Things I've noticed.....

It's almost Spring
Anyone would think I am excited about it...
And they'd be right, oh yes indeedy!

Yesterday was the first day that I noticed that I was too hot with the window up in the car.  I noticed that I could smell the blossom in the air from next door's tree that hangs over the fence.  I noticed clumps of the most orange of orange flowers when I was out driving and noticed how the sun seems to make everything so much brighter and more vibrant.

  I noticed that my feet weren't cold at all in my flip flops and that I could possibly have done without my cardigan. This morning I noticed that the heater read 15 degrees instead of the usual 11. 

I was reminded of how much happier I feel when the sun shines and I am warm.  Yesterday really was the first day for a few months that I actually could imagine that it would get warm again.  A bit dramatic perhaps, but I always find it hard to remember how cold it gets in winter when I'm in the height of summer and so too the other way round. 

The Echium spears are appearing

Spring seems to hold so much promise... for the lighter nights and warm evenings, the smell of coconut sun lotion, the BBQs for tea, the vegetables that will grow in my garden; plump red tomatoes, coriander that bolts and basil that transforms my dinner, the juicy blood red plums that appear on the trees in early summer, the sun that streams into the back of the house in the mornings, those mornings when you just know the blinds need to stay closed to try to keep out some of that sunshine to try in vain to keep the house under 30 degrees C, the dog sprawled out on the floor under the ceiling fan, salads for dinner, cold drinks, drives to the beach for ice cream, painted toenails, washing that dries on the line in under an hour and skies that are the my most favourite shade of blue.

The promises of the plum tree

I just can not wait! This week we're forecast to have our first 20 degree day in months.  I think that once the first 20 degree day arrives winter is done.

Mack can't wait either, he's a real sun worshiper
Jo x

I'm starting early... the 'C' word

I'm determined to get organised early this year. 

I've been making these little driftwood Christmas trees with driftwood I've collected from the beach.

 I'm hoping to sell them at a market I'm doing in November.

I've sold 2 already; obviously I'm not the only person who is starting early. 

I'll make a few more today.


My holiday..... A list of things I want to do in England

My visit to England is almost here and I've been thinking loads about what I'd like to do while I'm there.  I've only got two weeks to cram in as much as I can.

Here's my list so far, in no specific order...
  • See Friesian cows
  • Visit as many fabric shops as possible
  • Go to Upton for lunch in the pub by the river
  • See my Dad
  • Meet a friend's baby for the first time
  • See my friends' lives... how their children have grown, see them in their homes and generally how life is treating them
  • Meet up with my family member who left Australia a couple of years ago, and meet her man
  • Go to pubs, at least one country one and one city one and all the rest in between :)
  • Go for drives in the countryside
  • Do some nice things for my Hubby's birthday
  • Have a look round my old city, seeing if things have changed
  • Go to H&M, Smithsonia, M&S, Waterstones, The Works, Boots, ASDA, Tesco, card shops (look I know it's a bit sad to include the supermarket in my list but...)
  • Visit Birmingham museum and pop my head into the library to see if the smells the same as I remember it
  • Have a cream filled Belgian bun (...ooooh yum)
  • Go to see a band, preferably in an Irish pub
  • Buy lots of edible goodies to take home (double deckers, hoola hoops, discos, orange clubs, penguins..... this list is endless and could be a list of its own!)
  • Go shoe / boot shopping
  • Visit a couple of op shops and a car boot sale
  • Have a few good curries..... mmmmm....
That's the list for now.  I'm sure I'll think of 100 other things I want to do between now and September 15th when I fly.  I'm keeping my eye open for medieval or folk festival to go along to....


Blowing away the cobwebs

The sun shone today after a few days of relatively grotty weather.
I checked the tide times and figured that there would be enough beach to walk on, so with the obligatory dog ball in my bag off we went.

I don't often take my camera to the beach but I decided that instead of this trip being all about the dog getting his exercise, today was going to be a time to take some photos and the dog walk was secondary to that

 So as I walked I looked for treasures

At times losing the dog, only to see him appearing from the top of the dunes when I whistled him

 I noticed a shell sitting inside a shell


 This was some sort of sponge

 The water was clear, it was freezing though.  I kicked off my flip flops and walked along in the water up to my shins, initially a bit of a shock but pretty refreshing...

