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samedi 21 septembre 2019

September FNSI and our last day away

Thank you very much Wendy for getting us all together again for our virtual sew in. Pop over to Wendy's blog here to see what everyone was working on.

This week I have been on a mission to complete two Christmas projects that I started earlier in the year. So for FNSI I spent the afternoon at my sewing machine dressing the second of my little Santas for my Santa Garland. Here he is.


All he needs now is his beard! Santa no 3 is coming along nicely too so hopefully a completed garland to share with you soon.

In the evening I worked on my new Advent Calendar inspired by one I saw on Sheryl's blog - Sheryl's is gorgeous, I shall be happy if mine is half as nice! The numbers have been worked for a while now and so for the last two evenings I stitched the chain stitch border along the length of the calendar.



Tonight I plan to whip the chain stitch with a silver thread.

And so to the last day of our trip away. The friends we met up with on Saturday were staying on the mainland nearby in Brouage a beautiful old walled town. If you click on the link you will see a picture of how the town looked in the 17th century.
We decided to walk all around the walls which are still intact although restored in places. They are also thick as you can see in this picture.


With regular lookout points.

 
The town was heavily defended - this is one of the two gunpowder stores in the town, which I think looks more like a church!

 
One of the gateways into the town had a large amount of graffiti worked into it's thick walls by soldiers on duty, but bored!
 
 
We found a tunnel that took you out through the walls - presumably a secret entrance at one time.



And this beautiful building was the entrance to the ice house.




Here is a picture of the main street running through the centre of the town.


Our friends were staying in and Air B&B on the main street and we had a delicious lunch in the Breton Creperie next door. Forgot to take a picture of my main but this was my delicious Café Gourmand dessert!


I had half eaten the apple tart and started on the coffee when I remembered to take a picture! There is also chocolate mousse, banana crème brulee and icecream. Yum!

On our return to the island we took a short walk from our apartment to Les Salines where the evening light was making the countryside quite magical. We saw some restored salt workings and the warehouse where you can buy salt during the day.


And more restored fishermen's cabins used as cafes and small shops.


It has been another hot week here but it definitely feels like rain is on the way. Enjoy your weekend.

mercredi 18 septembre 2019

A Few Days Away

We like to have a few days away in September. Usually it is cooler so we can leave the garden untended and most of our harvesting is done. Also September is the month for birds migrating south through France and so it is nice to go to the coast and maybe spot something unusual.

Last week we spent five nights on the Ile d'Oleron, an island on the Atlantic coast of France north of Bordeaux and south of la Rochelle. We last visited 15 years ago in May when it was quiet and windy. This time it was soooo busy! And hot too - we are in the middle of another heatwave, unknown in September. However we had a lovely time with comfortable and very quiet accommodation in the south of the island.

On our first day we visited la Cotiniere, a busy fishing port on the Atlantic side of the island and we sat for lunch by the smaller of the two ports.



It was also busy with people - mostly 'older' as of course schools have gone back.

The next morning was cloudy and cooler and was in fact out best bird morning. We drove across Les Salines - the salt marshes - on a track after Philip thought he had glimpsed an osprey. He had and we saw four - this is the best picture evidence I am afraid as we saw them all through the telescope. They were resting up before continuing their long journey down to Africa.



 Lots of egrets around. We did though get a good view of the Viaduc (yes that is right, no t on the end) which is the islands link to the mainland.


The salt marshes are of course used for the production of salt but the area is also famous for its oysters.

There were some lovely patches of colour between the different beds.


From there we visited St George in the north of the island which has this beautiful market hall.


I am always fascinated by the beautiful wooden beams that hold up the roof in these structures - this is one that we saw at Cozes on the way home.


After lunching on a huge bowl of mussels at St Denis we decided to visit the lighthouse on the northern tip of the island. On our previous visit we spent some time there and climbed the stairs to the top. This time we just drove straight on past as it looked like a fun fair! The car park, which was nearly full, was vast, the footpath leading to the lighthouse thronged with people and lined with  touristy shops.

We drove on and found a stretch of wild coast which was beautiful and with a lack of sand, far less busy.



