Athens time

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Introducing: Ramsgate!

One thing I really love is seeing where everyone lives in the world. Luckily a lot of lovely people post pics of where they go on holiday (breathtaking scenery sometimes!) but not very often do bloggers post pics of where they live. After all, to them it's just everyday... they only take the camera when away.

To encourage you to show me where you live, I will introduce you to Ramsgate, Kent, UK. This is a town about half an hour drive north from where Dover connects to Calais in France and the English Channel is at its narrowest. This corner of the province of Kent, was originally separated from the mainland by a water called the Wantsum Channel. The channel has slibbed up and the Wantsum is now a tiny stream, and the island now part of the mainland. This corner around Ramsgate and Margate is still called the Isle of Thanet.

The most prominent feature in Ramsgate is the Royal Harbour. I believe it is the only Royal Harbour in England. Ramsgate started as a small fishing village in Roman times, with a small harbour and a small wooden pier. In 1820 King George IV stopped over and was so happy with the hospitality he received he decreed that Ramsgate would now be entitled to add 'Royal' to its name.

Ramsgate (and the harbour) have a rich history. This is the harbour where part of the fleet of little boats departed from to rescue wounded soldiers from the beaches in Dunkirk in France in 1940. The boats returned with many soldiers and events are sometimes held whereby the actual boats reunite and sail into Ramsgate once again.

Another important aspect is certainly the beach, here seen from beach level,

and seen from the point of view up the cliff looking down in summer

There is a Victorian lift going down to the beach (in addition to two sets of stairs along the cliffsides at intervals) which is still in working order and used in the summer months.

and here is the view over the harbour, seen from the lift entrance;

The harbour can also be seen from the East Cliff promenade, a little further away, where you can take in the beach, harbour and ferry terminal;

You can see how the colour of the water differs from the photo underneath...

The coast and the weather can change from one minute to the next, and from azureblue in the summer (the above pic is not photoshopped) to the murky waters you see above.

These are the cottages that were originally home to the coast guard. They are now privately owned and occupied;

And this is the town on market day on a friday;

The town library burnt down 5 years ago on friday the 13th... It has now been rebuilt and is totally modernised. Luckily the facade was saved and has been preserved but the building behind it is totally modern.

The seascapes along this coast are fantastic with ever changing cloud formations and colours. It has attracted many artists amongst which J.M.W. Turner who made many of his paintings on the Thanet coast.

You have been able to read about the lovely park in my blog before, lovely wooded areas as well as open meadow spaces;

In addition, a large windfarm is being built, just 7 miles offshore of Margate (a couple of miles North of Ramsgate) and the huge drillplatform is based in Ramsgate Harbour and gets towed to and fro against a background of containerships going through the Channel and tiny sailboats out for leisure. You can appreciate the size of this thing when you compare it to the sailingyacht in the right bottom side of the picture, which is a fairly large sized yacht of about 10m length at least. This windfarm, when finished, will be the largest operational windfarm in the world!

There is tons of stuff I haven't told you yet... Charles Dickens used to stay in Broadstairs (just north of Ramsgate, south of Margate) and also visited Ramsgate regularly. The young Princess Victoria came to visit often for her holidays. I haven't photographed the monuments, the museum, the other parks, the statues, more harbour views, the house where Princess Victoria stayed, the Tollhouse on the promenade, where you had to pay a penny to pass and enjoy the views at those times, the Grand Mansion houses designed by Edward Pugin. The Grange, the house of the renowned architect Augustin Pugin (Edward's father), who lived in Ramsgate and designed the clocktower of Big Ben, the Queens Throne, and the interior of the Houses of Parliament. The famous sandbank The Goodwin Sands, where many a ship floundered, the West Cliff, the bandstand, the churches, the nature reserve and the many migratory birds visiting and resting on their way south, and much much more.....

But this post would get far too long........ I will at times post in more detail about one aspect at a time, but I hope you have a little flavour and bird's eye view of Ramsgate.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Three times lucky !

When I first started blogging and discovered giveaways, I hesitated to take part, as I felt that as a newcomer perhaps I wasn't entitled to take a possible win away from regular commenters.....

Since, I have discovered that this really is not how it works and on my own giveaway had entries from people who never came back after... so I got a little more adventurous!

I realized it is a fabulous way to find new blogs and fantastic people to meet so in fact, holding giveaways and entering them is a great thing to do and just meeting you all is the greatest prize, even if you never win the item at all!

