Sunday, 26 June 2016

♥ This Week... ♥

This week I have been....

♥ Stitching hundreds of badges onto my camp blanket, a little at a time. It's incredible how my badge collection builds up! I stitched on over 50 badges in August/September last year and already I have a similar amount to sew on again. It's an obsession I must try to learn to least for a little while longer!

 Making Gooseberry & Apple crumble!! A lady at work has a rampant Gooseberry bush and brought in a bagful of Gooseberries for me. There weren't quite enough to fill the bottom of my dish so I added some apples as well and the crumble was absolutely delicious!

 Watching the flowers growing in the garden. The Lilies are now starting to pop open, and the Bee's are going absolutely mad for the Borage!

 Gazing at the gorgeous pink Roses that grow outside the kitchen door. Every year these lovely, brilliant pink flowers blossom and last for ages! It's a real summertime treat. We've got lots of hot pink flowers growing in the garden at the moment. I especially love the raggedy Poppy that's appeared in one of our pots.

 Treating the family to a trip to Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells. It is a belated Father's Day present for Dad as I missed the actual day last weekend when I was in London for the Discover event with the Guides. We all went, my Grandmother and Travel Hamsters included.

♥ Admiring the authentic looking train ticket given out at the railway. It is very substantial, made with hefty card and with the date punched onto the back. The Travel Hams were mightily impressed by it too- it's the little things.

 Pulled along by a steam engine- a very different experience to being pulled along by a diesel engine we've decided. The steam engine, whilst giving out those lovely little puffa chuffa chuffas and hooting like an over excited owl,  pulls the carriages along with a little, almost non-existent jerking that you don't get with a gliding diesel engine. I think I prefer the steam train.

♥ Eating a quiet little lunch at the High Rocks pub. It was very peaceful there watching the trains go by. We managed to time our return train quite well too as the Spa Valley train goes from Tunbridge Wells West to High Rocks, then Groombridge and turns back at Eridge, so we had about 40 minutes to finish our lunch before the steam engine returned once it had passed us toward Eridge. An excellent day out!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

A Full Week

I have had such a busy week!! I've been out to two meals with different friend groups, spent an evening making templates for this week's Guide meeting, held this weeks Guide meeting (based on Father's Day- what else?), and spent the weekend in London with the Guides!
I baked some cookies for Dad as I wasn't going to be home to share his special day- it didn't all go to plan as I was forced into some emergency hoovering by the cat and didn't hear the oven beeper going off- cue slightly singed cookies! He said he preferred them with a hefty crunch which was very generous of him.

My weekend has consisted of an overnight sleepover at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. We took seven guides for the sleepover and activity day and had to travel by train, taking all of our luggage in rucksacks with us. I took The Brother's camping rucksack which could fit my sleeping bag and roll mat in/on, and The Mother produced a tiny camping pillow to go with it. The pillow cover wasn't in a fantastic state with some ominous stains on, so I quickly (within an hour) whizzed up a new cover for it in a much more 'me' style.

Holding the existing pillow over my chosen fabrics I guess-timated the size and cut and stitched together three panels for the front. These weren't quite long enough across the width of the pillow so I added a matching border at either end so that it fitted. Two pieces of light blue fabric to create an envelope opening at the back, all stitched together and done!

I am very pleased with it. Camping in style with pretty pillow cases. The actual sleeping part of the overnight wasn't the best night's sleep I've ever had- the floor was very uncomfortable, even with the layers I managed to take with me to lie on (I've been spoilt by memory foam mattresses!)- and it was the first overnight the museum had ever done and there were minor teething issues with lights not being able to be turned off and security men wandering the halls with cloppy shoes on. Never mind, it was all an experience and the girls seemed to enjoy it.

Walking up the incredibly steep hill from the museum, through Greenwich Park and up towards the Royal Observatory, there is the most amazing view of the London skyline and Canary Wharf. We went up the hill a few times (an excellent work out for one's thighs!) at different times of the day, and saw it at sunset, in the early morning and in the middle of the day which had different lights and shadows that were quite amazing. The girls were treated to a show in the Planetarium (very cool zooming through the constellations) and took part in lots of different activities to do with space, boats, nature, science and history.

 We also stood either side of the Prime Meridian! One foot in East, and one foot in West.

