Wednesday, 12 December 2018

The Patchwork Group Christmas outing . . .

This afternoon 4 of us from our Patchwork group set off for Calico Kate's WONDERFUL shop in Lampeter, and we were in there for about an hour and a half, stroking fabrics, oohing and pointing, and losing all willpower over the lure of patchwork fabrics . . .  

The shop has twelve rooms absolutely brimming with temptation - as you can see from the photos, amazing fabrics, and beautifully made quilts and wallhangings to give you an idea of what to do with some of the fabrics on offer. Oh my goodness - never has temptation been so TEMPTING!!

Alex, Monique and Pat finding the stitching on a work in progress.

I quite fancy making this simple table runner.

Above and below: this is what I bought.  I just couldn't resist it and then when I found the GORGEOUS Dragonfly fat 1/4 on the way out, that just balanced so incredibly with all the other colours it went into the pile too.  I'm not sure what they will be yet, but possibly a bag, and/or a table runner or lap quilt.

Another little indulgence, but not for me . . .

There could have been an alternative heading for this - Do Jelly Babies Do Tantric Sex?  When we had tea and cake after our shopping spree, we were talking about Christmas presents and I learned that there were all sorts of naughty sweets I'd never heard of before (Ann Summers has a lot to answer for!) but when we got to Kama Sutra Jelly Babies I nearly fell off my chair.  Oh goodness, we were giggling like teenagers - crafting is apparently really good for you, and even just crafters getting together has the same effect.  We were like geriatric St Trinians schoolgirls!!

As you can see, much fun was had and I am looking forward to starting another project early in January - it will probably be continuing with the Random Quilt I began here last summer.

Oh and before I forget - Tam's quilt is FINALLY finished.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Christmassing the house

We bought our tree last Saturday - a Nordman Fir, which won't drop.  In past years we have had to settle for much cheaper trees, even just toppings, and by the time the tree is taken out (normally through the window to minimise the mess) it is half-way to being BALD!  Tam dressed it for me and it looks a real treat.

The Christmas teddy atop the tree, bought by one of us when we used to get our Christmas tree from a Christmas tree plantation at Salem.  They had a shop with wonderful decorations and Christmassy things, and the children were allowed to each choose one special decoration each year.

Pride of place this year has been given to the wonderful peg-dollies made by Elaine over at Tales From Parsonage Wood who is a Special Blogging Friend.  She made these recently for a Bazaar and I did have Peg Doll Envy.  Well, the little chaps must have heard as apparently they were clamouring to come to me, along with some very generously-cut and absolutely GORGEOUS Japanese silk pieces, which I will have to plan to use on something Very Special in the dark days of January.  I still want to know Elaine, did you use tooth-picks to knit the wee jumper on?

Above and below: a couple of my x-stitch handicrafts from the past, using wonderful American designs from Just X-Stitch magazine - I still have a year's subscription of copies dating back over 30 years, and still treasured.  I made another a couple of years back of Mistletoe which hangs elsewhere in the room and I must take a photo of that too.

Above and below: 3 Christmas Meeces found in TK Maxx (none there when I belatedly went in this year).  They have been in the hall before, but this year are gracing the sitting room instead.

Above and below: other embellishments.  Forgive the filthy hearth (but we have scarcely been at home the past fortnight).

Finally the 12 Days of Christmas on which there is scarcely a square inch which isn't outlined in tiny hand quilting stitches (one of my favourite past-times).  Must do another along these lines.

Anyway, all my cards and gifts are posted, and I have started wrapping presents, which always takes far longer than anticipated and seems to need one more elbow than you actually possess . . .

Sunday, 9 December 2018

The darkest hour is just before dawn . . .

As I am still getting spam comments, I will add again - DON'T BOTHER to post if you are anonymous/I don't recognize you.  I shall put you in the spam folder and delete you without mercy.

