Wednesday 28 August 2019

Markets and Martyrs

Instead of hurtling down the motorway to our destination in France, last week we took a more leisurely journey and stopped off overnight in Rouen.

We have driven through Rouen several times as it is on the most direct route from the Channel Tunnel to our ultimate destination, but had never before stopped there other than accidentally because of roadworks!

Finding our hotel for the night, which was on a pedestrian street in the Old Town was our first challenge, and negotiating the car lift to the underground car park was our second! Once settled though we headed out to explore.

Although it was early evening the market place was busy and there was still a considerable amount of produce available to purchase.

Those peppers were particularly tempting!

On a more grisly note, this cross next to the market place marks the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake on May 30th, 1431. Joan was only 19 at the time of her death and a later re-examination of her trial pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr.

A modern church commemorated to St Joan and completed in 1979, now stands at the spot too. The sweeping curves of the roof are said to be a reference to the flames of the execution.

Rouen is famous for it's centuries old half-timbered houses, many of which have been restored, and some of the examples in this street of the Great Clock are thought to pre-date the burning of St Joan!

Rouen is also a city of magnificent churches and this one, St Maclou, is one of the prettiest I think.

St Ouen Abbey church is pretty impressive too!

And just when you think that can't be surpassed then you come across Notre-Dame Cathedral!

Have I whetted your appetite for a visit to Rouen? And I haven't even mentioned the restaurants:) Just let me say that I will never look at smoked beef in the same way again :)

Linking up to Wandering Camera

If you have visited somewhere New to You this month link up your post to this month's New to Me link party here I am always on the lookout for new places to go!

Sunday 25 August 2019

A Book and a BOM

Is it just me or are the months flying by? It is hard to believe that it is the 25th of the month already, which means that it is time for this month's New to Me link party!
This month my New to Me's are a mix of complete and only just begun projects.

The complete was my first ever Quiet Book for this quarter's Endeavourers Challenge.

The pages included my first time using sew-in magnets, despite having them in my stash for years :) It was also my first time using Bosal Foam again despite having it in my stash for at least three years! Clearly the policy of never throwing anything out on the basis that it will come in handy one day is warranted.

The only just begun project is my first block for the Happy Little Things BOM that started this month and will run through to December. As you can see not a lot of progress has been made, despite the fact that I have taken this to the last two meetings of my Quilt Group! That probably tells you the ratio of stitching to chatting at the group :)

The Happy Little Things BOM combines two of my favourite things, embroidery and quilting, so I couldn't resist joining in. I have chosen to embroider the centres of each block but instructions are also given for an appliqued block centre or a pieced  novelty fabric centre, so the resulting quilts are going to look very different when finished.

So, that's my New to Me's this month now it is your turn to share anything that you have tried for the first time this month. As ever, the link party will remain open until the end of the month and as always you are invited to share your New to Me's regardless of whether the outcome was success or failure, everything is a learning opportunity here!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Friday 23 August 2019

All the C's

Ages ago I signed up for a local class to make a Catch All Caddy . I managed to keep up with the class progress on the quite involved pattern throughout the several weeks of the term and felt rather pleased with myself. What do they say about pride and a fall??

Putting the caddy together didn't go quite as planned and as I missed the last class I put the project away and only felt guilty now and again when I thought of it. With the sewing room nearly finished (I hope!) I came across the almost finished caddy again and resolved this time to complete it!

I had had real trouble stitching the caddy together at the curved ends through all of these layers, but resolved this time to grit my teeth, go slow and get through it and that is what I did :) Of course, I then had to do it all again to attach the binding :(

Thank goodness for clips, pins just couldn't cope with the layers of Soft and Stable

And here it is my Completed Catch all Caddy!

I resolved to only use stash fabrics for the caddy, as with the cost of the class (and the petrol to get there), the pattern, the Soft and Stable, the bag hardware and my time it worked out to be a rather expensive storage bag. We have all been there :)

The interior of the caddy has useful dividers to keep things neat and tidy

and as you can see the caddy itself is packed full of pockets, so I will not be short of places to put things!

When I started the class I had visions of whipping up several of these caddies, but having completed this one I think I will leave it a while before attempting another.

Thursday 15 August 2019

Seafood and Sculptures

Last week to take advantage of some good weather we headed out to the Colintraive Hotel for lunch.

 One pleasant ferry trip later and a very nice lunch as you can see, we left the hotel to take the long way home. A few minutes later we were intrigued by a sign for the Scottish Sculpture Park at Caol Ruadh, so took a detour to find out more.

Here is what we found, this magnificent house was a private home, then a residential school and since 1998 has been a private home again. Since 2012, the gardens have been the setting of six summer sculpture exhibitions and we were lucky enough to be passing when the latest exhibition was open.

Sitting on the shore of the Kyles of Bute it is no surprise that water features quite heavily in the gardens as a setting for the sculptures,

as a feature of the garden

Woodland Choir by Kilmodan School & Teresa Hunyadi

or as a glorious backdrop.

You probably know by now that I love a good outdoor art installation, so this exhibition was absolutely my cup of tea :)

Clay bust with shells on shoulders and rays from head
Tellus by Frances Clark
Spring Boobs by Lotte Glob

Spring Boobs by Lotte Glob

Sprouting by Lotte Glob
As you can see there was quite a variety of styles on show but my favourites of all of the works were the metalwork pieces by Helen Denerley

Flying Raven by Helen Denerley
If I had a spare £5+K and a space to accommodate him this magnificent Raven might have found his way into the boot of the car! He would certainly keep those pesky window pooping seagulls away, don't you think?

