Saturday, 13 December 2014

Feeling Christmassy

Yes, it is beginning to feel a bit like Christmas. DS is home from uni for the holidays, and I only have three working days left before I'm on holiday until the New Year.  Here's a shot of our hallway with the tinsel running up the stairs. I bought plain greenery-type tinsel, and decorated it with red bows and bits of fake holly bought from Wilkinsons. It looks surprisingly nice - DH says he feels like he's staying in a hotel for Christmas.

We were out last night at DH's office Christmas party, which is always a nice dinner followed by a disco generally at a hotel.  This year it was at a comfortable mid-range country house hotel and we stayed overnight so we didn't have to drive. We took Friday off and stopped in St Albans to visit their charming German Christmas Market next to the cathedral and did a bit of Christmas shopping, then went to the hotel early to relax in their swimming pool before getting ready.  The theme was 1960s, so I back-combed my hair for the first time in my life and, in another first, applied false eyelashes which miraculously stayed on all night although they felt very weird. My Agent 99-look was completed with a retro dress, white tights and white strappy heels, and a chunky white necklace I picked up at a church bazaar.  A lot of fun having a bit of a dance but we're both quite tired today as we don't have much stamina now that we are getting on  in years :)

On the way back today, we stopped into The Bramble Patch quilt shop so I could visit their Christmas quilting exhibition (DH settled in the cafe with a mince pie and coffee). This is a small exhibition of quilts made by students and customers.  There were several nice pieces but I was particularly taken by this quilt by Tracy Slavin which used a technique I'd not seen before, of crayon-tinted redwork designs (done in brown) with the embroidery carried right over onto pieced blocks.

The elaborate design is of a witch's kitchen and with no disrespect to Tracy, struck me as probably a copy made from an American pattern (there was no attribution given on the quilt labels).  A bit of Googling when I got home, and I tracked the pattern down:  it is "Calendula Patterdrip's Cottage" from Crabapple Hill Studio.  I rarely try embroidery so I wasn't familiar with the designers but they have some some lovely patterns.  I've ordered this pattern now and also a Christmas design. It may be beyond my skill level however.

I also liked this quilt which I'm guessing might be pieced from vintage linens rather than newly embroidered.

And in the coffee shop they had class samples displayed, where I quite liked this embroidered townscape by Gillian Travis,  It's for a class in May but on a weekday so I couldn't get there. It would be fun to try something similar.

After that we headed for home, but stopped and bought the Christmas tree on the way. We wanted a big one to take advantage of our tall ceilings, as usual we overestimated and had to cut off the top foot of the bare stem at the top to fit the tree in. Looks good though and we will decorate it over the next few days.


Knitting has been a bit intermittent as I've been having quite a bit of soreness in my hands, particularly the right one.  I've now got a doctor's appointment for next week.

I finished my Seven pointed Star Tam which I blocked over a dinner plate.  I'm really pleased with it.

I'll have to wait for a warmer day to wear it, in the colder temperatures we are currently having, I need to have my ears fully covered.

Sewing room

This week I put together the design wall for my sewing room.  First of all I duct-taped the eight expanded polystyrene insulation panels together in our front room. It was great to have enough space to lay out the panels - I couldn't have done that at our old house.  However, the flaw in this plan was that the resulting panel was too big to get down the stairs into the cellar so had to be folded in two even though I had already taped the flannel cover onto it.  Luckily it all held together somehow - hurrah for duct tape.

The cover was done on the cheap, so it's a king-sized brushed flannel sheet with the elastic corners cut off, and the resulting squares patched in with additional flannel cut from a matching single sheet.  The flannel is stretched tight and held with pins into the polystyrene around the edges, and also duct-taped at the back.  The entire structure is held to the back of the bookcases with screws through cup washers.  It's all a bit low tech but is so much better than what I used to work on.

The blocks are from the jellyroll quilt that I started while we were at the rental house, which have been languishing in a bag for the last several months.  I hope to start work on it again, possibly over the holidays.

Season's Greetings to you and yours!


Teresa said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures . Your railing looks very pretty. Great job on your design wall.

swooze said...

Great design wall! Hope you get good news from thevdoc next week with a simple fix.

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