Saturday, 28 July 2012

Bring on the Games ( or a girl outstanding in her own field)

Its a busy weekend for Quilty Doings as I head south to family, friends and the Olympic Games. Reception to London hosting the Games has been somewhat mixed North of the Watford Gap ( which is only just North of London for all my non UK friends and readers) and I have found this a bit sad. We in the UK are not very good at showing our patriotism but this occasion surely must be an opportunity for us to celebrate and even show off a bit?  Perhaps its that old self deprecation thing with us here in Blighty, in that we don't like to be seen to do anything too well - who knows. Anyway this small English woman will be waving her flag with the best of them both at home and down in the Olympic Park itself. 
Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
 To get in the mood on Friday we headed out to Princes Street Gardens to watch the Red Arrows fly over Edinburgh Castle, as part of the all day opening celebrations and as ever they were spectacular. Don't worry, the sky in the photo is very misleading as it was a lovely sunny lunch time rather than the end of the world as it appears here.
next stop Belfast in half an hour
Me and the beloved JB will be meeting up with Number One Son on Monday and heading for what they have called the Copperbox to watch a spot of Handball, followed by a couple of games of Hockey.  The first of these will be a hoot as I have no idea what handball actually is and even had to enquire whether it have goals or a net to a knowledgeable sporting colleague on Friday before I left the office. However Number One Son struck it lucky as it turns out, discovering it is the national sport of Croatia. He was   was told this in a  proud and happy voice by his Croatian boss on the same day, so he has the inside track on rules, regulations and who will be the ones watch. I think we are watching team GB, Russia, Spain and France so my hopes for  a British victory are slim.

When it comes to hockey this is a different matter all together. Many hours of torture where endured in my youth on a school hockey pitch, so the rules are ingrained on my memory. I think for women of a certain age hockey will always conjure up memories of frozen playing fields, giant Airtex Navy knickers and games mistresses with more facial hair than Fidel Castro. I have one particularly vivid memory of an incident when  after a term and a half of proving that I was absolutely rubbish at the game, Mrs Barefoot ( no trust me that is not a made up name, she was head of the P.E department) decided she would make me play in goal. Now what ever possessed her to place a very diminutive 14 year old girl with child sized feet in goal I still to this day have not figured out, but that she did.  
what an attractive way to dress your teenagers
 Luckily for me, the opposition turned out to be even more rubbish than me , so our team spent the whole of the game in the opposition's half. I was left alone in my little goal mouth, stick in one hand, singing Judy Collins' "Send in the Clowns" to myself ( heaven knows why singing to myself or why that particular song) whilst desperately trying to cling on the giant pads with the other hand. The pads and foot protectors were so huge that  they hung off me with the pads so gigantic they reached above my waist, making any kind of movement almost impossible. Who knows what would have happened if the opposition had deemed to make an attack on goal. I think my only tactic would have been to physically launch myself head first at the attacker and hope to shock her into missing the ball altogether! Needless to say I would never have made Team GB or achieved any sporting prowess, but that doesn't mean I cannot appreciate a good bit of rough and tumble when it comes to a well honed muscular man running around a pitch.

Anyway I digress. Hockey it is on Monday night. Team GB versus Argentina, which will be interesting to say the least. Our national rivalries are more than well known so an "interesting" confrontation may ensue. Let the best men win, that's all I can say ( and I know who they are....). 
As you may have guessed all this sporting excellence means there will be no stitching this weekend. Well almost none. To while away the hours on the East Coast line I have bought a small patriotic table mat with me that I am going to give me my best mate and host, which I knocked up this morning in a rush of patriotic fever. The binding needs finishing off but with a 5 hour train journey I really don't need to rush. Just hope for a sympathetic neighbouring passenger who doesn't mind the odd thread being tossed their way. 
The London prints were a must  when I saw them, with the taxis, guardsmen, phone boxes and the like and so I hope she likes it. Just a little bit of fun really. To be honest I only went in the shop to by a long quarter for a binding on another project but came out with this little bagful but you know what its like, don't you. 

