Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 List...

It is that time of year that all the magazines and news show start making their lists...the best shows of 2008, the worst dressed, the best book, the worst movie....So I thought I'd make my list of what I am thankful for in the "Quilting World" in the past year. These are in no particular order and if you want to add to the list please do....

1. International Quilt Study Center and Museum
In March of 2008 they opened the museum and study center at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. My goal is to get there in 2009. What is really great though is you don't have to physically visit to benefit from this great collection of quilts. They are a wonderful on-line resource. If you don't get their "Quilt of the Month" email you should sign up immediately. It is like getting a little gift in your email each month!

2. QG Newsletter This comes to my email each month and provides links to many interesting quilting blogs and sites. I have made several fun projects and found blog sites that I return to often.

3. Scraps and Shirttails, by Bonnie Hunter
To see a friend archive something they have wanted to do for so long is really inspiring. Bonnie is also one of the most hardworking women I know and is so generous with her time and talents that to see her name on the cover of a book was a real rush. Sometimes good things do happen to good people! (The photo below is a block I made from her Carolina Crossroads online mystery...)

4. Expansion of the Quilt Index
Before you go to this site get a really big cup of coffee, tea or heck a good red wine. The number of quilts on this site went over 18,000 this year. The index allows you to search through them quickly...ok, it finds them quickly though I guarantee you will spend hours going through the photos and reading the histories. (maybe keep the pot of coffee or bottle of wine close at hand) Even if you are not a quilt history fanatic you will find this indes useful. The other day a blogger was asking for ideas on how to finish a hexegon quilt. I typed hexegon into the index and it came back with 134 examples...that was a two cuppa visit!

5. Local Quilt Shops
I am lucky to live in an area with two very different quilt shops within a few miles of my house (with a new artsey one opening next month!) I tell my Dh it is my patriotic duty to support them! On the serious side however Jeff's fixes my 12 year old Viking and makes it run like new again. (I once got a note that read, "this is a sewing machine not a cat bed!"...Brownie would dissagree.) The shops are where I go when I need a some thread and a bit of inspiration. After a couple years of living overseas and doing the majority of my shopping online it is really nice to touch the fabric again...

6. Eco-consciousness/Quilters are going green
I got my first piece of bamboo batting this month. My first quilt, circa 1972, has a thick polyester batting that is sneaking through the seams...I worry that in a fire the quilt would melt! Natural fibers, cotton, wool, or now bamboo, have to be better for the earh and for the users! The growing number of patterns for shopping bags ment to replace your plastic is a long way from the bags we used to make to hold our plastic bags! And finely, quilters are looking at their "stashes" as things to be used and less as things to hoard. Some of my favorite antique quilts show how frugal a quilter can be when they need to be! (Scrap quilts rule!)

7. Tutorial Explosion
Between bloogers posting instructions and quilting web sites you can find directions on just about anything to do with quilting. I am amazed at the generosity of those who put their ideas out there to share with us. In some ways it is like a online quilt guild. (without all the cookies and chocolate....)

8. Reproduction Fabrics
Those of us who love the look of a vinatage quilt in our own quilts are lucky to have so many choices right now. I can remember buying my first bundle of Aunt Gracie's fabrics back in the early 1990's and being afraid to cut into them...what if they don't ever print anything like them again! (I never did use the pink rabbit flying the airplane...) It was about that time I was making my first Baltimore Album quilt and I bought a piece of every reproduction fabric that came into Seminole Sampler...Now there are dozens of collections to choose from! (If they would just reprint that madder stripe from the mid-1990's that I only have a small 10x10 piece left)

9. Quilting Bloggers
The past couple of years blogging has become a major contributor to how I look at quilting. It is not only the physical act of quilting but the talking about fabrics, about families, sharing ideas, and events in our lives. That is quilting. That is can be done with women (and a few men!) from all around the world is a bit overwhelming...but overwhelming in a good way.

