Sunday, 29 April 2012

My favourite journal page yet

I've had a lovely time doing one of my journal pages. It's my favourite yet.

First I folded some pages and glued them together to make the 'sail' shapes. Then I used some of Sandra's stamps to make the brick wall and some trees, together with the gateway on the left.  Then I coloured the shapes with some Derwent Inktense pencils.  Next I painted over with a dampened brush to reveal the water-colour effect and then I had to fill in the lines that were missing because I hadn't pressed the stamp evenly enough.  Actually I think I will just sketch the shapes next time if I'm doing something like this. I'm working on the blank bits underneath at the moment which are going to be part of our next class - calligraphy techniques. 

The dark blue and purple sky reminds me of an occasion when my brother and I took our children to Wet 'n Wild.  It was daylight when we went in but dark when we came out.  My nephew said 'look Daddy, it's purple dark'.  He was only about four or five at the time and I can remember wondering when we lose that ability to pick out the soft nuances of colour because we are so busy that we forget to look.  Next time you look at the night sky you will see how many different shades and colours are right before your eyes.

The last block of the quillow was given to the Stitchin' Friends last Monday. Well last except for the front of the cushion.  Soon we will be stitching blocks together to complete the project.  It's been a fun year.  I've loved teaching and sharing the journey with everyone.  See the Mavis and Gladys tab for details of April's Block.  

The mystery quilt is more than half way through now and we are already planning new projects.  I'm just about to do some preparation for meetings we have this week at work.  John is in the kitchen chopping things for tonight's meal, so I might hijack the oven to bake a cake in a little while.

I have two hens living rough under the choisya bush in the front garden at the moment.  They escaped from an allotment and every time we try to catch them they jump over the fence and run on to the road.  I give them food so they probably won't leave.  I just couldn't bear the thought of them starving. They are fertilising my garden which is nice and although I've asked them not to, they are fertilising the garden path too.  We have to check our shoes carefully before coming in!

The weather outside is not the most pleasant so it is nice to potter around in the house.  Gentle Sundays - don't you love them?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Easter Holidays (gone already?)

I know I went into work over the Easter Break - but where on earth did it disappear to?  I spent the first few days in a state of anxiety after painting over my terracotta bedroom.  My Bear's Paw quilt is helping me make the transition though.  When the wall hanging goes back up (seen here over the headboard) I will be much happier.

I usually put this on during the Autumn months but it's one of my favourites.  The  wall-hanging is a Nancy Halvorsen pattern called 'Give Thanks'. Again one of my favourites.

My friend Karin came for the week so there was rather too much red wine and laughter.  Apart from getting caught in the Metro Centre traffic on Bank Holiday Monday the week was great.  

Karin, Alison and I went up the A697 on Easter Saturday to visit 'Stitchin' Heaven'

How gorgeous are these!!  I love Buggy Barn.  Followers of the Mystery Quilt may well notice some of these appearing soon.

After that we went to the Milkhope Centre (Blagdon) for a luscious lunch and a look round.  Definitely on the list of repeat visits.  I took some cake bars home for the babies - Malteser Bars and Rolo/Toblerone Bars.  A little session of aerobics on the cards I think.  I spent Tuesday at work (start of the new financial year) preparing the budget for dishing out when everyone is back on 16th.  

Karin and I did a bit of knitting too.  My cardigan is coming on - I'm nearly up to the armpits!  She taught me to do Tunisian crochet and I taught her how to do the Solomon's Knot!

Next came a bit of preparation for the next quilting class.  This month is another step on the journey - curved piecing. I think this won't be the most popular block but it is a technique that is used for some lovely quilts, including the Wedding Ring.  I have tried an alternative piecing method which bypasses the curved technique but produces a similar finished effect.

The traditional method

The alternative technique

Karin went home on Thursday.  Spent part of Friday in casualty with Steph who dropped a mirror on her foot.  Big ouch.  Not too much damage though, thank goodness.  We went to look at a house for John and Steph who are just about to jump on to the ladder - it was perfect.  Hopefully they can get the mortgage sorted out.  I know there's lots of houses on the market at the moment but this one is the best by far.

Alison and I went to the Crafts House for our usual Saturday morning session.  It was lovely to see everyone again. And Sandra - looking good gal!!  I did a bit more work on my backgrounds for the journal but I'm way behind Alison.

A bit blurry - shaky hands!

A couple of pages under construction
Karen B was back from America, full of stories of craft shops and wonderful sights - look what she brought for me!

Thank you so much Karen  - these will feature in my journal for sure.

I had another little indulgence over the hols - courtesy of Amazon. 

The Quilt Blocks book is just pictures and names, not instructions, but I know it will be an invaluable tool.  The Fishermen's Sweaters book is stunning.  A labour of love though.  I've spied a pattern for an eight year old child that I would love to knit but I don't know any eight year olds...... well not well enough to knit a jumper like these!  Hey ho.

And now it's Sunday and I'm back to work tomorrow. Actually I have done a lot over the holidays come to think of it.  Work will be a respite then. 

My wonderful washing machine and tumble drier are working their little socks off - God bless Michael Faraday!  The hens need a top up and then I'll  start the Sunday Roast (shh it's chicken).

We eat at six or thereabouts so I'll do some more stitching before we sit down to dinner.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Farewell Terracotta Boudoir

My house is only little.  I've always tried to keep the decor light and airy to make the most of the space.  In keeping with this I decided to paint my bedroom an almost white.  Picture a wooden fence on the coast of Cape Cod laid smooth by salty winds - a soft grey green white that has seen years of bright clear sunlight. Restful, clean and airy.  

There's a problem though.  I'm feeling really sad as I paint.   For more time than I'd like to admit, my bedroom has been a deep shade of terracotta. Cozy and warm; rich, deep and mysterious, where I am surrounded by quilts and books and peace;  my space in a house full of light; my naughty little secret.

The BBC website says we have just had the third warmest March on record. I'm sitting here watching the snow pass almost horizontally in front of my window.

Spare a thought for me as I steel myself to paint out the last little bit of my terracotta boudoir.