Sunday 24 August 2014

A Very Quiet Summer Holiday


I've missed popping into this wee space for the last two weeks but I have been on holidays with my family.  We headed off to the North East of England to explore somewhere different this year.

Our holiday cottage was above the very lovely Harley's tea rooms in Rothbury, Northumberland.   I heartily recommend the fruit scones and the Victoria Sponge.  My men could also recommend the cheese scones, Toffee Fudge cake and white chocolate cheese cake.  Proximity to such delicious home baked tea room goodness was definitely a dangerous thing!

We were welcomed by this fantastic fruit basket on arrival.  Wasn't that nice?

Northumberland was new to us and overall it was a holiday of big scenery, big houses and big castles but very quiet even by our standards.

 This gorgeous house is a National Trust property in Rothbury.  It is Cragside - first home in England to have electricity generated by a hydro electric source.  I loved this house.

It was heavily Arts and Crafts influenced inside with much innovative design and mod cons (the owner was an engineer and inventor).

By far my favourite room was the ladies' drawing room where "suitable Victorian pursuits such as sewing, reading and afternoon tea could be undertaken in comfort".  Yep, my kind of room!!

I've only added this photo because it's so pretty.  Hubby got all wildlife photographer in Cragside's gardens and chased this butterfly around until he got his pic.

We had a particularly bracing walk along the beach at Alnmouth where the wind was creating pretty streams of shifting sands.  (It was actually quite warm, just blowing a hoolie.)

My men folk found some adventures to embrace - starting with coasteering.  (I stayed at the cottage and tried not to think about them breaking limbs and being swept out to sea.) 

It was also the holiday of the ridiculous cool sunglasses. 

I did a bit of EPP on the apple cores - they are a much slower process than I expected but I am making progress.  4 more rows to add.

The men also found lots of mountain biking routes - see the big scenery I mentioned?  It felt like every hill we climbed we could see for miles and miles and miles.

It's big castle country too.  This is Alnwick Castle where we spent a lovely Saturday exploring and watching falconry displays.

On our last day we headed off to Wallington in Cambo, home of the socialist Trevelyan family.  Another National Trust property, we felt we made good use of our membership this holiday (we visited Lindisfarne Castle on our membership too).

Wallington was really beautiful and the Estate grounds were amazing, but in these houses I always enjoy spotting the stitching, and these three cross stitch samplers were among many in the Nursery.

I was delighted to discover this log cabin quilt in a guest room.

These weeny log cabin squares must have been about 4" each.  Not sure if the quilt is original to the house but I loved seeing it.  It was so hard not to reach across the ropes and stroke it!

All in all, we had a very relaxed fortnight in Northumberland.  We enjoyed it but found it to be very much quieter than our other holidays.  Aside from visiting the tourist attractions like the National Trust Houses and the Castles, the other towns and villages are very localised and not much geared to the tourist passing through - lots of places closed on odd days mid-week, pub restaurant doors locked until 6.30 - but if it is open the people will be very welcoming and friendly, and the scenery of the area is pretty stunning!

My favourite part of the holiday was popping down to York to meet up with Di.  We spent a lovely day together coffee shop hopping and we found a couple of fabric places too.  All I will say is that it's good that Hubby and DS were too tired to talk on the train journey back because I think I talked myself out all day and was too hoarse to have held a conversation!!  (Just a note - I hate selfies!)

So, that's been my last couple of weeks - family time out, a wee bit of exploring and a great day with a lovely friend.  Feels like that rounded off my summer quite nicely.

Friday 8 August 2014

Modern Stitching Bee - August 2014

Trumpet fanfare please for the most regal of all Queen Bees, Queen of the Cumberland Gap, the majestic Rhonda!

Rhonda asked for Union Jack blocks in brights and white so here are the two I stitched up for her:

This first one is my favourite.  I love the red and yellow together!

The second one is orange and a beautiful shade of jade which hasn't pictured very true here.  Looks more turquoise here but it isn't.

Rhonda pointed us in the direction of this tutorial from Molli Sparkles.  It works beautifully but does require some attention when orientating the diagonal segments for cutting.  Mind you, paying attention was worth it, I reckon!

Great block choice to finish up a year in the Modern Stitching Bee.  I've made a ton of blocks this year, been introduced to many low volume backgrounds, learned some gentle curved piecing and just been made so welcome in the Bee by Rhonda and Leanne and the other Bees.  Thanks ladies for letting me join in with this year's fun!

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Giveaway Winners!!!

Popping in quickly to announce the winners of my giveaways for the first issue of the Quilt Now magazine.

Winner of the blog draw (high tech as you can see and expertly done my my beautiful assistant aka hubby) is Leanne from She Can Quilt.  Yay!  So pleased to be able to send you this copy Leanne.  You will recognise lots of the faces in here.

And, the winner of the IG giveaway copy is Liz whose IG name is iz_bliss.  Congrats Liz!

Ladies, please get in touch asap to let me know where you would like me to address these to.  Got a Post Office run on Thursday so it could be headed your way very soon if you get back to me.

Thank you everybody for entering the giveaways!

hipBees - August 2014

Amy's block choice for her regal month in HipBees was a nice straightforward cross on low volume backgrounds.  She spoiled us by sending everything already cut so it really only took a very short time to whip these up for her bee quilt.

I have no idea why, but I just love these cute lobsters, don't you?

Hope you have a fantastic, fun quilt Amy!

Sunday 3 August 2014

Quilt Now Giveaway!

Did you miss out on a copy of the first edition of the gorgeous Quilt Now magazine?

Well, here's a chance to win one.  I found two remaining copies yesterday in a newsagent in my nearest city and I snapped them up to share with my lovely blog and IG followers.

So, no hoops - here's the deal.

To be entered in to the random draw for a copy of the magazine just leave ONE comment here. International entries are welcome. Entries close at 6pm Tues 5 Aug 2014.

I am giving away the second copy on Instagram so if you are on IG you can find my feed at sewmesarah and have another try. Again only one comment on there.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Sparkling Gemstones Quilt - a start

About three years ago I ordered this selection of bright Kaffe Fassett prints with a plan in mind.

These aren't my normal taste in fabrics but one of the quilts in this book - Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott - inspired my purchases.

This Sparkling Gemstones quilt caught my eye and I thought I'd give it a go.  However, the fabrics waited and waited and waited for some attention.  They waited rather longer than I had anticipated, so, when I joined in with the Finish Along this year, I thought it was time I made good on my plans.

So, I've been chopping fabric and chain piecing like crazy to create the required 108 blocks.  (I should note that no jelly roll was actually available for this quilt, so I had to cut my own 2.5"strips from a selection of long quarters. A pre-cut jelly roll would obviously have sped up this process.)

A few nights ago I laid out all of the blocks on my living room floor.  I switched a few here and there and am sure some of you might spot more I should swap around, but honestly I just had to call it done at one point because the knock on effect of swaps when 108 blocks are in play are practically endless!

I LOVE how this looks even though those fabrics are out of character choices, and I can really see how the Kaffe Fassets create the sparkling gemstones name of the quilt.  It feels great to have finally made a start on this long neglected project!

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