Monday, September 29, 2014

SLEEPY CATS

These pictures can speak for themselves, but here re our two very spoiled felines in a relaxed mood.

For cats, any container or box will do, no matter what it is really meat for. Sylvie is no exception when it comes to finding unusual places. I might add that I keep sewing things in this box, and the lid actually has pins and needles in it.

Meanwhile, Mr Shingles shares a favourite chair with Bernie, but he usually has to wait until Bernie vacates it!
Yawning....
One thing you will never find is Mr Shingles and Sylvie curling up together. They hate each other. But they do choose to forget that they are enemies when I am watching TV. Sylvie sleeps in my lap, and Mr Shingles rests draped over my shoulder! I must get Bern to take a picture!

CHAPEL QUILT

It was nearly 5 moths ago that Quilt Norfolk had one of their wonderful quilt retreats here. On this occasion, Michelle Yeo came from Australia and taught patterns and techniques for producing a quikt based on our wonderful St Barnabas' Mission Chapel.

The blocks were based on the stained glass Rose window, on the floor tiles, and on the carved Mother pf pearl insets in the end of the pews

The ladies who came - about 15 from Australia and New Zealand - brought a beautiful selection of fabrics. I had recommended to Michelle that some William Morris reproductions would be suitable, because he had made the Rose Window.


Here are the quilts that Michelle had made in preparation.
Not a good photo, but this was just stunning!

 I had wondered how Michelle would interpret the Celtic and Melanesian designs in the ends of the pews...
What  beautiful border fabric!


 Here is one student's interpretation. I love it.
 And another.....more subtle colourings, but very effective.
 This lady did her own thing with the colours, but it looked really great!
Here are some pictures of Michelle's quilts in the Chapel itself.
 This picture shows the beautiful marble tiloes at the front of the church. The marble came from Devon.


Years ago, I dreamed of making a quilt based on our Chapel. I am glad someone else has been inspired to do it!


Monday, August 18, 2014

MAKING SOAP


 About three years ago my friend Annette showed me how to make soap. The first time I attempted it, I was very nervous and needed Annette to supervise me.
 At that time, I gave Annette a bottle of good olive oil and some lye, and asked her to make me a batch of Castile soap, which is pure olive oil. These are some of what she made me. The trouble is, I only got to use a couple of the bars. One of my sons used the rest. He obviously goes through soap much faster than me.
A few months ago, I decided to make soap again, but once again I needed Annette to watch over me.  I was able to use some for Christmas gifts, and the rest gets used in the bathroom. I love the heart shapes. This soap dished actually has pieces in various stages of use and wear. I am going to grate up some of the small scraps for laundry soap one day!

 Here is some  packaged ready to give a visitor or caller.
 About six weeks ago, I felt the urge to make more soap, and produced a batch of pure coconut soap, using pure coconut oil and coconut milk. It was a little softer than I was used to, but I was told it will get firmer if I leave it for a while - and that is what is happening.
 This past week I have been busy making several more batches, trying out new recipes and ideas, and making use of all sorts of different fats and oils. The jug below contains coconut and olive oil.
 These ones contain oatmeal, and I have made them in a variety of shapes.
 This the first batch I made in a bar, which I later sliced up. They will probably get used in the laundry and the washing up sink.
 And here is the special goat's milk soap, which I made using half a litre of fresh goat's milk which Liam was given when he visited the Hilli Goat Farm. It crumbled a little when I sliced it, I think I should have left it longer. But I can't wait to try it.
 I am getting quite a collection of moulds, and Annette has lent me some more.
 The olive/coconut soap has more natural colour than my previous efforts.
In one of my earlier attempts, I used food colouring, but it soon faded. I am going to try beetroot juice next time!



Thursday, July 31, 2014

OLD TREASURES

One of my earliest memories is going through my mother's button box. Funnily enough I do not remember particular buttons, but I do clearly remember things in the box like suspenders, buckles and cigarette silks.
I have often thought about those silks over the years, because I would love to have included some in my Crazy patchwork.


A year or two before my mother died 19 years ago, I asked her about them. She told me she had been looking for them, so she could pass them on to me, knowing that was the sort of thing I would like. But she simply could not find them!!
In the meantime I had an opportunity to acquire a few other silks, in quite good condition. 
Some were just printed, but I had the opportunity to buy a few old woven ones at a good price. 
We had a lovely shop here that used to sell Cash's woven silks as bookmarks and in cards, and I often bought them to give to friends and family, asking the recipient to return them to me when they had finished with them!  
But wished I could have my mother's.
Then a few weeks ago, there was a small discussion on Facebook about old tins of buttons, and I reminisced about my mother's collection, and about the buckles and silks there. My sister responded that they were still there!
But sadly she was only referring to the buckles and buttons.
Then today, a parcel arrived. There was a present for my birthday next week. But there was another package containing the cigarette silks!

Sally had found them in a box in her garage, At some stage our mother had sewn then together with a very fine machine stitch.
Sally carefully unpicked them, cleaned them according to Sharon Lush's instructions for cleaning old silk, and sent them off to me. She kept a couple for herself, I am glad to say.
They are so fragile and delicate. I  shall probably have to put them behind glass, like this one, perhaps combining them with old lace.


They would be very old, older than me!
In the meantime. I shall continue producing my own little fabric pictures using my computer and printer, but they will never be the same!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

BOOKMARKS

I have been selling some of my creations at a local store. Elizabeth, the lovely owner, offered to sell some of my bits and pieces, which provides me with some good feedback, not to mention some pocket money to buy more supplies!
I was just about to deliver this batch of bookmarks when I realised I had not photographed them.

So you will have to see them through their cellophone bags, with price tags all attached!

I have done a number of bookmarks with embroidered pine trees on linen, which have been popular. But I have run out of just the right coloured variegated pearl thread, so I produced some lavender ones instead.

 Then I worked on some in my favourite style, which I call classic romantic.
 I really enjoyed these as they came off the production line, and have some ideas for a few variations, plus some more streamlined ways of producing them.
These bookmarks are backed with silk, which matches the borders. I have quite a few of these little graphics printed from my computer, but after this effort I will need to do more!


 I think there will be more pinetrees coming up in the next batch, perhaps using homespun and neutral colours. The visiting tourists love the pine tree theme when they are looking for mementoes.
Meanwhile I have moved my sewing room to another room in the house, which provides more light but less glare. It is also off the hallway, and the mess cannot be seen from the living room in the way t could before.
The new room is still too messy to photograph. There are still a few organising tasks, and things to find homes for. But that is boring stuff!

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