Sunday, January 31, 2010

Many Moons and New Quilt and Sofa

I promised some photos of our new settee, which is now installed happily in our sun room. The red wall is a bit startling - it was supposed to be darker than it appears, but I am used to it now.
Buster managed to get his head in as usual!

The colours aren't as accurate in this one, but you can see the idea! The tapestry cushion I did years ago. The red walls need another coat or two and the edges finishing off.

I think maybe we'll have to wear dark glasses by the time the room is finished! Mind you, only 2 of the walls are red, the other 2 are pale terracotta.

This is the curtain material! Nice and subtle.

This is the tapestry 1970s bed cover that Jim bought from ebay. This is one side:

This shows both sides and the fringe.

This is the more blue side. It's lovely and warm too. We have to turn it down at night or we cook.

We also bought an Amish quilt but I've wrapped it up and forgot to take a photo. It is stunning in white and green and will be for our large bedroom.

Today I have carried on clearing the top of the orchard as it's been quite clear although a bit cold. I tried to light my bonfire tonight but it never really got going. Then it started to rain, but I stuck it out and managed to produce a lot of smoke! After a while, the clouds disappeared and there was an enormous moon and thousands of starts in the clear night sky.

Moon Shots - no not the moon landings....

I did try and take some photos of the moon, but hand holding my camera with only moonlight didn't work very well. However, I was quite pleased with some of them.

This was when the moon was just behind the trees and I love the effect. Sadly the 'face' on the moon doesn't show on any of the photos.

Although the moon has a lot of glare in this one, you can see the hill of Flagmount and the lights along the road.

On several of the shots, I seem to have a blue moon! This one has a slight pink one attached to the 'real' moon. It's a mystery!

See what I mean? Just one more and this was taken over the roof of the barn:

And there's the little blue moon rolling down the roof.

Rug Disaster

I washed one of my rag rugs. We had it on our bedroom floor and it was quite grubby, what with Buster wandering in and out and us too. Sadly, it sort of fell apart! I didn't cut the material wide enough and so it wasn't quite secure Not all of it came out so I was going to repair it, but as I pulled out the loose bits, other bits came too, so I ended up with this:

I scooped it all up and put it in a carrier bag. As I held it up it made wonderful shapes and wiggly patterns, so I couldn't bring myself to throw it away! I need to make a papier mache head I think.

I am now making the rug base into a green rug for our new bedroom! It's quite large, so it will take me quite some time. I don't have enough of one particular green to do a proper pattern so it will be pretty random.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. It's my daughter in law Sam's birthday today (Sunday 31st) and I wish her a fabulous day. She's just the best, I'm very lucky and I don't think I'm too terrifying a Mother in law!!

Here she is:

Happy Birthday Sam. xxxx A mere baby of 31. I am very nearly twice her age. Groan.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Art Books and Misty Walk at Lough Graney

Buster enjoying a drink in Lough Graney, County Clare, Ireland.

Art Books

Oh I'm such a lucky girl. A parcel arrived yesterday and in it was a fabulous book from my bloggy friend Bea, in Wisconsin, USA. Bea, you are so generous. Bea has a wonderful blog, full of lovely arty things and ideas and discussions and even 'temporal tapping'. Do go and give her a visit.

The book is called 'Intuitive Color & Design' and is written by Jean Wells. It promises me 'Adventures in Art Quilting'. Just what I need. Here are some examples of the contents:

Aren't the colours just fabulous?:

And I just love this design.

Bea has enrolled for a course to learn more about Photoshop and manipulating images therein. I tried to do the same but was too late but Bea mentioned a book she has - so I ordered it from Amazon and that has arrived too. This one is called 'Artistic photo quilts' and promises to help me to 'Create Stunning Quilts With Your Camera, Computer Cloth'. Well, what more could anyone want? This is by Charlotte Ziebarth.

Drool, drool!

So how on earth am I going to find time to do all this? I will just have to make time, won't I?

Jim and I still have much work to do inside the cottage. Today Jim has bought a wooden loft ladder to make some storage for my 'overspill' materials in the place that used to be his office in the eaves. Jim has moved his office to our old bedroom, right at the other end of the house. He can now stand up in it and walk around. The kitchen/diner desperately needs decorating and re-vamping as does the snug. Oh woe.

Lough Graney Walk

I took Buster for a walk to the lake while Jim went off shopping yesterday. It was a bit misty on top of Flagmount, the village on the other side of the Lough. The water has receded from the edges enabling us to walk alongside for quite a way, which we did. It was a bit soggy but I wore my new Christmas wellington boots:

Buster was rather cross that these ducks were too far away for him to chase.

Look at that cloud on top of Flagmount! Thank goodness we were dry.

There was a line of dead grasses where the level of the lake had receded, rather like on a beach when the tide goes out and leaves behind bits of seaweed and string.

I turned round and took this shot of the Fishing Stand, where I access the lake via Kevin the farmer's house and garden.

