Monday, 30 April 2007

The Second Love of My Life

Lily showed photos of the Canberra Balloon Festival which bought a lump to my throat and made me feel very nostalgic and a bit "home sick". Many moons ago I was a P.U.T (pilot under training) flying hot air balloons. A great friend of ours got hooked when he learnt to fly with the British School of Ballooning. He bought his lovely Thunder & Colt G-ONCL (not the one in the photos) and the big adventure began! DH and I used to retrieve a lot for him, then DH got fed up of getting up at 5.30 am in the summer months and I continued retrieving, sometimes on my own or with company. I got to know the highways and byways of Surrey and Sussex very well thank you and rarely got lost (unlike DH who once took 3 hours to find us). Eventually NCL gave me PUT lessons in return for retrieving and the second love of my love very nearly became my first. I have flown 3,000 ft above Longleat House, been dragged across fields heading dangerously for an electric fence. Been in a balloon when the envelope had to be carefully untangled from a barbed wire fence. Flown dangerously close to power cables (ooohhh that was scary), got wet feet splashing into lakes (great great fun) and literally stood still 300 feet up over telephone lines when there was no wind. That day it took us 2 hours to fly about a mile down the road! I have flown nearly in a complete circle. Been at the receiving end of angry farmers. Flown on a clear frosty morning, returned to the house, refuelled the gas bottles and flown again. Then I fell pregnant and that was that - I haven't flown since. NCL has, however, gone on to bigger and better things. He now flies two huge balloons for their respective owners and, when I last spoke to him, was commuting between his office in West Sussex and Tuscany and Luxor (ok for some!). So here are some photos for you of the one thing in my life that I wish I had never given up. I'm not to be seen - I was on the other end of the camera.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Aunt's Quilt and The Bent Needle

I used the door to one of the guest rooms! Putting it up and and having a look at it in a different way has helped. Do you think it will work like this? Perhaps I can leave the "ands" out and just stem stitch the grandchildrens' names in between. There are, would you believe, 10 names to be added. Oh and whilst I'm here, go over and visit Sassenach's monthly blogzine called Bent Needle. In honour of Tonya's imminent arrival in Paris (yippee) Sassenach takes you on a whirl wind tour of parts of Western Europe.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

This is driving me mad

For some reason best known to Blogger I cannot leave comments. Either the page doesn't show , or I type in what I want to say, hit the preview or post button and zilch, nothing, rien! So, Fiona - is that the stuff that is used to stop tablemats from slipping? Davo - sorry, but I can't leave a comment on your blog either. What a lovely surprise for you and a gorgeous picture of Coonie trying her hardest to be invisible. A plus

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Pressies and a Small Purchase.

A long standing friend, who I have never met, but we belong to the same Yahoo Group, mentioned sometime ago that she had received 2 quilting books from a book club which she did not want so would I like them? Yes please! Well, they were parcelled up and ready to go by UPS from Portland, Oregon to France when my friend Meg's husband just happened to be in Texas, so they were sent down to him. They then travelled across the Atlantic to the Pays Basque and a few weeks later were delivered to Allison who lives in the Charente Maritime. Allison gave them to my friend Sue who lives just north of Nontron and last Saturday I finally got my hands on them. And then last Monday we went into Perigueux, as you know, and as we were in the vicinity of Mr Bricolage I popped in for thread and blades for the cutter. I came out with this little lot, more blades and other bits and pieces. I love the colours and shall probably use this for Aunt's quilt (if it is ever finished). And on that subject, I am trying to get the sections up onto a white wall to show you all so more on that later.