10. Fill in the blank....what do you think was an important event, product or service in the world of quilting in 2008? (Allright, I couldn't think of another thing to me out!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chocolate Mug and coffee keyboard

We start with the keyboard - I cannot believe what a difference a new keyboard makes! I am not the type of person to go out and get the newest computers live very long (some may say pro-longed) lives. Today however I had to make a few upgrades. My DH dumped...I mean entire travel mug of hot coffee onto the keyboard. (Actually onto the keyboard, mouse pad, open drawer with printer paper, and MacBeth's head....Interestingly DH did not get any coffee on himself...ummmmmm) Anyway, I dried it out but the keyboard didn't work at all...I took it apart and cleaned it (big, big yuck...have the cats been sleeping here?) After a good cleaning I got all the keys to work...well sort of...they didn't always send the right signal which made for intersting typing (so much bleeping you'd think I was governor of Illinois!)

So off the the Office Depot I went. This is one of those things that makes not sense to me at was less expensive to buy a keyboard with a new mouse than the same brand keyboard with fewer features by itself. I know...quite complaining! The bottom line...the new keyboard and mouse is so much easier for me to use. Maybe I will break down and replace the monitor with a larger screen for when my eyes go wonky...

Next the chocolate mug - maybe you have seen the recipe for a Chocolate Mug Cake in blogland. I think it was on Paula's but also saw it on the Quilt Gallery Newsletter. It really peaked my interest...chocolate cake for one "baked" in the microwave? I had to try it.

My first one wasn't a big success. I don't think I got it all mixed together enought. So on my second try I put all the dry ingredients in the mug then in a seperate bowl broke the egg and mixed in the oil and vanilla. Then I used a tiny whisk from the liquor cabinet to mix the cake...much better. The recipe says the cake will rise above the rim of the mug...they are not kidding! It almost touched the ceiling of the microwave! (I think I may make this with my nephew at Christmas...sort of looks like it is going to grow so tall it will topple over.) The consistancy is more like a teacake or bread than cake but it is good all the same (particularly with a bit of butter pecan icecream on top!) A warning...tip the cake out onto a plate while it is still hot and immediately fill the mug with water. Cleaning the mug was a bit of a challenge...I wouldn't use a mug you are too attached to....
I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer. She is one of my favorite writers so I am not sure how I missed this one! Anyway, I would definately reccomend it.

Wow...I've written this much and nothing about quilts yet...or unpacking! You didn't think that would last did you! Last night I spent a lot of time photographing the breakage...not a fun night. Anyways I also slipped in some of the vintage quilt blocks I had packed away. This idigo and gingham 9-patch in a is one of those blocks. I'll be posting photos of others during the next couple of weeks...I have to dig out my encyclopedia of quilt blocks first!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A little bit of Christmas

I extended my unpacking break to put out some Christmas decorations and make cookies. Doesn't take much these days to convince me to take a break from those #$&** boxes.

The little wallhanging was made by Tonya for me and includes: my Macbeth calmly watching Santa; Goldie on the mantlepiece being good; and brownie about to tear an ornament off the tree (if not knock down the tree alltogether!) That pretty much sums up our house.
The santa is at least a dozen years old and was purchased at a flea market in Maryland. It was made by a woman from Florida. He stands...oh, rather sits over a foot tall. I've been known to leave him sitting on the bookcase past St. Patrick's Day....(My DH claims I made him grow a beard because I have a thing for Santa...could be....) Not too much else made it out... a little tree, a couple of small snowpeople and a nativity set.

I tried a new biscotti recipe..lemon ginger. The flavor is great but they came out flat! Hard to cut it and make it again when it is a pancake. I followed the recipe exactly. The baking powder and the eggs were fresh. Guess I'll go back to my old standby...wonder if I could just take my apricot and lemon recipie and add the diced ginger in place of some of the apricot....Maybe I should have done that first...Duhhhhh.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Perfect Fabric

Unpacking is a good time to reevaluate some of my unfinished projects. There are those I just lost interest in (a Christmas table runner that just needs a binding but Christmas was over soooo....this may be a good one to resurrect!). There are others that I made for a specific class or workshop that came home in a plastic bag never to leave the back of a closet again (there are quiet a few of these.) And then there are projects that I needed just the right "something" to finish it...this photo is one of those projects.

