Saturday, 29 August 2015

Log Delivery & Stash Building

We had a bit of excitement the other day.  A huge truck arrived with a load of firewood for the residents of this community.  There was a crane on the back of the truck to remove the logs.
It was actually a truck plus a trailer, full to the brim.

It was quite a spectacle watching the crane manoeuvre the logs from the back of the truck to the ever growing pile, and quite a few people braved the drizzle to watch.

The crane driver was very adept at picking up a bunch of logs and moving them onto the pile, and I only saw him drop one.

I watched for a little while, but was getting wet, so I waited until yesterday morning to go out to see how big the pile was. 

They will schedule a working bee to saw it all up and transfer to the wood shed.
On Tuesday morning my sister-in-law had to go into work for a meeting so I cadged a ride to Hereford to do some shopping.  Last time I was here I stumbled upon a shop called Doughty's in Capuchin Yard, and which also has a huge selection of fabrics on line.
I selected a few "boy" novelty prints, since I don't have any in stash.

Left to right they are dogs, sea horses & crabs, bicycles, aliens and space ships, robots, frogs, and the last one is nave with tiny white anchors.  There's enough there for an interesting boy quilt.

We fly home tomorrow.  Not looking forward to the flight but so looking forward to seeing my home, my family and Tibby too, and my sewing machine!  I have been itching to sew for days now.  What a case!  LOL

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Apples, Apples & More Apples

On Monday I decided to process some apples.  There are loads on the ground under the fruit trees in the walled garden, and unless picked up, they just rot on the ground.  This is what 8kg of apples looks like.
My sister-in-law has this fancy gadget which peels and cores apples and slices them all into a nice even spiral.

So I set it all up to have a go.  My brother-in-law got it straight up.

Shame he couldn't stay on because try as I might, I couldn't get it right, and I went back to the tried and true method of a peeler and a knife, which of course took heaps longer.

My sister-in-law also has a dehydrating machine.  It consists of a motor at the bottom, and 6 trays on which you lay out the food to be processed.

When you finish layering all the trays, the machine heats up and keeps the fruit at an even temperature until sufficient moisture has been removed from the fruit to preserve it.  The instructions suggest 80% of the moisture in apples should be removed for best results.  I had intended to weigh them to work that out, but in the end just used my judgement to decide when they were done. 
The drying process took about 5 hours and filled the whole house with a lush sweet appley smell.
Only about a third of the apples were processed this way (because I ran out of room on the trays).  The rest I juiced and froze the juice for later.
For anyone used to farm life, this would be no big deal, but I am basically a townie, and it was a totally new experience for me.  Not sure I would like to do this every year or for a larger quantity of apples though.  LOL

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Holiday Crafting

When I go away somewhere the first thing I pack is my craft!  This trip, I brought the little cardi I have been completing for my daughter's little foster son.  It began as one of my daughter's projects, but with 5 kids now she has little time.

I am pleased to say it is finished.

Thank you to everyone who left me comments regarding the front bands.  Especially to Marly who blogs here at Marly's Quilts, who went to the trouble of making a sample piece and making up a tutorial complete with photos for me. 
In the end, having tried and unpicked at least 3 attempts, and various methods, I ended up just knitting up the stitches and sewing the band on, joining it up at the back.  I have some cute little duck buttons at home which I will sew on when I get back.
Last night I started to put together some little hexagon coasters which I intend to give as small Christmas gifts.  I had paired up the fabrics and cut the hexies at home, so its a bit of a snack.  Not sure I brought enough to occupy me for another week though.
Our Nephew saw me prepping them, and when I offered him a set, he seemed very keen.  So here is his set.  3 done, one to go.

And set number 2 ready to sew.  I fussy cut the Christmas motifs for this set.

The trouble with taking photos in a room where there is a large sky light is that there are shadows which ever way you turn.  Nice bright room, but the shadows show up in every photo.
Yesterday the family turned up for lunch, and after a sumptuous roast, we decided to take a walk out through the fields to the river Frome.  This is what greeted us on the way back, quite a long way from home...

