic problems on the 2 1/2 hour journey , plus the fact that we managed to get 'lost' in the one way traffic system (!!), we arrived rather late , so this part of the day didn't happen quite as planned ! However, we did manage a whistle stop drive around the main sights (thanks to Brigitte's DH!!) and at least managed to grab a photo of the Adam's House ,built in the 12th century, the oldest surviving house in Angers (again thanks to our host!).

It is called Adam's House because there used to be carved wooden statues of Adam and Eve each side of the front door - that is until someone came along one night and removed them !

Another reason for our visit was to see the exhibition of the tapestries of Jean Lurcat . Angers is fortunate enough to be hosting a temporary exhibition of items from all over France in addition to their own permanent display of his works in Hopital St Jean ! I don't have enough superlatives in my vocabulary to begin to describe what I saw - the sizes of the individual tapestries are overwhelming and the colours , well, they just explode out of them and fill your whole mind !

No photos were allowed in the museum, which is probably just as well as there is no way you could capture the colours or feelings that these works of art invoke !! I did manage a few outside Hopital St Jean (built in 1175) though, just to give you a feel of the age of the building

Yes - that's my shadow I'm afraid !!

A truly memorable day spent in delighful company ! Merci beaucoup, Brigitte, pour votre hospitalité ! J'espère que nous allons passer plusieurs jours comme ça - tous ensemble!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Christmas Treasure !

My Holiday Booty Swap quilt arrived today from Kathy , and it is another little treasure!

I 'borrowed' the photo off Kathy's blog ( I hope she doesn't mind!) as I've just not had the chance to take one of my own during daylight and now it is dark and anyway, my photos are always squiffy!!! I must tell you that it looks even better in real life and the black stitching around the applique gives its a sort of 3D look - beautiful!!

There were other goodies in the parcel hidden among the pretty polka dot tissue!

Some note paper, a scissors pin, a quilty nail file, a rotary cutter case and an ornament from Luckenbach, Texas - what a haul ! Whilst I've been waiting for my quilt to arrive from ?? I did tell myself that I wouldn't open it until Christmas - I am just so glad that the wrappings weren't all taped down as it gave me the excuse to peep and once I'd seen the quilt - well I just have to have it on show as soon as possible!!!

Thank You again Kathy for this little gem and another big Thank You to Toni for taking the time and the trouble for arranging the swap during what must be the busiest period of the whole year !!

Oops! Just realised I forgot to put something in the photo - there was a quilting magazine also!! Sorry Kathy (!) but that's still in the lounge waiting to be devoured from cover to cover as it is such a luxury to have a new English language quilting mag!!!!

I 've been very lucky to receive such lovely quilts for my first year taking of part in these swaps, and I only hope that my offerings gave as much pleasure to those they were sent to as I 've had being on the receiving end!!!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Saturday Markets

One thing we've grown to enjoy, living so close to Rennes, is the Saturday market, but because of the miserable weather we've been having, it has been some weeks since we managed to get there! Yesterday the sun came out again for a few hours and we jumped at the opportunity to go and join in with all the other shoppers!

The market takes over a section of streets around the Market Halls of Les Lices, right in the centre of the city, and it is divided roughly into these sections :

Flowers & plants of all sorts of shapes and colours !

Vegetables and Fruit , both the basic & exotic!

and of course garlic - how could you live and cook in France without it!!

Then there is fish

and shellfish, a lot of it still wriggling about!

onto the Market Halls for fresh meat & poultry ( I didn't bother with photos, thought I'd leave it to your imagination!!)


with jam

or cheese

or even pate, whichever takes your fancy!

These are just a few samples of all the items on sale of course, but with so many people rushing about it was just about impossible to get photos of it all ! What you can't see are the olives and herbs, the wines & ciders, all the 'fast food' stalls selling crepes , ready roasted chickens & pork, French sausages wrapped in galettes and Chinese spring rolls & 'nems' and all sorts of other delights , as DH remarked - it's a great shame I couldn't get a photo of the noise and the smells!!
Back home for a late lunch and then the afternoon saw us at one of the local Marche de Noel but unfortunately it took place in an old 'manoir' which was a maze of small rooms with very bad lighting, so no photos I'm afraid!! One pleasant thing to report though was that I met up with Elizabeth in 'real life' after all these weeks of meeting in Blogland, and gave her my 'Pay It Forward' offering ! Next Wednesday (hopefully) I am off to Angers to meet another cyber friend of even longer standing for the first time , Brigitte has kindly invited me to go with her to see an exhibition of the tapestries of Jean Lurcat and I am so looking forward to this trip and another chance to ' put a face to the name' !!
Sorry about the long last paragraph, Blogger has decided not lo let me 'space out ' !!!!

Thursday, 4 December 2008


One thing that has never failed to amaze me is the amount of free quilting information, tutorials and patterns that are available on the web - in fact I would go so far as to say that without the internet I don't think I would be quilting today and for me that would be tragic!!!

I depend so much on this wonderful tool to keep in touch with what is happening, provide me with 'on line shopping' facilities for my fabric, helpful explanations when I am floundering and inspiration when I feel brain dead!! That so many talented people are willing to share their gift is amazing, and I am certainly grateful for their generousity! So - having said all that here's a little of my 'Freebie' Christmas sewing !!

A cheeky snowman door hanger from All People Quilt - free bells too as they came from Jo in Tas (go look at her blog to see some great Christmas ornaments!)

A small cushion made from a block at Fat Cat Patterns (some great Freebies here and also the birthplace of Dylan !)

A redwork Santa that I found (but can't remember where - sorry!) and made into a small wallhanging

Lastly, not a freebie really as I found it in this magazine

but as its Christmas related I thought it should be included with this post - my version of Christmas gone Scrappy Country !!

All of these will find their way to one or another of the DGDs (don't think the 2 boys would be very impressed somehow!!) and I just hope they have as much fun receiving them as I did making them !!!

Almost forgot! I've heard from Anjea that my Holiday Booty Quilt Swap parcel has arrived, so I can show it now

She seems to be pleased with it, thankfully! It is always a bit of a worry making something for someone else, and wondering how they will like it ! Don't think I will be taking part in any more for a little while now as I have so much I need to do for myself - unfortunately not all quilting related but things like the dreaded redecorating (!!), such a waste of good sewing time, but getting very necessary - Ah Well!!!!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Another Frosty Morning

After several more days of grey skies and a very wet weekend that you'd rather forget, today's sunshine was more than welcome, so we took ourselves into Ploermel and a brisk walk along the lake and back through the local Golf Club!

There were a few other walkers around, a couple of the more hardy types out on the water

hope their rear ends were well padded as the water looked pretty cold!!

The local duck colony seemed to have the right idea, all puffed up with their heads under their wings keeping warm!

Mind you, some of them preferred to do it on the water !

Splash Crash Landing !!!

Phew!! Missed them!!

Lucky !!! Look who's watching !!

Don't think Heron will snitch on him, do you ??

We made our way back through the Golf Club to recover from all this excitement, nothing but empty fairways and even emptier bunkers - but wonderful views!

Perhaps we should have taken a detour here for a hot chocolate
Well - Maybe next time !!!