Monday, 31 December 2012

WHAT'S IN STORE

As the clock ticks around to midnight and the start of a New Year I wonder what is in store for us in 2013.  I won't try to second guess but 2012 has been challenging for us as a family and I yearn for a bit of peace and stability.  Time to reflect, regroup and draw close.

Happy New Year to all my Friends, Family and followers. 

 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

NEW ADDITION TO THE FAMILY

 This is the new addition to our family.  She just appeared one day in our cul de sac.  She is very affectionate and when she first arrived she was starving hungry and so we fed her.  This went on for a couple of weeks, she would come and make a fuss, running around like a mad thing and squeaking, she doesn't seem to have a proper voice.   We would feed her and then she would go off and be back again when she was hungry.  Then one day, she plucked up her courage and  came through the door.  As we already have three cats and a dog I was a bit afraid of a war breaking out but she was very careful and I made sure that the dog didn't chase her off.  She is quite capable of looking after herself and once when the dog was a bit too interested he got a smack around the face.  She is a true Tortie and stands her ground but knows her place here in the heirarchy.  She is a mystery as she still disappears like clockwork at certain times of the day and evening and this makes me wonder if she has been abandoned and goes home to see if there is anyone there. She wasn't wearing a collar when she appeared so I have bought her one now and written our telephone number inside just in case there is an owner out there who may be interested in how she acquired a jazzy collar but so far no one has claimed her.  Of course she has taken over the place and me in particular.  When she is here, which is most of the time, she follows me about, sits on my lap, interferes with what I am doing, wont let me use the sewing machine or my 
computer.  Its like having a small child again.  I have to try to get things done when she has gone walkabout or is sleeping next to the radiator or on my chair.  I find it a bit annoying as I am always doing something and am not the sort of person to sit around watching television during the daytime BUT when she comes back after one of her jaunts she is so pleased to see someone that my heart melts and I have to give her a bit of time.  Once she knows she is safe indoors and fed she settles down.  The other cats have accepted her now but mainly ignore her.  My ginger tom turns his back on her, and Margie my Tortie hisses and growls at her but so far no fights!!  I think she has adopted us !!! I ought to give her a proper name I suppose, but for the minute she is known as Squeaky.  I shall miss her if she decides to move on.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME


Lisieux


Chartres



It's been a long time since my last post and just in case you all think I have been in France all this time the answer is No.  We left Ste. Marie aux Mines on the Sunday and started making our way West and North.  One of our stops was at Chartres and we went to have a look at the Cathedral.  There is a huge amount of restoration work going on and some parts of the Cathedral were out of bounds.  Nevertheless it was completely spellbinding.  We passed lots of fields of Sunflowers past their prime but still very decorative.  The weather was still gorgeous and looking back now we were so lucky to have sunshine every day for almost two weeks.  There was a slight blip when we were caught up in the Ferry strike and had to stay with our friends an extra two days.  We finally managed to get a Ferry booking by changing from Britanny Ferries to LD lines but this meant driving to Le Havre instead of Caen.  We set off for Le Havre on another beautiful day and were looking forward to a change of route.  We stopped at Lisieux for lunch very close to the Basilica.   We didn't have time to go inside this time but took some pictures and carried on with our journey.    We were treated very well by LD lines but it does not have the sophistication of Brittany Ferries.  It was a very good trip again and we managed to buy some very interesting things.  The quilt show was amazing made even more enjoyable by meeting up with old friends .  We have already started planning our next big trip.   This time in April and will include a visit to Nantes to the stitchcraft show held there every year - ' Pour L'Amour du Fil'.
After a short rest - I was exhausted when I got home from France - it was back to work.  I had a stand at the lovely Country House Vintage Fair at Arlington Court, North Devon, at the beginning of November.  It was a lovely day and  I was happy to be back in Devon.  The week-end was made all the more pleasurable by my staying with my friend  Loveday at her house in Appledore.  Ten days later Linda and I set off for Cornwall to Cowslip Workshops for the Christmas Craft Fair.  This is always a lovely weekend - combining business with pleasure. 
And here we are now a few days from Christmas!   I seem to have some sort of foul virus.  One minute I am alright and the next I feel like death. I still have lots to do to get ready for Christmas Day.  There will be eight of us for  Lunch so I hope it goes away soon. 
Thanks to all my followers for bothering to read my ramblings and I wish everyone a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and a  Healthy New Year.
Our first Fair of 2013 is on 5th February 2013 at the Makarness Hall, Honiton, Devon.


