Monday, 15 June 2015

Garden flower bouquet and a Monday finish

I love this time of year. The sun is shining and the garden is looking beautiful. This is the result of of all Mike's hard work, but under my direction, of course. The best thing is that there is plenty of choice to fill a vase for the house.
Today's choice is a mix of pink shrub roses, late flowering honeysuckle and Sambucus Nigra "Black Lace". The last is a version of the wild elderberry that we planted in the quarry garden years ago. I'm afraid that part of the garden is a bit of a mess but this bush is a towering display of tiers of pale pink blooms.

Last year our bees made a bee-line for our chimney for the winter. Unfortunately they died out early in the New Year. We were lucky enough to be offered a swarm of bees last week and we are thrilled to have honeybees in the garden again.

 Half of the bees were tipped gently into the top of the hive and the rest were left on a sloping board to make their own way into the hive. They instinctively walk upwards to the opening.

The hive is right down at the bottom of the garden and the bees seem to have settled well. They have been  drawing out the comb from the foundation and are busy bringing nectar and pollen back. Hopefully, the queen will start laying this week.

So to my finish. Ta dah!.....

It is the finished foundation pieced table runner. I have appliquéd the centre flower with whipped buttonhole stitch.

The glass bottles are all Victorian in origin. Mike rescued them when he excavated the ice house here on the farm. They are a mix of seltzer, medicine and poison bottles! We found a dozen Victorian champagne bottles too. The ice house must have become redundant and was then used a a dump. I think the bottles look just right with the colours of the table runner .

I have spent the afternoon preparing for tomorrow's masterclass by Harriet Hargrave on invisible machine appliqué. Bags now packed, machine checked and all the class requirements ticked off. I think I'll need my brain in gear tomorrow so I will be having an early night.

I will be linking to several of the link parties (see the right hand margin for the links)

Hope the sun is shining on you too today.


Thursday, 11 June 2015


I have been having a bloggy conversation with Glenda of Patchwork Dreams recently. She posted about a giant centipede that made it's way into her bedroom. She lives in what looks like a subtropical area of Australia with huge trees and a lush garden of tropical flowers. Very warm and humid.... and so you would expect giant insects. Apparently spiders eat birds there. Ugh!

I thought I was safe here in South Wales. A temperate (sometimes a bit too cold) and gentle climate. Just see what showed up this afternoon in my conservatory. I have no photos of this insect alive as I was too busy looking for the fly spray.

The wingspan was 2 inches.

I'm afraid I had to kill it and once sprayed it took over 10 minutes to finally die. I was concerned that it may be the Asian hornet but it would appear to be a European hornet. The Asian sort has yellow tipped legs. The photos do not do it justice as the hornet curled slightly once it expired.

This is so totally off topic for my blog but it provided a bit of excitement.

My table runner is now sandwiched and ready for machine quilting tomorrow.

Lets hope tomorrow holds no surprises.


Monday, 8 June 2015

Monday morning

It is sunny outside and I've woken up feeling optimistic and happy. For some reason I started thinking about the song "Monday, Monday" by the Mamas and the Papas; anyone remember it? Well it was a long time ago (1966) so you are forgiven if you don't know it. I checked out the lyrics and find they are so sad- that's really weird. I'm not sure why I associate it with feeling good. I must never have paid attention to the words. Still, it is a brand new week full of possibilities.

First, the almost finished top of a table runner.

I took a class on foundation paper piecing with Jeannie Duncan-Farr at Cutting Edge last week. I love FPP- the way you just cover the paper and get accurate points. Jeannie had designed a colourful table runner with a flying geese border.

Jeannies table runner from the Cutting Edge website
 I had chosen an entirely different colour palette for mine and struggled a bit as I did not have any green for the leaves. Still, here are some photos of my progress.

I have pieced the whole top now but still need to appliqué the central flower. It will be interesting to see how everyone else got on when we meet tomorrow for our monthly meeting. I plan to start a new embroidery as it will be something that is easy to do in the garden while enjoying the sunny weather.

Mike and I took a trip to the National Botanic Garden of Wales yesterday and what a treat! The main aims of the garden are conservation and research that is accessible to all. This gem of a garden is only an hour away from Cardiff and yet I only visited it once in the year it opened to my shame. The planting has matured and there is something for everyone to explore; history, sculpture, plants in medicine, bees, glorious gardens and the largest single span glasshouse in the world that was designed by Norman Foster and partners. A few photos....

It was difficult to show the scale of the glasshouse because of the way it nestles in the landscape.

If you are planning a trip to Wales try to get to visit the garden. Something here for everyone.

Have a great sewing week,


I'll be linking to several link parties this week and I have the links in the sidebar on the right;

A brand new to me Monday link party Monday Makers run by Nurdan of Hug-a-bit Quilts. It would be nice if you could drop into her party and show some support.
Anything Goes Mondays seems to be missing this week.
 Linky Tuesday (Freemotion by the River) and So Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.
 Esther Aliu's WOW and WIP Wednesday (Freshly Pieced)

Monday, 1 June 2015

Waste not, want not.

Life has been super busy and enjoyable recently. We were away in May for a few days staying near Rutland Water. Our bedroom had the most fantastic view of the water framed by a pink clematis on one side.

We had time to visit Oakham and Stamford but the main reason for visiting the area was to attend a private event at Althorp, the home of the Spencer family. Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, read Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford. My husband studied chemistry at Magdalen in the 1960's before changing direction and reading medicine. The Magdalen Society was invited to Althorp for a reception and lecture by Earl Spencer on his new book, Killers of the King- the men who dared execute Charles I. The lecture was fascinating but the best bit of the visit was being able to wander around this wonderful Grade I listed house wine glass in hand. Click through for history and official photos of the house.

I spent several days preparing for a lunch party for special friends to celebrate their Golden Wedding anniversary. Mike has known Mike and Peggy for more than 30 years.  I decided on a traditional summer lunch of poached salmon with new potatoes and green bean salad followed by meringues and strawberries. I also made a cake but chickened out on the icing by using fresh flowers as decoration.

So what has this got to do with the title of the post? Well the consequence of making 48 meringues were 8 leftover egg yolks. I hate wasting food so put the whole egg yolks in a container and added a small amount of cold water to cover. They keep well for a couple of days in the fridge like this. Today I felt recovered enough to do some cooking and decided that a good use of the eggs would be to make lemon curd.
I found a recipe online which just needed the yolks and not whole eggs. The only thing I changed was to increase the amount of sugar- in fact I doubled it! The curd was still fresh and lemony but not mouth puckering.

 Butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice are combined in the same bowl and heated gently over boiling water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.

 The finished product- delicious!

So sorry once again for the blogging drought, I hope you understand.

We had a meeting of the Honey Bee group here last week too so I will post about that soon.
Have a great week,