Saturday, 30 April 2011

Plant of the Week.

It's a great time of year in the garden, everything looks lush & new and there's plenty of colour.  The Azaleas and Rhododendrons are in full effect, their colour almost luminous.

I love the view in this next photo, you can see the blaze of colour from the Azaleas in the distance & the delicately growing bunches of Solomons seal at the base of the shrubs.

The star of the show for me this week is the Viburnum opulus.  It's snowball-like groups of flowers look really stunning; slightly more restrained & classy than the flowers of the bright Azaleas, busy showing-off in the background.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hand piecing

In between a busy weekend being out and about in the sunshine, I managed to have a crack at hand piecing this Monkey Wrench block.

I learnt the hand piecing technique at Sampler class this month & made this Basic 9 Patch block first.


I thought I'd set myself a challenge with the Monkey Wrench & out of all the blocks to choose from, the spirals on this one really appealed to me.

I don't think I've made an especially brilliant job of it, but it has reminded me how much I enjoy hand-sewing & think I'm going to dig out my little paper-piecing hexagon project soon.

If you're in need of a smile and a laugh head over to Bearpaw(  for a great post & a chance to win this lovely couple and the other mementos shown in the photograph.  I don't know about you but I think the real Will & Kate have a hard job living up to these two.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Happy days

Well, this weekend is all about the chocolate for me.  This is the scene that greeted me upon waking:

Yes, I'm one Easter egg down already and it's not even Easter Sunday yet.  In my defence it was a very small egg and I'd not had any tea . . . not that I need an excuse to eat a whole Easter egg in bed on a Friday evening, - that's pure class as far as I'm concerned.

Today I've been over to Chichester (avoiding the big fabric shop this time, - my wallet can't take another beating like that), to check out an exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery.

This is the first time I have visited Pallant House and I was very impressed by it (the service in the cafe was appalling, but that's another story. . .).

I loved the Lucienne Day textiles on show, which ranged from post-world war II to the late sixties.  The above are some of the later designs, the ones below are early 1950's:

Lucienne Day designed textiles and wallpapers, her husband Robin Day was a designer of furniture.  I'd not heard much about them before, but seeing their work, it is obvious that they were pioneers of their time.  (I nearly wrote "of their day" then, but much as I love a pun, that's a bridge too far).  I'm sure most of us will recognise this:

The good old plastic stacking chair!  There must be millions of these around & it makes me think how many of these chairs I must have sat on in my lifetime.  It was the first ever injection-moulded one piece plastic chair.  The Architect's journal described it as "the most significant development in British mass-produced chair design since the war".  Robin Day's ambition was to create "well designed low cost modern furniture affordable to all", & I think he definitely fulfilled that ambition with this design.

Here's another of his designs, which is a bit more up-market and was designed for the Royal Festival Hall.

There was lots more to be seen at the Gallery including works by Peter Blake, Francis Bacon, Paula Rego and Anthony Gormley.  The highlight for me was "After "Shell" by Susie MacMurray, a small piece from what was a large installation around the staircase of the old part of the building.  I wish I could have seen it as it must have been jaw-dropping.

Not a great shot, my fault, not the iPhone.

We have a Cath Kidston shop here in Brighton, but I still couldn't pass up a chance to go in and swoon at all the lovliness.

I'd be quite happy actually living inside a Cath Kidston shop I think.

How did I not buy anything?  I had a lot more self control in here than I did with that Easter egg last night eh. . .

Such cuteness.  My self-control was rewarded though, as when I arrived home there was a package waiting for me:

A delivery from the Cotton Patch! ( A fabric to feed my text-loving soul, a Dan Bennett designed fabric (he lives in Brighton apparently), a new rotary blade (I can cut fabric again!  My old one has been rolled into complete bluntness), and best of all, a tool to stop me cutting my fingers off!  I've had a few near-misses with my cutting, and with my bull-in-a-china-shop ways it feels inevitable that it'll happen one day unless I invest in this.  For a just over a tenner to keep all my fingers intact & me in a job, it's a bargain.

Friday, 22 April 2011

The water looks great

Good Friday bank holiday and - shock, horror, - it's been a lovely sunny day!  I was working up in Saltdean this morning & although, sadly, it wasn't open, the Lido looked VERY inviting. . .

Check out that glimmering water.  I bet even in this heat it'd still be freezing though.