I think I bought the Dresden plates at an antique show...though it may have been ebay. It was at least 12 years ago. Since they are from the 1930's what is an extra decade or so...) Anyway, I used ecology cloth which is a medium weight muslin that plays well with feedsack. I have a couple of feedsacks to use for the borders but I just don't like the flimsey yellow fabric in the center that is machine hemstitched appliqued. The rest of the block is hand done and to be honest I'm not sure the centers that don't have a seam allowance would make it for another dozen years. So way back when I went in search of the "perfect" yellow fabric to applique over the nasty center...perfect is hard to find.

So this project has spent many many years in a shoebox. It has traveled with me from Maryland to South Carolina, South Carolina to Georgia, Georgia to Massachusetts, Massachusetts to Gloustershire England, and England back to to Georgia again. If these blocks could get frequent flyer miles we could go to Houston next year for free!

Well hang onto your seat...I found the perfect yellow fabric in one of the most unlikely of places. My husband's closet. OK, it wasn't really his closet. It was a box of his clothes I was unpacking from the move. An old yellow cotton shirt. (Thank you Bonnie Hunter for this inspiration!) I thought about it for a minute - I hadn't seen him wear it in is pretty worn around the collar...there is a button missinng...RIPPPPPP. This shirt is now fabric!!!! The perfect fabric!

So now I have another hand sewing project that should take me through until my sewing room is up and "fully operational" again. (fully operational is to be spoken like the emperor in Star Wars when he boasts about the "death star" - this is a wierd thing my DH has started doing when talking about my sewing room....)


Monday, December 08, 2008

I'm not sure if we are making progress on the unpacking or it just isn't bothering me as much. Either way things are better. Oh, I still can't walk into my sewing room but I do have a plan. Friends are coming over and moving the boxes out into the garage so we can put in the new (unbroken) bookcases and gradually move the fabric into place. If I am lucky this will happen before the end of the year....

Another reason for needing more bookcases for fabric (other than still having more fabric than I need!) is the number of books that find their way into out house. I must have given away a carload of books before I left England and still we have them piled in corners, on crowding counter-tops, double stacked on shelves and lined up on the bedroom windowsill.
Last night I finished "Ice Road" in the photo above. It is a historical novel based in St. Petersburg at the start of WWII. If you like historical novels or this period in history I would definitely recommend it. It is a fairly complex group of characters and it takes a good hundred or so pages before the plot gels...stick with it though. (I don't know if you could write a novel set in Russia and it not be a bit complicated!)

So it was a fairly lazy weekend. My DH did most of the heavy lifting when it came to the boxes. Did a bit of Christmas shopping, a bit of baking, and a lot of looking through recipes.

A question...a couple of years ago a quilter posted a "baked oatmeal" recipe. I made it a dozen times or so then lost the recipe. Does anyone have it or know who posted it?

Friday, December 05, 2008

The things you find

Today I am taking a day off from the move...not a day off however. My Dh offered my services to help bake for a party our friends are having tonight. Now normally this would not be a problem but when most of your things are still in cardboard boxes it is a bit of a challenge. I ended up making Cream cheese brownies, lemon bars, and pumpkin bars. They are all baked in 9x13 pans so I can put out one tray with three different bars on them and they fit well. I also made a try of pralines this morning. I had to put them in the car already so I can't "graze" on them.

I'm going over their house later to work on the appitizers...tzatziki, fresh hummus, stuffed grape leaves, grilled halloumi, spanakopita, bruscetta on garlic toast, and grilled marinated shrimp. Most of these are already put together and just need to be thrown on the grill or plated. The house smells good at least.

