Friday, 25 July 2014

Quilt top Ta-dah!

Greetings everyone. I hope you are enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather that we are having this week. With one daughter camping in the Lake District and another on an archaeological dig in Dorchester, I have been piecing together my first quilt top. I love quilts and had always wanted to have a go at making one, so it was a must for my Fifty List. When I started this back in March, my lack of sewing skills and a sewing machine that had been exiled to the loft for 5 years left me wondering if I'd ever get it finished. Lots of blood (I pricked my finger rather a lot!), sweat and tears later and ............


It's a bit lumpy-bumpy in places but I'm really thrilled with it; it certainly was a steep learning curve. Now I have to cut and join the wadding and backing fabric and do the actual quilting. That might take me another 6 months!

Other things recently:

A day trip to Bournemouth with the girls:

Having fun on the beach.

Visiting the oceanarium. I just loved the reflections in this photo:

And ...Playing Crazy Golf in the gardens:

Cucumber, pea and mint soup for lunch. I planted 3 cucumber plants in the greenhouse and they have gone mad. Any cucumber recipes will be gratefully received! 

A visit to Oxford for the day including a trip to the Botanical Gardens.
 Actually, this wasn't a very happy trip. In the past, I have always been accompanied by L - either during the holidays before uni or, since she went to uni, going there to meet her. I get used to her being away (sort of!) during term time but being here without her was horrid. I really missed her and had to send her a text as I sat tearfully in the gardens with my flask of cucumber soup (!).

A trip to Abingdon. 

I'd never been here before but, as it was on my way home from dropping E off at her dig, I thought I'd pop in. It was very beautiful. 2 hours free parking in the centre gave me plenty of time to have a coffee and a potter round the charity shops. It cheered me up a bit following the Oxford debacle!

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying the start of the holidays. Toodle pip for now. x

Saturday, 12 July 2014


Greetings. Earlier this year, E started to learn to play golf as one of her PE lessons (never an option in my day!) and was instantly smitten. I knew she was smitten because she actually looked forward to PE lesson days! The only other time that happened was when they went to the local leisure centre and took part in a spinning class - she loved it and I think I might just have to add it to my 50 list, just so that she can come with me. Unfortunately, they were only allowed to do golf for one term before it was back to the dreaded dance and she missed it terribly. So, this week my 'new thing' was to go to the local driving range with her and learn to hit a golf ball!

The only problem was that they don't have any clubs for hire there but a nice man directed us to the local sports' shop where they had a sale and we are now the proud owners of 2 number 7 irons (look at me trying to sound knowledgeable!). They were ridiculously cheap otherwise I wouldn't have made such a mad impulse buy for something I'd never tried before and might hate. Back to the driving range and £2 in a
machine gets you 35 golf balls in a little basket - I was thoroughly overexcited just watching it spit them out!
Fortunately, there weren't many others present to witness my attempts to hit the ball into the net. E was brilliant and even had her swing admired by one of the men there - me, not so much; I seemed to hit the tee more than the ball and my swing lacked confidence and fluidity. However, it was FUN! Given that it is near, cheap and that we now have the necessary equipment, I can see us nipping here quite a bit this Summer. There was also a little putting green and, again, I got giddy with excitement when my ball went into the hole.
I do think I need to work on my swing a bit more - 2 days later, I was wondering why my left knee seemed to be playing up and I can only assume that it was down to the golf!

Other happies this week include:

Starting to piece together my first quilt:

A visit to the Wolf Conservation Trust in Beenham for 'Wolfy Wednesday'. The photos below were all taken by E who's much better at photographing wildlife than I am.

Mosi, a female timber wolf:

A red kite, hoping for a buffet when it came to feeding time:

We were a little concerned when we saw the goats that they were destined to be lunch! They are actually used to provide enrichment for the wolves by making scent trails through their enclosures when the wolves are out on a walk.

Anniversary lilies:

An outdoor performance of Tosca, performed by the 'Opera Brava' company. Only £5 a ticket and they were fantastic. 

Part of our picnic beforehand:

There was a bit of rain in the second act, and the crocheted blankets came into their own, but it didn't dampen anyone's spirits!

Finally, poppies in the front garden:

It's all a bit of a riot out there at the moment - the red poppies, Californian poppies and lavender all jostling for position - I love it!

I'm planning a quiet day at home today - I might do a bit more quilt piecing and maybe a bit of garden taming in the lovely sunshine we've been promised. 

Hoping you have a lovely week. Toodle Pip for now. x

Monday, 7 July 2014

Lampshade making

Greetings. This week, as well as watching lots of Wimbledon, I have been on a Lampshade Making Workshop. It was such good fun that I don't think I will ever buy a ready made one again. Kits can be bought online in all shapes and sizes and then all you need is a piece of suitably sized fabric (nothing too thick) and you're away. I had an old Ikea lamp with a past its best paper shade, a bit of pink spotty fabric from my quilt stash and ..........


One new lampshade. The kit comes complete with instructions or you can just buy the double sided adhesive tape and recover an existing shade. I have my eye on another lamp of ours that could do with a bit of a makeover, so watch this space.

Other things this week include:

Collecting L from Oxford after the end of term. We packed the car and then went for a quick pub lunch here:

This pub, together with the 'Eagle and Child', was one frequented by 'The Inklings' (a writers' group to which C.S.Lewis and Tolkien belonged). We had a peek into the Eagle and Child, which is the more famous of the two. It was very cosy and full of little nooks but extremely crowded, so we crossed the road to the Lamb and Flag instead. I had a Ploughman's lunch, together with a glass of 'Thundering Molly' cider - delish.

Apologies for the reflections on this photo - hope you can read it (click to enlarge):

We had the college punt booked after lunch, so went to collect the key to the boathouse. I love this archway with carvings showing the signs of the zodiac:

The college dates from 1264 and this was their interpretation of Scorpio before they knew what a scorpion looked like:

Not a bad guess I suppose; a bit like a giant woodlouse!

Feeding the ducklings from the punt:

Later in the week we took a picnic to the White Horse and Dragon Hill in Uffington:

Ice cut terraces, known as 'The Giant's Stairs':

Dragon Hill and a bit of the White Horse:

E rescuing a caterpillar from the footpath:

Dragon Hill where St. George allegedly slew (slayed?) the dragon. There is a bare patch of chalk on the summit where the dragon's blood was said to have seeped into the earth. It's also very good for rolling down if you don't mind the thistles at the bottom!

A closer view of 'The Giant's Stairs':

We walked the extra couple of miles to visit Wayland's Smithy long barrow:

....... before missing our turning on the way back to the car park. This added another mile or so to the walk with resultant sore feet!

Strawberry picking at the local PYO farm:

Tayberries! I'd never tried one before - they're a bit like a sour raspberry with a hint of elderflower.

We had such a lovely time that we decided not to pick too much but to do a return trip soon to make jam. Even so, we had enough for ice cream, a strawberry flan and a pavlova! 

Hair chalks! I have never had my hair dyed, so when L&E decided that they wanted to buy some hair chalks, I thought I'd let them experiment on me for a bit of fun. I don't like putting my photo on my blog, so this was my attempt at an anonymous selfie! 

Not too bad - I preferred E's colours running through her plait and L had a rather natty purple fringe. We made quite a colourful threesome whilst out strawberry picking!

Finally, homemade lavender biscuits, using Alys Fowler's recipe from 'The Edible Garden':


That's all for now; enjoy the rest of the week. x