Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Meeting People, Making Friends

I tried writing and publishing this post last night with no success.
So it comes to you with fewer photos.
I've been experiencing problems trying to move the photos around once I've uploaded them
so I changed to using the new editor.
More problems!
I haven't been able to upload ANY photos,
neither would it save any text.
So I gave up and went to bed.
I am still experiencing problems with uploading photos this morning,
and when I tried to revert back to using the old editor
all I got was a jumble of computer text!
So enough of my Blogger problems.
Lets just hope it's all back to normal tomorrow.
The top photo was taken last week when there was a bit more snow around.
It looks across the river to our village and the vineyards running up to the top of the hill.
We often walk the Hounds through these vineyards.
The other day Mike heard a man working in the vineyard say to his colleague,
'Ah, the English.'
He gave us a cheery hello as we walked by.
Yes, I think we are quite well known in the area,
as being the English couple with their 'wind hunds'!
Pronounced, 'vinthunt'.
What a lovely name for them don't you think?
The other morning a man and woman were just starting their work in the vineyard.
She stopped to say hello to the hounds
and we chatted for ages.
It was easier than it often is to hold a conversation as the man spoke good English.
We are still struggling with German.
They explained how they are pruning the vines ready for the grapes to grow this year.
The grapes start to form about April and are harvested in October.

Yesterday was a good day.
We set off to meet someone Mike had only conversed with over the internet.
Unfortunately it was a grey damp miserable day,
but a warm welcome greeted us.
The couple and their daughter that we were meeting
are in the process of moving from England to Germany.
We were able to give them a hand,
and met what I think are going to be very good friends!

Today is lovely and sunny.
I think all the snow has gone now.
Perhaps we can dispense with piling on the layers of clothing everytime we go for a walk with the hounds.
The hounds too have gone for the occasional walk without their coats.
So maybe spring is in the air.
But I do like the photo below of the vineyards.

And as for my 20 minutes a day,
well it has had the desired result.
I am making progress with my quilt,
but I will have to show you that another day,
hopefully when uploading photos isn't a problem.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Taking Shape

The '20 minutes a day' that MarmaladeRose initiated
has certainly been motivating for me.
Today I got my Hexagon Quilt out in it's entirety.
In yesterday's post I mentioned how I was removing templates from some of the hexagons.
Today I looked at it as a whole, deciding on the design.
I even did some stitching, about an hours worth before the light faded,
and I could no longer see to thread the needle, (even with the light on!).
At last I have an idea how it might look when it is finished.
Part of the problem in making something for so long is that:
you loose site of the original idea;
you get tired of it;
you change your mind on the design;
you run out of fabric!!
No not really, but nearly, very nearly.
I thought that was the case today when I set about laying out the pieces on the bed.
I always like to place a quilt on the bed to see how it's taking shape.
It isn't the same if I put it on the floor.
I wrote about this quilt back in 2008.
It looks a bit different now that I have the dark green pathways stitched on.
But it was the dark green that I thought I didn't have enough of to complete all the pathways round the diamond shapes.
But when I checked again, I did have enough for that, maybe not enough for additional pathways , but I can live with that design change.
But it does mean that the design will be dictated by what fabric I already have and also by what I have already sewn.
At this point I am not going to toil over making extra rosettes to fit in with a design.
I am going to work on completing it first and foremost.
That way, I get to start on a new one sooner!
When working on any quilt it's inevitable that you consider the alternative design routes you might have chosen.
At least, that's what I do.
This quilt has had a few design changes,
but now I know how I'm going to proceed with it,
there's no excuse.
So keep calling by and ask how I'm getting on with it.
Just to keep the momentum going.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Happy 5th Birthday...

... to my Grandson.

I had planned to be with him tonight,
but plans were changed due to the weather.
However it sounded as though he was enjoying himself
when I phoned earlier tonight.

Here's the boy himself a month ago when I visited the UK before Christmas.

