27 May 2012

Unashamedly Floral post

This week has seen the Chelsea Flower Show In London and although I've not been there (would like to go there one day) I thought I would share some flowery photos that I took this week in the gardens of Upton House, near Poole.

The rhododendrons and azaleas are a blast of bright colour. On my walk around I stopped at the bird hide and took a photo towards the town and in the distance is the new Twin Sails bridge with the sails raised.

21 May 2012

Not a lot to blog about

or as David says "this'll be a short blog because I'm too busy playing with my i-pad!" Hmm.. see how this goes.

Last weekend we had friends to stay with David and Brian going to Swanage Railway and enjoying the beer fest at Harman's Cross, a stop along the line.  Briony and myself went to Corfe Castle, which is a well know landmark in the Purbecks.  Climbing up to one of the towers there was a train in Corfe Castle station. This was a lovely clear day with a gorgeous view of the Dorset countryside
Heading towards the car park we saw a crowd of people on the grass bank alongside the railway waiting for this

We returned to Wareham and a walk along the River Frome. I went along here a few weeks before I'm getting to like this place.  Seeing the boats
And a nesting swan, never seen that before
It was a really lovely day.

This week I haven't been up to making much.  I had to take some hand sewing to Bourne Quilters on Thursday so started on the 6th Dresden block and this is the progress by this weekend

I've since joined the small pieces on the bottom of each section and pinned onto the background.

I've also taken up some knitting. Making an aran cardigan for Leo. so I actually had some knitting to take to the Saturday knitting group
I've made a birthday postcard for an upcoming birthday on the Jubilee holiday weekend

But my spare time has been taken up with reading.  I'm not a book reader as a book really has to "grab" me and draw me in and if it doesn't I can't be bothered.  For some reason I found myself looking at Kindle downloads and seeing a free book called "Lillian - One Woman's Journey Through the Twentieth Century".  It was free so I downloaded onto my i-pad and had difficulty putting it down and I managed to read this in 4 days!  So now I'm trying another book at see how that goes.

So it wasn't too short a blog post was it!

13 May 2012

Visit to Dover and Walmer Castles

Being as I don't have much quilty to write about I'm following on from my last post about last weekend.  More of our explorations included a visit to Dover Castle and then onto Walmer Castle futher up the Kentish coast.  Unlike the visit to Bruges the weather was sunny, if cold and windy but much better for getting around.

With the French coast being in sight of the Channel, Dover became of strategic importance for fighting them off!  Hence a strong fortification and the Romans even built a lighthouse here.  The castles are run by English Heritage, of which we are members.  But for those wanting some quilting inspiration the little church, which is still used by the Army today has and unusual feature - mosaic walls.

 Here is a look down the aisle towards the altar
Oh yes, the floor of the aisle with which definitely reminds of patchwork blocks

Here are some views of the church alongside the ruin of the Roman lighthouse
Here are some other views of Dover Castle
 The entrance tower
Above is looking towards the Great Tower and just above are the gun batteries
 A "ferry" nice view of Dover harbour from the buildings below.

We did want to visit the Tunnels which are a feature of the castle,  but being a nice day on a Bank Holiday weekend, there was a long queue of people which didn't seem to go down, so we gave that a miss (another excuse to visit again, sometime) and went on to Walmer Castle.

This castle was home to the Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports, who controlled the channel ports of Kent and East Sussex and there's more detail about the ports on this site here. Two of the most well known Lord Wardens include the Duke of Wellington (this is where his Wellington boots are kept) and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.   It has lovely views out to sea and also some lovely gardens which we had a wander through.  Here are some pics
 Looking out to see from the castle.
 Uneven yew trees line the path down the garden

 A view of the kitchen garden through the apple trees
 Looking down the garden to the castle
 In the Queen Mother's garden, looking from the arch in the shelter at the Italian style pond.
 Lovely tulips
And David, posing in front of some big guns.

09 May 2012

Day Trip to Bruges

Being a Bank Holiday weekend last weekend David and I went with my brother-in-law and his wife to Kent, staying just outside Ramsgate and taking an early morning ferry from Dover to Calais and going (more or less) up the coast road to Bruges. It's a very pretty town, which was more than we could say about the weather - cold and wet.  We enjoyed the scenery, exploring some shops and a cruise on the canals as the town is surrounded by canals from the coast to towns further inland including Ghent.

These are my pics of the day

First view of one of the canals going through a park
I saw this unusual sculpture near a bridge, it was near the Brewery Museum
A gate in the town walls, this was outside an Abbey (sorry I can't remember the name)
We then went on a canal sightseeing trip and you'll have to excuse the next few photos being a bit wonky as they were taken on the move.  The one above is me taking a photo of David while he's taking a photo of me.
Figures in the building above include Laurel and Hardy in the left window and also Captain Haddock from Tintin on the left side of the middle window, but I don't recognise the others.

We hoped to find somewhere for an evening meal on our way back to Calais and went through Ostend where just south of there is a town called Middelkerke which had a nice little restaurant.  Before setting off for Calais I took a few photos of the seafront (it had to be done, it's a different bit of sea from Bournemouth!).

 Saw this funny sculpture, they turned out to be Smurfs!
 View along the promenade, with weather like that no-one was going to venture out for a walk
Beach huts and what looks like a birdhouse.

02 May 2012

Seeing Red

I'm not hopping mad or anything like that.  I'm making another set of postcards on the theme of "Have a go at using one colour" and one colour that I have got quite a bit of is blue - not red, but one of the swapees has a birthday next month and has requested a blue card so I used another colour instead so I've picked red in different shades and tones. 

I joined strips in a sew and flip method over some wadding as one big piece and some strips were raw edge pieced on top having been cut with a zigzag rotary cutter blade.  With the addition of some fancy machine stitches, some hand stitching and sequins to add a bit of glitz (though I had to be frugal - didn't have many sequins in that colour) Here's the piece after further decoration.
Then cut up into six using the fancy rotary blade.
They won't be going out until a little later this month.

On Saturday I went to the Quilter's Guild Region 3 Area Day in New Milton with my friend Penny.  There were talks from art quilter Janet Twinn and also from Gill Turley who contributed to some quilting books including Fast and Easy Quilts and some others in the series (the link is for an Amazon page).  Both really good speakers with very different subjects and of course you can't go to one of the meetings without purchasing something.  I bought a scrap bag of glitzy bits in silver and pink and I bought some packs of fabrics that were used for a tombola by A Gift of Quilts who have been raising money to organise quilts for teams participating in the Olympics.

 Rather yummy looking fabric, don't you think?

Today is my day of work and also a lull in the really rainy weather that we've had of late, the sun even came out this afternoon, so I took advantage of this and ventured out into our rather neglected and battered garden. In spite of this there are some lovely things growing like the Lily of the Valley which has spread

Some heucheras that are springing into life

And there are some buds on the iris (so long as the slugs keep of them!). Ignore the dandelion at the top of the photo - they seem to be doing too well in our garden!
I did some weeding and spent a bit of time cleaning out all these pots
They make a really nice photo, anyway I think there's a lot so a sort out is in order here.  But the main thing was it was great to be outside and get to grips with the garden.