Sunday, 30 December 2007

The last stage of the journey...

As we started to fly over Australia from west to east I realised we had another 4 hours to go. Actually, the last hour seemed to go on for ever. I had cleared up all the papers I had been reading, put away the inflight socks, checked immigration paperwork with passport and watched the clouds drift by under us.

At last, we were heading for Sydney airport and we landed! Now a fairly lengthy taxi to our stand. So, this is Australia!



Customs and immigration were interesting at the end of this long long flight. We had to queue up to have all our handbaggage x-rayed in case we tried to smuggle any form of foodstuff into the country. Even to the extent that our son was asked if he had been near a farm in the last few days. He replied, yes, and then had to produce his trainers for inspection. The guy drew them up close to his face to get a better view. Now you have to remember, the trainers had been washed in a washing machine prior to leaving UK so were spotless. This fact was pointed out after which the official condescended to say that they would do!

Next the queue for a taxi which although long did move along pretty quickly. We loaded our bags and got into the car. Told the driver where we wanted to go and off we went. 5 minutes down the road the guy turns around and asks if we know where we are supposed to be going and gets quite upset when we explain we are total strangers in his country and have never been before - apart from the fact we were tired!

He would not have it. After all he was only a taxi driver and was not expected to know everything. After numerous attempts to look it up in the atlas he actually decided it might be useful to ask someone. The hotel into which we were booked as the only one in this prestigious area! Eventually we found it. All we now wanted was to check in, meet up with the guys/family and have a couple of hours sleep.


The hotel, Watson Bay Hotel/Doyles, was great and I would highly recommend it. The breakfast was magical. Imagine a buffet of fresh fruit consisting of mango, pawpaw, pears, apples, grapes to be followed by cereal. Then smoked salmon, cold meats, cheese,toast, croissants accompanied with tea/coffee. Set you up for the day ahead.


Well, now we were set to go to sleep. The men were going for a suit fitting in the afternoon whilst I was going to go for a walk and then meet up back at the hotel for a well earned Australian glass of beer - or tinnie! - but more on that later.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

I am back!

Well, after a length absence, and for that I do apologise, I am now back with loads to write about.

Firstly, Christmas has been and gone - hopefully you all had a really good one! Actually, returning from our Australian trip at the beginning of December meant I was not wound up in the pre Christmas frenzy. It actually took us at least a full week plus to get back to normal sleep patterns etc. What a long journey that was.

I will be writing about the Australian adventure, the travelling etc but will be breaking it up into modules as we went for 3 weeks.

So, Terry and I got ourselves to Gatwick to catch the Emirates flight to Dubai, our first transit stop, which was due to leave around 8pm. We had had a full day getting packed and all the last minutes things that always need doing. Taking off at the time of the evening meant that after a drink, a meal, it would be more natural to sleep a couple of hours or so before our descent. Unfortunately, the seats were pretty cramped but we did catnap. So, at the end of the 6.5 hours we landed in Dubai. I did not bother changing my watch although I knew it was about 7am.

We were huddled off the aircraft into the waiting buses to transport us to the terminal where we were to contect with the flight travelling direct to Sydney.... only 13.5 hours!!!!! It was exciting to look around at Dubai as it had been around 25 years since we had spent any time in the Middle East. We both used to live and work in various countries in the Middle East.

The terminal was incredible! Huge and jam packed full of passengers of every nationality imaginable. Many had been waiting for their flights for considerable times so were laid out on the floor, children crying, fractious parents and others trying to spot the bargain on the gold counter.... there were none!

Soon it was time for the tannoy to announce the departure of our flight to Sydney. Looking around there appeared to be many couples, like ourselves, going out there to visit family.

As we got on the bus we knew this was getting closer to our adventure which was due to start on our first visit to Australia. Next time I will continue with the story of our fabulous journey. Meanwhile here is a picture of our take off from Dubai International Airport.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Off to Australia!

Haven't given my blog much love lately, have I? Well, things have been pretty hectic around here.

What with sorting out travel arrangements,where to stay, all the excitement of the wedding day (the reason we are going to Australia!) and then sorting out what I can sell in time to despatch before we go. Now moreless sorted, I hope!

My Ebay site is empty but feedback can obviously still be accessed. On our return I will re listing new items again - just in time for Christmas.

My Etsy site preciousquilts.etsy.com will remain open. However, you will note from my avatar that I am on vacation from Nov 12 - Dec 3. You can buy but nothing will be despatched to you until Dec 3.

My Dawanda shop will be put on hold. I don't want you to be disappointed by ordering an item and not having it despatched during the vacation period!

Rest assured, you can always contact me if you wish custom made items as I will have limited access to the internet.

Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying, 'til December!'. There will be so much to write about on my return.... Travelling out to Australia, Sydney, Blue Mountains, beach etc etc and most importantly..... THE WEDDING! Can't wait, soooooooooo excited!

Ta Ta for Now
xx

Sunday, 7 October 2007

A new site for selling...

Although a very strong advocate of Etsy I have found another selling site which might be of interest to you too. This is called Dawanda. I have just started a shop over there too which you will find at en.dawanda.com/shop/preciousquilts
You are most welcome to come on in and browse.

Dawanda is geared mostly towards the European market with items costed in Euros. Again, there is a great variety with a slightly different layout to Etsy. However, as people who know me on Etsy through my avatar of the colourful butterfly, you will find me easily through the same avatar.

Do have a look. As I said, I am more than happy on Etsy but you should never have all your eggs in one basket! Happy hunting!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

This week's work

Well, this week I have been pretty productive, even though I say so myself!

