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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

new magazines

I very often go to bed very late, specially if I get into some stitching and get a "second wind" late in the evening and just want to "finish this bit".
It was past midnight last night; I looked out of the window - it was snowing, I mean SNOWING, heavily, and the snow was settling. It looked so pretty in the light of the street lamp opposite. But I was thinking - not now, not any more, I want SPRING!
The last day of February, as if the winter was saying "I am not done just yet!"
Thankfully, when I woke up in the morning, the sun was shining and most of the snow was gone, only tiny pockets remaining.

A couple of magazines arrived last week, both from "the other side of the pond".

Many of you already know "Art Quilting Studio" . Published twice a year, it is jam packed with creative ideas. Great inspirational magazine.

The second, "Quiltfolk" , is a new magazine and this is the first ever issue.

It is different from other quilting magazines - there are no adverts and no projects.
It is a bit pricey, but I like it.
Published quarterly in Oregon, it's aim is to share stories about quilters and quilting communities.
To quote from the introduction by the Editor in Chief:
"We wanted Quiltfolk to be a place where readers could find a reprieve from clutter and distraction, and could focus not on buying, but on sharing instead. We wanted it to be a magazine that served the interest of only one group of people: the Quiltfolk community."
"We wanted to create a keepsake quarterly, one that you could sit with, laugh with, be inspired by, and ultimately tuck away for reading on a rainy day."
The idea is to dedicate each issue to one area, in this first issue Oregon (home of the magazine), and visit individuals, shops and quilting groups. More then 160 pages of this magazine is packed with just that, plus a great photography. 

You could say "oh no, not another quilting magazine!" and you would be right, there are so many of them on the market. But this not just another quilting magazine; I really enjoyed browsing through it, without being interrupted by adverts and projects instructions. Don't get me wrong, I like those kind of magazines also, I have learnt a lot from them over the years. But it makes a nice change just to read - about "folk" who, like me, love the feel of fabrics, and their quilting journeys; about places I have never been to and are unlikely to visit.
I look forward to issue no 2.

I bought my magazines from Lawrence, Contented Cat's Magazine Man .

© 2017 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

snowdrops - what you didn't know (nor did I)

Our small town celebrated its first Snowdrop Festival last week. 
Organized by the local Horticultural Society, the preparations started last year; hundreds of snowdrop bulbs were planted by volunteers on the main roundabout on the approach to the town, and they are all showing their beauty now.
By next spring they will be more established and there will be even more of them.

Why? Because there is a little know connection to the town of Shepton Mallet:

The main part of the festival took part through the High Street, which was decorated with snowdrops in various forms and with stalls selling snowdrop plants; there were workshops for children making drawings and paper snowdrops. Many High Street shops took part too, decorating their windows with snowdrop displays.

I forgot to take my camera, so I borrowed some pictures from Creative Somerset blog and the Festival Facebook.


Do pop over to the blog  here and here, to see Helen's wonderful picture, mixed media artwork called "Dancing Snowdrops", displayed (picture above) in the window of One Craft Gallery in the High Street.

What else have I been up to this past week?

It has been a bad last few days as far as the weather was concerned, although our part of the world seemed to have the easiest time. Definitively time to hibernate.

Seville oranges, which had been in my fridge since January, needed to be processed, so time for marmalade.
My way of making an orange marmalade is very simple - cook the oranges, chop it all up and boil with sugar. 


Now we can look forward to that zingy freshness on the toast, with fresh coffee, sitting outside in our little garden, on a warm summer morning (yes, I am an optimist 😀).

Chateau Hexagon - I finished the gardens some time ago,

  and last night I finished the chateau also.
It is now waiting to be put together.

The Quilters Patch quilt - I made a start -
block no 1, the "Cosmos block".

Today is a really dull and wet day.
Good day to be in the kitchen and do some baking -  
this is one of my favourite biscuit recipes - Ottolenghi's white chocolate and cranberries.

I wish you all a wonderful Sunday!

