Friday 25 August 2017

Firsts and Seconds

It is the 25th of the month already, how did that happen? You know what that means, time to open up this month's New to Me link party.

If you haven't come across the New to Me link party before, it is where we celebrate the trials and tribulations of giving something a go for the first time. So, join me as I share what I have been up to this month and join the link party if you have had any new experiences this month too. The link party will stay open until the August 31st so there is still time to have a go at something new and join the party :)

My New to Me's are definitely a mix of highs and lows.

The high?

My first ever entry in to the Hobbies and Crafts section at the local horticultural show and it came second!! I entered my Still Waters piece from the Embroiderer's Guild Capability Brown exhibition into the Tapestry item class. I wasn't 100% convinced that this counted as a tapestry but I was told that the organisers were not too strict on their definitions, and there was no other class that it could have come in so I went ahead and entered. I was very glad that I did when I went to collect it at the end of the show.
Next year I might even enter something in the Quilted Item class :)

My next New to Me has been a definite mix of highs and lows.

We treated ourselves to a new AGA range cooker in preparation for our new kitchen. If you haven't come across a range cooker before it is a very different way of cooking, and one that we are still trying to get our heads around. Instead of setting the temperature for a dish there are three ovens, all of differing heats, and the mantra is to "find the appropriate heat". We haven't starved since the oven has been put in, but there have been some occasions when the local fish and chip shop has seemed like a very attractive option!

My final New to Me is a mix of old and new, old - cross stitch and new - on paper. I picked up the paper cross stitch bunting kit on our last trip to France, and have been stitching away now and then ever since. When finished it will be another gift for the gorgeous grandson who, can you believe it, is about to turn one in a couple of weeks! Now that time really has flown :)

So, that's my New to Me's now it is your turn to link up. As always the link up will remain open until August 31st. Visit your fellow linkers and leave a comment or two as we all know a little encouragement when we are learning new skills is always welcome.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

A Day out in the Sunshine

We have had a rather wet and miserable summer here in Scotland, so opportunities to explore more of the region have been thin on the ground. The rain held off long enough recently for us to visit Culzean Castle and it was definitely worth dodging raindrops for!

The site has been the home of the chiefs of Clan Kennedy since the 14th Century, although the building you see in the photo above is the converted Castle designed by the celebrated architect Robert Adam for the 10th Earl of Cassilis. The Castle has been owned by the National Trust for Scotland since the Kennedy's gifted it in lieu of death duties in 1945. One stipulation of the gift was that the top floor of the castle be retained as an apartment for use by General D. Eisenhower, who did visit four times during his lifetime. Nowadays you can walk in the General's steps as the apartment is available for rent

Culzean Castle sits in nearly 600 acres of grounds, so as well as exploring the house with it's magnificent Oval Staircase there are some wonderful gardens to discover.

The Fountain Court garden in front of the Castle was closed to the public the day we were there, as they were setting up marquees for a wedding that weekend. A marquee wedding is a very brave thing to book in Scotland, even in August!

The Walled Garden, which was split in to a kitchen garden and pleasure garden was entered through these imposing gates.

As well as pleasant avenues,

the Walled Garden contained an apple orchard and a meadow garden.

Between the Walled Garden and the Castle sits the magnificent Camellia House. The 10th Earl certainly knew how to splash the cash around, didn't he?

We decided not to see everything in one day so have left the Swan Pond, Ice houses and Pagoda for another visit.

Instead, we indulged in coffee and cake in the Stable Coffee House and enjoyed the view (and the rare glimpse of sunshine!).

Sunday 6 August 2017


On a recent visit to a local Farm Shop I came across a basket of china dishes for sale.

Closer inspection revealed this stamped on the lips at each end.

 And this message stamped on the inside.

I have no idea what these were for or, indeed, what the Patchwork products referred to in the inside are or were, but, really, I couldn't not buy one now could I??

Friday 4 August 2017

Stag do!

I have had a Reverse Applique project on the go for ages, it has been taken apart and re-done at least three times.

First of all the patchwork back for the applique didn't fit the applique outline, so needed to be reworked to fit the frame. Then, I really struggled to turn under some of the allowances on certain parts of the design. All in all it has been a complete pain in the proverbial, but I am delighted to say that I have finally completed the Reverse Applique!

You will not be surprised to know that the antlers were where I really struggled to turn under the allowance. I discovered when I compared this to the magazine photo that the antlers on my version are a lot narrower than in the pattern version. I do remember taking the pattern to be enlarged at a local printers (don't you just hate patterns that need to be enlarged!) and have a vague memory of having to compromise on the final size, so that presumably accounts for the difference.

Having seen these magnificent beasts on a recent visit to a Deer Park, I think the antlers in the version above are pretty accurate though, don't you?

I did not help myself by picking a linen blend fabric for the top fabric, as it was fraying where the applique points are narrow before I had even got to stitching it down!

So, I went for a belt and braces approach by hand stitching the turned applique and then machine topstitching. Next up an application of Fraycheck to be sure, to be sure :)

The piece will become a cushion eventually when I have sourced some Deer Horn buttons for the back!

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