Actually I have hidden in my bag a real gift for her, but that is for my next post as if she reads this it will not be a surprise! 
See you again soon.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Long-arm quilting- or how I would spend my millions

How many of us plan what we would do if only our lucky numbers came up on the lottery one weekend? For me it would be a simple and easy decision. I would have to buy myself a long-arm quilt machine- oh and perhaps a big enough home to keep it in.  I think for us weekend quilters, the actual quilting of our projects can sometimes prove the most troublesome part. I personally have spent many an hour tightly rolling my pieced quilt sandwich so that it will fit under the arm of my Janome machine only to end up feeling exhausted and disappointed at the result and sad that I have messed up what had been a  great piece of piecing. So the idea of a "rent by the hour" quilting service is an absolute God send to many of us. To be honest as a hobby quilter the actual investment in a machine of the size and quality available through these services, regardless of the financial consideration, is pretty unrealistic because of its practicality so being able to find somewhere that I can feel at home and relaxed and finish my larger quilts to a high quality has been a great boost to my enjoyment of my stitching.

My local Long-Arm Quilting service is Beechwood Quilting based in the beautiful City of Stirling and the business is run by a very welcoming Carole and Brian. They have a great set up with their Gamill Optimum (this recently replaced the APQ Millennium shown in my pictures) in a spacious and bright studio which they also use for other quilting classes and workshops. I haven't yet had a chance to attend any of their classes as they have always clashed with other commitments for me, but they have a great flexible approach so are happy to organise classes on requested topics if a group can be pulled together. Emily and I are working on a plan at the moment so I will let you know if this comes together. 

As a double act Carole and Brian are a hoot. Carole has the calmness and approach of a great teacher and is wonderful company. I really look forward to catching up with her at each visit and we regularly put the world to rights over a cup of tea mid session. Brian- well Brian is a man with a plan. If an ingenious solution to a problem is required , he is the chap to find it. He is very knowledgeable when it come to his machine and its workings and at the moment he is also working on his piecing skills, so that they match his machine quilting. I am very much looking forward to his next major project and particularly his entry to Loch Lomond next year which appears to be top secret. I would say though that Carole has the patience of a saint and after writing that I think Brian may never speak to me again ..... ha ha.   
Loading the backing

For anyone who hasn't yet tried their hand at Long Arm quilting, I would highly recommend it. The hour of initial tuition can be a lot to take in but I have to say the Gamill Optimum ( or Vicky Plum as she is affectionately known to Brian and Carole) is the easiest and most intuitive machine I have used so far. I started off with lots of quilts looking very similar with "spaghetti" stitching but you very quickly get used to the idea that if you can draw in a long flowing manner then you can create any design you like. Carole is an absolute whizz at this and has had some great ideas to help me along the way. I bet you have never realised how easily you could draw a realistic helicopter in one long sweeping movement have you? Well nor I had I until let loose on Vicky Plum and was prompted into action by my wonderful JB who too has an artistic bent as well as an uncommon knowledge of these "parafin budgies".  

So far I have only completed one piece of custom quilting, on a Block of the Month quilt which I made called "Stitches of the Oregon Trail" , ( bought via Keepsake Quilting many years ago and buried for over 6 years in my finished top stash because of the impossibility of quilting something so large on my Janome). This took me 2 sessions at Beechwood, and a fairly large supply of Carole's wonderful flapjacks. I have 2 more king size quilt tops tucked away which I have been looking at them recently to see what style I can incorporate so again, watch this space for updates of how it goes.

Stitches on the Oregon Trail
Brian and Carole also offer a service where they will quilt for you if you haven't either the time or the inclination to quilt your piecing yourself. They have over 2000 patterns to choose from and a great knowledge of what will suit your work of art so if you are after a whole cloth  and regular pattern they can use their computerised pattern to do this for you. Again I haven't tried this yet, as I get very attached to my work and have an inherent need to do anything all by myself but its a great great service.

If you would like to read about some of the work that has gone on at Beechwood, this link takes you to "Women of Scotland" a project they were involved in, which exhibited earlier this year. 

Also if you are not lucky enough to live close to Beechwood, Carole  and Brian also run a  very lovely Bed And Breakfast called "Kerran Bed and Breakfast"  so you could make a couple of days of your visit and explore the stunning Stirling castle and surrounding areas.

I am off there again on Thursday evening for a quick session which you will hear about in my next blog , oh yes and my fill of flapjacks...that is unless I win the lottery.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Canopy & Stars

Now I know this is not a quilt based post so apologies for that, but please bear with me as I just felt I needed to share an exciting moment with everyone. Last week I entered a competition on the blog for Sawdays "Canopy and stars", a fantastic site with suggestions for every possible kind of off the wall accommodation you can think of. Through this lovely company you can stay in a tee pee, a tree house or even a converted World War II Fire wagon. The world is your lobster as Dell Boy would say. Anyway, the theme of the contest, to win an amazing 7 day trip all around the UK "glamping" was to write in 150 words all about your favourite travel memory.  Do check out their site, it is wonderful and full of so many ideas. I can't wait to drag my JB away to one of their little hide aways.

