Sunday, August 22, 2010

Flying and a cake-eating cat.

Yes, you heard me right, this week has really been rather crazy.

I had better start with the cake first. This was a bit of a disaster, edible and quite nice, but not good. I tried a recipe from a new book I had been given some months ago. Queen cakes - an old fashioned style of cake I had made many times from a recipe in my old recipe book. (I think the Americans might call these cup cakes, they are basically a small sponge cake made with sultanas, rather than the type covered with sweet icing.) The resulting cakes were good to eat, but rather greasy for my taste. Next time I shall halve the amount of fat used. They really were far too oily.
Well, I left these on my wire rack to cool. There is not usually any danger to cakes left like this. However, when my husband returned he found the unmistakeable signs that the cakes had been lovingly licked by a cat. Felix!

The cakes that had been definitely touched were thrown out for the birds. Well, I should say here that the birds never got to touch these. Felix found them on the lawn and we were treated to the sight of our idiotic cat licking and nibbling the bits. Madness. Needless to say I threw out the remaining cakes since we could not be certain which had been touched and which hadn't............
This morning, by comparison was surreal.
We were out of the house by 5.15 am. Yes, you did read that correctly. We had been given a present months ago - a ride for both my husband and myself in a hot air balloon.
Take off was gentle. We slipped away and up into the air. The burners are switched on every so often to keep a certain height above the ground.
When these are not on, it is so quiet, you can even hear the sound of the ducks on the water.

Its astonishing to think that the basket is only held up by hot air. It is a basket too. Hefty and strong enough to carry the weight of twelve passengers. Can you see the sky through the sides?

I took around ninety photos. I know I shall use these as inspiration over the next few months. I loved the patterns of the hedges, the colours of the fields, those long shadows, the textures, colours...................
The landing was an interesting experience. A couple of bumps and we were down. The basket toppled onto it's side and we were dragged for a few yards.

It was a wonderful experience and one I would urge you to try if you ever get the chance. We had an hour long flight, starting at an interesting place called Dearnford Lake, near to Whitchurch. We travelled for 16 miles due east, landing in a field not far a place called Madeley.
As I started writing this, Felix came to join me. I quote


He likes to have the last word, my opinionated cat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A completed bag, and flowers.

Our kitchen has been graced by these gorgeous flowers for the past week. The scent is really heady being almost overpowering.

They were brought into the house by my husband. Sadly, the plant they belonged to had been flattened by the recent rain and wind.

You will remember my finished quilt for Rosie from my last post. Since completing that I have been busily making a quilted bag to contain it. Here you can see the completed bag holding the folded quilt.

This is the quilting from one side of the bag, with the handles tucked out of the way.

Now the handles and the second side. The quilted bag makes quite a good pillow when filled with the quilt. It is surprisingly light, carrying a single-bed-sized quilt in a bag. I must admit, having found the quilt rather heavy to handle as I was finishing it off, I had expected it to be rather a weight when inside the bag. I was rather startled to find that it wasn't.......... It is certainly easier to carry a quilt inside a bag, not needing to keep it tightly folded.

Just recently, I have been having a go with beading. This is my first attempt - a necklace. The pattern is called Potawatomi weave. A friend lent me the pattern which came from Bead and Button - seed bead chains.

It was quite an enjoyable little project and I feel sure I shall do others, though I have a feeling that beading will just be an additional skill rather than a compulsion with me.

Well, tonight it is Quilt Group. Needing something to work on, I dragged this out of the pile of UFOs. I started this some time ago. It is about time I got on with completing it

Another project waiting to be started is a replacement for my much loved, much worn jacket. This was in a collection of clothes being thrown out some years ago by my elder daughter. I claimed it and have worn it ever since. Now it really is beginning to show its age and should be replaced.

Well, I had a couple of pieces of luck recently. Firstly, this piece which I found in a jumble pile for just 30p.

I am going to quilt this to give the fabric a little more strength and stability. I have bought some Thermore ready to start.

Its a fascinating piece of fabric, obvously intended as a fabric toy and book. It should make a really fun jacket.

My other piece of luck was this:

This fabric was being sold off at just £1.99 a metre! I couldn't resist. I bought four metres and will use this to trial a suitable jacket pattern for the fun fabric above.

Some months ago, you may remember I bought some more fabric from the same collection. This still waits in my stash until I can sort out the right pattern for it. This coffee cup fabric seen above will be so useful in trialling the pattern I intend to use for my fun fabric. I have decided to take a pattern from my favourite jacket rather than buy one. My own elderly jacket is great in that it only has a single seam down the back. It will be rather useful to have three jackets in the wardrobe rather than just one, especially for the autumn.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Travels, pages and a completed quilt.

I just loved the patterns forming on the thread reel as I quilted the last pieces of Rosie's quilt. Hence the first photos. This reel had the threads turning into little wiggly shapes. This is YLI Machine Quilting Thread, in the shade V80 Danube Blues. I do love using this for machine quilting.

Well, here is the completed quilt hanging on my washing line.

A closer look at the front.

And now, the back. The plaid fleece was a remnant from a winter coat I made myself a few years ago - really cosy! The pale blue had been left over from an autumn jacket, but I forget what I had used the off-white fleece to make. I found it deep in my stash. All three fleece are of the same weight.

Hopefully, Rosie will be happy with her new quilt. She has seen the pieces, but not the completed quilt. I have sent her some photos........... I plan to make a bag to hold the quilt.

And now a journey. I went to Shrewsbury on Saturday with a couple of friends from the Recorder Group. Elizabeth plays Treble recorder with me, and Kathryn leads the Vale Royal Recorder Consort. It is such fun playing music together. We went to Shrewsbury to spend time in each others company before setting off to a concert.

What a special building. It is a shop selling chocolate!

Another lovely building.

This is one of the bridges crossing the River Severn.
I had never been to Shrewsbury before, but had loved reading about it in the novels about Brother Cadfael written by Ellis Peters. Funnily enough, we didn't have time to visit the Abbey, but did go to see the Castle. Well, there is so much to see in Shrewsbury, that I can see myself coming back again.
On our wanders around Shrewsbury we happened upon an excellent Calligraphy exhibition by the Shropshire Scribes. The exhibition was called "Words in Action" and I see from their programme that this same exhibition will be movingto the Oswestry Heritage and Exhibition Centre from the 1st to the 15th September. We found the exhibition in the wonderful St Mary's Church.
Well, after a really happy day, getting wet in the rain, but really enjoying being able to explore somewhere new together, we went on to the concert. We went to see the wonderful Red Priest. Such a marvellous concert - great fun! It was the closing concert for the Church Stretton Arts Festival. I had never seen Red Priest in concert before, and I certainly was not disappointed. They are wonderful in concert, not taking themselves too seriously and playing superbly at the same time. A truly wonderful day.
I almost forgot! To continue the theme of traveling, my page for Elizabeth has arrived in the USA. You can see it here. I have also heard that my page for Carmen, which I had feared had been lost in the post has also arrived safely. I must post some photos of that too on the Traveling Pages site.
It has been a busy time.