Lovin” The Green. Morning of the First Day

I can’t believe how green it is here in England! After being so used to brown and white, it is almost a shock to the eyes. But I’m sure I will survive……. with pleasure.

As I arrived late at night, my first view of the outdoors was Heather and Graham’s back yard…….

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I was already in love. And then we took the dog for a walk…just behind their house. You have to love these small villages where you are never far from the fields..

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We walked to the centre of town for breakfast at the deli….. It is quite a tiny place, but has an amazing treasure trove of wonderful products….and many of them locally produced. After buying some cheese, we walked by the old church

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And bought bread at the bakery

20140419-104943.jpgand vegetables at the green grocer. Here are some interesting wild mushrooms.

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Here are a few other photos of Chalfont St. Giles

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Beautiful place, and friendly people. What a great place to visit!

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Branches Entwined – no Corner stars

Branches Entwined - no Corner stars

Here is what that quilt would look like with no bright stars in the corners, and the centre brightened up to what it really looks like…..

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On The Horns Of A Dilemma

The past two days, I have been quilting – it has been great.

It took me three years to do the applique on nine blocks for my Branches Entwined quilt. I am determined that it won’t take me that long to complete the quilt now.  I already had some of the piecing done for the sashing – so I trimmed the blocks -

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Made the sashing units -2014-04-04 12.15.47

 

And attached them.2014-04-04 13.51.54

 

It took two tries to get the nine block units all sewn together – I always seem to be able to put something on backwards or up-side-down.  However, this morning – ta-da!!! Here is the top so far. P1080445

 

Now, you can see that it is pretty small for my bed.

The sashing – as per the instructions – would add about 9 inches all around – with the black border being scalloped. Now, here is the dilemma.   Do I do as the pattern says, and have a small quilt ?P1080296

 

Do I add an extra dark border next to the pieced blocks – giving me a few extra inches ?P1080446

 

OR – do I design a matching appliqued border all around, making it considerably larger?

I am kind of ready to be done and finished with this project, but after all the hours and pricked fingers that went into it, I want to be happy with the finished quilt.

I would love some input on this………

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Around And About…. Thoughts and Dreams of Spring

When I was a child, my favorite Little Golden Book was “Around And About Buttercup Farm”, and I have always thought that title had such an engaging ring to it.

Two weeks ago, however, we were wandering around Strawberry Hills, and the surrounding area. The sun was shining, the air was warm……. One could almost be forgiven for thinking that spring was in the air.    It was Saturday afternoon, and I dragged David away from his computer for a walk in the woods.

I have never before seen icicles on a snow drift like this – but here it happens quite often.IMG_7651

 

In the woods, there was still a lot of snow.IMG_7658

 

David tried a narrow path,IMG_7652

but stepped off the trodden bit – and was up past his knees in snow…… looks like there is still lots.IMG_7656

 

Back on the street – here is a dacha still covered in snow.IMG_7661

 

 

Snoopy made a friend along the way.  IMG_7672

This cute little guy followed us all the way home, and he and Snoopy had a great time running on the snow banks.  quite a Mutt and Jeff team, with Snoopy’s long legs and this guys short ones.  He did leave us and return home when we got into Strawberry hills though.

When we got to the main road, muddy water was running down and mixing with the snow still on the top…IMG_7662

 

and farther down, the pot holes are showing now they are no longer filled with ice.IMG_7664

 

They say spring is still not here – and we could have blizzards in April or even May (sounds a lot like the Canadian Prairies where we are from), but this was a welcome reminder that it will come after all.

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Finished…..

OK – only the applique, not a whole quilt top.

But I began this hand applique project while I was still in Oman, and needed something to take with me when we went back to Canada for summer holidays….. that makes it about June 2011.

Nine blocks – many pieces.  I prepared them, and have been working on them since then.  Not always, and even when travelling, sometimes I have been reading instead of sewing.  

They became my hand project for crafty-friends get-togethers in both Norway and now here in Sakhalin.  And now, they have finally been completed.

Here is the last leaf to go on…IMG_7630

 

And the whole nine blocks, set out in order.P1080292

 

I already have some of the piecing done for the sashing, so hopefully soon I will be showing you a completed top.

Until then – here is the photo in the magazine.P1080296

So excited to be this close to having it done.

