Friday, 29 September 2006

Yet More Blocks

From Nicole in Turkey
and from Pippa

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement

Kathy at The Quilter's Cafe is a girl after my own heart. She has found this fabulous web site - The Arts and Crafts Home. My mother adores the William Morris designs and I can remember some sort of Arts and Crafts design somewhere in the house since I was knee high to a match stick (I'm only 5 ft 2 so I'm not joking !!!). These materials have always been around. Liberty and Heals have always stocked them but at a price, so it is lovely to see them coming back just a tad cheaper. And in the same vein. these are some of the fabrics which can be seen at Charleston House in West Sussex, UK.

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Sewing Boxes

Reading through the daily round of blogs I noticed that pin cushions are being discussed. I don't possess one as I use plastic tubs - one for the plastic/glass beaded top pins, one for my quilt pins and one for quilt safety pins. However, these are pictures of my sewing box which I "pinched" from DH as I couldn't fit everything into my old one. It's a tool box and my goodness is it useful. Alexandra has great fun reoganising it for me on a fairly regular basis so I can never find anything. But its brilliant cos I can just pick needlecases, cotton, scissors, rulers, etc from the kitchen table and dump it all in the bottom until the next day. I'm on the look out for a smaller version for all the embroidery threads and balls of perle cotton that are building up.

Blocks, blocks and more blocks

Brigitte's blocks arrived in the post yesterday, as well as the ones from Vera. Hedgehog has sent me some more and we are now well on the way to creating the first quilt. My friend Sue up the road at Nontron has offered to help me piece them together. Now don't laugh, but a lovely gentleman living in the Lot et Garonne departement, who goes by the name of Ian Gillis, has been inspired by this blog and might, just might, make a block for me, using his mother's treadle sewing machine which has been lovingly cared for over the years. Courage Xian!


I didn't realise that the text I inserted from the email from Floyd wasn't wrapping if you view my blog in IE (it was in Firefox). Sorry if you have been reading a scew-whiff page. I think it is sorted now. Normal service is resumed!

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Proposed Wall Hanging

Et voila! Not a good picture I'm afraid! The bottom of it has been chopped! The "purple" bit is supposed to be a white sheet, not part of the quilt. Border and binding still to be done. A question. As it is going to be a wall hanging, does it need batting? I don't think it does, in which case I can start "decorating" it. Thanks for all your advice. I did a bit of stem stitching on it yesterday afternoon/evening and decided that it definitely does need batting.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

In Shock!

Every so often I do a bit of surfing trying to find a relatively cheap copy of Liberated Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston. Tonya and I exchanged emails a few months ago about the "secondhand" price of this book so you imagine my horror when I found this on Amazon this morning. Look at the "Price at a Glance" box on the right and then scroll down to the bottom. Yikes! Tonya - you know you said you were going to insure your copies, well you had better insure them for a lot higher than you were originally thinking of! Wonky House Wall Hanging top is nearly done! Couldn't sleep again last night so instead of tossing and turning I got up and sewed until about 3.00 a.m! Because of that we all overslept this morning. Alex is in a major sulk as she missed the school bus and had to be driven into school. Oh the shame of being seen with your mother and having to be driven into school! She turned her head so that she couldn't be "seen" as we got close to the school gates. Kids eh!

Monday, 25 September 2006

Monday Mumblings

The trusted Indesit washing machine has packed up (the programme dial has decided to throw a wobbly) so the ancient, but still working, backup machine is back in use. This is a real pain, mais c'est la vie and I will just have to trundle on with what I have, hoping that this one doesn't pack up too. Mountains of sheets and towels to wash and it is pouring with rain. Spent a lovely time yesterday doing my Wonky House hanging which is coming along very nicely indeed - very chuffed with it. I will upload photos if Sophie promises faithfully not to let Mum see them. Didn't get much sleep last night. My mind suddenly started whirring away with possible quilt designs and thinking about my Take the Leap Challenge quilt. Do I give it to the Bocquier's, or do I hand it over to Sophie? I am in a real quandry about this. The Leukaemia list to the right has grown again - welcome to Jenni in Australia and Debbi in Illinois. Hedgehog says she is posting me yet more blocks today and Fiona's lovely Take the Leap Challenge crib quilt and 2 red and white blocks will soon be on their way to France, as will Serena's, Mel's and Vera's. If you are not on the list and have already contributed, or have said you will contribute, please let me know. To end today's post, I would like to quote from a mail Floyd sent me at the end of last week. I am sure he won't mind (too late he if does LOL).
"Hi Clare, I think this is fantastic, a great blog site, and very good of you to think of something to help. Also seems like a whole load of others need thanking too, indeed a multi-national massive quilt build!! It must take a fair amount of time to make, and hopefully all this effort can be best used for some great causes. I'll bet some kiddies would be delighted with bright colourful quilts from afar!"

