Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tourism Day

I finally got my DH to drive down to Cirencester to visit a local museum there - Corinium. It was really interesting and a very neat little town. We are both reading the Libertus Mystery series (set in Roman Britain) and the first book happens very close to Cirencester. The artifacts and exhibits there also helped visualize some of the book passages as well. The photo on the left is of one of the Roman tile floors that was excavated in the area. I'm adding them to the list of things I need to include in my Cotswold quilt.

Because it gets dark so early I can't drive too far from home right now. Driving in the dark is a bit iffy for me...even with DH driving the headlights blind me a bit and make it very uncomfortable - OK I was holding the door handle so tightly I lost feeling in my arm! DH is not a great driver and it is even worse when I can't see how badly he is doing! Does that make sense?!

I've started pulling together fabric for a color confidence workshop for the new quilting folks. At the same time I am trying to pull together my quilting room. It definatly needs a few more days with long hours! My goal is New Years Day...we'll see...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone.

We finally have the house decorated and a few dozen cookies to wash down with eggnog. We went out this afternoon with friends but are spending tonight watching Christmas movies...Patrick Stewart in A Christmas Carole, the Grinch, Charlie Brown, to name a few. They have caroles at midnight at the village church if we can stay awake that long!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fog, Fog, and more Fog

Well I'm back from the states and in the land of Fog! Yesterday I couldn't even see Mac at the end of his leash! It took a few days to get used to being on this time zone but I think I'm just using that as an excuse for being so far behind in getting the house ready for Christmas. Yesterday I did a marathon decorating session...the tree is up, dozens of santas are spread around the house, and all my cookie making supplies are spread across the kitchen counters! This is as Christmas as I'll get this year...there are still 4 boxes marked xmas in the garage but I've run out of energy and space!

I brought the quilt I am making for my great-nephew (yikes!!!) home to see if he would like it. What a fun kid! He first wrapped himself up in it, then spread it on the floor and laid down on it, then draped it on a chair to sit on it, he then covered the coffee table with it and then finally put it over his head and walked around the room....yes, my camera was going the entire time and may have contributed to his fun.

With all the fog and darkness right now (all making it very difficult for me to drive) I should be able to finish quilting it over the holidays. When someone shows that much appreciation for a quilt it is easier to finish it and to think of making them another!

We went into to town today to do some last minute shopping. It was crazy! Typical Christmas crowds. I was amazed the candy store we usually go to was almost stripped bare! I did find some chocolate covered raisins so I can make my DH's favorite Oatmeal cookies. It is hard being away from home for Christmas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Computer problems

Sorry about the down time on has been acting up. Seems in the move one of the connections in the back got loose so when one of the cats would jump on the CPU it would disconnect me!

I've been really busy trying to get ready to go back to the states next week and to get ready for Christmas. Our choral group sings on Sunday and I've been sewing capes like a crazy person! Hopefully I'll have some photos on Sunday. They came out nice...makes us look more like a group.

Also I took a roadtrip up to another base to see a new doctor...what a waste of time! The man was soooo rude and dismissive. I thought my DH was going to come out of the chair and hit...which only made me more nervous then I normally am when at a doctor! I don't know what the phobia is when you start shaking when you enter the doctor's office, sweat through your shirt, mind goes DH once brought me to the emergency room because of a Kidney stone and when the doctor came in the room and asked how I was doing I said "fine" then threw up and passed out! The problem with doctors is they always find something wrong with you that you didn't go in for in the first place....

Anyways the photo is of the horse Macbeth and I pass each morning on our walk. He is feasting on the small apples the wind has blown down from the tree next to him.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Some things always fit

I was reading Lois R.'s blog - Thoughts of Home Quilting about how she is repainting here new house to make it her new home and it made me think of this quilt. I bought this little quilt at an auction during the American Quilt Study Seminar around 1997. (The label says it was made by Janet Aronsen, date.) I've moved 4 times since I've bought this little wallhanging and it is always one of the first things I hang. Isn't it odd that one of the quilts I've made doesn't hit the wall first? I've hung 5 small quilts and none of them are ones I've made! My own are sitting in a pile on top of the dresser in the guest bedroom waiting until I find a spot for them! I think if it hadn't been so cold the last couple of weeks I wouldn't have any of my own work out - fortunately the quilts on the bed are my own work or I wouldn't look like I did anything but buy fabric! (something my DH has long suspected!)

Today I am off to a small Christmas market in town and to pick up my medical records so I can go to another doctor next week. Sometimes MS feels like a full time job!

I've mentioned the red berries a couple of times in my blogs. I'm not sure what kind of bush/tree they are but now that the foliage is dropping the berries light up the hedgerows. They are beautiful! My neighbors are amused at how I carry my camera with me all the time and take pictures of odd things like hedgerows, phonebooths, sheep, horses, and, someday, a pheasant (so far they have been too quick for meand all I have is more hedgerow shots of where a pheasant used to be!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

One more picture of London...I liked the flowers and how Mary Poppins looking the rows of houses were on this street. Our hotel is the building on the left.

It just really hit me today...this week it will be December and there is less tahn a month before Christmas! It sort of slipped in there on me....I put out one little Santa that Brownie immediately attached. I now have one little broken Santa! Guess I need to go out to the garage and dig out the Christmas boxes!

I packed the gifts I had already picked up today. I'm going back to the states for one week in December so I get to deliver them in person! I still need to find something for my policeman brother - he isn't easy to buy for.

The quilting group is coming along well with their tablerunners. It looks like they will get at far as getting them quilted before I leave for the states. They should have them for the holidays. In January we are starting a sampler quilt. I showed them the Christmas one I made a few years ago (and that Bonnie quilted for me!) They really liked it. I will have to change a few of the blocks (no need for a Santa unless they want a Christmas one too!) Gettting it all organized is a bit of a challenge for me but I will make myself sit down and just do it!

Today we drove to the medium-size U.S. base so I could see a Doctor about getting my U.S. medicine again. Formularies (spelling) are different for some of my meds here and DH and I decided we'd rather not mess with what seems to be working pretty well. Besides it is a beutiful ride through some gorgeous Cotswold villages like Chipping Norton and Stow on wold. The little roads and driving on the other side of the road don't freak me out as much anymore so I can enjoy the sheep, stone walls, and bright red berries. Stopped for luch in Deddington...DH was in hurry so I didn't get to investigate the really interesting looking antique shops (this is a reoccurring theme - my not getting into the fun antique places...I've got to work on that!)

I was told of a fun woolen mill that still operates near here...DH is soooo not coming with me on that trip!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

back from London

London remains one of my favorite cities. Museums, shows, window shopping, and people watching were our main activities this past week.

We took the bus up which took just over two hours. It dropped us at Victoria Station and we took the underground/subway to Paddington Station (yes, like the bear!) Maybe it is because I grew up outside Boston and taking the subway was associated with going into the city for special occasions like looking at Christmas lights, school shopping trips, or seeing the tall ships enter the harbor, but I love trains, trolleys, or subways!

We usually stay in Kennsington but this time we decided to try a different part of the city. In the end I like them equally well. Kennsington is a bit prettier and closer to the museums but Paddington had more breakfast places and seemed to be closer to the theatre district.

