Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!


May all your dreams come true in 2011!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

'Tis the Season!

Time for the last minute shopping, wrapping the last few presents, worrying if everything will fit into the oven and more importantly - be cooked at the same time!  Wondering who's will be the last Christmas card to arrive - always the person you missed off the list and now it's too late to do anything about it !

I wish I was one of those  people who can get everything lined up in time and then forget about things, but its never going to be that way so this Christmas will be the same as all the others - stressful, tiring and totally disorganised, but great fun just the same!

Whichever category your Christmas falls into, may it be peaceful and joyful.  May you keep safe, well and warm and,  however you choose to celebrate, enjoy the day to the full !

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Taking Up A Challenge

Tucked away under my work table I have a box whose contents rarely see the light of day once they disappear under the lid.  Its the kind of box that I am sure every quilter has and just in case I should forget what's inside, it has a label that says - you've guessed it - UFOs!!

Try as I might, I cannot reduce the number of items lurking inside, in fact I am convinced they multiple without any help from me , so when I came across Myra's PhD Challenge it sounded like just the push I could do with to get stuck into finishing some of these projects!

 I've committed to finishing at least three items with perhaps (!) another three smaller projects thrown in, but this will depend on what life sends my way over the coming 6 months :-)

For starters though finishing these would be great

My  smaller version of Bonnie Hunter's Sister's Choice pattern , a long time quilt -in- waiting !

Windham Fabrics pattern  Old Virginia Calicos , with a slight colour change on the border as I messed up cutting one of the fabrics (!)  This is probably my oldest UFO and it's well passed its 'should be finished' date!

Number 3 really needs to be this one as I so want to get it done, but just can't make my mind up how to quilt it - any suggestions , nothing too complicated mind !!

So, if you have any UFOs that need a little push - come on along and join in the fun!

Monday, 6 December 2010

It's Official!

No doubt about it, Christmas is just around the corner and there is just no where to hide from it:-)

After all the problems with the weather and my eyes (much better now!) it's been 3 weeks since I've ventured further than a couple of kilometres from home - after all even us 'mature' ladies have no wish to be seen in public looking like the Wicked Witch from the West, which is exactly how I 've looked since this allergy started!

Today however with a little help from some light make-up I managed to look almost human and we took off to Rennes for some Christmas shopping.

Everywhere you look is decorated with baubles and bells, trees and garlands, and it is very difficult to decide which are the best displays, but I just have to show you some photos I took in one of my favourite shops in Rennes -   Cocktail Scandinave .

An Aladdin's cave at the best of times but at Christmas it really comes into its own!

Follow me in through the entrance .....

......and take a peek inside!

 There are colour- themed displays with all sorts of wonderful elves and reindeer , Santas and fairies, not to mention  stockings and garlands galore!

Don't forget you saw it here first!!

Yes !  That's right ! An upside-down Christmas Tree!

There are baskets and boxes for every occasion..........

...and linen.........

 .and we mustn't  forget the soft toys!!

You have to agree that this is a truly magical shop at the most magical time of the year!!

Oh - almost forgot, how do you like the new look  Blog ?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Slow News Week

There's not been a lot going on here this last week, unless you count a dash to the local hospital when my eyes flared up again!  Not very nice this time and quite frightening I can tell you - but a thorough exam didn't find anything other than the allergy which has calmed down again, so all is well !

More snow arrived in the early hours of Friday morning leaving the road out of the village impassable again, but then yesterday the rain turned up and today no more snow!  I guess we had about 8/9 inches all told, which is nothing compared to other parts of Europe, but more than enough for an area not accustomed to this kind of weather and with limited facilities for keeping the roads clear.  In fact most of the local roads were only open thanks to the number of tractors using them.

I'm not going to bore you with more snow photos, and because of my eyes there are no quiltie photos either, but - I have found a new blog to share with you !

In my web search for all and every reference available on free motion machine quilting I have found a plethora of information and some great blogs, but the one that stands out for me is Wendy over at Ivory Spring  .  This blog alone is worth a visit, but wait until you read her sister blog  Thread Talk!

Wendy's  FMQ  is awesome in my opinion and all done on her Bernina DMS so please go along and check this out - anyone interested in FMQ will not be disappointed !  I am going to show it to my Berni and let her see what can be achieved if she keeps practicing , do you think it'll do the trick  :-)

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Morning After

 Not so deep, but certainly crisp and even this morning and -  Oh So Pretty!!

