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Monday 18 August 2014

FNSI for August

I am a bit late with posting this - we have had a busy weekend!

First of all though, thank you to Wendy for hosting us despite a busy week and amazingly finding time to shop for a prize too!

I had a couple of free hours on Friday afternoon so my first task was to work on these

monoprints on brown paper that I had made the day before.

First job was to give them a jolly good scrunching

then I painted them all over with procion ink.

Fortunately it was a sunny afternoon so they soon dried. Now they await the next stage - maybe today!

Next up was some work on a little case I am making for my crazy stencils.

I added the finishing touches to the silk ribbon flowers - they still need a pearl but I will leave that till the end - then the little buttons that I found on a stall last weekend at Marciac. I do think they look rather like three eared cats but I like them anyway. Last up was the zig zag chain which is now ready for embellishment.

A few weeks ago Wendy (FNSI Wendy) mentioned that she had bought a set of cutters for making hexagon papers - you can read her post here. I have for sometime been wanting to make some half inch hexies but couldn't find anywhere selling ready cut papers without extortionate postage and really did not fancy cutting the papers myself. So this sounded like a brilliant option and an order went off.

Just by the way - the same cutter from the same supplier (USA) cost almost twice as much from Amazon France as it was from Amazon UK! The French really do pay a premium for their quilting supplies, no wonder everything is so expensive in the shops here.

Anyway, the cutter arrived this week and it works a treat. Many thanks Wendy for putting me on to this.

I have in past posts mentioned one of my favourite fabric suppliers - Strawberry Fayre. I have been buying fabric from them for over 30 years and their service is excellent.

One of the main reasons that I like them is that once a year they send out packs of fabric samples which means that you can sit and play with them to select combinations that work.

I have always wanted to do something with theses samples and now that I have my hexie cutter I can.
They are just big enough!

So a couple of evenings last week including Friday, that is what I was doing.

For the moment I have just done the florals - tonight I plan to spread them out on a tray to see how best to put them together.

Now for a bit of blog hopping to see what everyone else was up to on Friday..
Hope you all have a good week with plenty of stitch.

Monday 11 August 2014

A weekend away and a very 'pink' postcard!

While we were away at the weekend the postman left this beautiful postcard in our box.

I love the colours!
The card came from Judy of knitquiltspinweave/fundamentallyfiber. She is doing a lot of work with solid colour at the moment so do go and have a look. But she also spins beautiful wool and then knits lovely socks with it! Thank you very much Judy.
Oops - I notice my scan has cropped some of the border stitching - sorry. xx

We have been to Marciac for the weekend which is about 4 hours south of here, almost in the Pyrenees. It is famous for it's annual International Jazz Festival now in it's 36th year.
We had tickets for Wynton Marsalis on Friday night so we left here early on Friday to be able to meander down and look at a few places on the way.

I loved the tiny town of Aignan. We pulled into the car park and I immediately spotted this sad building desperately in need of some tlc. Sad but beautiful especially with that lovely rose growing by it.

We walked up the lane past this building and past a window from which came the most amazing cooking smells! masses of herbs I am sure, but then turning the corner into the square outside the house there was a little table and chair set up and a BBQ.

The BBQ is on the left in front of the blue pot - not easy to see but then I was taking the picture surreptitiously! The BBQ was not lit but on top of it there were some joints of rabbit - presumably defrosting! Also not in the picture is the little black dog that was rushing around nose to the ground.

The house was right in the square by the church - here you can see the church steps with the house beyond.

We stayed in Maubourguet which is where one stage of the Tour de France started from and we met friends there who we spent the weekend with. Lots of evidence of le Tour around the town.

Marciac is a bastide town with a very large square at the centre. In the middle there was a stage where there were various jazz bands performing. Around it there were numerous bars, restaurants and stalls selling crafts, clothing wine, armagnac etc. The stalls were packed in and the whole place was crowded.
Our concert was at 9pm so at 7pm we found a restaurant for supper. It was a tent on the edge of the square so with access to the arched walkway of the bastide. Which was fortunate as there was a terrific storm while we were eating and all the sides of the tent came down in double quick time! I did manage to get this picture though of the unfortunate people across the square.

We were very fortunate though as we heard the next day that a town about 20 minutes away had suffered terrible damage to it's crops and vines and on our way home on Sunday we also passed an area that had obviously been badly hit by the storm.
The rain eased off in time for us to get to the 'Chapitau' - the huge tented concert hall. The first act was Kenny Barron then it was Wynton Marsalis who has a long association with Marciac and Richard Galliano  the accordionist and their tribute to Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf. A great evening.

On Saturday we spent a lazy day tasting wine at a local wine chateau - Madiran - and back at Marciac visiting the museum telling the story of the history of jazz and wandering around the stalls and the square.

On the way home on Sunday we stopped off at Auch. There is a lovely statue there of d'Artagnan - the real one as opposed to the one we all know from The Three Musketeers!

Tricky to get a nice picture of him without the crane that is helping with the restoration work of the spectacular staircase on which he sits!

The cathedral in Auch is famous for it's Arnaud de Moles stained glass windows which are amazing for their detail.

The Cathedral also has an amazing choir with beautiful oak carvings on the stalls and stall backs.

If you have made it to the end of this post then thank you for your patience and I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Thursday 7 August 2014

Dorset Posies and a stitch sampler (TAST)

Well, my final finish for the week hit a technical problem! so when my new copy of STITCH arrived I was easily sidetracked.

The little Dorset Posies on the front cover instantly caught my eye and I had to have a go. They are based on Dorset buttons - and I have made a few of those in the past so for me this was quite straight forward. If you don't know Dorset buttons then there are masses of images on the internet and information on how to make them.
This was my first effort.

Not easy to photograph as that green is very dark. But my main aim was to make something small enough to be able to use with my crazy patchwork and so my next efforts were much smaller.

The two larger posies are worked on brass curtain rings. The smallest posy is worked on the little coloured ring that comes at the base of an electric toothbrush brush. I have used these successfully before for Dorset buttons but the tension of the posy caused the ring to to become oval. Not a problem unless you actually need a round posy. So the next smallest was worked on a metal ring salvaged from an old bra. This worked a treat and will be the one that I add to my summer crazy block.

I have started working a crazy band sampler to try out stitches for my other work and also to work TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) stitches from Pintangle. So the tiniest posy found a place between my samples of closed herringbone which is this weeks TAST stitch.

And here is my sampler so far.

We are driving south to the Pyrenees tomorrow for a weekend at the Marciac Jazz Festival - I hope you all have a good weekend.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Another Finish

My summer crazy block is 'finished'!

 I say 'finished' as the corners are still empty and this is because I plan to have foliage curling out of them and into the sashing when everything is is put together.

A couple of close-ups

Another 'big' finish for the week - one more to go. Maybe tomorrow!