Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Does My Bum Look Big In This

Last Friday evening Linda and I sailed to St. Malo aboard Brittany Ferries newly refurbished ship 'Bretagne'. Everything was new and sparkly and up to Brittany Ferries usual high standard. If you ever feel like a tour of their website you will read that they make big thing about the Art on board their ships. There are wonderful ceramics and bronze sculptures within glass display cases in the main corridors and interesting murals on the walls in all the public places. Each ship has a theme. The theme on our ship was the Breton way of life with murals and sculptures of Breton people at work and play.
I think that this visual introduction to the locality is marvellous and from the minute you step on board ship you are in France.!!

As usual as soon as we embarked we dumped our bags in our cabin and made for the Restaurant where we were first in the queue!!! The food as always was excellent. As this was a different ship from the one we travelled on last month, there was a different menu. We had the seafood buffet starter needless to say! The main courses were excellent and very rich. I had scallops which were served in a small 'Le Parfait' preserve jar on a bed of creamed potatoes and vegetables I did not recognise! All this covered in a rich sauce. It was delicious but very rich. I ought not to have eaten the Dessert Buffet!!!!!!!!! After finishing our bottle of wine we had a quick look at the shops and then staggered back to bed to sleep it off.

When we arrived in St. Malo the sun was just coming up and we set off on our search on the way to meet friends in Fougere.
To be continued .............................

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Normal Service Resumed

I am now doing a Happy Dance as my laptop has been restored to working order - I have missed it. This photograph shows the object that Linda found when she was turning out the other week. I went into raptures when I saw it and she very kindly gave it to me. THANK YOU Linda. It looks like a little hand drill, but instead of a drill bit at the end it has a little hook. I am sure all those textile people that read this blog will know what it is. We had a discussion about this tool in class one day when we were making cords on the machine. It is not made now so I consider myself extremely lucky to own it. I have yet to make some cords but look forward to playing with it when I have a little more time.

On Monday I went to my local quilting group meeting. Lesley Coles was the speaker and she gave us a wonderful illustrated talk on her work in Mongolia. She went to Mongolia in 2006, in the wake of American Quilter Maggie Ball who had been there in 2004, to teach Mongolian women quilters how to draft patterns. It was a very inspiring story. The idea was to teach the women how to make quilts and other items in order that they could sell them to raise funds for themselves and the group. It has been a real success story and they have progressed from renting a basement room with no natural light to buying their own premises with the help of funds raised for them in America. They now have a place to work and a shop to sell their textiles from. This is called NEW WAY OF LIFE MONGOLIAN QUILTING CENTRE. Further information about this project is available from
In the afternoon she gave us a workshop on drafting the block for a Mongolian Knot. The picture above is what I managed to produce. I have not got a mathematical mind, and drafting blocks is not one of my favourite past-times!! Something seems to happen to my brain after a while and it goes into safe mode!! I do not have a very good sense of direction as my friend Linda will vouch for and I get lost very easily. Going around in circles is much more comfortable for me!!! Anyway back to the point, I managed to get my block finished, and although I have no idea what I am going to do with it, it was a worthwhile exercise and I enjoyed every minute of the day. Lesley intends to go back to Mongolia some time this year, it certainly looks beautiful. Mongolia means 'land of the blue sky' and all her photographs showed lots of blue sky and verdant green pastures. The interesting thing I learnt about Mongolia is that it is three times as big as France and has the population of Birmingham!!!!!!!! Plenty of space for everyone.

One of the other things that sends me into raptures is lichen and tree bark. I know it's sad, isn't it!! I must get a life. Yesterday my DH armed himself with his chainsaw and set about cutting logs. Of course I had to put a halt to the proceedings in order to take photographs.
Tomorrow evening I am sailing to France with Linda for a quick 24hour run around.! We are meeting our friend Ticky who lives there and we hope to find lots of goodies to bring home to sell at Ilminster Textile Fair on 1st April.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Crisis- What Crisis?