People react to moving...differently. When stressed I cook. This has been a stressful move. First the movers thought they lost our main ended being a data input error but made for a couple of anxious days. Then our cat Goldie got out and somehow injured her back leg. Now of course this happens lat at night so she has to go to the late night vet causing us to have a late, late night while she gets it cleaned and stapled shut.So they finally find our shipment but by then they can't deliver until after Thanksgiving. No problem...I can sleep another two weeks on an airmattress. The morning before the shipment arrives worry that I may have pulled a musle cleaning the noon I was in the emergency room diagnosed with a kidney stone! Fortunately about midnight it passed but it left me really, really out of it for when the movers showed up at 7:30 the next morning.

The movers told us they were going to deliver 7 crates Monday and 7 more the next day. This sounded like a good plan until the first day was over. They delivered the frame and box spring for the king size bed and only the mattress for the queen size guest room bed. Still not a real bed in the house... Also, the first day was primarily bookcases, dressers, or cabinets. Hard to put stuff away like that! Try as you can the boxes end up blocking spaces you want to put the cabinet that the stuff in the boxes go in! Duhhhhhh!!!! It was so nice when my quilting room was empty like the photo I can't even get in to take a photo (all you see is the side of a box!)Then comes the damages part....The packers were incentivized to get the containers as densely packed as possible. The packed out the drawers of dressers and the inside of the cabinets for my sewing room...I'm not sure they realized how heavy fabric is...the three cabinets are all broken in one way or another and the fabric all has to be refolded. We are talking three 6-foot by 3 foot cabinets of fabric...I'll be folding for weeks! And instead of a sewing desk for Christmas I guess I will be replacing my cabinets (I lost one in the trip over to England...though that one was empty.)

Anyway, I am thankful it is almost over. I am unpacking 5 boxes a day (no more!) and have even put up a couple of Christmas decorations. Optimisticly it will at least be St Patrick's day before I am in my sewing room doing anything but organizing again. The quilt at the top of this post is one of my oldest projects...about 1997. It is from one of Mimi Dietrich's Smithsonian quilt books and is called the Cobb Quilt. I am hand quilting it so for the next month or so it will be about the only quilting/sewing I see myself doing.

I just reread this...what a whiney post! I'll do much better next time....

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

I hope everyone had a great holiday yesterday. Friends had us over for dinner so we didn't have to try and make a do with only a few pots and pan (honestly it would have been a restaurant holiday!) I did make a pecan pie (only one since I only have one pan unpacked) and a pan of "New Orleans" stuffing (I bought a new pan at Tuesday Morning....)

So it was a very minimal sort of holiday...I got a lot of rest which is good since the big shipment of furniture and "stuff" arrives on Monday. In some ways I am really excited for it to come...the computer is currently precariously perched on a cardboard box, the keyboard is on my lap and I am sitting on a borrowed folding chair. Yup, my shoulders will be grateful for our computer desk!

(Add to that grateful list a real body is getting too old to spend this many days on an airmattress!)

I have finished unpacking the boxes that were in storage while we were gone. About half of that has gone to the Goodwill. What was I thinking?! I did find a box of quilts! They are fine for their many months in the dark. I'll take some photos later today. The photo above is of some of the CW blocks that I made during my last months in the UK...They will be the first blocks up on my new design wall....

On a totally different but more quilty anyone else sort of disappointed by the quilt magazines right now? Books-a-million has a huge magazine section and it used to be I could almost always find a quilt magazine that I wanted to bring home. Last week I think I opened every issue and nada...not one. Most of them only had very simple (and not very interesting) quilt tops. What happened? Are they driving by the large graphic prints that are so popular right now? And another beef...just how many bag patterns do we need? They all sort of go together the same way don't they?

Boy does that sound grouchy...oh, well.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Big Easy

I know it seems like I have barely gotten back to the US but already my DH wanted to go on vacation. Is it really a vacation if you are still living out of suitcases and your computer is perched on a cardboard box? Ummmmm. Anyway, we went to New Orleans for a few days for some art, music and good food. Which do I write about first?

