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.
23/06/2018 § Leave a comment
It’s been a while and I’ve been busy – not too busy, just busy. The collies and I went to Cornwall for a week at the beginning of June and had fun. Misty is an old lady these days so we had very gentle walks around the harbour – not bad for a collie who, in human terms is almost 100 years old.
I had to invest in a towel (pink of course), for The Princess – Belle. She looked quite sorry for herself after swimming out to fetch her ball from the harbour slipway. She actually attracted a round of applause from holidaymakers on the quayside as she took several attempts!
On my long journey to the Lizard, I couldn’t resist following the signs for a Quilt Show. After finding a suitable shady spot for the collies, I went in to see the amazing show put on my Kernow Quilters. There were SO many beautiful quilts – it was inspirational.
Apart from my wonderful week away, enjoying the harbourside and the company of my friend who lives in Porthleven and is a fellow quilter, life has been trickling along and that’s just the way I like it! My garden has exploded with colour and my grandfather’s lily that I wrote about some years ago, is having a magnificent summer.
I’ll be back soon – enjoy the summer sunshine and do pop over to see my students’ work in the Adaliza’s Students’ Hall of Fame board on Pinterest.
18/02/2018 § 1 Comment
Spurred on by my visit to Welford House earlier in the week, today I sauntered off to visit two local gardens, opened under the National Garden Scheme.
I had no idea this movement began in 1927 inviting garden owners to open their exceptional gardens to the public for good causes, giving people unique access to some of Britain’s most beautiful, memorable gardens. They’ve raised over £50 million to help charities. The bright yellow notices have sprung up this weekend, rather like early daffodils and today’s gardens were a treat.
First, it was Brandy Mount House in Alresford …
Described as ‘an informal plantsman’s garden’ I loved the beautiful Spring bulbs and lovingly planted borders and alpine gardens. Whilst enjoying a sit down with a cuppa and a slice of excellent homemade cake (as you do), the scent of daphnes wafted through the air.
aaahhhhh – a hint of sunshine, pretty bulbs, stepping stone paths, alpine sink gardens and cake – a perfect start to a Sunday afternoon! I came away with a Magnolia Donna – I’ve never had a magnolia but I felt like a treat and back at home, having found some internet photos, I’m really looking forward to some beautiful flowers in a couple of months’ time.
Next it was off to Bramdean House. I’ve visited before, for the summer fete and it’s been fun to look back to that post and compare the photos, especially the borders that today were brown, with just a few valliant perennials sprouting up.
The 18th century Bramdean House and its 5 acre garden are beautiful. It has a somewhat faded glory and I can only imagine carriages drawing up to the front entrance, through the grand gateways that are now closed as the busy traffic rushes past. The house is protected from the road by billowing yew hedges, many yards wide.
Walking up from the old stable yard, the lawns with their mirror image borders, lead you through the immaculate walled vegetable garden to the orchard where there are beehives and an intriguing clock tower where nowadays time stands still!
Then I wandered along the grassy orchard paths and around every turn there were gateways, shelters, meandering paths, ancient brick walls and crocuses, growing, almost by accident beneath trees and shrubs, they looked as though they’ve bloomed here for hundreds of years.
I came away with 2 hellebore plants, as my afternoon visits have definitely inspired me to get going in the garden! Here’s hoping for some gentle sunshine and ssshhhhhh … do I hear a whisper that Spring might be just around the corner?
Enjoy your week
16/02/2018 § 5 Comments
Sunshine heralded a day for jaunting yesterday, so I took myself off and headed north. My destination was Welford Park, famous for snowdrops and most recently the venue for The Great British Bake Off . The lower lawn clearly showed the outline of the marquee in the grass and I just had to saunter down those steps!
The car park was already into its 2nd field when I arrived but despite the huge number of visitors, it didn’t feel at all crowded. It had rained all the previous day so I changed into my wellies, which were the perfect footwear, before trudging off where I was gently eased into the wonders of snowdrops …
I headed towards the woods, walking alongside the river and over a bridge then following a rustic path leading around the most magnificent carpet of snowdrops I’ve ever seen …
Unbelievable, awesome, stunning – words just don’t capture the magic of these tiny blooms when they grow in their millions …
I loved the sculptures too …
I’m not sure why the giraffe sculptures are significant – a family group of 4 marks the entrance to the house but they seem very happy and appear to be munching on the overhanging branches and looking over the garden wall. I just loved the snowdrop sculptures by the garden gate – there were 2 and they were so beautiful …
I looked up as I entered the walled garden entrance to see a booted let with a spur and it made me smile to remember how it came to be significant …
“The booted spur is the crest of the Eyre family. The origin of the crest is that an ancestor whilst fighting in battle lost his sword. Needing something to defend himself he grabbed the nearest weapon that he could find that turned out to be the severed and booted leg of a dead colleague. With this he successfully defended himself and lived to tell the tale.”
