Friday, 24 June 2011

The Quilt

A few posts ago I promised to share some photos from a recent craft group secret project which can now be revealed...

...tada! It's a quilt (never!)

More than just a quilt though...

...each of the tiny pieces were hand sewn together... one very enthustastic and experienced hand quilter and eleven inexperienced helpers who had no idea what they'd let themselves in for!

Here is my first square (from away back on the 27th Jan!) with a template to make a second one. Each shape is cut from the card, the material is folded around the card shape and tacked on, then all the shapes are whipstitched (I think that's the right term) together.

I completed my second square on 11th March.

My third on the 16th March.

And my fourth (and final one, hooray!) on the 1st April.

Each square took me three evenings to do. Each time I got cramp in my left hand from clenching the pieces tightly together to sew them.

And here is the lucky recipient hiding behind her quilt. Actually she's the mother of the new quilt owner who is a gorgeous little baby girl born at the end of May 2011.

The finished quilt is beautiful and I feel lucky to have been a part of making it as it is very unlikely I would attempt to make one so complex on my own, especially now I have some understanding of the work involved. Having seen just how lovely it is now it's finished though I am a little tempted to try...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Show

A quick update for the past week...

The turtle blanket border is complete, proper photos to follow once all the ends have been dealt with.

Our local agricultural show was on the 18th June. I entered quite a few things and didn't do too badly.

For the record...
1st: African Flower Crochet Blanket.
2nd: Empire Biscuits
3rd: Chocolate Cake
Highly Commended (ie 4th in category): Bramble Jelly, Tablet, one photo.
Commended (5th): Crab Apple Jelly
Unmentioned: Chocolate Caramel Shortbread, another photo.

In previous years I've managed to take photographs of all my entries, this year I failed to do so, at first I thought it was just a sign of my increasing disorganisation, but in my defence I did enter more categories than I have done before and also had a night out the night before. Plus I had a rotten cold which is still lingering.

Anyway, on a brighter note, just look at all those cakes, yum! Unfortunately people's addresses were rather prominently displayed so I'm not including any close-ups here.

Weatherwise it wasn't a good day. In fact the whole of May and June so far have been very wet and cold here. The met office website (here) has some interesting maps showing different aspects of the weather each month compared to a recent 30 year average for that month. Here is the rainfall map for May (June data not yet available):-

As you can see, the West of Scotland has been particularly wet and the South and East of England particularly dry.

Now here is the max daily temp for April:-
Ahhh, happy days, come back April!

Back to the show, and outside we have some sheep!

They have quite interesting eyes I think.

I liked this chap's curly wurly horns.

And these ones were obviously very successful.

A view of the wet field, certainly not picnic weather this year, though we did all have an icecream.

A and N pose beside their favourite big yellow tractor.

I'd foolishly invited family round on the Sunday to help eat all the homebaking leftovers, forgetting how much cleaning and tidying was involved in getting the house ready for granny inspection, plus we couldn't just eat baking so I had to prepare even more food! Did I mention I've got a bad cold, awww!

So, very few photos as it's just not been the weather for being out and about in interesting places.

I'm now attempting to potty train N, a good excuse to put the heating on to help dry all the extra pants and trousers now being washed.

But I did find these lovely photos on my camera of the first poppy to flower in the garden.

Hmmm, looks like there was some sunshine that day.


Monday, 13 June 2011

The June Garden, Birthday Cakes, A Little Crochet And Various Other Things.

It's all a bit random (as usual)...

June tends to be a busy time here, the schools finish for the summer holidays at the end of the month so there's a lot to pack in before then.

A's school had their sports day last Monday (previously postponed due to rain).

She won her heat of the egg and spoon race, woohoo! Here she is zooming gently across the finish line, her legs almost as white as her socks!

N was rather bored by it all but fortunately he'd brought along the latest addition to his fire engine collection (70p from a charity shop that morning) and I helped add some decorative touches during the less exciting races.

Here's another story offering from A, it's to be a book entitled The Girl Who Loved Art. Well, they do say that most attempts at a first novel are autobiographical and this is pretty much true for this effort though the inclusion of green shoes in her outfit is rather fanciful.