New Orleans is still coming back after Katrina but worth a visit none the less. We stayed up in the Garden District this time which is a beautiful area. I got my beignet and coffee downtown and bought a piece of artwork from a guy I've been watching for a few years. I had to ship it back so photos to come later. I had the best ribs of my life at a restaurant on St. Charles St that I think is called Zizi's. Unfortunately the rest of the meal was only medioca...fries were cold, the beer flat (retured to the waiter who did bring another only too late for most of my meal.) (Looks like food has won the race to be first - big surprise!)

When you eat out in New Orleans you expect good food. The meal we had at Jacques-Imo's was incrediable for any city! It is a small up-town restaurant packed with mostly locals. It is decorated with "outsider" or folk art giving you lots to look at while your meal is prepared. Even my usually finicky DH didn't complain about his Gumbo, the grouper, the garlicky corn bread or the check (which is saying something!) We will definately go back there next trip.

So now the art...there is a really great exhibition going on through January 18th calle dthe P.1 (or Prospect .1) Over 23 location with inthe city with 81 artists representing 39 countries are involved. It is impressive. I spent a lot of time at the Contemporary Art Center on Camp Street.

Now this isn't for everyone but I think most folks would at least be moved by some of the installations at the CAC. The building is a gutted warehouse and is so visually stricking that even the ladders for the workman putting finishing touches on the 15 foot windows looked to be an art installation! Photos were not allowed but a quick run down of my favorites...

John BArnes, Jr used mixed media construction of boats as a "testament to survival and resilence." The ones that really drew me in were "Target Data," and "Supplied and Demanded."

Shawnee Major had three huge heavily embellished quiltlike pieces. I wish they put the dimensions in the cataloge...I'm guessing they were 18 foot by 18 foot! Did I say huge!!!! I stood so long in front of "War Channel" I think I made the security guard nervous. The cataloge says she uses thousands of objects (I think they underestimate!) Everything from beads and buttons to plastic toys and casino chips! With her work it helps to walk up close then gradually back changes totally.

Lee Bul's "chandelier-like work" is breath-taking. Again, huge...maybe 12 by 12. Hard to determine since there is a mirrored floor below. (Reminded me a bit of the Goaudi exhibit that showed how he designed the spired for his cathedral.) Some see skyscrapers other ships...the number of beads, chains and reflective pieces is amazing.

On the darker/more intense side is the installation by Skylar Fein "Remember the UpStairs Lounge." Regardless of ones politics it is impossible not to be efffected by this installation. From the catalog "As New Orleans builds and rebuilds, recovers and recreates itself Fein's work raises questions of what's new, what's old, and what's worth saving of new Orlean's cultural foundations."
So if you are going to be in the area or are looking for an excuse for a road trip this exhibit is definately work the miles.

Now for music. This will be short. There is a lot less of it now in New Orleans than I remember. I hope that this will come back like the food and the art. It was a bit sad.

So I am back to unpacking boxes. Thanks to all of you for the input on my evolving quilting room (do I dare call it studio?!) I took out the graph paper and made a floor plan. Today I am putting some of the packing paper to good use and laying out on the floor what I did on the graph paper to check for aisle/walking space. We may even go down to the LQS and look at the sewing machine tables. I'll let you know how this one goes!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Transitions and sewing room question

While moving from the UK we stayed in a really fun "flat" for about 10 days. It was originally in the Mews where the carriages and later automobiles were stored. Now most of them have been made into apartments.

The one we stayed in was very fun. It only had one bedroom, a living room/dining room, a small kitchen and one bath but they allowed us to keep our pets with us. There was a tiny courtyard that was gated so Mac could sit out on the steps and watch the birds.

I loved how funky it was not me but fun for a few days! There was a purple wooden moose-head above the fireplace, a huge chandelier above the stairs, and very large print wallpaper on one wall of the bedroom.

It was fun being in the middle of the city after living out in the country for the past few years but I did miss my sheep a bit....

