Thursday, August 25

at last, my kinda quilt. . .

By now, you must all have realised I'm not a particularly girly girl. . .

I admire ditsy and lacy, and perfectly staged Cath Kidston and Country Living photo-shots for the prettiness they provide in an otherwise rather Grown Up world, but my own style of furnishing and fashion is a little bit quirky, a little bit bright (I adore accents of red), more than a little bit vintage, a little bit risky (but it works- Victoria and Abstract can be more than just a play on words), very tactile, very eclectic, often very faded (and I mean VERY faded), all mixed together with a large dollop of humour!

I adore the thought of quilting, covet many of the fat quarters and feedsack prints used, am in awe of the the exacting handiwork involved and appreciate both traditional and vintaged-up versions of classic templates.

My own quilt collection consists of 19thC and 1960s crazy quilts, each irregular fabric edged with feather stitch embroidery, and antique shattered-beyond-repair part quilts, purchased (some may say unwisely) because I'm drawn to the stories these threadbare stalwarts could tell.
My favourite amongst these was bought because it still held the hexagonal templates- Georgian copperplate invoices- in an era when paper probably cost more than silk, and I display it template side up

With this odd preference for imperfect over pristine, I've not been inspired to want want WANT a modern quilt. . .until I saw the masterpiece that is The Penguin Book Quilt belonging to Lynne Goldsworthy from Lily's Quilts, over on Katy Jones' blog I'm a ginger monkey

Now all you Crafting and Quilting Queens are probably familiar with both the the book Modern Blocks in which Lynne's quilts are featured, and the magazine Fat Quarterly which Katy and her team produce, but for me this is the start of something new. . .

Having innocently taken-up my knitting needles once again, where will the journey end?
I feel more than a little inspired to have a look through the Fabric Stash Cupboard and put together a few ideas of my own. . .

Friday, August 19

now look what you've made me do!

So here's the thing. . .

I'm not ashamed to admit I started blogging to publicise my eBay sales and website (believe me, in order to spend even MORE time at the computer it needed strong justification)

But then it started to get more interesting. . .

I looked at the blogs of those who encouraged me and found kindred spirits.
People who led lives as busy as mine, who liked vintage pieces, furnished as I did, enjoyed the daft things I enjoyed, had mishaps with recipes, upsets with life, disappointments and triumphs and weren't ashamed to laugh at themselves.

Some were longstanding eBay buyers who've become Real People. Many bloggers I've enjoyed actually meeting and many I know I'll never meet and that doesn't matter either. Sharing random emails with an acquaintance-who-isn't-quite-a-stranger-but-isn't-a-full blown-pal can be supportive, caring, funny and informative because no baggage comes with it. What you read is what you get.

Soooo. . .

I don't bare my soul on my blog because I don't do that in real life. I try to keep happy and upbeat because I think life's too short to do otherwise, but I do tell about my Thoughts now and again because through blogging I've realised the value of airing and sharing.

Among the blog network of like-minded people I was encouraged to run Vintage at the Village Hall and buyers came from miles away cos they'd read about it on my blog and I was amazed how many others posted publicity for me, and sent messages of support when they saw the shimmer of  doubt that "I'd taken on too much"!

Wanting to capture the beauty of where I live and share  things that come into my life meant buying a camera more advanced than I ever judged myself capable of using. I learnt because I had an objective, and now I love photographing!

I struggle with technical issues but feel great pride in the computer skills I've developed- many of them patiently explained after "how do I do this" appeals, posted and swiftly answered.

Looking at all the crafting things you do encouraged me to hand make Christmas gifts, and the tried-and-tested recipes you post have taken the doubt out of dabbling with unfamiliar ingredients!

And now. . .

after a break of some 25 years I've begun knitting again- Another fine mess you've got me into!
It's all garter stitch, the wool is knobbly and forgiving and although its a vintage pattern the shape is simple enough even for me!

But then. . .

the bloggiest thing of all happened

I had to make a knitting bag to put my work in, photograph the whole lot and tell everyone what I'd done! 
thankyou from the bottom of my heart- I couldn't have done any of it without the support of all you fabulous people xx

Monday, August 15

thankyou Mighty Oak

Although this magnificent oak tree had remained standing
in the field near our house for some years,
he was alas quite dead
and became unstable due to a creeping fungus.