Friday, 28 September 2012

STE. MARIE AUX MINES

 As I wrote in my previous post one of the reasons for going to Alsace was to visit the Carrefour European Patchwork which is held every year at Ste. Marie aux Mines.  I have always wanted to go and this year there was an added attraction as there was going to be work there on display made by girls that I know.  Vineta, Dot and Sara are part of a group called Kindred Spirits and they had produced a collection of work based on items in the British Museum.  The result was absolutely stunning.  I was overwhelmed and so happy and proud for them and I thought that their Exhibition of work was the best there.  I know I am a little biased as they  come from the South West of England but the work speaks for itself.  They are all very talented.
Vineta Cable
Dot Carter
'

Sara O'HoraVineta Cable
 
 
 
 
There was also an Exhibition of Antique Quilts and Textiles from Provence which was also mind blowing.

 And last but by no means least was the wonderful Quilt 'Weymouth Waves' made by my friend Margaret Ramsay
And all this on the first day!!!!
I have a lot more photographs from the Quilt Show, too many to put on here so will post a link to the Web Album for anyone who wishes to see more.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

ANOTHER LONG TRIP

 

Day 1 - Caen to Beauvais
Breakfast in Honfleur

This year Linda and I decided to visit an area of France that we had not been to before.  Our target was Alsace and the little town of Ste. Marie aux Mines the home of the European Patchwork Show for the last eighteen years and the cradle of the Amish movement .  I have wanted to go there for a long time now but the dates have always clashed with something else so this year it was written in the Diary at the beginning of the year to make sure we got there.  Our route was to take us from the ferry port at Caen around the north of Paris to the East and then down to Alsace.  We stopped at Honfleur for breakfast.  This was the first time I had been back there since I was 14!!! but it was as I remembered and just as beautiful, though a lot more busier with Tourists.  I went there in the 1950's when France was still recovering from the bombardments of the Second World War.
 
We had lunch here at Duclair beside the River Seine.  The weather was glorious.  There is a chain ferry here to take cars the short distance across the river to the other side.
 
After a stop at one of the Abbeys along the route we made for Rouen.  We made straight for the Cathedral.  We spent some time inside to take photographs and then made our way to the Square.  We spent quite a bit of time here reflecting on the past.  It was here that Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake.  After a while we decided we ought   to find a bed for the night.  We made for the Hotel Campanile and were devestated when we were told that the Hotel was full.  We were both hot and tired and were looking forward to a shower and a rest before dinner.  We decided to go on a further 60 miles to Beauvais and see if the Campanile there had any rooms.  We were lucky this time.
  Day 2 - Beauvais - Reims
 
Awesome is the only fitting word I can find to describe the Cathedral at Reims.  Our drive to Reims took us through varied countryside.  Our first stop was at Pierrefonds to look at the fabulous Chateau which was first built in the 15th century.  From there we drove through the Forest of Compeigne past the place where the Armistice was signed in 1918.    Compiegne is situated at the confluence of the Aisne and Oise rivers.  A royal and imperial city, it has been the scene of major events in French history.  We arrived at Reims in time for lunch.  Unfortunately the weather had changed and it was raining.
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Day 3 - Reims - Nancy
Fresco at Toul
 
Stanislas Square, Nancy.
 
On leaving Reims - Epernay was our target and this took us through rolling countryside with acres and acres of vines.  We were in Champagne country.  Before we reached Nancy we stopped at a place called Toul.  The first thing we saw as we drive into the Town Centre was a 'Brocante' with lots of lovely junk outside on the pavement and here we made our first purchases of the trip.  Toul is a fortified town and has a wonderful Cathedral.  There is a lot of restoration taking place and I was thrilled to find that there are still a fair amount of the original Frescos in tact.    Toul has links to Joan of Arc too.  She was forced to appear here before an ecclesiastical court when she was being sued for breach of promise before she became a Soldier.  On reflection this was turning out to be a Joan of Arc route purely by co-incidence.  At the Tourist Information Centre in Toul I found a book about her and we were getting close to  where she was born.  She was from Domremy and was an Alsacienne.
 
