Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Celtic Braid & Tram Museum

Amazingly I completed my Celtic Braid table runner that I had started at the course I attended last Wednesday. I really enjoyed making it and I have already started another one for Ch.....as! Yes! that special day in December!!
 Thanks so much to Maureen for the course enabling me to learn the techniques       for this piece.
Last Saturday the sun shone so we ventured forth for one of our jaunts. This time we chose something to interest DH but it was such a nostalgic trip for me too.
We visited the Tram Preservation Society Museum in Birkenhead and there was one of the No19 trams that used to take me to school almost 60 years ago! I was so excited to see it.
There were so many beautifully and restored trams.

Some of the badges on their fronts were wonderful.

 I wonder was this the same No1 tram that took me to the seaside in New Brighton all this years ago?
 We had a trip down to the river front on this old Portuguese tram and the creaking of the windows was so nostalgic. At the end of the line we had to flip the seats back to face the opposite direction before the return journey. 
This museum is possible thanks to the labours of the crew of retired engineers and other enthusiasts who lovingly renovate these fantastic vehicles. The only charge to visit was buying a ticket to ride on this last tram. Needless  to say we also gave an unrequested donation and it was worth every penny to help their work and hear that bell go "Ding, Ding" as the conductor shouted "Hold on tight" and "Any more fares please".

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Bwlch Nant Yr Arian & Block of the Month etc.

Same old, same old... I've been away again so haven't managed to post for a while but I've still been so busy doing lots of stitching.
I caught up with my Block of the month Swap for Diane the Cheshire Quilter. I'm really enjoying making different ones each month and this time I made a Snail Trail block to replace the one that never arrived and is still crawling from Merseyside to Cheshire.  I'm so happy how it turned out so readily and it is a definite improvement on my previous efforts, for sure.
 The challenge for this month was to make tissue pouches which will go into a charity sale for Hope Hospital, later in the year. A worthwhile cause so I made several including some from Liberty fabric.
I arrived home to a lovely post from Diane ... her May Block of the Month to me and, as ever it is a super one. Thanks Diane, I'm getting a lovely stash together.
Diane sent me the next challenge, which will also go into the charity sale, but this packet of instructions is all you can see for now until I have a go at making them.
Yesterday I attended a workshop, given by the talented Maureen Crawford, to make this Celtic braid table runner.  It was a super day and I loved setting it out,  just got to add the binding now to finish it.
We were in Pembrokeshire last week, an area we had never visited before and we enjoyed touring around, seeing all the beautiful countryside. On the way home we stopped near Aberystwyth to visit Bwlch  Nant Yr Arian to see the Red Kites. It was amazing and such a beautiful location.
The visitor lodge is fabulous...
 the super cafe has large windows with an outside decking area from which the birds can be viewed.
This is the view...
at around 2.00pm the birds, many of which have travelled 50 miles, are fed on the island in the lake and, at first, a bit of a frenzy went on.
Eventually the birds spread out and it is a wonderful sight to watch them swirling and swooping above.
My small camera didn't capture it all as well as I hoped.
As a result of the centre, run by the Forestry Commission, the kite population has increased and been saved from dying out completely in this area.
It costs just £1.50 to park at the centre for a couple of hours and there is no other charge. There is also a gift shop, an information centre and good facilities.
You should manage to spot mountain bikers on the specially made trail in the above photo.
There are a couple of lovely play areas for children, lots of wooden carvings,
and many feeding stations for all the other birds.
A great family day out and I really wished our grandies could have shared the magic of this place.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Block of the Month & Friday Smile for Donna's Doo

I have been here there and everywhere, including two trips away from home) but haven't had time to post anything here for quite a while. 
Each month I am having fun swapping a Block of the Month with Diane the Cheshire Quilter and when I received this lovely blue heart from her I realised that it must be April. Hang on! Where did March go? My snail trail block still hasn't arrived so I guess I'll have to have another bash at it soon.
 I braved an attempt, or two or three at the Basket Block. It was a struggle for me to produce anything near perfect enough to send Diane. No 1 went in the scraps, this is No 2 below and I posted No 3 (the best of the three) to Diane. 
I forgot to take a photo of it, in my haste to get to the post office, so No 2 will stay here. 
If you'd really like to scrutinise and compare it with No 3, pop over in a day or two to Diane's blog, when it has arrived. 
Thanks so much to Diane for bearing with me and helping me on my learning curve and I did post to the correct house number this time so we don't have any more snail mail!!!