Saturday, 23 September 2006

More Blocks Received From ........

2 beautiful blocks received from Simonetta with a beautiful label and a gorgeous one from Jeanne. Thank you both so very much. Brigitte asked about O's and X's. If you go to Tonya's Blog (the link should take you straight to it) you will find a description on how to make them up. Basically, it is shorthand for Hugs and Kisses. It could also be a form of noughts and crosses, or, as they call it in the US, Tic-Tac-Toe. Anne - Alexandra is a huge Tonya fan. Her quilting and eye for colour have really inspired her. Right - must toddle.

Friday, 22 September 2006

Designed by Alex, cut and sewn by Mum!

This is what I have been working on for the last few days and, boy, has it taken time! Lovely design by Alexandra, but sewing fabrics together, cutting to the right size (too short Mum, too big Mum!) has been a nightmare. Finally managed to finish off today while she was at school! Sophie - Mum is not allowed to look! Now that that is out of the way I can concentrate on "my" stuff !

Stash Building

This is the recent haul. I love the pink and grey roses on the black background, I wish they had had some more of the green, but will have to keep on going back as the ladies didn't know where it came from and I couldn't find it on the shelves, and the pink and yellow will fit Sunburst perfectly.

1/4 inch seams

I noticed that this topic is quite common on everyone's blogs. I have the most terrible problems as have never, ever been able to sew or cut a straight line (which is why I prefer the Tonya style of quilting). Sewing machines, feet and bobbins are one of the current topics on Crafters and someone came up with Jaycotts in the UK. Scroll about 3/4's down the page and you will come across a little gizmo which should help with 1/4 inch seams. A tad expensive , but if you are a perfectionist it may help. There is also a whole loads of quilting stuff on there and they ship to the US.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

More Blocks Received From ........

Anne - whose heart applique is gorgeous Katja - wow - 4 blocks! Can you put the photos on your blog? My connection is soooo slow today it would take an age for me to do it. New quilt ruler time :-) so a demain.

Stash Building and Sacs au Recycle

Last minute decision yesterday to go to Nontron for a quick shop which meant going via Javerlhac. Had a lovely rummage about in the huge cardboard box of remnants and found some lovely bits and pieces for Sunburst, a gorgeous piece of black with pink and grey roses on it and some teddy bear material for a baby quilt. Also stocked up in the thread department. Pictures will be shown after the material has been washed. Eventually ended up at Super U and Alex and I headed off to the check-outs to ransack the carrier bags for the lovely people who are doing blocks for me. Oh calamity, calamity, calamity! They are revolting - ghastly grey fish on a white background one side and stainless steel spoons on the other! Rest assured that Alex and I are on the case. You might have to make do with a Shopi one. It won't be the same design as the one Fiona showed us, but the colours are gorgeous.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

The Quilt(s) - where are they going?

Emails and text messages have been flying backwards and forwards between me and Sophie and we have finally come up with an answer as to where all your kindness and love is going to, we think. LRFUK cannot auction them as hoped, so it's Plan B folks! Sophie and Floyd regularly visit children with Leukaemia in various hospitals and hospices in the London area so I think we have decided that we are going to try to make as many "children sized" quilts as possible with the blocks that we receive and donate them to the childrens' wards of those hospitals/hospices. I am hoping that Great Ormond Street Hospital will be one of the recipients. They visited one little boy this weekend who has had to have his testes removed as the Leukaemia has come back - I think he needs some love from around the world don't you? Don't worry if you think you cannot make a block in time. I can't see me getting all the quilts finished this side of Christmas. So keep them coming and lets see how many quilts we can make between, say, now and the end of January. All I've got to do is find a source for the backing and wadding! I am now going to chill out with a well deserved cup of tea and Ox and Xs!