The last Sew Mama Sew giveaway came along and I threw myself into it headlong... loving every minute of it and being priviliged to meet so many of you. To my surprise (taking into account the amount I entered) I never won anything at all but it didn't really matter. I found some very good blogging friends I would otherwise never have encountered at all! Then I won a marvelous giveaway where my name was pulled out of the hat second chance when the winner was uncontactable... I was so amazed and happy... it IS possible to actually win ! (and it brought me a very good bloggy friend too!).

Now they say all good things come in threes and that certainly came true for me in the last month!

Firstly I won these marvellous Cosmo Multi Works Spools of thread. The colours are beautiful and I especially like how they seem to flow colourwise from one into the other. The person who was holding this wonderful giveaway was Nicolette from Dutch Comfort blog. I haven't actually received them yet (so I have had to take the picture from Nicolette's blog, I hope you don't mind Nicolette) as Nicolette's mum has been quite ill... I hope she is feeling much better now Nicolette. I'm wishing her well. Thank you for your kind giveaway.

Then I was surprised and happy to win Lara's giveaway on her blog "Sew many stitches later". Lara won a giveaway herself on the Old Red Barn Co Quilting Group and generously put one together of her own to spread the love and I won it!! I couldn't believe I had won the prize; one Sweet by Urban Chicks Charm Pack and a 1/2 yard of Bubblegum Candy Stripe. Not only that but she put a lot of lovely little extras with it too! Some DMC skeins of embroidery yarn, coincidentally all matching to the thread I won in Nicolette's giveaway (although Lara did not know about this!), some lovely cute Beatrix Potter labels and needles (which you can never have too many of!). Thank you so much Lara! it was a big surprise to win but I am really happy with my goodies!

Last but not least I couldn't believe my eyes when I won in the giveaway Jamie Kalvestran from 'Ideas and Inspirations' had put up! She was giving away a fabulous bag the "On the Breeze" Bag Model/Sample. It is made from Lonni Rossi Fabrics by Andover and you have to believe me if I say that it is really expertly made!

When I opened the bag I was astonished at all the pockets I found inside... a multitude all around and the outer pockets as well as the main compartment are secured by magnetic closings. The long thin pocket on the left is a separate one as well as the the flap with 'the sun' which even has a zip in the flap itself as an extra secure compartment to hold things. The level of finishing is far beyond anything I could do myself and I am really happy to have won!

Jamie very kindly also put some extras in for me. She sells a multitude of patterns in her online shop Scrap bags, and sent me two of them to try. I have seen one of them in a variety of fabrics on her blog (e.g. this lovely stamped one) and loved the way they turned out. I am looking forward to trying the pattern out. Thank you very much Jamie! I am thrilled with both the bag and the patterns!

It must be true things happen in 3's, as it has gone very quiet on the winning front again... but not to worry, as I am hoping to meet a lot of new friends (and revisit existing ones) in my own giveaway in the next couple of days!

YES.... nearly at my 100th post! Keep your eyes peeled. Not long to go now! All welcome to enter and extra chances for my loyal commenters. I am going to put it all together very soon... really excited!

See you then!!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Sweet Mum Quilt;
Finished and Delivered!

I have come back from my big trip to Holland. 750 miles driven in the car in 5 days, celebrated my mum's birthday, visited some friends and even more shops (no, no quiltshops, this was mum's time so no time for that....) as well as doing several things together that are definitely easier with two.

I now need a week's holidays at least to recover ! (but thank you Lauranie for wishing me a restful time... I somehow suspected it would be rather busy!!) but it was nice to go and see my mum and after all, a change is as good as a rest so the saying goes...

I also had the chance to catch up with a dear friend I don't often see, and her family which was absolutely wonderful.

Ok, you all want to know about the quilt.... well....I machine pieced it, hand appliqued and hand quilted it. I spent the night before her birthday sewing the label on still and here it is ;

I don't have a better photo than this as the weather was rather dull so this was the best in the circumstances I could do.. so no rather nice pics with cows in the background like I was planning!

The back;
some detail;

and the happy birthday girl herself with the quilt;

This at special request of Susan (Flossyblossoms) for a pic of her, with my thanks for giving me the name for the quilt. You kept asking how the quilt for my sweet mum was getting on... so I referred to it and called it "Sweet Mum Quilt".

And Sweet Mum liked it very much! She says thank you very much to all who wished her a happy birthday around the world.

I'll catch up with everyone later in the week (and with my other posts and things...) trying to get straight and into the groove again first! It was only a week but it feels like I have been away for ever!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Trying to beat the clock.......