I expect there's been lots of happy smiles today.
As for me,
I have spent my creative time today
working on my longstanding hexagon quilt.
Nothing to show for it here as not a stitch was sewn,
just templates being removed in order to reuse them in other parts of the quilt.
I have posted about it before.
Maybe this will be the year that it actually starts to take shape
at long last.
After all,
it has been around a lot longer than my Grandson!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

ATC's Galore

This is what I have been busy with today for my 20 minutes of creating.
Though it took considerably longer than 20 minutes and it was already half completed.
It is an ATC (artist trading card) that I had started when I was making some for a swap.
I liked this design so much that I decided to keep one back for myself and this is it.
It is made out of felt which I made myself at a workshop in Cumbria.
The inspiration for the embroidery was the idea of an English Garden in a Swedish Forest, as that is where we were living at the time.
It is embroidered with ordinary sewing threads.
I found threads specifically used for embroidery too thick,
and living in a Swedish forest,
I didn't just pop out to buy some new ones.
The cards only measure three and a half inches by two and a half inches.

As I've mentioned in an earlier post,
I have been involved in a year long international swap.
Which has now finished.
It's the first swap I have taken part in.
Members were required to make an ATC
for anyone in the group that had a birthday in the month.
So for instance if there were 3 members that had a birthday in April,
when April came around,
I sent one ATC off to each of those members (3 in all).
I thought it was a nice way to celebrate a birthday
and I looked forward to celebrating mine when it came around.
I had to wait a whole year before receiving any ATC's myself.
A birthday card usually accompanied an ATC,
and some people even sent a little extra,
a keepsake or some fabric.
I made some hearts that I sent with mine.

So as I have been working on an ATC today,
I thought it a good idea to post photos of the ones I received recently in the swap.

The blue one above is from Aine in Ireland.
It is also felt but thicker than mine and lovely and soft.

The one above is called Blue Moon and it's by Shelina in Ohio.

This beaded Paisley design is from Di in the UK.

The next one is by Wendy in the USA. It is made of card and paper.

The next one is from Mary in The Netherlands and is made from self-made fabric.

The Flying Geese in the next one was sent by Joyce from the UK and I've shown it before as it arrived early. I was so excited to receive one at last I had to post it!

The next one incorporates shiny fabrics and threads on a dark background which is then covered by a fine net. It is from Julie in California.

The next one is from Carol who works in mixed media and has kindly listed the media used which are; Lutradur, molding paste, paint and foiled pelmet vilene. You can visit her blog here. It's definitly worth a visit if you are interested in mixed media.

The next one is from Sheila in Scotland using machine stitching to create the pattern. The twirly stitching is a lovely green colour which doesn't show up very well on my photo. Sheila's birthday was all the way back in January. In fact it's her birthday tomorrow the same day as my grandson. So Happy Birthday Sheila! I know she visits here from time to time.

The next one is from Norma in the UK.
Two butterfly cards together and both using machine stitching!

This next one is from Kate herself who organised the swop.
So well done to Kate for organising it, it has been most enjoyable.
I thought it a great idea.

Another butterfly!
People in the group must have known I like them.
This one is from Pauline all the way from Australia.

This next one uses both fabric and paper. I think the backing is paper with a little quilt mounted onto it, and then part of a used envelope on top of that, they are two postage stamps that you can see. Clever don't you think?

It is from Leah, and I will be mentioning Leah in a forthcoming post.

The next one is from Morning Dove in USA.
It is richly textured pieced fabric.

This next one is also from Pauline wishing me a Happy Christmas which I thought was nice.

The next one is from a different Norma and is made from mainly paper and card with a little bit of fabric.

The pretty pink one is from Marga and is called Korean Flowers.
Marga is from the USA.
Her blog is worth visiting too.

And the last one here is from Wil in The Netherlands who can also be found here.

So many beautiful cards.
I have deliberately not said too much about them,
letting the cards speak for themselves.
I love that they are all so different.