The photos are a bit of a give-away, but as you can see, yesterday was the last Malvern Fleamarket of the year.  We got up at 4 a.m. and set off just before 5, with our daughter Tam hugging pillows in the back, hoping to get back to sleep!

Keith put his cataract op success to the test and drove as far as Sennybridge, before his frozen shoulder began to pain him.  I drove the rest of the way, and for 2 hours it seemed like it might never get light again.  Yet by the time we got to Hereford there was the faintest lightening of the sky and of course, the sun did eventually come up to reveal a huge bank of clouds to the S-W, although fortunately the heavy rain had fallen ahead of us.  'Twas soggy underfoot though and a real walking boots day, though it largely stayed dry.

Above and below - inside the sheds, this is always one of my favourite stands, where a retired sign-writer/artist does all these lovely painted cupboards and doors.  I always want to steal half his stock but I think I would be noticed!!

A fellow-dealer friend posing for us, and below, two of the lovely old quilts on offer at his wife's stand.  The first one is made from old bits of flannel clothing, including uniform by the look of it (red bits).

Below: I rather coveted this lovely old quilt when I saw it at Carmarthen, but talked myself out of it!

Above and below: more from the retired signwriter chappy - aren't they GORGEOUS?  It's given me some ideas for When We Move.

Above: this gigantic light looks like it came from the Taj Mahal!  A real "decorator's piece".

One of the things I bought with the next Botanic Gardens Fair in mind.  This is a big charger, hefty, and I fell in love with it.  The dealer had originally had three - this was the only unsigned one, and all she could remember was that she had bought them (at big prices!) in the 1980s from a potter called Susan ????? from Radley, Abinger . . .  Research so far has not been helpful.  

Above and below: my little Torquay pottery treats.  Above, 2 x Kerswell Daisy pinch-top jugs (early part of 20th C) and  a LARGE Scandy jug.  

Finally, the obligatory view across the vale from Malvern.  It was a 12 hour day from getting up to getting home, we clocked up around 14K steps and I was in bed before 8 p.m. as I was absolutely shattered.  I was fine driving home, but once we had eaten and I allowed myself to relax, that was IT.  I had slept very badly on the Saturday night and only got 4 hours sleep.  Last night I caught up with 9 1/2 hours, but then by 5.30 I was ready to face the day.

Today my OH gets examined for new specs.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Playing catch up

This wretched virus is still plaguing us and we have tried to rest up a bit this week, but even little jobs have knocked the stuffing out of us both.  Our eldest daughter is here for a few days (she works from home but has had to come into the office for two days this week), and it's lovely to have her here.

I am sleeping poorly - I was awake (fretting about something) in the night, so came down for 2 hours and finished sewing the binding on Tam's quilt.  Then I went back to bed, but it was 5 a.m. before I finally nodded off again and I feel somewhat bejeebered now.

Anyway, I have finally almost finished Tam's purple patchwork quilt. I finished the binding about 3 a.m. this morning . . .  I have a few ends to sew in, and a very short length of machine interlace stitching at the very end of a piece of sashing, and THEN I can finally get back to Gabby's quilt, which needs tieing and binding.

I  should get back to the final corner of our bedroom wall, to finish painting it.  We have looked at carpeting so hopefully by mid-January it will be finished.  The light blue walls make so much difference.

Right, I must get my last cards written and ready to post (I shall be glad when THAT is all done).

Monday, 3 December 2018


Llandeilo Vintage & Antiques Fair - part of our stand

If you are of a certain age, and British, then you will probably know what the acronym TWTWTW stands for.  If not, I will share it with you: That Was The Week That Was and boy have we had one of THOSE during the past 7 days.  Some of it you already know about but here is a resume: We have had three Fairs (two back-to-back ones this weekend), and the day following the first Fair we had to drive to Gloucestershire to pick up something we'd bought at auction.  That was a long day out and we were out from 9 a.m. till about 5.30 p.m. (bear in mind each Fair day is about 10 - 12 hours from getting up to getting home).  Tuesday was a catch-up day, although our builders were here and so we had to quickly lay down dust sheets and move stuff so they could hack back the damaged plaster on a wall in the attic and put on the first coat of lime plaster.  Wednesday was my sewing day (Patchwork class) and I made good progress on Tam's quilt - just the binding to do now.  Hopefully it will be finished this week.

