Monday, October 29, 2007

World Series and Halloween all in one week!

You have to say for someone who is a fan of both baseball and Halloween this a good week. Change that to Red Sox and Halloween and it is a great week!!

We again got up early to watch a tape delayed version of the final game of the World Series. It was a really good game. There were lots of moments that I though the Rockies were going to pull it out and go on to another game. No one could have predicted how the rookies on the Sox were going to step up the plate and contribute the way they did. It was crazy and exciting.

Now on to Halloween and quilting....I made a quick Halloween table runner this week. I used the disappearing 9-patch technique. I apologize for not remembering whose blog I saw that on - it is a fun and quick technique...I really did finish the top in a few hours! By the way it isn't as wonky in real life as the photo - both Macbeth and the cats thought I should be taking photos of them and kept jumping onto the quilt! To take this one I had to throw the ball across the room and take the photo before he had a chance to get back to the you can see it was close!

The other Halloween quilt is one I finished last year with little witches on it. I love the blue fabric with the eyes. I think I may have used the last of it this year. Isn't it funny how some fabrics seem to just last and last. I don't think I bought more than a yard or so of it but it is in at least four quilts that I can think of!
I hang this quilt near my front door so at least the trick-or-treaters can see a bit of it. I think I may have overdone it on the candy...I would pick up a bit each time I went to the store and didn't realize how it all added up until I pulled out the Halloween bowl and filled it this weekend. I have enough to fill it three times over!

I have started working on a Christmas bag. I haven't made a lot of bags but have put aside a lot of a project-bags (these are platic bags with the fabric to make a bag!) At some point I needed to dive in and get going so wish me luck! I may even finish a few projects this that would really make it special!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Go Redsox!!!!

It is amazing what sports fans will do to stay up with their teams. This morning my DH and I got up at 0600 to watch a taped copy of the Red Sox vs. Indians baseball championship game. It was a great game but it just isn't the same watching baseball with coffee and shredded wheat instead of beer and a hotdog...ah well, at least the Red Sox won!!!

We went on a long walk/ramble this weekend up in the Cotswold hills. Each time we do this I am amazed how beautiful it is in this part of England. I'm still a bit nervous walking through fields of cows and sheep (I'm not afraid of the sheep but I worry about scaring them!) The cow in the photos was such a prima-dona. She "posed" for all the silly Americans taking photos then followed us to the gate! The rest of the herd moved to the top of the hill when they heard us coming over the gate.

I got to play with my new camera. As usual I play with it first and then read the directions. I do the same thing with new software...I think it is how I learn best but it drives my DH batty! The flower and bee photo at the left uses a "flower" setting which is just that a tiny flower- now how hard it that to figure out without a book!!

Today I am going to play in my Halloween fabrics. I should clean house but I just don't feel like it! Maybe I will clean one room and then let myself play!

I also need to come up with something fun for my 200th post...I can't believe I have written that much. Watch this space for an anniversary give away...don't know what it will be!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Playing with strips

I pulled out some of my half-finished bright strippy blocks last night. I thought it could be a quick finish...of course I had to complicate it!

I had a panel with these funny bight cats on it. Originally I was planning on just quilting it up for a quick baby quilt...of course I had to complicate it...

Through the magic of hoarding, procrastination, and piles of fabric strips I took took quick and easy projects and made one fiddly quilt. It is a talent!

I hope to finish it up tonight so I can go back to my scrap quilt. It is a bit hectic...brights on one table and reproduction fabric on another.

A couple of bloggers have asked how to identify civil war fabrics. When I started out collecting quilts I was given the best piece of advice - visit museums and read as many antique quilt books as you can find. Now there is another resource that I would add to that list - It lets you view quilts from several major collections and state surveys via the internet. You can narrow your search to whatever date range or type of quilt you are interested in studying. (just make sure you have a big cup of coffee when you start...there is a lot to look at!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Firkin Woolen Mills

Yesterday I had to drive to Fairford to pick up DH's prescriptions so I treated myself to a side trip to Firkin Woolen Mills. Their fabrics are so beautiful! It makes me wish I had paid more attention when my sister tried to teach me to make clothing. I did treat myself to a scarf and picked up a couple as Christmas presents. The clothing they have on sale there is really nice but with the really weak dollar I have to think twice about it...maybe later!

They also had some wonderful blankets...the colors on the household side were both traditional and a bit funky. They even used wool fabrics to upholster some furniture (I think I've seen that in a Ralph Lauren collection too) which looked very warm - it was a cold and rainy day so it was very inviting. Not sure how it would stand up to two cats and a terrier though!

They also have a wool museum there that is worth a look. I love how these bright colored yarns are on the old wooden equipment! There is also a little coffee shop there with some fun paintings on the wall. The folks working there were very nice. All and all a good stop and I am fairly sure I will go back again with other Americans in tow!

Afterwards I stopped at a couple more antique/collector shops in my hunt for the gurgling cod. No luck. This has become a bit of a Holy Grail search! Anyway the hunt will continue for a few weeks and it I don't find one the two I have will go to our friend. She really helped us out a lot when our bags were stolen in Barcelona.

A got a few emails about the Kate Greenaway book I mentioned a few postings are a few photos from it. I'm not sure if I will be able to conserve/restore the book. The binding is in really bad shape and there is some water damage on the back pages. If not, I will take it apart and frame up the pages. The halloween/witch page is not what I normally think of as a KG drawing but I really like it!!! It would go nicely with my raven and blackbird prints!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dilemma of the Gurgling Cod

The title of this post sounds more like a Sherlock Holmes story...and in a way it is becoming one! A few weeks ago I brought an American woman who works with my husband to her first auction. She told me she was looking for a "gurgling cod." Now the first thing that jumped to my mind was those battery operated singing fish that were popular a few Christmas's ago...I'm glad I didn't say anything! When we got to the auction she pointed out a ceramic jug shaped like a fish that in fact makes gurgling noises when you pour water out of it. (Note: I had to learn how to spell gurgling just for this post!)