Day 4 - Nancy to Ostheim
Ste. Marie aux Mines.
We drove through spectacular countryside of forest covered hills and lush green plains.  Ste. Marie is in the Val d'Argent and is an extremely pretty place with some very ancient buildings - 16th century - and an abundance of bright geraniums.  We stopped in Ste. Marie before heading to our Hotel in Ostheim a few miles along the valley.  We managed to park the car in the Square and the first person we saw was Mary Koval whom we had met last November at Cowslip Workshops.  Mary sells Antique American Quilts .  We went to Register and bought our Entrance tickets for the next 3 days and went to look at the Traders.  We found Petra Prins, the Dutch lady we had met last year also at Cowslip and then drawn to a stand full of lovely old stuff we recognised the owner as someone we used to see at Le Mans when we used to go there to trade at the Exposition de Textiles Anciennes.  Dominique Jouvenet is her name and we bought a load of stuff from her and very pleased we were too!!  We had a look at a few of the Quilts but decided to go on to our Hotel as we were travel weary.
To be continued .....................................................

 













 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

FESTIVAL OF QUILTS

I have just returned home from my Annual pilgrimage to the Festival of Quilts held at the NEC Birmingham.  As usual it was a fantastic show with many, many wonderful quilts and stitched works of art.  I haven't entered anything for a couple of years now as I haven't really had the time to spend on an important project as this although I did make time to produce something for the Contemporary Quilt Group challenge this year.  It is the 10th Anniversary of the formation of the Group and we were given a black and white photograph of a Tin Mine in Cornwall to use as our inspiration.  As usual I spent too much time thinking about it but in the end was satisfied with my design.  All the more satisfying and exciting was to be told that my Quilt had been selected for inclusion in the Exhibition at the Festival of Quilts this year, and also to be included in  the new Contemporary Quilt Book to celebrate the Anniversary.  I used an image transfer technique which gave me unexpected but more than satisfying results as the colour was perfect to blend with my hand dyed and painted fabrics.  I also used some French linen that I had rust dyed especially for this project.  The Exhibition at the Festival of Quilts was stunning and I felt very honoured and humbled to have my work hanging there with all the other beautiful entries.  It was amazing how different they all were and how each person had interpreted the subject in such a variety of ways.  No two were alike. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

NOT LONG NOW

It's not long now!  Preparations are well under way for the start of the Olympics here in Weymouth and Portland.  The Banners have been put up all along the roads to Portland.  We are bracing ourselves for the influx of hundreds if not thousands of people and all the extra traffic!!



 Soon these deserted and tranquil beaches will be packed with people.  Lets hope the weather takes a turn for the better.  We need the wind for the sailors and windsurfers but we don't want rain. 
And please, please let the sun shine.  It makes such a difference.  The area is outstandingly beautiful winter and summer but that golden orb in the sky makes such a difference.  After all the hard work that has been going on for years
I hope and pray things will all go smoothly and that there won't be any disasters. 

Linda and I are running away to Cornwall for the opening week-end.  We are due at Cowslip Workshops, Launceston.  Our most favourite place of work.  We will be there Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th with our French linens and fabrics and other goodies.  We always look forward to our visits to Cowslip as it is so relaxing and inspirational.  We are both very tired from a gruelling schedule of Fairs with many driving hours and early mornings behind us.  We need a rest!!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

