Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar morning

I've been up since 0530 this morning so DH and I could watch the Oscars (taped) before he went to work or listened to the news (thus spoiling the surprise...and there were some.) We both love movies and find that is one of the things we miss here. Though we have a huge collection of DVD's and sky has lots of movies available, DH bemoaned the fact we had only seen a few of the movies up for the awards. Guess we will need to do better next year.

We got a few walks in this weekend. The photo on the right is of one of my favorite pathways. I'm getting a bit more confident about finding my way from "post to post." Next week we may get a bit more adventurous and try the hill walk.

I saw the quilt posted on Bonnie's Blog last Monday and almost immediately started pulling and cutting fabric. Now I have a pile of half square triangles and squares covering the kitchen table. We'll see how long it takes before my Dh goes "postal!" He hates piles! It is fun rummaging through my reproductions fabrics. The hardest pieces of fabric for me to cut into are those last 8-10 square inches. Like the little pile of Smithsonian repros, Cobb Quilt Collection, that was out in the mid-90's. I've used bits and pieces in at least 5 quilts and am down to the last little bits. I've been down to those last little bits for 5 years at least. I just have a hard time thinking I will never be able to replace that fabric. (forget that there are hundreds of other fabrics I like....) Anyway, I used the last bit of two baskets of the less-than-fatquarters and am feeling better for it!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I got a great package in the post yesterday. I bought the buttons in the photo at the Quilt show in Lowell last summer. My sister did the embroidery and framed them for me! They look great. The frame even opens up so you can get close to see the buttons.
I drove up to Fairford for the quilting group. We worked on a chrun dash block and learned to do half-square triangles. One of the folks finshed her block in class and two others came very close. As on woman noted it took three weeks for the first block and now they can do a block in class and get a block to work on between classes...they just may finish a quilt top. Last night I worked on writing up the next two blocks - Hidden Star and Virginia Star. We will be learning the square in a square technique. I'm growing quite a stack of 12-inch blocks with this whole excercise.

The days are finally getting longer. There is plenty of light when I drive up to Fairford in the morning now and I don't worry that it will get dark while I am still on the backroads coming home in the afternoon. The photo on the right is the view on the Quarry Road which I take to get to Fairford. It has beautiful views of the countryside. It is the halfway point so I often stop and finish my coffee by the side of the road here. It is very relaxing.
Today I lots of life-maintanence issues...perscriptions to pick-up, car MOT to have done, and then come back and wait for the plumber. Hopefully I can sneak in some sewing somewhere!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Who's got the map

Well my DH surprisd me Saturday with a flyer on a quilt show in Bristol and offered to drive me there! Mapquest said it was only 46 miles away so we packed the directions into his little Miata and went off. Two hours later we finally pulled into St. Peter's curchyard! We got to see a lot of Bristol...

The little black cloud continued to hover over camera's battery was dead. Oh well. It was a small show but had some nice quilts in it. There was one with lots of yellows, creams and apricot colors that really grabbed my eye. Unual colors for me to be attracted to but it was my favorite.

Sunday we drove to Birmingham to go to a Mexican restaurant...repeat the problems of Saturday. We ended up with a Kebab! Yesterday I made chili to make up for it.

The spring flowers are starting to come up. It makes the morning walks more fun. I'm trying to get in shape again...not easy. Dh and I are doing some streatching, pushups and situps every morning and I am gradually increasing my morning walks with MacBeth. We never found the scale when we unpacked so I have no idea if it is making any difference...I'm just hoping to fit into a "little black dress" that has hung in my closet for the past 5 years!
The photo is of my large hexegon project. The hex's are getting a bit too repeditive for me so I'm auditioning some other blocks to finish the quilt. I have a stack of mixed blocks to work with...they may all end up in this semi-orphan block project.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

a forgotten package

I thought I may have placed an order back in December for some fabric but had forgotten where. This week it showed up. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I ordered it! I have enough repro fabric to make a dozen quilts and am never really happy when I get the entire collection in fat quarters ( I find I only like half of them in the end.) With this set I do like the shirting fabrics and I alway use those up. From the other collection I pulled my favorites and immediately cut the others into blocks (6-1/2 inches) and strips (2 and 2-1/2 inches) and tossed in the baskets. That way I am more likely to use them. The patterns are nice though I wonder why I get them since I hardly ever use them? I think I did some homesick shopping....

