02/11/2018 § 4 Comments
I’m behind with blogging, but just about keeping up with the pace of life – it’s good to be busy – right? I’ve always hated those ’round robin’ year end, long rambling notes that people put in with their Christmas cards so I’m not going to bore you with what happened when, but here are a few wonderful moments from our amazing summer and autumn …
in no particular order (as the Strictly saying goes) …
Summer Tea Party for my students – bring a quilt.
We had our very own mini Festival of Quilts!
Hampshire Open Studio – August 2018
J2, J1 and *C* – all 3 of them together – a very rare occurrence!!
Students with their workshops makes, new kits and holiday makes
It’s been busy, peaceful, amazing, sunny, satisfying, fulfilling, funny, flowery and now it’s getting cosy, snuggly, chilly and at times quite exciting. It’s my birthday on Bonfire Night and it’s one of those with a ‘0’ at the end – fortunately, in my head I’m still about 25 – long may that last!
Have a great firework night, if you’re here in the UK and I hope to be back before too long.
01/07/2018 § 7 Comments
Trefin is a village on the north coast of Pembrokeshire. My great-grandfather James Price, stonemason, lived there with his wife Rachel and raised his family there. My grandfather, William Price was his eldest son and at the time of James’ death, aged just 42, Will was working as his apprentice.
I’ve grown up always knowing that ‘my great-grandfather built the slate gateposts for Capel Trefin’. Whenever we visited Pembrokeshire we would stop and ‘touch the gateposts’. Over the years, the Chapel began to fall into disrepair but a few years ago, on a trip with my father, we saw a sign saying the Chapel was open to the public.
It is now a heritage centre for the village of Trefin and the doors are often open to allow everyone some peace and tranquility and to glimpse this imposing building’s glory. The outer shell has undergone extensive work and inside, the lime plaster and restoration has breathed new life into the once very tired building. As I walked around, I had an idea to make a quilt for the Chapel and approached the owner. As we chatted via email, he mentioned the frame behind the pulpit and my mind began whirring with ideas for a textile collage, instead of a quilt.
The plaster frame is long – over 1.5m and narrow – about 0.5m. That’s a difficult shape to work with but almost immediately I could imagine what I wanted to do. The owner and I agreed a target date by which the panel should be on display and this gave me many months, though in truth I like a deadline so I can focus over a shorter period. I always have a deadline, and then a few weeks before that, my own date for completion. I met both, with some serious stitching on my little Janome 525S. As regular readers will know I have 2 big Janome Horizon machines that I (and my students) absolutely love but they don’t like doing freehand, however, the little 525 took on the job and stitched along very merrily – literally millions of stitches.
Fibre art, or textile collage is my new favourite sewing pastime. For a panel of this size, it takes a lot of planning – and a lot of scraps. The process is complicated –
- To begin, I drew the shape and then simply ‘colour-blocked’ it with scrap fabric.
- The next stage took longer – every section was covered with minute scraps and then covered with a soluble film and stitched – tiny, tiny freehand stitching on machine (photo 1 above). It looked like a misty, washed-out mess. Then it was soaked in the bath to remove the soluble film and to tell the truth, it then looked even worse!
- As I started to add the details, the buildings and landscape took shape, building the gateposts in exactly the same pattern as my great-grandfather (I’d taken lots of photos), even adding in a few mossy bits where they grow. This part of the project was both satisfying and painstaking.
- I wanted the door of the Capel to be open, and the gate too. I needed to add colour and some words from the famous poem Melin Trefin, written about the old ruined mill, where the millstone still sits. Sharon Larkin Jones, who describes herself as ‘passionate about Wales, its language, literature and history’ has written a wonderful post about the Welsh poem, with translation and photographs.
There are some very personal details – the slate bench above the beach where Dad and I have enjoyed many a sit down and the stunning view out to sea, the village pump where Dad as a little boy would fetch water for his family who lived in the house by the pump. The family house in the top left of the collage, is speckled with tiny yellow crocus flowers. James and Rachel’s headstone in a nearby cemetery is an imposing red marble memorial, carved with crocus flowers. I wonder whether that’s because he passed away in February 1906 when the flowers are in bloom.
My father, who spent all his school holidays in Trefin with his family, tells the story that as a tiny baby his mother made up a cot from a large chest drawer, in which he slept in the upstairs room on the left. His aunt kept the village Post Office from the front room of the house, with her sister keeping a small-holding on the fields behind. There are lots more family stories and we hope to record Dad retelling them on our next visit.