It's taken me all morning (what a dreadful waste of a lovely sunny day) to get up and running again, but I think I have done it. If I have missed anyone off the "Leukaemia" list then shout - my eyes are going! Brigette - I will get back to you. Many, many thanks.

Heartbroken and a Word of Warning

I have been trying to access my Blog for the last hour, only to get a blank page with just the heading. I finally managed to access the settings via "Get Your Own Blog" and found that the template had been wiped - nothing there apart from the heading settings. It was gone, disparued, vanished into the ether! Pppffff - all my hard work over the last week gone in a click of a hacker's(?) mouse! Sometime ago I was playing about with templates and had copied and pasted the template settings into Notepad so what you are seeing on the right is "old news". Please bear with me - I will try to get it back to what it was yesterday. In the meantime, a word of warning. Every time you change/edit your template, copy and paste it to Notepad just in case. disappearing into the distance, quietly sobbing ................................ :-(

Monday, 18 September 2006

Odd Threads

I am a huge Virgina Woolf/Vanessa Bell/Charleston House/Bloomsbury Group fan so you can imagine my joy when Kathy at the Quilters Cafe found this fabric. That is the sort of material I would keep forever - it is soooo Quentin Bell/Vanessa Bell! Can't wait to go back to the UK for Christmas and have a rummage in the fabric shops in Canterbury to see what I can find. Not a very fruitful weekend. Did manage to get some more houses done, but Os ands Xs has taken a back seat. I did meet its recipient though! I am really going to make an effort to knock some of the September Goals on the head this week.

You are all fantastique!

I can see lots of lovely blocks coming my way. I really cant wait to make up what is turning out to be a beautiful quilt. Fiona's Take the Leap Challenge Quilt is going to make a child somewhere very happy - can't wait to see how her Red and White Blocks turn out. Anne's block looks as if it could become the central block. Hedgehog's blocks are beautifully made (I am looking at them as I type this). Marcie's are truly lovely too - I love the basket! Simonetta's are big and bold! Can't wait to see Katja's (she won't post a photo until she know's they are here safe and sound), and really looking forward to seeing everyone else's. Karen - if you are reading this, I am going to put your name on the list so that you will have to do it! Merci mille fois - all of you.

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Quilt Blocks and Carrier Bags

I turned on the computer this morning and downloaded a mail from Amy in Florida. I was instantly in hysterics. Amy O'Hara you have a wicked way with words. I hope she doesn't mind, but I really have to copy part of her mail here!
"Also -- when I was buying my red and white fabric for the leukaemia blocks, the lady cutting the pieces asked me what sort of quilt I was making (she guessed quilt by the fabrics and the small yardage) -- when I told her it was for a charity quilt, she asked if she could please make a couple of blocks, and would I send them with mine? She was really intrigued when I told her it was for an English friend of mine, living in France, making blocks for the English leukaemia society on behalf of a Scottish friend who is battling the disease. She said she would like to at least make it signify that the quilt is wrapped around the world. (Nice!)"
Onto the the carrier bags. I had a mail from Anne over at Quilting Bebbs asking if I could send her a carrier bag. I am going to make a deal here. If anyone wants a Super U carrier bag they have to promise me one red and white block. So Anne - you will get your carrier bag if you will make me one red and white 8 inch block in return! It is tipping it down here and I have a gite to clean, a house quilt to finish which is going horribly wrong and Alex has got the sewing bug. Sophie - if you are reading I would love Mum to see some of this please if George will let you borrow the PC. A plus!