When I read this only one thought came to my head and that was the amazing amazing week Emily and I spent  touring the Highlands 10 years ago in a small and noisy red MG Midget. It is a memory I will carry with me forever of my wonderful daughter. Of her spirit and sense of fun and of the bond that will never break.

To cut a long story short , I wrote my 150 words and my word how hard was that. How a many times did it turned into 153 words I cannot tell you. But I persevered and my struggle was rewarded today to find out I made the final 40! (The link will take you to the whole 40 to see.) The short list of 10 has been published and they are all terrific and all deserve to win, but you cannot imagine my joy at being in the 30 which were mentioned in dispatches so to speak, in the same announcement. To say my gob has never been so smacked would be an understatement. I have never written anything till I started this blogging about 7 weeks ago and detested English when I was at school, as my English mistresses ( how old fashioned is that) gave the impression that I could not string two sentences together.  Fell a bit  in shock too really.  All in all the reception not only from the blog, but now this competition has been terrific and I just want to say thank you really to everyone who has encouraged me and I am not sure if you know what a can of worms you have opened, but if not keep reading and you will be sure to find out.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

a bit of this and a bit of that...

Today has been what my Dad would refer to as a pottering day. Nothing major has been done, but lots of little odd jobs have been ticked off the list. Sometimes this is the best way to spend a Sunday, as it somehow re-aligns the brain from whirring around at high speed and lets you unwind with the more every day items of life. JB was setting to at sorting out our garage which somehow has become overwhelmed with every thing except those things you would find in the garage, so this left me to dip in and out of all kinds of jobs and fun activities.  

First on the list was go pay attention to "Hermann", the German Friendship cake I had been given by a young friend of mine called Katherine. Katherine is a great baker and regularly keeps us fed in the office with yummy Irish snacks whose recipes have been passed on to her by her Mum. 10 days ago she shared with me a pot of a gooey bubbling mix from the friendship cake which she had baked for our morning coffee and so I have been lovingly looking after Hermann since then. 

For all of you not familiar with these cakes, they are basically a sour dough mix which you nurture for 10 days and then divide into 4 and share with 3 friends , keeping the last quarter to make your own cake. The basic cake is an apple and cinnamon flavour and is delicious but I fancied making a different variety so plumped for a Raspberry, Blue berry and White Chocolate version which proved a great great success with all the family. If you would like to start your own friendship cake, or try my version you will find the recipe on my Recipes page

Next on the list was finishing a binding on a small play mat for a wee lad named Adam. I had pieced this but needed to finish the binding as I am hoping to catch up with his Mum Lucie very soon before they both go jet setting off the the Czech Republic to see his Grandma.  Jungle animals were the order of the day for Adam, with yet more Riley Blake fabrics which seem to be very quickly filling my shopping basket these days. Funny how you find yourself finding all your real fabrics with one particular supplier at one times isn't it. They obviously fit with my mood at the moment.
By the way I have updated my gallery with not only a picture of this finished play mat but also baby Rebecca, of Kookaburra  and Kangaroos fame in last week's blog, and another little friend called Max  ( short for Maximus) who can be seen enjoying his Nursery Rhyme quilt.  

My next distraction I think will make you smile. We have at home a lovely little dolls house that we keep for when small people call by and last time I was sorting my "orphans" ( left over quilt piecings ? ) I thought how some of them may make wonderful tiny tiny quilts  for the residents of Rosie House as the dolls house is known and so whilst the machine sewing was plugged in today I couldn't resist stitching a couple of them  together and popping them in for the little wooden family. 

Now baby wooden top has a smart pink and green 9 patch, Ma wooden top has a cosy red white and blue throw on her bed and the sitting room is adorned with a  rather snazzy purple floor rug embroidered with a flower motif.  I hope Zoe and any future play mates enjoy them in the house. JB is going to try and install lighting in the house which will bring it from the Edwardian era into the 21st century( even though it prides itself with  a tiny  computer on the desk in the nursery?).