Today I am taking a break from the move stuff and just organizing my computer...or should I say doing routine maintenance that I am bad about doing routinely. I had to add some RAM which is making the whole thing run soooo much faster (why did I wait so long to do this?) and I cleaned out old programs and files that I no longer need. When in doubt I backed it up onto a disk first...So now, even though it is an 8 year old computer sitting on a desk made of packing boxes (desk will not be here until december) it is working like a charm. I can put off replacing this old horse for at least another year. Now I have to sort through some of the old program CD's and get rid of the really old ones...I still have some 5 inch floppy DOS programs hiding at the bottom of this box! Scarey!

So what am I going to do with the money I saved on our computer? Well....I just borrowed Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space by Lois Hallock and put out by That Patchwork Place. I have a decent size room to use for quilting but I seem to mess it up too quickly. I was hoping if I took a bit of time to plan it out it may work better for me.

The room is about 11 foot by 10.5 feet. There is a double closet along one wall. the light isn't very good - the room is at the back of the house which faces the woods. So I know I will need to add work lighting. The good news is the fabric will not get direct light so will not fade!

Right now I have a mistmatch of pieces - a couple of bookcases that are different heights, 2 cabinets with door of varied heights and an old kitchen table that isn't the right height for sewing but has lots of space on the top that I like. So do I try and modify what I have or really go for it and get some new furniture? And if I could only get one or two new pieces what do you think is the most important piece in your quiltroom? sewing table, cutting table, fabric storage?

So much to think about......

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pulling it together

When I was in college my expository writing professor intensely disliked it when students used the word it. "So vague and uninteresting," she would say in her nasal Yankee voice. The way her nostrils flared and her shoulders shrugged you knew vague and uninteresting was bad - very bad. (whoops, she doesn't like the word very either but that is for another post....) To this day when I use the word it the little voice in my head sighs "vague and uninteresting." Today the answer to that is "you betcha!"

I have been unpacking, sorting, cleaning, repacking, and putting stuff away for what feels like forever...ok, maybe just few months but it is mind numbing! Today I took the day "off" to go to an MD appointment and to browse through some fabric shops for curtain materials. I can only explain it as consumer overload. I think I had the same expression on my face as a child does when the first load of Christmas toy circulars comes in the Sunday newspaper. I came home with two magazines, a christmas towel, and some curtain fabric. Too much to look at!

So I am back at the computer unpacking a box of cords and getting excited that I finally found all the pieces to my camera and can now post photos again! I am so easily amused. the photo on the top of this post may hold my record for took me eight years to finish putting the binding on it! I only did it two days before we packing out...

The photo below is of on of the woman in my quilting group back in the UK. She was determined to have her blocks together before I left. This is her first quilt. I love how the colors came together on this one. It will have a soft blue border and binding.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Back in the USA!

Needless to say it has been a long time since my last me it has felt even longer to me! I estimate we have been living in hotel rooms for almost 31 days now. The glamour (if there ever was any!) has faded. I want my own bed, my own pillow, and my own pots and pans. I have a terriable craving for freshly backed brownies.

The good news is on Friday we move back into our house. Although it will only have about half of our furniture it will still be better than a hotel room. Most of our furniture will not be here until the first week of December...OK maybe moving during a month with two holidays isn't such a great idea.

Our house is not in great shape...rather was not in great shape. Things to be greatful for - quilting buddies who share the name and number of their handiman. He has a crew over there painting, pulling up tile, putting down tile, replacing broken toilets, cleaning tile, cleaning wallpaper, and generally getting all the tough stuff done. In two days it already looks 200% better.

The pets made it through the flight OK. The folks at the check-in desk for Delta were wonderful! The trip from our flat in the UK to our house here in Georgia took almost 23 hours...of couse I got a cold during this. Travel kills me. Poor Macbeth keeps going back to the house where the "red-headed dog" dog (a very pretty long haired femal dachund) used to live. He looks so disappointed when she doesn't come out to play....

I will post more on the move and what little needle work I did during it on Friday when our own computer gets back on-line.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A few more English days....