The sad decision was taken to fell before. . .
well before he fell

I couldn't bring myself to watch as he came down
but the noise was deafening as he crashed and broke
and his huge branches were swiftly dismembered with the chainsaw.

A prostrate tree is indeed a sorrowful sight

Walking over to pay my respects last night,
I was amazed to find embedded in his thick mossy bark
old white china and copper wire conductors
which brought the telephone line to our house
back in the 1950's!

How VERY modern our little home must've seemed back then
connected to the outside world for the first time
(we still have the original bell box in the hall-
it rings loud enough to waken the ghosts!)

The wires had quite a distance to travel
via their tree supports and were probably
quite vulnerable to high winds and storm damage.

Of course, the one good thing to come from
tree felling is a huge heap of Winter Warmth :0))

PS I wonder what our first phone number was?

Sunday, August 7

now why didn't I do that?

Two years ago, suffering (as we all do) from creaking Old Age, my very elderly washing machine began the slow descent to the scrap heap.

I hate changing appliances- it takes years to figure out the controls (yes I know, reading the instructions would help!)
I dread the upheaval of fitting non-standard sizes into an existing space, and finding the salesman is a mere CHILD speaking an incomprehensible teccy language

And of course, you've never quite got the required ££s without something else taking priority (like those GORGEOUS boots in the shop window!)

So we limped on with a tacit understanding that most programmes were out-of-bounds, but Boil Wash was a possibility (an onerous 3 hour cycle at the last attempt) and Woollens could be achieved by  deftly switching Speed Wash to Delicates at exactly 9-1/2 minutes past first rinse.

Not a bad compromise once you accept that hanging out un-spun clothes is an arm toning exercise and the surrounding lawn stays verdantly lush!

So, when Ted offered to do the washing during a particularly hectic week I explained the nitty-gritty in great detail; the 9-1/2 minute rule, the precise dial wiggle required, the gentle hand, the EXACT way the drum had to be loaded and the reverential Closing of the Door ceremony.
Perhaps it was unwise to omit the prayer ritual, but then hindsight is a luxury in which we shouldn't wallow!

It's surprising how the aroma of boiling Delicates can seep into your consciousness even when you're rummaging at the back of your girl-shed.

Rushing into the house I discovered Ted sitting amid a lake of sudsy water in the utility room, surrounded by some very small smalls, mangled sweatpants and discoloured tees, trying to wring out a sports bra that had shrivelled to the dimensions of a catapult (did he think if it was drip-dried I might not notice??)

They say that sometimes in a marriage words need not be spoken.
This was one of those moments.

I made a cup of tea. Ted said he was "going out".

Back in my shed, stomping about in a this-is-what-happens-someone-else-does-something-for-you-and-tries-to-help-but-just-makes-more-work sort of way, I heard noises in the drive as a LARGE box was unloaded from the pick-up. . .my lovely husband had gone straight out and bought a new washing machine :)))))))))
No teccy knowledge required- he'd just asked the nice man in our local shop what was the best value, easiest to use and in stock now.

Here it sits in all its glory.
I've read the instructions. Its easy-peasy! Its great! It washes all sorts of things on all sorts of programmes (I'd forgotten there WERE so many) it fits the existing space and actually, I think I like it more than those pre-season boots!
And I love my husband ;o)

PS you see the piece of board blocking the gap at the side?
blame Kit for bringing in a mouse last night. . .the machine had to be pulled out, mouse removed and released back into the garden. . .

PPS the freezer is making some very strange noises. Do you think. . .???

Tuesday, August 2

starting August as I mean to go on!

My best friend Julie arrived yesterday morning in her smart little silver and red Sports Car

(it always amazes me that such an unashamedly "townie" car survives the bumpy 4 x 4 track to our house!)

With the roof down on account of the unseasonably sunny weather (!) and feeling just like Thelma & Louise on an impromptu adventure, we set off along the winding Dorset country roads to have a picnic on Stoborough Heath

Overlooking the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle and watching steam trails from the Swanage Railway disperse above the trees,  we lunched on smoked salmon sarnies and fresh fruit salad, raising a toast to our girly giggles with glasses of elderflower presse

Arriving back home, we sat in the garden drinking tea and eating muffins, because despite spending all day together, we STILL had stuff to talk about (and yes, I did text her when she'd gone!)

A perfect day, a perfect start to August and a perfect friend. . .what more could anyone want?

wishing you all happy sunny and enjoyable days in August xx

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