The next weekend my DH and I go to the bootsale at the racecourse. (It is a great place to buy plants...ok, I admit to going there for the doughnuts but I've already confessed that in earlier posts!) As we wandered around we saw 4 gurgling cods! They were only a couple of pounds so I bought two. When I got home and washed them up I really liked the off white one and decided to hold onto the green one for a Christmas gift.

Now the dilemma.....My DH goes to work and tells his coworkers. He had failed to tell me that another coworker (who has been very good to us) had also asked him to find a cod. CW1 (the one that went to the auction) immediately laid claim to the green cod, assuming that I bought it for her. CW2, the one that has helped us out, said she would like the green cod. So this weekend we went cod hunting. Of course if you want to find something at a boot sale it will not be me. After scouring boot sales and local antique shops we came up with one small cod. Here is the dilemma - it looks great with the off-white one. I think it would be a shame to split them up. So I either find yet another cod or give the pair to CW2 (not knowing if these are the type she likes or not?! Which would be a shame since I like these better than the fancy ones!) Yikes.

On the quilting front (this is a quilting blog after all) I finished a baby quilt! I couldn't post it in-process in case the recipient logged onto the blog. Several members of the quilt group made the blocks and I put it together and quilted it. I put the binding on the night before the baby shower. (finished is better than perfect...finished is better than perfect.....) All and all a busy weekend.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Flog it! Filming

Yesterday was the "big auction day" down in Cirencester with the Flog It" TV team. It was much more stressful than I expected it to be! (that may have had something to do with my wearing a suit and high-heels for the first time in over a year...but I digress.) The answer to the big question - yes the quilt sold (phew) and it sold right at mid-estimate (my reputation is safe!) The "hammer price" was 130 pounds which comes to about 260 $US. I sold some fabric and excess scissors fobs at my last quilt meeting which should cover the auction house commission so I will send $260 to the MS society. The photo is of me (looking very pale and chubby) next to the TV show expert Charley. He hardly ever looks as serious as he does in this photo...does this mean I never look so chubby - no such luck!

Today I am planning to get a few more Halloween decorations out... I made the little wall hanging on the left a few years ago. I had a box of ceramic Halloween buttons that I loved but didn't see myself wearing. I just made a little quilt to fit in the frame and sewed the buttons onto it. More Halloween to come!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Room Box almost done

The fog is so dense this morning I could barely see MacBeth at the end of the leash! A good day to stay in and finish a quilt or make another table for my mini Tudor kitchen. Yes, the walls are up and the "historically accurate" electricity is working! I've finished a chair, bench and table. It is starting to look lived in. Since I took the class near Stratford-on0Avon I am going to make a couple of actors to hang out there (note the tiny tankards are already there waiting for them.) I love the aging process for these minis - lots of "mucky water." A far cry from keeping my hands and workspace clean while sewing!

I've started pulling out my Halloween decorations. My pumpkins are on the steps already...I'm the first in the village but that is OK with me. I put out a bowl of chocolate eyes and fingers on the sideboard (very popular with little boys! Also popular with some DH grabbed a handful on his way out the door this morning!)

Tonya is a bit Halloween-sick. Not a lot of decorations up for this holiday in Paris so I am going to post lots of Halloween photos the next few weeks. Maybe I will even pull out the half made Quilt witch I started a decade or so ago and finish her! Now that would be magic!

I have a niece and nephew who have birthdays on either side of Halloween. I made one Halloween quilt for them but feel like I should make another (sharing a quilt isn't much fun.) The quilt is in the photo below. It was a really quick one to make. I need to start another project well...I can't think of an appropriate finish to that sentence but you know what I mean! I just don't need to right now. I need a finish...mainly I need to finish a baby quilt for a shower this weekend (I work best under deadlines - for that read pressure!) I also need to get my hair cut today...I'd much rather stay home and sew...ah, well what we do for fashion....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This and That

The past few weeks have flown by! Dh has been sick which makes everything more complicated...he is doing better and went to work today so I can take a breather! Also we have been having problems with out internet connection...this morning we finally get a call back from BT broadband and of course the computer is working fine and the tech help barely speaks English and I don't speak "Edward's" language so I can't explain the problem....uggggh.

First, the "E" Quilt blocks belong to one of the members of my Fairford group. They were made by members of her family for her father when he was born! (His initials were EE!) She was home last month and a relative gave them to her to finish. I know I just saw this pattern somewhere on the ring but can't remember. Funny how you don't see a pattern for years and suddenly - there are two within a few weeks on opposite sides of the world!

Next, I have almost finished my Tudor mini-room. Here is the fireplace and the walls drying out. I've already sketched out a second floor. We visited Shrewsbury this weekend (finally) and I found myself taking lots of photos of timber buildings for inspiration. (Shrewsbury is a great shopping town! Lots of fun, funky stores. I need to go back without my DH!) Since I am a huge Cadfael fan we visited the Abbey. Not what I had pictured in my mind but still beautiful. While we were there the organist started practicing which made me feel like my Dad was with me (he was our church's organist.)

Part of our trip to Shrewsbury was for me to play with my new camera! DH gave me my Christmas present early...a Nikon D40. It is a lot of fun but also a lot to learn. Exciting though!
On the quilting front...I finished a baby quilt top this week and am trying to finish another. I feel very behind right now....what is that saying "the faster I go the behinder I get."