Tuesday, 28 April 2015

I went to Coventry ..

On Sunday the 50+ Adventure Club had a Blue Badge guided walk of Coventry and though I know the city centre from my working days (we had a training centre in the middle) I had not visited the new Cathedral since I was in my 20's - a very long time ago!!

First stop was the bombed out remains of the old Cathedral, which was  heavily blitzed in November 1940 as Coventry was one of the centres of armament manufacture during World War 2.  The Cathedral is now an area of 'Peace and Reconciliation'.
The East end of the old Cathedral
The old Cathedral Spire
The Cross of Wood from the charred remains

'Father Forgive'
The cross is actually a replica of the original one that was put together the morning after the bombing by workmen, who also chalked 'Father Forgive' behind and is now painted in gold.  A very moving altar where services are still held weekly on the theme of reconciliation.
There are many other sculptures around this area including:-
Ecce Homo by Jacob Epstein
We didn't go into the new Cathedral as there were church services going on and time did not permit - another visit perhaps?  However I do remember the fantastic Graham Sutherland tapestry Christ in Glory from my previous visit and the wonderful stained glass..

Our next stop was St Mary's Guildhall, passing this house on the way -
22 Bailey Lane
 Built in 1500 it is the only remaining example in the area of medieval timber framed houses, chimneys added in the 17th century and the shop front in the early 19th century.
St Mary's Guildhall
The ceiling of the Guildhall
The bollards in this part of the city are all topped by elephants

Priory Row - Bishop's Palace on the right
After a walk through some of the older parts of Coventry we came into the shopping centre where there is a statue to one of the more famous early residents - Lady Godiva.
and yes, she is naked!!
All Britons know her story, but if you don't here it is. The origin of Peeping Tom here also.

This was the end of the tour and lunch beckoned so we went to the nearest Weatherspoons -
Not sure how much is old or new, but pretty impressive
and the 'Ladies' loo was very modern!

After lunch we toured the Motor Museum and saw models of bicycles and motor cars both of which were made in the City.  Daimler, Jaguar and Rover are the more famous names in the industry.

A great day out, albeit a little cold!

Friday, 24 April 2015

I'm a little slow..... at picking things up!!!

This week at Higham Piecemakers it was Twisted Log Cabin using the pieced technique, that is something I have not made for years and didn't really enjoy when I did it - the pieced technique I mean!!

I don't like hand sewing either when I can use my machine and another first was that I decided to use colours that are out of my comfort zone.  I spent an afternoon making one square in browns (ugh!) and lime green and when it was finished I HATED it.  Oh, and I had no instructions how to make it.

I wasted a lot of fabric making this one
Then lying in bed the next morning I had my light bulb moment (I get all my best ideas in bed!) and started again using MY colours and working with more time and motion.

The pattern traced onto light Vilene
 It dawned on me that the pattern is based on a square moving through the same number of degrees each time and this speeded up the tracing process - I said I was a little slow!!!!  Then I numbered the segments to ensure I knew which colour I would be working with.
This is the back of the square

 I repeated this three more times as I was going to work on all four squares together - time and motion!!  The centre is a 1½" square so I cut a strip 8" long and 2" wide and chopped it into 4 pieces - the centres were now sorted with ¼" seam allowances.  Each segment is ¾" wide so I cut strips 1½" wide (slightly wider than needed but just in case I went crooked).

The production line was now ready.  The centre squares were placed, on the right side:-

- the first strip was added, right sides together -
Ready for sewing
Stitch along the line
First side sewn AND pressed open
Oh by the way,  the reason that the blue piece is so snug is because I measured the marked square on the other side, added the seam allowance and cut 8 pieces off the strips (2 on each square x 4 squares) - even I can work that simple maths!  Very little waste.
Next piece in place ready for sewing on the other side.
Pressed open ready for the next piece
Stitched on two sides
I was adding all the same pieces to the other three squares at the same time and quickly as well, when I got the hang of it.  I was taking about six minutes to add each piece on all four squares and I know this because my hot iron starts beeping after 6 minutes when it is left unattended!!!
Third side added -

- fourth side
1st twist sewn on and trimmed
 After all four sides were complete I started on the 'twist' which is the next square.  I measured the new square, added seam allowances and cut rectangles off the strips, laid it on the line of the next square, sewed it on the other side, trimmed the edges to keep it neat and tried not to 'CUT THROUGH THE VILENE'!  I use my lovely applique scissors that have a round end and cannot penetrate anything.

