Saturday, 19 January 2019

Some applique today

Yesterday's sunrise.  This is the view

I originally intended to get back to decorating down in the downstairs hallway today (painting the last bit of stone wall white), but wasn't feeling 100% so I decided to start on the 4 applique panels for the latest quilt (well, wall hanging really).  Two with light green stems and leaves and 2 with dark.  It has taken me ages to draw round all the bits to be used, then iron them on the back of the fabric, then carefully cut them out and carefully align them on top of the pattern before removing it and ironing them all into place.  However, good progress has been made and I've done 3 out of the 4 needed.  These are 16" panels which will be 14" when sewn into the quilt.

I can't remember the last time I did applique but it was just the occasional animal when the children were small and I was decorating something for them.  I am uncertain whether I will satin stitch these in place on the sewing machine or whether I will edge them in a very small blanket stitch (as suggested with the pattern).  This idea is growing on me as I love to hand sew.

When I've done the last one of these I need to cut the tiny squares for the star blocks in the wider border next out from the applique panels, which are "framed" in a neutral shade (possibly light grey) to match the final border.  I have yet to get this fabric and the fabric for the border that the stars go on.  Next week . . .

Meanwhile, I have had tuition in how to use our Patchwork teacher's Gracie long arm quilter.  I have to say, it IS an acquired skill, but I seem to be slowly getting there with it.  Once I get past the practicing stage, we will load my Random Quilt onto it and I shall attempt not to bodge it too much . . .  We will be using a creamy coloured thread which should recede into the background enough to hide the mistakes (and yes, there are bound to be some!)

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Quilting progress

This is a lovely design I bought a couple of years back (from the now defunct shop in Newcastle Emlyn I think).  I began cutting out the small squares for one of the borders on Sunday, whilst listening to the Archers Omnibus.  The pattern calls for 288 - 16 squares of 18 different patterns. As I found half a 2 1/2" charm pack I incorporated those too.  They are just 2 1/2 inches each square!  I couldn't get back to sleep this morning after waking up at 3.50, so after an hour I got up and came downstairs and baked a loaf and some Lemon Drizzle Muffins to take to my patchwork class.  I sewed a few Patience 9-patch blocks together but did all the rest at my sewing class this afternoon.  Next is the applique part.

To start with I put all the little squares in a boxfile, and have some left over so think I will probably make a table runner with them, in my spare time!  

Above - here they are all laid out, so you get an idea of the overall effect, and below, a close-up of one area to show you the fabrics used.

The sideways owls aren't sewn to the next block so just need straightening up the right way.

Finally - the Lemon Drizzle Muffins. O.M.G. they are DIVINE!!  I handed them round at class, but have to confess I have eaten . . . ahem. . . several myself!!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

What a bit of energy can do

Yesterday I set about in the Chicken Shed, intent on getting all the rubbish out and doing a Trip Run.  As you can see, there was quite a bit which we no longer needed - the Scottish potatoes sack held the strings from a long-defunct upright piano which Keith had dismantled and turned into useful bits and firewood . . . that was about 10 years ago too!   There were boxes of electrical wiring, bits of plastic, the cover of a plastic greenhouse which had ripped, plastic bottles, plant pots, soggy underlay - all manner of junk.

We filled the car up completely in the back (seats down of course) and I went off on my own, and sought the help of one of the staff at the Tip to help carry the several heavy mirrors which were also part of the load and a gigantic print of the last supper which Keith had bought for the maple frame (which turned out to be a very thin veneer which started to moult, hence it ending up in the chicken shed.) Himself admitted that buying that wasn't his finest hour . . .

This bird's nest (Blackbird?)was carefully crafted into the guard of a defunct brush trasher (which also went to the Tip).  They would have flown in and out through the former window which no longer has any glass or frame.

As I had laboured mightily the day before, sorting out one of the pony stables, my back was starting to give me jip so I sat down after lunch and worked out which fabrics I was going to use for the patchwork border of this project:

Here are some of the fabrics - I needed to cut 16 pieces each from 18 different prints - that's 288 x 2 1/2 inch  squares, meticulously measured.  I began to sew a few up, but couldn't undertand why the central block was too small.  Then I looked at the foot on my sewing machine and realized I was sewing up to the edge of the foot - 3/8".  So a quick order via Amazon Prime had a 1/4" foot winging its way to me and arriving today.  I am a dozo not to realize it was a 3/8" foot I had on there!

