Saturday, 31 December 2011

And A Happy New Year !

May it be a year filled with good health, peace and happiness for each and every one !

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas !

However you choose to celebrate, may you enjoy a  Peaceful & Happy
Christmas !

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Feathers and Small Quilts

Look  !!  Not only a finish, but my first quilt with free motion feathers !

From this book , it's just 39 inches square, but I am  thrilled with the way it has turned out !  The feathers are from this  DVD  by Patsy Thompson, who's method  I've found the easiest to master.  I am so pleased with myself that I'll even show you the back as long as you promise not to laugh at my 'swirls' - more practice needed there me thinks :-)

Not perfect I know, but not too bad for a first attempt either (even though I says it as shouldn't !)

Moving on, some while ago I joined this Yahoo Group  dedicated to making small quilts and recent I joined their first quilt swap  .  My partner Tricia  (no blog) from Michigan said that her favourites were autumn colours and purple, this is what I made for her

Measuring 16" x 24" , finished block size 4", containing 47 different fabrics not counting the neutrals - I was gutted when I discovered I had duplicated one colour, but by then it was too late to  do anything about it .  This is the  lovely little quilt I received in exchange which  is Tricia's first swap quilt

So to finish, the same Group also issued a Red & White quilt challenge a couple of weeks ago and here's my entry , just 15 inches square.

 ...and look !!  More feathers !

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Before my last visit to the UK disappears totally into Christmas preparations, I would like to show you a couple of photos taken inside the house.  As no flash photography was allowed, I will apologise now for the rather dismal lighting, but I think they are still worth looking at!

One of the amazing fireplaces - can't you just see a quilt here !

And maybe another one in this section of flooring ?

With approx 100 rooms, can you imagine these all ringing at the same time ?  Downton Abbey eat your heart out !

Part of the gallery landing

and its amazing ceiling ! 

The amount of wood panelling and carvings in this house is staggering, and all original. Most doors are embossed with flowers or animals and no two carvings are the same. One doorway had a freize of some 16 roses above it,  and all different.

These are just a couple of glimpses into an era long gone, but still fascinating today!

One thing I didn't mention in my last post was the chapel

This was added after the main house was built, and because of the contours of the land, was built on the side of a slope, hence the very large crypt !  The family would enter the chapel from the first floor of the house, and if you look closely at the photo just above the tree on the left, you can see the covered bridge that was built to enable them to attend services without going outside.

I hope you've enjoyed this little visit as much as I enjoyed the real thing !

Monday, 12 December 2011

Been Naughty Again!

Carpenter's Star from Mary Johnson at MaryQuilts  and yet one more for you know where :-) 

Not all my fault this time though as its been easier to be piecing than quilting during all the ups and downs the last couple of months, so I'm blaming DH for this one - well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it !

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Remember Me ?

Yes, I'm still here !  Where have I been all this time , well, November has been a very busy month one way and another what with follow-up appointments for DH after his surgery, a trip to the UK to celebrate our wedding anniversary & DH's birthday with our chidren & grandchildren, not to mention some serious retail therapy. Then,once we were back, the dreaded decorating reared its ugly head and this time there was no ignoring it - so with all this going on, I'm afraid my Blog has been more than neglected.

We had a great time in the UK, we stayed in Bath which has always been one of our favourite cities.

Pultney Bridge

The Royal Crescent                                                                                

and the Abbey

Being central to most of our extended family meant that during school and working hours we were free to wander amongst all the lovely buildings and museums that Bath has to offer, and still have enough time for visiting without offending anyone, very important and sometimes difficult. It also meant that we didn't have to change our sleeping arrangements every few days   - even more important as we get older :-)

As well as all that Bath has to offer, we also managed a visit to Tyntesfield , the most amazing Victorian High House you have ever seen, and one that I've waited years to see.

The house

the surrounding parkland

The interior is equally impressive, and to say that it was worth both the wait and the visit is putting it mildly, and if you are ever in the Bristol area, please do go and see it, you'll not be disappointed !!

