Mom is here!

We picked up mom at Heathrow last night so let the adventures begin!

Before her arrival I had been working hard on using up my Aneela Hoey “walk in the woods” fabric. Remember I had made a simple 9 patch quilt top the other day…


I decided I could use the same process to make small square patches, 25 little squares. I loved the look but was sad to not see more of the fabric because the patterns are too cute for this fabric. Soooooo I decided to mix the patch squares with solid ones to show off the fabric. I think it turned out well, now I just have too do the backs and put them together. I had ordered more of this fabric for the backs from Fabricworm and mom brought it with her…



I cut 10″ squares of fabric and once sewn together they came down to 8″ squares. I sewed them up with 8″ strips of white in between…



Then sashed them together to finish…



Early weekend update!

We are normally so busy on the weekend that I don’t have a lot of time to sit and write a post, or am too tired! We are home early this Sunday night though and I thought I would write in almost real time. Also, my mom comes on Tuesday and will be super busy with her very soon!!!

Our weekend started early this time with a trip into London on Friday for John’s work. He had a meeting until about 2 so I went with him and we explored afterwards. We took a quick jaunt down Portabello Road in Notting Hill but it was not market day so it was more quiet than usual I think. Although, it was still a pretty happening place regardless. It was a very eclectic area with vintage shops mixed in with cafes and high street shops, bizarre but obviously very spirited! Here are a couple of good shots…



I hope to bring mom back on a market day to see the place in full action.

It was about 6 when we decided to head home and the thought of getting in a crowded tube made me cringe so I shocked the stuffing out of John by suggesting that we start walking to St. Pancras and just catch a tube if we got tired. (FYI, I hate walking. It’s too slow! I prefer to do other exercise and then be able to park as close to things as I want!) I sucked it up this time though because the weather was perfect and I think you miss so much of the city if you always just take the tube. I’m glad we did because we walked about an hour and saw some beautiful sights that John had never seen…



We found out later that this is the area called Little Venice, going into a very posh area called St. John’s Wood.

I love St. Pancras station. There is so much to see and do and some nice restaurants too. There is also a grand old hotel there built around the 1860’s. We ate at it’s restaurant in the old Booking Office. I had the best truffle chips! Yum. John was wandering around and found the renovated hotel staircase…wow…


As you can see St. Pancras is ready for the Olympics!…


Very randomly…today we went to a Jubliee Air Show at Duxford. I had no idea John loved airplanes so much. He was like a kid in a candy store. We ate our lunch by a tank…as you do…

I got a few pictures of the show but it’s hard without a fancy dancy camera…



The planes did some cool tricks. I’ll leave you tonight with a message of love from Duxford!…


Jelly Roll

Treaties in the mail! I needed to order some white kona cotton but got side tracked by an on sale moda jelly roll. I feel like I shouldn’t be into per-cut packs because they seem lazy and you can really only get a 2″ ish strip from them but there is just something about the beauty of how they are rolled up that gets me every time…


Seriously, how gorgeous! I just want to eat it up…and the cute bow and label too.This is Lucie Summers for Moda called Summerville. I didn’t even want to take it apart but wanted to take a better look at the fabric selection of course…







I have also been hard at work on a quilt top for a little girl. I love this little 9 patch baby quilt that was inspired by the first person to teach me quilting, Johanna Masko. Unfortunately, I have lost touch with her. I believe she still teaches at Greenwood in Guelph and some places in Toronto. She is very creative and talented. I used to go for lessons with her in Toronto but life gets busy and I haven’t heard from her in years, shame. This is Aneela Hoey fabric…



Hopefully, I can get it quilted and finished tomorrow. If it remains this sunny out though I’ll be out for a bike ride too!!!

Thimbles and Fabric

Where did the week go. Oh I know…it stopped raining and it feels like summer. I must admit it feels so much better here with the sun out!…

I opened the windows in the workroom and sewed away. Gorgeous!!!