A good long walk crunching snow under your boots, frozen fingertips and toes, nose glowing fit to make Rudolph jealous- don't mornings like this make it all worthwhile !!

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Look what we've been watching all morning.......

...........and still 2 days left in November !

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Thanksgiving Day

A little something  for all my American  blogging friends and visitors  - a day early I know, but I am sure that everyone will be very busy tomorrow enjoying the holiday and not have much time left to go blog hopping !

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Le Bon, La brute et Le Laid

Or to use the words of  that wonderful 'spaghetti' western starring Clint Eastwood.........

THE GOOD - has to be winning not only a little prize for joining in Sue's  Christmas QuiltaLong, but also finding out this morning that I managed another win on Darlene's  Christmas Quilt Show!  Now this is really a red letter occasion as I have never won a single thing before!!  Many thanks to both Sue and Darlene for taking the time to host  these events!

THE BAD - was waking up Sunday morning feeling not too good and looking in the mirror discovering my eyes had  turned  into narrow slits and my whole face swollen !  I did make it through the day, but in a lot of discomfort I have to say, even after swallowing handfuls of antihistamine tablets.  Yesterday  however it was worse, couldn't stop itching or stand light at all so we called in the Doctor.  Seems like I've got a very severe case of allergic conjunctivitis which, thankfully,  is a lot better today thanks to the meds, although I am still not too happy with bright light.

THE UGLY: - really has to be me looking like Miss Piggy with a bad case of sunburn without the pleasure of seeing the sun!

....or if that doesn't make you smile try this one - one of my treatments is to spray my face with purified cold water and DH  has suggested that I stand in the corner of the room impersonating a rubber plant to do it   - don't you just love them !!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

What A Week !

Isn't it strange the way some weeks happen just the way you planned them, whilst others gallop away from you in a whirl of organised chaos -in other words the kind of week I'm having this week!!

Sunday -  started off OK, I got through the routine chores very quickly (!)  and made a good start on my Christmas Quilt a Long list, that is until a power cut caused by the foul weather brought my machine to a grinding halt for over an hour! Not too long really and I was just settling down to start again when then was a knock on the door heralding an unexpected visit from some of our neighbours in the village - no more sewing.

Monday - I'd voluteered to help make Christmas puddings for the Christmas Fair to raise funds for the local Cat Protection Society.  Off I go thinking it would be just a couple of hours - do you know how long it takes 6 women to mix up enough ingredients for 50 x 1lb puddings, including chopping dried fruit, grating peel off dozens of lemons etc etc? Well, it took a lot longer than a couple of hours, mind you DH seems to think that it might have taken less time if we'd not talked so much ! By the time I got home I was so covered in treacle and other gooey stuff that all I wanted was a shower, some clean clothes and sit down for longer than 5 minutes- no sewing.

Tuesday - DH's birthday and a day that turned into a  cross between manning the phone at a busy call centre and open day at the local lunatic asylum - no sewing !

Today it's been catch up day for all the chores that haven't been done this week - no sewing !

Tomorrow , as we didn't make it on Tuesday, its' out for DH's celebration birthday lunch and chuck in some Christmas shoping - no sewing!

No bets are being taken that anything will go to plan for the rest of the week,my normal sewing time has been  hijacked and I am resigned to the fact that I will be lucky to switch on my machine before next Sunday.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Christmas Quilt Show

Did you know that SewCalGal   is hosting a Christmas Quilt Show ?  

As I missed the Bloggers Fall Quilt Festival , this is a good chance to join in something new -  but what to enter? Maybe the quilt on this post could pass for Christmas with  reds, greens and blues it's all warm and cosy looking just as Christmas should be, but then I settled  for this one.

Only measuring 20" x 18", it's certainly smaller than most I've seen on other blog entries (!), but it is a real 'Christmas' quilt and a little special one at that.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 My first attempt at paper piecing, though what possessed me I'll never know as the logs are only 1/2" & 1/4" finished !  Maybe this is the reason why I've avoid PP ever since:-)  No walking foot to Quilt in the      Ditch, just the general purpose foot - well, I didn't know any better then, and what you don't know doesn't
worry you does it ?                                                                                                                                 


Pushing 40 years old, the Starlet is still going strong, if somewhat noisey , and still keeps me company in my sewing room, although these days she just sits and watches whilst the Bernina does all the work!