The exhibition is on until August 26th, so if you happen to be in the area before then and looking for something different to do you can't do much better than a sail across to Colintraive followed by a delicious lunch and a wander around the Scottish Sculpture Exhibition at Caol Ruadh! Failing that if you click on this link you can check out the sculptors and their exhibits without leaving the comfort of your armchair, the delicious lunch you will have to sort out yourself :)

Monday 12 August 2019

Diggers, Dolphins and Dilemmas

In between waiting for workmen to come and finish my sewing room I have managed to get the sewing machine out and stitch up a couple of summer shirts for gorgeous grandson number 1.

Like all small boys our grandson loves all sorts of utility vehicles but diggers are especially interesting, so when I saw the Small Things on the Move fabric by Lewis and Irene I knew exactly what to do with it.

I used the pattern by Pox Couture to make two shirts last summer, which were a tad big for him then so I used the same pattern size this year and will be keeping my fingers crossed that they are now the right size!

This one is also in a Lewis and Irene fabric called Spindrift. This time I triple-checked that I had the buttons and buttonholes on the correct side!

The shirts are fairly straightforward to put together, there is a bit of jiggery-pokery required to fit the collar on neatly but other than that it is relatively simple.  Less simple on this one was getting the buttonholes right. My sewing machine did not like that pocket placement on the dolphin shirt even although it was the same on the diggers shirt. When I was stitching the automatic buttonhole nearest to the pocket, the machine foot got stuck when it reached the pocket and had stitched repeatedly in the same place before I realised. I really hate unpicking buttonholes :( The solution I found was to stitch the buttonhole from the opposite end so that the foot worked away from the pocket not towards it.

That wasn't my only button related mishap though as I managed to miscount when I was marking the buttonholes and had to mark them out again. Now, I have some questions for the experienced dressmakers reading this. I made the mark above with an air-erasable marker and haven't ironed the shirt yet as I am worried that if I do it might set the mark permanently. Is that likely? How long should I wait for the mark to disappear and if it doesn't if I wash the shirt will that make it disappear? I am definitely regretting using a pink marker on white fabric!

Looking forward to getting the benefit of your advice :)

Thursday 1 August 2019

Quiet counting

It is time for this quarter's reveal on the Endeavourers Art Quilt blog. The theme for this quarter was " A walk in the park" and needless to say I procrastinated a lot on what to make that would fit the theme. Eventually, I decided to combine two projects into one and make a Quiet Book for the gorgeous grandsons based upon a walk in the park.

We are lucky enough to live next to a park with a boating pond so I based my book on the things that can be found in the park.

I went for a counting theme for the book so each of the pages relates to a number from 1 to 6.

Every Sunday the Model Boat Club sail their yachts and model boats in the Boating Pond, so they were the inspiration for my first page.

Just as I was beginning to make the pages for the book, a visitor to my weekly quilting class dropped off a trolley load of furnishing sample books. The lady had just retired after several years of working as an interior designer and thought that the ladies of the class might be able to find a use for her sample books. Well, you can imagine how thrilled we were to receive them :) The hull of the yacht is a piece of suede from one of the sample books and the ruffle waves are strips of silk-like furnishing fabric from another of the books.

I wanted the finished book to have lots of different stimulation, so there are a variety of textures on each page, and hidden elements to some of them. Nestled amongst the waves of the pond is a tiny fish button from Totally Buttons As I hope that this book will get handled a lot I have over stitched nearly everything as you can see :)

 Just beyond the fence of the park a couple of swans have taken up residence over the last few years, so they were the inspiration for the second page.

Lifting the flap of the swans' nest reveals two eggs waiting to be hatched!

The Model Boat clubhouse was the inspiration for page three. I used magnets to attach the three window shapes to the page and another button from Totally Buttons with three ducks to reinforce the number.The name of each shape was also free-machined embroidered below the window magnets.

Of course, a park will have dog walkers so they were the inspiration for page four. I used the Crafted Applique technique with Mod Podge for the dogs and added snaps to felt bones in different sizes to match up with the dogs. Tiny butterfly buttons from Totally Buttons again finished off the page.

 Page 5 was inspired by the beds of flowers that are currently in full bloom in the park.

Each different colour flower head is attached by a matching button and the colour is freeform machine embroidered up the side of the flower stem. Of course, flowers in full bloom attract bees so they were embroidered on too! Can you tell that I was having great fun with this challenge ?

Initially I only intended to make five pages but as I wanted this to be an accordion type book I realised that I needed six to make that work. Some (lots of ) head scratching later I decided that my park would definitely have some ladybirds and here they are. The leaves are made of various fabrics, those sample books came in very handy, and the ladybirds are satin stitched red felt bodies attached to a black felt base. Contained within each ladybird and leaf is a sew-in magnet and each leaf has a number from 1 to 6 machine stitched on. Six tiny embroidered caterpillars added another bit of texture and fun :)

The back pages were created with squares of sun-printed fabric attached to a number fabric that just happened to be lurking in my stash! I used flowers, leaves, paper cut outs of butterflies and sliced mushrooms to create the prints. The feather print on the book's cover was made with my grandson when we visited them recently so it is particularly fitting for the front page :)

The interior of the book pages is a thick, firm wadding that also happened to be in my stash. I think it is Bosal Foam that I originally purchased for bag making. It was perfect for the book as it is soft for little hands but also sturdy enough to stand up and, hopefully, keep its' shape.

With the attachment of a button and felt flap closure for each side and a binding of green with tiny spiders my Counting in the Park quiet book was complete.

I do love working on the Endeavourers Challenges, but I think this has been my favourite so far even if it has probably also been the most work!

So, that is my response to the challenge of "A walk in the park" head on over to the Endeavourers blog to find out how my fellow Endeavourers rose to the challenge!

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