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Sunday, 28 November 2010

first sunday of advent

We went for a walk this morning, across the frozen fields. Most of the snow has gone now, but it is still very cold, so our walk turned out to be shorter and more brisk then normally.
       It was very nice to come back to a warm house and light the first advent candle


and get the advent calendar ready for our grandchildren.


All four stitcheries are now ready for my Christmas tablecloth. I just need to get some fabric for the back, put everything together and quilt it.




Saturday, 27 November 2010

winter is here


Yes, it snowed last night. Then it got warmer, then more snow and the temperature dropped again by the morning. The result - icy road this morning.
Today was the last meeting of our group of the Embroiderer's Guild, next meeting in 2011. So, braving the icy road and knowing that there is 2 1/2 miles between me and the main road which, hopefully, would be treated, I set out, driving very gingerly.
When I arrived at my destination, I was the only one there! Eventually, another lady arrived, but that was it, we just set there, looking at the locked door. Obviously, everyone else knew something we didn't, that probably due to the weather, today's meeting has been cancelled. Only, they forgot to tell the two of us! Wouldn't you be mad? And as I am writing this, I am yet to hear from the anyone on the committee.
So I came back again, on the same icy road. At least I have taken some pictures.






Friday, 26 November 2010

bread

I love making bread and I am not talking about bread from the bread making machine. I enjoy the whole process. Making bread gives me a great satisfaction.
The start of my bread making goes back to my early years in England. In those days all you could buy in the shops here was mainly the "big white, sliced" and coming from the Continental Europe, where good bread making was considered as important as good cake making, I had to do something, so I started to make my own. The early days of my bread making was a very much a hit and miss affair, not helped by not being able to get the right ingredients. That all has changed now, there is not much we can't get in the shops, including a very good bread of all sort, but at a price.
But I still like to make my own. Over the years I have tried and tested various recipes, with various degree of success. Then some years ago I came across this book of bread, the best I have ever seen and it has become my "bread bible".


I have tried various breads from this book, but I usually make what I call "my everyday bread", mixing together various flours.
I usually make 3 loaves, 1 for now and 2 for the freezer. I find it freezes very well and it is just as good later.




This brings me to the reason I am sharing with you my bread making.
This week I came across the "baking cloth". As you can see, I use a clean tea cloth to cover my dough, but in Norway ( and may be in other countries), they are using a special cloth, which seems to be hand embroidered and specially stitched for the purpose. Isn't it a lovely idea, much nicer then my tea cloth!
The two blogs where I have seen this cloth are Hanne's and May Britt's blogs. The pattern, they are working on, comes from Northern Quilts, and the girls are doing a giveaway of the baking cloth pattern.

It is getting dark now and it started to snow. I hope it is not going to come to much. They had some heavy snow falls in the north of England, unusually early. It has been very cold, even the day temperatures hovering around 0. But it is cosy inside, the house smells of freshly baked bread and the fire is glowing. 

It is time to settle down to some stitching.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

value for money


This is a new magazine on the market, by Leanne Beasley.
When I first saw it advertised, I got quite exited and placed my order with Buttonberry. It is a quarterly magazine, which I believe Leanne Beasley wanted to do for some time.

Please note the price:

£12 incl p&p

I was still exited when the envelope dropped through the door, until I felt how THIN it was.
After opening the the envelope I was very, very disappointed.
The magazine has 35 pages. Yes, there are instructions for block one of a new, 16 part mystery quilt by Leanne, in 8 pages, instructions for a very simple notice board, 4 pages, a table runner, 2 pages.
BUT, there is also a double page on how to make a lemonade, a double page on how to make a chicken sandwich, a double page on how to grow mint in a pot!!!??? Oh, and a visit to Glen Harrow's (?) garden, with pictures of some her quilt collection, 6 pages.
Are you counting pages? By now I was! Take the page with "contents", the page with welcome letter from Leanne Beasley...The rest is not worth mentioning.
Pretty magazine, I might (might) give £4 if I saw it in a shop. Needless to say, I cancelled my subscription, explaining to the ladies at Buttonberry my reasons. From their response I know I wasn't the only one.
Value for money? Well, I definitively don't thinks so, but I would be very interested if anyone else has bought the magazine and what they think of it.

Not all was lost. The postman brought the last past of BOM instructions. I better get stitching!


embellished fabric book - project6 - autumn


After a fairly mild autumn the temperature is dropping, the weather man has even mentioned the word "snow"! I hope this applies only to the north of the country...
After growing up with snowy winters of the central Europe, it took a long time for me to get used to dark and wet English winters. But now I actually prefer them, however nice it is to see the the first snow. Living in the country as we do and the management of the roads here as it is, snow usually means being stranded....It is however fun for the children, and it also means that the schools around here remain closed in such times and the children can enjoy the brief spell of snow. I just hope that we will not get the repeat of the last winter, which was also very cold, for a very long time.