Anyway, the first night we just walked around the area and went to a Lebonese restaurant. The food was excellant! We got up early on Thursday, had the big British breakfast - eggs, toast, bacon, beans, hashbrowns, fried tomatoes, coffee, and juice! We got an all day pass for the tube and our first stop was Knightbridge to wander through Harrods. The windows were a mixture of James Bond and Christmas! A bit different! (I wouldn't mind finding him under the misletoe though!) I picked up some things in their food area to bring home to Mom - tea, turkish delights, fruitcake and christmas coffee. Then we headed to Leicester Square to get some theatre tickets. This is where DH can drive me crazy - we wandered around for at least 45 minutes while he checked out dozens of discount ticket places. In the end we got tickets to see Guys and Dolls with Patrick Swayze (He was really good!) We grabbed a pint at the Sherlock Holmes Pub (that is me in the photo!) Then we window shopped...a lot! We went down Regent Street and I visited Liberty of London...a great building and the stationary department on the first floor is gorgeous! I ended up buying some christmas ornaments and some pens as presents. Even the deep purple bag is beautiful! We took the tube to Bond Street and wandered through there as well. It is a great place to people watch!

That night we ate curry at a restraurant near the Piccadilly Theatre. To think a few years ago I thought I didn't like Indian food - now I eat it all the time! The show was excellant. Swayze can still move and surpisingly can sing well...just never thought of him as a singer! He still smiles like a little boy and even from the balconey you think he is looking right at you. He is as good or better on stage as he is on screen.

On Friday we ventured out of the hotel for breakfast then headed up to the discount places for tickets again. This time the lines were really long at most of the booths. I was happy though since we got good tickets for my first choice - A Voyage Round My Father, starring Derek Jacobi (I Claudius, Cadfael.) I had not heard of the play before but it had great reviews and of course it had Derek Jacobi one of my favorite actors! It was a bit cold and threatening to rain so we headed over to The Sherlock Holmes Museum. OK, so it is very touristy and a bit wierd how much I love Sherlock Holmes but we all have some wierd spot somewhere! The photo on the right is me sitting in Sherlock's chair with the tour guide dressed as Dr. Watson. It is actually a cute little museum though it did only take about 20 minutes to get through.

We then headed over to the National Museum, which can neither be called cute nor little! What an amazing place. In two hours we only got through a couple of exhibits - the Egyptian and the Greek. Both are amazing. There are dozens of Mummies with all that goes with them on display. I'm a big fan of the Amelia Peabody mystery series and going through this reminded me of her books!

The exhibits of mosaic tiles were fascinating....this one reminded me so much of a quilt! Flying geese can be found everywhere! At this point I was starting to wear out...big time. I crawled back to the hotel and got a nap before dinner and the show. My eyes were starting to act up - I couldn't see very well in the dark and the actors on stage all had funny halos around them - but even with the eye problem the show was wonderful! ( Funny that it was about a man who had lost his sight!) I love Derek Jacobi's voice and to be fair the other actors held their own. The story reminded me a bit of my own family. The main character was blind but no one ever talked about it! He loved his son and daughter-in-law but never talked about it. In the end the son became very much like his father.

Saturday I was pretty much worn out. I wanted to go to one of the antique markets but thought better of it and will do it on the next trip!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

We are off to London for the holiday. This is our first real trip since moving over here and I am really looking forward to it! The other night DH and I were going through the travel guide and planning what we would do each day. He mentioned Harrod's and I said, " we need to do that when we get there on Wednesday so we don't get caught up in the Thanksgiving crowd on Friday..." There was a long silence. I started talking about the shows at the West End hoping he would not notice what a silly statement I had made...they don't have Thanksgiving so there is no "out of the gate" shopping day for Christmas like in the states! No such luck..."we could just go to Harrod's on Thursday and beat the rush all-together," he said smuggly. Uhgggg.

The photo is of the shelf in my kitchen. The little quilt was made by Angie (my Georgia guild.) The pottery is Irish.

I tried to think of what I was happy for this year...
1. My stepsons are all settled and doing well.
2. My mom is 88 years old and still living at home. She has been much healthier this year.
3. We are in an interesting country and have the next couple of years to explore!
4. DH has a slightly less demanding job - no more calls in the middle of the night and he can actually stay home a day if I get sick.
5. Pets have made the transition really well - Brownie is growing back all her hair and Macbeth spends hours in the back yard.

So Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A finish!!!

I can't believe it....I actually finished the tablerunner in time to hand it in for the auction! This hardly ever happens. I was using a new thread in my machine so went back to a brand I used to use (the color wasn't my first choice) and there we were - the machine worked fine. How fickle! Now I have three spools of quilting thread in a color I love that I can't use! Some bargain those were...

So now I can concentrate on other things -like getting the alien baby quilt quilted for my niece! I don't do a lot of machine quilting sor these are a bit of an adventure for me. For things like tablerunneres and babyquilts I think machine quilting makes a lot of sense.

We did go out the visit Winchcombe on Saturday. It was sunny but the wind cut right through you so we didn't stay out too long! It is a beautiful little town though. We stopped at the Farmer's market which they hold every-other Saturday. I bought some preserves to bring home to Mom, some organic cheese made by a local farm, bread, and a bag of root vegetable to use making soup.

Sunday we went to a local American groups Thanksgiving celebration. DH and I got our fill of turkey, mashed potatoe and pie so if we don't find any while we are in London this week we'll be OK! DH was very upset when he got to the dessert table and all the pecan pie was gone though so I may have to make one tonight to make it up to him. For a man who claims not to eat sweets or desserts he sure can put away his red licorice and pecan pie...occasionally a brownie and a biscotti...chocolate chip cookies and bannana bread - but he doesn't eat desserts!

I've been collecting images that I would like to use making a quilt while I am living in the cotswolds...thinks like this carving around a door in Winchcombe. I haven't worked out how I want to do the quilt yet - Baltimore Album style, photo transfer with piecing, pen and many choices! I may start with some small journal quilts like the ones I saw displayed at Lowell. That way I can change my technique on each piece if I like until one really grabs me!

Things I would like to include:
1. black faced sheep under an apple tree
2. pear tree with cats
3. black and white thatched cottage
4. roses...lots of roses
5. white cow with the curley "bangs" (don't know what kind she is but they graze in the field between us and the pub!)
6. hillsides
7. bushes with lots of berries
8. roman style statues and the roman floor mosaic of a rabbit

That is it for now...though I know I have a few more....always time to add on to any list!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sunny Day

Today I was going to work on a tablerunner that I want to donate for a charity silient auction tomorrow but the sun is shining and I really want to get outside! The last couple of days have been cold, wet, and windy. I'm learning that when the sun shines here you need to quickly take advantage of it!

Also my machine is acting up. Not that I am the greatest at machine quilting - still like to do that part by hand or by mail! But I can't get the tension to stay correct. I run a test piece through and get it just the way I want it. I work on the tablerunner and after about 60 inches of quilting you can feel the little nubs from the underside thread. I may end up making bannana bread tossing it in a basket and giving them that instead (lots of single folks at this dinner so I'm told baked goods always sell well!)