Friday, 15 September 2006

Loose Threads

Piccie time, but before I do that I must thank Hedgehog for her 3 beautiful blocks which arrived yesterday, accompanied by a lovely postcard of an Around the World quilt which has been given pride of place on the fridge! Onto the photos. The photos below are Polish stickers which Mum got on her recent Polish trip for Alex. The next photo is my new bag which was the small parcel I was expecting from Mum. Mum bought it in the market at Krakow. She said there were loads of them and really really cheap. Last but not least, this piece of fabric was a real find. I discovered it in the remnant box at the fabric warehouse. There are so many different colours and designs on it that I can use bits of it for anything! You might recognise a bit of it on my Tonya House that I made back in July. Next time I go up to Javerlhac (hopefully Monday) will have a rummage about in the huge cardboard box (big enough for me to fall into - it is impossible to get to the bottom of it) and see if I can find some more. Weather a whole lot cooler and am able to get a lot of outstanding chores done.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Fiona's Carrier Bag

Fiona at Scraps in Progress has PM'd me with her address so that I can get her a Super U recyclable carrier bag (pictured here). Just to say that we are not now going in that direction today, but I will be either tomorrow or Monday as the supermarket is en route for the fabric shop (vbg) and I am definitely going to start Sunburst next week! Soooooo, if anyone wants a Super U bag like Fiona's please please don't hesitate to PM me with your address - 60 centimes is nothing compared to friendship!

What Gender is Your Brain?

Your Brain is 73% Female, 27% Male
Your brain leans female You think with your heart, not your head Sweet and considerate, you are a giver But you're tough enough not to let anyone take advantage of you!

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

How Do I ........

put the lines through the items done on my September 2006 Goals. I've looked in Blogger Help and can't see how it is done. Please help!

A Decision Has Been Made

Alex's best friend's mother gave birth on Sunday to a baby boy. At last a Bocquier to carry on the family name! Amandine (friend) and Amelie (Amandine's younger sister) are over the moon, as is the entire family. Anyway, the Bocquier's have been really great to us since we first came here, helping out with car problems, school problems, etc so I have decided that Os and Xs is going to them for Bocquier junior (Arno, Arnault or something). It is the least I can do for a family that are full of kindness. Onto Red and White Blocks. Had a PM from Fiona yesterday who is going to make a Take the Challenge quilt and wants to donate it to "the cause". Thanks Fiona - that is really really great! Pippa has been having a rummage in her stash and has found some red and white material so, as well as making a quilt, she is also going to do some blocks for me, that's if her husband hasn't divorced her for becoming a quilt junky! Any more offers?

Nice Things Come in Small Packages!

Mr le Facteur left a package in the porch yesterday. I am expecting a small parcel from my Mum so when I picked it up, I just assumed that it was from her. It wasn't until I put it down on the kitchen table that I realised it had a US Customs Declaration Form on it. It was a box of remnants sent by my friend Amy in Florida who is on the La Vie en France group. She had meant to send it from France when she was over in June, but forgot. She took all the material she had been collecting back with her and added some more to the stash. She finally got round to sending the package last week, emailed me that it would take 10 days and it has taken less than a week! What was inside? Take a look. The Indian looking material at the bottom is something I have never heard of before, but have no doubt you guys across The Pond will know of a Jo-Anna Circular Skirt? Anyway, Alexandra spotted this and has claimed it as her own. Guess what I am making up this coming weekend! And yet more presents! My friend Karen, who stayed last weekend, very kindly brought me some more remnants which were left over from curtains she is making. Aren't these colours fantastic! I can't wait to get started with them. Letters, scrappy quilts, wonky houses, whatever. The only trouble is there is not a lot of it so I am going to have to be very very careful!

Monday, 11 September 2006

Red and White Blocks

Turned on the computer this morning and Wow! what a lovely response. Hedgehog has finished her blocks and they are soon to be winging their way from Finland to France, I have had some lovely PM's from a few people wishing me luck with this project, most notably Juliann Phillips in Washington DC, who has offered to make either some blocks or a tiny quilt, and Simonetta in Italy. Also a lovely mail from Laurie in Seattle who shares DD's love of football (Allez les Bleus!). Juliann - I did PM you, but you may not receive it as Tiscali and AOL have a love hate relationship!. I would prefer the blocks now that we have started to go down this route, but if you really want to make a tiny quilt then I leave it up to you. Thanks again for all your help. Anyone else interested?

