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I often wonder how much about myself I should reveal on this little blog of mine. I initially started writing it as I wanted to share my forays into the world of sewing and quilting. However, over time, it has evolved and now I tend to write about anything that I find particularly interesting. But I always try to present the ‘good bits’ rather than anything negative and, indeed, having read other blogs, I think that other bloggers tend to do this too. The only time that I have deviated from the chirpy personality that I try to portray was in this post which was written during one of the most difficult periods of my life to date.

Things improved, however, and I returned to my light-hearted manner of writing about my adventures (or misadventures) in sewing.

Unfortunately, I once again find myself struggling and am finding it a little difficult to remain positive. Having been through this battle once, I do have some coping techniques and I know that all will improve soon. One of the worst symptoms of this illness, however, is utter exhaustion and the total lack of motivation to do anything useful. There has been very little singing over the past few weeks (a sure sign that I’m feeling low) and, worst of all, I had to miss the Festival of Quilts. Since I look forward to this more than I look forward to Christmas, you can imagine my utter devastation. To try to make it up for this, the husband did take me to a wonderful shop called Quiltessential in which copious amounts of fabric was purchased (therapy of course…) and I have tried to do a little sewing when I can but I don’t have a great deal of stamina right now.

As I haven’t had a great deal of energy, I’ve been reading my sewing magazines and other blogs and the content of one post in particular resonated with me. It was written by Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilts. The particular entry that I’m referring to can be found at:

Melanie explains her reasoning for her tagline ‘Be Powerful. CREATE’:

“I find creation to be powerful. My tagline on my blog is “Be powerful. CREATE!” I mentioned when we visited in July about my work to regain my personal power after my illness. And I have found that expression through writing and designing, and transforming ideas and colors and shapes into tangible objects is one of the primary ways [for me] to build power.

I keep pushing my personal boundaries of what I can do. That growth makes me more powerful and MORE OF THE PERSON I AM.”

(Re-written here with the kind permission of Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilts)

I completely agree with her. The last time that I was poorly, I found that sewing became a sort of therapy. For months, I did nothing. I couldn’t do anything. But my counsellor encouraged me to try small projects and to start writing again and little by little, things got better. Melanie is completely right. Creation (in whatever form) is powerful. So this time, I am trying to still do a little creating. I have baked a banana cake (seriously good recipe on bbc good food). I have done a little log-cabin quilting and I have made a couple of cushions. As Melanie says ‘All I know is that creation helps me become myself. And becoming myself is powerful.’ The last time I was poorly, I lost myself. I forgot who I was and it was a very long process to re-discover my abilities and my confidence. The time, I am determined not to allow this to happen. I hope that I will soon begin to feel very much better and I hope that ‘creating’, whether I’m sewing, writing, baking or singing, will help me in this process.

So, no pictures today I’m afraid but just a little post for those who might be going through something similar. Sometimes, even when you don’t feel like doing something, if you can find just a little motivation then it is amazing how much it can help. The day that I baked the banana cake was a difficult one. But I was so proud of myself that I managed to get the ingredients together in a bowl and make a delicious cake. It was half an hour out of my day but it was half an hour when I felt like myself again.

My thanks again to Melanie for her inspirational post and her kind permission to allow me to quote some of her wording in my own post.

Love, April



A little quilt for a little Lily…


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In a previous post, I mentioned that I’d been given some lovely material when I went to the Stitch Gathering in Edinburgh last year. I used this fabric (from Cori Dantini’s The Makers collection) to make a quilt for a friend’s new little arrival, Lily. Unfortunately, I ran out of fabric before I could finish the quilt and was a bit stumped as I couldn’t seem to find much online. Happily this problem was resolved during a recent trip to The Fabric Guild where I discovered several fat quarters  in the same collection so  I could finally crack on with finishing it. I was quite relieved as I was a bit worried that Lily might have grown up before I could present her with the finished quilt!

I hope that this might inspire Lily to take up sewing in the future…

Front of Lilys quilt

As I only had fat quarters, I decided to sew them all together in a courthouse steps design so that I could create a backing ‘fabric’ for the quilt. It was a little bit improvised and I just carried on adding strips to the main square but I do think that it looks quite good.

Backing of Lilys quilt

I did a little bit of free-motion quilting on each side in a flower design (about the only design that I can successfully complete at the moment). I know that the recommended stitch-length for free-motion sewing is about 1/8 of an inch. Sometimes I achieved this…sometimes I didn’t…but I don’t think it looks too awful overall! I also sewed a few hearts at the top and bottom of the design and added a bit of ‘stitch-in-the-ditch’ quilting just to join the middle section to the backing fabric.