A cot quilt which has already sold (yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!). It was cute though a patchwork of carebears....


Then I made a doll's sets. You know the sort with a quilt for a doll's bassinet and a matching Pillow. I used the My Little Pony theme - might be useful as a Christmas gift for a lucky little girl!

Then also made a bassinet patchwork quilt with Strawberry Shortcake theme - berry cute!!!!!

To finish, a couple of security blankies, one for a boy and one for a girl, just to be politically correct:)

Well, must away to my other blog to do another interview on http://preciousquilts.wordpress.com

See you soon!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Maldives


Today, our kids talk about going for the ultimate luxury holiday to the Maldives a group of islands in the Indian Ocean. They spend thousands of pounds on accommodation which consists of huts on stilts in the ocean from which they can dive and snorkle etc. These packages include all food and drink. Sounds wonderful!

I remember when I went there in the late 60s early 70s but not on holiday. I used to fly in regularly to an island called Gan where there was only one woman who lived there on any sort of permanent basis whilst sharing the island with a few hundred men! Believe me, whenever a woman arrived on the island, everyone knew about it and that woman could look dreadful but always be treated like a million dollars. Gan used to be the safest place I have ever been to. I loved to walk out at night and do so on my own without any problems at all. Why??????????????????

This was Royal Air Force Gan and I then worked in the Royal Air Force as a Loadmaster on VC10 aircraft! As part of aircrew I used to fly in there roughly twice a month on a journey that took me from UK, Bahrain, Gan (transit) and onwards to Singapore and/or Hong Kong. Then the return journey departed Singapore/Hong Kong, Gan, Cyrpus - all RAF bases. In Gan we stayed for anything from 24 hours to 5 days and we were paid too! It was great for us who travelled regularly but for those men who had to spend from 9 - 13 months on an unaccompanied tour, it was hard. You can have too much sun, sand and beer.

Still, that is another story for another time!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Precious Quilts: The Prom in the Park!

Precious Quilts: Double yellow lines

Double yellow lines

I just have to mention something that really bugs me!!!

This probably means more to those of you who live in UK. In some places we have double yellow lines painted at the side of the road by the kerb. This means you are not to park - reason being it is dangerous because the road could be narrow with loads of traffic and we all want to keep the traffic flowing, don't we? So, why or why do some people insist on parking on the double yellow line, obstructing everyone. AAaaaaaaaah, it's obviously OK, because they have their 'flashing' lights switched on! PPPPPPPPPPPppppppppppplease!

If you or I did that, we would have the long arm of the law upon us and rightly so. Some people just think it OK to flaunt the law which was made for common sense to prevail and try to make life easier for others!

What do you think?

Monday, 10 September 2007

The Prom in the Park!


After eight weeks of the very best in classical music at both the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall, it's time for The Last Night of the Proms. For over ten years now, the BBC have opened the festivities out to thousands more people than can fit in the Royal Albert Hall by holding an al fresco party in Hyde Park.

The idea was so successful that it has been emulated across the United Kingdom at venues in all principalities. The Last Night Prom in Hyde Park has become something of an institution in its own right, especially as Terry Wogan is on hand to present the whole affair! The concept is simple: each outdoor venue has one of the BBC orchestras to play the first half of the concert live and then the famous second-half shindig, including all the traditional sing-a-long favourites, is beamed onto a massive screen direct from the Royal Albert Hall.

So many years of watching all the fun on the TV, we decided that this year we wanted to be part of it. So, we bought our tickets in May to make sure of getting them as they are sold out very quickly!!

We left home at around 2pm to meet up with our son and his fiancee in London. Travelling by car to London proved the best option bearing in mind that we had a couple of picnic cool bags with us crammed with food. When we joined up we managed to check out the food and make sure we had plenty of booze as well. More importantly that we had not forgotten anything!

At 4.30 pm the gates opened but we got there around 5ish. We couldn’t rush to find a space. We were carrying far too much in the way of refreshments! On entry to the Park, rubbish bags were handed out, jute tote bags per person. Each with a rainhat, plastic cloak and some paper bionolucars.

We learnt a lot this time and will make things a lot simpler next year. As we thought we would not be allowed any chairs we just brought a large blanket to place on the ground. Plastic plates, cutlery, wine glasses and larger ones to hold the Pimms. Next year, we bring the chairs because it was extremely uncomfortable sitting on the ground for any length of time - must be getting old. However, after a few Pimms and beers the ache seemed to go away :)

To be honest, it didn't really matter to us what musical acts are performing. Just as well as the first few warm up bands were not that brilliant. Most of the fun of the Proms in the Park is the friendly banter, and interaction that goes on with those around you, and of course, the last hour, when we join up via a giant screen to the Albert Hall where the main programme has been played, for the finale that everyone knows and loves.

We began the evening with the Bootleg Beatles, who had everyone rocking in the aisles. That was probably just as well, because it was a tade chilly! We had several orchestral pieces from the BBC Concert Orchestra throughout the night, beautiful singing from Lesley Garrett, the opera singer. She not only sang popular opera songs, but also a selection from the famous London Musicals, like “On My Own” from Les Miserables. She was joined by the equally talented Argentinian opera singer, Jose Curras, who was absolutely brilliant.

This year, the Park was wowed by the Ladysmith Black Mambaza singing group, who made 3 short appearances on the stage at various times during the evening.