The block in the photo is from the Totally Insane Quilt...block one. I haven't squared it off yet but it isn't as wonky as the photo looks! Anyway, this is one of the quilts on the list of "I have the fabric but haven't started" so I made one to see just how small those pieces were going to be! I am missing a lot of my reproduction fabric so need to rummage through a few more boxes in the garage before I can go too far with this project.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Small thing to be happy about

Blogger finally is letting me post photos again! On the left are some cards of vintage buttons that were also in the package from my sister. I bought them at the Lowell quilt festival this summer. The blue ones are so cool I am thinking of just framing the card!

Well I am getting around a bit better today - somthing to be thankful for! DH is still worried though so he took the morning off from work to drive to the doctor with me and to help with the grocery shopping. I can't beleive what I found a the store - Hershey's Mint Chocolate Chips!!! Big jump-up-and-down (if I could!) happy!

One of my favorite cookies at Christmastime is a Chocolate Mint Snowtop and you need a bag of the mint chocolat chips to make them. I know on some web sites they tell you that you can use regular chips and just use more mint extract - so not the same. (my first clue should have been that I was on the Nestle web site not the Hershey one!!!) We listened to Christmas music all the way home - amazing since DH can usually only take a few minutes of it!

My first year in Georgia I bought a bag of the chips around Thanksgiving. A couple of weeks later I went back to our grocery store - no mint chips! They only distribute them around the holidays and the manager told me they were out. He was nice enough to call a few other stores for me and I ended up drive to the next state (OK only about 12 miles...but next state sounds soooo much more impressive...) Since he had been so nice the next week I dropped of a tin with some of the cookies in it for him at his store! The next year I was walking though the store around Halloween and I hear, "hey lady...excuse me miss...miss mint cookies from Boston..." It was the store manager racing down the aisle towards me. They were in. We went out back and there was the case - unopened. I snagged 4 bags! He, and three ladies from the meat department, also bought some with the promise I would drop the recipe by that week.

So here is the recipe that I got from my sister who got it from my cousin at a family Christmas party. They are good the first day, but better the second or third. If you store a piece of bread in the container with them they will stay nice and soft. Do not store them with other cookies unless you want the other cookies to also smell like mint!

Chocolate Mint Snowtops

1-1/2 cup cups flour
1 10-oz package mint chocolate chips
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
6 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
confectionery sugar

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Over hot water, melt 1 cup of mint morsels. Stir until smooth. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add melted mint morsels and vanilla. Beat in eggs, then gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in remaining mint morsels. Wrap with plastic wrap and refridgerate until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 dgrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectionary sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes on cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A brief moment of whining...

There was a book or short story I read at university that started with the line, "Being told that a werewolf will howl under your window on the first full moon doesn't prepare you for when it actually happens." (sorry don't remember the author or book title...just the first line!)

Yesterday I had a full blown, bonafide, MS episode. I got to the bottom of the stair and felt dizzy and weak so I sat down on the stairs. When I tried to get up I just couldn't. I pictured myself sitting there for the next three hours until my DH got home and got very depressed. Fortunately my right leg got some feeling back and I was able to drag myself up and into the living room to plant myself on the couch only to be attacked by the "pins and needles" (no not the ones I leave around from quilting...the ones you get when your leg or arm go to sleep...)

Long story short - this morning I feel like I ran a marathon yesterday. Leg muscles are randomly cramping up, fatigue makes word choice a chore, and there isn't enough coffee in the country to keep my eyes open for more than a few minutes. I really, really hate being sick. Multiple Sclerosis really stinks (realize I just typed the PG version of what I'm screaming...) Alright, enough whining for now. My apologies.

On the lighter side....I got another box from my sister yesterday with things I left behind this summer. The scottie towel and the two hankies were purchased at an antique fair in New Hampshire. In this month's issue of Home Companion they have an article on collecting old hankerchiefs with a sidebar on Christmas hankies! Originally I wanted to use it for a craft project but I thin I may just leave it alone. One of my "jobs" as a child was ironing my parents handkerchiefs...never thought I'd miss that!!

I've tried three times to post a few more photos of postbox loot (I sure shopped a lot this summer!) but blogger is not cooperating...that, or a severe case of operator error. I have noticed my blog is particularly boring - no bells and whistles, to do lists, links to other sites, counters by country, and neat stuff like that. I suppose today might be a good day to see if I can figure all this techy-stuff out or maybe just go take a nap...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Something new

I know it is early for new year's resolutions but I think if I start now there is less pressure so a better chance I may actually stick with it! During my long drive to quilting yesterday I decided to try and do 4 new things every week. (I considered one a day but then I'd start counting things like trying a new candybar...not the spirit of what I'm trying for!)

For instance yesterday I followed signs from the main (think rural 2 lane highway in the states) road to a farmstand that I had never been to before and there had "bubble and squeek" and the first time! Combined they count as 1 something new! Too many of the Americans I've met over here quickly get into a rut...they shop at the same places, travel to the same places, eat at the same places. Yikes. It is so easy to get too comfortable. OK, I'll still let myself stop at the Crucis pub/restaurant on the way back from Fairford (they have great wines, quiche and chocolate torte to die for....) but not every time I'm on the road. Besides the stop yesterday gave me a chance to pick up some presents to bring back to the states next month - Tewkesbury Mustard, Tomato Chutney with Sundried Tomatoes and Smoked Garlic, and Indian Chutney.

Sunday night I put the border on the spaceman quilt. Some of you recognized the alien is at least 8 years old - not that there is anything wrong with that! Just another reason why I should get this finished soon! I am happy to say no fabric was purchased in the making of this quilt - it all came out of the stash. (why does it feel like I didn't buy fabric for a quilt when it comes out of stash...of course I bought it at some point!!! I visited a quilt shop here and was shocked when I realized I had almost as much fabric in my quilting room as they did in the store!) I did however order enough batting from Hancocks of P. to finish at least 2-3 quilts.

So does stash reduction become another resolution? It should....that is a tough one though. Fabric is my favorite part of quilting. Maybe if I just limit myself to purchasing only for a specific project? But then I woun't make a dent in the current mountain. Just yesterday I got a package from my sister with the fabric in the photo on the left. I left the fabric, about 9 yards in all, at her house this summer. I don't have the slightest idea what I was planning to do with it! Maybe I will do a trial 3 month fabric diet? Wait, do I get to buy some of that chocolate fabric first?!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Well everyone in the quilting group has the center of the tablerunner sewn together so next week will put the borders on and pin/baste. They should be done by the holidays. I proposed doing the railfence next but it seems they would like to make a sampler quilt to try the different blocks/techniques. I love sampler quilts so it is fine with me. They also have convince the folks who manage the rooms to let us have it from 0800 to 1230! I can't get there until 0900 but it gives folks time to set up so we are ready to go at 0930...or they can use the time to work on their projects. Amazing how much you can get done in 3 hours!

The ride there was particularly beautiful today. The trees are turning golden, the fields are still mostly green, and there are lots of deep crimson berries draped along the stone walls. I wanted to stop and take photos but the roads are very narrow and there aren't a lot of places to pull over. Maybe as I get to know the road better I'll find more spots!

The little quilt on the left was at the bottom of a box I emptied this weekend. It is a railfence I made as part of a challenge...we were given 5 pieces of fabric 6 inches by 6 inches and allowed to add one more fabric. I think it was hand pieced and am sure it is hand quilted. For a long time it covered a small bear on a shelf...I wonder what box he is hiding in?!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Starting over...