The next morning was bright and sunny so we were unable to find any osprey on les Salines but we did spot a sparrow hawk and a kestrel.

We went to the town of St Trojan which is on the southern tip of the island. A delightful place and by far my favourite. We stopped by the small fishing port and had a lovely wander. Many of the old fishermen's huts have been done up by the commune and during the summer are rented out to artists. We enjoyed visiting a few and walking out to a causeway which again had a splendid view of the Viaduc.





After another delicious fish lunch by the port we found a quiet spot near the sea to recover and then took a very pleasant walk along the sea wall.

The next day we met up with friends so had to take them to St Trojan for lunch and a wander round. We then went up the coast to show them the fishing port at la Cotiniere. It was early evening by then but oh so hot! 33 degrees and busy. Lots of people out walking along by the port and visiting the fish market and stalls. The range of fish was amazing.

The light on the boats in the harbour was beautiful.




If you are still with me after all those photographs then thank you! I will share our last day in my next post.

samedi 7 septembre 2019

Friday Night with Friends

Has come around quickly again. Many thanks to Cheryll for getting us all together again.

I started the afternoon by adding the eyelets to my new journal cover.


This has taken a while to complete mainly because I used a pink binding on it and then hated it! So it sat around for a while. Anyway, finished now. I used a piece of printed/painted brown wrapping paper, well crumpled and then ironed onto heavyweight pelmet vilene.


The inner corners at the front of the cover hold the journal in place and provide somewhere to tuck notes and stuff for safety.


The back pockets are for my pens and ruler. You can see the offending pink binding - it works well with the inside colours but looked awful outside.

Next up was to machine the borders around my latest Vintage Kitchen block.


Five down, four more to go!

Then it was back outside to continue rubbing down a pair of shutters ready for painting. They are louvered so not the easiest task and one that I have been putting of for at least a couple of years! So of course there is a lot of peeling pain to remove. Not good for hands that sew I can tell you - getting through masses of hand cream.

Anyway I rounded off my FNwF in the evening with some TAST stitching - I had two weeks to catch up on.


The top row is Crossed Feather Stitch and the bottom row Plaited Feather Stitch - they were last weeks stitches. The shape in the middle is filled with Cushion Filling Stitch which was this weeks stitch. Nice to be up to date again.

Since my last post we have had family visiting which was fun. We met up with them on their way down from the coast and went to La Vallee des Singes which we all enjoyed. The smaller monkeys roam free while the larger gorillas and chimps are confined to islands but you still get a good view of them. They all seem happy in their valley!




 
We all loved the ring tailed lemurs - those enormous eyes are so beguiling!


 
These two were not getting friendly - they were making a lot of noise!
 



It was a great day out.

Well this post is already long so I shall pop back again soon with some more catching up.

samedi 17 août 2019

FNSI, catching up and another goodbye!

Many thanks to Wendy for getting us together again despite internet problems - pop over to Wendy's Blog to see what everyone was working on.

My first Friday task was to complete my TAST sample for the week. I decided a few weeks back to resurrect my TAST sampler and have added a few new stitches to it. This weeks stitch is Woven Detached Chain and I decided that a few would be perfect to finish off the Beaded Barb stitch sample that I worked on a couple of weeks back.

I enjoyed working these and am especially pleased with the longer ones as they take on a bit of a curve adding some life to the arrangement.

Next up was this weeks block in Jenny of Elefantz Scrappy Vintage Kitchen stitch along. I have three of these blocks completed so far. 


To join the stitcheries I decided to pull out some of my 'vintage' ie circa 1980 Laura Ashley fabrics which I think are going to make quite a bold statement when this mini quilt is finished!!

Anyway, I got as far as tracing out the new design onto my linen fabric in between blitzing the house ahead of next weeks visitors.

We then met up with friends for Fish and Chips and by the time we got home I was not in the mood for stitching! So that will become tonight's project.

This months colour for the RSC is Light and Bright blues. I have had to double up on at least one of my fabrics for this as we have already done blues and aquas. Hopefully no more blue to come!


And my swap hexies are winging their way to Australia.


We said goodbye to Mum last week.

It was a lovely service in Mum's beautiful Parish Church with hymns and music chosen by Mum.


 RIP Mum