This is an initial choice of fabrics, but I have found some more today which I may cut and add.  I have my patchwork class tomorrow afternoon so I shall take this along and see if I can get started with cutting out the applique pieces now I have found out where I stashed my Bondaweb (which of course, only came to light AFTER I had ordered some more!!!)

Right, off to bed now.  I have been hand quilting the wall hanging for eldest daughter (love doing this) and enjoying the jewel-bright colours in it.  There may be a feline bent to the design . . . but I shall say no more.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

"You don't know the meaning of hard work . . ."

The title of this post is something my late m.i.l. once told me, because I found it hard to keep on top of all the ironing, tidying etc when I had 3 children under five and we were living in a house which needed total modernisation.  I think it was because I refused to iron the thick heavy cotton sheets she had given me . . .  Anyway, down the years, when I have collapsed into bed totally exhausted from all the work I have done - such as several consecutive days of 14 hours housework, painting, gardening  etc when we have a viewing due -  that little homily comes back to me.  Today was one of them.  I made a start on clearing the stable yard after I had listened to the Archers omnibus (whilst ironing material and starting to cut it up for the patchwork border on an applique wall hanging).  It had a winter's worth of leaves and twigs and half-rotted leaves turning to mud, plus lots of green moss, and it's a long time since I was last doing a work-out with a yard broom. Here it is before I started - and it was actually worse than it looks here!)

I had actually swept a few leaves into piles here, before thinking ah yes, before and after photos!  The hardest job was getting the grass (foreground) from the cracks in the concrete  and I had to concede defeat on the two biggest clumps, but I will go in with a spade with a sharper edge tomorrow.  All the leaves filled four barrowloads, now heaped under the Elderberry bushes at the bottom of the yard.  I finished it off by swilling it down with several buckets of water, sweeping after each bucketful.  After:

The pony stables are next - I did make a start on this one, and have swept all the leaves out, identified a lathe which needs to be taken by the scrap man next time one turns up (though they tend to hunt in packs - you don't see one for a year, and then three come with just days in between them!), moved out the remains of the old chair at the back (which has been waiting 35 years for my husband to restore), the pallet has gone to the woodshed and sundry boxes are earmarked for the Tip.  A bag of old sheets (well used dustsheets) are going the same way.

There are several mirrors hanging about the place and I want to take those to the Tip too, but my husband (in a cranky mood because of STILL working on the shower room, and now having to lay down to fix the wooden covers over the pipework, which has made his back and hips sore) huffily told me that "someone would want to recycle those, as mirrors are so expensive to buy" and they needed to go into auction.  Personally I don't think it's worth the bother of even cleaning them (guess whose name would be on THAT job?) let alone the time and fuel to take them for what they would fetch, but what do I know?  

More junk in the middle stable (how many empty cardboard boxes do we need?!) but a little bit of treasure as 3 Victorian solid brass wall light holders on the right . . .  But another mirror too (there were 6 in all, but one is a decent one), the remains of an upright piano - sundry bits of which ended up being dismantled for fittings (and firewood).

Itsy's old stable - 3 mirrors in here (incl. the good overmantel mirror), my husband's old weightlifting bar and weights, an ancient useless sewing machine etc.  I will go through these tomorrow, pre-Tip visit . . .

One little gem turned up - this is a candle sconce, Registered design number 60, which ties it to the Great Exhibition where such a piece of ironwork was on display.  The pretty design shows when the candle support is empty and up.

Finally - those Victorian brass lamp holders . . .

I can see one of tomorrow's jobs will be polishing . . .

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Spotlight on Charm

The post heading is an old saying of my mum's (she had dozens!).  It came to mind today when I told Keith that I thought there was a lamp downstairs which had been packed to move to the "new house" (this was packed 11 years ago, when we first decided we would have to downsize . . .)  There were two good ones, keepers, and then I found another NINE lamps and bits of lamps I had forgotten we had.  Some are commercial, others will go to auction. The antique onion glass ship's lantern above is a definite keeper.  In fact we have a red one (in stock) as well, so may keep that too . . .

This is a brand new hanging lamp which we bought when we were doing all the upstairs and outside lighting about the turn of the century.  Another keeper.

I'd forgotten we had this antique cast iron church sconce (which does have its brass oil well too and possibly a glass chimney - if one of the spares fits it.)  Its registered number shows it was made 1898/99 by a foundry called F S & Co.  It is worth selling, as it is the nicest one I have ever seen, so it will go along to the next Fair with us and if it doesn't sell, then onto Ebay.

Other sundry bits of lamp and another sconce, and there is a huge Tiffany-style modern shade wrapped in the old quilt.  Destined for Ebay/auction.