Weekend Jottings

Lovely friend and her son came to stay for the weekend. Had a great time with loads of chatting, laughing, eating and drinking. Alex and William played Monopoly (French version), mucked about with their Tamagotchi's (yawn) and generally had a great time while chatting non-stop. They were still chatting at 1.00 a.m on Sunday morning! Karen has decided to take up quilting so I have given her a list of quilting sites and blogs to look at. Tonya and Bonnie - she will be heading your way. Funnly enough, they are "in transit" too. Right, onto more topical things. Os ands Xs - quite pleased with this. I am hand quilting for the first time and it is taking a long time to get the stitching even. The batting has crinkled, probably because I didn't have enough pins (they are holding first wonky house together waiting for DD to quilt it!) and my long quilting pins are much too dangerous for this job! I am wondering whether to quilt the sashings a la Tonya's Fans. It will hold it together more, What does anyone else think? Onto Sunburst. I'm pulling fabrics at long last, but think that the stash is not going to provide enough! This is what I have come up with so far. I think that a darker yellow is needed between the bright yellow and the orange, possibly a lighter pink between the orange and the pink and something between the pink and the "brick red". Tonya commented on her Blog the other day about fabric shops/quilt shops in Paris and I was thinking about how she could research this before she gets to Paris. The French version of Yellow Pages is called Pages Jaunes (obvious really!) and they have a really good web site at, demandez c'est trouvé ! This is the link to the English version. The postal code for Paris centre ville is 75 (most important that) and you are looking for Tissus au metre (detail) or Mercerie, bonneterie (detail). If you have Broadband/ADSL then you can click on the "map" button and see whereabouts the shop is in relation to where you will be living. How I envy you having the whole of Paris on your doorstep to wander about in as you wish. I think you may just be getting a visit in the Spring!

Friday, 8 September 2006

Thanks Hedgehog!

Isn't she a dear. Not only has Hedgehog promised me one or two blocks, but she has also mentioned Quilts for Leukaemia on her blog, which you can view here. Sophie, in her comment, mentioned the LRUK logo and colours, which you can view here. The flower logo gives loads of scope for the imagination! All I am asking for is one 8" block. If you want to make more that is fine by me - the more the merrier. Hedgehog and I have discussed the "initials on the block" bit and thought it might be a bit mind blowing for the prospective purchaser/user so it was agreed that the initials/name/blog name of the maker of each block would be sewn onto the back. If you have a label that you would like sewn on instead, then send it with your block. Come on girls - get the reds and whites out and see what you can come up with! Thanks. Clare xx

Floyd Update. Sophie and Quilting

This is an extract from a mail I received from Sophie yesterday :
On a serious note, Floyd and I are now ambassadors for Leukaemia Research and have spent time this year speaking at their annual conference and also helping fellow leukies through their illness and treatments. Leukaemia will always be very close to us and we are passionate about helping fund research. More teenagers and young people die of blood cancer than any other type of cancer. Floyd is coming up to his 2 year remission landmark (and 40th birthday!!). We still have 3 years to go to the 'safety line' and are determined to help fight the battle by fundraising and helping research as much as we can.
Soph - this is for you. I don't think auctioning is the way forward. The quilt(s) should be donated to various hospitals, especially if a few small ones are made for children to cuddle. This can be done either by you and Floyd donating them to Floyd's MacMillan unit, or through LRUK. They are not for decoration - they are made with love for people to love! And on that note - we are off to Perigueux again (fabric shop is out of bounds!), but I am taking Os and Xs with me just in case I get bored and have to retire to the car to do some quilting (VBG).

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Quilts for Leukaemia

I know I keep on about this, but I had an idea while hanging out the washing. If you want to take part, but haven't got the time to make up a complete quilt, then how about a block (with your initials sewn into it somewhere) which can then be sent to me. I will put the whole lot together, quilt as per your instructions for your block, and then hand the whole quilt over to Sophie. My Dutch friend has offered to give a hand with the quilting side. At the moment, Pippa, bless her heart, is the only other person making a quilt for this worthwhile cause. Interested? Either leave a comment or PM me. Friday : For Hedgehog - Thanks for offering - really appreciated. Colours will probably be red and white, but yet to be confirmed as waiting for Soph to pop her head up.

Brantome Interlude

There is the most amazing glass blowing workshop in Brantome, run by Eric Simonin, where you can watch him and his students work. I would love to own some of his pieces, but they are terribly expensive. However, the pieces blown by his students are a lot cheaper and Alex recently spent some of her pocket money on presents for her Mum and Dad - mine is the green one, DH's is, of course, the clear one.