The pictures here are views from our upstairs window. I love the mist above the river which is flowing through the valley.



I collected some beautiful leaves, which were blowing around our garden, a couple of weeks ago, before the rain changed them into a wet mush. They made a lovely picture. The nature produced some spectacular colours this autumn.             
The photograph gave me an idea for another project for my fabric book.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

autumn walk

Following a very wet and all together horrid weekend, yesterday and today has been just glorious, beautiful autumn days, with wall to wall sunshine.
We drove up to Stourhead, for a walk around the lake. The autumn colours were quite spectacular this year, but last week's rain and wind had taken  most of the leaves from the trees. But there is still a lot of colour around and on a still day like this is a pleasure to take photographs. It was mid morning when we arrived, there was still some frost on the ground in the shaded areas.




















what should postman bring next?

I have been reading Jennie's blog, she has been learning "stitch and slash" technique in the course she is currently attending. I remembered that I learned this in one of the workshops I went to quite a while ago.
Jen is much more creative with her sample, it will be interesting to see it when finished.
The object of the workshop I went was to make a bag. It is one of the projects I actually finished!




I remember that our tutor brought various objects made using this technique, from cushions to a waistcoat.
Depending on fabrics used, you can get some amazing results.

I am waiting for the postman to bring me no 4 of BOM, so I can finish my Christmas tablecloth. I need one more corner to embroider plus the rest of the design. I might even finish it before Christmas!


Some of you, who have commented on the Tail Feathers quilt, wondered if they too should have a go at machine quilting. Let me say, that I don't think it is something I will take up in a big way, but I am glad I have done it and I will be confident to have a go if I need to in the future. It is very scary to start with if, like me, you haven't done any free motion embroidery before, but it gets easier. I practiced on a small Tilda stitchery before starting on the quilt, which proved to be a good idea.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

tail feathers quilt

Yesterday was a perfect afternoon for it. Outside was wet and windy, but inside the fire was glowing.
So I settled down in front of TV, put on DVD (Jane Austen's Persuasion) and finished stitching the binding on the Tail Feathers quilt, at last! How better to spend an afternoon like that?
I fell in love with the quilt first time I saw a picture of it about a year ago and I knew I had to make it.
And here it is!



The quilt was originally BOM, but by the time I discovered it I had to get the whole package. This was nearly a year ago, but I did not start on it until early summer, when I took the first stitchery with me on my holiday. I enjoyed the embroidery parts of the quilt most of all. The rest of the quilt is done on the machine.
I am mainly a hand stitcher, but as this is the largest quilt I have made to date, 1.5m x 1.5 m,  I decided to machine quilt the whole thing for the fear that if I don't, it will end up another UFO. This is the first time I machine quilted anything, and I don't do machine embroidery, so please don't look too close.









Design by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches;
Fabric: Moda, mainly Mill House Inn, purchased with the pattern from the lovely ladies at Buttonberry;
Threads: embroidery DMC threads 470,680,733,830,3328,4120, machine quilting Aurifil 2110.
Wadding: "Warm & White" cotton


Sunday, 7 November 2010

christmas presents at compton house

Another Saturday and another craft fair and there really was a lot of real craft, to be admired. My friend and I went to the "Shopping Event 2010", held at Compton House , a small Georgian hotel in Axbridge, Somerset.
The exhibitors were set out in the lovely bedrooms of the hotel, with refreshments served outside on the terrace. Yes, outside, in November!
It was hard to believe, but we enjoyed a lovely warm day, sitting comfortably in the garden, even the sun showed its face.


But back to the real reason we were here. There really were some beautiful things on sale;
beautiful jewellery made by Maya from Papillon-Rouge, very special presents for a very special occasions;
lovely products by Lavender &Co, hard to resist;

irresistible soaps by Helen Izzard, who also makes beautiful soft furnishings;



beautifully made various items by the blacksmith Christopher Manley from Anvilart. There was a lot of lovely vintage china, lots of nice jewellery, the list goes on...

I can't show you all may purchases, as some of them are Christmas presents.

What I can show you is a beautiful calendar I bought from Niki of Nostalgia. This is for my work room, to inspire me all through the next year! 


From a lady selling a vintage china I bought this nice, inexpensive, small tray, just right for biscuits or small cakes.


When I got home I studied closer the mark at back (with a magnifying glass) and found that it says "Made in Czecho-Slovakia".



To find out that this little tray and I started our lives in the same country many years ago made a lovely day even more perfect.


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