Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas everyone

Time passes so quickly and it's been quite a while since I blogged.
Since June I've been stuck with my nose in various books, studying, creating reports and doing all things necessary to work towards my next qualification. I've not forgotten any of you and need to tell you that being able to snatch time and read your posts has helped to keep my sanity.

There has not been much sewing done but in due course this will change and then I'll have lots more to show you. In the meantime, let us

wish you all a very Merry Christmas
blessed and productive New Year.

With love, Wendz, Enman, Harry Pie and Missus

Edit: I don't know what blogger is up to ... this post has only published on 2nd Jan 2012 even though it was sent to publish on 23rd December 2011. Hope you've all been blessed.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Lots and nothing

Sorry to say that I've been a right klutz and misery guts the last couple of weeks. By nature I withdraw when things get tough 'cause I don't want sympathy, just the time to heal. Somewhere in my body two nerves are trapped. One has been like that for about a year now and makes my left thigh numb except for when I walk uphill, then it feels like a knife twisting in the muscle. The other one started with simply getting into bed, out of nowhere a muscle spasm across my neck and right shoulder and that was it. Continuous pain across my shoulder, down my right arm and numb/tingling in my right hand and, I am right handed. It has been so frustrating.

(Photo of Rusty and I taken 15 Sept 2008)

Inbetween this I've enjoyed another birthday. Even though it has also been a year since my brother died, I've made a conscious decision not to make that event an annual memorial but to think of him daily as I did when he was alive.

My man has been so tolerant and tried his bestest to create escapes and activities that we can do. Imagine, one of our dates was a morning at the local garden centre. Does it sound boring / old? We don't think so and it was great, walking up and down various areas set out with colourful flowery plants, tall palms, roses, azaleas, rows and rows of seedlings in trays, garden ornaments like gnomes, cats, meerkats, rabbits and moles. This garden centre also stocks clothing, wellies, lights, chic and shabby decor stuff and tiles like this one.

It was quality time together plotting and planning plants for the garden. At dinner time we went over to the restaurant section and we had the loveliest, tastiest kitchen garden soup with fresh crusty rolls. [Thought: Mmmm, might have to go back for that]

After the garden shop we went onto a pet shop ... fatal .... there are always the cutest hamsters, bunnies, birds, fish, the odd snake, spider (ugh) and then for the first time I saw a chipmunk!

Aren't they just the cutests ever!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Happy Easter Everyone

I had the day off today and was quite selfish about how I spent my time. Firstly I had some quilting bee blocks to catch up on. April is April's turn and she has chosen to make the Swiss 'Chocolate by Amanda Murphy' quilt, the pattern for which is free and can be found here. I've enjoyed making them and may just use this block pattern (without the petals) myself.

Once that was done it was time for a walk and to take in the tranquility of the fishing area and blue bells in the woods. Harry couldn't contain himself and had such fun running left and right, sniffing and .... no, he didn't mark once!

It's incredible to believe that this expanse of water was almost totally frozen over in winter. Then it was eery with a misty haze but today it was warm and the sun streamed through the branches that had new leaves, some open and some still in the process of growing buds.

If you click on this photo it will open to it's full size. I just can't ever get enough of these types of scenes and love how the blue bells form a carpet of colour.

While many of you will be at home enjoying your Easter relaxing I will be at work and so I'm going to take this chance to wish you all a Very Happy Easter.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A really Lucky Win

Colleen over at Lucky Duck Dreams hosted a Quilt Fiesta! giveaway. This book written by Cheryl Lynch is so right up my alley as I'm one of those people that block pathways because I'm taking photo's of brick and tile patterns on floors and walls. It drives Enman mad and frustrates folk who just don't understand that these patterns are my inspiration.

Cheryl inscribed and signed the front page .... ooooooh, I'm just so chuffed.

The book is a record with photographs of her journey learning about mexican tiles. For each of the tiles she has a pattern, with variations in colour, layout and technique - applique and piecing.

Decisions, decisions. May is my month is the Sew2speak quilting bea and I think I might choose a block from those offered in this book, the problem is, which one. They are all so great.

Thank you Colleen.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Once upon a time ...

That's how long ago, it seems, that I made this quilt. It was a Thank You to a very special friend who helped me when I'd needed emergency surgery to remove a renegade ovary and was home within 24 hours, stuck in bed with no help. She selflessly came to see me every day and made sure there were meals, made cups of tea, got my laundry done and generally made sure I was OK.