I hope the locals and visitors like the panel. Although it now lives in Capel Trefin, I couldn’t quite bear to just hand it over, so it’s on permanent loan to the heritage centre. If you’re visiting Pembrokeshire, in west Wales, do pop in and see it.
18/03/2018 § 3 Comments
I awoke early this morning and before I left the warmth of my blanketed, quilted nest, I pondered, from the outside light through the curtains, whether it had snowed during the night. You know that sort of white light that glows when it’s snowed and the silence – yes, it had snowed!
Oh my goodness – what a surprise to see so many inches of the white stuff and amazing to see the cherry tree, where the blossom had burst from buds just a day ago, covered with a liberal sprinkling of snow. That’s a first.
The view out over the garden, from my upstairs studio – and talking of studios …
how cosy does that look?
The studio where I teach my workshops looks like the prettiest place to sew, this morning!
and my favourite view of my home – from the bottom of the garden,
beyond the apple trees.
I remember on the day we moved in, when I was 7 months into expecting our 3rd baby, my darling and I stood here looking up at the house and couldn’t believe it was ours. The house is much larger now, he’s not here in body though I like to think he’s never far away, the children are adults and our home has been shared by 3 dogs and a duck over the years. And mornings like today’s are special and to be remembered, with the mistletoe growing in the apple tree and spring blossom and bulbs beneath a blanket of magical snow.
Stay warm – blankety, quilty nests are to be recommended for days like today!
02/03/2018 § 7 Comments
It’s been absolutely freezing here this past week. Siberian chill and lots of snow! Fortunately the house is warm but workshops have been cancelled due to the weather and even though there wasn’t too much snow on Wednesday morning, we had a power cut so the studio was freezing inside and out.
It’s been pretty though – proper Christmas card snowy scenes and I’ve loved the magic of the light, snowflakes, scrunching snow under wellies, snow-crusted collies and the activities of the garden birds who I’ve been feeding 3 times a day!
And, it’s been perfect weather for quilting – I’ve been busy …
I can’t tell you for how many years I’ve longed to be able to photograph quilts in the snow. I pore, with envy, through photographs of my US and Canadian quilting friends’ quilts, laid out on a magical snowy blanket. So, I’ve been quilting like a fiend this week and have waited all day for it to stop snowing, then donned hat, gloves, coat, boots and clickety clicked away – I’m so in love with quilts in the snow.
The Sunday market in Winchester is apparently still going ahead though I’ll update my website events page, if it’s cancelled.
Stay warm and toasty
linking up with Finish it up Friday
09/08/2017 § 2 Comments
I didn’t think we’d need an ark!
I can’t believe it’s almost 2 months’ since I treated myself to a jaunt to North Devon – and my beloved Lynmouth. A few treasures came home with me including the little weather house and clock. They remind me of my childhood and so many happy times spent in this picturesque village by the sea.
My grandfather used to come on holiday with us when we lived in Cardiff and he always bought me little presents like the weather house. The little lady was out in her garden all the time when I was away, and right up till the beginning of the school holidays. The little man has been out ever since!
I haven’t wound the clock since I bought it – and it ticked for 3 days – all the way home in the boot of the car. It was like driving a time-bomb!! Oh, I do love a bit of nostalgia and now that they’re hanging on the wall in my studio, I feel as though I’m about 8 years old – every day.
Wall-to-wall sunshine and a heatwave lasted throughout my mini holiday. So here are some blue skies to remind us all that it is still summer …
View from my room at The Bath Hotel – what a treat to wake up to this every morning
Glen Lyn boats in their blue livery
Lorna Doone Farm, Malmsmead – where I first sat on a horse, when I was about 18 months old
Oare Church where, in RD Blackmore’s famous romantic novel, Lorna Doone was shot on her wedding day.
I encountered a small herd of Exmoor ponies during an evening drive around the moor. Mares and foals enjoying the warmth of the summer sun on their backs on the longest day of the year.
Then a brief visit to the National Trust village of Selworthy as I wound my way home.
The waves of nostalgia that I encountered on that trip rather took me by surprise. As a family, we share a history with Lynmouth. My mother stayed in the village as a child, with her parents. When they were ‘courting’ Mum & Dad used to catch the steamer from Wales and cross the channel for day excursions then when they married, holidayed there regularly with their friends and my uncle. When I was born, we visited every year until I was almost a teenager. I took my husband to Lynmouth, before we were married and then again when our children were young. More recently, we visited in our motorhome.