I have been a bit quiet trying to get everything done before going off to my mum's for her birthday...

This photo has nothing to do with it - apart maybe that these two boats seem to be racing each other against the clock?? - but I hate a post without photos so at least you have something pretty to look at !

What has happened today just when I needed to pack and finish off the quilt? A crown falls out... I phone the dentist, who says it cannot wait till next week, so spent the day getting that seen to.

Result: Crown is happy, I am knackered and nothing has been done yet... no packing, no quilt finishing, no shopping, no clearing, no cleaning... nothing....

The quilt luckily is nearly done (Yoeheeee!!!) and just the label to do. Not had the time yet to photograph it (besides which, it's dinner time and very dark here now).

Plan is to try and print the label (first time I am trying this), pack the bags, not forget any necessary documentation (passport, eticket.....) or to take the tennisballs out of my jacket pocket to leave home for the dog (both very important!). Oh, and manage to have a teeny weeny bit of sleep too....

Whilst away I won't have access to the internet but when I come back I hope to catch up on all I have missed and will have lots to tell you!

There will be the final update on the quilt... and (I am so excited...) I have won in some giveaways at last!!! (only after about 2500 tries....) and of course I will be back from my trip.

Also.... NEARLY AT MY 100TH POST !!!! So exciting. I will be having a little giveaway of my own then. I'll give you a little spoiler.... it will involve a little work for you, giving me an idea of where you live...(for extra entries) So if you want to start taking some fotos of the local area you will have a headstart!

Best go and start to pack.... that suitcase will not do it by itself!!

See you all next week!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Another Giveaway

Go and check it out at the Hawthorne Threads site...

Some of this lovely fabric or a sweet bag to be won!! A lovely site too.. Go check it out!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Sibling Craftery Blog

Has their One Year Blogverysary & Giveaway. Just look at the lovely goodies and the blog is lovely too! They can be found here!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Corners DONE!!

Thanks so much to everyone who helped me with suggestions, cheering me up and urging me on! At one stage I was ready to throw the whole quilt in a corner never to be seen again!

The corners are (finally) fixed... Not being a seamstress (I had not sewn before starting quilting) and not being a natural either (evidently!!) I had great trouble in even inserting straight corners! My friend Alison who is an excellent seamstress, very kindly showed me how to do it.. and if you see it done it looks soooo easy!! As it was I did them, unpicked them, redid them, got it wrong again... you get it... I am just saying as I think there might be poor souls like me sitting there despairing sometimes so now you know.. its hard to do! (for some of us at least...). It also took me a long time as I did not have a lot of time to be near the machine this week so did some handquilting at times instead... Fancy starting the quilting before finishing the top! Now THAT is novel!! lol!!

But done they are and the sides now are straight again! Hurrah!!

I'm so pleased that is finally fixed... That is the good news today.

Another piece of good news is that I did a lot of handquilting and got up to the last bit I could do before I had to get onto the outer border... the end of the blue inner corner;

The not so good news is that the centre applique started fraying more and more and I worried it might not survive a machine wash... SO... having now learned how to do it, I took the centre piece all off and now have to redo it... AS WELL as doing some applique on the square corners to take they eye of it.... So a LOT of additional applique to do.....

So on with the applique I now go... I will leave the label for a bit... I can always handsew that on the ferry with the binding? mmm......

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A little progress....

Firstly THANK YOU all SO MUCH for all your input and encouragement and kind words about my quilt! It has done me so good to have the support of all of you and I appreciate each and every comment! It has given me the courage to get on with this quilt and believe that I actually might still get it ready in time!!

Been a bit busy with back to school and home issues... (basically lost and found something... my does that take a lot of time!) but got round this afternoon to pay some attention to the question in hand as time is pressing now!

I laid out the quilt again, straightened the corners so the triangles of the sawtooth border were straight again and ended up with this sort of a gap....

So not too bad then... just think if I had sewn the corners a teeny weeny itsy bitsy less tight it would have been ok !!

I measured one side.....

It is supposed to be 6" exactly... It's 6" and 1/8th". I can live with that...

Especially as the other side...

Is exactly the same !! I knew I had measured and re-measured everything in triplicate... I just thought if I am super precise it can't go wrong now... can it? (and you have seen how wrong that went!!)