While I lay in bed, only able to read, (and think,) I was able to formulate the pattern. In one of our many conversations she'd said that she wanted a new quilt for her round kitchen dining table and when I heard this I knew what had to be done. To ensure that it was something she would be happy with I would engage her to 'help' with colour choice, fabric choice and layout decisions every time she visited. Whereas I've always been a little conservative with colour choice, it would be fair to describe her as bold.

This quilt has been witness to many early morning cups of tea, bacon and egg sandwich breakfasts, bright sunshine streaming through the windows, quilting group get togethers, summer salad lunchtimes and soup and toast in winter, sociable evening buffets or her particularly delicious oxtail. Mmmmmmm, she is a good cook and wonderful hostess and it pleases me to see it, faded, but still well loved, gracing this corner hostess trolley in her conservatory.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


In 1997 this cushion was a birthday gift from my old home group in South Africa. It has three dragonflies embroidered in the middle and the names of the members of the group around the sides. The day I unwrapped it, it made me so heartsore and homesick and reminded me of the special people I miss so much. (Yes, I cried.)

At an inaugoral meeting of the group many years ago we decided to call ourselves 'The Dragonflies'. In Afrikaans, a South African language that is most similar to Flemish, dragonflies are called 'naaldestekers' which directly translated into English means 'needle sticks'. So whever we go back to South Africa on holiday I try and make a point of getting to see them, usually at the fortnightly get together at someones home.

If I remember correctly, this is Maureen's quilt (she is always smiling!). Looks similar to the Bento Box pattern. Maureen is one of those disciplined people who are able to do only one thing at a time and finish each project before starting the next one. Oh, looking at my pile of UFO's I so wish I could be like that.

This brightly coloured quilt is by a new(ish) member, Lorraine. I had only met her once before and she just seems to have fitted in seamlessly into the group. I'm so pleased because in the last year 2 of the original members have 'retired'. More on them later.

This quilt is Penny's, she is on the right. Apparently Maureen (on the left) also made a similar quilt. Maureen told us that they have a book with a whole load (about 100) of block patterns and they had each made a quilt using blocks from the book. I don't know the name of the book but will email her to ask if anyone is interested. After the Show-and-tell Penny explained that the quilt on the left was made using a Jelly Roll that had been a gift to her.

These ladies are very gifted and have produced some really beautiful quilts. I'm going to see if I can dig out some old pictures to show you in future posts. I was the baby in the group and they were always so supportive and caring when I was having 'single mom hiccups' all those years ago.

Edit: Maureen tells me that:

"the book is called:
Sylvia's Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts, by Jennifer Chiaverini.
ISBN 978-1-57120-655-8

There are 140 blocks. I only made 41 and Penny made 42 - difference is mine was on point and hers was not."

Thanks Maureen

Saturday, 5 March 2011

With permission

While showing Mrs P, my animal loving chum that we stayed with while on holiday in South Africa, what Flickr was all about and braggingly showing her all the lovely mug rugs you've all made, we came across the original of this one. Mrs P loved it and loved the concept of the mug rug as well so we wrote and asked permission to copy it and before long we received a reply from Lena saying "Please do!"

Mrs P produced her salad bowl of scraps (yes, she keeps them in a humungous see through salad bowl) and while she quilted a quilt for another friends grandson, I ran this one up. It was fun and now lies on her bedside cupboard ready for her morning mug of tea while she reads her scheduled 50 pages of one of her latest book club book before getting up.

Thank you Lena.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

South Africa in bloom

Visiting in the summer meant we got to see most gardens at their very best. The warm and dry weather conditions mean that keeping your garden colourful and in flower is not the easiest task and you need to water often. These bougainvilla which come in many colours and have a papery feel to them thrive in the heat.

The Cape Doves take shelter on the bird feeder which is hanging in dappled shade underneath a large oak tree. The plant behind them is commonly known as an air plant. This one is hooked onto the branches of the oak tree. It grows by taking moisture from the air and doesn't harm its host or surroundings at all.
These beauties are commonly referred to as Everlasting flowers. They come up after the rains and the flowers are either white or pink. It is illegal to pick them although many folk do. As their name suggests, they do last a long long time. I know because when we were children we picked some and I still have them.
The last piccie for today is of these beautiful frangipani. It has the most awesome, albeit sweet, perfume and is so delicate. They look like marshmallows that have been cut up.