We had quite a dramatic hail shower during last week.

Much of the garden briefly turned white, rather an unusual sight for this time of year.

I ventured to Tescos. I was tempted by these rather pretty owl mugs and a bargain set of lovely big chunky glasses.

I was also taken with the attractive packaging on their own brand chocolate. I've so far only sampled the milk chocolate and it tasted very nice, up among my top three brands I would say. All these bars (and more) are currently on special offer so are a good buy.

And I've finished joining the squares of the turtle blanket. The border is underway then it will be "the ends" again though fortunately there aren't as many of them as on my last blanket - a result of fewer colour changes plus some attempt was made to sew them in as I went.

Also last week we celebrated A's sixth birthday.

This was the on-the-day birthday cake, with pale blue icing as requested.

N approved of the nice little pile of presents.

Later in the week we had a party for nine of her friends.

Party goodies (with a space left for the pizza and sausage rolls!)

We were soooooo lucky with the weather. I'd booked a bouncy castle and up until midday it still looked like everything might all be blighted by yet more rain, but the afternoon turned out to be gorgeous - look, blue sky!

The party cake was a chocolate one with smartie flowers (again as requested). It was also dairy and egg free so that all party goers could have some. I used the recipe linked to here for the cake, and soya marg to make the butter icing.

Now for a little tour round our June garden...

Starting at the garden path we wander down to have a closer look at the first of the pink peonies to flower.


Turning round and back up we pass the kitchen window, the sill of which is adorned with a little kingly plaque and some Irish holiday stones. I like to think this is Aragorn as I was reading The Lord Of The Rings when I aquired it and its partner (hidden in the veggie patch, I'll need to hunt for it) which looks like Gandalf. The first of the Lord Of The Rings films came out a few years after I'd bought them, I think I prefer the film version of Aragorn (cue some time-wasting Googling of Viggo Mortensen playing Aragorn...)

Right, continuing up the garden we pass the lupins.

I removed some flower heads which were a little pass their best, there should be plenty more to come later this "summer".

Further up the garden the geraniums are popular with the bees.

Now we're almost up at the shed and looking back down towards the house (only half of it is ours). The cobbled horseshoe path is a lovely feature, it was here before us. We added the stepping stones to give us dry access to the shed as the grass can get very soggy.

The shed, complete with some bunting I mentioned making in my third ever blog post. In front are two of our four raised veggie beds. Hubby takes charge of these. Peas are planted in the one closest, I'm eagerly anticipating gobbling them all up.

Behind the shed lies the other two raised beds and Gandalf, somewhere...

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

I was lucky with the weather this morning - we had some sunshine!

The tree at the corner. One day I'll need to take a closer look and check what kind of tree it is. I suspect it may be an ash tree as the leaves are still to develop fully and ash trees are usually very late to come into leaf. This week we have cows in the top left field.

Interesting old gate post.

Sunlit poppy and farm buildings.

Wheeeeee, down the hill!

Green fields, in one of them a blue tractor is mowing the grass.

Tree silhouette, I like the clouds at its base.

The cold winds we had in May turned the leaves brown on the windward side of many trees. Only the far right of the tree above is green as it should be.

I liked the ring of purple rhododendrons encircling this little woodland.

A not very good photo of some ox eye daisies.

Pretty farm house, lovely trees silhoutted on the hill behind with some dramatic clouds appearing over the brow of the hill, pylon lines above.

Pink hawthorn.

Up onto the hills.

I managed to catch some rabbits, usually they're away by the time I get my camera out.

More upland views with scudding clouds.

The sign is rather apt for this wee furry pony.

Still loving the clouds (though they do later bring rain which we've had quite enough of here recently thank you very much!)

Cows and the dead tree, brown tinged trees behind.

Sheep in the fields beside the curve.

A longer trip today than I have been doing recently. I can feel it now in my thighs, knees and bum! But it was a lovely morning for a bike ride and I felt it necessary to try and work off some of the birthday cake I have eaten too much of recently, more on this later...


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