There has been some discussion in the group about how to display them.
It would be dreadful not to.
I think I will get some frames and hang mine up.
A visit to IKEA is required I think.
Being a part of the group has challenged me to think of new ideas
and to try and come up with something original.
Difficult when initially thinking up a new design,
but enjoyable in the working of it.
And once started,
it generates new ideas.

Which is what is so good about doing a bit of creating everyday.

I hope you have enjoyed a little creating today,
whatever your medium.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

20 Minutes a Day

Yesterday I was due to fly to Dublin,
then from there fly to Newcastle,
and then travel by rail to Carlisle,
where my sister would have collected me,
by doing a 40 mile round journey.
I would have had to have set off from home at 5 am.
arriving at her home round about 19.30.
A long day,
and with so many legs to the journey,
a bit risky in the current situation with the weather as it has been in the UK.
There was no guarantee that I could have completed the journey.
As it happened, we had more snow fall here overnight
making the roads risky at this end.
To get to the airport
meant driving up hairpin bends in order to get out of the valley.
So the decision to stay was made.
I'm really pleased that I visited the UK before Christmas.

I haven't been out very much for the last week or so.
My foot is swollen and I don't know what's caused it.
So I've tried resting it to see if it makes any difference.
But it hasn't.
So I went on a walk today.
We crossed the river by car,
then followed the path that we have often taken.
We were able to look across over to our village.
You can see it in the first two photos.
The photo below looks down one of the vineyards.
They look very stark in the snow.

Yesterday, I finally got out some crafting bits and pieces.
It was about time I did something,
and I wanted to send a little something to my grandson
with his birthday card.
Yes, I was going to the UK to see my Grandson for his 5th birthday.
So it was good to make something after weeks of not making anything
I can't show you what I made as I didn't take a photo.
But I made something with paper.
It was nice faffing around.
It's something I'm good at.

So in order to keep the momentum going,
I've joined in with Fi
to do just 20 minutes of crafting a day.
It can be anything,
even some hexing.
Yes, I'll be doing some of each of them
and I'll endeavour to show them here.
Just to keep me going.
I feel so much better for creating a little every day.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Should I go or should I stay?

This is how it looked here on the Mosel on Monday.
We have had a bit more snow since then
but nothing like how it is in the UK right now.
I am watching it very closely as I had planned to return to the UK next Monday.
Not sure whether I will make it, watching how the weather is at the moment.

So should I go,
or should I stay,
and walk the hounds?

Monday, 4 January 2010

A-Z Monday, Letter A

A is for Arthur.

Our new greyhound.
Here he is with his tongue hanging out.
It's not unusual to see greyhounds with their tongue sticking out of their mouth's when relaxing.
I think it's probably because they are so long.
But Arthur's tongue hangs out the side of his mouth more than usual because he has no teeth, except for 4 canines.
Poor thing, his teeth were in such a state that he had to have most of them removed.
It was when he was under the anaesthetic having his teeth out that the vet phoned the kennels and suggested that Arthur should be put to sleep.
Arthur at this time was in the rehoming kennels.
And as well as having most of his teeth removed it was known that he was partially sighted.
He has a condition known as Pannus.
You can see the effect of this in the above photo, his eyes do have a milky film to them.
We were told this story when I went to collect Arthur from his foster home.
We decided to take Arthur as he is Rufus's brother.
And when we heard about him
we just knew that he would be just as lovely as Rufus.
And he is!

Here are the two brothers lying down quite close to one another only a day or two after meeting.
Rufus is on the left of the picture and Arthur on the right.
Apart from their colouring they look quite similiar in shape and size.
And also similiar in nature.
They are both happy dogs,
they both vie for attention.
After Mike has fed them all,
Rufus and Arthur come rushing in and come up to me to be stroked.
They stand next to each other while I stroke them both
and they will both stand there as long as I will stroke them.
Paddy and Jewel don't do this.

It was good of our friends Richard and Susan to foster him once we said we would take him.
Arthur stayed with them whilst getting his passport issued.
They have recently adopted their own greyhound.
That is Poppy in the photo above.
She's a pretty little thing, very sweet.
Totally different to Arthur, but they became good friends.

