Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Polish Pottery Trip

I've been off-line a for the past week because I went to visit Poland and Prague. It was a very interesting trip...

It started when I was unpacking my car at the hotel in Fairford. A woman walked up to me and asked, "Do you blog?" How weird is that?! She is a quilter who enjoys reading the Maverick blog ring.

The next morning we left at 0500 in a 16 passenger van with lots of space for shopping...we used every inch of it! Seventeen hours and countless bags of junk food later we were in Poland. Our main purpose of the trip was to visit the potteries. There are a lot of potteries there. In our first day we visited at least a dozen stores - I lost count. I lost count of a lot of things - like how many cups I bought, how many boxes of pottery the driver loaded in the van with my name on it, and just how much I spent. I'm calling it pottery amnesia.

In some ways it was a lot like fabric shopping. There are so many beautiful patterns and so many of them mix that putting them together was similar to pulling pieces for a quilt. My favorite purchase is the 6 mugs each with a different design to use on a mug tree.

I also really liked our visit to a tiny pottery workshop where they had many unique pieces. They also were very nice about letting me take photos in their work areas. I love to see how things are made! The photo below shows one of the drying racks stacked with pots. After they air dry they go to the painting room.
Here are some waiting to be glazed/painted.
Below are some items that have been painted and are waiting to go into the kiln. It is interesting to see how different the glaze is prior to being fired. They look very pale and dull...
After the firing they are very vibrant! I can't wait to make some soup for this tureen!

Last trip they found a store that sold fabric that went with the pottery but we couldn't find it this trip. Guess I will have to get creative when I make my table runners.

I'll post some of my photos of Prague tomorrow. Need to finish unpacking an do laundry! (don't you hate that part of traveling?!)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Around the world

I haven't been blogging much the past week so this is a bit of a catch-up blog.

The good news is I have five bags of clothing to go to the charity shop and four boxes of "stuff" for them as well. I made some progress on the clear out and get ready to move front. Of course I also went to an auction and bought two very cute bedroom chairs, a painting and a regency period writing desk. So much for the clear-out space! But the new/old stuff is just more fun than a couple bags of suits!
I also finished piecing an Around the World quilt top using Bonnie's directions. I had the blocks done for months and after reading her post about her copyright being elbowed I thought I should put the blocks together. I used a lot of my 2-1/2 inch strips of 1930's reproduction fabrics. I would like to put a border on this but am going to wait a week or so. My first inclination is to use a 1 inch strip of red then a wider border...unfortunately I don't have any solid red left in my stash and this was to use up. So instead I may use a very deep royal blue instead of the red and maybe use some red print strips for the outer border. I'll have to think on it!

We did go on a steam train ride last weekend. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway runs along the hills in back of my village to the race course. It was on my list of things to do before I leave. Yahoo...something to scratch off the list! Makes me think a bit of the Hogwart's Express...it was very fun.

I have started on the next step of the Orange Crush mystery quilt. My 2 inch squares are cut...it is something! I have a busy week in front of me though and I may not get much more than that done for a bit...Hope I don't get too far behind.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A little finish

Lately I have been working on small projects. Read that as little projects that can be actually finished in a day - if not a few hours. Sometimes any finish is a good finish. First I planted a few more pots out by the front door. My house was in desperate need of some color. I love these pansies!
Then I made up a little cat-flower pin cushion. Very quick and very fun. It is sitting with my favorite laughing rabbit...he is always the last Easter decoration to be put away. (Some years he stays until Christmas!)

Finally I finished up[ my 150 4-patch blocks for the orange crush mystery quilt. Can you believe I finished a step before the next one is posted. Mark this day on the calendar!!! I actually made 162...so my math is still a bit iffey....

New meds have me a bit off kilter at the moment. I have to cut back on a new pain med since it is making me a bit dizzy (no jokes here.) My husband is complaining there are times I just "phase" and stare out into space (he also claims that is why I burned the block on the ironing board...he may have a point) I'm hoping it is just a matter of reducing the dosage since it started out working well. So until I am cleared to use the iron and the sewing machine without supervision (his word not mine!) I am back to the little non-hazardous projects like sorting fabric...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A late April Fools

This is what we woke up to this morning...no kidding. The April Fool's joke was on me. I listened to the weather the past few days and when they said "snow" I just laughed. I mean it is April. We didn't get any snow all winter. "clouds and showers with intermittent sunshine," is about the only forecast they ever give that is close to right!

So this morning when I opened the door to let MacBeth out to a blanket of snow. needless to say...he had a blast!
Being from New England I had to immediately go out and check out the neighborhood. All and all looks like a good day to stay in and sew....

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Should come with a warning

Some days the quilting room can be a danger zone! Today I have pinned a block to my sweatpants, broke the needle in my sewing machine which now has it jammed up, sewed the final block of my sampler quilt in upside down, and set fire to the ironing board...that final one deserves some explaining.

My husband bought a new ironing board cover. I basically use the iron to press fabric. My Dh on the other hand irons everything. It can be 90 degrees out and he will iron his shirt and trousers before going out to golf. By the time he gets off the driving range he is a wrinkled mess...but that doesn't matter. He only stopped "touching up" T-shirts last year. (Glad to know I've had some influence on him!) All that to explain why he bought this new fangled ironing board cover that "reflects heat." He put it on the board this past weekend.
So how did this lead to a small fire? One word - paperpiecing. (hummm - maybe that is two words?) Anyways, I was working on some civil war blocks and used the iron which was still on his setting for a cotton shirt for my block. I use the very thin paper sold in fabric stores specifically for paper-piecing. I generally just iron it quickly to keep folds from occurring...also it makes the paper come off easier - in this instance a bit too easy. There was no smoke. No warning. Just woosh. A quick flame sprung up the side of the iron. I jumped back and grabbed the closest thing - my husband's shoe - and slapped the block like crazy!

So the block is now in the trash. I will have to explain a slight scorch mark on the new cover to my husband tonight. I think I will go back to using my cotton ironing board cover again...

I'm not sure how many of these blocks I will end up doing. Some are from Dear Jane and others from a variety of books. They are 6 inches and are using up some of the tiny bits of repro fabric that I love and just can't part with. A few are made up of orphan blocks or bits of blocks. I wonder if the original Jane didn't do that as she made some of her blocks.