Sunday, 17 June 2012

Dad's day and family ties

Today should have been the day I made a cup of tea in bed for JB, as it is Father's day and with no junior members residing with us any longer there was no one else who could spoil him on his day. However I awoke to a cup of freshly brewed elixir on my bedside cabinet and the man himself nose deep in the end of his latest read. What a star he is. Best make sure I reciprocate over the next couple of weeks by setting the alarm early.
The rest of our morning was spent catching up with all the family young and old, after the usual opening of cards and gifts . Prize for the card of the year goes to number 2 son, with his sneaky nod to our ever growing guitar collection - well done Colin and mention in dispatches goes to Emily  for the witty idea of writing the whole card in French in anticipation of next week's holiday but most of which we are still haven't been able to translate. Not sure who has the poorer O level french, her or us?

I phoned my own darling little bear of a Dad to say have a happy day and to make sure he had received his little gift only to have one of our usual slightly surreal conversations which always leave me with a little chuckle.  Dad is pretty well advanced in years now but despite everything he tries so very very hard to hold his own in any conversation but is usually foiled with his hearing letting him down. Today was no exception and after me repeating the phrase " what news " five times , the poor old sausage  gave in and Mum and I had a chat instead with her relaying the conversation one sentence at a time . The funniest part though today was when I found out, twenty minutes in and having had a long conversation about his gift, that he actually still hadn't unwrapped it an neither of them had any idea what I had bought him.... Ho hum. As long as they are safe and happy, what's the worry over a  bit of nutty weirdness every now and again, eh. 

Dad in another time and smiling as always with me and big brother ( at the cricket as usual too)
My Dad is a wonderful chap, who I adore. He has always been the best Dad he could ever be and has never failed to make me feel deeply loved. Watching him age over the past eight years or so has been so hard. He is a proud and intelligent man who had not looked or acted his 80 years when he suffered a stroke and watching his frustration at his subsequent  limitations has sometimes made me feel my heart will break. But with Mum by his side now for over 62 years they battle through and I feel it such a privilege to have had such a loving and kind Dad. One of my special loves of my Dad is how dapper he always is, always neat and tidy and never to be seen without either a tie or a cravat and his ties have always been a special thing with me. This became even more apparent to me when he took his stroke at our home back in 2005. Two days later, whilst he was in the hospital recovering I found his tie neatly rolled and sitting on the sideboard where Mum had placed it in the furor of him being attended by the paramedics. This discovery made me dissolve into tears and the tie was carefully removed and hidden away for safe keeping awaiting Dad's return.  In his funny superstitious way he never wanted it back but I still have it, kept carefully and neatly with my most treasured keepsakes. I little heartfelt reminder of a very scary day and how wonderful it is to have him around. 

Somehow this mornings Father's day catch up and my need for a Sunday Stitchin' led my brain to the want to draw inspiration from Dad and in particular his stylish ties. 

I need to find suitable fabrics in my stash which reminded me of him and his jolliness but he would never wear anything this bright and garish. He is more an RAF tie man if truth be told. However my choice seems to have followed on from the Jubilee , with a red white and blue theme quite well and I hope you like the result. It was foundation pieced and then has a matched 3 inch striped border to set it all off.

I think the finished wall hanging lends itself to hand quilting, rather than machining so it will take a little time to finish the piece off but I will post a picture when  it is complete. In the meantime, I hope you like the result.

I have called the piece Family Ties...

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee doings

I don't think it would be right for any blog writer this side of the pond to the let the weekend celebrations go by without comment. We certainly were having a giggle last week at some of the merchandising that can be seen in our shops at the moment and the ingenuity of the marketing men to be able to add a Union Jack to absolutely anything.  Personally the past 10 years seem to have flown by and Emily and I have been revisiting photos of our Golden Jubilee trip to Scotland, when we bravely left Tom (  my other  name is Tom's Mum) at home alone for the first time. Always a brave move to leave your son home alone for week to fend for himself when he is 17. I of course packed the fridge with food but returned home to find he had been happily fed and watered by everyone else's Mum that week and had a wail of a time without his annoying mother and sister. To be honest we had a wail of a time without him too and he would have hated the trip. Emily and I spent a wonderful week in the sunny and stunning Highlands and it will always be a very special time in my heart.

Now 10 years on, both offspring have flown the nest and I have remarried and taken up residence in my beloved Scotland with my darling JB. Who would have thought it back then. So far as Jubilee celebrations went for me this time though it was always going to be a quiet affair this time around. North of the Border these things are viewed in a different light and I was the one home alone this time, but my southern roots are very strong so it was out with the old pinking shears on Friday night to make myself a string or two of bunting, and very splendid it looked too. I also decided to put together a Jubilee flower arrangement , which was easier said than down as my local florist was not proving too helpful on this occasion. I was all prepared to struggle with blue flowers, but low and behold it was the red that was a struggle with her sole offering being small red carnations, so as you can see, it wasn't that inspiring an arrangement, but never mind.

The weekend could not possibly pass though without a  little quilt to mark the occasion so the following is my nod to Her Majesty's 60 year reign and well done her. It was finished off whilst watching her and the rest of the royal gang freeze and get soaked to the skin on the Royal Barge on the Thames.  Clearly the only flaw in the planning of the event was the omission of a good quilt or two too keep the poor old thing warm. This is Great Britain you know, and it was June . What did they expect? Sunshine?

Anyway, as you can see this is a very simple piece that started out as a Bear Paw, but then I noticed that if I reversed a set of triangles it looked a bit like a crown, so I have named it " Crowning Glory". Apart from the Union Jack fabric, it was made from scraps from my basket.
It consists of 5 x 2 7/8 inch squares and 1 x 4 7/8 inch square of each of the four fabrics. I finally added a 1 1/2 inch plain border and then the 3 inch feature border with the little Union Jack's. I hope you like it. It's ideal for the garden as it just fits on the small wooden table by one of our benches.  And what do you know, not long after completion the sun came out again, so I felt i just had to Christen the quilt with a nice Jubilee cup of tea in the Garden. Job done.

I do hope you all had a very Happy Jubilee and enjoyed fun time with all your loved ones. Keep the flags handy by the way, we'll all need them for the Olympics.

(ps we had two jubilee beacons near us, which was fantastic. Dumyat wins the day for me as a view though so please click the link to see the wonderful photo of the night- copyright stops me being able to show it direct)