I checked another line off my "to do" list. Friday I went up to Worcester to see the Cathedral and to a small pottery just outside Gloucester. Both were well worth taking the time out of packing and cleaning!The cathedral is gorgeous. It is right on the river Servern and we were lucky enough to have sunny...that's right...Sunny day! (no way was I staying in to pack when the sun is out!!!!)
I loved this little "sleeping monk" we found on the ceiling in one of the side chapels!

The stained-glass window were beautiful too....
So for the second year in a row my chili has come in second...oh well, isn't the saying always a bridesmaid? Anyway, I am ok with that since the guy who came in first had promised me his recipe for cheesecake which is absolutely wonderful. My Dh on the other hand had his hopes up for first!

Our computer gets packed on Tuesday this week so I my posting my sporadic through October...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are we there yet?

Macbeth's photo sort of says it all...we are very tired. And this isn't the royal we either - the cats are sleeping almost all day, Macbeth will not give up his corner of the couch for anything or anybody, and if it wasn't for an obnoxious alarm clock I am fully capable of being the next Rip Van Winkle. Yup, we are very tired.

I would like to blame it all on the pack-out, the move, the MS, and/or the meds but in reality much of it is from just plain stubbornness. You see there are still boxes unchecked on my list of things to see and do while here in England. I am just too stubborn to accept that it is time to fold up the list and let it go (but, but, but....what about...just one more....)This week I joined and British American group on a trip to Lacock. It is a National Trust village that is used for many costume dramas like Jane Austin, historical movies like The Other Bolyen Girl, and Harry Potter! It is like hitting the trifecta!

For those HP fans you may recognize this hallway.....The cloisters also had some very interesting medieval tiles. Overall the lighting was great.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moving slow and steady

About the only time I have picked up fabric in the past week has been to fold it, wash it or pack it. Not quite the same as actually making anything. The photo above is of one of the quilters in my group's sampler quilt. It is her first and she even mitered the corners using that ivy fabric! Can't wait to see it finished.My sister and her husband came to visit for a few days. I can't believe it rained almost the entire time. The photo above is of a row of Cotswold houses in Upper Slaughter. There are lots of photos and paintings done of this town.

I did take a day out to visit Highgrove, the Princes gardens. It was beautiful. A bit on the wild side - lots of slightly overgrown hedges and mismatched pavings. There are some sculpted areas too and a really wonderful middle-eastern style walled garden. They don't allow photos was killing me!

I am so tired of living in piles of stuff...I am sort of looking forward to their coming and picking up the stuff and getting on with it...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Craziness continutes

I started out my day sitting on jelly donut. I should have gone back to bed....

We were bringing a carload of "stuff" to the charity shop and my DH thought he would surprise me and picked up donuts when he went to the local shop for a newspaper. He assumed I would see it on the drivers seat before sitting down. Doesn't everyone check the seat for donuts before sitting? If I remember correctly it was on the driving test....

Even with clean-up duty we got to the shop early. I waited while DH went for a walk. The women working at the shop helped me unload the car. DH arrived just as the last box was dropped on the floor...he was carrying a two bags of books and rugby shirts. I don't think he has got this we are moving and need to cut back I didn't feel bad at all when I added to my little sewing machine collection.

Next was the trip to the vet with Brownie. Her lip was acting up and I needed to check out shipping requirements. This little 7 pound cat managed to stink up my car almost beyond bearing. While I was in with the vet DH cleaned the cage. I dropped DH off at work then the cat managed to come up with more ammunition. I almost drove off the road! When I got home DH had left me a message...maybe I should drive Brownie around everyday to get her used to the cage again. I wish he was joking!Anyway, the photo above is of a firescreen I bought a year or so ago. I caught my DH trying to slip it into the pile to go to the charity shop. You have to keep an eye on him...