I love the art deco styling of the Lido building & find it hard to believe we almost lost this a while back.

The subway through to the seafront.

Just look at that blue sky!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Five giveaways

One of my very favourite blogs is having not one, but five (yes, five, how generous is that??) giveaways this week to celebrate a five year blogging anniversary.
The prizes include one of the brilliant posters below in the colour of your choice.  One of these would look so fab in my living room, but I'm torn between the red and turquoise, or perhaps that lovely sage green would suit more. . . I've convinced myself I've already won this giveaway, -who says the power of positive thought doesn't work?
Anyhow, hop over to to check out a great blog & have a chance at winning some rather nice bits & pieces.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Heavenly scents

Every year the Wisteria never fails to knock my socks off, & this year isn't an exception.

It's a bit of a cliche to call a scent "heady" or "intoxicating", but working in the vicinity of this highly scented Wisteria earlier, I really was starting to feel quite dizzy.

Another highly scented flower in the garden right now is this lovely thing.


I believe it is an Osmanthus, but please correct me if I am wrong.  I always used to get Osmanthus & Philadelphus mixed up at college, so maybe it's a Philadelphus. . . maybe I should look it up!

I got a little lost earlier whilst driving in an unfamiliar area.  I came across this lovely little windmill that's been converted into a house.  I like unusual living spaces & this is so picturesque.

We're having some amazingly hot sunny days, which I am loving.  The only drawback is how much more tired I feel after working out in the sun all day, - poor me eh?!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Friday Plant of the Week ...& a little quilting

The photo doesn't really do it justice to be honest, but this is one of my favourite plants.

Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum x hybridum). I love the grace of their arching stems & the flowers that hang like delicate little bells. 

It is a relative of Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), which is also about to burst flower & bring with it an amazing scent.

I ventured into the woods yesterday to see if the Bluebells were out yet. 

Still a little early; but exciting to imagine the blue carpet this lot will become in a week or two.

And this is a little sneak peek at some quilting stitches I've been trying out.  I like the mix of big handmade stitches next to the little machine-made ones.

Monday, 11 April 2011


The early tulips are in flower now & looking absolutely stunning.  These pink ones have a real feel of romance about them.

Whereas these orange ones just totally pop against the dark foliage behind them.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sampler Blocks

I finished putting together the Tumbling Blocks, I just need to sew it to the background now.  I've done a numpty thing though & cut the block to 12" instead of 13" (I forgot about the seam allowances!).  Not sure what I'm gonna do, I only bought a FQ of the green background fabric, so as there's not enough left to cut a 13" square so I may have to buy another bit.  Duh.

This one is a bit of an experiment which was inspired by this tile pendant.

I made this rail fence block in class on Monday, which was nice & quick as it was done on the machine.

Lastly I've been working on the Dresden Plate block, which I really like a lot.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Friday Plant of the Week . . .on Saturday.

Wow, it's been more like the Mediterranean than the south coast of England here these last few days.  I'm LOVING the sunshine & getting lots of work done, -but not that much of anything else.

The Friday/Saturday plant of the week is this amazing Pieris.  It's looking pretty fabulous at the moment with it's new growth a bright flaming red colour.

The little chains of white flowers are sweet, but the main attraction is without a doubt those superb fiery leaves.

This is a pretty large example of a Pieris, -possibly one of the biggest I've seen.

I also need to give a nod to the Cherry blossom, which is stunning & all over the place right now.  It's such a fleeting time that the blossom is on the trees, I'm enjoying it before it's all blown away for another year.

Sunday, 3 April 2011


I've managed to get a few hours of snipping & sewing in this weekend.  Loving the inspiration my new fabrics have brought!  I've been working on those secret cushions so more will be revealed later.  I've managed to produce quite a hefty pile of teeny-tiny off-cuts.

Don't ask me why 3 pairs of scissors are necessary, they just absolutely are.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Fabric fix!

Of late, I'd say I've been fairly restrained as far as buying fabric goes.  I have treated myself today though.  This afternoon I decided to take a trip to Chichester to go to a fabric shop I've never been to before, but heard good things about.

The Eternal Maker!  This place is pretty amazing.  So much fabric, -I was rather overwhelmed at first.  I soon got over myself & well into the swing of things however.  And look!  I've come home with some real lovelies:

Now I'm feeling very inspired by my new fabrics & I'm off to do some cutting!