Sunday, 31 July 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt 2011 - July...

:: red, white and blue ::
birthday card for my brother-in-law

:: flip flops ::
standard summer footwear

:: ice cream ::
caramel cornetto

:: strawberries ::
from my own garden

:: a flag ::
on my little friend's t-shirt

:: fields ::
whizzing by on the train up to Sheffield

:: celebration ::
Christening cupcakes

:: sea shells ::
on my bedside table

:: stars ::
on my flat white

:: stripes ::
my new bag - a summer sale bargain

:: a kite ::
spotted in Aldeburgh

:: something that makes you happy (but not a person or animal)
picking flowers from my garden

Thursday, 28 July 2011

FWQAL week 9...

Blimey, nine weeks!

I have surprised myself by actually managing to get any sewing in at all this week, what with child-minding and day trips out.  After a while, I find the need to sew or make, almost compulsory to reducing my stress levels.  This week's blocks are of the one easy, one not so easy deciding factor.  I was also keen to start introducing some different colours using the fabrics that came in the post last week.

The easy one!

The not so easy one!  There are a few not-very-well-matched points and corners in this one. I need to remember that when the pieces are so tiny, what looks like a nicely coordinated selection of fabrics on the cutting table, doesn't necessarily make for a well-defined block.  Maybe I'll remake this one at a later date.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


My fascination with the zoo remains strong.  This week I have the pleasure* of having my new Godchildren to look after while my sister is at work and so yesterday, along with No2 and my friend and her two boys, we went to London Zoo.  As Friends of the ZSL, No2 and I get four free tickets per year so we actually had a fairly reasonably priced day out.

Unlike the six children in tow, I could watch the animals for hours.  Here's a few of my favourites...

The expressions and mannerisms of the gorillas are wonderful.

Their hands, with their dexterity, I find so engaging.

There is a new penguin pool now, with some deeper water and underwater viewing portholes.  I can't resist a penguin either.

The spider monkeys in Animal Adventure were very close to the pathways this time and were busy snacking.

The meerkats were on the look-out.

And the camels were never taught that it was bad manners to eat with their mouths open.

*that's irony, just in case you were wondering.  Or sarcasm.  You decide!

Friday, 22 July 2011

FWQAL week 8...

Here are my blocks for week 8 of the Farmers Wife Quilt-a-long.

It seemed wrong not to fussy cut this cute bird and nest.

I couldn't resist using both of these brown prints together either.

This mosaic shows all my sixteen blocks to date.  My other fabrics arrived today and so I am looking forward to introducing the other colours from the line.  It is looking predominantly red at the moment.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Taster day...

For the last year, my Mum has been doing a watercolour class each week and I have been so impressed with what she has been producing.  In the course of conversation, it came up that I had been to art college (many, many moons ago) and so her tutor kindly asked if I would like to join them on their annual outdoor workshop with a view to joining the class in September.

This morning I packed up my tin of sketching pencils, found a new sketch book and set off to a nature reserve that I didn't even know existed just a couple of miles from home.

Everyone looked very confident and excited to be given such a large space to explore and choosing the subject was, I think, the hardest part of the day.  I have never had any tuition in watercolours, although I used to love using them for illustrative purposes and so I chose the safe route of finding a thistle head to sketch.  As long as there is something (usually nature-related) in front of me, I am fairly confident of my sketching skills and so putting the first marks on my paper wasn't too daunting.

Soon, though, the lure of adding colour became too much and I crept over to where Mum was drawing and decided to give it a go.  Having raided her art box, and with some encouragement from the teacher, I started out sketching the view in front of me with a drawing pen.

I couldn't wait to add some colour.

The day flew by and my sketchbook now has something in it!  I think it's ok for a first attempt but I am definitely going to join the group in September and learn a new skill.  The less is more concept of watercolour is something that I am going to find challenging, but I am also hoping to be able to develop my own style of painting, especially combined with the ink.

I also had the chance to walk around the reserve and was delighted to find a tiny little pond where dragonflies were emerging from their nymph  stage.  I don't know if you can just about spot the dragonfly in this photo, drying out its wings.  It is just above that brown leaf in the middle of the picture.  I wish I'd taken my other lens'.  There are a couple of other nymphs hanging off the leaves.

I then found an empty nymph moult.  The child in me still loves this kind of discovery.

Back to the kitchen tomorrow and Saturday for the rest of the christening preparations.  Keep your fingers crossed for a fine day, I really can't face the house full of people.  I'm expecting about 48 and am hoping to keep them all entertained in the garden.

I'll leave you with a quick photo of one of the red admiral butterflies that were in abundance today.  I love butterflies too...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Baking day...

Busy, busy, busy baking this week.  My sister is having her three children christened on Sunday and I have been given the honour (?!) of not only being Godmother to all three, but also having the after party at my house!  My cookery books have been perused and lists have been made.

I've had one shopping delivery of non-perishables, and there is another due on Friday of fresh stuff.

The kitchen has, at times, looked like a bomb has hit it.

Number of cupcakes made:

  • 16 x vanilla
  • 20 x chocolate
  • 16 x lemon

Number of focaccia made:  3!

Now all nicely stashed in the freezer because Ruth says that baked goods are great for freezing and I am going to be up against it on Friday and Saturday making other goodies.


I have taken to using these little page markers to identify my favourite recipes in my books.  It makes finding what I'm looking for so much easier.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A finished object...

Another item I can tick off my list of UFO's.

I actually started this cushion last year when I was on holiday in Portugal!  I'm not really sure why I stopped hooking it because I was loving the colour combinations.

It came out of my hibernation a week or so ago and it has been amongst other projects on the worktable.

I took a bit of chance in my method of making it into a cushion and ended up tacking it to a piece of leftover quilt backing so that I wouldn't make a hash of machining it together with the back of the cushion.

The extra bits of the hexagons are just tucked inside and virtually unnoticeable from the front.  Pattern from here.

I like this shape cushion and it is snuggled nicely in amongst the others on the sofa in the conservatory.

I'd like to make two more smaller cushions to replace the original sofa ones at either end but for now, two more projects have taken priority.  More of which soon.

Friday, 15 July 2011

FWQAL Weeks 3–7…

I’m a happy bunny now!  I have completed a total of 14 blocks and so I have managed to catch up with everyone on this fab quilt-a-long!


Block 34 Flock


There hasn’t really been any one reason for which blocks I’ve been making.  Some of them are as they appear in the order of the book.  Others are ones that I thought were easy to do, so good to do as catch-ups.


Block 46 Hill and valley


And then others, have been made as a combination of easy and more difficult blocks.  It has depended what I’ve felt like on the day!


Block 51 Hovering birds


I managed to find a honeybun of this now out-of-print line of fabric online which I decided to buy, reneging on my previous plan of using co-coordinating fabrics from my stash.  The honeybun is only 1 1/2 “ wide, but having looked through the templates, there are plenty that I can use with such a small amount of fabric.  I’m looking forward to including some of the other colours in to the blocks now.


Block 2 Autumn tints


I have to confess to a bit of wastage with these limited fabrics from last week’s struggles!


Block 4 Basket weave


Block 61 Northern lights


Block 5 Bat wing


Block 69 Practical orchard


I’m staggered at how many members there are now in this group.  Check out some more of the amazing interpretations in the Flickr group.

My next job is to make a mosaic of my blocks so far to see how they are looking together.