I promised to show the material I got at the quilt shop in the church last weekend. I actually already have heaps of the fabric in this line up but didn’t have these ones. They are Japanese fabrics that I originally got from Kallisti Quilts…

Actually, the first quilt I ever made was from this type of fabric from Japan. I remember I was with mom at the Creative Sewing Festival in Toronto and I walked by this booth (Kallisti Quilts) that had the most beautiful and modern fabric I’d ever seen. I immediately negotiated an early birthday present with mom and headed to the Janome booth to get a great deal on a “Quilter’s Companion” sewing machine. I think mom knew she was beaten on that one, I can be quite persuasive once I’ve made my mind up about something!!! I had never been into fabric before this because it all looked so old fashioned and country. That was back in about 2005, I believe. Now it seems like I see great fabric everywhere! Unfortunately, I find I have to buy most of the fabric I like online, rather than supporting a local store. Anyways, here is that first ever quilt that still gets a place on the back of the couch (the pattern is called Bento Box)…


For doing the binding I hand stitch the back side and my poor little 3rd finger on my right hand gets quite pricked up so I usually us this thimble…

Poor little thimble though, it has stretched over time, or my finger has shrunk!
Sooooooo, I needed something new and found a few options on the weekend…



Both are actually nice but hands down the winner is the brown leather one, too bad because the floral one if definitely prettier! I think because of the way the brown one is cut and sewn on the top like it is it really hugs the finger and feels like a second skin. I also like that it goes longer down the finger than the black one so it doesn’t feel like it’s going to slip off.

Thimbles eh…it’s all excitement here!

Jam Packed Weekend

Well, John and I sure do pack it in on the weekends. I don’t know how he has the energy sometimes because he often must be quite jet lagged. Feel that we need to make the most of our stay here though.
On Saturday we headed north to the Peak District to visit a distant relative who had been kind enough to put me up years ago when I was backpacking around. The Peak District is a stunning area of the UK. It feels like you are in the middle of a Jane Austin novel!

On the way there we found a quilting store in an old church…


I picked up a few things that I will share tomorrow. Today’s post is all about the weekend!

We were able to go for a nice bike ride as well but I really do need to get in better shape if I’m going to be cycling so many hills! After our ride we went for a nice meal at a quaint pub up in the hills…


(Russell and John outside the pub.)
It was a lovely visit and we hope to go back in the fall. (Hopefully, with with my grandparents!)

Sunday was a whirl wind…

After setting off from Russell’s we tried to make a few stops to take some pictures of the Peak District…they don’t quite do it justice though…




On the way home we stopped at another National Trust site, Hardwick Hall. I think this might have been one of my favourites so far. It was built by Bess of Hardwick in the late 1500’s. Apparently, she was quite the formidable character. There was a ruins of the old house on site as well as the preserved new home. The old ruins were amazing, especially because you could walk up to the top floor at one end to look out. Check out the beautiful plaster work that still exists…





Of course the kitchen bakery room, my favourite place!

Beautiful view of the new house from the old ruins…

I love the free audio tours you get for the ruins at some sites. It makes it so much more meaningful, you’ll have to visit to hear it!

I wasn’t blown away by the new house BUT I very appreciated it because of the tapestry work. I have never seen a house where EVERY wall was covered in gorgeous tapestries from floor to ceiling. I’ve seen it in other houses on certain walls but not in pretty much the whole house. They were terribly faded and the trust is working to clean and preserve them. It was nice to be able to take pictures in this house so I will share a few…




This house was occupied up until the 60’s I believe so it has a more modern kitchen…I want it!!!…



Outside the grounds we also got to visit another little Trust site, the Stainsby Mill. It is still a working mill which is quite unusual. The volunteer inside was very informative and eager to tell about the mill and how it works. It is a bucket mill wheel which John was impressed to see…



We bought some spelt flour that came with a bread recipe I’m going to try.

And the day kept on keeping on…

We were passing by Nottingham so John took me to the white water centre that used to be his second home. He was quite nostalgic about it but thought it was looking old and not quite as impressive as he remembered it, maybe because he’s spent time recently at the new Olympic site!!!…


Then we drove home! Phew!!!

Soooo Cute

We needed to do a bit of shopping around tonight so I picked up John from work early and we headed to a shopping centre nearby. We got our groceries and this little gem…

Isn’t it the cutest picnic basket ever. We had to get it, especially because it was £70 down to £28!!! Peak inside, even more sweet…

We’ve been looking for a nice basket for picnics at National Trust properties. Of course it needs to stop raining first. Maybe it will be nice enough to have a picnic when mom comes in a couple of weeks.