The whole evening was held together by Sir Terry Wogan, who does a splendid job every year. An Irish man with a brilliant gift of the gab who is brilliant at this sort of thing.

Of course the highlight of the whole night is always the singing of the patriotic tunes when we join up with the Albert Hall. It is a wonderful sight to see all the flags waving, and people on their feet for “Land of Hope and Glory” and “Rule Britannia”, as well as “Jerusalem” and “Auld Lang’s Syne”. My voice was very hoarse the next day - so much singing!!!!

At the end, as everyone files out to the various railway and tube stations, the party continues, with the playing of “It’s such a lovely day….I’m glad that I shared it with you”. We also get a wonderful fireworks display, which of course they miss out on at the Albert Hall.

The Last Night of the Proms in the Park is definitely a highlight of the year. I am already looking forward to the next one.

Tickets go on sale in May for the current season’s event. We will book ours as soon as possible and it is best not to leave it too late, as there is a capacity limit of around 40,000, and every year it is a sell out.

This year, we booked our tickets on-line, as you can't buy them at the gate. Obviously there are the various ticket touts but the prices charged did not seem too bad. We paid £23 each which is avery reasonable amount to pay for a brilliant afternoon and evening out.

Of course, the weather plays its part. Luckily, it remained dry if a little chilly but we had all brought fleeces with us and what with the singing and laughing, we managed to keep warm.

One of the great things to do during an evening like this is to 'people watch'. Boy, do you see the sights!!! And I was fascinated to see what people were eating and drinking. We had far too much, quiche,cheese straws, olives, chicken pie, salads, cookies, cake. You name it, we had it!!!!

If, like me, you enjoy community singing, and fancy seeing the Proms in an informal setting, I don’t think you can beat the Proms in the Park. Indeed, I think we get a better variety, and a better atmosphere in the Park, than they do at the Albert Hall.

After all, 40,000 people can’t all be wrong, can they?

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Craftzooka!

Now here is a fun site to explore! This is a brand new website that acts like a social craft gallery. It is up to you to promote and publish crafts that you like most to the "Popular Projects" page. In doing so these projects will be seen by more people and will be considered the Top Projects on the site and in each catagory. Everyone that submits projects is encouraged to also browse and vote.

It is easy to use and very people friendly. You can upload your pictures directly from Etsy or another site. All you need do is provide a brief description plus a few tags with the photograph - that's all! No selling as such, just promoting - and it's FREE! Initially, this was a beta site meaning that it was only available to Etsy people so that any wrinkles could be ironed out. It meant that it was being tested and modified while it was being used as a live site. As of yet it has not been widely publicised or promoted but the site is growing fast - now 150+ strong and increasing by the minute. Go to the Etsy forums and you will find that it is being promoted there now.

It is a brilliant place to meet old friends and loads of new ones. There are categories into which to place your items so that others can find a particular product easily. Go have a look and you won't be disappointed! See you there craftzooka.com

Friday, 31 August 2007

Remembering



I just couldn't let today go by without a mention of a sad event that happened 10 years ago to the day. I still remember waking up to the news that Princess Diana, Queen of Hearts, had been killed in a traffic accident in Paris.

What ensued remains in a haze. We just watched the TV, listing to the news reports over and over again in utter disbelief and grief.

I don't think any of us will ever forget the day and the following days culiminating in the extraordinary outpouring of grief at her funeral. To watch her two boys walk behind her coffin was heart wrenching.

Today, 10 years on, William and Harry carried themselves proudly at a remembrance service in London. A family and friends affair still allowing a TV audience to watch on, we all remembered a wonderful lady who had time for all.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Sloe sloe hic!

All the seasons are either too early or too late this year. Anyway, since we in UK have had one of the wettest summers on record this has been reflected in the plants around us. Everything is very lush but often you can find trees starting to turn their leaves as if it were autumn.

Usually in mid September there is a plant called wild blackthorn upon which grows a bitter fruit which is only between 10 and 15mm (1/4 to 1/2 inch) and actually a wild type of plum. The flavour of the fruit, which has a stone, is bitter to us poor mortals, so the small plums are not suitable for eating. Birds love them - feed on them and then drop the stones. However, the effect of frost makes the fruit milder. The bitter flavor is lost when making liqueurs. I understand that the plant is related to the hawthorn, crab apple and the like.

Anyway, coming to the important part! Have you ever made sloe gin? If you haven't ever tasted it, you are sadly lacking in your education!

Last Friday, we went for a picnic in the grounds of a National Trust property called Standen where there are beautiful gardens. To the side is an area of woodland where you will find wooden benches for picnics. This is where we sat to admire the view.




Once we had finished eating and drinking we wandered back to the carpark but on the way stumbled upon some wild bushes on which sloes were growing. Normally at this time of year you would expect to see the blossom but because of the weather the fruit had already formed.




Luckily I had an old icecream container with us so we started to pick the fruit. After collecting around a pound in weight we went home ready to begin the preparation to make our very own sloe gin..... aaaaaaaaaaah forgot, we only have Vodka but it is just as good!

Ingredients:
1 lb. (450 g) sloes
3 cups (710 ml) gin or vodka
1 1/2 cup (350 g) sugar


Wash and dry the fruit, remove all stems, and freeze the sloes for at least a couple of days (not necessary if they are picked after the first frost). Place the fruit in a suitable container, add gin or vodka, and shake twice a week for 4-8 weeks. Transfer most of the liquid to a bottle. Add the sugar to the remaining sloes. Shake twice a day until all sugar has dissolved; this may take up to two weeks. Mix this sweet syrup with the first unsweetened liquid. After three months strain the liqueur thru a muslin cloth. Add some more sugar if necessary. The liqueur should mellow for 6 months before used - I don't think so!!!!! Making it now, it will be ready to consume at Christmas and make super presents in presentation bottles. Yes, I know you should leave it to mature - but it is sooooooooooooooooooooo good!

