Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Packing away the last 2 years


The last two years have been a steep hill to climb.  At best I'm not someone who shares my intimate emotions during the tougher times in my lifes journey but online friends may have noticed that my blog posts became fewer and fewer and then in May 2014 they stopped.

Shortly after my last blog post in May 2014 and without warning, my domestic life underwent a sudden and radical change away from everything familiar into a new-to-me one bedroom flat that needed a whole lot of work.  Supported and assisted morally by my manager at work, the flat went from black bags on windows for privacy, a mattrass topper for a bed, rolled up jacket for pillow and a quilt for bedding to slowly but surely being styled into a home with gifts from well wishers.  It took a while but I 'was allowed' to collect some of my personal possessions and sewing stuff from my former home.  Very importantly Meisie moved with me.

The best gift was a female friend taking the time to teach me to strip old wallpaper and, choose, measure, cut, paste and put up the new wallpaper.

This same friend and I shared breakfast at a popular drive through take away and made copious lists of what I need to get and as finances allowed we went shopping for kettle, toaster, cutlery, crockery, glasses, fridge, washing machine, microwave, vacuum cleaner and cleaning products. 

In many ways the whole process felt like a cleansing but its hard to let go when you're not ready.

Mom, taken 15 Feb 2008
Then in March this year Mom lost her battle with cancer.  She had really fought hard.  Devastatingly neither my sister nor I were able to be with her nor attend her memorial service in South Africa.  I really struggled psychologically with not being able to be there for her especially as this is my day to day job here in England.  Then to add insult to injury we (my sister and I) found that the legal side of Moms passing was not going according to law and realised we had to travel there to find out what was going on.

Enman and Harry, taken July 2011

As I slowly adjusted to not being able to just text or email or phone Mom, Enman  unexpectedly and suddenly passed away at the beginning of September 2015.  Even though we were no longer companions, I was very saddened.  You don't share so many years in someones company without having some good experiences and memories.

At the beginning of this month my sister and I travelled from UK to SA.  It was a 'working' trip and we worked hard at getting through our list of to-do's.   After 18 days of sun filled and warm days during which we methodically played investigators and mediators,  I finished my last chore at 01.30 on my last day in South Africa and flew out a few hours later.  We were able to collect both Dad and Moms ashes and spread them in the Helderberg Nature Reserve  which starts at the foot of the Helderberg Mountains in our old home town.  We were also able to salvage and collect a few precious items and photographs that we have brought back to England with us.

Mom had fostered Rosie (my Rosebud doll) and made her a wardrobe of clothes.

There have been some fantastic highs such as when I got to meet and chat with Kaffe Fassett and Brendan Mably at Festival of Quilts 2015.

In two days time 2015 comes to an end and I very much want to close the gate to this emotional roller coaster ride I've been on and start the new year with a fresh and optimistic view.  No-one knows where 2016 is going to take us but I am confident that it can only get better.

I wish you all an optimistic, healthy, prosperous, creative and loving 2016.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Doing it for DMC


Ever since I can remember, I've enjoyed embroidery.  Not the fancy, perfectly smooth, perfectly placed stitches flecked with silver or gold, no, just plain ordinary stitches that keep the smile on my face and the furrows off my forehead.  

So, when I was catching up on reading enjoyable blogs I found an article Carina had written on &Stitches on DMC in France.  It seems they are compiling a number of letters, all embroidered in DMC 321.   DMC 321 is the red colour thread that is traditionally used in all redwork embroidery.  These embroidered letters will form part of a permanent DMC exhibition that will open at the Textile Museum Parc de Wesserling in Alsace later this year.

I knew immediately that this was something I wanted to do.  It didn't take long to find a monogram pattern on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread.  However, when I printed it out and measured it, it was too big, as the square of fabric can only be 15cm and the monogram was 16cm.  So I reprinted it at 70% and it measured 10cm = perfect!  