This was my first ever trip on my own and the memories swept me – almost off my feet. But not in a bad way – Lynmouth will always be dear to me and I felt peaceful and happy as I wandered around the village and caught the familiar cliff railway up to Lynton. I always thought that I’d live there, but increasingly over recent years, I feel rooted in Winchester and my home is here. Coming home was good – though the weather took a turn and hasn’t turned back – yet!
Tomorrow promises sunshine – let’s keep everything crossed, shall we? I have a quilt to finish and I rather fancy sitting out in the sunshine and doing some gentle stitching.
Enjoy the summer – and your holidays
21/04/2017 § 2 Comments
Amaryllis, bluebells, tulips, apple blossom, cherry blossom – it’s all happening!
I ventured to Bath to snatch a couple of hours of ‘me time’ and to break up my recent journey to Wales. The weather was wonderful and the clip clop of hooves as the horse-drawn taxi trotted by, made my visit even more special – I so love Bath.
The amaryllis – a surprise from my daughter, to welcome me back home – arrived in a massive box and the fat buds opened into the most magnificent blooms.
Apple blossom & bluebells – well, need I say more – sheer perfection.
And cushions – I’m on a cushion-making mission at the moment with some fairly large fairs looming this month and next. I even treated myself to a new (but very old) sewing machine yesterday – one that loves doing freehand embroidery – so there’ll be some more cushion posts shortly.
The weather has been awesome. A long dry spell for about a month has meant that the water butts I installed last year are in use most days for watering the seedlings in the greenhouse. Ah Spring – such magic!
Enjoy everything, wherever you are.
09/03/2017 § 1 Comment
27/10/2016 § Leave a comment
Awesome animation, Jack. Totally awesome!
This is a link to my son’s blog where his latest animation is featured:
18/07/2016 § 5 Comments
Yesterday, I relived some of the happiest memories ever when I revisited Lainston House Hotel in the village of Sparsholt, near Winchester. Happy memories – indeed – it’s where we held our wedding reception many years ago and it was a day I hold right up there amongst the best in my life!
Gosh, I was a skinny thing in those days! The avenue of trees stretches down from the front lawn of the house with spectacular views of the Hampshire countryside.
I wasn’t just visiting yesterday though, a Family Food Festival had been organised and I was a stallholder …
Flora came too – on a cushion!
A stage had been set up on the front lawn and the Military Wives Choir and Military Band entertained the crowds. On the South Lawn a demonstration area had been set up for cookery demonstrations throughout the day. It was SO busy – everyone had a wonderful time and on my way home, I had a wander around the grounds and discovered a wonderful garden, planted since our special day with borders in full and glorious bloom …
Oh, it was a good day! So many lovely people to talk to, friends popping by to say hello throughout the day too. Hope you had a lovely Sunday – we’re having a mini heatwave here at the moment and I’m cutting out quilt kits on the patio in the sunshine. What a way to spend a day!
I’ll be back with photos of my latest quilts, very soon.
28/03/2016 § 4 Comments
Two of the children have been home for the Easter holiday – C our eldest and only daughter and J2 our youngest and 2nd son. J1 is here and there in South-East Asia and we all missed him though we’re in touch almost every day thanks to the wonders of modern technology.
It’s been wonderful to spend a quiet few days, enjoying each others’ company, walking the collies, some retail therapy with C and for me, the joy of cooking up some simple suppers in my new kitchen. We, as a family, have a very easy-going attitude to most events and at last I delivered on the promise of a special birthday cake for C – very belatedly!
The cake didn’t last long. We’ve rechristened J2 ‘The Cake Monster’ – this wasn’t the only cake I baked over the weekend and the chocolate sponge that followed the birthday cake didn’t last more than a few hours!
The kitchen has been brilliant to use and the cupboards, all stacked up with pretty dishes and glasses make me smile every time I open them (I’ve NEVER had tidy cupboards in the kitchen before, but it’s wonderful) …
This evening we enjoyed left-overs made into pasties, with salad – such comfort food!
The collies are wandering around, hoping to find somebody to make a fuss of them in every room, but they’ll have to make do with me as C and J2 have both left for the station to travel up the line back to their city pads. It’s been a wonderful weekend – simple pleasures!
I hope your Easter time has been everything you hoped for.
Back to business in the morning!