Don't know what's up with Blogger tonight, but there's a right wobbly happening  to the text around the photos  - guess I've hit to the wrong button again or something and set it off  on one - Ah Well!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Today's Plan!

Right!  Decision's made for today's quilt-a-long!

We're going to practice a bit more of this

on this

Now, this was supposed to  be a sample block  for this quilt, but after one block , no way was I ever going to achive 20 so -  Voila!  One mini!   I think my FMQ is getting better, but a bit more practice will certainly help :-)

With the torrential rain and high winds that we have at the moment, and more forecast for the rest of the weekend, I should be able to carry on the good work tomorrow and make a start on a pinwheel baby quilt out of this

  So all in all rather a full couple of days - and yes Sue, I 've given in and dug out the  Christmas CD  not only to set the mood but also to drown out DH's cries of agony as Wales take on the Springboks at rugby later today  Little bit of a clash of loyalties here for me  having lived in South Africa for 10 years, but I'm sure that  the Land of my Fathers is going have the biggest pull.

Christmas Quilt A Long

With all the excitement of the wedding, I managed to miss the  Amy's  Fall Bloggers Quilt Festival , which was a bit disappointing as I've taken part in all the other 'shows'.  Not too worry though, I am sure there'll be another one come Spring, and in the meantime I've discovered Sue's  Christmas Quilt A Long.

So - today I am going to spend as much time as possible joining in with everyone.  Not quite sure what I'll  work  on  yet  but,  dust bunnies or not, I'm having some 'me time'.  Don't know if I'm ready to put on the  Christmas CD to sing along too (bit early yet!), but I'm sure it'll be good fun in any case, so why not come along and join in!

Friday, 12 November 2010

I'm Back!!

OK - so you're probably thinking ' where's she been??'. Well a couple of days after catching my breath from our trans- France dash to Calais en route to SE England to pick up a new laptop, DSl dropped rather a (nice) bombshell during his routine telephone check-in by saying 'Oh - by the way I'm getting married in 2 weeks'.

 I can only tell you that I was speechless as he has been with the same partner for 15 years and along the way they've managed to present me with two lovely grand-daughters with no mention of  marriage at any time.

'Nothing to fuss about' says he ' Just us and the girls and a couple of witnesses' - No chance!  So nothing left to do but get the suitcases back out, book the ferry and leave for the UK for the second time in 10 days.

In the end I'm afraid DS didn't quite get his own way about a very quiet affair as it all ended up rather more than he expected (blame Mum) but it was a lovely day followed by a great visit which meant I got to spend unexpected time with my two grand-daughters -  including helping them to dress up for Halloween!

Back home and back to reality  - more mountains of washing & ironing and you'd just have to see the dust bunnies to believe the size of them :-)

It was a very special occasion,and one I would not have missed for anything, but I do hope it's going to be some while before I see one of these again!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Pressure's Off!

At last a couple of pieces of good news!  Firstly, it looks like the petrol stations are almost back to normal and we can get out to do some shopping at last!  Like everything else we take for granted, it's only when it's taken from us that we really appreciate it and have we missed our car the last 10 days !

Secondly, Amy  is hosting another Bloggers Quilt Festival  - this one for Fall 2010- so hurry on over and read all about it and get ready to join in.  The Spring 2010 Festival had over 700 entries so lots & lots of eye candy for everyone!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Difficult Times

Most people will know that here in France we are experiencing a period of some turmoil over reforms to the Pensions Act.  Sadly it has been a bad week for the country as a whole, but even sadder is the total disruption to many ordinary lives caused by blocking the supply of  motor fuels.

We, like many others,  live in a small hamlet several miles from any kind of shops,there is no public transport and we depend totally on our car for shopping,the post office, visits to the doctor and so on.  This doesn't mean that we drive every day but our car is not just a luxury.

Out of the 10 families that live in the hamlet we are the 'youngest' and saying that is stretching the  imagination somewhat.  We chose to live 'rural' and fortunately both DH and I are able to drive.  Most of the villiage is not  in this situation.  They have lived here all their adult lives; they are elderly; most are unable to drive and  we have two widowed ladies here also. 

Their children have grown up and moved away to find work. As they don't drive, they depend on their children visiting or mobile shops for their day to day needs - they also depend on the doctor calling or the nurse dropping in to check on them  All these facilities are about to come to a halt as there is no fuel  in our area, all pumps are dry.

