Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Yikes I've been tagged by Julie at Feeling Simply Quilty for seven Random Things about me. I'm terrible at these things!

1. I love auctions, boot/yard sales or anything like that. I used to collect anything related to quilts now I am picking up typiclly British things to bring home with me. My latest buy was a light pine chest of drawers to help with fabric storage. The pastel star below is one of my favorite finds!

2. If I were to pick a craft to learn that I don't currently do it would be pottery...or maybe stained glass...or furniture refinishing....

3. My favorite color rose used to be a rosey apricot but now I like the deep golden color that my neighbor in the village grows.

4. I love to bake. I still use the Brownie recipe I got in middle school but I collect recipes all the time. My husband complains that once I get a recipe right I never use it again!

5. One of the things about MS that I hate most is how it has effected my writing and speaking - not sure if it is the MS or the meds I take for it but I feel a step behind.

6. I currently have four projects going on my cutting table; a bright baby quilt; a repro star and hourglass; a red, white, and blue sampler; and a pink and green rose sampler. No problem with getting any of the fabrics mixed up with this lot.

7. I read at least one historical mystery a week. They are like brain candy! Right now I am reading The Traitor's Tale, A Dame Frevisse medieval mystery (I've read a couple others of this series and they are fun.) Also on the bedside table is Medicus, a Novel of the Roman Empire from a new author (at least to me!) Ruth Downie.

The photo below is of Tewkesbury Abbey. I really love how it towers above the town. On a clear day you can see the tower from out little local church. There is some sort of covenant that says that nothing can be built or planted that blocks the view from the church to the abbey.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The royal Ascot Races

Just a quick post today. The weather is really gloomy outside and the dog is demanding some attention...so much harder to wear him out if you can't go outside and thow the ball across the fields.

Yesterday I went to the Royal Ascot Races. It would have been nicer if the weather had behaved a bit better but overall it was a nice time. The horses were beautiful however I think we spent most of our time people watching! The outfits went from totally gorgeous to "what were they thinking?"

My favorite spot for seeing the horses was in the paddocks area which is the photo above. Before the race they walk the horses around a few times then the jockey jumps on. The colors and patterns of the jockey's silks is breathtaking at times. (There is a quilt in there someplace!)

My favorite spot for people watching was on the other side of the course by the winner's circle. There the attendees were dresses more like the TV photos (thre are unfortunatley some tacky -no pun intended - areas in the course...my friend who was doused with beer by a drunken 20-something was not a happy person!) That aside, I wish we had come over to the Winner's circle area earlier. No man really looks bad in a morning suit...which I will add to the list of white shirt with jeans, flight suit, and tuxedo.

Black and white with the bright, bright pink was a big color combination for women. My favortie outfit was an aqua blue dress with a black hat, bag and shoes sooo wish I could have gotten a photo. Interestingly she wasn't the prettiest woman there, not the youngest, nor the thinniest...but heads turned as she walked past. Good for her!

Now this is an awfully long ramble on style and clothing from a woman who spends 90% of her waking moments in either sweats or jeans. (as I write this I am wearing a read University of Nevada Las Vegas red hoody sweatshirt, greay baggy sweatpants with the elastic missing at the right ankle, and grey socks that show the London Underground map (never know when you'll need one of those!) I did dress well yesterday though not a stand out by any measure. There was a point in my life that I did really care about what I wore. I had my colors done. I had two suits custom made. I spent outrageous amounts of money on handbags/briefcases/shoes. The 90's were an expensive decade!
Below is another of the village garden's that I love to walk past...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

High Tea

Sorry it has been so long between posts this time. Life has gotten in the way of blogging and at the risk of whining for way too long I'm just leaving it at that.

I did go to my first British High Tea at the Queen Hotel this week. Very nice. It gave me incentive to get out of my pajamas and dress like a big girl for a change! I took the bus into town so I wouldn't stress about parking. I wandered through some stores hoping to find something to wear to the races Saturday...that is just another depressing post that I will leave to another date (it is cold in this country so why I ask do none of the dresses have sleeves...heck most barely had straps to hold them up!) I ended up buying a hat that mad my husband laugh so hard he almost choked - do you think a jury would convict me for that?!

For the Americans - High Tea was served using the really nice three tier servers: on the top were the little sandwiches (salmon on white and egg salad and cress on whole grain - both with the crusts cut off); next came the sweets (fruit cake, pound cake, and eclairs); and then finally, the scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. I am very partial to scones and these were very, very good scones. It was a nice afternoon.