Close up of flower quilting

I took my quilt top to a nearby sewing emporium to ‘audition’ binding for the quilt as I wasn’t quite certain what would work as a border. I hadn’t expected to choose green but I think it works wonderfully and really brings the colours together. I finally bought the binding from Higgs and Higgs, who have a brilliant selection. Definitely a good find for future makes.

This is my second completed quilt and, as ever, I learned a few things whilst I was completing it:

  1. Don’t just start trying to make a quilt-top because you’ve got some really pretty fabric and you really, really wan’t to use it. Have a plan! Had I planned this, I might not have taken quite as long to complete it! I kind of made it up as I went along. Happily, the finished result isn’t too awful..
  2. Using a very small cutting board is not ideal for cutting out your fabric when you are making anything bigger than a placemat. You therefore need to prevail on your husband to buy you a much, much bigger one as, fortuitously, your birthday is approaching…
  3. Use fabric basting spray to bind your quilt layers together. It’s a revelation. No pinning and you can re-position your fabric as many times as you like!
  4. Spend time looking at different types and colours of binding. I was just going to order some pink binding but I’m so pleased that I had a bit of time to consider different colours.

I really do feel that I am developing my skills in this craft and I am also particularly proud of my mitred corners! I do hope that Lily will like it!

Well, I hope that you are enjoying this sunny afternoon wherever you are. Look out for my next post, which will undoubtedly feature my annual visit to the Festival of Quilts. Only a week to go!!!

Happy crafting,




A wedding, a weekend away and some foundation paper-piecing..


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Hello again everyone. And hello to the sunshine! How lovely to feel the warmth on my skin and to be able to wear a floaty summer dress rather than leggings and layers! It’s been a truly glorious couple of days and, happily, I’m also on holiday. How fortuitous!

Last weekend we travelled up to Yorkshire for a family wedding. We stayed in a delightful bed and breakfast called The Cornmill. I loved all of the flowers and particularly the extensive vegetable garden. We were very envious as the slugs have been particularly vicious this year and have eaten almost everything that we’ve planted! Anyway, here are a few pictures (of The Cornmill, not of the slugs feasting on our vegetables..):Flowers

Flowers 2

Broad beans

Flowers on wall

And a couple of ‘arty’ ones in black and white…

Little door


The wedding itself was held at Deepdale Farm. Sadly the weather was not quite as glorious but it hardly mattered. There was plenty of cake, plenty of laughter and a ceilidh. I thought that the styling was just lovely so took a few pictures:

Wedding sign Wedding barn

Watering can flowers 2

Cosy blankets

Watering can flowers

We were very grateful for the cosy blankets! Although we soon warmed up when the ceilidh started (it really is good exercise!)

In the few hours that I’ve had spare I’ve been working on a paper-pieced block (from a pattern found on Wombat Quilts). This block will become a mini quilt that I’m hoping to send to my Granny. As it’s such a nice day, I’ve managed to take a reasonable picture:

FPP block for mini quilt

This block was quite challenging. I thought that I’d been reasonably precise when I traced each copy of the template. However, once I started joining each piece together, I discovered that I hadn’t been terribly accurate after all! A few choice words may have been uttered! This is definitely ‘high-faff’ sewing but I think that the finished block was worth the effort. Hopefully my Granny will appreciate it too (and won’t look too closely at my uneven points!). With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to share the completed quilt on my next blog post.

Well, I’m off to sit in the sunshine but, just before I go, here is a summery picture of a couple of deck chairs (taken at a recent trip to vintage fair):


Enjoy your evening🙂

Thoughts on the Sewing Bee and other ramblings..


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I am often asked (during sewing-related conversations) whether I am able to sew clothes as well as patchwork and quilts.  I have considered increasing my stitching repertoire by learning to sew simple garments (such as a fifties skirt for example) but, quite honestly, I think that dressmaking really is a skill in itself and I have enough to concentrate on just trying to master the art of quilting without further confusing myself with dress patterns!

Avid sewers will no doubt have been watching the Great British Sewing Bee, which has been showing on BBC 2 for the past few weeks. I have faithfully watched every series since it started but I do wish that the programme’s producers would consider including weeks during which the sewers make items other than garments. Making a bag, for example, can be quite technically challenging and would be a good test of sewing skills. Similarly, making and attaching piping is quite difficult (or is that just me?!) and including a few more hand-sewing techniques (such as embroidery or applique) might vary the formula a little. It would be nice to see a few other skills included, rather than just dressmaking. Out of the three challenges I usually most enjoy the alteration challenge as this allows the sewers to be a little creative. I particularly liked the alternation challenge during ‘International Week’ and I was extremely impressed with the contestants’ sari creations..