WiP Wednesday - 25th April 2007

Loads of pictures today. I am in the process of trying to piece this lot together and it is driving me crazy! I wanted to try to keep the names together. Elizabeth has been cut about so much the letters were getting smaller and smaller so this is how she stays. The same with Richard. At the moment it is in 2 pieces because it has to go next to Tim, but then I will have a huge long strip in the middle. Let me explain. Jean (aunt) is married to John (wrong colours, but it stays), Elizabeth is the eldest child who is married to Bill. Then there is Sarah who is married to Tim, then Richard who is married to Sarah and, last but not least, Diana who is married to Martin. I originally thought of making "and" for each pair, but changed to a +. I then decided that if I kept going with ideas the quilt would get bigger and bigger and wider too! Oh dear, big sigh, what next? Why not stem stitch ampersands in? Why not indeed. Then another hiccup. I need a gap between Tim and Richard, but Richard is too long for one strip so it is split, but if I put the last half of Richard with "his" Sarah then I have a huge block of blue fabric over the two lines which won't tally with the rest of the quilt as Diana and Martin are going to be squashed up at the bottom. Somewhere in between all this lot the names of the grandchildren have got to be stem stitched, and believe you me there are loads of them. I suppose I could have big blue blocks over the two lines and fill them with the names of the grandchildren, but would that look too busy in that section? Okay, look what I will do is to pin them together and then we can have another look. How does that sound? Anyone any ideas? This is supposed to be finished in 2 weeks ( not!) Ooooooo Blogger and connection are being nice. Quick another post!

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Stashbuster Topic of the Week (a little late) .... My Favourite Quilt Store

Oohhhh - this is hard! I have various ports of call for various quilting bits and pieces. Fabric comes from the fabric warehouse at Javerlhac if we are passing; quilting thread, machine needles and replacement cutters come from Mr Bricolage at Boulazac in Perigueux (don't laugh - they took over the concession of the Arts et Passion store when it closed), embroidery threads come from all over the place (all kinds of shops stock the DMC threads), rulers come from Oasis in Perigueux if and when I need one, but I suppose my favourite of all the ones I have discovered is Saperlipo'patch in Bordeaux. We were there last Friday on a jaunt as it was the last day of the holidays for Alex, but unfortunately we ran out of time and I didn't get to visit. Good thing or bad thing I do not know, but at least the bank balance didn't get a thrashing! Now a new discovery. There is a tissu shop in Perigueux next door but one to the swimming pool supplies shop. DH had to pay a visit yesterday to get a new white bache for the summer pool cover and some other bits and pieces so I popped next door for a quick look. Loads of quilting fabric. Tiny little FQ's for 1 Euro and lots and lots of choice of fabric. Boy was I tempted but I was a good girl and didn't buy. I did see material for the borders for my aunt's wall hanging (WiP demain) and spotted a supply of Coats handquilting thread so will be returning. 3 years ago it was difficult to obtain quilting supplies here without going onto the 'net, so I am pleased to see the choice is finally opening up. I am yet to try Angouleme, but DH has promised a trip there sometime this week. I wonder what I shall find? I don't just get in the car and zoom off at the drop of a hat for quilting stuff. Each visit has to co-incide with a trip out, be it Perigueux, Nontron or, even, Bordeaux.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Traumatic Tuesday

Just to say I'm thinking of you all across The Pond, especially those of you in Virginia, or who have friends and relatives living there. To cheer you up a bit - a photo taken the day before yesterday from the kitchen looking out onto the balcony and beyond.

Friday, 13 April 2007

I've been tagged ...........