Till next time, xx

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Long journey

At the beginning of February this little Fokker took us from Yorkshire to Amsterdam where we boarded a Boeing 777-200 aeroplane that seats 318 people and flew to Cape Town. We left home at 4am and landed in Cape Town at 11pm the same day, taking the time zone change into account it took 12 hours to cover the 9697 kilometres between Amsterdam and Cape Town. The moment we stepped off the plane a wave of really warm air hit us. It was a great feeling and very different to the weather conditions we left behind in Yorkshire.

There were many people that I wanted to see but my son was top of the list. It was wonderful to see him again and chat face to face, catching up on where his life is headed. I'm very proud of him.

We were also very lucky to spend time with my Mom and Stepdad. This photo shows us together on their Wedding anniversary.

We chose not to travel around as we did last time, but stay and enjoy our immediate surroundings while relaxing. Enman took this photograph of Hermanus, a seaside village on the coast of the Western Cape Province, approximately 2 hours from Cape Town.

I took lots more photo's of flowers, landscape, sunsets, quilting, friends, crafts, food, stitchery and sights I don't want to forget, and will share them with you in the coming days.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Mom's Banana Loaf

As far back as I can remember my Mother has loathed cooking and baking. She did cook lots of meals for us and we always had birthday cakes (nice ones too) and there were always biscuits in the cookie jar.

This is her banana loaf recipe, it is quick, easy, foolproof, keeps very well and freezes beautifully. It is the one baking item that regularly gets made and it fills the house with the loveliest aroma. Often when we go shopping there are packets of bananas at the mark down counter and so I buy them because in this recipe you get to use very ripe bananas. I buy the bananas in multiples of 6 so that if there are very very overripe bits you have to throw away then at the worst you get the equivalent of 5 bananas.

We usually can't wait for it to cool down before cutting it, spreading some butter all over it and sitting down with a cup of fresh hot tea and a slice of banana loaf.

Do try it, you won't be sorry. And, just so you know, it also keeps very well. When we've baked a few then each loaf gets cut in half, wrapped up and popped into the freezer. It's our way of making them last longer.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A finish!

It's been a while since there was a quilty type finish under this roof and I'm absolutely in love with it. The border/binding is unusually part of the backing and is folded over towards the front = very effective.

We have redecorated our diningroom, the curtains are a deep ruby, the walls are magnolia, the table and chairs are old dark oak and all the colours can be found in this little gem which is on the wall next to the absolutely most gorgeous treasure (sorry, but I love it soooo much) of a Doll quilt which Scootin' Annie sent me as part of the DQS9 swap last year.

DQS10 is underway and as much as I regret not applying, it is going to be fun watching from the sideline. Plus, in two and a half weeks we will be flying to South Africa for a holiday and to visit with some very special people, particularly my son whom I've not seen for 2 yrs. I'm starting to get quite excited about it now.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

It went on and on and on ...

At work some bright spark decided that we needed to 'hide' the television for a few hours every day and promptly went out and bought two ready made red full length curtains and a couple of metres of red dress fabric for a valance which needed making.

A second bright spark said to the first bright spark 'why don't you ask her to make it, coz she sews' so first bright spark duly asked if moi would make the valance. Clearly this request came from one who does not sew as this valance was to hang from fresh air LOL Anyway, I still struggle to say No to requests and ended up with another to-do job on my currently burdoned list.

It took a day and a half and many many pins. Actually, I needed to take pins out of a quilt that is in progress, to use in this short curtain, pinning every couple of inches because it just kept slipping on itself. I'm reminded why I no longer do any dressmaking. However, having marked it, cut it, folded and pinned it, it just looked so pretty in it's raw state. It's total length was 318inches but it seemed like miles and miles of fabric while it was being sewn.

Now, I wish could take a picture of it now that it is finished and hung as it really looks so good and for those that did not know you would not say there was a television behind the curtains ... but it is in a home for vulnerable adults and taking pictures is strictly forbidden. Their reaction to the curtains made me feel guilty for not wanting to spend the time and has reminded me that we need to share out talents no matter how seemingly insignificant they are.


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