The photos are of two of the blocks we are doing in the Fairford group. I am doing two sampler quilts - one red, white and blue and the other in pinks and greens. Unfortunately I don't always get each block finished in both colorways so this was a bit of a catch-up week for me. Next week we will do paperpiecing which I love but I know it takes a bit of getting used to...somehow seeing things backwards never quite bothered me but I've worked with folks who end up destroying the paper because they have to "unsew" so many times! We'll take this one slow!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

June Garden Tour

Today I have gotten lots of quilting inspiration from the local Garden tour...amazing. Just what an American would think English Gardens are supposed to look like! The tour was in Ashton-under-Hill, which is one of the many villages around Breedon Hill. Thre were over 25 gardens open and lots of stalls selling garden stuff.

It was a bit to hot (can't believe I'm writing that!) for me to walk around too long but we got through almost half of them. (one of the volunteers was nice enough to check off the ones she reccomended!) I couldn't believe it when I got home and went to upload my photos to my computer...87 photos! I think that is a one day record for me! (don't worry I will not be posting all of them....) The colors were just amazing. I wasn't sure if I wanted to run home and play in fabric or pull the paints out of storage!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Happy Birthday

Well another milemarker is swiftly moving into the rear view mirror! To celebrate my birthday today I let myself buy some quilt-y stuff on line - timtex, thread, a few yards of fabric, and batting. I also stopped by a local potter and got a new pot to put on the black stand I picked up at the auction last week.

I played in fabric most of the morning without a lot to show for it...mainly folding, planning , and deplanning (taking fabric out of boxes/bags after deciding I don't want to do that project anymore!) That is one way of shortening the someday list!
I also made myself a Birthday cake.... a Peanut Butter Pound Cake! I got the recipie from a co-worker in North Carolina years ago (maybe 9!) and had never attempted making it myself. It is great. (must be a bit of homesickness coming through....) DH is bringing home chocolate ice cream to go on top so I left off the topping (like that helps the calorie count at all!) It makes a huge cake so I ran some pieces over to neighbors...if it sat on my sideboard I wouldn't be able to zipper my jeans tomorrow! (not the best way of starting out a new year....)
Peanut Butter Pound Cake
1 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking pwder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
(topping optional)
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup evaporated milk
Beat 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter at medium speed of a electric mixer until soft ad creamy (about 2 min.) Gradually add 2 cups sugar and 1 cup brwon sugar, beting at medium speed for 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until yellow just disappears.
Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt; stir well. Add flour misture to butter mixture alternating with the milk beginning and ending with the flour. Mix at low speed until just blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. pour batter inot a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 35 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10-15 mintues. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the optional topping: beat powdered sugar, peanut butter and melted butter together at a low speed until well blended. Add evaporated milk and beat at a medium speed until smooth. drizzle over cake.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Baby Quilt blocks

The sun is shining here in England...what a relief! Yesterday we walked around Breedon Hill and peeked into some of the gardens. Beautiful! The poppies are putting in their appearance and stealing the show in this photo from Beckford.

As I promised in my prior post here is a photo of the blocks I am doing for a baby quilt for one of the new quilters in our group. The blocks are 7.5 finished. I made up some 'kits" for the other members of the group or they can use their own fabric (as quilting newbe's they don't have deep stashed yet...but they are working had at it!)

I had to post a photo of my walk 'buddies." (once again I am sure the other villagers think I'm crazy for taking photos of livestock but hey...I'm a city-kid!) This black and white cow/steer follows Macbeth and I along the fence when-ever we pass her/his field. Today I brought the camera and low and behold the rest of the herd nudged their way into the act! They are so cute it almost makes me swear off meat!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Back to the world

The photo of Goldie shows a bit how I have felt lately. Too much rain-rain-rain, a cold, an MS relaspe has made me a whiney-whiney woman. Anyway the sun came out yesterday and I am crawling back out into the world.

Just one example of how this past week went. I really wanted to go to my quilting group on Wednesday. I had printed out some paperpiecing blocks, made some examples (with low eyesight paperpiecing is more of a challenge than you would think!) and had packed up some "find a new home" bits and pieces of fabric. In the the morning it was raining so DH offered to pack the bags and my sewing machine in the car. A few minutes later his ride pulled in the driveway and he was off the London for the day. I finished my coffee, locked up the house, went to get my keys off the rack - no keys. Looked through my bags, the kitchen counters....(you know the drill.....) Then it hit me...DH must have put them in his pocket.....I stayed home.

(if you are thinking why doesn't she have a spare?...see my post on being robbed in Barcelona - whine.whine.whine)

I did pull some bright fabrics from the stash and start making blocks. I stacked my CD player with Bonnie Rait, Eurythmics (sp?), Tina Turner, and Blondie. Boy does that tell my age or what! The blocks will make up the core of a baby quilt for one of the Fairford quilters....I'll show them tomorrow.

My big adventure was a quick trip into Tewksbury for an auction. I picked up a cute tea service (bright yellow with roses on it!) and a hand crank sewing machine with some nice graphics on it. I haven't quite figured out how to use the machine so if any of you have a hint. (does it use a bobbin and if so where the heck is it!!!)