Category Archives: Uncategorized

Learning to freemotion

I did a class ages ago at the Village Haberdashery taught by Trudi Woods who blogs over at Quilting Prolifically.  Her stuff was ace.  Mine was somewhat sub-optimal so they skill lay unused.

I am having a bit of a run of baby quilts at the moment and getting them long armed is, as most quilters know, really expensive so I thought I’d give doing it myself a shot.  I’m fairly pleased with the end result – one of my friends has already kindly critiqued the flowers (bit wonky) and the stitch lengths are all over the shop but the overall effect, especially for a not particularly judgmental baby is fine.
The quilt itself was made with a bit of inspiration from Crazy Mom Quiltswho gives the measurements for the Flea Market Fancy blocks.  Her version had sashing but I omitted that.

All the fabric  came from Village Haberdashery who also colour matched the Kona for my online orders. I think they are getting to know me as they offered pastels or bright but thought I’d go bright.  How right they were.  Better get your sunglasses on! 



I’ve had a busy week or toe shopping for fabric for my upcoming projects. I organised it all today inspired by the imminent arrival of a houseguest.  

To my eternal shame it no longer fits in the designated plastic storage box. I vowed when I started sewing I wouldn’t do this – my wool stash is too big and now it looks like my fabric stash is going the same way… 

I spy a weekend of making ahead of me!

Car free cornwall – day 1

Based in St ives the logical place to go to ( excluding St Ives itself) is probably lands end. So off I toddled to get the bus…
First Cornwall very conveniently run a round scenic bus route St Ives-Lands End- Penzance – St Ives however I had also heard that there was a newish award winning museum at Porthcarno about telegraphy and I really wantd to go. For those who haven’t red much of my blog or met me in real life I love museums!

This led to an anxious few hours (and yes I mean hours) studying the bus timetable booklet trying to work out a way to get enough time at Portcarno to see the museum and still be able to get back to St Ives.

I finally Sussed it (it involved going to Penzance first and then to Porthcarno) so off I set.

First lesson was that open top buses are chilly places and mess your hair up – couldn’t do much about my hair after the event but from then onwards I always wrapped my hair in a buff, but the cold I could tackle. Myfirst port of call in Penzance was to buy a rather fetching tunic top fromseasalt.

Love it and it was a useful souvenir which suits my holiday agenda.

Telegraphy museum was fab. Really worth visiting. I really hadn’t appreciated the impact of telegraphy or separated it in my mind from radio (doh!) soI learnt a lot.

A special mention should go to the cafe I had a totally unexpected and amazingly good freshly cooked burger with lovely homemade potato salad

I then had a meander down to the beautiful beach to admire the cables coming in from all over the globe. Very humbling to think these were originally laid with very primitive 19th century technology.

Then it was time to head off to Land’s End. To be honest ai was expected a horror of tackiness. It wasn’t as bad as I expected it sadly the weather had closed in so the view was slightly sub- optimal. I enjoyed the exhibition about all the different JOGLE’s and there was quite a cool time lapse video sequence of the entire route filmed from a landrover.

I had a quick ice cream and headed back off on the vintage bus to St. Ives. Where I have to confess I fell asleep but not before I admired the lovely beach at Sennen Cove and the desolate moorland of the Tin Coast. It was quite reminiscent of home (Scotland) tbh.

And here endeth day 1. I think I achieved quite a lot without a car!

Cornwall without a car…

I went car free when I moved into central London. It was a bit odd to no longer have a car after 15years of continuous car ownership. I haven’t missed my car much at all and use zip car (a car sharing scheme) when I need one for trips to ikea. Ocado have more than compensated for not being able to drive to the supermarket and my other major usage was rather embarrassingly driving to the gym. The gym is now in the basement, so I wouldn’t be able to drive even if I had a car.

However, holiday posed a different problem. I love cornwall and really wanted to go there but everyone I spoke to was definite that I would need to hire a car. Being a contrary sort this made me even more determined to NOt hire one…

I elected to do a two site holiday to maximise the places I could visit and visit places I have done. So Cornwall without a car is eminently do-able and I’ll bore you with each day in due course. However my top tip is a 7 day bus ticket from First. It cost 25 pounds and has now disintegrated to the point I had to be given a special plastic wallet to put the fragments in!

A night out in a fridge

My sister has been staying, she is younger and far more fashionable than me so I capitalised on this by dragging her out to trendy Shoreditch for the evening.

I know the area as it is fairly close to home and contains two of my favourite places – the Geffrye museum and Columbia Road Flower market however it has been ages since I’ve been there out of hours.

One of the things the area is famous for is Pho mile – Kingsland Road or the A10 is home to masses of Vietnamese restaurants – we headed there and chose rather randomly based on business, ambience and a half remembered time out review. I think our choice was good – summer rolls to share, cassava noodles with tiger prawns and bun special ( warm vermicelli noodles, salad chargrilled pork, hot and delicious crispy spring rolls and a spicy sauce). Yum! Even better was the fact that the bill was very reasonable.