Turning again to Flagmount, the mist was descending.

It didn't seem too bad on our side, so we continued until we reached this tree:

You can see the mist encroaching across the lake. All of a sudden, I seemed to be getting rather wet, so Buster and I headed back home but it's hard to walk along the edge of the lake too quickly:

Oh oh, we didn't move fast enough!

You'll love this last shot of Flagmount:

Well, that's the island in front of it! No wonder we were getting soaked!

I'm off to bed now. I've taken some photos of the new settee and curtain material for my next post.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Last Day. Clumber Park in the rain.

The Gateway to Clumber Park on a dark, dull day.

On my final whole day at K's, we had planned to go to Clumber Park, see the hotel where Kirsty and Kerry are getting married and go for a good walk. Ah well, the best laid plans... First of all, we had a bit of a sleep in as we'd gone to bed so early in the morning! Then Luisa decided she was going to make us silver dollar pancakes with bacon and maple syrup - but had to go out and buy some of the ingredients!

They were duly made and consumed with much 'oooing' and 'aahing' on my part. Low calorie of course! We eventually headed off in Sue's car (she lives in the 'annex' over the road) as it is a 7 seater. We were meeting Kirsty and Kerry at the hotel. Kerry didn't want to leave home early either as she's an Arsenal fan and was watching the match - they lost 3 - 0 to Stoke!! I shouted 'Come on Stoke City' as she walked into the hotel. How cruel am I? Just outside, I took this photo of Rachel (LeatherdykeUK - she has a marvellous blog called When the Dogs Bite) and is a published author of 'An Ungodly Child', link on Rachel's blog.

Sadly it is slightly out of focus, but I still love it.

It was pouring down by then, so the walk was cancelled, but we all sat around a large table, chatting away and had drinks and biscuits. I went and inspected the room where the wedding is to be held and it's lovely.

Here we all are again:

K, Aimee, Kyle, Kirsty and Kerry, Rachel the hat, Lu (head on table), Tony and Lina at the front.

Clumber Park is a beautiful place, now owned by the National Trust. When Ben was younger, we used to go there with our bikes and use the cycle paths. There is a huge lake where we used to feed the ducks, geese and swans. On one traumatic occasion, a swan stole Ben's ice cream and he's never quite recovered.

Little Aimee had a wonderful hat for Christmas, with 'hair' on it like a Mohecan. I had to try it on - but I have a large head and lots of hair. Now this will make you laugh:

I then poked my hair inside it:

What a crazy photo!

Oldest Grandchild Kirsty said that she had a spot and pointed it out to me:

But I still couldn't see it! She is a beautiful girl and I'm glad that she has found happiness with Kerry.

After about an hour at the hotel, we headed to Kirsty and Kerrys' home as they had forgotten to bring my Christmas present!! It is a lovely gardener's bag with trowel, fork and trimmer inside plus string, labels and other bits and bobs. Absolutely perfect.

They also have a dog. Well, he's more like a small horse really. Here is 'Cooper' the Great Dane:

He is as soft as a puppy and just wants to play! His tail is like a whip and knocks things off the shelves!

Off we went then back to K's and I watched 'Dancing on Ice', which I love. Sadly the handsome Jeremy from Holby City was voted out - but he was rubbish!

In the morning it was goodbye to Rachel, Luisa and Lina and K ran me to the airport. I rather liked this signpost showing lots of places around the world, including Dublin:

I am determined not to leave it so long before I visit again - but my next UK trip will be to see Jason, Sam, Jack and Kitty. Thanks for a great time and for looking after me so well K, Lu and Rachel.

In Ireland

Jim has been busy while I've been away. He has painted most of the sun room. Now the red we bought has taken about 7 coats so far! It's much brighter than we expected but it is growing on me. Photos soon. Today he has gone to Galway to buy wood for the large storage cupboard he is going to make in the lobby where I previously had my computer. We really need it as we have little kitchen storage space.

So many jobs to do as always.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back from Chesterfield. Lots of Catching Up to do.

Friends ReUnited.

Can it be January 26th already? I guess it must be. I'm back in sunny Ireland from rainy Chesterfield! What a hectic time we seemed to have had.

On the Saturday, we all got up rather late. Someone woke me and I staggered into K's bedroom and collapsed on the bed! K lay down too but was a good girl and went and had a shower while I had another 5 minutes. Look what she did though!

That's me, in K's splendid nightshirt. I loved it.

Luisa made egg, bacon, sausages and toast and it was delicious. K and I headed over to Matlock, where I used to live, with the idea of looking up two friends. I didn't expect the first one to be home as she probably works on Saturdays, I thought. However, we took a chance on it and, having knocked on the wrong door, finally found the right one. I could see Ann sitting on the settee with her back to the window.