As neighbours we do the best we can to help and keep a weather eye on them, but like most of the elderly  I have come across, they cherish their independence and sometimes feel that they are putting on you.

I have no strong political opinions and I don't pretend to understand the rights or wrongs of this current situation, but I do wonder how many other hamlets there are like ours facing the same problems - which at the moment look to go on for some time. I do think however that perhaps it is time to consider those who are already pensioners living in rural areas , and put a stop to  more of this.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Back Again

Well, here I am back in business again and hopefully for good this time!

The bad news is that our PC is still in 'hospital' for another couple of days, but the good news is that I am now the proud owner of a new laptop just for me  - how good is that!

One problem that we have is that whilst I am reasonably happy with the French language, unfortunately DH is not, so a QWERTY keyboard and drop down English menus were a must. Obviously this configuration is a rare animal in France so off to the UK it was - not that I am really complaining as it was another chance to get into the British supermarkets and stock up on all the goodies that we ex-pats miss :-)

It's taking a bit of time to get used to the different configeration on the new toy, but I am sure it'll all be OK soon .Lots to show you, but no photos this time I'm afraid as I am still working my way through all the 'destructions' - and there are plenty of them - but hopefully I will manage a less boring post before too long.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Really Poorly!

Things have gone from bad to worse, so I'm afraid it's off to the computer hospital for my PC and no internet for however long it takes to either get hold of a laptop or get this am  I going to cope in the meantime??

Good news is that my last knee treatment was on Tuesday and from tomorrow I am at least mobile and able to go looking.

Back as soon as.........

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Normal Service ....

.will be resumed as soon as possible!!

 Nasty little problems developing with my PC, some days it works  - others it doesn't!  Unfortunately, the not working days are winning at the moment so the hunt is on for a new laptop which will be for my new sewing room (!) providing we can get this one fixed for DH of course, so keep you fingers crossed for me :-)

In the meantime, no long posts with photos as it's taking all my patience to get this far after being shut down 4 times !!

I haven't been idle this week though, in fact I am sure I've got through more without the distraction of the internet.  All 15  Soot & Ashes blocks are finished and now we wait for Cheri to get back from her holiday to let us into the secret of how they all go together !  Also have 2 new mini quilts to show you and my half hexagon quilt is finished too. All in all a very good week if I count the hours sent on my 'practicing'.

Be back when I can with the photos !

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Confession Time!

When I first caught the quilting bug, several years ago now, no one was more surprised than I  as to how addicted I became in a very short time - after all I hate 'sewing' to the degree that DH has resorted to replacing  all his missing shirt buttons instead of having to beg and plead with me to pick up needle and
thread ,whilst repairs and alterations to clothing can lie in neglected piles for weeks on end.

Now, my sewing machine has become my most treasured possession instead of being left to gather dust in the bottom of a cupboard and I can't wait to get all the mundane daily chores finished so that I can get into my room - but then patchwork & quilting isn't really 'sewing' is it , but rather a form of expression and enjoyment as opposed to a 'chore', well, at least that how I feel about it .

Having got to the stage where I am reasonably happy with the quality of my work and have even got over the dread of  stipple quilting (let's face it I am NEVER going to hand quilt as it would mean using a needle) I really want to move onto a bigger variety of quilting patterns -  so I armed myself with a whole load of books

which quite frankly scare the pants off me at first :-)  I even invested in the Pajama Quilter  videos which have been great fun to watch, and with the help of the workbook.....


........which Dawn was kind enough to sign for me......

 .....and after hours of drawing all kinds of weird shapes on the white board - I still can't quilt!!!  The 4 inch sample squares are fine, but when it comes to a whole quilt everything goes out of the window so its back to a  of scrap batting & fabric and the practice..practice ..practice routine

...and maybe someday my feathers will end up on an heirloom quilt, but in the meantime I'll settle for them looking less of a mess!

Twelve blocks finished for the  'Soot & Ashes' quilt along

Number 13 is available, but rumour has it that the last 2 blocks are appliqué and as that would mean using the dreaded needle - maybe I'll be sticking at 12 :-)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

On A Roll!

Managed to get the borders on this one too, not trimmed up yet as you can see, then another one ready for backing!

and a finish!!

My scrappy Irish Chain, which many of you will recognise this as a Quiltville  pattern and a great way to use up lots of tiny scraps!

That's the end of my sewing splurge for the next few days as it's off to the specialist for the next lot of knee treatment tomorrow and the start of another 3 days of boredom :-)