We meandered on down towards Spittalfields then to the bar which hides in a fridge. Somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a long time but first – a detour onto Brick Lane to buy hot beigels for breakfast the following day. The heat was somewhat wasted but they were very reasonable and very good.

Onwards to the bar in the fridge – a “secret” cocktail bar entered via a fridge. Amazing drinks my sister chose some crazy number which came accompanied by a flaming Scotch bonnet chili. There is nothing like. Abit of drama – it even got the punters talking to one another – not a common occurrence in London. I had a more mundane but still lovely fresh combination of gin, elderflower and a few other things.

Then we meandered home via 24 hour Tesco to buy Philadelphia to go with the beigels.


Well I finally managed along to the John Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Barbican.

I was pleasantly surprised at how big it was and quite how much stuff there was – I have Barbican membership so I may well go back for a second look round.

There is a free app to accompany the exhibition which I would recommend downloading. There is free wifi in the Barbican but it is slow-slow-slow so it might be worth doing before you leave home.


A day in the sun

Family stuff has brought me north again. It has all been rather stressful and emotionally hard so my Dad, sister and I played hooky for the afternoon and went for a meander.

The biggest “things” in central Scotland at the moment are the recently opened Kelpies sculpture in Falkirk. So we headed there.

They really are pretty impressive. What was more impressive was the infrastructure around them – a huge park, miles of off road cycle path, a enormous and very exciting looking kids play park and a big lake to swim, kayak and windsurf on. What was even more impressive was how many people were there using it on a term time Friday afternoon.

Afterwards we went for a meander along the canal tow path and checked out the Falkirk wheel. All very pleasant on a gloriously sunny afternoon.










A saviour in a silver canister

A busy weekend.  Lots to do.  Personal (as opposed to public) transport required and then disaster struck – a flattish tyre on my bicycle. 

Now my bicycle has ridiculously high pressure road tyres (105psi) and you cannot, well I cannot, generate that pressure using a hand pump.  I used to own a track pump – think old fashioned, cartoon-esque stirrup pump – but the last time I moved I donated it to my brother so I had a big dilemma on my hands.   

However a bit of strategic googling revealed a hidden cyclists resource – free on street bicycle pumps!  I therefore went in search of one in a convenient location and I found it with a bit of help from the lovely car park attendant.   Hidden away right at the end of  the underground car park on London Wall (which is I have to say a very fancy car park replete with brilliant lighting, electric car charge points and double decker cycle racks) is a free-to-use cycle pump.    There is apparently also one in the Baynard Street Car Park but I haven’t been to check.   Yet!

I suspect this won’t be my last visit.  Thanks City of London. 


I’m making something….


Inspired by a trip to my fabulous local fabric shop Raystich a few weeks agog specially the really cute little blocks of precut pieces of patchwork fabric that I now know are called charm packs. I decided that I would like to have a go at doing some quilting. So I got googling and found the brilliant website for Missouri Star Quilt Co. who have masses and masses of youtube tutorials available.
I also found the moda bakeshop page which is where they publish recipes (only a little bit twee) to use their precut range.
Loads of friends are expecting babies so I thought a baby quilt would be a good place to start so I chose this: pinwheel baby quilt.
I’ve found it harder than expected and have had to get to grips with lots of new kit and equipment – rotary cutters, quarter inch seam pressed feet but all in all I think it is coming together….






A wee jaunt North

I was off work last week and needed to catch up with my multitude of elderly and not so elderly relatives so I headed up the East Coast mainline home to Scotland.

While I was there it seemed churlish not to attempt to do something so I persuaded my reluctant father out on a day trip or two.  Once we had negotiated the complexities (primarily who got to drive – him) we had a pretty good time.

On a bitterly cold day we ventured west to Culzean castle.  I enjoyed my wander around both the castle and the immaculate grounds.   The sun came out in the early afternoon although it remained freezing and we had a very pleasant poodle up the ayrshire coast to Glasgow to return home.

Day 2 saw us heading north to the National Trust for Scotland’s (NTS) newest and shiniest attraction Bannockburn.  Sadly both my Dad and I were disappointed despite the multimillion facelift and apparently revolutionary use of technology we both felt we struggled to fully understand the context of the battle, the significance of the land that we were standing on and the historical time period in which it was placed.   Listening to the other visitors we were not alone.  It was also hideously expensive – adult entry (if you aren’t a member of the NTS or National Trust) is £11.  Ouch.

After our disappointment there we headed over the Kincardine bridge to Culross.  I haven’t been there since I was a child and can’t remember if I’ve ever been round the palace before.  This is another NTS property and the context could not have been more marked – there was a very informative introductory film which fully explained the context in which Culross developed.

The highlight of my visit were the fabulous historically accurate textiles made by local needlewoman and displayed throughout the palace.  We also got a really interesting guided tour from one of the volunteers.  So thumbs up to a traditional NTS property and a big boo to the all singing and dancing shiny one!