Friday 27 June 2014

Quilting, cooking and just enjoying

 The collaborative quilt Laura and I are making for Ste Marie aux Mines is almost finished now.

Now that the background quilting is in place there's only the birds to see to and the binding to add.

I've outlined the text with hand stitch and we've infilled with free motion quilting. What's interesting is looking to see if it's obvious who's quilted which bits. Hopefully we work in a similar fashion and it won't be obvious!

With Festival of Quilts looming, I'm adding to the pincushion mountain. Here's the latest additions with many still to come.

Meanwhile, summer has arrived and the raspberry canes are laden this year. I think this is going to be the best crop ever.

I'm picking every evening with far too many to eat fresh each day. Try as I might!!

Good job we like jam! If I make 3 or 4 jars every other day we'll have plenty to last all year.

The garden continues to provide pleasure each day. He who gardens thinks the stuff we get to eat is the most important aspect but I disagree. No matter how tasty the fruit and veg are, the flowers are also food for the soul!

Thanks for reading this today - I'll write again soon. Love Linda

Saturday 21 June 2014

Workshop with Laura

We don't do very much face to face teaching these days as DesignMatters TV keeps us pretty busy, this month however, you have a chance to take a workshop or even two with Laura at her local Village Hall. The first class is all about Altered Books - a fantastic way to be creative if you're nervous of the blank sketchbook page! The second workshop involves all aspects of a favourite technique, Monoprinting. The full details can be found here on her blog. Just scroll down past photos of Amelie working happily in her own sketchbook till you find the previous post.

With the Altered Book workshop only a couple of weeks away I was so pleased to spot this lovely book at the flea market this morning.

 It was written in 1912 and has the loveliest illustrations.

What a steal at 50p! It's a perfect candidate for altering - I shall do my best to keep the original illustrations intact but I will add lots more of my own.

We visited my younger daughter this week and saw this day flying moth in her garden. We don't see these where we live so it was a special treat. I am fascinated by all kinds of bugs and insects so the second book I found at the market today was another little treasure.

I realise that not everyone shares my interest in bugs and beasties and this 1960's school textbook isn't as characterful as the old cookbook but I know I'll enjoy altering it to make it truly my own.

Just a short post today as the weeding beckons. On this summer solstice day, I'll leave you with a glimpse of what the English summer means to those of us who garden. All the hard work pays off when you get to eat the produce! Sadly, this is the last we'll pick until next year - a very short season but all the more savoured because of that.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope to see some of you at the workshops!
Bye for now - Linda

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Excuses, excuses

Most people I know are so busy all the time their blog posts always start with an apology for not have written for a while. I think I have a pretty good excuse this time - how do you like the sound of food poisoning? Not a lot I suspect and you certainly wouldn't want to know the gory details! Not everyone succumbed so maybe it was only the greedy ones! We've had lots of family celebrations over recent weeks. 'He who gardens' and I have been married for forty years. Hard to believe but true. Not sure why I still feel about 17 some days, especially when all the evidence is to the contrary! Our anniversary day was gloriously sunny so we drove out to the Shropshire Hills and had lunch in a lovely restaurant in Church Stretton. The plan was to walk/climb along Carding Mill Valley but somehow that idea lost its appeal once we'd eaten and a gentle stroll around the town was all we managed.

We treated ourselves to one or two gifts to commemorate the momentous occasion (how anyone can justify yet another banjo is beyond me) and also bought a new bench for the garden although we did draw the line at a brass plaque! Guess who was first to try it for size the minute it was delivered? It's a bit of a joke really - who has time to actually sit down in a garden?

Not all of my days are spent partying or making arty stuff. There are always the more prosaic but necessary chores too. This week I replaced all of the sail blinds in the conservatory. Not the easiest picture to take but you get an idea from this one end of the room. I made 19 blinds in all. A really horrible job but with luck they'll last for a few years!

Meanwhile Laura and I are gradually working on our collaborative piece for Alsace. You can see the kind of obstacles we face. Toby loves nothing more than to curl up on the long arm as though it's a cat hammock. If this quilt doesn't hang straight we'll know who to blame!

As you can see here, the quilting is quite closely spaced and taking quite a while! We're concentrating on all of the gold background now that the trees have been quilted in black. The birds will be stitched right at the end.

My smaller projects are much less demanding. This is the Allium panel with its lettering now complete. All I have to do is mount it onto the canvas and it will be ready for the stand at Festival of Quilts.

Hollyhocks is also ready for its final touches. I plan to display these square panels arranged quite formally in rows - hopefully they'll prove popular.

So despite complaints of illness life goes on. Hope you are all well and keeping creative. Bye for now - Linda