I then made a template of paper of a square of 6 1/2". That was a little on the small side (because my width is actually 1/8th wider...). So I made a square of 6 3/4" and overlaid that;

Where the sewing line is right on the triangle line of the sawtooth border, on the inside there is 1/16th left over. This would mean I would need to make the template 1/16th, which is 1/32nd" on each side smaller... That is getting a bit much for me for accuracy! So I am going to leave this template as it is and adjust the 1/32" on each side as I get to it as I am going to hand applique it on anyway.. (or does anyone think I should adjust that?? not going to do it till tomorrow...)

Tonight there fore I will rip the stitches on the triangle border until the 3rd triangle so I can insert the cream square.

OH!!!! and the most exciting news I haven't told you yet!! I have found some matching cream fabric I did not know I had!! I think it is enough for all four corners too! PHEW !!!!

In the meantime I have been doing some more quilting;

and all the geese are now done! Tonight hoping to make a start on the outline quilting on the celtic what are they called things (you know, the biasband that goes up and under etc...).

Tomorrow I am going to buy some more fabric for the new applique on the corners.

There is a way forward for this quilt!!

ps sorry about the quality of the photos... has been grey and raining all day so lights on...

Sunday, 1 November 2009

A Problem Shared....

My mum is celebrating her 90th birthday half November (quite a milestone) and so I decided to make her a quilt she would really like.

I decided on this quilt;
as these are the sort of colours she really loves and her interior is a mix of modern and antique so it would go very well.

To say it has gone smoothly would be an understatement and I now admit that I probably was trying to run before I can walk... and all the mistakes and frustration are the result of it!!

I solved the applique problem with Cathy's help (Cabbage Quilts) and went from this;

to this;

much neater isn't it! Thanks Cathy!!

I managed to get the whole thing square.... (why didn't anybody tell me that having squares on point is not as easy as it looks?) but solved that one myself by taping it all to each other with masking tape - don't laugh - and sewing through it before tearing it all off... The square, right up till the outer border, is actually square!

I then carefully put the outer borders on (lots left over on the corners), made sure to find the middle of the quilt sides and the middle of the outer borders and put all the applique on (quite a work but happy it looks better than it did in the middle!).

The problem came when I tried to sandwich the quilt....

Now I had allready noticed that I seemed to need more triangles on one side than the other for the sawtooth border, which puzzled me but did not worry me unduly... However...

When trying to sandwich I realized I could not stretch all the sides simultaneously without getting huge creases! I despaired, threw it in a corner for a bit, had my migraine, and came back to it...

I realized then what had happened... I had sewn the mitred corners by folding the fabric over at right angles and making a crease... then sewn on the crease... but... IT WAS TOO TIGHT!!

Problem is also that I had allready cut off the excess.... I proceeded to open the mitred corner again (oh my trusty stitch ripper...) and yes... when there is a little dart left over, the fabric lies nice and flat!

SO..... darts ... mmmmmm......

It seemed like the answer but when I tried to sew them in, I got...

Firstly that I cannot get the point right (tried to undo it a bit again but quickly realized that this is not helping at all and I will have to start from scratch)

Secondly that the corner now seems to be extending into a happy drawn out point (even with the excess trimmed off and some more sawtooth triangles added... The quilt is not square anymore, or not even almost square (54 x 55 at the moment...) but is going off at a corner if you see what I mean...

Thirdly that the dart itself is wobbly along the sewing line and can't be straightened out...

I am really at a loss what to do... I realize that it all comes down to me not having the basic sewing skills, not having sewn before starting to quilt... and that possibly if I could insert a simple dart I wouldn't be so desperate, lol !!

So what do you all think? Is this rescuable? Or should I put new borders on and put the applique double on top? I WOULD SO APPRECIATE YOUR HELP !!

so....... HELP.....!!!

As I tried to stay positive I told myself that the rest had (almost) nothing wrong with it... and so started to quilt from the middle, as I only have a fortnight to handquilt the entire thing now...

This is it from the back;

You can see I have got to the inner square and am just starting on the geese...

It stablizes it all nicely and once the geese are done the next thing is outline quilting around the celtic symbols
and so work my way outwards....

BUT... what to do about the outer borders and the corners???

I would be so happy if anybody with more experience has some ideas?

Thanks for Lynz and Flossy for encouraging me to put this out there... They are of course so right about it... I somehow have been raised to only show the world your perfect end result.. when it's done and as perfect as can be, it can go out there! But I think I have to learn not everything has to perfect... or be great to be out there...

We can learn together... can't we? and I for one am far from perfect....

So please, if you can help me out... I promise I will help where I can too (maybe not so experienced as to be in a position to do this yet... but hopefully will one day!!)