Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Too rushed to think

Have you ever heard the comedians who can run through an entire Shakespeare play in about 2 minutes? That is what the past couple of weeks have been like for me...yesterday I spent a couple of hours just chilling by the river. It helped!

Just before I left for Scotland I learned my niece's apartment in the states had burned down. She and my (gulp) great-nephew were ok but shaken up. It is the helpless feeling you get living so far from family that makes you realize it may be time to go home. They lost everything. So I did what I could - pack a box, write a check and quickly start quilting. Today I have to put the binding on his new quilt so I can get it into the mail before the weekend. I'm also sending him this stippy star quilt that a made a couple years ago and Bonnie quilted. I think they need some brights right now.

As I am working on the second quilt I have been thinking of how stress helps or hurts creativity. For writing deadlines and stress help me...for quilting they paralyze me! Maybe it is because I look at it as a hobby or something to spend time enjoying the the 3 hours I spent pulling fabrics in my sewing room! Oh well...the quilt will be finished soon and if it isn't my best it is still a fun quilt and I am sure the little guy will like it.

My eyes are getting better but the slightest thing wears me out. I went to see a medieval dovecote yesterday and have lunch with friends. That was it. (Two hours of entertainment equals 6 hours of sleep.)

The dovecote was part of a settlement of Knight of the hostelers (spelling?) The area was pretty much self sufficient with the dovecote to provide dove meat and eggs, a fish pool that come off the river Coln, and lots of fruit trees. The second photo shows the inside of the dovecote. There is a lot of light and an incredible ladder that swings around the center pole! Amazing engineering! (love to have that in a library!) The holes for the doves are sort of J shaped and alternate directions of the loop by level. There have been several archaeological excavations on the site but few of the original building survived. It is all on private land but a local anglo- american group arranged a visit.

The main gate also still stands and has this wonderful carving above it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home again...

We got home late yesterday afternoon from our vacation/holiday to Scotland. It is a beautiful country and the people we met were all very nice. I wish I had gone there earlier so I could make sure of a return trip before going back to the states....maybe I still can?!

We stayed at a B&B in Edinburgh. I cannot believe how many Americans we ran into there. It is a really interesting city. Lots of wonderful patterns in the stonework and very long slightly spooky alleyways going up the hill.

I had planned on taking a writers pub crawl but by the end of the first afternoon I was just to tired. We caught a cab to go back to our B&B and instead got a taxi writer's tour that ended at what the Royal Oak which he claimed to be one of the last authentic folk music pubs in the city. Of course he could have made the whole tour up (who knows if that is really the coffee shop the J.K. wrote Harry P) but I'll never know and I don't know if it even matters! It was fun.

This is me in front of Edinburgh castle. It is a long climb up the Royal Mile to reach the castle. My eyes were still wonky and I'm sure half the folks we passed thought I was a very early drinker...I was wobbling all over the place! (The centuries old cobblestones didn't help either!) This photo is also a great example of how my DH thinks...things must be symetrical even if it means the bottom half of the photo is all parking lot and we miss most of the castle. The body must be in the center! Oh, well.

There were lots of well, interesting things on the pub menus and before you, we did not try haggis. My Dh is a fussy eater and I was trying new drugs to keep going. I don't know what a Neep and Tattie is...knowing what haggis is makes me very suspicious of the rest! We did do our part sampling real ales and malts though.

I didn't take as many photos this trip because of my eyes but I did get some of the wonderful building decorations. This carving of the woman is one of my favorites.

Well got to run to a local auction. A friend want me to check out some chairs. They may need reupholstering and she isn't sure how difficult it would be. Like I need an excuse to go to an auction...well, I do right now since my Dh is worried about our weight limit going home (he doesn't know I have someone ready to take away his nasty recliner!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gardens and sunshine

I have had more visitors which throws my blogging time way off! That and finally having some sunny weather has made my eyes wonky too. If its not one thing it is another no?

Anyway, I ended up spending a lot of time playing with my photos. I am getting a bit better about deleting duplicates and some of the poorer lamb shots! I also worked on my wonky crumb quilt (wonky eyes work well with wonky quilts.) I think I may put a few bands of blue and/or green around the outside and call this a day. It used up quite a bit of my crumbs and several of my orphan "Janes." I still have a bagful or crumbs though (in the upper right is only a tiny portion of them!) I need to do something with them before they Tribbles (sorry for the geeky star trek just fits sooo well.)

I have also gone to a few open gardens. They look so wonderful. The photos on the left was taken in a bog garden. I love how the leaves are draped around it like a basket.

The village we went to Sunday had lots of thatched roof houses. Always photogenic!

Monday, June 02, 2008

What a Sunday

Yesterday I made the most of being in the Cotswolds. First I went on a long hill walk with McBeth and my DH. The weather was wonderful. They both went home to rest and I went on to a 21st birthday celebration for a local pottery! Toff Milway is the potter at Conderton Pottery. He used a salt glaze and makes gorgeous pots. His talk was very interesting. On one table he displayed pottery he has purchased over the past 20 years. On the other table were post he has made during the same time span. He then talked about how what he has purchased - which generally looks nothing like what he makes - has influenced either directly or indirectly what he creates. None of them were copies. It was more like - he bought an icecream dish with a fish on it. The fish idea stayed with him (and he loves fish pie...lots of food references in his talk) so he made a fish plate and a dish for fish pie using a - you got it - fish. (I think you can just make out a fish dish and a fish candle-holder in the photo.) It was a very informative talk without being too academic. I started to think differently of my own quilt and pottery collection.

All and all a great morning...but, there's more!

On my way home I ran into one of my neighbors who owns a flock of sheep. They (my neighbors) have been very patient with my lamb-paparazzi tendencies. To my amazement she asked if I would like to come over to the barn where her husband was shearing sheep. How cool is that! Another thing to cross off my "what I'd like to do while in England list!." I was amazed at the different personalities among the flock. One the ewe fought like crazy and jumped the gate! The next was so mellow she looked like she was going to fall asleep. Isn't it great to have neighbors like this.

I have been spending a lot of time playing with Picassa. Tonya put it on my computer while she was visiting but with company in town I only just started playing with it...what a blast! I've done lots of wild things with my Stonehenge photos. By the way the National Geographic channel has a special on Stonehenge that I watched this weekend. I highly recommend it. Not that I agree with everything they said but they do present some new ideas on the site and have some wonderful cinematography (but hey, it is National Geographic after all....)

So what does this mean for quilting. Uhmmm...I haven't done much with a needle this week. Lot sof ideas though....