Now the day is done but I  am thinking ahead to my next project. On my last visit to Kaleidoscope in Milngavie I bought a layer cake called Happy Campers by Moda. I have been looking at it all day and wondering what I want to do with it. 

The retro  fabrics are wonderful, with the tiny red, blue, yellow and green tones and the motifs of the 1950's camping scenes are really fun but I just cannot decide what I want to do with it.  Some layer cakes turn out a little "chunky " because by nature they can be easily pieced but I think I will throw out the challenge to all of you in blog land to give me some bright ideas of what you think will be a good idea. The best idea will receive an extra special gift all the way from Quilty Doings land, so get our thinking caps on and let me know what what you think I should do....

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Kookaburras, Koalas and Kangaroos

Any of you that know me not as Emily's Mum but as a busy commuter may recall we have been going through somewhat of a population explosion in the office. We are a tight little team  who have been brought together through work but bound together by sadness and laughter and whilst there are only a dozen of us, somehow 6 of them have managed  to produce 8 off spring in the space of three years and none of them have been twins! I know it is a reflection on the age group of the core of the gang but honestly- this seems like a pretty drastic way of filling the fine schools of Edinburgh to me. 

Whilst we were away "en vacance" the latest and probably final two babies for quite a while decided arrived and at last we got a girl ( and another boy - the beautiful Adam, a brother for little Filip). 7 boys and one girl- don't you think the odds are badly stacked there for a good and balanced team barbeques once they are all grown a little and running around? That poor wee soul of a girl will be so out numbered by those boisterous boys. 

Anyway all this family growth has caused a great deal of stitching and the arrival of a girl should have given me the opportunity of bringing a little femininity to my fabric choice, but this was not to be.  Mum and Dad to be had spent some time living in Australia before coming to Edinburgh and their time there had very clearly been a very enjoyable one and had left them with lots and lots of wonderful memories. So much so we held a sweep in the office as to whether they would call the new born Alice or Sydney! The antipodean influences were soon to be seen in the decorating of little one's nursery, with the introduction of a lovely deep sandy orange and some lush cactus greens in the curtains and borders,off setting pale and serene cream walls. The room looked a treat and set the tone for me to know where I had to go with my choices. And then fate stepped in. 

One lunchtime, whilst shopping in Mandors for another project I spotted a fat quarter all on its own in a basket by the till. It lay on the top of all its scrappy friends and I don't  know what drew me to look closer, but there they were. Kangaroos, Kookaburras, Koalas, Kane toads, Crocodiles, the lot! I couldn't believe my eyes. I had spent weeks scouring the Internet for Australian themed fabric but none had really hit the spot. But this was just the job, although at first I worried that if the new arrival was a not a boy, it might be a little masculine. But the match in colours to Mum & Dad's nursery choice was perfect so there was no question. It had to be the basis of the quilt, all be it a tricky one. I decided to wait for baby's arrival before picking the other fabrics just so I knew if I had to go all out with the boys fabrics, or whether I needed to soften the tones as the green background really was very strong.

Well baby finally arrived and we all cheered at the birth of a girl for the team and I set off in my quest to find co-ordinating fabrics for her quilt. Again, having seen the nursery I did have some other hints so I decided to concentrate on the orange of the Koala and owl faces and then add more cream.  After a lot of Googling,  I discovered the fabric was from called Hooty Hoot Kangaroo  by Riley Blake so found a couple of co-ordinates from that range as well as a good matching Moda orange tiny spot. As you will see, I didn't actually use all my purchases because as usual I hadn't decided on the piecing.   

However a plan quickly formed again  and I fussy cut the feature fabric , picking out the key animals  in 3 3/4 inch squares , which I pieced in a checker board with nine patches in the orange and one of the cream spots ( using 1 3/4 inch strips). I then added an orange border and then further four patch sets in a pale cream and a pale green which I think brought in the softness to the piece.  As ever this was followed by a quick trip to Brian and Carole at Beechwood Quilting for a session on their long arm machine and give the quilt its wonderful texture. Carole came up trumps, as ever, with a White Chocolate cookie especially bought for my visit as she was out of Flapjacks. What a treat and how spoilt am I? 

Binding ( in the feature fabric) was slightly held up by my excited son and a very long Skype call discussing his pending move with his other half to their first home together, but I did manage to stitch whilst paying strict attention to the growing wish list of household appliances which he was drawing up. Gladly by midnight the quilt was finished, ready for wrapping in its cellophane and  of course a few pictures of the finished product for the blog.  These proved tricky with the flash so apologies for the quality here. A bit disappointing.  