Oh dear, oh dear - my laptop has died!!!!!!!!!!!! It has been on the blink for a while now with
Windows not loading in properly but ever since my Darling Daughter allowed it to slip off the arm of the sofa to hit the floor a few days ago it has been giving me that dreaded blue screen!!!!!!!! and tonight it said enough is enough. I had loaded all the photographs I had taken ready for Ebay so will have to take some more tomorrow. I could have done without the expense this month as funds are low due to not having sold at any Vintage Fashion Fairs and nothing until 1st April at Ilminster Meeting House Arts Centre. However it must be repaired 'toute suite', I feel desolate, as if I have lost my right arm. Linda has very kindly offered to loan me hers so that I can continue with my work. She is a star. Earlier in the day I had visited her and she showed me the new shelves in her Studio as well as some very interesting things she had found lurking in boxes during the tidy up. One she has put on her Blog as an 'unidentified object'. I had a play with it but I do not know what it is intended for. The other object was easier for me to identify and sent me into a great state of excitement. I will take photographs and hopefully get to post them tomorrow. I am using my daughter's pc at the moment while babysitting and have not had a chance to take pics yet. All will be revealed tomorrow. It now belongs to me as Linda very kindly gave it to me.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Snow on the Beach

This morning we woke to a lot of snow again. I had a busy day ahead of me involving getting people from A to B in my car and I live on top of a very steep hill. In the past it has sometimes been a couple of days before we have been able to move our cars and I spent a couple of hours going around in circles trying to think of ways to escape! In the meantime the sun came out and the snow started to melt away. My main concern had been how I was going to get to the restaurant on the beach to have lunch with Linda and Loveday!!!!!
As I was driving along the Preston beach road the view was marvellous. The hills in the distance were covered in snow all the way down to the sea. I was a wonderful sight with the sun shining and the hills glistening.

We had an excellent lunch. The Restaurant is only small and started originally as a beach cafe. The situation is terrific and so is the food.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Foraging in France

I have been on a foraging trip to France with Linda. We left Portsmouth for St.Malo last Friday evening for a 24 hour shopping trip. This was our first trip this year and we were excited about going back. We were booked on the beautiful 'Pont Aven' with its deco era inspired fixtures and fittings. As usual we dumped our bags in the cabin and headed for the Restaurant to enjoy the marvellous food on offer there. After eating we had a quick look around the shop and went to bed. The crossing was absolutely fantastic. The sea was flat calm (such a relief as I am a paranoid sailor) and our cabin was in such a position that we heard no engines and slept like babies. I think the red wine helped as well.!!
We had a very successful day's shopping and found ourselves some new places. We were on a new route this time with St. Malo as our starting point. The weather was wonderful. Bright, warm sunshine which made the day even more enjoyable.
A friend who lives in France had found these lovely tickings and name tapes for us. She had left them with a Brocanteur in Fougeres for us. It was market day in Fougeres on Saturday and the main streets were closed to traffic. It took us a couple of times round the town to find somewhere to park. Thankfully we had taken a travelling bag on wheels with us which made it easier for us to get the textiles from the shop to the car.

We were especially please to get these initial tapes. It is becoming harder to find these now.

This basket is full of the most pretty cotton bias ribbon. This was a great find. We have hundreds of meters of this lovely stuff. We were quite tired when we got back to the ship and yes, we dumped our bags and went to the Restaurant where we had a super meal, ate too much, drank half a bottle of wine each and headed back to bed for an early night!! Nice work ehh!!!!!!!!!! Once back in the UK the hard work begins. Days of washing, dyeing, ironing, packing, pricing. All this has to be done before things can be offered for sale. It is worth every minute. I have packaged up all the lovely pieces of toile de jouy and other fabrics as well as the buttons that we found in Fougeres. The washing has been started and hopefully I will get this done and things dyed before the end of the week.
Linda and I are going down to Cornwall again to Cowslip Workshops over the Easter Week-end and are working hard to have lots of new French stock to take. We have another quick trip booked for the third week in March and hope to find a lot more French Textile Treasures.