Below - a hanging lamp which has been modified to electric and has an orange glass chimney.  That's to go on Ebay too.  

A productive day as that is one entire cupboard emptied!  Tomorrow I intend to empty the pony stables and have a Trip to the Tip, and then put out there the unwanted china and non-perishable things from the Junk Room.  I have another pile of stuff for the charity shop, and two lots of books have gone to the Tesco charity table today.

Progress.  Getting rid of stuff is remarkably therapeutic - I don't have it there nagging me!!

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Anniversary celebration

A short post tonight as it's time to sit and relax for the evening and I had one of those frustrating afternoons when technology and the 21st century rear their ugly heads and confound me, good and proper!  When it involves mobile phones, and setting up accounts (and then not noting down a new password!), without someone under the age of 35 in the house, then I'm a confused heap.  Anyway, Tam stepped in and helped on line and then on the phone, and we got it sorted in the end and I now have a card reader which I have an app for on my phone so I can take card payments at Fairs.  Way to go!

Anyway, above and below are photos of Leominster where we went on Tuesday for a day out to celebrate our wedding anniversary this week.  We had hoped for a pub lunch, but all that was on offer (and was open) were two chippies (one was an Iffy Chippy so we read the menu and did an about turn), or else coffee and cake. I'd have eaten cake but not for a lunchtime meal, and neither of us are coffee drinkers, and we ended up in the better chippy, where a "small" portion of chips would have heaped a dinner plate high, and we had to leave as many as we ate.  Had we known the size of the portion in advance, we'd have had one between us!  So I reckon my dearly beloved still owes me a meal out, but I won't hold him to it!

Below is the market place in Leominster, but it's not market day on a Tuesday.

Lovely - some 17th C Rhenish glazed stoneware jars and bottles.

A pair (other one out of sight) of colourful 18th C Majolica dishes with scenes from Mythology.

A truly lovely early 18th C almost primitive comb back Windsor chair - we have come home with this one if we'd had the £1200 or so price tag!

We took the scenic route home through beautiful Pembridge where just about every cottage and house is half-timbered, through Kington - good shopping centre but miles from anywhere - and then "over the top" through Brilley where there is a NT farmhouse we will be visiting in the summer, and an area where we would have moved in a flash had we discovered it sooner in our lives.  There were fabulous views across to Hay Bluff and the Black Mountains, and a lovely area of common land.

Finally, below, sunset over the Black Mountains.

Monday, 7 January 2019

A Quick Quilt Update

I sat and sewed again this afternoon and have probably sewn too many big squares now (a couple at the top of the bed are folded in half!) but all in all it looks pretty good and I am delighted it's gone together so quickly (and with mostly accurate joins!)  My patchwork class starts again on Wednesday so I hope to get all the big squares joined together into one top and then our teacher (who I showed a photo to) has suggested a few sessions in her quilting workshop on her long-armed quilting machine so we can quilt the top professionally.  I'm quite excited at that idea.

This has been a good stash-buster anyway, although I still have some double blocks sewn together - probably enough for a lap-quilt for downstairs.  Now I must go in search of the magazine that had the pattern for my Heirloom quilt, as that looks like it will be started far sooner than anticipated, although I do have a Space Invader quilt to do for my son first as well, but that is an easy one I can do at home.

Plus - it had to be done - I orderere a black Egyptian cotton fitted sheet and it arrived today, has been washed and I will get it ironed and on the bed soonest, with the new duvet . . .

I also had a surprise email via Ancestry, regarding the whereabouts/fate of my gran's (half) brother Christopher Charles Rose.  Apparently he emigrated to Canada, where he married, but sadly died from Tetanus in 1916.  I had a postcard of a church near Harrogate with a note on it in my gran's handwriting, saying that her brother was buried there.  So, confusion all round.  Which brother then?  I am a lapsed member of Ancestry, so don't know how I can thank Christopher Rose's grandson for his note.

P.S.  Nearly forgot - First Snowdrops noticed locally today when I went out for a walk (3 miles in an hour, so good going for me) - by the tiny ruined cottage on the riverbank, were some Snowdrops with multiple layers inside.  This cottage last lived in around WWII and I think these may be a very old Snowdrop type.  (Just looked them up and they are "Double Snowdrops" - Galanthus hipplyta - yet near the Mill are ordinary one-layer Double snowdrops.  Yesterday, on the way back from N's, lots and lots of Celandine leaves and one Celandine flower about to open.  Yay!!