As an alternative you can mix the sloes, gin/vodka and sugar at the same time, but then use slightly less sugar. If preparing the sloe gin/liqueur this way you will also get a delicious flavor, however, the total volume of liqueur will be less because more liquid will remain within the fruit.

Sloe gin is traditionally made in Ireland and Britain. Sloe liqueur is also made in Scandinavia, Germany, France and Spain. This delicious liqueur has a flavor similar to plum liqueur and the color is dark red. It is best served in small amounts as an after-dinner drink with or without ice.

What you can do with the left over fruit is dip it in luxury chocolate to make fruit truffles.... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Hic! :)

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Another episode in Switzerland

Following on from my Chateau experience I decided to move on and became an au pair/tourist guide. How this worked was that I became friendly with the family who ran/owned a large underground lake in the canton of Valais, actually, only a few miles up the valley from the Chateau. I had been there with a couple of friends, got chatting to some of the guides and to cut a long story short decided to give in my notice at the Chateau and join the lake crowd where I thouhgt I might have more fun! Parents were not amused at the time.... but hey, you have to live!

During the winter months the lake was closed to the general public as it really was too cold. So, I went home to visit parents for a little while to explain my change of job and spent the rest of the time 'spring cleaning' two flats where I was staying with the family who were in charge of the lake. The two flats were side by side. I had a room in one of them whilst they used the rest of 'my' flat as a sitting room and slept in the other flat. This worked fine.

The season at the lake ran from late March until early November. You had to walk up to the lake entrance through some vineyards which then opened up onto a terrace where you could sit and drink whilst waiting your turn in the lake or relax after the tour. Souvenirs could also be bought at a kiosk located here.

To go on the tour of the lake you had to descend a number of concrete steps to a shallow beach and jetty where the rowing boats awaited with a guide/rower in each to accommodate up to 20 visitors and able to pass on the details in French, Dutch, German, English and Italian.

Let me tell you a little about this wonderous place:



In the heart of the Valais, between Sion and Sierre, on the Simplon road, lies the largest underground lake in Europe.
In 1943, a chap called Jean-Jacques Pittard discovered for the first time the mysterious cave of the underground lake.
Only in 1949 did the lake become accessible to the public. With a length of 300 m, a width of 20 m and a depth of 10 m, the underground lake of St-LĂ©onard is the largest of its kind in Europe.



More than 100,000 tourists visit this exceptional natural wonder every year.

We would start at 7am working until about 9pm with a break for lunch which the owner paid for and was super as we had to go into the local village of St Leonard to the station cafe where a hot meal had been prepared..... delicious! This set us up for the rest of the day. During the day, I would spend my time, sorting out the souvenirs, stock take etc, make sure the drinks/coffee side was in order with all the washing up done up to date! Then help out with the boats and translations before returning to the terrace to serve the numerous visitors.



I stayed there for just over a year, thoroughly enjoyed myself. At the time I became fluent in many of the languages as it helped that I already knew some Dutch due to my mother having been Dutch.

Later I will let you know what happened next! A clue..... something very different:)

Monday, 13 August 2007

A little bit of hi ----- story!

Today, I thought I would tell you a little about an episode in my life when I worked as au pair in the picturesque country of Switzerland - the land of Toberlone, Heidi, Alps etc:)

A year or so after leaving school my parents arranged for me to go to Switzerland to work as an au pair in a Chateau. I flew into Geneva from where I was to take a train to Lausanne where I was to nightstop and meet the lady called Madamemoiselle Chatelanat (Housekeeper) who would accompany me to Sierre, a small town in the Canton of Valais.

She was a small woman who always dressed smartly in a navy serge suit with a high collared lacey blouse which was simply decorated with a small cameo brooch. She spoke many languages including, French, Italian, German and English. However, since I was there to learn French, that is what was spoken! Travelling together on the train was pleasant enough as she tried to interest me in various landmarks and sites on the way. I was so nervous and desperately trying to understand from my school French what she was saying to me that I did not really take in very much.

On arrival at Sierre railway station, we were met by the Head Gardener in the Chateau car to take us and our lugguage to the Chateau. As we turned around the final curve in the steep narrow road there was a vision I shall never forget..... Le Chateau!






It looked austere but very grand and this was to be 'home' for the next 6 months.

Chateau Pradec was owned by the Mercier family who were based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Jean Jacques and Marie Mercier (well into their 80s)visited the Chateau every year between April and October and during this time the Chateau was available to the rest of the family who came from Italy, France and Switzerland to vacation for as long as they wished. They simply paid a nominal fee and had the run of the Chateau, gardens, tennis courts, swimming pool etc. How the other half live:)

I was now a member of the staff which was led by Carmen Chatelanat, Madame Maria the Italian cook, me, an Italian lady who did not live in, and old Italian lady who came every year with Madame Maria from Italy to help and advise. In the garden was a Swiss German lady gardener who had a Dutch girl to help and another girl from the Swiss German side of the country. Together we ran the Chateau and gardens. I did the cleaning, helping with serving meals in the grand dining room where the Dutch girl, Fokkelien, and Daisy, the other young gardeners took our meals alongside the other members of the family. We would ensure all were served and the meal ran smoothly under the watchful eye of Madamemoiselle Chatelanat!
Here is a picture showing the back of the Chateau. If you look at the top dorma style windows, my bedroom was on the extreme left....