Llandeilo Vintage & Antiques Fair - part of our stand

Thursday we had friends round for tea and cake, but tbh I was feeling pretty grim by then as the cold we caught in Oxford 3 weeks ago had got bored with lingering in my sinuses and had gone on a voyage of exploration to my lungs.  We went to the Unit in the afternoon (an hour's drive each way) to collect stock (and will go back there today to replace it . . .)  Friday morning the builders returned and finished the work, but I have only been able to do the most basic of tidy ups and vacuuming -  I will get back to that later today probably and use the ancient Vax to suck up the dust from between the floorboards in bedroom 5 as the Dyson faints if you give it a whiff of plaster dust . . .  Friday afternoon was spent packing the car for the first Fair, in Llandeilo.  That's a local one but I was exhausted at the end of it as still feeling hornswoggled with the infection, and a poor night's sleep.

Mid 19thC wooden mask of Ravana, from Northern India.

When we got home, we had to unpack half the car in the dark and put in some different stock for yesterday's Fair in Cardiff (which is about an hour and a quarter/half  - depending on traffic - from here).  It was driving in the dark all the way (just getting light when we arrived) and we found the venue with just one blip when we took the wrong turning off the roundabout, and came off one too early.  Easy to find though.  It went well, was a lovely venue and we met new dealers.  Drove home in the dark of course, although part of the drive was via a scenic route when J47 was closed due to a broken down lorry.  That was a 12 hour day.  We have left unpacking till this morning, when of course, it is still raining.

Antique and rare Baiu currency bracelets

I was up before 7 but at least got a good night's sleep (Saturday's was dreadful - 10 minutes in the land of nod, then woken by palpitations and awake till gone midnight, then up at 5 a.m.)  I have done the bins, fed the cats, put last night's washing up away, done the litter tray, topped up the birdfeeder (all before breakfast) and discovered, to my horror, that a box with china and vintage leather bags, gloves, belts etc which I took out to be put in the van on Friday, was overlooked and has spent the entire weekend out in the rain.  The bags will probably be ruined, but I am drying them in a warm room rather than near a radiator, and hope that they don't have tide-marks when they dry.

A yawning Keith and his militaria collection 

Another corner of yesterday's stand at the Cardiff Fair, with lovely old Windsor Chair, large leather Gladstone bag and the very rare grain cradle which would have been attached to a scythe.

Every home should have one!!

Right, one round-up done.  Must get organized and unpacked now . . .

Friday, 30 November 2018

Driving the scenic route home . . .

We had to go to Cardigan yesterday to collect some stock from the Unit.  We took the shorter route home, cross-country, stopping at Cenarth to take some photos of the river, which was pretty full after all the rain which had accompanied Storm Diana.

Of course, it is regularly MUCH worse, and certainly was a couple of months ago when we had tremendous flooding locally.  I think the bridge at Cenarth was shut for a while due to trees piling up against it.

Up on the ravine overlooking the river, I am pretty sure this is a Spindle tree - they like Limestone, and this one had obviously found a safe niche here.  When the bright pink seed pods split open they reveal orange seeds.  I used to see them regularly when I lived outside Salisbury and walked my dogs along the Shaftesbury ("Shaston") Drove.

Finally, the ever-increasing wind farm in Brechfa Forest.  These were all turning well in the strong winds.

I had to go back to the Doctor's yet again today as I had a chest infection and am now on anti-b's and steroids (the latter for 3 to 5 days).  Hopefully they shouldn't disturb my sleep pattern too much.  I have a nice pile of books to get through - I bought 5 by Peter James when we were in Wotton on Monday and I have read the first already.