As ever, life has somewhat got in the way of the sewing lately but I have been beavering away on a few little projects. The husband was kind enough to buy me a copy of Fifty Fat Quarter Makes recently and, following a request for a mini ipad cover from a colleague, I thought I’d have a go at making this e-reader pouch:

50 fat quarter makes

E-reader pattern

When I initially read the pattern I was a little concerned as I found the instructions somewhat difficult to follow but, once I’d cut out the fabric and followed the steps, it wasn’t too challenging. I’m quite pleased with the finished result (just don’t look too closely at my top-stitching on the flap!)

Ereader case - prototype

Ereader case - with tablet

I also finally understood the logistics of turning out a pouch and inserting lining! It’s been somewhat of a conundrum for a while now!

Now that I have a successful prototype, I can attempt to make a half-decent version for my colleague! She has requested one in this linen fabric and I’ll ‘pretty it up’ with some of this rose-patterned fabric too!

Rose linen fabric

Speaking of pretty rose fabric, I don’t think that I ever shared a picture of my re-upholstered seat cushion:

Reupholstered chair

Our cat Mirabelle loves it. She clearly thinks that I re-upholstered it just for her!! She does not understand that this is my sewing chair and frequently leaves it liberally coated with black hair that then ends up covering both my clothes and whatever I’m sewing…

I am also making some bunting out of these delicious fabrics purchased at the Quilt Festival last year:

Bunting triangles

The bunting is a little gift for a colleague who will shortly become a Mummy and I couldn’t be happier for her🙂

In non-sewing news, following the release of the film Me before you, I thought that I would have a read of the book by Jojo Moyes. I pretty much started reading and couldn’t stop. I read it on the train, whilst cooking, before going to sleep… I think that I finished it within two days. It’s extremely thought-provoking. I had intended on making the husband accompany me to the cinema to watch it (I’ve been forced to watch too many Super Hero films – it’s payback time). However, now that I’ve read the book, I’m not entirely certain whether I want to see it at the cinema, even though the husband has promised me a very large tub of ice-cream…

My Dad gave me a kindle for my birthday a few years ago and I absolutely love that I can purchase a book online and, in less than half a minute, it will appear on my kindle. It is a little dangerous for a bookworm as I could spend a lot of time (and most of my salary that isn’t spent on fabric) on e-books but I do try to look at the deals and I can download a lot of the classics for free. I don’t think that e-books can ever truly replace ‘proper’ books (and I’d never buy a kindle version of a sewing book!) but I do like being able to read a variety of literature, or trying a new author, without adding to our already bulging bookshelves.

Anyway, enough rambling for today. Back to the bunting…🙂

Till next time..


Singing, sewing and sunshine..


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Hoorah! The sun has appeared! It has been almost (almost!) spring-like in this small corner of the midlands. There is something about the sun that lifts your spirits and somehow makes everything just that little bit more manageable. Plans shelved over the winter have been revisited and a little bit of sorting has been going on in my newly decorated ‘sewing-room’ (or ‘second bedroom’ as the husband likes to call it).

Whilst clearing out my sewing boxes, I re-discovered a little embroidery that I bought at last year’s Festival of Quilts. I can’t quite remember which sewing shop it was purchased from but the kit itself was created by the French company Il etait une fois (Once upon a time). They produce lovely little illustrations on fabric. Perfect for little ones!

First half of embroidery

Second half of embroidery

Now that I’ve embroidered all the lettering and little pictures, this will be turned into a soft book that will be gifted to some friends who have a little boy. Here is the complete illustration:

Full embroidery 2

My cat Mirabelle was clearly unimpressed by my efforts:

Mirabelle and embroidery

After I’d taken this photo, she proceeded to scrunch it all up with her paws…

As well as completing the embroidery, I also completed this fetching quilted pan-stand using the paper-pieced Liberty hexies that I wrote about in my last post. The little pack of Liberty hexagons, courtesy of Duck Egg Threads, were in my goodie bag from the Stitch Gathering last year.