 I caught this shot of Mack mid air on his way to pouncing on the ball

I love the iridescence on the inside of these shells

 I love the noise of the sea as the waves do their thing

 This was the last photo I took; the tiniest purple shell

I love being able to go the beach in the week, as more often than not we're there on our own.

I can't wait for Spring, this weekend coming is the last weekend of Winter, hoorah!

Jo x


Patching like a demon and a fabric droolathon...

Warning: This post contains a multitude of fabric photos.  Fabric addicts may need a tissue to mop up drool.

 Do you remember this from way back in March?  

It has been a slow process of adding a few rows here and there. 

Then on Friday night while my hubby and step dad watched the Olympics I thought it might be just the time to distract myself and get another row or two done

And now I'm almost finished!

I'm really pleased with how it looks, I thought I'd have loads more to do but I think a couple more columns and maybe one more row should do it

I'll give you a little close up of some of my fave squares

A noseless fox

My absolute favourite - orange and gaudy

This one probably comes is second

This was a napkin

This was a tablecloth

I had to make up some squares with more than one fabric

 I am so looking forward to it being finished.  This one is for our bed (it's lying on the spare bed in the photo).
So with one eye on the telly and a glass of rose on the go, the fancy took me to have a dabble on a project that is rather huuuge.

As you read on, please bear in mind that I am not a quilter, in fact I have only ever made one very basic cot sized quilt before.  So the above project is quite a big project for me.  

And so this is HUGE...

Some time ago I made a purchase on Ebay.
A part completed vintage piece of hexie quilting.

Impressive indeed, it was love at first sight.

It has such beautiful pieces of fabric that someone has spent hours upon hours stitching together

It is so beautiful, I cannot tell you; every time I look over it a new piece of fabric catches my eye that I hadn't noticed before

  I hadn't touched it since it arrived, I'd started off a little bit of hexie collecting and making here and there but that was all... until this weekend just gone when I thought I might start putting some pieces together and see how I went.

See that extra little bit on the right?  Well that took me somewhere around 20 hours to do and left two of my fingers in a bit of a state.

At this rate I'll be lucky to have it done by next Christmas!

It certainly makes me appreciate the time and effort that went into the piece I bought.

And seeing as though I'm sharing some of my patchy goodness with you today I also want to show you this piece that I made with some of the beautiful pieces of fabric that I was sent by the lovely Deb from 
Works in Progress

Deb very generously sent me a parcel of fabric scraps a couple of months ago and due to my blogging black hole I didn't share them here.  
But when I got that parcel with the New Zealand stamp on my heart did a little skip and when I opened the bag I really was like a kid in a sweet shop, spreading the pieces all over the kitchen bench and admiring each and every one of them.
This is what was left AFTER I had made the piece above!
Here is the link to the quilt that Deb made with the fabrics she sent to me.

Deb makes some totally gorgeous quilts that her family actually use. (That may sound like a weird statement but I think I always resisted quilting because the ones I'd come across either hung on a wall or weren't functional) But Deb's quilts are 100% functional, oh yes indeedy. 

After seeing what Deb does with the fabric from her 'scrap' basket I was inspired to make more use of my own fabric scraps.

I've used some of Deb's fabric in the hexie quilt too

And here are a few pics of my favourite pieces...

I LOVE this piece

This teensie piece was far too precious not to use so I used bond a web to hold it to another piece of fabric

Thanks SO much Deb for your generosity, I really do appreciate it and I love every piece of fabric that you sent to me x

All I need to do now is to decide whether I will make it bigger or leave it the size it is and then figure out how I'll finish it off.
 I need to do some research on how I go about doing the stitching as I want to be able to make the most of all these beautiful fabrics.

If anyone has any good resources or links to easy quilting instructions please do pass them along.

And so dear peeps, that is the end of my fabric droolathon, thanks so much for visiting. 

Jo x
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