I’m almost finished the retro baby blocks quilt so I started on Lady Fia’s soon to be baby brother’s quilt. As her mum sometimes reads the blog I think I won’t show a pic of this fabric until I’ve given it to her, sorry! But…I’ll show you the fabric of inspiration…


Beautiful Finish

I finished the grey baby today! Here are some shots outside (yes, which means no rain today)…



I think it will look very cute in the pram of a boy or a girl!

Here is a picture of that retro baby block quilt I talked about yesterday…

I’ve started with sewing the groups of 2 together. There is something oddly satisfying about seeing 2 pieces together with opposite seams they feel so cozy locked together like a puzzle…yikes sorry about the creepy close up of my fingers, time for a manicure I think lol!!!…



Dinner break…I made veggie sushi for the first time. I think it turned out very pretty…



After dinner I sewed some of the long rows together…

Simple and cute I think!

Sew Sew Little Red

Not sure why but I got extra inspired to sew today. I wanted to do the binding on the grey baby quilt. I cut it in 2 1/2 inch strips, sewed them together and ironed them in half. I think once you understand the stages in making a quilt it really is quite a simple project but like with knitting there are probably always going to be parts that are more enjoyable than others! I do enjoy doing the hand sewing for the binding but by that point I just want the quilt done already.

First I sewed the binding strip down the front side…

At the corners I simply fold up…

Then down and keep sewing…

Then I wrap the Binding to the wrong side, pin in place and hand sew down…

Easy peasy lemon squeezey as John would say!!!

I also ironed some backing fabric for this totally retro pre-cut pack of strips I got at a local quilt store. I just love these retro reprints…


Not sure what I’ll do with them yet?

I also started on another retro print fabric for a baby blocks quilt…

This is a dead easy quilt. You just sew the white strips with a patterned one and then cut into 2 1/2 inch strips. I finished that tonight and laid them out for sewing…but that will be for another day!

Salad Dressing Update

Another silly little post…
It’s raining again. I think the weather knew that I was doing a cycling even yesterday so it decided to be sunny for 24hrs straight.

Went to the dentist today…hmmmm not sure I was impressed, will be booking an appointment with my hygienist when I get back in August, enough said!!!

So salad dressings…
Thank you to those that have sent me recipes. They all look delicious and I will definitely try them. Today though I tried another Jamie Oliver creation. It’s called the chopped salad. Basically, you use a big chopping board and chop all the ingredients and then make a hole in the middle to make the dressing…

The dressing is olive oil, red wine vinegar, English mustard and salt and pepper. Once again soooooo simple and effective. You can put whatever you want in the salad but I mostly stuck to Jamie’s recipe, cucumber, avocado, lettuce, fresh basil, endive, mature cheddar and mixed bean shoots. Chop, chop, chop it all up, mix, serve and enjoy!

Happy Mother’s Day

My mom is the best!…


Today was a bit random. Last week I heard about a cycle race called Cycletta. Cycling is very popular in the UK and Cycletta are cycling events to get women more into the sport. I decided to enter and am glad I did. It turned out to be the 2nd sunny day in almost 2 months and the course was breathtaking. There were all ability levels present so all felt comfortable. It was also very well organised and marshalled. It started at the Woburn abbey about 40min away. It was a 40km ride and I was surprised that I rode so hard for not having cycled in about 2 mths. I had a slow start talking to some people I met along the way at the beginning but managed 1hr and 40 min and actually came in 45th out of 500. I think I should probably train for the next Olympics now lol!!!

The start was at 9:00 and looked a bit chaotic!…


John got a pic of me off to a good start…


We got to ride around the deer park on a road that is normally closed to public access. It was fantastically gorgeous! John said at one point after I’d already started that bikers had to stop to let deer cross the road, really! John got some good pics of the initial part of the route…



At the finish, yeah!…(They had free massages and hairdressers to fix our helmet head at the end, cool eh!)


Oooooo participation medal…


Luckily, I used my cycling app to track the route so that John and I can come back and do it together. He was wonderful to come and cheer me on!