I am glad to say the quilt was handed to Dad this morning and he scurried off home tonight for the first time to his wife and stunning daughter with the package under his arm and a happy skip in his step, in the keen anticipation of seeing his new little family again after a day in the office.  What a joy and oh how life goes on...
Oh , by the way she is called Rebecca.   

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Half a jelly is twice as good

You would have thought after so many years of quilting that I would have filled every room in the house with throws and blankets by now wouldn't you. Well you would be wrong.  Somehow the only room in our house which remained quilt free turned out to be our bedroom, which is pretty surprising really, given it would be the most obvious place for a quilt. This sad state of affairs came about when we moved north to Scotland and moved from an old farmhouse to a "new build". Somehow the older style of our previous bedroom just didn't suit our new house as the new room is a very airy and bright room and definitely needs a more contemporary look and none of my existing quilts suite this at all. All the wonderful modern fabrics we can find now hadn't quite come to the market at the time of our move and as I had lived in homes which were both well over 150 years old for the past 15 years or so, most of my quiltings had quite obviously very traditional. 

My other problem was that I wanted to hang in our room a wonderful gift our children had given us as a 1st wedding anniversary present and the colours were becoming something of a challenge to me .  The gift was a large long photo canvas which had been cropped from one of our wedding photos and showed my bouquet laying next to the two bridesmaids' versions, surrounded by wrapped gifts and envelopes and if you looked very carefully you could see one envelope showed our new Mr & Mrs title. 

It was an inspired gift and brought a little tear to my eye when I opened it. The problem was the beautiful flowers were pink roses and tulips and the green stalks of the tulips and the tartan wrapping stood out boldly from the canvas against the stone coloured background. I think it is a cracking picture but I knew I definitely did not want a pink bedroom!  So you may now see my dilemma. 

In the end I settled on a very simple and crisp cream and pale green theme so that the canvas stands out as a focal point and the room does it justice. I managed to find some nice matching green pieces but kept the room pretty simple and fresh. 

But no quilts- it didn't quite seem right really, so I decided to right this terrible wrong and make a small throw to hang on a  Lloyd Loom chair which stands in the corner. The choice of fabric proved so hard again, because of the boldness of the canvas, but I fell upon a Freedom fabrics William Morris Jelly Roll and thought this would suit really well, with its subtleties and mixture of colours, but not an obviously flowery design. I had not used a Jelly roll before so chose a design from "Two from One Jelly Roll Quits"  by Pam and Nicky Lintott and its a wonderful book. 

Two from One Jelly Roll Quilts
View this book from Amazon now

The book has 18 patterns and shows you how to make throws, cot quilts , wall hangings and the like , each from half a jelly roll, or in other words 20 strips of fabric. I think this is a great idea as sometimes you want a smaller piece and so this book gives a touch of versatility but still with the jelly roll approach. I found the writing enjoyable to read, the art work gorgeous and the instructions clear- just about all you want from the perfect publication I reckon. (Mother and daughter Pam and Nicky run "The Quilt Room" in Surrey and is definitely on my list of shops to visit when I am down in the south of England.) 

I am pleased with the resulting quilt, which I backed with a matching William Morris floral. A little expensive for a backing but I think the back of the quilt is as important as the front and it makes this as a complete piece of furnishing for the room. 

The quilting is swirls in a very pale pink and is a good contrast against the squares and straight edges and because of the busy pattern I chose not to add a border, but to just bind it simply in a coral colour picked from the print. All in all I am very happy with the results and can now be content that proper order is returned to the house without a quilt free room to be found. And of course I still have half a jelly roll to use for another day?
ready for relaxing...

Sunday, 1 July 2012

a little sojourn a la France

We've all been "en vacance"  this week so no stitching news to report this post I am afraid. A large proportion of the family headed south to the sun and the took advantage of a glorious spot in Langedoc-Rousillon in which to chill out, chat endlessly about nothing much in particular and just generally relax and eat cheese.  Life has been eventful for a whole chunk of the gang, with lengths of time with unemployment worries and general work pressures for them all so we thought it was time for a good break and as parents, the beloved JB and I were delighted to be able to enjoy some special time with our amazing children and their partners. A couple of missing personnel though for the trip which was shame but our star attendee on her first visit to France was grandaughter Zoe, who at 3 has the ability of keeping every adult entertained for hours with her amazing tales and deep and meaningful conversations. Swimming came along leaps and bounds too for her so we expect to see rubber ring and arm bands assigned to the bin very shortly.