I promise to have some quilting photos tomorrow...I plan to start packing them before my DH can get his hands on any of it!!!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A bit more of London

After a week of cleaning the house I did a quick one day trip up to London and fit in a packed schedule. (I could not believe how young these soldiers are! or am I just getting old?! And I must be shrinking!)I saw the changing of the guard, toured the Royal Mews and Buckingham Palace. Once again London wore me out!

The changing of the guard was very crowded but interesting. The Mews was my favorite - horses and carriages! Doesn't get much better than that. The palace was a bit overwhelming. The state dining room was set for a state dinner which is very over the top!Got home tired and had to get back to organizing and getting things ready to ship. I have visitors coming for a few days later this week so have to get as much as I can done as early as possible. Part of me just wants to have them pack it all and deal with it when I get to the states...not the worse idea...

Sunday I taught a bag class with a local sewing group. I also got rid of some of my excess fabric. I brought way too much drapery fabric with me...enough for two houses worth of windows! Needless to say I only made three curtains while I was here...I think I used more making bags!

Well the rain has stopped for a bit so out to clean out the I having fun yet?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

London Calling

We went up to London for a few days. My Dh is starting to say "this is our last chance to..." about every hour! So we took the Bank holiday weekend as a last chance to see a couple of show at the west end (Jersey Boys and Mousetrap) and to get some good Greek and Middle Eastern Food.

Saturday was my day to go to the markets. I went over to Portebello Road early. This is an interesting antique market but don't expect any deals there! It was very crowded and I left earlier than I expected which was OK because that ment I was in time to meet my DH at Camden Market.
The last time we went to Camden was at least 8 years ago. We haven't gone back because my DH was noticeable uncomfortable with the Goth/Punk atmosphere. This time he had no problems - it has been yuppified. There are still elements of the old Camden yard but they seem a bit "Disney-d." For instance there was only one guy there with the shabby leathers, florescent pink mohawk, and torn t-shirt...he was a poser. For a 1 pound coin you take his photo...the Camden equivalent of Mickey Mouse. (He also had not tattoos and no piercings...wimp!) Not just the atmosphere has changed but the things for sale were 80% imports from the far east. Many of the stalls were just repeats of stalls on the other side of the market. The stalls inside the Canal building are much better and the food stalls in the courtyard next to the canal are wonderful. (best to go there hungry!) Interesting that sometimes the prices in the shops along the road are less then in the market...and that is with my DH negotiating.

So my advice for Camden is to go on a Saturday. Hold onto your money until you get to the stalls inside the building. There are some good crafts there but do not expect any antiques like most of the webpostings promise. Also, wonder the small food court before deciding what to have for lunch...there are lots of great choices! (My Dh had Lebanese and I had Ethiopian goat curry followed by a cappachino and French puff pastry! Calories don't count on vacation...)
That afternoon I went to the National Gallery. It was wonderful I love Van Gogh so seeing another of his sunflower paintings is always exciting. They have so much more energy when seen in real life. The paint is so thick and has so much texture. Right now I can see oranges, yellows and greens better than reds, blues and greens so the sunflowers really seemed to glow for me! We had really good Greek food at Jimmies near the theater.

Sunday we went to yet another market! This time to Spitalfields and Brick Lane. These I strongly recommend! Lots of crafts, young designers and vintage clothes. The food at the Brick Lane was again really, really good. I ended up buying a trench coat, a belt, and a pocketbook. I would have bought more if I was about 4 sizes smaller....I did love the red chairs in the photo above. I took about 8 photos and have been playing with them on Picassa.

There was an Olympic handover party we made a showing at but I cut out early to spend a few hours at the V&A. The tearoom there is one of my favorite stops in London. Each of the three rooms was decorated by a famous designer (including William Morris) and are just wonderful eye candy...the almond croissant isn't bad either. (Ok, I have given up on fitting into any of the designer clothes....)

That night we just had dinner at a little place in China town. Then I went back to the hotel too exhausted to see any more...

Today I am home resting...needless to say I overdid it the past few days. Too many "my last chance to...." finally wore me out! Lots of inspiration though. I filled dozens of pages in my dream book and took lots of photos.