© 2017

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Hygge - Scheepjes CAL 2017

Isn't this beautiful? 

This is a new CAL by Scheepjes of Holland. How can anyone resist this stunning design?

I could not, anyway 😉. 
The whole CAL lasts 14 weeks, instructions being published each week on their website and Facebook.
Judging by their FB page, the interest is huge.
I came across it by chance on Sunday, at the end of the first week, thought about for a while ( a very short while) and then started browsing the Internet for UK supplier.
You can get the whole thing as a kit, and it comes in four colour combinations, but the "Rainbow" is the one in the main picture, and the most stunning, in my opinion. Obviously I am not alone, as this colour is mostly sold out.

I found it here in UK on Wool Warehouse website, ordered on Sunday, my parcel arrived today.

The contains all the yarn, and a small bag with bits and bobs,

and the lovely Wool Warehouse people included one of their bags with parcel - to put your work in, or possibly to store your finished shawl in.

The Danish word "hygge" and its definition has been banded around for some time now, I am sure you too know all about it. 
Our crafting also makes us feel good, and that's all part of it. 
I have returned to crochet only recently, so this shawl is going to be a challenge for me, but that is probably just what I need this year 😀

© 2017

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Les Fleurs du Mardi - finished

and on the wall of our dining room.

I really enjoyed playing with fabrics on this quilt.
All blocks are hand stitched needleturn applique.

You know you are nearly there when you are putting it all together; 
but, of course, there is still the quilting to be done.

I use tags instead of pins when quilting, I find it more convenient and quicker,
and a handy tool for removing tags when the quilt is finished.

This large quilt had been a year in making and I just wanted to see it finished, so I took a deep breath and went for machine quilting; it was quite a learning curve, as this is only the second quilt I have ever machine quilted.
Because of the variety of blocks, I used simple free form quilting inside the blocks,

but for the borders I used for the first time the Parrs-Reel Ruler 
I bought at a show last year.


I was taking quilt pictures outside, but the quilt was too long for the washing line.

Les Fleurs du Mardi - TheTuesday Flowers - was BOM 2016 by French magazine Quiltmania; 2 blocks were being published the last Tuesday each month.

All blocks were taken from this book, 
also published by Quiltmania.

Although I am very pleased with the result - it is time to move on......

© 2017

Sunday, 5 February 2017

heavenly beauties

We had a lovely day down our way yesterday - warm and sunny. It was the kind of day, when you wish it to be an early spring day.
We looked for some small garden jobs to do to keep us outside.
There weren't any; it is far too early, so we just made a very short garden tour and set on the bench in the sunshine with our cuppa.
The garden is slowly waking up; the camellia, which we bought before Christmas, is covered in buds and wants to get going. 

Winter flowering clematis is in full swing, 

 and hellebores in the shady part of the garden are at last opening up.

But this is what I have been waiting for, to see this little beauty, the first hepatica blossom - 
"jewels of spring". 

I found out about them only last May, when I watched a TV broadcast from the Chelsea Flower Show.
John Massey from Ashwood Nurseries had a wonderful stand, covered in these little beauties.
They got a a Gold Medal and The Diamond Jubilee Award for their exhibit.

The Diamond Jubilee Award proudly displayed on our hepatica exhibit at RHS Chelsea

I ordered 3 plants of hepaticas nobilis that same night. 
We don't have ideal conditions in our tiny garden; hepaticas are mostly woodland plants - they like plenty of light during winter months and plenty of shade in the summer. 
I can't give them that, so I planted them in pots - last summer they were in a shady corner of our patio and in the autumn I moved them into the brightest patch. 
This one is looking little puny at the moment, but it is in flower, with more buds opening up, and the main thing is that all 3 plants survived the first winter and seems quite happy in our garden.
I am very tempted to get some more 😀

As it happens, there is an article about John Massey and his hepaticas in the latest issue of the Landscape magazine.

Back indoors, I finished another Chateau Hexagon block.

© 2017

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