Ha ha – that’s a good story and I expect he dined out on it for the rest of his days!
What would your crest be?
The Rose Garden and Church were also beautiful set against that stunning winter sky.
Back at home, my own little snowdrops continue to delight …
the collies, appear to be reluctant to awake from their winter hibernation …
I tucked Misty up with her baby badger earlier in the week as she’d strained her shoulder whilst acting like a silly pup and forgetting she’s in her 14th year. I’m pleased to say that she’s almost fully recovered after a couple of days ‘basket rest’, tucked up by my feet as I’ve crocheted a small lap blanket to keep me warm in the evenings!
V-stitch crochet is the perfect way to use up scraps and hook up a useful little blanket. I used the left-overs from Vintage Rose which is still having its border hooked – photos next week hopefully!
I sent a larger Corner to Corner crochet blanket off to Dad, to keep his legs warm when he has a snooze by the fire, but forgot to take photos before I headed off to the Post Office, in a rush as always!
Have a lovely weekend and hope you find some snowdrops and sunshine.
Linking up with Finish it up Friday
08/01/2018 § 2 Comments
I did manage to stay up to see in the New Year – mainly to keep the collies company when the neighbours’ fireworks lit up the night sky. It was quite a display! Misty, these days is an old lady of 13 and was blissfully unaware of any of the bangers as she’s quite deaf. She used to have a bit of a bark at fireworks but in her quiet world it’s always peaceful, and she actually seems much happier and less anxious as a result.
Belle is now the main lookout and thinks she’s taken over as Chief of Defence, but she’s not as defensive as Misty used to be and instead of barking at the doorbell, comes running to tell me that I need to do something. It’s very amusing – she’s an intelligent and sensitive companion who reads me like a book though I have caught her napping on duty a couple of times recently …
Belle’s favourite ‘perch’ is on the back of the old sofa by the front window – it’s covered in throws and cushions and she just loves it up there.
Misty, meanwhile, gazes at me asking “What’s going on?”
The rug is new – a sale buy in Laura Ashley as was this …
an ex-display bargain and Belle WILL NOT be allowed on it. I have to collect it next month when they rearrange their showroom and I can’t wait. Maybe I should do some dog-training in the meantime!
My motto this year was an easy one to decide upon. Last Autumn I stopped off at the Tavistock Pannier Market on my way to Cornwall. As always, the talented Emma West’s stall drew me and I bought a porcelain tile – it really did sum up how I feel about life these days and I’ve decided to adopt it as my motto for this year …
I love the combination of textured linen, the stitched sentiment and the cool crisp porcelain – I keep it on my kitchen dresser.
In an attempt to be kinder to my insides as well, I often start the day with a smoothie. This morning’s consisted of a banana, a pear, persimmon, a good inch of ginger root, beetroot and orange juice and a generous handful of oatmeal for extra fibre …
One of these fills me up as a breakfast for much longer than toast or boxed cereals. If I’m going out then I usually have porridge with fruit on top which keeps me fuelled for even longer,
I saw in the New Year having (with minutes to go) finished a 2nd corner to corner blanket – it’s Strawberry Moon II made with the same Sirdar Aura that my original Strawberry Moon was made with in Cornwall last year. I’ve since added a simple border to each blanket. The 2nd one is a present but I won’t say for whom just yet, though I suspect she can guess!
For SMII I used just the pink and dark red colourway whereas in mine I added a blue colourway too – to remind me of the Cornish sea. I’ve had a daily fix of my beloved Porthleven thanks to a webcam that’s been installed at a local holiday cottage company. It’s here if you fancy seeing what the tide’s doing. I was pleased to see that the snowman with paddle arms survived our recent Storm Eleanor.
I’m off out for a jaunt now. Next week I hope to bring you photos of the garden and some snowdrops and catkins – I can’t believe how nature springs back into action after a winter’s snooze – maybe we should all follow her lead, whilst being kind to ourselves!
30/12/2017 § 6 Comments
quick catch up.
Since November, time seems to have absolutely flown by and whilst I’ve been clicking away on my camera and phone, nothing has made it to my blog, so here’s a lightning whizz – Open Studio, students, Kaffe Fassett, my old home, new quilts – here goes …
The Kaffe Fassett exhibition which has been at Mottisfont Abbey since September and ends in January, has been the destination for many of my excursions over recent months. I can’t get enough of his fabrics, colours and designs. I went to see him give a lecture back at the end of November and it was interesting to hear what inspired him – by coincidence, many of the same things that inspire me.