Exploring this area of France is a joy, with fields of Lavender scattered between vineyards and orchards. The whole area is indeed a treat for all the senses and a photographer's dream. 

The gentle scents from wild herbs and flowers fill the air when you stroll along the lanes and there can be no better way of spending an hour or two than sitting in La place aux Herb in Uzes and watching the world go by on market day.

On a Wednesday morning the small square is packed with numerous fruit and vegetable stalls whose owners vie for your trade along with more sellers of goat's cheese than you can imagine.  Emily is sure that she found her ideal man there by way of a cheese selling Silver Fox who offered 50 kinds of Fromage de Chevre . Poor Jonathan - what a suitor to compete with. I am pleased to report though  that Emily will be returning to her home in the North with the poor boy but I am sure she will still be dreaming of the charming cheese seller for many a night....
Whilst in Uzes I fell upon the most wonderful little shop proffering a stunning mix of fabrics, haberdasheries, linens and all things beautiful and if you are lucky enough to be in the area you must seek this little piece of heaven out.  

Another one of the joys of small town France are these individual shops which we in the UK are very quickly losing, due to faceless chain stores and exorbitant business rates, and with all our membership of the European Union it is a shame we cannot see the benefit of the French style here.
The shop keeper of "Vent Du Sud" was a an elegant small woman who oozed pride in her  stylish shop and the quality of its merchandise. Emily and I browsed for nearly an hour whilst our menfolk ate gelate in the near by ice cream parlour, out of the sun . To say we could have blown the whole of the holiday budget here would not be an exaggeration but we did each finally settle on a small but carefully chosen bag of goodies to take back to the UK. I chose a small medley of fat quarters in pale shades of duck egg blue- very french I felt. None of the fabrics were in fact the same brand but had been cleverly chosen by the shop keeper herself and blended wonderfully together. Two of them are Cabbages & Roses Ltd, by Moda and then two unknowns including an amazing moth design. I will search the web and see if I can identify this fabric and then add a link as its well worth finding as it is really stunning- just like specimen plates from a Victorian Natural history Journal. We also found a yard of fabric from the Yuwa Live Life collection which was reduced in the Sale so Emily and I shared this as we both fell in love with its colours. I can see we will be trawling though Etsy trying to find matching elements for this one as it is pretty unusual . Again I will update you how this goes and add pictures at that time.

I have to say though that the part of the shop that sent me into a  complete spin was the haberdashery. The rows of ribbons and trims were incredible and better than I have ever seen together in one place. I could not hold back and came away with a large bag of ribbons and bias trim in all sorts of patterns and colours. 

I have not seen these wonderful printed bias bindings before and cannot wait to make some small pieces to use them . More web searching will need to follow to see what else I can find.  Sadly Vent de Sud does not appear to have a web site so I cannot refer you on to her here, but there again this has to be a good excuse for trying to visit the area just to check out this shop I am sure. I have found mention of it in this blog though so if your french is good you can check out someone else's enthusiasm as well as mine for this wonderful little place.

I had spent the previous day telling Zoe's Mummy about all the ribbons I used to tie in Emily's hair when she was small and had promised to seek out some for Zoe's stunning red curly locks so you can imagine my joy at falling on Madame "Vent de Sud"s emporium 
( sorry no personal names were exchanged as my french was poor and I think she thought my enthusiasm a little odd so hung back a little from my enquiries!).  Anyway needless to say Zoe should never now go un-coiffed, being the proud owner of a mix of organza, satin and embroidered ribbons to show off in her exquisite hair.

I cannot finish my ramble today without a final mention for The Ceramics of Lussan. Whilst they have a small shop in Uzes, it is worth a visit to the Ceramic workshop out in the country itself ( not least because you will pass field upon fild of wild flowers on the way).  At the show room the funny and beautifully exhibited Guinnea Fowl and hens are all on show in quirky " chickeny" type locations.  A very clever person has put these together and with our ridiculous love for all things hennish, it was a must for Emily and I to visit whilst JB and Jonathan trailed dutifully behind.  Hand baggage is always a challenge for me after a holiday but I did manage to make it all the way back home to Scotland with a large pottery Guinnea Fowl who I have named Albert tucked under my arm.