Monday, 31 December 2012

2013 !!

Happy New Year !

            Blwyddyn Newydd Dda !
                          Bonne Annee !

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Check In

Isn't it strange how Christmas always seems to creep up on us, one minute its months away and before you know it - here it is and the usual panic sets in !

Christmas at 'chez nous' is going to be a subdued affair this year as the last weeks have been rather unkind to me after being hit by a nasty bout of whooping cough would you believe !  Know as the cough of 100 days its certainly lived up to the name as far as I'm concerned !

Enough of that though  - my reasons for dropping in today are to say 'yes, I'm still here' and to wish you all a peaceful and jolly Christmas however you choose to celebrate !

Merry Christmas !
Nadolig Llawen !
Joyeux Noel !

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Out of Control

Ever felt totally out of control, frustrated and really, really angry ?? Well that is exactly how I felt on Thursday night !

What happened ?    Well, after driving some 300kms to catch a ferry to the UK to visit our families and do some shopping, on arriving at the ferry port at 10.00pm we were told that the crews had gone on a wild cat strike in the last couple of hours and that our sailing was cancelled.  Stunned does not begin to describe how we felt as the only alternative was another 400km drive away.

What did we do ?     Given that neither myself or DH are in the first flush of youth, another 400kms to an unknown situation was not an option, particularly as we would have to drive back across the UK for several hours to get to our destination over there so - after calming down a little, we decided to turn tail and drive back home.

What happens next ?    Goodness only knows as the 'wild cat strike' has now turned into a full scale stoppage, and the  ferry fleet is tied up until further notice leaving 1,000s of passengers stranded on both side of the Channel.  We are some of the luckier ones , at least we are back safe & sound in our own home and not sleeping on the docks trying to get a boat.

We have cancelled our crossing until such time as the whole thing is resolved, even though the sales staff offered to keep us on a 'short list' for the first available sailing, the uncertaintity of it all is not worth the stress of waiting for a phone call, this way at least WE are back in charge.

The reason for it all?  You can read about it here

So sad when we think of the number of pleasant crossings we have made with this fleet over the last 20 years!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I started..... I'll finish the visit to Les Jardins du Botrains with a couple of photos of the lake

Where  we found this very clever trompe l'oeil

and a garden bench with a difference !

Further on a thriving potager

 and what about this for a greenhouse?

We had a lovely time wandering around these beautiful gardens, and even though the photos don't really do them justice, I hope you've enjoyed the visit
too !

A Bientot !

Friday, 14 September 2012

After Something Old - Something New

Last post was about something old-ish , this time I have something new to talk about !

I am  great fan of  Karen over on Selvage Blog , which explains why I have this mound of selvedges:-)

and yes, I have used some of them for a cushion,  a couple of tote & gift bags and even  a mini quilt in the past.

Besides encouraging quilters to use up their selvedges, Karen is, amongst her many other talents,  a designer , and I've just fallen in love with  Diamond Dish her latest string quilt pattern,

(photo courtesy of Selvage Blog)

I've often thought about making another one of these, but am not sure if I'd get bored making it a second time, but this pattern is just different enough to make me think seriously about it.

I 've just received a copy of the pattern, and straight away started to freak out as I realised it is made using the dreaded Y seams - something I have managed to avoid so far during my quilting life ! However - thanks to the lovely clear instructions in the pattern and with some help from  Kay Woods, I've managed to make a  few passable sample blocks !

First attempt was with scrap fabric

 then with strings

and another just because !

Maybe not  100%  perfect, but I'm happy with the result, so it's all systems go now for tackling the quilt.  Not quite decided yet whether to go with the white as in the sample block or switch to a bright colour as in Karen's quilt - what do you think ?

Do pop over to Karen's blog, and look at all the great ideas there,  and if you're a lover of antique quilts, check out Thursday's post too !

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Granny Squares

There's been a lot of chat in Blogland over the last weeks about Granny Blocks, which I believe started here at Bee in my Bonnet.

No, I haven't joined in Great Granny Along, but it did remind me of something  lurking in the  'Quilts in Waiting' drawer , and thought I'd show you my version of this quilt block.

From a pattern in Australian P&Q listed as a signature quilt, when I can't remember, but certainly a number of years ago.  The top has been waiting to be backed since October 2011 (hanging my head in shame !!) and to be honest, I'd forgotten how pretty it is so - I think it must be time to do something about it, don't you ?

Maybe a good pressing would be a start :-)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

William Says .........'ve got to stop and smell the roses !

Friday, 31 August 2012

Bad Week!

Feeling very sorry for myself at the moment, as I'm just back home after 5 days in hospital after being diagnosed with kidney stones  - Ooouch !!