Lots more news and photos to share with you, but as this is turning into rather a long post, I'll keep them for another time.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Quilt A Long

We all know about the wonderful Quilt A Long and free Block of the Month tutorials that are available in Blogland at the moment, so many in fact that it's difficult to decide which one, or more, to join in.  The one that really caught my imagination was Julie K's   Plaid QAL, so that's what I've been working on and this is the finished flimsy

A change from my usual civil war fabrics, but lots of fun to make.  Bad news is that it's another for THAT drawer !

I'm still practicing on the Janome 1600 and feel more confident all the time, but still not confident enough to attack a quilt :-)

Monday, 17 October 2011

New Toy

I've been have some problems with FMQ and my last couple of quilts as the quilts seem to be getting bigger and more of a struggle, which meant the arthritis in my hands  played up more during & after the quilting  process, so after all the stress and disruption of the last weeks, I decided to spoil myself with a new toy as a pick-me-up!

Meet my Janome 1600P-QC aka The Beast ! A bit different to the Bernina to say the least, and so far it hasn't got out of medium speed mode as I'm quite keen to keep my fingers a while longer, but what a joy it is to have the extra throat space!  I opted for the 1600  rather than something with all the bells & whistles thinking that a straight stitch only machine fitted the bill,  as I very rarely use the embroidery stitches on the Bernina or the Janome 6260QC these days.

 It's taking a bit of time to get used to the side loading bobbin and having to change the needle plate for FMQ, but so far the benefits are far greater than the inconveniences.
There have been teething problems, aren't there always, but hopefully these are now sorted  and I am ready to try a 'proper' quilt with it rather than the continue with the evergrowing mountain of practice squares  - I just hope that it performs up to expectations!  Who knows, maybe someday I might even be pursuaded into buying a frame :-) 

I did manage a couple of totes with it during playtime which have turned out OK.  I am particulary pleased with the one made from two orphan blocks which is just the right size to carry around with me for my stitchery .

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Where Did It Go ??

September that is -  it seems to have passed by this corner of the world without a whisper, or so it seems ! 

Perhaps it had something to do with DH going into hospital for his knee job at the start of the month for 10 days, followed by another 15 days filled with a parade of  hyperdermic-wielding nurses twice a day.  Not too bad you might think, except that the morning visit was 6.30 every single morning - but then I shouldn't really complain as it wasn't my nether regions they were playing darts with  : )

Add to this mix physio for the patient 3 times a week and throw in a couple of visits from our GP for good taste , can you wonder that September is just a vague memory ?  I feel exhausted just writing about it all!

Thankfully things are getting back to what passes for normal, DH is hobbling around without falling over his crutches, doctors and nurses have left to help others and only the physio is ongoing, so good job done by all!

In the middle of all this, I did manage one finish

and another UFO for that drawer!

Not too bad all things considered.                                                                  

I have some more news to share on the sewing side of things, but will keep that for another post, for the moment it's just good to be back in Blogland!

Monday, 29 August 2011


or how to get rid of all those 'mistakes'!!

Another pattern from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville and another for THAT drawer :-)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

New Neighbours...... our garden!

A family of red squirrels - the cutest little creatures you have ever seen!  They've provided us with hours of entertainment with their antics , and also frightened the daylights out of me and William when one of them took a flying leap between the apple trees, missing my head by inches! 

Not the best photos ever, I know, but they were taken from the bedroom window.

So far August has been a bit of a run around month as DH goes into hospital on 7 September for a knee replacement op.

 Now, DH is not the most robust person around having a long and sometimes traumatic history of a cronic cardiac condition as well as only having one kidney, so it's fair to say that for him this is not a run of the mill op.  You really do not want me to list all the examinations & tests he has been put through these last few weeks :-)

 Having said that, his health care ever since we arrived in France has been second to none and this has once again been underlined by the great care that has been taken to ensure he is fit to undergo surgery.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Jinxed July !

July has been a strange kind of month .The weather has been the most unseasonable  we've had since we arrived in Brittany, staying wet and cold for most of the time.  The heating has been going just about every evening as the house has been so cold, and when it hasn't been raining, we've been plagued by those heavy grey skies that seem to be trying to push you into the ground !

On top of this there have been a number of minor domestic hiccups, like the new laptop playing up again and again, DVD recorder/player giving up the ghost and having to be replaced, moles digging up our lawn and mice eating all the roots on the runner beans - the one veggie we love and can't buy in France. The final straw was the oven door falling off in the middle of my cake bake to raise funds for the local Animal Welfare Charity !!  Needless to say I 'm very glad to see August and hope its going to be a better month weatherwise and less expensive !