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Thread Fetish

It has taken me an hour and a half to get this picture to load! Anyway, yesterday I managed to get to the fabric shop in Perigueux and, instead of buying material (well just a remnant of bright yellow) I thought I would look at threads instead for Os and Xs. Decisions decisions. DH got fed up waiting and sulked in a corner and the lady behind the counter was obviously used to people like me as she left me alone. Anyway, came away with this lot - love the bi-coloured pinks and blues. I'm not going to use the green/blue ones on Os and Xs, just the pinks. Wait and see. Whilst I was waiting for Blogger to make its mind up I looked at Bonnie's Weed Whacker. Really shouldn't think about this sort of thing until I've ticked off some of the September list. Am gathering yellows/oranges/reds and pinks together for Sunburst. I have changed the plan slightly. I won't do the criss-cross lines, just lines coming out from the centre like sun rays. Off how to put the layers together and do some binding.

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Wind from the East

Anyone seen this lovely blog? Wind from the East A plus


Thanks to Serena, Hedgehog, Pam and Katja for their help and advice. We are off into Perigueux (after I have listened to Petite Anglaise) to buy new trainers and various other school bits and pieces for DD and am hoping we will have enough time to pop into Oasis :-)

Monday, 4 September 2006

Os and Xs

Et voila! The top line is well and truly wonky, but I got the hang of the cutting by the time I got to the second line. I ought to mention here that my lovey Dutch friend who set me on the road to quilting cuts with Stanley knives and blocks made out of MDF that her husband made for her. This is how I started and how the first 2.5 quilts were made (although I did invest in a proper cutter LOL). Os and Xs is the first time I have used a proper quilting ruler so it took a bit of time to get used to cutting to measurements, rather than blocks! Boy does it save on the cutter blades! Lovely daughter will be home in a minute and internet time is running out so a demain

A Few Questions

I nearly finished the top of O's and X's and before I go any further I would like to ask the "experts" a few questions. I read somewhere about making up your own binding strips, but can't remember where. How wide do they have to be, or is it just pure guess work? On my last 2 big quilts I overlapped the backing so binding is a first for me. I have also decided to have a go at another Tonya Tutorial and try to hand quilt with embroidery thread. Is it necessary to pin the entire quilt, or just the bit I am working on? There was something else, but I've forgotten what it was. Will no doubt remember when I get downstairs! More in a bit.

Meet the Bloggers

BBC Radio 4 has started a programme about Blogging. Tomorrow they are interviewing Petite Anglaise - the girl who got sacked after her boss had read her Blog.

C'est la Rentrée

The radio switched itself on at 6.30 a.m, the alarms went off all over the house at staggered intervals between 6.45 and 7.00 a.m. Life is back to normal! Alex starts College today. I am sitting here thinking about how she must be feeling seeing more children in 6eme than there were at the ecole primaire. I can remember how frightening I found my first day at senior school. She went off to school without a care in the world, pleased to be seeing her school mates again after a 2 month break, but leaving a worried Mum at home. Don't they just know how to pull at our heart strings. I am sure she will be fine, she always is, but I won't rest easy until I know what sort of day she has had. In the meantime, am on the border for O's and X's which has turned into a very wonky O's and X's. Will upload a photo later on today when I have finished. It looks as if this is going to be one quilt which is going to be finished by the end of the month. Think I could well be making baby quilts my "thing". They are so quick! Speaking of Rentrée, our grapes were picked for the vendange last week. They don't contribute much to the pot, but the vendange must be at least 3 weeks early this year. The experts are saying that this is going to be one of the best ever years.

Saturday, 2 September 2006


Sorry! I was mucking about with Blogger on Saturday and forgot to delete this photo which you have already seen. However, now that "Hedghog" has commented on it I can hardly delete it can I :-)


Bonjour tous, Just wondering about Bloglines, which by the way is brilliant and makes reading everyone's blogs a lot easier. We are going back home for Christmas and I won't have internet access. What do you think about the "Displayed in Mobile" feature? Do any of you use this facility? Gite to clean and then I really really hope I can restart O's and X's