Ann Elliott

Ann and I worked together for several years in the NatWest bank. We hit it off straight away. She has a wicked sense of humour and I always think she should be on the television as she is a great storyteller. The best times we had were when we both ran the little sub branch of the NatWest Matlock, called Darley Dale. It only needed 2 members of staff and for a long time it was us two.

We used to do the crossword in the paper and drink copious cups of tea and coffee. You couldn't technically leave the branch so we took it in turns to have our lunch. Ann is a Brownie Leader and sometimes she would bring in a craft project for us both to try. 'If you can do it, the brownies should be able to' was her reasoning! So we made daffodils and snowdrops amongst other things! The customers loved us and all in all we those times at Darley Dale were some of the best in my banking life.

So after all that, Ann and I had a wonderful, surprise catch up, laughed a lot and chatted non-stop for over an hour! Poor K just sat and watched, smiling to herself and patting Chloe, Ann's very large brown Labrador. She also took some lovely photos of us:

Ann had some photos of some people I knew on a holiday to Spain. It was fun seeing them again if only in the photos. Her tales of the holiday had me in stitches.

Finally it was time to go, so K took one last one of us having a hug:

Chloe the dog wanted to join in of course. I love this photo. Note we both took our glasses off!

We drove to see another friend Brenda, who is on Facebook, but sadly she wasn't there. I had stayed so long at Ann's that we had to drive back to Chesterfield as we were going out for a meal in the early evening. So I didn't take any photos while we were out at all!

In the evening we drove to a pub where they served a wonderful carvery meal at a reasonable price. When we reached the pub, K's 2 older children, Kirsty and Tony, were there already. Kirsty is engaged to be married to Kerry, who has a son Kyle and they were there too. We had to sit at 2 tables sadly, but were quite close. Kerry was funny and Kyle, although a bit shy at first, soon relaxed and I think he enjoyed himself. Kirsty, Kerry and Kyle brought me a lovely bouquet of flowers.

We were soon tucking into our amazing roast dinner:

Look at that huge Yorkshire pudding! This was Kirsty's plate.

This is our table. L - R, Kerry, Kirsty, Lina, Tony, K and my chair!

And the rest! Rachel, Luisa, Kyle, Aimee and Amy!! (The 2 Aimees are friends).

Outside the pub, they had some pretty lights:

It all looked a bit like Christmas.

K asked a young lady to photograph us all. It didn't flash but K fiddled around with it and I rather like the atmospheric effect of this.

I'm at the back with all the hair!

I'll finish off my holiday posts tomorrow.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gina in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, 22.01.10

Well, I made it to my daughter's house in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. We had to drive through an awful rain storm to get here from the airport in Birmingham. It was sunny in Ireland when I left it! Typical. Naturally, K and I chatted all the way home and it didn't seem long before we arrived. Rachel greeted us at the door and Luisa was over the road at their annex house. Once we returned Lu was able to head off to work in the car. After a spot to eat, we sat and chatted some more, then Lina came home from school and we had big hugs.

Lina had a go on the Wi and played guitar, following flashing lights - it all looked a bit complicated to me! K was tired and I was falling asleep so we both decided to have a nap. Rachel woke me as Liane, my step Grandaughter was soon to arrive with her son Connor. She was going out for a meal and Connor was staying with us for a while. Liane looked spectacular with dangerously high shoes and sparkly trousers. Connor is a delight, as bright as a button and he and Lina get on really well too.

I borrowed a camera of K's, as the flash on mine has broken and she no longer uses this particular one, but I kept forgetting to switch on the flash so some of the photos are rather amber in colour and Rach doesn't have photoshop on this neat little net book of hers that I'm using.

K asked what I'd like for dinner and, because we can't have take away in Ireland, I said I'd love a chinese. So, Chinese it was. Absolutley delightful and I confess I ate too much.

This evening I persuaded everyone to watch Pop singer to opera star and they all enjoyed it, even Lina. She was surprised at herself. It was really great fun with some superb singing by Marcella and little Bernie Nolan. Marcella sang one of my all time favourites, 'One Fine Day' from Madam Butterfly and Bernie Nolan excelled herself with an amazing version of 'Speak Softly Love' from The Godfather. If you're intersted, please take a look at the following link: Pop Star to Opera Star Hey, my daughter's shown me how to do links! Hoorah.

Now, peace reigns. Luisa has collapsed in a chair with Trixie and Jack on top of her (2 of their 3 dogs) and Bear (the 3rd) is happily at K's feet on the floor. I'll see how the photos look:

K chatting to Rachel.

Rachel demolishing an old laptop! Look at that hair.

The lovely Bear. And Rachel's foot.

Liane and Connor. Look at those shoes and trousers.

We had a measuring session of everybody's height up against the door of the office! K, Rachel, Lu and I have all shrunk! AAAH!

A rather super photo of Liane.

Liane's amazing shoes and trousers.

The lovely Lina.

So that's about it for today. Bed soon. We're off to Matlock tomorrow to catch up on some old friends. That'll be fun.

Have a great weekend everyone.