When I was in South Africa in December 2013 I bought a few Frixion pens - in pink, purple, royal blue and red.  They are brilliant for marking quilting lines and drawing off patterns and when you're done, you just hover your steaming iron over them and the ink disappears.  I chose the pink one and drew off the monogram diagram and got stuck in. In total it actually only took a few hours but in reality, I stopped to fiddle and faff in the garden, repotted some plants, made our evening meal, stitched a little more and then set it aside for the night.

 This morning after traipsing around a soggy car boot, we came home to a warm cup of tea which helped to thaw the fingers and, then while watching Crimson Fields on Catch Up, I got it finished.  I'm pretty pleased with it actually.  It's been pressed lightly, and the fabric has been trimmed to a 15cm square as required and it's in an envelope together with my details, ready to be posted off in the morning.  I think it's exciting to be part of something so special and look forward to seeing it in amongst all the other letters.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Well, it's almost wordless.  If I told you about this, would you believe me.  Probably not, so here's evidence:


Sarah-Lou sent me a message to let me know I'm a non-reply blogger.  I didn't realise and am grateful to her for letting me know.  I think this happened when I signed onto Google+.  Please be patient while I try and get it fixed, and if you know any tips or shortcuts to sort it out please do let me know.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Just cruising along

It seems like forever since I last enjoyed the kind of time off where you can just make nice things and not feel pressured by a list of chores. This week I'm just cruising ... slowly and without pressure. It feels great!

It's day 2 of a week of annual leave and so far I've got the star quilt top sewn together, shortened some curtains, watched The Widower on ITV Player on the laptop while sewing. Also caught up with Bonnie Hunter on YouTube.

Time for some embroidery. This is one of two embroideries on my Finish Along list. Problem is this one has been folded up for about 5 years now. The iron on batting on the back has formed a memory of folds. I've spritzed it back and front and its pinned out on the design wall. With the nice warm weather we have at the moment it should be okay by Thursday to stitch on.

Tomorrow I'm going to spend some time with an old school friend who is visiting in Harrogate and flies home to South Africa on Friday 18th.

Hope you're enjoying your week.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, 14 April 2014

Finish Along 2014 Q2

For the second time this year I've made a list of items that I really want to get done.  Katy's linky for the deadline closes in about 3 hours so, here goes:

First there is the baby quilt.  In Q1 I showed the fabric blocks and they did get made into a top but the quilt needs basting and quilting.

Second, also a roll over from Q1 is this flowers in a watering can naive embroidery.  I love the simplicity of it.  As you can see, there isn't much to do before it's finished.

Number three, another roll over from Q1, is another embroidery.  This is one I started in 2005 when I started my international travels and it was so easy to carry around with me.  The pattern calls for it to be a cushion cover, but I'd prefer it in a frame.

I've struggled so with this section of the embroidery and have pulled it out more than once.  Maybe I should relax a little and just accepts what comes out of the needle!


This is the top right hand section of the embroidery and it just needs some more roses on the arbour.

Next are some hearts that I cut out of left over Denyse Schmidt fabrics.  I would like to sew them onto a solid background and am currently auditioning this (maybe too) dark green.  [Let me a comment and let me know what background colour you would use.]  In case you're wondering why there is clingwrap over the hearts, it's because our beloved Meisie likes to pick out pins and then runs away with them.  We're petrified she swallows one one day.  So, in the interest of health and safety, the pieces are being held in place like this until they get sewn down onto their backing.

Lastly, number five.  There is the quilt-top-in-the-making, which needs to be sewn together, basted and quilted.  These blocks were paper based and about 50% of them were sewn in a class held by Brioni Greenberg, held at The Skep in Farsley.  Brioni's own quilt is stunning.

Finish Along 2014

At the moment 174 other quilters have all joined in and linked to this Finish Along.  That's amazing!  I'd like to wish each and everyone of them good luck in their endeavours to finish their WIP's. 


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