Today I went to a craft sale at the racecourse. It was selling craft making supplies including quilting "stuff." I got some rotary blades and a new mat - my mat was rolled up during shipment and has never flattened again! The other one I cut right through.... Anyways, it was an interesting show. Lots of scrapbooking stuff and wool for knitting. Unfortunately it is times like that I get really homesick. All the tables in the coffee/snack show were filled with women and their buddies talking about the show...miss my running buddies in the states.

To make myself feel better I did splurge on a new is called imagepac and it allows yo to make your own stamps. You can use just about any noncopyrighted image - including photos. It is a very cool process. I'm going to try and make a Macbeth stamp tonight....I'll let you know how it comes out.

At the left are two more of the blocks for my beginners group. I feel the need to do some applique or something tiny...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hometown tour

I've stayed away from most of the MEMES but I saw one on that looked like a lot of fun. The only problem is I'm not sure if I should do it for where I live now, where I consider my home, or where my house in the U.S. currently is...

The premis of the memes is to imagine you've made a connection with anohter blogger who lives in a completely different part of the world. This blogger is about to take a trip and she is going to sotp by your house. Unfortunately she can onlys tay for 24 hours. She would like to see some sights but yo have to keep in mind that time is quite limited. Look around you with the eyes of someone who has never seen your area and tell us some things you'd share.

Since I am going to have folks visiting I decided to go with where I am currently living in England.

1. Your visitor wants to see something historical where would yo take her and why?

This is a tough one since everything in England looks historical to Americans! I think I would start witht he Cathedral in Tewksbury. (the photo on the left is from the inside) It is only about ten minutes down the road and has lots of black and white Tudor style houses in the town center. There are also several good antique shops.I fit is a nice day would could take a river boat up the Severn to one othe pubs for lunch if not we could stop at Hobnails In which was established in 1473 and is only 2 miles from my house. They have incredible mushroom turnovers with goatcheese and for dessert - sticky pudding! (I hope this person likes to eat!) I would also include a stop at my friend Emily's house which is a thatched cottage from the 1500's (The Baker House.) Lots of little stairs, uneven florrs, and a beautiful garden. Then a quick trip through a couple of villages around here on the way to Winchcombe. If time permits we could go to Sudeley Castle or cruise done into Cheltenham to see some Regency style homes and get a pint....with my driving she'll need it!

2. She wants to see somthing hysterical...well mildly amusing anyway. She'd even go for cute, quirky, off, or unique. Where would ou take her?

First I would stop off at the next village, Alterton, and take her to see the cottage with the patchwork windows (not really but that is what they look like!) The entire cottage looks like somthing Tonya would hav put together - very wonky! Then we would htake the back roads to the Cotswold Farm Park where they maintain lots of the old species of farm animals...some of the cutest sheep and pigs I've ever seen! The views along that road are beautiful too. From there we would go to Bourton-on-the-water to miniature World where they made an exact replica of the town (including the miniature world!) in 1:9 scale.

3. She want to take some beautiful and/or interesting phtoto to fill her albums when she gets home?

See one or two above...there isn't a corner of the Cotswold that you can't get a great photo. Maybe a trip up to Stratford-on-Avon....

4. She would like to buy a souvenir that would rmind her of your area every time she sees it. What would you suggest and where would you go to get it?

If she likes pottery we could stop at the Winchcombe Potters and pick up a mustard pot and get some Tewksbury mustard to go with it! (very hot with lots of horseradish in it - my DH goes through a jar a month!)

5. It's been a long day and you're both ready for a snack, or maybe even a meal. Where would you take her to really get a flavor of the area?

