Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Gosh, where has the time gone?

I knew I was way behind and overdue an update on my blog, but every time I thought I would sit down to do this, something else cropped up. I was so shocked to see that it was nearly a year since my last post! Now, where to begin?

My new life:

Well, the divorce came through in December, I am told quite quickly really as it was only 13 months since we separated.   Because of the circumstances, I have needed to see a therapist but I am very happy to say that I no longer need her help.  Having had the help of both the therapist and a psychologist who had specialised knowledge of the issues involved meant that I could make sense of the situation and accept it, also that I finally have a true understanding of what caused the breakdown of my marriage and understand that there was nothing that I could have done to prevent it and that I was not to blame.
It has been a long road, there is still a very long road ahead of me, but I am happier now than what I have been in a very very long time.  My experiences have all been documented and I have had offers and requests to put it all in a book as so many women could be helped by reading my story.  I do not have the time right now to do this, but am in touch with someone who can do this for me.

My new home:

I started overhauling the garden last October, anticipating all the work to be done in a couple of months, oh yes, I thought it would all be finished before Christmas when all my kids came to stay. Boy, was I wrong.  So, since moving in, I have had the entire house painted, walls knocked down and new walls built, new wardrobes put in, old ones taken out, doors repositioned and some taken out altogether. Underfloor heating added to upstairs and new wooden flooring put in in all the bedrooms and landing, new carpet on staircases. Bought furniture for every room and furnishings, curtains and blinds were ordered and put up, plans were drawn up and contractors employed, mostly I oversaw all the work and became great friends with everyone that worked here, just as well, as some just about moved in!
I now have a new porch and two brand new bathrooms.  There is still the fascias and soffits to repair and then clad, but I am now having a bit of a breather. Here are some before and after photos;

My new garden:

As proud as I am with what I have achieved in my home, this is nothing compared to how I feel about the transformation in my garden. Rather than explain, I will let the photos speak for themselves. All that is left to do now, is to maintain it (and I have help from some lovely young lads every week with this) and to visit a garden centre every two or three weeks to see what is in bloom that would fit in with the other plants at home. This is my strategy for always having something in bloom in my garden and a good excuse to buy a few more plants.

New outdoor dog 

Springtime, before plants were ready to go in to rill

Rill at the end of the patio

How amazing does this look at night time?

New steps to replace steps with classification problems

South African influence: Strelitzias

Courtyard outside my studio with new stone cladding on the old red brick wall

Revamped mail boxes with auriculas

Family news:

My oldest son proposed to his Canadian girlfriend on Christmas eve and we spent the rest of the holiday talking and planning the wedding, even squeezed in time to go and buy the wedding dress. The original plan was to get married the following Christmas, but once the venue had been chosen, we realised that it would be in the middle of winter and not a lot of flowers around outside, so the wedding date was moved forward to July to fit in with other commitments.  This did not leave a lot of time for organising, but all came together as planned and they had the most fantastic wedding. And my garden was finished literally the day before they arrived here for the wedding!  I am now mother-in-law to a beautiful Canadian girl

Quilting world:

Quilting has had to take a bit of a back step in the last few months, but I am hoping to get back into it as soon as my new Handiquilter Infinity has been installed.  I have finally decided to upgrade and sell my Avante, I am so looking forward to this as I have not done any quilting now since May and am starting to have a few withdrawal symptoms.
Not having had my quilting machine has been a blessing in disguise as it meant I had no distractions from doing the coursework I needed for the judging course that I am doing. This is turning out to be far more time consuming than I estimated, at times I am wondering what I was thinking when I signed up to it, but I am learning so much and it was about time that these grey cells got a bit of a workout.

So, what have I managed to quilt this year?

Quilts for a friend:

I was in such a rush that I forgot to take any other photos of this one, but isn't it a great quilt? Wish it was mine...

Made from left over fabrics, I loved quilting this one
 Here are a few photos of the back:

"All journeys lead home"

Early in the year, I was asked if I would participate in the "In the Spotlight" exhibition at the Festival of Quilts. Each region in the UK was asked to put forward a quilter that could make a quilt to the theme "No place like home". I was really excited to take part in this, and knew that I wanted to use some of my Cherrywood fabrics. I also wanted to have a go at designing and drawing up my own foundation pieced pattern. I combined the centre medallion, which is my own design, with a foundation pieced border by Norah McMeeking.

Progress was going really well until I sprayed some Blue line Eraser onto the quilt, when the deep purple and burgundy fabrics (which were pre-washed before you ask) decided to bleed into the mushroom and aqua coloured fabrics. Several attempts, using several different methods, removed the bleeding, but also some of the lovely colours, and as a result of the hot water required to do this, also shrunk the quilt. But time was running out, so the quilt was sent off and looked lovely in the exhibition. I was sent some of the feedback from the exhibition and was thrilled to read some of the comments, particularly from Norah whom I had no idea would be at the show.

Being blocked: I have no other photos at the moment of this quilt

'The trouble with magenta, hot or not'

Those of you that regularly read my blog, will know that this was the quilt I made specifically for the Festival of Quilts in 2015, but I was then asked to enter a quilt into the World Quilt show. I had not ever entered a quilt in this show before and felt so honoured to be asked, I had no other quilt available that was not on tour somewhere, so this quilt was entered and was then awarded the 'Best of UK' award.  I decided to enter this into the Festival of Quilts this year, and was over the moon to find out that I have been awarded a First place in Traditional category with it.   I have had so many lovely comments about this quilt and so many people have asked me how I made it and how I go about designing it. In my post about 'Nostalgia' you can see what I do and how I do it when designing and then stitching out a whole cloth quilt.

Back of "The trouble with magenta, hot or not", I am often told the back looks better than the front!


I entered 'Nostalgia' into the World Quilt show this year and am just so happy to say that it has been awarded a FIRST place in the traditional category. I am totally overwhelmed by all the amazing comments and messages I have received from friends and quilters all over the world. In the first half of 2016 I had a lot of negative and unhappy thoughts when I quilted, so in 2017 I decided that I would only quilt when I am happy and have positive thoughts. I guess all the happiness came through in the quilting.

Front of 'Nostalgia"