Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Worth repeating - New to Me in October

It's the time of the month when we celebrate all that's new in our crafty lives, yes it is time to link up to the New to Me Link Party again!

This month I have visited a new place

Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, and definitely somewhere that warrants a repeat visit or two.

We have tasted some New to Me wines

Also, an experience worth repeating :)

Welcomed a new sponsor for this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party. (There's still time to link up to be in with a chance of winning some gorgeous Christmas coloured threads!)

and finally

 written a new tutorial for this Christmas Pudding teatowel!

So, that's all my New to Me's this month, now it is your turn to link up and celebrate the trying of something new. Of course it would be nice if our something new's were successful, but you are amongst friends here. We know that it isn't always the case so, hey, we are here to celebrate anyway the fact that we tried :)

As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Celtic Thistle Stitches

Check out the other links too and, maybe, leave an encouraging comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 
The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on October 31st, so you have some time yet to try something new and link up and join the party :)

If your New to Me involves a Christmas or Holiday make then don't forget to link it up at this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party

These lovely threads will be winging their way to one lucky linker soon!

Looking forward to seeing what you have tried for the first time this month.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Cuddles for a boy

When I recycled shirts for the log cabin quilt for our new grandson, I was left with this pile of fabric that I reckoned could provide another quilt. Baby quilts not being very big after all :)

Having pulled out my Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks for my charity quilt group, I decided that the leftover fabric would probably work for those blocks too.

So, I cut as many 2.5" strips as I could from the leftovers and then sewed them together in sets of six.

Cut again and reassembled I ended up with 4 12.5" blocks (Bonnie Hunter's website Quiltville has a brilliant explanation of how to do this)

That wasn't really big enough, so I added a border of 4" squares (and recycled a white shirt into the bargain!) to make a reasonable size quilt top.

A quick purchase of some Moda Sweet Baby flannel from Plush Addict and I was all set.

I quilted diagonal lines to echo the Trip Around the World pattern and carried those into the chequered borders.

The cuddly flannel should keep that little man warm and happy, don't you think?

The binding is an aqua and white pindot cotton that was all I could find in the local fabric shop, but it works I think.

I am really pleased with how this turned out, and will definitely be looking more closely at the wardrobes of the men in the family from now on :)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Another taste of French Life!

Shopping in France in the Summer was all about the markets and their tempting piles of fruit and vegetables, but shopping in France at this time of year has a very different flavour!

In October we are here to replenish our wine stocks, and now that we have a proper cellar in our new home that is a serious business indeed :)

We could, of course, just head to the local supermarket and browse the shelves but it is much more fun to visit the vineyards and buy directly from the producers.

I am sure it adds to the flavour to drink wine that has been produced from grapes that you have seen growing in the vineyard, don't you think?

At this time of year all of the vineyards are busy harvesting the grapes for the 2016 vintage, so every vineyard we visited was a hive of activity.

Wine buying in France is a serious activity, that time must be given to. No swiping a bottle off of a shelf and carrying it to the checkout! 

An invite to see the production process is given and accepted. The grapes being separated above had been picked in the days beforehand from the land bordering the photo above. In another vineyard the machine separation was supplemented with two men hand picking rejects from the grapes that the machine had retained. Definitely a job for the patient in temperament!

The separated grapes were heading to these huge vats for maceration

Before being transferred to French Oak casks to mature before bottling. (American Oak was deemed to produce wine that was too sweet apparently!)

Of course, once we had viewed the various stages of the process it was down to the real business of the day!

Tasting the wine, another process that cannot be hurried :)

After all that, then we could buy some wine!

The waiting, however, is not over as it will be a few years yet before the wine we bought will be ready to drink :)

Maybe a visit to the supermarket is needed after all!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Figgy Pudding Teatowel Tutorial - Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew

Welcome to this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party, where we encourage you to organise your Christmas and Holiday crafting over the year so that by December everyone is cool, calm and collected! Well, that's the plan :)

I love having linens that are only brought out at Christmas and have been gifting festive tea towels to the family since our time in Latvia. However, my stash of Christmas themed, linen tea towels bought in the factory shop in Lithuania has now run dry so it was time to get creative.

I give you my Christmas Pudding Applique Tea towel Tutorial !

To make one of your own you will need the following:

1 plain white 100% cotton tea towel 19" x 28" (approx)
Scrap of brown fabric for pudding approx 7" x 7"
Scrap of light fabric for topping approx 7" x 4"
Scrap of green fabric for leaves approx 3" x 3"
I small red button
Thread to match your fabrics
Fusible interfacing, same dimensions as your fabric scraps (I used a light fusible fleece so that my pudding would be slightly padded but you could use double-sided fusible web instead)

Step 1

Fuse your interfacing to the reverse side of your pudding, topping and leaves fabrics. Trace a 5.5" circle on the interfaced side of the pudding fabric.

As you can see I used a cake tin lid for my template, so draw around anything you have to hand that will work :)

Measure 2" down from the centre top of the traced circle and draw a line across the top of the circle through the mark you just made. (It doesn't matter if the line is not exactly straight as it will be covered by the topping fabric later)

 Cut out the traced circle and then cut along the marked line to give you the base of your pudding. Set aside the pudding base for later.