by Bea over at Capricorn Quilts. So I have now got to nominate 5 blogs that inspire me from the huge amount I try to read every day (when I can connect (sniff)). So here goes. First, mais certainment, is TONYA. She has opened my eyes to a completely different way of quilting. None of the tricky flying geese for her. Oh no, wonky houses, wonky letters, hearts, stars, firebursts and now I see diamonds! Second is VIVI. She has been through such a lot over the last year or so. Third, and I think possibly this should really be the most important one, is DAVO. This boy's strength and determination to carry on, regardless, is awe inspiring. Please visit him sometime to make him laugh, take him out of himself and given him a lift - he needs it. BTW he was the recipient of the first quilt. Fourth is SIOBHAN. Again her efforts to overcome MS and carry on as normal amaze me. And fifth, but by no means last, is MELZIE who needs no introduction to us quilters. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry, she makes me feel sad and the next minute happy. She is one of life's survivors. So there you have it. 3 of my 5 are quilting blogs, the other 2 aren't. Who inspires me apart from those 5? Well, there is Finn over at Pieces from my Scrapbag, Joyce with her fantastic free piecing and a brilliant imagination, Sassenach and her amazing articles on quilt history. I could go on and on, but I won't for fear of boring you all. See you later. I'm borrowing a friends computer who has got ADSL so I'm going to upload loads and loads of eye candy for you which will have to keep you going for the time being until I can get this blasted connection sorted.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Belated WiP and Oodles of Fabric

Do you know the worst thing about living in rural France? The blasted phone system and the fact that we are one of the last villages in the Dordogne not to have ADSL. Apparently they are working on getting us connected sometime in 2008 or 2009, but I don't think I can wait that long. My ISP is driving me nuts. It's not their fault, it's the fault of France Telecom and their antiquated telephone exchange and that the wet pieces of string are, quite literally, hanging in loops from the telegraph poles. I have been trying to post this for well over a week and I just hope that this time I don't loose the connection. First things first - WiP. Well, I've started my aunt's family birthday quilt. The letters are very wonky but I'm enjoying it. It is great to be piecing and sewing again and watching a quilt come to life, rather than trying to push a needle through 2 inches of fabric and loosing the skin on my thumb. Now on to more important matters. A friend in the next village has recently come back from a trip to the UK. She had the sad task of doing a mini house clearance. SiL has got Breast Cancer and MiL has gone into a home. Guess what she bought back with her? Fabric. Lots of fabric. Lots and lots and lots of fabric. Some of it is curtain material and curtain lining, some of it is too silky and thin for quilting, but she let me have a rummage and this is what I came back with. Updated 13th April - eye candy time.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Miserable Mardi Matin

As I said yesterday, we have been having Magic trouble. Laboured breathing, coughing like mad and generally Not At All Well. Yesterday showed a slight improvement and by the end of the day she was eating and drinking and demanding, in a rather croaky way, To Go Outside Now. So we let her, thinking she would come back in at bedtime. She didn't. Oh well, she'll come in through the Magic Entrance in Alex's bedroom sometime during the night. She didn't. Calling and calling this morning did not bring a result so I feared the worst and was just getting to the "how am I going to tell Alex" stage, in between a few quiet sobs. I stopped trying to wake the neighbourhood and tried again a couple of hours ago. There was a croaky miaow and round the corner she came wearing her "Do stop shouting woman, I'm here" look. Oh the relief!

Monday, 2 April 2007

Monday Mumblings

We went to Bordeaux on Friday. Alex had the day off - ecole en grève encore (Tonya translate that please *vbg*) - so we thought we deserved a day out. We drove there in gorgeous beautiful sunshine and, of course, when we arrived the heavens opened. We were cold, wet and miserable, but did I let that deter me from my mission? No I did not! Someone on the Stashbuster groups posted this web site as it has a good list of QS's in Western Europe so I couldn't resist a peek. I found Saperlipo'Patch tucked away in a tiny back street off the Cours Victor Hugo. Talk about walking into Wonderland. I just stood and gawped. They specialise in Japanese stuff, but I was more interested in the threads and the FQ's. I couldn't make my mind up and used the excuse, in my head, that I needed to compare prices with the QS's in Perigueux Centre Ville and at Thiviers. However, look what I did find - perfect for cutting letters. 3 x 15 mm and isn't it sweet. Alex and I having been pulling material from the stash for the next quilt and this little beauty is going to help. We have had a pretty eventful weekend. Our lovely Magic has picked up some sort of bug and isn't at all well. Bit better this morning so we shall see.