No I have not found my hexagon quilt...I have just started a new one! While putting away fabric in my quilting room I cut a small square and tossed it into a basket. As DH and I have been watching TV I have whipped them together. I arranged them differently from the original one so if...rather when it shows up I will still want to finish it!

I've tried getting the last of the boxes unpacked but I am running out of interest and/or engergy. It is unbelievable how much work moving it. I feel like I just keep complaining about it...sorry...but it has just taken over my life that past 6 months. Sometimes it is easier to just chuck the stuff away! I have two more bags of clothes I never wear to go to charity. Lack of closets make you much more particular on what go on the few hangers you have space for in a wardrobe!

Another missing quilttop is one I made for my nieces new baby...OK he is a year old in a few months! I made the top before we packed out and it was in a pile that was not supposed to be packed but was...very frustrating. Anyway, yesterday I came across the alian fabric I used in the first quilt top and just decided to make another one. (DH was off golfing!) Again this one is different from the first. I saw the pattern on and thought it would be quick. I have some spaceman fabric for the border.

I hope I can finish it by off to clean house for the craft group!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Through the fence

So much for going to the auction yesterday. As I was getting ready I let Macbeth out for a quick run in the yard. A few seconds later I heard him barking. I got to the door just in time to see him break through the fence. That's a terrier for you - too short to jump over, too hyper to dig under, so he just went full steam at it and whamm...a whole in the fence and a small black dog on the loose. To make a long, long story short - two hours later he comes popping up the drive smelling like I don't know what (but it wasn't nice..sort of like skunk or fox!) So my day was spent washing the dog, tending to a cut on his shoulder, and fixing the fence.

This is another photo of the route Macbeth and I usually walk. I went by there while he was missing but obviously he went the other way. For whatever reason sheep make him nervous so I felt pretty sure that he wasn't in the field bothering them but wanted to be sure!

Last night was the first rehearsal for a caroling group I've joined. I'm a bit nervous about it. I haven't sung in a long time but hey, it's caroling, how hard can it be? Well....first off, there are 14 people (5 men and 9 women) and we are doing harmony on almost all the pieces. Second, when we do sing it will be acappella. And finally, I don't recognize several of the songs. When they handed out Silient Night I was relieved - I know the Alto part for this one cold! Then she said we are singing it in German! O come all ye Faithful - Latin. Hello! What did I get myself into! I need a piano quick to do some fast practice! I can only use the broncitis excuse for a few more days....

Thanks for the feedback on the fuse/applique question. I made up some samples of the different methods on small potholder size pieces and will let them decide which way they want to go! I also pulled out Mary Ellen Hopkins's "It's OK if You Sit On My Quilt" and cut some 2" strips for the Triple Rail Fence to see if they would like to do that one next. Hopefully my husband will golf tomorrow so I'll have time to sew it together!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cleaning Up

Well I've volunteered to host the craft night for the local expat's at my house on Monday night. What was I thinking! I only have to get the first floor cleaned and organized...did I say only?! What was I thinking...All this when I would rather be quilting.

Anyway, I fused the snowflakes onto the tablerunner so I am still one step ahead of the beginners group. I've only used wonder-under a couple of time so I wanted to do a dry run first. Now I've always added my applique before quilting. There is a woman in the group who swears it works better for her to fuse after she quilts...any advise? Since most of the folks in the room want to machine stitch the applique down it would have to be before right? I ended up doing a hand running stitch with 2 strands of embroidery thread . The stiches are fairly big on purpose - the plain white fabric just looked too plain.

Today I am going to an auction preview! Not that I need anything but it is always fun to look. Besides I am short of bookcases and places to hide fabric and a small table to put the printer on and...well, you got the picture!

I finally got a photo of Brownie in her new hangout...the wide windowsill! She has recovered from her summer ordeal and is acually very healthy for the first time in a long time. She likes to sit in the window (which is partially blocked by the sofa) so she can spy on anyone in the living room and can see anyone coming up to the front door without being seen herself! Since the move she and Goldie have traded personalities again - Brownie stays indoors msot of the time and is very shy while Goldie now goes on walks with Mac and I and sits on visitor's laps! The "green man" face jug next to her is one I made years ago in Georgia.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pea Soup

Now I know what Sherlock Holmes ment when he said "it's a real pea-souper out there." There were moments this morning you could barely make out the front of your own car! The sun coming up only made it worse - it was like the fog reflected the light and at times blinded you! Made for a very scarey ride to quilting!

The first meeting went well. Everyone had nice fabric to work with (which always helps!) I think everyone got their blocks cut using the rotary cutter (and not accidents!!!) All but two got their blocks laid out and pinned to a "design" cloth. (the directions had you using multiple sandwich bags...I was very confused so went with the pinning!) I had one of them sew two rows while we talked about 1/4 inch seams and then I demo'd pressing the seams and pinning them so they would "nest." Not bad for a first day!

I'm thinking the next project could be either Irish Chain, Rail Fences, or 9-patches. I'd like to do a block that would have them strip-piecing. Suggestions?

The photo at that top is of "our hill." Most of the villages are on the side or bottom of the hills. Our village is at the bottom of this hill and about 1/4 mile in from the main road. There is a hike that goes up to the top. The area is mostly protected so I'm told there is lots of wildlife. I'm hoping to be up to making the trek soon.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Beginners Quilting

The group of women I went to Bath with are just starting to quilt. They had picked out a pattern for a simple tablerunner as a first project. By the end of the trip I had volunteered to help...that has turned into teaching a beginners course. Yikes. I've quilted for years and even taught a few classes but never a beginners class!

Monday we are going to work on using a rotary cutter, laying out blocks, and quarter inch seams. I've had to reread the "rules" since I've developed really bad habits on all of the above! I don't want to be responsible for somebody else cutting their finger off! The photo is of the table runner minus the appliqued snowflakes. (not sure if I'll put them on this one!) We will also talk a bit about selecting fabric since that was where they all paniced last week.

Also on the left is Macbeth on one of our morning walks. There are lots of public pathways around the area and he loves getting out on them! Our house would be about 1/2 mile to the left!

I've noticed my digital camera does a good job on closeups but when it comes to landscapes - like the photo on the left - it looks sort of washed out. It is so much prettier and brighter than the photo. Does anyone have any reccomendations? I'm even considering a new camera but not sure what I should look for? I am getting pretty spoiled with digital but if I need to go back to a 35mm I would.

Oh well...back to cleaning and putting away. We have done two trips to the recycling tip with boxes already today. The bad part is when the boxes are gone you see how much dust and dirt they were hiding! All this when I'd rather be sewing!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My gypsy fortune

At left is Goldie, my good cat, by our front door. she has adjusted well to the move. Her coloring however is making it a real challenge for us to find her! She blends with the cotswold stone that is used all over our neighborhood (including our driveway gravel!)

The trip to the Bath quilting shop was a real adventure. The group met at an airforce base about an hour from where I live. I had visited the base a couple of times before but had never driven there by myself. Each time I was driven there I was told to take a left by the gypsy caravan. (Real gypsies with black and white horses, a brightly painted wagon, and a sign saying they will read your fortune.) Well I can tell you what my fortune was yesterday - you will be soooo lost all day. I was driving along and suddenly nothing looked familiar...the gypsies had moved. I know - that's what gypsies do - but why did they have to move yesterday! I pulled a u-turn (where are roundabouts when you need them!) and went back the way I came. I pulled into the parking lot on base just in time to stop the quilting van as it was pulling out!

