Monday, 27 March 2017

Birthday carrot cake

I have a friend who was having a special birthday last Friday so I made him my Carrot Cake.  I take it that this photo taken by the legendary mountaineer Alan Hinkes of the 'living legend' rock climber Paul Ross means that it was appreciated and not that it was hard to cut ha ha...

Paul having fun cutting the cake

To celebrate his special day, Paul climbed Little Chamonix in Borrowdale and he was filmed doing so.  I can't wait to see the footage.

Paul has a very interesting Facebook page where he often posts photos of his adventures and he also gives lectures about his life so too does Alan Hinkes of course as he is the only British mountaineer to have climbed all 14 of the world's mountains over 8,000 metres.

Anyway, Alan said to me that although the cake was for Paul he thought carrots were strictly for dinner and he preferred chocolate or lemon cake.  Was that a big hint I wonder?

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Old curtains but with a use?
Sometimes you just have to admit that your plans won't work.  I had hoped to use a backing for the quilt from a piece of fabric I had but after adding the sawtooth border the quilt grew too big.....

So, as I had a set of cream calico lined curtains no longer used around the place I checked them for length.  Do you know that they were about right but only if I unpicked the heading tape arghhh.

So life gives you opportunities I said to myself and got stuck in, after all it only took 40 minutes on a wet Sunday morning, what would I have done if I had not had the unpicking to do?  I might have been gardening in the mud. I don't think so.  They are now in the washing machine.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The blocks are joined and the edge added

I have just finished the quilt top by adding a sawtooth border all around the blocks.  I have no intention of making it any bigger as this is going to be a 'topper' quilt for when it is cold and we need a bit of extra warmth rather like the old eiderdowns I grew up with.

It fits on top of the other quilts
I know it will shrink in when I quilt it and I have a thickish 80/20 cotton/polyester wadding chosen.  So the weather is set to rain for the next few days with the storm which hit New York arriving as cold wet rainy and windy conditions.  At least it is better than that snow.... The perfect pastime is to quilt when its cold and wet outside.  I do anticipate better spring weather soon though as DH mowed the lawn for the first time yesterday and my greenhouse is starting to resemble a tidy haven for plants again, just a little more to do and some seed trays to plant up.

Monday, 13 March 2017

A holiday quilt

We went on holiday to Berwickshire at the end of February for 6 nights and stayed in a lovely cottage called The Watch Cottage.
Our home from home

As we do not have a television at home (not for the last 16 years) we always ignore these black boxes when they appear in cottages.  So we took our usual hobbies, he took his modelling; 0 Gauge Railway engine kit he is making and I took my little portable Brother sewing machine.
The evenings were spent doing our thing and we both had a good break.  I took over the small kitchen table and he had the dining room one with the wonderful view over the sea.  Anyway, the resulting blocks are as you see below.  It is of  course a simple 9 patch as I did not want to try anything complicated on holiday but I think the resulting quilt will be good.  I am working on sewing all the blocks together this week.  I have left the medallion quilt for the moment but will return to it once this little one is complete.

9 patch quilt

By the way the hiking around Berwickshire is great and the coastal paths are special, so too are the interesting rocks on the way.

Lovely weather in Berwickshire for early March but very windy.
We visited the local church at Whitekirk and it has an interesting copy of a charter but you will need to brush up your Latin to read it.  The interesting thing of course is the signatories who could not write their names so they used crosses shown at the bottom.

Well I hope you enjoy this little reminder of our holiday and I will be back soon with piccies of the finished 9 patch.  If you are 'across the pond' you will find the village of Cove which is where the cottage is to the right of that huge metropolis called Edinburgh, just follow the coastline until you see a village called Cockburnspath which is pronounced Copath and Cove is on the coast above it.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Bought a new vacuum cleaner a couple of weeks ago

I had my old vacuum for so long that it was shoddy and a bit out of date.  It was a good one but needed replacing with something better as there is so much choice out there now.  I chose a Dyson in the end because I did my research into the various tools it came with.  I don't know about you, but buying a vac without plenty of accessories is a waste of time I think.  I wanted a machine which gave me plenty of opportunities for getting in nooks and crannies and for reaching up to the picture rail which is in nearly every room in the house and which collects dust badly if left.

Anyway, I also wanted to try it out on my smaller quilts which hang on the walls in the house.  Do you know it was perfect. I kid you not.  There is a special tool for dusting flat surfaces and it has a very soft underneath which I used actually on the quilts and it removed all of the small particles of dust without dragging the fabric or distressing it at all. 

Quilt based on the ceiling at Sizergh Castle, Cumbria
This quilt is cream and has extensive machine embroidery and even a few Swarovski crystals attached.  It hangs on the wall at the top of the stairs and has been there for about 8 - 10 years, I had brushed it now and then but mostly ignored it... So the top and bottom had dust and also a small amount on the roundels but not anymore.

The photo shows the tool and I had just used it to remove some dog hair, yes Bella had jumped on the bed and she is quite hairy at the moment because being a Border Terrier she will need stripping in about 4 weeks as she has to be done twice a year.

Irish Chain quilt with Dyson tool

One of the 'Sizergh' stags after cleaning.

Fuji Autumn had a clean too
So I had a go at Fuji which I used to keep in the bedroom and now and then passed a clothes brush softly over. I am pleased to say that I now know I can trust this tool to keep my quilts which I don't wash as they are wall hangings clean.