I have other photos on my phone of the Salisbury Christmas market where I spent a bone-chilling 4 days at the beginning of December – admittedly my chalet was better insulated than most as there were quilts hanging up all around the inside. There was a lovely atmosphere though I could cheerfully have throttled a lifesize model Santa Claus who waded through the same few songs whenever anybody walked past and his sensor set him off! I was seriously in dispute with him about it being ‘the most wonderful time of the year’!!
Since Christmas Day when J2 and I spent a very peaceful time together, I’ve seen a few friends from near and far, which is always special at this time of year. I do enjoy the company of friends.
Winchester has yet again missed all the snow for which I’m disappointed and relieved in equal measure.
I’m looking forward to some quiet quilting and gentle planning of projects for the new year and wish you all Blwyddyn Newydd Dda (Happy New Year).
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
18/06/2017 § 2 Comments
Broad Street, Alresford
Today, on the hottest day of the year so far in Alresford – a pretty market town just a few miles from Winchester – many residents of the aptly named Broad Street opened their garden gates and WOW was it a surprise just what hides behind those elegant facades.
It was extraordinary and a wonderful way to spend Sunday afternoon. Many gardens are incredibly long with different ‘rooms’ to meander through. Towards the lower end of the street, the gardens back onto the river and 12th century bridge. There are courtyards and terraces, summerhouses and thatched outhouses. So much to see and then of course, there are the plants and flowers – so beautiful and so many different styles of planting.
In one back garden, there was a covered walkway between the house and annexe with a chain downpipe linked up to a water feature. I definitely want one of those next time I build a summerhouse!
I have enjoyed the afternoon though it was mighty HOT. During the week I spent an evening at Mottisfont in the world famous walled rose gardens. More pictures next time. Hampshire is a wonderful county, with so much to see and enjoy. I’m jaunting west next week so expect some more photos with boats!
PS :: Thank you Clare for reminding me about the cake – how could I forget? Yes, there were lots of cake stalls and plant stalls as well as a duck race at a local very large house, though that wasn’t officially part of the Open Gardens. My friend and I had 2 slices of Victoria Sponge, both were outstanding. We fairly waddled around those gardens after that!
09/06/2017 § 1 Comment
June’s full moon is called the Strawberry Moon. I’ve been out, down to the headland overlooking Mounts Bay here in Cornwall tonight, but there’s thick cloud and a bit of drizzle in the air so it seems the full moon is shy tonight.
I’ve named my new crochet blanket Strawberry Moon as the colours are like crushed strawberries and cream (clotted of course), with blues and soft misty greys, warm reds and soft pinks.
Earlier on this evening before the drizzle set in, I took Strawberry Moon for a short walk from the seaside cottage where she’s been hooked up this week, to the harbour for some photos. She attracted quite a bit of attention! I used Sirdar Aura in shades 130, 131 and 132 where the soft colours blend and flow through the yarn like the ebb and flow of the waves under a summer sunset. A 6.5 hook and corner to corner crochet meant the first rows grew fast then as I reached just over 1.8m on the 2 sides, progress was slower but just as relaxing and enjoyable.
I’ve loved making this blanket that will forever remind me of my June holiday in Porthleven, when the Strawberry Moon hid behind the clouds but my memories kept me warm!
01/11/2016 § 1 Comment
Today is the first of November and feels SO different from yesterday. October left us in a blaze of golden sunshine, with carpets of crisp leaves underfoot and the warmth of the sun on our faces. Both yesterday and today I gently strolled around Farley Mount – the local country park – with the collies, but how different the atmosphere between those two days. Today was dank, gloomy and quite chilly in contrast to the glorious gold of yesterday.
Gentle strolls are all I can manage as I’ve had/still got a horrible ‘bug’ that is laying me quite low. I have no energy and a killer sore throat that just won’t go away. In truth, I think the past few weeks with the boys going off in opposite directions around the world and the exhausting trip to Wales has taken its toll and I probably need to rest and recuperate. I haven’t even done any sewing – for a whole week – oh dear!
So homemade chicken broth with homemade bread and stewed apples from the garden with comforting custard are on the menu with a constantly topped up mug of my mother’s special drink.
Whenever anyone felt under the weather when I was growing up, Mum would make one of her ‘special drinks’. They consisted of melted jam and honey in hot water, fresh lemon juice, cloves, matchsticks of fresh ginger and a teaspoon of cider vinegar all swirled around by a cinnamon stick. I made them for the boys (who both had this bug when they were home recently) and now I’m making them for myself. It has been known that for a dash of whisky to be added at bedtime!!
I’ve been having a bit of a jelly-fest over recent weeks, trying to use up all the apples from the garden and so I’ve been delving into jars of Rosehip Jelly, Hedgerow Jelly, Bramble Jelly and Rosemary Jelly for my drinks. Rosehip jelly is the gentlest pink colour – quite beautiful.
I’ll line up and label all my jars of preserves very soon, as hopefully it won’t long until I’m feeling more energetic again.