The rain hit cold, fast and furious, with a vicious wind and thunder & lightning to boot. No place to shelter in fields, so we all got drenched to the bone, and I think I must have added at least 2 kilos of mud to each of my shoes.  But at least I didn't fall flat on my face in it.  LOL

I also wanted to show you a cute bunch of buttons I picked up at a little shopping village called the Hop Pocket in Bromyard the other day.  Set in the midst of fields, and I think in converted barns, there's a myriad of shops.  

I could well have spent a delicious hour or two (and a pile of pounds too) if the Dearly Beloved had not been running a marathon race ahead of me through the shops!  I think he was thinking of his credit card.  LOL. 

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Polesden Lacey

If you think this might be in England, you are dead right.  And why might you ask, are you doing a post about a place in England?  Well, we have come back again.  Which also explains my silence for the last week or so.

After we got back from the UK earlier this year, we received an invitation to a wedding - my cousin's daughter was getting married.  After much umm-ing and ahh-ing we decided to go.  The wedding was last Saturday, and I'll tell you about that in the next post. 

This post is about a magnificent country manor house owned by the National Trust which is near Dorking, in Surrey, called Polesden Lacey.

Polesden Lacey was owned by Mrs Greville from 1906 until her death in 1942 when she bequeathed it to the National Trust.  It was extensively and lavishly modernised and redecorated during her lifetime.  She was a renowned society hostess, regularly entertaining royalty.

It was a grey bleak day, and we decided to view the house after we had been for a walk.  It was a good move as it rained in the afternoon.

The grounds were spectacular with loads to see.  Tree lined avenues and grotesque statues...

Lovely shady spaces for a quiet half hour, or an active one on the croquet lawn behind, and pretty bridges...

These steps led up into a lovely wooded area.  I can just see Edwardian ladies going for a stroll on this lawn.

And this is the front lawn.  Those are deck chairs where you can sit in the sun to admire the view.

There was a walled garden with heaps of lovely flowers.

These probably grow like weeds in the UK, but I am not familiar with them.  Top left is Echinacea,  which I didn't realise had such big flowers.  Top right I think is a Penstemon - loved the beautiful colour of these little bell shaped flowers.  Bottom left is a mystery, but look at the stems of the flowers - such a pretty blue.  Bottom right I have seen every where since I arrived - such cheerful balls of yellow fluff.
The garden wall had this little circular "window" with a spectacular view into the distance.  Like looking through a telescope.

And the sweet gardener's cottage.  It is now available for holiday lets.

The house itself was huge, and stuffed full of stunning antiques and collectibles.  I have selected a few special pics to show you. 
These tapestries are hanging in the upper level of the foyer.  They are large, and I can't imagine trying to make one, let alone three.  There are tapestries throughout the house.
This hallway took my breath away.  Lined with paintings and display cabinets full of gorgeous china and figurines.

And a stunning ceiling.....

This is main reception room, aptly called The Gold Room.

Everywhere you look there is gold leaf.

And another beautiful ceiling.

Despite the opulence of the Gold Room, I think my favourite room was the Tea Room. 

The windows look out onto the lovely garden, and on a sunny day, I should think it would be a sunny room.  The dress is a copy of one of Mrs Greville's tea gowns.  It took 3 years and 2000 volunteer hours for 34 members of the National Association of Decorative Arts Societies to recreate this gown.  It has 5000 sequins on it.
There were loads of pretty things in the house, but I absolutely fell in love with this sweet little 18th Century French heart shaped table.  The notes said that the lid lifts up and there is a mirror and two drawers inside.

Downstairs in the ironing room which was functional, not opulent, I spied this - a 1906 hand crank Singer.

And this.  An early vacuum cleaner.  Invented in 1910, you worked it by hand by pumping the concertina shaped drum.  Apparently it wasn't all that successful and pumped lots of the dust straight back at you.  LOL

Hope you enjoyed our little stroll through history together.  If you get a chance this is a place well worth going to visit.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Not a Scrap of Indigo in Sight

But I haven't been slack.  In fact my sewing machine has been beetling along at a great rate.