Now I'm joining in with Annie's Friday Smile
Why not share your smile and make the weekend brighter?
I got together last week with my lovely friend, Dolores, to join our mutual friend Donna in Derby for quite an unusual doo. It was a multi celebration as Donna had her 50th birthday, she is moving to live in France, she was married last year and her Dad was 80. Wow! 
The celebration was a ceilidh and we were all invited to dress as French Onion sellers. So we did!!!
Here's the birthday girl, Donna and we wish her and her husband, good luck and  every happiness in their new lives in France. What an adventure for them.
 I'm sure lots of regulars to my blog will remember Donna (Doone) and join us in wishing her well.
Bonjour from Dolores and her DBF (great 'tash!)
and "Allo, Allo" from Me and DH
I had spent ages stringing together dozens of heads of garlic to take with me and Dolores, wisely, bought a string of plastic onions but we both forgot to take them to the party! I came back home after our few days away and my house still reeked of garlic! As went to the party we had to stop at traffic lights and I can tell you, a few heads turned and smiled as they spotted us in our outfits.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Prairie Queen Block and the Snail That Got Away

My block of the month swap for Diane (the Cheshire Quilter) is still sliding it's way from Liverpool to Crewe after being posted on 2nd March so I'm sending her this one in it's place, the Prairie Queen Block. 
Who knows, my original  Snail Trail Block might eventually arrive by snail mail.
I participated in the challenge set by Diane's group last month and this is my super return swap. I am really thrilled to receive this cute Japanese style bag in return. I love it and I'll certainly be having a go at making some for myself, one day, as it's such a great design.
 I do hope that Diane will pass on my sincere thanks to whoever made it,  on my behalf.
This camelia was a Mother's Day gift from one of my DDs and it was planted over 20 years ago. I love it so much and add a pic of it each year on my blog.
She was a student at the time and her lovely little gift only cost £1.99 in Woolworths. Situated in sight of our living room window, it flowers beautifully each year and has certainly given us all such  lasting pleasure.  The blackbirds and the squirrels peck away at the centre of the fallen flowerheads so I think there must be a kernel or something tasty for them at the heart. I chased the squirrels from planting them in the middle of the lawn the other day.
Here it is today, just in perfect time for Mother's Day and almost a month earlier than usual.
Last year it flowered early April ........and in 2013 it didn't flower until late April

Friday, 13 March 2015

Applique & Friday Smile

I've been happily enjoying making appliqué by machine. I made one block for a swap and then decided I would make more for a quilt and now I've completed at least a half dozen. 
It's good to at last put some of the decorative stitches on my super duper sewing machine to good use.
These will be squares with patchwork sashes in between.
I must mention this wonderful pen just incase some of you haven't discovered them.
I can scribble my designs (as in next pic) or mark positions to see if they are suitable, then quick as a wink, the marks will disappear at the touch of a light iron. 
FriXion Pens by Pilot are just magic and a quilter or sewer's dream.
They also work by friction, (as the name implies),like an eraser, on paper or card, if the base tip is rubbed over the marks. 

I advise trying them on a spare piece of the same fabric or paper to ensure they work on the surface you will use. 
They don't work on newspaper, so no good to erase those crossword errors! 
They are available in a range of basic colours and highlighter shades.
It's Friday and time for a smile, courtesy of Annie
On a visit to Chester we noticed the Oddfellows Hall in Bridge Street which is now a hotel and restaurant. A very quirky one at that.
This room is themed and inspired by Alice in Wonderland with a huge table set in the centre for afternoon teas Mad Hatter Style but look at that ceiling!!
The traditional wood panelled walls have fabulous images on them. So unusual but so effective.

We promised ourselves and afternoon tea there one day, should be fun!
Have a good weekend and remember to smile! 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Basket Block of the Month & Friday Smile

I had a lovely surprise when this patchwork block popped through the letterbox from Diane, the Cheshire Quilter, for our monthly swap. I love it and look forward to making this one in return. Never tried it before and must admit it looks a bit tricky and I'm a bit daunted by it. 
I chose to make this Snail Trail block this month for my swap. 
It has been a real challenge to me to try out new blocks but I do hope that, one day, I end up as competent as Diane. Her blocks are so perfect in detail.
Friday Smile
I was browsing old photos and sorting them into files when I spotted this one that I took at a parade in Liverpool City Centre. Co-incidentally it matches the colour palette of the basket block! 
I must tell you, incase you don't look closely, that most of the "NUNS" were MEN in drag.
I thought I'd join in with Annie's Friday Smile with this close up of this chap having a quick smoke after the parade. 
Lots more smiles to be had over at Annie's blog so join in or pop over for a chuckle.
 Hope you have a good weekend..... the sun is shining and the flowers are pushing up so SMILE!
It's painless, it costs nothing and it makes you feel good!