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Here We Go Froggy Loo……

I think I must be dyslexic after all.  Not in reading – I can keep the letters from dancing before my eyes most of the time, but give me a quilt setting diagram, and I seem unable to keep the blocks from twisting and turning and  doing the odd do-si-do around the ring. And then one of my stable of seam rippers makes its timely appearance, and I get to sew the seams all over again.

I spent most of yesterday sewing… it was pure heaven.  I have been working on this mystery quilt from Craftsy for about a year – it was one of the projects I began with the idea of working on it while I was waiting for our container to arrive last spring.  As luck would have it, I was out of the country the whole time, and away from my sewing machine.

I call this Polka Dot Passion – I have never used polka dots before, and I fell in love with these cheerful explosions of colour.  In fact – only the turquoise and white are not spotted.

I had finally arrived at the stage where the blocks all go together.  With no place to hang my large design wall, I set up two quarters of the quilt to assemble, and then the other two.  Here is the folded block placement diagram -IMG_7616

I had already dismantled most of it before, as the blocks had mysteriously turned around when I transferred them from design board to sewing machine, and I was looking forward to getting this done. My faithful helper was in the doorway, protecting me from intruders -P1080238

 

Here we are…… two quarters finished. P1080240

Now check the centre blocks – lower right on the one on the board….. and compare it to the diagram.  I didn’t see it until I was setting out the other two quarters, and had too many of one block and not enough of the other.P1080241

Darn – back to the seam ripper……. singing “Here we go froggy-loo, here we go froggy-lie”.  for those non-quilters among you, tearing out stitches is commonly called “frogging” – you know “rip-it, rip-it”P1080244

Fortunately, there wasn’t much to do….. soon fixed, P1080245

and you can believe that I was ultra careful with the other two quadrants of the quilt.P1080246

Here is the completed top.   P1080254

The pattern didn’t call for borders, but this double-queen size quilt is way too small.  I have a bit of fabric left, so now I am busy designing borders to finish it off. IMG_7617

Then it will go into the pile of tops awaiting the setting up of my quilting frame.

I am getting impatient to begin quilting – so I had better get serious about sewing…… and no more frogging – OK?

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Sometimes….

it isn’t easy being lazy.  Take this morning, for example.

- I need a few groceries – the kind I can usually get from the local shop which                 opens at 9 am.                                                                                                                                  - Snoopy needs to go for a walk. He is starting to walk with his legs crossed.              -  - I want to stay inside and sew all day.                                                                                       – It is quite nasty out, with fine snow falling and fairly strong winds.

Snoopy MUST go out, so the obvious solution is to bundle up against the cold (I am still a bit of a wimp after my 5 years in the Middle East) and walk him, arriving at the shop at the stroke of 9 am to pick up my few groceries.  But that is almost 40 minutes from now…Yikes!

That being said, thanks to diligent shopping in Norway last year, I am fully equipped with winter gear able to withstand more frigid temperatures than the current – 10 C , but with wind chill – 20C.  On go the ski pants, Heavy down parka and leather mitts to cut the wind. Up goes the hood.  I have really discovered why there is thick fur along the edge – it is amazing how much it cuts the wind and protects my face from its icy bite.

And off we go.  Of course, Snoopy, my intrepid desert dog, is impervious to wind and cold. He gallops along, often far ahead of me, then stops to make sure I’m still coming.  He climbs snow banks and eats the snow.  He decides that the only place to do his business in the middle of a small rose bush, strategically placed where it really DOES need to be picked up.  He lollops along, smiling, his ears flopping madly.

We went up and down every street in the Moonlight side of the complex.  The fine snow is drifting along the streetsIMG_7613

 

and into every crevice and cranny – including a few unusual ones -IMG_7609

 

We go by the huge snow pile where the workers have blown snow collected in the streets – notice the tops of the trees – probably 30 feet high…IMG_7604

 

The sun is valiantly trying to pierce its way through the clouds, but to no avail.IMG_7606

 

I made it back to the shop at 9:02….. and they had no tomatoes out yet!  Still, I did get everything else, and headed straight home with my purchases. Total time – 54 minutes.  Total distance – 2.46 miles.

I’m off upstairs to sew now….. I guess I’ll try for tomatoes this afternoon.  That darn dog will need to go out then as well.

-

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