I learnt a lot about people, history, Switzerland and some French!!!! This really was like living in a byegone age, with the family silver being regularly cleaned, crystal glassware being carefully handwashed. The cook perserving fruit and vegetables from the gardens and a host of other things that are just not done these days.

Now, the Chateau is a conference centre with 25 ensuite rooms. Many of the public rooms have been renovated but left in the original style so it is really strange for me to look at the pictures to remember times when I lived and worked there.
Today, this is what it looks like...
The side at night floodlit.

The grand reception hall...











The main dining room, not really changed at all!

Friday, 10 August 2007

I just stumbled upon.....

Well, I didn't stumble upon, I was reading a thread in a forum on Etsy about search engines. Also, a comment was left against one of my posts on this page. To cut a long story short, go to http://stumbleupon.com it's fun.

Instead of googling and getting diverted because you see other sites which have nothing to do with what you were orginally looking for, try this site. You simply tell the site what subjects you are interested in and 'stumble'. The site will search for appropriate sites that might be of interest. You decide whether you like it or not and click the 'up' or 'down' button. The more you search the better the searches become as the site learns what you like or dislike!

See further down this page under LINKS for a link to my page and off you go! Have fun:)

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Update on vintage quilt

Well, remember I was describing the vintage quilt I made in the early 1980's? The one with the grandmother's flower garden design and pictured in a previous post... well it sold for nearly 4 x the asking price!! Whooppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I do hope the buyer enjoys it as much as I love making it in the first place for my mother in law who certainly used it for many years.

I knew that I would simply put it into a cupboard and there it would remain for goodness knows how long. At least it made some space and somebody happy.

One thing I would love to do is to buy and sell antique quilts but I would need a little capital for that and a lot more time. So, I shall stick to making some instead:)

Here's one I am in the process of making at the moment in between small cot quilts!



It's called Trip Around the World - what do you think? I tried to use sage, cream, gold and burgundy. Can't wait until its finished when I shall update you all. Should be a few weeks by the time I do that!

Monday, 6 August 2007

A beautiful weekend

Just had a beautiful weekend! Not only our daughter's birthday but the weather was actual summer! Our last taste of summer was in April!!

Anyway, went round to our daughter's house for a BBQ which was great. After a few glasses of Pimms (hic), lovely food and company we were treated to a visit from our eldest son and his daughter. She is just over a year old and such fun.

So, you see that was a wonderful way to spend Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday, Sunday, went to a local Boot Sale. For those of you who are not familiar with the term Boot Sale this means that you load car up with everything you can lay your hands on from around the house that you want to see, drive to the boot sale which is usually a farmer's field where it is all organised with stewards directing the traffic for sellers and buyers.

Sellers are marshalled into the field in an orderly fashion to park nose to tail. Cost £9 for a car. Then you fend off the enthusiasts or traders etc who nose into your car and often are really rude. I have got used to this now, take my time and tell them if they ask for something I might be selling to come back in 20 minutes or so. Soon gets rid!!! So, next we have to put up our tables alongside the car, cover with a cloth (looks so much better and cleaner) and start laying out the goodies in a way it will entice the buyer who then strolls past all the tables. It's a good way to meet some fabulous people, chat, pass the time of day and look out for each other.

Buyers go to another car park and pay to enter the sellin field.

Well, there must have been a couple of hundred cars all with the same sort of junk (sorry not junk!) but vintage/new items for sale:)

We arrived about 7am and stayed until 12.30. Got sunburnt but managed to clear quite a lot of items from my late mother in law's estate. Nest of tables, a shopping trolley which took up a lot of space in the car and garage, ironing board, cassette player to name a few! Loads of linen which I had washed and pressed so that paid off!

Finally counted our gains and went home to a well deserved shandy to spend the rest of Sunday afternoon, feet up reading the Sunday Times. Great:)

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Vintage quilt from 1980s














Another quilt that I wanted to share with you.

In the 1980s I made (HAND made) this entire quilt hand sewing between 700-800 hexagons together into that time honoured patchwork pattern called Grandmother's Garden. I used Liberty fabrics in blue, pink and green. Once all the hexagons had been sewn I hand quilted all the hexagon flowers along with some of the green hexagons and then a border. Even the pink edging of the quilt is totally hand sewn.

I then gave this to my mother in law who sadly passed away recently at the grand old age of 90 years.

To be honest I would only keep it in its own dustbag in the cupboard which would be a crying shame so my husband and I decided that it would be better to sell it to someone who, hopefully, would fully appreciate it. The money we received for it would go towards a garden bench which we need. This would really remind us of her and would be constantly used (weather permitting). Otherwise this quilt would sit in the wardrobe and then when it was our time to go the kids would likely so the same which would be a shame!

I have it on Ebay under the user ID of 'eireblue' starting at a low amount. Let's see what it will go for! Will keep you updated. I don't expect much as it was well used and loved but you never know.

Monday, 30 July 2007

I wanted to share with you...




Hi, the sun is out and the world is a different place when it is!

Today I thought I would share with you a quilt I made for our eldest son's wedding day. I love the idea of giving a quilt to a newly married couple at the start of their life together, a symbol of their future life together apart from the practical side of having something to cover the bed!