I guess I jumped the gun talking food in the first question - tells you a lot about me! If not the Hobnail then there are several good tearooms round - one in Broadway that serves a great turkey, garlic and goatcheese sandwich,, or the one in Cheltenham that is also an Antique Textile Shop. If it is late I woudl to to the Royal Oak in Prestbuty. It has some of the best foold I've had in England and it is on one of the most haunted streets in one of the most haunted villages - makes you want to "tuck in" for another dessert before going back out into the dark!!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Progress on the blocks

It is still snowing but the ground has warmed up enough that it is just turning to sleet. Not as pretty as yesterday. I stayed in and worked on blocks for the beginners group. I've toned down some of the blocks from my quilt to keep them from being frustrated but there is one quilter there who has lots of experience and I'm afraid she is getter bored. I know staying with a limited number of fabrics (to make it easier to match up to the instructions) and working with a 12-inch block is making me a bit crazy! I just cut the fabrics for an alternating 4-patch and it was killing me not to add more fabrics...wouldn't it be better if all fo the 4 patches were different? What, no, no...keep it simple I had to keep repeating to myself. (The rows in the block above haven't been sewn togther isn't that my points are that bad!)

This is the village church in yesterday's snowfall. It St Nicholas is a small church but very pretty. It was built around the 13th century.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


This morning we got the first snow of the season. It is beautiful! When we got up this morning there was already about 2 inches and it is continuing to come down. A great day to stay in and least I think so. Macbeth on the other hand just wants to get out there and run through the neighborhood! You would think he had never seen snow before. He is so short legged that after a few minutes of playing in the snow it all bunches up around his paws and he ends up looking like he has a poodle cut because of the snowballs around his paws! Needless to say the cats have not ventured beyond the windowsills and are spending most of their time curled up in front of the radiators.
I'm going to make a batch of chili and a cornbread and call it a day as far as cooking is concerned. (mayabe I'll get to making a batch of brownies...) I want to finish at least 3 more blocks for the quilting group. We met yesterday and I felt I was only one step ahead! I'd prefer to get the top finished by the time we meet again...ok at least 12 blocks done!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Getting back to business

Unpacking is such messy business. I'd much rather curl up read or hide in my quilting room! I finished "Pompeii" by Robert Harris. A good read.

I played with some old files on my laptop and found the block pattern in the photo. It was from an antique quilt from North Carolina that was in the Augusta History Museum Show last year. I'd wanted to replicate the quilt for a long time and had drafted the block but then stopped there. I made it a 9-inch block though the original was about 7-inches and the blocks are set in a zig-zag pattern with a black on black shirting stripe for the setting triangles.
While in Greece I was really taken with all of the orange and lemon trees. In an otherwise drab landscape they really jump out at you. The photo is of some trees at a winery outside of Rio where we were staying. Citrus colors and blues play a big part in the quilt I am designing to remember the trip.

The photo on the left is of sunset off the coast of Patra. The colors were beautiful in person...not sure my little camera was up to it!

Home from Greece

Well we got back safe and sound from our week holiday in Greece. I of course packed all the wrong clothes but had plenty of books to make up for it. We stayed in small town called Rio which is outside Patra. It was a very quiet vacation with lots of walks and eating...DH and I love Greek food and we were not disappointed! We did trek up to Olympia - the site of the first Olympics - and wondered through the archeological site. It is really impressive. I'm glad we were there off-season. It was warm but not hot so I was able to get around better. The sun is so strong there even with the sunscreen (SPF 30) I came home with a sunburned face!

The second photo is from up by a town called the Ksilo castro (wooden castle) that was a few miles up the coast from us. The water changed color every day but was always beautiful. I made a lot of sketches in my journal. In a way it was good to be away from all my "stuff" for awhile. It made me concentrate on design over just how to use something that I had at hand. A very different process.

I didn't bring brain-food books this time. I finished "The Shadow of the Wind," by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. The writing is beautiful though it took me a couple of chapters to get into the story. I would strongly reccomend it. On the other hand I also finished "Atlantis," by David Gibbins. I usually really like novels like this but unfortunately I couldn't wait to finish this one and move on to something else. I even considered not finishing it - somthing I never do with a novel.

I also re-read "Screenplay" by Syd Field and outlined a concept that I had been playing with writing as a novel. I think my background as a news producer makes it much easier for me to do in screenplay format (ie. I think in pictures) So I am going to make a schedule and for the next 8 weeks try and get myself to finish this in the new format. Between 10 and 1200 each morning (except for Wednesday when I meet with the quilters!) I will be chained to my computer and write at least 5 pages.