LEST WE FORGET - ARMED FORCES WEEKEND

Bikers are Veterans too!!
Yanks!!!!!!!!!!
Americans ready on the Beach.
This weekend has included Armed Forces Day.  My town, Weymouth in Dorset, England, UK has a long and proud record of hosting Veteran's weekend.  Weymouth was one of the departure points for many American Forces who left from here to sail to Normandy in France for the DDay landings in 1944.  Many, many, of those brave young men had never seen the sea, let alone set foot on a boat and sail off to an uncertain future.  This period in Weymouth's history has been well remembered and  those brave men who fought on foreign soil for us to live in liberty have been honoured here ever since. This part of Weymouth's history settled something that had been in my mind since I was a very little girl.  I was born in Lyme Regis during the war.  My Dad was away in the RAF and my Grandad was the male head of the family.  My grandparents house was next to a Hotel (St. Michaels) and it was being used by the American Officers.  I used to sit on the garden wall and look down the hill, waiting, who knows what for. I was always running indoors (according to my mother's stories) with a half a crown or sixpence or a shilling given to me by the Yanks.  Then one day there was a lot more activity than usual next door and I was running in and out with armfuls of coat hangers, boxes of chewing gum, chocolate and of course loose change.  The next day they were all gone.  I wondered for years what had happened and then the penny dropped - they had all come up here to Weymouth in readiness for sailing to Normandy for the Landings.
  The photograph at the start of this paragraph I took on Saturday evening at the 'Big Band' dance that is held every year as part of the remembrance.  I love the music and sadly now I have to watch the dancing but in the past have enjoyed  dancing to the Glenn Miller music which is like no other. There is nothing like American Swing music to get your feet tapping and wishing you were 30 years younger! The lady in the photo is Poppy Butcher who at 87 years of age is still working tireless to organise this weekend which everyone looks forward to.  I don't think she missed a dance, she is an inspiration to us all.  Today she was wearing her American Army Uniform (authentic) and was a passenger in one of the Military Vehicles in the Parade.
I am afraid that the photographs are all out of order as Blogger has been playing up, but you will get a gist of the day. 
Sea Cadets
Royal Naval Association
Royal Marines
Home Front and Evacuees.  Falklands Boys

You will probably realise that I am a great admirer of the Armed Forces, and my family members past and present have served their Country in various conflicts.  My father's father was a Surgeon/Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War and my mother's father received the DCM for his service also during the First World War.  My father and my mother's two brothers were in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.  During this war my Grandfather on my mother's side served as a Special Constable in the Police Force.  My father's father was already dead he died shortly after the First World War as a result of TB contracted in Mesoptamia.  I obviously never knew him but I know my Grandmother like a lot of military wives was left with four young children to bring up on her own.  My Dad's sister did her bit too during the Second World War.  She seems to have done a bit of most things!!  She was in the Land Army (I wish I had her uniform!!!!!!!!!!!) and also in the ATS (the women's branch of the Army).  When she died a few years ago I inherited her scrapbooks containing photographs of her time in the ATS plus her Land Army Book, which is a treasured possession and her Red Cross Service medals.  She also in her later years while she was still fit enough worked tirelessly for the Royal British Legion and the Red Cross.
My daughter's son, William, the eldest of my Grandchildren, is in the Fleet Air Arm.  He is a Helicopter Engineer and he has already had 2 tours in Afghanistan.  All our lives were on hold while he was away and thank God he returned home safely.  And so it goes on.  My family's involvement in the Armed Forces. 
It has been a great weekend with highs and lows.  Always a huge emotionally charged event, today had its drama and distress when one of the Royal British Legion Standard bearers collapsed in the middle of the parade.  How must everyone in that parade felt when they had to carry on marching while CPR was performed on the poor lady lying in their path.  After all the marchers and standard bearers had passed by the parade was stopped while the Emergency Services were called and finally the Air Ambulance arrived.  This landed on the Beach and there was a huge sandstorm.  Once she was safely on board, having been resuscitated, the road was cleared and the military vehicles that had been coming up the rear were allowed to carry on.  Lets hope she fully recovers.
Next year we hope to go to Normanday for the June 6th celebrations there.  It has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

DORSET ART WEEKS







Dorset Art Weeks opens tomorrow 26th May until 10th June.  I am exhibiting my things with a group formed for the Event Allsorts Textile Artists.  We are exhibiting at Highway Farm, on the A35 out of Bridport, Dorset.  DT6.6AE for those with Sat.Navs.  We have been busy for the last couple of days setting up our things and making ready for what we hope will be a successful event.  If you are in the area please come and say hello. There are some fabulous things on display including Joy's fabulous felt creations and Hilary's beautiful quilts.
Hope to see you there.