Step 2

Trace a semi-circle on the interfaced side of the topping fabric using the same measurement/template that you used for the pudding.

Place the top pudding piece that you cut off earlier on top of the traced semi-circle and draw freehand the wavy edge of the topping below the straight edge of the top pudding piece. See below.

(Make sure that your freehand line does not come completely up to the bottom edge of the pudding top)

Discard the pudding top piece and cut out your traced topping shape

Step 3

Draw two holly leaf shapes on the interfaced side of the leaves fabric and cut out.

Step 4

Decide where you want to applique your pudding to the tea towel. If using double-sided fusible web fuse the pudding base to the front of your tea towel. If using fusible fleece as I did, pin and baste the pudding base to the tea towel front.

 Step 5

With matching thread blanket or satin stitch around the curved edge of the pudding. (The straight edge will be covered by the pudding topping piece)

Matching up the curved edges, and making sure that the straight edge of the pudding is covered, fuse or pin and baste the topping piece to the tea towel.

Blanket or Satin Stitch around all edges of the topping with matching thread.

Step 6

Repeat fusing and stitching for the two holly leaves on the top of the pudding.

Stitch the red button on where the holly leaves meet.

Finished in plenty of time for Stir-Up Sunday!

If you need more inspiration for your festive crafting, each month we add a brand-new Christmas or Holiday project to the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew archive. Click on the button at the top of the page to see all of the brilliant projects dreamt up to date by our fabulously talented guest hosts and be inspired!

Of course it wouldn't be a Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party without a giveaway and this month's giveaway is sure to spark your imagination!

 This very festive thread bundle has been generously donated by Tikki Patchwork

If you haven't come across Tikki Patchwork before you should definitely check them out and whilst you are there sign up to their newsletter to be sure of being in the know when new products hit the shelves or the sale signs go up! As I can personally testify their customer service is second to none :)

Last month's winner of the Animal Coin Purse pattern was Kathy at Running with Rocket who was quick enough off the mark to link up her own version of last month's Snowman Drawstring Bag tutorial from Sandra Sews

If you want to be in with a chance of winning that festive thread bundle then link up your Festive makes to this month's Link Party to be entered into the draw. Keep it current though no blasts from the past here! The Link Party is open until 23.59 GMT on October 31st so you have plenty of time to get stitching :)

As ever a big thank you to all of our generous sponsors who provide such great giveaway prizes throughout the year





Linking up to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Kings and Cabbages

Top of my places to visit in our new locale was Mount Stuart on the nearby island of Bute, hereditary land of the High Stewards of Scotland, whose descendants became the Royal House of Stewart. 

So, one fine day recently we headed off to the ferry terminal just up the road and jumped on board.

Mount Stuart house is the ancestral home of the Marquesses of Bute and has been described as one of the finest examples of the Gothic Revival style to have been built in the UK.

Well, as you can see from the outside that is not an unlikely claim.

Sadly on the day we visited there was an event in the house itself so we weren't able to see the supposedly magnificent interior, but that is a treat to look forward to on our next visit. It is apparently a magnificent testament to Victorian Engineering and boasts, amongst other firsts, to be the very first home in the world to have a heated indoor swimming pool! Can't wait to see that :)

The grounds of Mount Stuart were full of delightful surprises too, so we didn't feel too disappointed.

 From this delightfully dotty camel bench

To these wonderful wind chimes hanging amongst the trees.

We wandered past this glorious Rock Garden

and found ourselves in the Walled Vegetable Garden, where my hubby was very envious of the abundant growth of their cabbages!

I, on the other hand, was thinking what a great palette for a quilt they would make :) I am sure you understand where I was coming from!

We will certainly be back at Mount Stuart again.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Exploring Pastures New

One of the joys of moving to a new neighbourhood is having a new place to explore and now that (most of!) our boxes are unpacked that is exactly what we have been doing.

We have discovered that every Sunday a group of model boat owners meet at a boating pond nearby to put their boats through their paces, so one fine Sunday recently we strolled over to have a look.

These are definitely a step up from the toy yachts I remember from childhood!

Sailing without getting your feet wet :)

The town where we now live is the site of a battle in 1263 that led to the end of Viking influence over Scotland. This being Scotland the weather was as much of a factor in the outcome as the actual fighting!

Now, of course, instead of fighting the Vikings we celebrate them so naturally a Viking longboat plies its' way amongst the yachts and trawlers on the pond :)

In fact the town celebrates its' Viking heritage with a Viking Festival every year, which was held a couple of weeks after we moved here.

So, along with a Viking Raiding party

we were treated to the sight of a (not so Viking) Aerobatic Display.

What goes up must come down!

Don't think that fire engines were around in Viking times either but they found their way into the parade anyhow too :)

Now that all the excitement (!) is over for a year we are no longer being treated to the sight of Viking warriors wandering along the Promenade back to their Viking village hut in the morning with the daily paper tucked under their arm :) It was a very incongruous sight the first time I can tell you!
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