On Sunday afternoon we went on the Cutty Sark, a very old ship with lots of history. It started out as a tea clipper, then transported all sorts of goods (from pianos to limes, coffee and silks), became a training vessel for Navy cadets and is now a historical landmark in it's own dry dock museum. Did you know that the amount of Nautical miles it has travelled in its lifetime, would get it to the Moon and back again two and a half times?

We met Nannie, the figurehead of the Cutty Sark who gave a talk to the girls about the history of the ship. She was a witch you know! (Although I'm still not sure how she ended up being a figurehead.)

It was a brilliant trip, and was completed with lots of badges for my camp blanket (yet more to be stitched on!) All in all, a very eventful week! I'm hoping next week will be quieter to give myself a chance to recover slightly!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Shape & Colour

Since buying my Patchwork & Quilting magazine with the free EPP pack, it has all been about playing with shapes and colours to create interesting patterns and blocks. I'm already on my third shape!

The three shapes that have been provided all work really well together and I have been sorting and organising them in different ways, almost like a kaleidoscope, until I find an overall shape I am happy with. The smaller shapes fit inside the larger ones so little details can be added, more colours and patterns and fabrics contrasting with larger blocks of colour. So much fun!

Raiding my fabric stash has been good fun too as it is a real scrap buster.

The current process I work to is to arrange all of my pieces out in paper, then think about the colour placement and cut out all of my fabric shapes. These then get stitched to the paper and finally stitched to each other. So far I seem to just be building up a collection of these shapes- it's just too much fun to stop!! Especially when the stitching is accompanied by the occasional nibble on this year's first home grown strawberries! Delish.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Travel Hamsters Invade Rome

Elvis and the other Travel Hams wanted me to show you their photos of our fabulous Italian holiday. They had a really great time and was the first time the Superhero Hams had been anywhere this exciting!

They are quite good at learning languages, and apparently, Travel Hamsters in Italian is criceti di viaggio. 

They had a wonderful time playing in the piazza of feathers, and tried lots and lots of different flavours of ice cream. The electric blue one in the top right of the above montage was called puffa and tasted a bit like vanilla. The Travel Penguins and Harriet & Hamilton also joined in on several occasions so it was like an enormous party!

Most of the time was spent sharing their knew found historical knowledge of the places we visited from the security and comfort of their specially made travel pouches, which went down a treat in both sets of Travel Hamster camps. They can't wait for their next holiday away!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Mini EPP

Aren't the above flowers beautiful? They were my choice from the garden centre but I can't remember what they are called. Such cute little clusters making such a powerful colour impact in the flower beds! I love the summertime when you can fill the garden with lots of colour and vibrancy, hear the bees humming with happiness as they dart from flower to flower. It's one of the best bits about Mother Nature I think.

All of our doors and windows are open during the day and early evening at the moment to allow the gentle breeze to flow through the house and sweep away any lingering Winter cobwebs. Evenings are spent sitting by the open doors watching the sun go down past the Roses and giant Clematis.

They are all twining together in the front garden, big blousey Roses and enormous dinner plate Clematis blooms, and one bright pink rose amongst them all, a sparkling pop of colour amid the fresh white and peachy cream.

Whilst doing some tidying up at the weekend I found a little packet of inch wide hexagon paper pieces to be used for tiny English paper piecing projects. I didn't have any particular project in mind but the idea of sitting by the open doors stitching these little tiny papers to brightly coloured fabrics from my stash was so appealing I started straight away.

There is something very soothing about EPP, it is perhaps more work than machine stitched projects as you have to prepare every stage individually, but there is such a sense of accomplishment at the end of it- and you all know how much I love hexagons. A win win situation!

I kept working round and round in circles until I didn't have enough hexagons left to do another full circuit, then made two little florets out of the remainder. I do have an inkling of an idea of what I shall do with these shapes but it has to mull over in my tangled creative subconscious for a little while longer - I'll keep you updated.

I treated myself to a couple of quilting magazines this afternoon, Today's Quilter (a new favourite) and Love Patchwork & Quilting because the free gift caught my eye- more tiny EPP pieces!! All different shapes!! Now there is a challenge I haven't yet done. I particularly like the star shape that has been created on the right hand side of the Geometric EPP Designs book below- not the project itself but the way the pieces have been put together. I think I shall have to have a play with this next!