I've made not one.....

but two quilt tops this week.....
Not much Indigo in these two, but there are a few bits of blue, such as this.

Isn't it cute fabric?
Both quilts are headed to Barnados, one of the projects we are working on at Stitching Hearts.

I also made a library bag for my daughter's foster son.

The two quilt tops and this bag have been personalised with the child's name which I have fuzzed out for privacy.  The fabric on the bag is a print of leaf litter with all sorts of lizards and crickets and snails on it.  Perfect for the little man, who adores all that sort of stuff.  The grin on his face was my reward.  I asked him if he minded me taking his photo, and he very graciously stood still for a nano second while I took it.  LOL  
I also finished up the batch of draw string bags I have been making for the Samaritans Operation Christmas Child program.  The Samaritans distribute shoe box sized boxes to be filled with goodies and which are then distributed to third world countries.  This is what 77 bags looks like.....

Besides these, I gave 4 to my daughter for each of her 4 children and kept 2 for myself.  Total = 83.  All of the fabrics had been donated to me for the charity quilts I make, and I'd probably never use them in a pink fit, so I was glad to get them made up into something useful instead of tossing them.  I think that will do me for this year.
And this morning I started on a skirt for myself.

Its an old pattern I have used before, and I love the way the skirt sits on me.  I've had the fabric for a few years too.  So I'm pleased as punch that its getting done.  But..... there's not a smidge of indigo there either.
Lastly, I'd like to show you a Triffid that has grown out of the centre of this cactus. 

Isn't it awesome?  We have had the cactus in that tub for at least 7 years, and its the first time it has grown one of these flower stalks. I am quite interested to see the flowers when they emerge, but sadly, I think it will be while we are away.

I'm linking up with Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge link party even though there isn't anything here which fits the indigo bill.  Hope she doesn't mind.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Time Travelling

Today is the 5th of August.  What do you mean August?  Last time I looked it was April.  Oh well.  That's how it feels anyway.  Anyone else feel that the year has flown by so swiftly that you haven't had time to blink.

I thought I'd show you my latest creation.

This is an "I Spy" style of quilt for a little boy of 4 under foster care with Barnardos.  Our latest project at Stitching Hearts is to supply the local Barnardos branch with a quilt for each child under their care.
I have personalised this one with the little boy's name (blanked out for privacy)
The centre panel is a jungle scene with dinasaurs, and around it are squares of fun fabrics, sashed in two shades of grey/green.
Spider Man, horses, apples, birds, musical instruments, soccer balls & a bunch of trolls and gargoyles, in the pic above.  I scored a great alphabet fabric from Spotlight yesterday for $4 a meter which I will use for backing.  This one will go with me to Stitching Hearts tomorrow to be pinned.
I am making a similar quilt at the moment which is all in pieces on my workroom floor.  This will be for a boy who is 3.5, and it has a feature panel with Bob the Builder on it.  I'll show you that next time.
Last time I went to Stitching Hearts I brought home 5 quilts for Barnardos.  I have been appliqueing the children's names on them to personalise them.  I am doing it by hand as they are already quilted.  Its so difficult to keep the applique stitches from showing on the reverse, and the bulk of the quilt makes it difficult to grasp.  But they look good!
I've told you before that I go to Sydney every fortnight on a Tuesday to do research in the Mitchell Library.  Well for the last few weeks the Library has had this World Atlas on display.

It is called "Earth Platinum" and is the largest book of its kind ever published.   Conceived in Sydney, printed in Italy and bound in Hong Kong.  Don't think there's room for it on my bookshelf LOL.
Have you looked at Google this morning?  There is a cute animated gizmo on it celebrating the 151th anniversary of the first traffic light.  It reminded me of a battery operated toy traffic light that my father made for me when I was about 4 or 5.  I haven't thought of that toy for years!  Sadly I no longer have it, and don't have a photo either.
Did your father ever make toy(s) for you?
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.