The drive to Bath was beautiful. The quilting shop there was wonderful. I did feel bad for the woman behind the counter though since is a small shop and there were 9 or 10 of us! Unfortunately several of the women had to be back in time to pick up kids from school so we just grabbed lunch and headed back. I want to go back to Bath and spend a couple of days.

Being lost hadn't ended though. I was careful to leave so I could get home in some daylight. I looked at the map before hitting the road and even wrote the route numbers on a post-it and place it on the steering wheel. I was 80% of the way home - heading onto a road I acually know - when I saw it. Bright flashing lights and a police barracade. My road was closed because of an accident. Out comes the map of the policeman came over and helped but the new directions added almost half an hour to my trip! The last 15 minutes were after sunset but I made it. (I don't drive well in darkness - headlights can cause my left eye to go blank for a few seconds and after a couple of these I get wicked headaches!)

Anyway, the group is going to continue to get together and do a simple project - most are beginners. It will be fun. Monday they are going to cut their project out using a rotary cutter. I am the worst safety offender when it comes to rotary tools but I will try to follow rules for a day so I don't hand off all my bad habits! Even better news...they will meet in the morning which gives me plenty of time to be lost in the cotswolds!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Quilting activities and then some

There is a list onQuilt Pixie's blog site that I have amended to only include what I have done! (I've also assumed "made" ment finished so several lines bit the dust!)

I've also added some more to the list...things I've done but probabely shouldn't...

1. Taken a quilting class (many....)
2. Paper pieced (english and foundation....)
3. Hand quilted ( how I started quilting)
4. Hand pieced (still my favorite...)
7. Gone on a quilting retreat (not enough of them)
8. Gone to a quilting convention (quilt history and restoration)
9. Met someone who wrote a quilting book (see 1.)
12. Made something using Thimbleberries fabric (not entirely of berries but I do like it!)
13. Made something using batiks (they are what got me to start using a machine)
16 Made a New York Beauty quilt (taught a class on it!)
17 Made a baby quilt (I don't even want to start counting how many)
18 Made a wall hanging (do miniatures count?)
19 Made a journal quilt (my christmas sampler)
21 Made a fabric postcard (where are they? I know I started some...)
25. Made a lap quilt (favorite size)
26 Made a twin size quilt (by was supposed to be a lap quilt)
28 Made a queen size quilt
30 Donated a quilt to charity (Linus and hurricane...)
31 Sent a quilt out to a quilter (Bonnie!!!!)
33 Given away a UFO (abondoned on a table at quilting bee...)
37 Done any Sashiko (where is that? I know I finished a pillow top...)
38 Quilted your own quilt (by hand and machine)
39 Did free motion quilting (do you mean done it well or just done it?)
41 Given away your quilt to a stranger (isn't that the same as donation?)
42 Swapped fabric ( inperson and on-line)
43 swapped blocks (see 42)
46 kept a journal about your quilting (isn't that what the blog is all about?)
57 bought fabric at an online store (frequently)
59 own more than one sewing machine (four...)
60 have a room dedicated solely to sewing ( husband doesn't know about the second one yet!)
61 hide a fabric purchase (how else do you get it in the house and keep the peace!)
65 worked with someone else to make a quilt
66. joined a quilt guild (strongly reccomend it)
67 become president of a quilt guild (strongly advise against it!)
68 taught a quilting class
71 made a Dear Jane block (I have 25 orphan Janes...)
72 Made a miniature quilt (guess that answers my other question about wallhangings...)
79 bought fabric at a local quilt shop (never leave without a bag in hand!)
80 travelled more than 100 miles to go to a quilt shop (I'm assuming it is 100 miles one way! Yes....)
83 make comments on someone's quilting blog
86 own quilting software
88 done any quilt research - history, interviewing quilters, etc. (favorite part of quilting)
90 donated a quilt to a museum (helped curate an exhibit...)
91 bought a quilt from a thrift store (I just couldn't leave the poor thing there...)
94 made a pastel quilt (see babyquilts...)
95 made a quilt using brights
99. submitted your quilt to a quilt show?
102 made a quilt using reproduction fabrics

I was trying to think of what other quilting activities I would add...

106 participate in a millenium quilt block/square/fabric swap
107 complete a millenium quilt
108 travel over 100 miles to go to a museum quilt exhibit

Or how about these things I've done but shouldn't have...

110 Sewn a piece of fabric to your pants/skirt by accident
111 Used the fabric purchased for a specific project in another quilt by accident
112 Prewashed new fabric with the family wash and turned it all (choose color - pink, blue, grey, green....)
113 Visited an emergency room because of a rotary cutter
114 Visited an emergency room because you dropped 25 inch acrylic quilter's square point first on your toenail.
115 Used one of your husband's/boyfriends shirts in a quilt - without asking
116 Taken pictures at a museum or quilt show without asking if you could
117 On vacation thrown out underwear to make room for more fabric in the suitcase.
118 Called in sick to stay home and quilt.
119 Realizing you left your applique scissors in your carryon bag you flirted with the airport baggage screener in hopes he'd miss it on the x-ray machine.
120 Guilted a friend into letting you have the last piece of a specific fabric that you really needed.
121 Kept a quilt you made for someone saying they wouldn't appreciate it but in reality you just couldn't let it go.
123 Told someone you didn't have any of a particular fabric left because you didn't want her to make a quilt just like yours.
124 Remade a block for a group quilt because it was too small and never told the quilter who donated it.

OK so I admit to all of the above...maybe this is the evil/bad quilter list? I'm sure there is more to add....

Happy Halloween

I just packed DH out the door with homemade brownies and a bage of candy for his coworkers. I never think you are too old to celebrate Halloween!

The wallhanging is a Tonya original! I scares my husband so I make sure to put it up every year. I also pulled out my almost finished witchy quilt...I think it has been almost finished for 3-4 Halloweens now. Maybe I'll get the final 10 inches of binding sewn down before the trick-or-treaters hit the door.

Yesterday while walking Macbeth a couple of young girls set me straight on trick-or-treating here in the village (acually they came up and asked if I was going to give out American candy for Halloween and since their Moms only let them go to houses that they know the owners could I come over to the playground and introduce myself!) The thing is trick-or-treaters will only come to your door if you have a lit jack-o-lantern and a light on beside the door. So I guess at least part of today will be spent carving my pumpkin!

It is a beautiful day here...the sun is trying to come through which I always nice. Yesterday it felt like early evening all day long! I just hunkered down and got some organizing done in the quilting room. Since we had to move the computer into the livingroom (only telephone jack that would carry the broadband!) the office/library is fairly empty. Yesterday I tried setting one of my sewing machines up in there and it was quite nice. Big window, large desk, several outlets, a door to close and hide the mess...a quiting room annex perhaps? Not quite sure how long DH will put up with it but I do need to make curtains for that room and it is so much easier not to have to carry the fabric up and down stairs...that is my story and I'm sticking to it!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Almost Halloween

Blogger is playing Halloween tricks says it has posted a photo but surprise!

Here is another go....At the right is a Halloween quilt I made for my sister and her kids out in New Mexico. My niece and nephew have birthdays on either side of Halloween so it is a big holiday for them. Their names are part of the quilting design.