All is not doom and gloom however,as I have not one but two finishes for July, so I'm still on course for one finish a month during 2011.

Firstly a sofa size Triple 4 Patch quilt,  which I just had to make after seeing several around and about Blogland.

My 'use it up' backing

During my holiday in June I was fortunate enough to meet up with a very talented quilter, Angelika, who doesn't have a Blog but if you're a member of BQL you'll know Angie!  Not only did she have some amazing (prize winning!) quilts to show me but she very generously shared some of her own designs with me and my second finish is one of Angie's beautiful Art Deco mini quilts.

It only measures 8" x 23" but I am very pleased with it as its my first attempt at stained glass quilting- will I use it again, well,  I do have a  second pattern which is a bit more intricate, but maybe I'll wait a little while until the tips of my fingers have recovered from a few close encounters with the iron fixing all that black binding  :-)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Christmas Quilt Along - Post 2

On my wanders around Blogland, I came across this tutorial which I decided would make a great little cushion cover just right for my American-in-Brittany friend J (no Blog). 

I started with this

and now have this ready to back & quilt

Crumbles are all cooked, 2 apple and blackberry, 1 gooseberry and one blackcurrant, and before you ask, yes only three in the photo as DH has already attacked the fourth !!

See you later !

Just in Time !

I'm back again!  After 3 weeks wandering around the UK on a very enjoyable holiday I'm back just in time for this month's Christmas Quilt Along

If you've not joined in previously, go along and visit Sue and she'll be delighted to see you!

I've finished my (few as possible!) daily chores, have  4 fruit crumbles ready to go into the oven, solved a problem on my very own new laptop (Hurrah! No more sharing with DH) and, as the rain is  pouring down again,  I think I deserve to spend the rest of the day
sewing , don't you ?

See you all later

Monday, 4 July 2011

July 4th

To All My American Friends !!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Still Here!

Where does the time fly to ? Maybe the reason the last couple of weeks passed in a blur had something to do with getting ready for an invasion of grandchildren followed by a great visit, followed by a not so great couple of days listening to the washing machine chuntering away getting all the extra linen washed ready for the next invasion - whew!!

These visits are very precious to us and it always takes a little while to get back into our routine again - 4 extra bodies around the place certainly calls for changes, but although peace has once again descended on Chez Nous,  I am not too sure that we like it very much at the moment. 

Not a great deal of time to spend stitching, as you can imagine, but I did manage 2 finishes

Scrappy Tumblers all finished and already claimed and on its way back to the UK with its new owner :-)

Soot & Ashes - at last something done with these blocks!  In the end I only used 9 blocks to make my own Red & White mini !

Although you can't see them I actually quilted mini feathers in the 4 plain blocks - they turned out to be 'acceptable' in the end, but - a lot more practice needed .  One day I might be brave enough to use a contrast colour instead of a blender :-)

That's it for June I'm afraid, as we are off on holiday the end of the week, so see you in July !!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Bits and Bobs

We don't get may quilting related functions in this part of the world, so whenever there's news of anything interesting happening its always good for a visit.

 Last week there was a sewing and patchwork 'Troc' advertised in nearby Pontivy , so off we went to have a look.  In the main the items on sale were antique Breton traditional dress items and beautiful handmade lace, so lovely to look at but well out of my budget I'm afraid!

As is usual at these very infrequent events, photos were a bit difficult because of the crowds, but I managed to snap these lovely embroidered bags

 these wonderful vintage head forms, which I would dearly love to own, but at 150 euros each - well!!

and what every well dressed woman should be wearing!

Ooh La La!!    (wish Blogger hadn't turned the pic!)

I also managed some Moda and vintage Laura Ashley FQs from the two patchwork stalls at the sale, so the afternoon wasn't totally wasted !

I'm still trying to keep up with my own target of one UFO a month to make some kind of dent in the 'drawer', and May's finish is a small  & easy, but bright and cheerful baby quilt. Made from 2 Moda Freebird charm packs plus yardage and on its way to the family's newest member, Daisy, born 22 March.  A little late I know,  but at least it'll get to her before she leaves for Uni :-)