Pressed and ready for the next piece of blue.
And that dear readers, is as far as I have got because I did run out of time.  However making all four squares together is useful if you think you may run out of fabric because at least you can change to something else on all your squares.

When I took my WIPs (Work in Progress) to group they liked my lime green and browns so I may finish them after all

Just realised that I haven't said why I need four squares - well it is going to be a cushion for the raffle at the Exhibition.

I will show the final result here when I have time to complete it, so it is currently a UFO (UnFinished Object)!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Cold Sunday afternoon!!

It has been so cold this afternoon that I actually did some sewing with my fingerless mittens on!!  I suffer from 'White Finger or Raynaud's disease and when this happens I cannot feel to do any sort of craft so on came the mittens.

Luckily my hands warmed up and I could continue.

I have mentioned before that I have a new camera and I have been experimenting with it especially on 'burst' or 'sport' mode and so this afternoon I lurked in my kitchen to take some wildlife pictures.  The birds are returning at last after the cat family from the house at the bottom of the garden seem to have moved on.  About a year ago I discovered that there were cats, cats and more cats coming into my garden and frightening off the birds and even killing them as well.  I had to dispose of many pigeon carcasses, there were always feathers in the garden as well as cat mess. But they have gone and though these are very common birds I am delighted to see them return.
I have a pair of these robins -
a family of house sparrows
After filling up the feeders the 'big' ones arrived and dominated the bird table -
Collared dove
A big fat wood pigeon but I love his feet!!
This common chap was on the ground waiting his turn to feed and getting very frustrated.
However my day was made when this one came onto the Niger seed -
I used to have a large flock of Goldfinches but they all disappeared - are they coming back? I hope so.

In my last blog I wrote about the frogspawn in the pond. Well here it is:-
Look very carefully and you can see the little black dots below the surface - so exciting!!
The sun is shining at last and I have just finished a Top Secret project (you will see it soon) and I must now prepare for the next Higham Piecemakers activity session making Twisted Log Cabin which I have never done before. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Just walking fairly aimlessly!!

Yesterday, Tuesday, was my Bedford day and as it was forecast to be very warm Will and l went out early. I think it was a little too early for the sun but I started taking pictures as I went and there seemed to be a lot going on down by the river.
There is a  band stand, though no-one was playing
Mrs Mallard was very friendly, though Will was a little surprised!
Boats training on the river
A swan on its nest  ...
 I think this was it's mate but it took too long to get there
The Archimedes Screw with a fish and eel run at the side.  It generates £34,000 for the Council's coffers a year.
Dragon boats waiting for the next river festival
A general photo of the embankment
We made slow progress home walking over the Park and Will was fascinated by the grass and seemed determined to pull the whole lot out by the roots!!
Then I heard a helicopter very low and it circled over us and landed on the local rugby pitch.  Sadly it was the Air Ambulance bringing a patient in.
Can you see the yellow blob of the helicopter above the tree in the middle?
Wonderful front garden topiary
If you look a the bush on the very edge on the right you can see a face.  This bush has FOUR faces on it - one on each side!!  Brilliant workmanship.
A public garden in the middle of a roundabout that has a herb garden for the community to use
Sage, chives, thyme etc growing
 I sat having my lunch and spotted this lovely Cherry tree in a neighbouring garden and had to have a photo.
Cherry tree
and a Magnolia, just beginning to go over
Could this mean that my favourite season has at last arrived?  I think so because I went to scoop some dead leaves out of my wild life pond and dredged up some newts and two frogs doing what comes naturally!!!  I apologised for disturbing them and put them back and today there is frogspawn in the middle of the pond.  The frogs will try and guard it but unfortunately the newts will probably eat most of it, but I might get a few little 'froglets'.

Finally a 'Tah Dah' moment -
The stool cover I blogged about last post
 The stool 'in situ' in front of my computer and below close up:-
Comfortable to sit on!!