I'm not sure if Halloween will be as big over here as is was in the states. So far only a few pumpkins in the village. Since we are new here I'm not sure if we will get any trick-or-treaters but I laid some candy on just in case...candy I like just in case no-one shows! (I may be eating M&M's and Resse's cups through the New Year!)

I got an email from some quilters who are taking a road trip down to Bath to visit a fabric shop. This may be my first quilt road trip! Today my DH and I went to Bristol. It reminded me a bit of Baltimore but maybe that is only because of the harbor. Some interesting architecture. DH and I travel very differently. I like to read the guidebook, check out the sites on the internet, and have a good map before I head out. This morning I thought we were going out to get the paper and we ended up in map, no plan, soooo lost. It was fun anyway but it would have been nice....

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lost Project

After working on my quilt room for 30 minutes a day I finally got to the point where I can see the floor and get the windows...quite and achievement. The bad news - in the move I seem to have lost a long term project, my hexegon quilt. I've gone through everything and the bag is nowhere to be found. The photo on the left was taken about 5 months ago and I have finished several more rows after that. The options are a) it is packed in a box labeled something totally wrong like gardening tools b) the bag was accidently thrown out either while packing or unpacking c) I left the bag in the hotel in Georgia d) the bag was put into storage and I will find it in 3 years when we return. I'm hoping for a or c but I'm not holding my breath. One more item to post in the perils of moving!

Yesterday I finally ventured out for a few hours. The bronchitis is still holding me back a bit but I was getting stir crazy. Also the sun was out and I'm learning to take advantage of it when that happens! Anyway, I went up to the village of Broadway to start my Christmas shopping and to visit yet another tea room! We forgot it is vacation week for school kids so the area was packed. Luckily we got a spot in the tearoom right away (when we left the que was out the door!) I had an amazingly good sandwich - whole wheat bread with warm sliced turkey and garlic cheese.

The roses are still out in my friends garden. She lives in a black and white thatched roof cottage. I love the house and the garden. DH loves the fact it is across the street from the pub! I love the period properties but had to be practical...there are a hundred tiny steps and wonky floorboards in her house...with my balance (or lack there-of) and poor eyesight I'd be in the hospital with a concussion in a week! So I get to visit the cute house and live in a practical one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Macbeth and fabric

Still have some catching up to do....a few folks asked if the pets have made the transition Ok. Macbeth loves all the walks and the different animals we run into. He is not, unfortunately, as well behaved at the English dogs. He loves everyone so that isn't a problem, but walking on a leash isn't his favorite activity and he is very stubborn! (note tail down in the photo means he is digging in his paws and not coming in after his walk!) The cats have adjusted great. Once they were freed from the cattery (where they totally misbehaved) they have been fine. The cooler weather really agrees with them and even Brownie is putting on weight!

They do not however, like all the different animals we run into...For example, last week my husband let them all out into the yard which is fenced in so should be safe. A few minutes later all three come rushing through the sliding door's small opening so fast they were on top of each other! We've been warned about minks and foxes so DH goes running into the yard. (I stayed in the kitchen with the animals all huddled under my chair.) He came back a few minutes later and said the only thing out there was a big crow or a buzzard. A buzzard? Do they even have them in England? After he went upstairs to get ready for work I ventured outside. In our yard was the biggest peacock I had ever seen in my life! And she/he had an attitude! Macbeth fortunately gained back his terrier attitude and came out the door barking so the peacock jumped/flew over the fence. I found out later from the gardener that one of the farms down the lane raises peacocks and occasionally one makes a break for it! DH really is a city-boy! It was few days before the cats would go into the yard unaccompanied. Macbeth of course forgot his early retreat and was full of himself for days....

During the last few weeks I was in the states I went to a great antique show/sale in New Hampshire. Since I was living out of a suitcase I was trying very hard not to buy anything but there was this great bundle of antique fabric that didn't take up too much space...

There were several pieces of turkey red that spanned several years. My favorite is this one with the label still attached. I think some of them may have been salesman samples.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Isn't Tea wonderful!

I am a confirmed coffee addict however I admit that nothing can compare to tea in an English tearoom. Cold from the light mist, hand and arms aching from carrying shopping bags all over town, and angry at myself for not being able to find the busstop I fell upon this tiny alleyway that had a old fashioned sign "antique textiles and tearoom." How cool is that!

They primarily had needlework (everything from tapestries to cross stitch and stumpwork) with a few quilts. The tearoom was on the third floor up a really narrow staircase but was well worth the climb. I have yet to have a bad cup of English tea, but this one was particularly good. Lots of eye candy to keep me entertained. Each table was set with a different type of china and vintage tablecloth. The cheese scones with melted cheese on top were full of calories - perfect!
My only problem...I lost the card with the address and I'm not sure I can find the shop again! I am such a dimwit! I was so tired and so out of it when I got there and when I left I was stuffed full of scone and happily not thinking clearly...duhhh. Even more bizarre - In less that a few minutes I was at the bus stop! I guess when I am feeling better and can brave the ever-changing weather here I will take the same bus and circle the area until I find the tearoom again!

PS I just reread my post and have a confession....though I love tea here there are mornings that I would trade half my sewing room for a large Dunkin Donuts Coffee and a Jelly Stick Cruller. Funny how you get homesick for food?!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Catching Up

This is my favorite photo of my dog Macbeth. He was running around my sister and her husband's garden in New Hampshire. He looks like something straight out of a Mary Engelbreit drawing!

While I was at my family's house in August two of my sisters and I went to the Lowell Quilt was really good. Next time I would plan ahead to take some classes and stay in the area so I could get the most out of it. The quilts were in multiple venues so it was a lot of walking!

My favorite of course was the exhibit of Roy Pilgram's antique quilts. He showed 5-6 variations on a pattern (ie. Amish sawtooth square) often spanning timeperiods so we could see how different quilters interpretted the same pattern. Unfortunately no photos were allowed at that exhibit...

They also had many of the journal quilts from Houston. It was fun to see several little quilts from folks I know on exhibit! The photo is of one of my sister's viewing Maggie Hunt's fruit quilts - Maggie was in my guild in Georgia (though she lives on the Savannah in beautiful South Carolina!) The variation on techniques used in the journal quilts was really amazing. Some, like Maggie, used one technique or theme for their five journal pages while others did something totally different for each page! It was quite a lot to get through. I like the process though and have been drafting up some journal pages on the tough part - acually doing them!

I am trying to pace myself getting unpacked. I am however feeling the need to quilt, or piece, or just do something other then just fold fabric. My excuse for setting up the machine before the room is ready - a friend's son needs a vampire cape for Halloween...not like that can wait! Also I have a Halloween jacket 90% done and it would be a shame to miss another year...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back for real this time!

I will fast forward through the past five was 100 degrees on the day the movers came for our things, it took two days to pack out, there were several cuboards that got "missed," we drove up I-95 on 4th of July weekend with two cats and a dog who had never traveled before, it was in the high 90's in Massachusetts and my family doesn't have central AC, the heat go to my eyes and I lost a lot of vision (MS), my husband finally returned from his business trips but the day we flew to england was the day of the terrorist alerts so it took almost 30 hours to get from Boston the south of England. Deep Breath. Because it was now the end of the summer and we have three animals finding a rental/lease was difficult. We ended up with one that is big enough for our stuff, only has a few stairs, has a great garden for the pets but is not good for public transportaion (see bad eyes above.)