So I met Arthur for the first time just before Christmas during my visit to the UK.
and he returned with me.
Richard very kindly drove us to the ferry port
but after that,
Arthur and I were on our own!
I am grateful to the ferry company P&O (edited to amend company name) for looking after us so well on the overnight crossing and then escorting us and our bags to the bus once we arrived in Belgium.
The bus took us to the railway station, here a fellow passenger (a woman) carried one of my bags off the bus while I managed my overnight case and Arthur.
(I know I should have travelled with less luggage).
After buying tickets for us both we waited on the platform for the train.
When it arrived Arthur refused to budge!
This all must have been strange for him.
Travelling with someone who he had met only 3 days earlier,
travelling on a boat, a bus and now a train!
This was a part of the journey that I had been concerned about,
getting on and off the train.
Susan was also worried about Arthur managing the steps and the gap between the platform.
I tried to lift Arthur but I didn't have the strength.
Fortunately a railway man lifted Arthur onto the train for me.
But then we sat in first class before being told by the conductor that we had to move.
That was a shame as Arthur had just made himself comfortable by lying down on the carpet!
Of course once on the train I worried about how to get Arthur off!
I didn't have much faith in the conductor returning to assist us as I had requested.
But fortunately Mike was there to meet us and greet us.
Luckily he was waiting near to where our carriage stopped,
it was a very long train!
People helped me off with my bags and waited patiently while we got Arthur off.
So it all went well.
We just had a 2 hour drive to get back home then.
And meet the rest of the gang!

The others have accepted Arthur very well.
There have been a few growls from Arthur when he has been lying on a bed near to one of the others.
He has probably thought they were getting a bit too close.
But none of them have retaliated.
They probably realise that he is just settling in.

In the photo above left to right are: Rufus, Arthur, Jewel at the front and Paddy behind.
It's easy to mistake Jewel and Arthur if you don't look at them properly or out walking in the dark, they are similiar in size and colour.
You can see Arthur with his brother Rufus below.

He seems to be managing his new life in a new country very well.
His loss of sight doesn't seem to disadvantage him either.

And we enjoy having him.

Visit Jen for more A~Z fun.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Normal Service

........will be resumed as soon as possible.
Now that the holiday season has more or less passed,
now that the weather is more settled?
It has been quite grey and drizzly here over the last week.
Boxing Day was lovely and sunny
it was also when we had our last decent walk.
So it was about time we took ourselves off again.
We headed along the river first
which as you can see from the first photo
has flooded over it's banks.
It has been like this since I returned from the UK
nearly 2 weeks ago.
Curtailing our walks along the river.
Even when the water goes down,
the route we usually follow is too muddy.
Here we are crossing the bridge to try a new walk.
Once we get across the other side
it's worth stopping to take a look back.

We take a walk up through the trees but decide
to turn back and go a different way.

Further on the hounds smell deer.
We later saw some running away.
Jewel would have chased them if Mike hadn't had hold of her firmly.

My turn to pose with the hounds.

Stopping for a picture on the bridge again on the way back.
Have you spotted our new hound
He's second from the left of the photo.
He looks a lot like Jewel
in size and colour.
But more about him on Monday.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Firework Show

This is our sleepy village this morning
misty and grey.
It was all so very quiet as we walked the hounds.
So different to last night
when at midnight it erupted
to the noise and flashes of fireworks.
It was all very noisy, cheerful and bright
as we stood on our balcony watching.
Each of our neighbours set off
their own fireworks,
in the garden,
in the street.
It was quite a show!
But we couldn't linger
Rufus in particular doesn't like loud bangs.
So we went inside and kept all the hounds company.
In fact we celebrated new year twice.
Once on Central European Time
and again an hour later on British time!

It's been great keeping up with old friends
and making new ones
through this wonderful world of blogging.
Here's hoping that the new year brings everything that you wish for yourself.
And that lots of happiness comes your way.

Happy New Year!