I thought long and hard and finally decided to use the pattern Turning 20FQs - the fabric I bought through one of my favourite shops in US called Sew Shabby Shoppe - they have a beautiful range of fabrics to die for!

I used 4oz 100% polyester so that the quilt could be easily washed and cared for as well as it not being too heavy.

To join the three layers together I tie quilted it with a pale cream mercer's cotton.

On the reverse I embroidered a label to commemorate their special day and give meaning to the quilt when they look at it and remember.








After completing the quilt I did have a few strips of fabric left over which I then put together into this small bassinet quilt which was trimmed with lace.... waste not, want not!!


So, now I am in the process of completing another quilt for our number two son who is getting married in Australia.... I will update you on this quilt in the next few weeks!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Every day in every way - you learn a bit more!

Well, today I learnt how to open an account on http://photobucket.com/ - it could not have been easier! I was directed there by a very kind administator on the Etsy Boomer site. What I wanted to do was to include a photograph from my computer but did not quite know how to. Simple (isn't everything when you know how?), it talks you through the process with cues about what to do next and hey presto! You have to upload the photo from your computer and the result is......One photo!

I shall now have to practise.

What have you learnt today? Can you imagine... none of this would have been possible without the internet/computers etc. Marvellous:)

Monday, 23 July 2007

Etsy Boomers!

I am so excited.... there is a new Street Team from the Etsy crowd which is devoted to those who are 40+. Do check it out and join.. we are all in the process of voting for the official Team name. For the moment just log into http://etsyoldies.proboards60.com and you will see what I mean.

The wonderful thing is that you don't have to be computer savvy because there are people to help you along the way and if you do not know the answer, well just drop a line in the relevant box and someone will come back to you.

I think this is going to be a super group because there are many of us (40+) who might be a little shy but just need that gentle nudge to go for it and find a whole new world opening up to us.

See you all there!!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Post your comments about any featured artist/craftsperson here....

Do feel free to comment on the featured artist/craftsperson and I will make sure it is forwarded to the individual concerned.

I am sure you will agree that it is always so helpful to receive any comments and ideas from an outside source. Sometimes this is better because the person is not directly involved and is able to look at the products and shop in the cold light of day, if you know what I mean:)

Anyway, all those that I feature will be people I have come across in Etsy whose work I take great delight in and want to promote!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Browsing...........

Do you find that whilst surfing the www you start by searching for a specific subject/item but then notice another site on the internet? I get distracted so easily!!

Found some wonderful crochet sites lately and I will link them in soon. I have requested to join the crochet blog ring because there you can see some beautiful items made by very talented people. Should give plenty of inspiration.

Although, my first love is quilting, I do love crochet. You can take a hook and some yarn almost anywhere to fill those precious moments. I love to crochet my blankets propped up on the sofa watching my favourite TV programme. Don't feel as if I am wasting any time just loafing around but am pretty productive!

Also, I have a long journey from UK to Australia coming up at the end of the year as those who keep up with my blog will remember. A whole 23 odd hours.... Gatwick to Dubai and then on to Sydney. Stay around 3 weeks for the wonderful wedding and see a bit of the country before flying all the way back via Bangkok, Dubai and, at last, home! The body clock will be all over the place. However, taking my hooks and some yarn I should be able to make an afghan which would be an added bonus!

There you go, an example of getting distracted from the original post subject, told you! There is just so much information on the internet!

Well, must away to do some of the more mundane jobs around the house and shopping. See you soon again!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A whole week has passed?

Oh my, time is just slipping by and I find another week has passed!

We are still having incredibly unsettled weather for the month of July with so much rain, thunder storms, hail (yes, hail) and tornados - by the way, it is summer. I gather that looking at the news today, Arizona has a massive sand storm. Looks so scary - hope all you guys out there will be OK?

What has happened to me this last week? Well, on Sunday our first grand daugher was christened. She is just over a year old and was so good to last the whole hour and a half. We, adults, were just shuffling around all the time, it was hot, sticky in church and we did not even know all the hymns! As soon as one came along we all knew you could hear a ripple through the audience! And, when the vicar announced we were now going to sing the final hymn - I never saw so many thumbs go up:)

Seriously, though, it does seem ashame that nowadays it is all about cost. What should have happened was a small family affair around the font lasting no more than about half an hour BUT you have to pay extra for that!

Also, I do not understand why parents who are not religious at all insist on going through this charade! By all means when you know the meaning or if parents regularly go to church but when nobody visits from one day to the next????? One comment was overheard..... next time we will be here will be when she gets married!

Oh to be so cynical or is it realistic?

On another note, I sold quite a few items on Ebay this week - mostly tote bags - now I must away and concentrate on some quilts to sell on Ebay and Etsy.

In case I do not manage to get here for another week...... have a good one!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

To Ebay or not to Ebay... that is the question!

I have been selling quite successfully on Ebay for a number of years. Also, I have been very fortunate to acquire a following which has lead to a number of repeat sales or custom sales which I really enjoyed making. It is fun when someone has an idea or has seen something of mine but wants it in a different colour so that we can chat about how they want their bespoke item to look.

Some of the comments have been great and allow others to read and so give a little insight to whether they would be happy bidding on one of my products. People even take the time to send me a separate email to say thank you - now that is really rewarding.

Etsy, where quality handmade goods are sold, has been slower for me. Reason being that Ebay is so well established and an obvious place to look for anything. Etsy is still relatively unknown - a very new site but has thousands of sellers and buyers who have discovered a wonderfully, friendly place to shop.