Next time I even think about moving will someone please remind me of this post! I am now in a house in the village of Teddington which is on the edge of the Cotswolds. The photo is hove the house we are renting. It is a very pretty area and regardless of transport we will stay put for at least three years!

Moving a sewing room is akin to madness...even worse when you go from a house with two walk-in closets and a large closet in every room to a house with no (none, zero, nada....) closets at all. My DH has absorbed many of the bookcases and cabinets that in the U.S. I had been using for fabric to now hold other clothes! I've never been known for an organized quilting room but this is a new low!

Unfortunately the first sewing project is some curtains...boring but necessary! I brought a lot of fabric with me from the states so for most of the rooms I am covered. The walkout doors in the Kitchen may require a shopping trip though...even I didn't bring that much fabric!

The good news is the eyes have slowly been getting better and I can now drive during the day. The bad news...I have a bad case of broncitis (spelling) so am house bound for awhile. At least I got some sympathy from the engineer from the broadband company and after three weeks of complaining he worked for over an hour to get the internet up and running. (OK it wasn't sympathy - I found out he was a golfer and I gave him a sleeve of Golf balls and a Masters golf towel...I was desperate.) So I no longer have to pay outrageous sums (5 pounds for 20 minutes) at the internet cafe or sit in the pub with my laptop hoping the wireless works long enough for me to get a posting in. Pubs are a tough place to write here - everyone wants to talk and then I've either run out of power on the laptop or had too many pints! (or half-pints...I'm a light weight!)

So I am back into the blog world again. I will be doing some catch-up blogging for the next few postings. Partly because I've been holding onto some photos from New England and some day trips here in Old (?) England that I've wanted to show and partly because it may be awhile before I get those boxes unpacked and get quilting again!

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Tudor Tailors

I ventured out to Sudley Castle which was where Katherine Parr, the final wife of Henry the VIII lived after his death. (the photo above is just of the gatehouse!) It is about 20 minutes from where I am living and I read there was a program on Tudor clothing. I was not disappointed. Ninya Mikhaila, and Jean Malcolm-Davie wrote a book called the Tudor Tailer and do and excellant presentation!

They cover everything from what fabrics are used, how they were constructed, to how they were put on (hint...lots and lots of pins!) Thre were lots of example of other Tudor clothing on display. The gardens were a bit past their prime but nice to walk through anyways. It was definately worth the trip up the road even though I got lost for hours on some very small back roads! I'll chock that up as driving practice

I visited one of the local quilting shops yesterday. It is very nice and will help with the quilting loneliness! Even to do email/blog now I have to go to a local pub so for each post think 1 pint of ale! I can't post too much too often!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Last days in the US

I didn't have a chance to post my travels around New England before heading to England so I'll try and catch up today...

While visiting my sister I went to Keepsake Quilting...a bit of a pilgrimage really. Though I tried to limit myself I did buy some fabric. OK, lots of fabric. Enough fabric that I had to buy a box and mail it to myself. So much for self control.

Most of what I bought was reproduction fabric. Since I haven't seen much of it here I think I did the right thing in buying them then. So far I have only washed and ironed them but they will have a home in a project soon...even if it is only clipping a hexegon for my English Paperpiecing!

I also went to a great antique show in New London. I bought two packages of antique/vintage fabrics that are wonderful.

I have no idea of what I will do with them all except manybe just enjoy them!

I have started sketching out an applique quilt about the Cotswolds...lots of roses, rasberries, apples and stone walls! That is unfortunately the only creative things I've done. Between looking for a place to live, learning to drive, and taking care of the animals I've been tied up. I have started sketching a bit so I am at least trying to keep my "artsy" side alive.

Monday, September 11, 2006

From the beginning

I am so backlogged on stories about my trip here to England that I decided I would just start from the beginning and gradually get to the present...sort of like Star Trek and time disturbances....

Anyway, when we got here we stayed at the Cotswold Grange hotel for a few weeks. The breakfasts were huge and the folks there were really nice. It is close to town so I was able to walk or take the bus anywhere I needed to go.

We then moved to Prestbury...more on that later....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Settling In...

It is killing me not to be able to post photos yet! We are still in transition and the wireless system at our temporary flat doesn't like our laptop so I make a trip downtown to the Everyman theatre which has an internet cafe and check my emails but it doesn't let you do much else.

We have found a house to rent which comes available the end of September. It will be nice to have my "stuff" around again. In the craziness of repacking a lot of my sewing essentials got left behind...after seeing the price of fabric here I should have ditched the shampoo instead of the box of thread!

I love the village we are staying in...Prestbury. It is said to be the most haunted one in England (and that is saying something!) but we haven't had the excitement yet. There are three pubs within walking distance each with a very different personality. So far my favorite is the little black and white Tudor one called The Pough. I still get excited each morning when I walk the dog and look at all the thatched roof cottages and the neat cotswold stone houses. I guess it will wear off but not anytime soon I hope!

The gardens here are "brillant" (my new favorite British saying!) I've started sketching an appllique quilt to represent all of the neat buildings and flowers I've seen since getting I just need my stash!!!!

I've missed being able to access the blog and I have tons of catching up to silly cafe meter however tells me I only have 9 minutes left....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I made it!

Just a quick note to let you all know that I made it to England with DH, Macbeth, Brownie and Goldie. All is well and I am huting for a place to live. (not easy with three pets)

The trip over was terrible. It started the day before we flew out. During her vet exam to fly our vet found a growth on Brownies tongue. She went ahead and did the biopsy which ment the Brownie spent her last night in the states in the animal hospital.

Very early on Thursday morning my sister woke me up to tell me she didn't think Heathrow would be open for us to fly into! I will not go through the many renditions of if...why...and/or how we would fly. The biggest issue was repacking our carryones to not have any liquid or computer or anything else that may cause a problem. Just when you think you are packed.... I ran and picked up Brownie that morning and we shipped her in hopes the biopsy would come back OK. The pet folks picked her and the others up at 1300 for a 1700hr flight on Briish Airlines. My DH and I were flying American (American is not approved by the Brits for animals) and we left at 1500 for a 1930 flight. When we got to the airport the line for check-in was took over 2 hours to get to the desk. During that time there were rumors about cancelled flights, new restrictions, you name it! The excitement really started when I got to security carrying my medicine (preloaded syringes)...this was only the second time I was stopped by airport security in about a dozen flights. It took a while but I got through. We landed in Heathrow only about 30 minutes late. We thought it wouldn't be too bad. We spoke too soon.

If you can ever avoid bringing and animal to the UK do it at all accounts. It was hell. First the pets were about 5 hours late in landing. Then the date on the top of the letter from the Vet in Georgia was different from the date on his signature (he started the paperwork the day before the save time when we got the rabies shots!) We had to wait until the vet's office in the US opened and he faxed a letter saying it was a mistake not an attempt to defraud! Needless to say we didn't leave the animal holding area until almost 1700 local time and didn't get to our hotel until 1900...too late for the cattery so the all the animals stayed with us that night! (The owners of the hotel have been really nice.)