3 days on drips followed by 2 days of hospital food  (!!) has left me 5lbs lighter than when I left home , I'm very shakey still and unable to face food after several days of virtual starvation - ah well!!  It could be worse, and at least I'm home and in my own bed again :-)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Episode 2......

........Jardins du Botrain.  I promised more photos of these delightful gardens, and these are just a few of those we took.

Not to keep stating the obvious, I'll let the photos speak for themselves, and then you can decided yourself if this is rather a special place or not !

As this post is, yet again,  getting photo heavy, I'll leave the lake until next time -  just one more and I'll see you soon -:)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Still A Bad Blogger!

Don't know if it's the previous long break from blogging, the extremely hot weather we're having or I'm just getting lazy (!) but it's been difficult to get going again with regular postings.

However - as it's been some time since I showed you some of this beautiful part of France, I thought you might enjoy looking at one of the lovely gardens we've been visiting in recent weeks, so come with me to the beautiful Jardins du Botrain.

Just 45 minutes from home, I'm ashamed to admit that this amazing 18th century manor house and its gardens have been hiding away from us all the years we've been in Brittany !

The brochure reads ' come and discover the manor house

 its 18thC apiary

Japanese garden

complete with fish !


and Bonsai

Time to take tea ?

I think one of these visitors has his eye on that big fish !

Lots more photos  of the rest of the gardens, described as 'rooms of greenery, majestic mixed borders, rosebushes, maples and pond.......' and I promise ithey won't disappoint, but as this post is getting a bit photo heavy, I'll leave those until later in the week.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

First Finish....

... for a while, but just to prove I haven't been shirking all the time

Scrappy Jacob's Ladder using up some of my never ending scraps of Civil War fabric , and whilst this used up quite a lot, the bad/ good (?)  news is that there's still enough in the basket for yet another .

After a very wet, cold and miserable start , summer has at last arrived in Brittany, and we've been making the most of it by visiting some of the lovely chateaux and gardens that are dotted all over the Province - but more of that later, now I have to decide on what to do with all those left overs  :-)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Quatorze Juillet

Yes - I'm still here !!

Where have I been - just here and there
What have I been doing - just this and that

Its been one of those periods when life takes over totally, and stuff like blogging, and to a certain extent quilting, just goes out the window but.... I'm almost back to what passes for a normal life at 'chez nous', and what better day to start blogging again than today !

Bonne Fete !

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Free Motion Quilting Challenge

 I have to admit that I fell behind with the FMQ Challenge  hosted by SewCalGal during March, which is a shame really as it was a great tutorial by one of my favourites,  Ann Fahl.  Luckily I managed to download it before it was removed from the website and am now able to add it to my folder.  

There were a number of examples of fmq shown in the turorial, and these are just a couple squeezed onto my sample piece.

Not too bad, but think my 'circles' need a bit of work :-)

April's challenge was set by Don Linn and is really interesting as he shows how to create your own quilting stencils using tulle. Some of you may already know this technique, but for those who don't and are interested, you can find the video here.

Using the tulle, embroidery hoop and some markers, this

and this

became these !

Not too bad for first efforts, and certainly something I will use again, so big thanks to Don for the tutorial.

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos, but grey, dark and wet is the order of the day in Brittany at the moment !

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A Finish At Last

Here we are already into the last week of April and this is my first (big) finish for 2012 !  No reason for dragging my feet other than loosing the urge to sew for some weeks, and not really knowing why but hoping it was just the  'Winter Blues'. 

After giving myself a good talking to, I decided to tackle quilting my Carpenter's Star top made from a pattern by Mary Johnson, and finally it is finished !

Feeling that the quilt deserved more than stippling, I thought to try my hand at free form feathers a la Patsy Thompson as well as some feathered wreaths with the help of a stencil.

Hard work it was and long with it - I reckon I spent more hours quilting this than any other quilt ever!  Was it worth the effort - well I think so and I am absolutely delighted with the results given this is the first time I have tackled something other than stippling on a quilt this size.

Now to catch up with all the things that didn't get done :-)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


After my last moan about the grey weather, we had the most amazing hot spell that I personally have ever experienced at the end of March with temperatures around 30C !  Not ones to let an opportunity like this pass we  took off to the Finistere coast for totally unplanned break and had a wonderful time!

I will write more about this beautiful area in a future post, but what I wanted to ask you is - have you had a play with the new Picasa softwear yet ?  No, well let me show you .

We stayed in this lovely Chambres d'Hotes

or was it like this ?

maybe this ?

or one of these  ?

Go try it yourself and see how much fun it is :-)