A different ethos here. You have to market, promote like mad unlike Ebay where you start a price and sit back. People find you. On Etsy you have to actively look for people and that is very time consuming. However, the community on Etsy which is global, is so friendly and helpful it is a pleasure just being there. One day, I hope to do as well there but in the meantime Ebay will compliment my selling style with Etsy.

So, in answer to my question...... I will stay with both and see how things progress. I would be interested in your views and experiences on this topic so do leave a comment for me and others to see. Thank you:)

Friday, 6 July 2007

Holidays.....

Ooooooh so excited! Our number two son is getting married in November to a charming Australian girl he met over here in UK. She comes from Sydney and guess what? The wedding is to take place in Sydney in November.

My husband and I are now booked on Emirates, daughter and her partner will be going along as well as his brother although his wife and daughter will be staying in UK. Also, our other son and partner won't be going as they are saving up hard for their own wedding next year.... it's all go! Both couples were engaged over this last Christmas so a few bottles of champagne were consumed.

It is all so exciting!!!!! We have already met the future 'in-laws' and they are lovely people.

We have never been to Australia so if you have any comments/advice shoot away! We thought we might go up into the Blue Mountains for a change, maybe stay about a week there and then go visit for awhile. We plan on spending around 3 weeks in Oz.

Only baggage allowance is 20 kgs per person - mmmmm...... shopping? We shall have to see! When we return I will post some pictures, if I can! So watch this space...

Monday, 2 July 2007

ETSY - the site to visit for all quality handmade products

A lot has been said in various places about Etsy.... I sell and buy on Etsy. It is a fabulous site to find all sorts of quality handmade items which are totally unique. You won't find anything like it in your ordinary high street store or mall.

In addition, you will find the Etsy community so friendly, helpful and kind. Also, it is a truly global group. Just think of the forthcoming holiday seasons... need new ideas for gifts? Then look no further:) First, at my site, of course!!!!!! Seriously, please do take a stroll around, I am sure you will find something of note.

Imagine, doing all your Christmas shopping there - nobody will realise where you have bought your items because they will really be OOAK.

Good luck!

Thank goodness we are safe for another day..

Well, the events as they unfolded in UK sent a chill through all our hearts.

First the two car bombs that were discovered and defused in London. The carnage that would have ensued had they been left undiscovered does not bear thinking about.

Second, Glasgow airport. One of the busiest weekends of the year because the Scottish children had just broken up from school so families were travelling out.

At least all the individuals captured by the police appear not to have been born in UK and all of middle eastern origins.

A phrase I learnt a long time ago.... let YOUR God go with you.... why does everyone have to adhere to other peoples' rules? We all have our beliefs but they are ours, aren't they? Have I lost the plot in the telling?

Stay safe and vigilant. Life has to go on as normally as possible.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Joined another blog!!!!

Well, after looking at other blogs I decided, if you can't beat them... join them:)

At the top of this page you will find a 'badge' which highlights pictures from Flickr. If you want to see them in any detail do just click on them and you will be taken to my page.

Remember... Christmas is not very far away! Imagine giving that bespoke gift that cannot be bought in a shop - there just will not be another like it!

For those of you with daughters ....

I love these poems and just wanted to share. It brought a little tear to the eye as I read this and thought of my own daughter, now a woman, and my grand daughter who is just over a year old.

A Tribute to all Daughters

Every home should have a daughter,
For there’s nothing like a girl
To keep the world around her
In one continuous whirl…
From the moment she arrives on earth,
And on through womanhood,
A daughter is a female
Who is seldom understood…
One minute she is laughing
The next she starts to cry,
Man just can’t understand her
And there’s just no use to try…
She is soft and sweet and cuddly,
But she’s also wise and smart,
She’s a wondrous combination
Of a mind and a brain and heart…
And even in her baby days
She’s just a born coquette,
And anything she really wants
She manages to get…
For even at a tender age
She uses all her wiles
And she can melt the hardest heart
With the sunshine of her smiles
She starts out as a rosebud
With her beauty unrevealed
Then through a happy childhood
Her petals are unsealed…
She’s soon a sweet girl graduate,
And then a blushing bride,
And then a lovely woman
As the rosebud opens wide…
And some day in the future,
If it be God’s precious will,
She, too, will be a Mother
And know that reverent thrill
That comes to every Mother
Whose heart is filled with love
When she beholds the ‘angel’
That God sent her from above…
And there would be no life at all
In this world or the other
Without a darling daughter
Who, in turn, becomes a mother!

Courtesy of Helen Steiner Rice

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The garden is WET..........

Oh my, I know people outside of UK often say 'it always rains in England' - this I totally disagreed with ..... until the last few days. Goodness, the rain! We live in the South East and have not had the trauma that others have had in other parts of the country.

Just follow this link and you will see what I am on about!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/south_yorkshire/6239782.stm

Woke up today to a sort of normal day weatherwise. Actually saw the sun and decided to do some washing - should be able to put it out on the line.

Off to do something useful now. Maybe create a masterpiece, or maybe another quilt!!

Monday, 25 June 2007

New avatar!

I have changed my avatar again! I have tried for so long to find one that is pretty and delicate! So, I decided to change my previous one which showed a doll's patchwork quilt and matching pillow which I was told looked 'homey'! Mmmmmm.......

Then, came a flash of inspiration! A butterfly is a precious and beautiful insect which is also so very delicate..... what could be better and more me.... really? He He He.