Exhuasted doesn't even come close to how we felt the next few days! I've only just gotten enough energy to start seriously looking for a place to stay. So far the three we've seen have been really disappointing. Wish me luck.

I did find a sewing and quilting store that works on Vikings! A little bit of progress. I have to admit to being very homesick.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Road trip

We made a roadtrip up to New Hamshire to visit my sister (and to escape the heat!) Her new house is beautiful and sooo quiet.

I visited Keepsake Quilting and was careful to only buy what will fit in a small box that I am mailing to myself! If you ever go up there check out Hart's Turky Farm down the road. The turkey sandwich was better than homemade! Also Moulton's Farm stand has incrediable raspberry rubarb sugarless jam and amazing blueberry pies. We had to block the chocolate and pumpkin whoopie pies from my Mom's view or her sugar levels would have hit new highs!

Last saturday I went to an antique show in New London. It was great. Within the first few minutes I spoted a bundle of old to follow. It was even better when I had a chance to unwrap it! Some old turkey reds, indigos double pinks and even a few chinzes! I was on cloud nine!

Today I spent most of my internet time checking out possiable flats or houses to rent in England. It is tough not knowing the areas but the photos help me get ready to hit the ground running when we get there in only two weeks!!!

Monday, July 17, 2006


Coming home to the place I grew up has been a very strange experience. In many ways it has changed a lot. There are more houses, more stores, a lot more traffice, and there is even a chinese restaurant in a town that only had a small coffee shop when I was small. Of course the schools are still here, the church still rings it's bells with barely enough time for me to make it down the street, the teenagers still hang out on the park wall, and the victory gardens which were once gone are now back - I missed the transitions!

It is a bit strange to have people I haven't seen in 20 years recognize me! Yikes. Today while I was waiting for my Mom to have her hair done I ran into one of our old neighbors in Stella's diner. She knew me right off the bat. To me everyone looks a little familiar!

We are in the middle of a heat wave here. I had forgotten what life without air conditioning can be like! It is only for a couple of days though so I think I can stick it out. We are escaping to my sister's in New Hampshire where I hope it will be a bit least the lake is only a few blocks away and I know that is cold!

Yesterday we went on an Artist Gallery tour in Hull. The town is right on the ocean so there was a nice breeze. I spent many hours on that beach the year I got my driver's license! The studio tour was nice. I restrained myself and only picked up some notecards. We had dinner at a very nice restaurant that I will never visit again. My Mom turns 88 in two weeks. She looks at least 10 years younger and gets around pretty well. The waitress obviously didn't think old people should be at this restaurant and made it obvious. I was angery. Angery enough to mention it to the owner (I recognized him from his many TV appearances.) I had to do it while my sister was in the ladies room because she would have been horrified. Oh well! He had twice the personality of his waitstaff and looked sufficiently angery/embarressed that I think it will not happen again.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

In limbo

Just a quick post...I am determined to figure out why I cannot get any photos on the blog today. Other than that I have not picked up a needle in weeks since the move started. Maybe I can break that trend today (heck the Red Sox had a shut out last night so anything can happen!)

I bought fabric last week...too much fabric. The sign said 70% off and I couldn't stop myself. Now I have to box it up and mail it to myself in England. Not smart, but I was stressed. I needed fabric to pat.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

We made it...

I'm still recovering from the drive up I-95. So much for my fantasies about visiting my favorite quilt shops. I had two cats, a dog, and an antsy DH in a packed car. It was 95+ degrees all the way up with lots of crazy drivers trying to get away for the holiday.

Pets and DH are settling in at my Mom's here in Massachusetts. That is not a drive I will do again anytime soon. I may even get to unpack and do some quilting some time this month! The fabric from the "lost" internet order finally showed up the day before I left town. I had to hide it under the drivers seat!

I'm still having problems with the photos...where are the computer guys when you need them!!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Things you learn from a move

I'm having a quiet moment...between appointments. There are a lot of things we've done right so far this move and a lot a lessons learned. So here's my list:

- Starting early getting the animals ready with the Vet. and reading up on all of the requirements for them to travel was a good thing. The whole thing is very complicated. I still worry we are missing something.
- Donated, trashed, or otherwise got rid of stuff. Unfortunately not enough. Why do we have so much stuff? I'm committing to being very tough on things as we unpack on the other side and try to pare back some more.
- No matter how good a shape you think your house is in when the furniture moves out the walls look like....well, really bad. We should have allocatted more time for painting.
- Why do we wait until we move to make the house look really good? I finally painted the kitchen the mocha color I've wanted for the past 5 years. I love it...we're moving.
- Freshly washed windows are a beautiful thing...particularly when someone else does the washing!
- You can change your address with almost everyone via the internet. It makes it really easy. So far the only problem I've had is with an online fabric company that billed me for an order that I haven't recieved. Once I told them I was moving I haven't gotten a reply on any emails...since the one email I did get was nasty and told me to use the postal mail or faxes because they were too busy to answer email! I should have started clearing anything outstanding (ie. backorders/preorders) earlier.

I still can't post crazy!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Was this a day off?

After walking the dog, feeding the cats and emptying one more cabinet in the laundry room I drove the post office to drop off three boxes and to change our address. I then went to the appliance store to get a replacement burner for the one my stepson ruined by melting an emamel pan onto. After that I ran by my DH old office to pick up some paperwork he forgot and to drop off some he remembered but shouldn't have. I then went to the Doctor to get some perscriptions renewed then waited for them to be refilled. I got home in time to make arrangements for the windows to be cleaned tomorrow. My DH called to see how I enjoyed my day off. Let me change DH called from the golf course in California to see how I enjoyed my day off!!!

I thnk my house is invisiable to my DH! Either that or he thinks elves come in and take care of things while he sleeps (or golfs!)

Blog isn't letting me post photos today...I'v found several of my quilts when they were hanging in shows and some antique ones from appraisal fairs we held. It is so frustrating when you wait a couple of minutes while it tells you it is loading only to get a blank screen and no photo! Sorry!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

One Step Closer

The photo is of my Mom when she was stationed in England during WWII. Since I am packing to move to England I thought it appropriate.

We are now living in a hotel...or at least I am. The animals are staying in the house and my DH is visiting family in California. I can't believe how much "stuff" didn't get packed...I have a cabinet full of muffin tine (why, you are wondering, does anyone have a full cabinet of muffin tins? They multiply each move...that is my story and I'm sticking to it!) To continue....Paints can't supplies can't go...aerosol cans can't go...gardening tools/supplies can't go....So what do I do with all this stuff!!! I hate to toss it. I even have three plant left!

Of course the morning after we unplugged the main computer my DH decided he needed to look something up on the internet. He boots up my laptop and BANG...the blue screen of death! I tried luck. I scoop up the poor thing and drive to the local computer doctor. Picture a storefront filled with an assortment of spare computer parts, three teenagers with their feet up on the counter and an enourmous (5 feet across!) replica of the starship Enterpise hanging in the corner. If they couldn't fix my computer no one could.

So up my computer goes on the counter. They wrinkle their noses. My poor laptop is 5 years old and has seen better days. It was like driving a Toyota Corrolla into a Volovo Dealership. What is worse...they plugged it in, hit the on button and BANG - it worked. I had to toss around some Star Trek-isms just so they wouldn't think I was a total waste of gigabyetes....How embarressing!