Anyway, the butterfly is now officially my new avatar which can be seen on http://www.preciousquilts.etsy.com as well as under my ID on Ebay.co.uk of 'eireblue'. All I have to do now is sort out my business cards and we are well on the way to promoting a business image that can be related to!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Ascot Gold Cup...

Well, I was really busy partaking in my favourite household task.... ironing (I really do not think so!). To make the time seem less painful I thought I would switch on the TV and see what entertainment could be watched to move the iron more smoothly.

AAAAAaaaaah Hhhhhhaaaaa horse racing... today is a very special and important day in the calendar of horse racing in UK. Called Ascot, it is a wonderful race course in the county of Berkshire.

Today, is Ladies Day when everybody has to dress up. Men in morning suits with top hats and ladies have all their finery on including the obligatory hat. It is the most wonderful fashion show with everyone trying to outdo the other - the colours, styles, incredible. Also, today the Queen of England attends, herself a keen horsewoman who loves horse racing!

Anyway, as I watched whilst trying to iron that seam straight, I realised it was the Gold Cup - a very big race over 2.5 miles. Plenty of horses running. Last year's horse called Yeats won and was top favourite again this year. Yes, she thought to herself..... bid, I mean bet!!!

OK, on to the computer to do this.... what do you do, how do you do it, etc etc!!!!!!!!! Before you know it, too late..... and you know what? I would have bet on the top favourite and won mega bucks.

Oh well, now the ironing is finished and I shall go back to Etsy after completing this blog to share my misery with you all!!!!

Until the next eventful time:)

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

A trip to France....

Well, yesterday, my hubby and I decided to get up at 2.30 AM, left the house at 3.15 AM - yes, that is right, AM!!!! Why? We wanted to go to France for a quick shopping trip. Catching a ferry at 5.30 AM allowed us to arrive in Calais at around 7 AM which in French time was 8 AM seeing as they are one hour ahead of us. Buy some fuel for the car (very cost effective), park up and the doors of Cite Europe near the Channel Tunnel were opening. The only shop trading was Tesco which has an outlet at one end of the mall, purely for booze!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hiccccc!

After doing a couple of trolley loads to the car and back we went to Carrefour which is a large department store at the other end of the mall. Incidentally, there are loads of small French shops (would be in France!) plus a delightful food court with proper restaurants offering every manner of French cuisine. Anyway, we digress. I wanted a new pan, you know the one which is dishwasher safe, you don't need any fat/oil to cook with etc? Found one at a reasonable price and shape and size I wanted.

Then on to the food counters..... cheese, cold meats, raw meats (their beef and pork is lovely to cook)as well as the fresh fish counter! I have two cool bags in the car so food will keep fresher on the return journey. Also, picked up some beautifully fresh smelling strawberries and red currants. Then on to the jars and tins section to pick up various sauces etc.

Just about done now. Just need to pick up something to eat on the boat on our return journey. Yes, soft baguettes with tuna, hard boiled egg, tomato for me and ham, egg and tomato for hubby! A small bag of crisps each and a fresh salad - coke to be bought on board - what a feast :)

We had an uneventful trip, listened to a bunch of bikers who had just travelled over 1000 miles during which time one had experienced a nasty accident but was well on the road to recovery; group of French school children sat in the far corner of the eating area - well behaved!

Passed through customs who did not seem interested at all, drove home without a glitch to arrive around 1.45 PM, unloaded the car.... just like opening presents at Christmas time!

Last night we celebrated a successful journey with a beautiful French bought steak and rocqfort cheese, jacket potato and fresh lettuce and tomato from France. To toast ourselves a bottle of red - this is the life!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Quilts completed and sold recently

I have sold the small quilt on the left recently and just wanted to share.... also, it could give you ideas? The size is ideal for a bassinet, moses basket, car seat or stroller. Imagine giving this at a baby shower - there won't be another like it!

Friday, 8 June 2007

Muscat, Oman

I don't know if many of you have heard of a small country in the Middle East called Oman? Well, I lived there for a few years in the early 1980's. It has to be the most beautiful land, sea contrasting with the mountains. Historically Oman is so rich and the people are lovely and genuine.

The reason I want to bring this country to your attention is that they suffered a major weather storm, cyclone, within the last few days when around 20 people were reported to have died. I remember in 1981 when they had the last serious one. The whole place was in chaos.

The airport was closed, dried up rivers flooded the surrounding countryside. A pilot in an aircraft overflying the airport was advised to watch out for cars being swept out to sea!

Luckily were we lived in Medinat Qaboos we were spared the worst. In fact I remember the house below us had all the mud from our garden flow into their back yard and into their kitchen...mmmmmmm.

A Sale!

I am so excited!!!! I made a sale yesterday - it was a small tote bag. It really is amazing the buzz you get from selling something because you have to feel that someone out their recognises a craft and wants a part of it. My story and I am sticking to it!

Saturday, 2 June 2007

The sun is shining again!

After all the rain we have been having the sun is out again, hip hip hurray!

I need to seriously add to my blog - just be patient, please

Views of some of my sample products on Etsy!

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

The cutest pram quilt! I can make you one like this or just contact me and I will be able to show you samples of others to suit - Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck - you name it!

Sale Corner!

Occasionally I will show items that are for sale from me direct which can be paid for using Paypal. Always check to see shipping charges which will need to be added to the item amount!

For regular prices check out my Etsy shop, as well as my sister shop on Etsy which also sells encaustic art http://onawhimsey.etsy.com

Some paintings can be bought directly from my website http://onawhimsey.com

Some samples of my present & past work to give you inspiration for that special gift!

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