Photo for blog hexagon pan stand

I bound it using ready-made bias binding and I was quite proud of my mitred corners! It may be a little too pretty to be used every day. Perhaps only for special occasions. It could be used as a stand for my lovely Royal Albert Teapot…


In addition to the sewing, I’ve also partaken of a little bit of singing over the past few months. Just after Christmas I joined a community choir and our first ‘gig’ will take place in a couple of weeks. If you’re feeling a bit low, there is nothing like a bit of singing to brighten your spirits and, as our rehearsals take place on a Sunday night, it is quite a good way to chase away the Sunday evening blues. As well as a number from Cats, we’re hoping to sing the opening song from Frozen, Frode Fjellheim’s Vuelie. It’s supposed to be unaccompanied but a bit more practice is still needed🙂

Well, that’s all for this afternoon. I hope that, wherever you are, you have music and thread and that the sun is shining!

April x

The Winter blues…and some fabric therapy…


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It’s been so cold and damp lately that I have been feeling quite despondent. I briefly cheered up at the prospect of a bit of snow but by the time it reached the midlands it had turned into more rain. Even the cats don’t want to go outside!

But there is, of course, a silver lining. I can change into my pyjamas as soon as I get home from work, put on my snuggly slippers and encourage the husband to put on the log burner (yes, I am able to do this myself but he really loves building fires so what sort of wife would I be if I stopped him from doing what he loves?!)

Log burner

I have been taking a bit of time to go through my quilting books and back issues of Love Patchwork and Quilting. This is partly as I am searching for inspiration for a quilt top that I am currently constructing, partly to try to work out just how on earth you make those patchwork triangles and partly to plan what I’d like to make in the next few months.

I do have some quite lovely fabric in the stash at the moment:Cori Dantini fabric

This beautiful fabric pack was in my goody bag from the Stitch Gathering. It’s really quite delicious and is from a collection called The Makers by Cori Dantini.

Dashwood fabric

These fat quarters were my free gift when I took out a new subscription with LPAQ. The collection is Retro Orchard from Dashwood Studio. I absolutely love the bright prints, definitely good to gaze at when you’re feeling a little low! I can’t wait to use them to make something lovely.

I have been sewing a few EPP Liberty hexies whilst on the train:

Pink Liberty Hexies Grey Liberty Hexies

These were another item in my goody bag from the Stitch Gathering. Such beautiful prints! And they work so well in EPP hexagons🙂 If only I had enough to make a whole quilt..

Following an email about a sale at the Cotton Patch, I went a bit ‘fabric-happy’ and bought a couple of charm packs of fabric from Amy Butler’s Glow collection. I spent a little bit of time contemplating what to do with them before eventually settling on half-square triangles. It took several attempts before I arrived at an arrangement that I was happy with:

Amy Butler triangles 2

Amy butler trianglesI think that I am going to put a border of dark blue fabric around this and possibly another row of triangles so it’s a bit of a work in progress but I’m pretty happy with it at the moment! I also purchased a Craftsy class (another email!) taught by Camille Roskelley in which I discovered that chain-piecing is a really quick way of joining your patchwork together and that you can easily match seams up using a technique called nesting. So I managed to piece together all of the rows in just one evening – a minor miracle..

To combat the ‘fabric-guilt’, I did clear out some of my stash and sent a bit off to our Regional coordinator of The Quilters’ Guild so that it could be sold at the annual AGM to raise funds. Some of you will know that the Guild recently had to close the wonderful Quilt Museum in York due to a lack of funding so if you are a keen quilter, do peruse their site and consider joining so that they can continue to promote the wonderful art of quilting across the UK..

Well, it’s another cold and grey afternoon so I’m off to light the log-burner, perhaps have some tea and biscuits and, erm, look at fabric websites…




A new year of stitchery and a few reflections…


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Well, here we are in 2016! The fairy lights have been packed away, the few baubles that we dared to display (given the cats’ destructive tendencies) have been wrapped up again and I’ve taken down my lovely Christmas wreathe. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Christmas brought a whole host of new sewing goodies and with the new year comes the firm resolution that this year will be the year of quilts…

Before I get into my plans, I thought that I’d just share some of the projects that I completed in the last few months of the year:

Log-cabin hexie cushion

This was the quilt-as-you-go log-cabin hexie cushion that was a gift for my brother’s girlfriend. As she is a musician and a fellow crafter, I thought that she would like the combination of musical notes and craft-related fabric! I found the pattern in a copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting (can’t quite remember which issue!) You’ll notice that this cushion has piping! Should you wish to read about the joys of trying to make piping (ahem!), then you can read about it in this post!

I also had a ‘commission’ from a particularly talented colleague at work who makes her own jewellery. This bunting adorned her stall at a Christmas Fair:

darshe bunting

Darshe jewellery

I was also quite excited to discover a new sewing shop in Leicester. Crafty Sew and So can be found in St Martin’s Square and is home to all sorts of fabric treasures. They also sell rather lovely little kits with ready-to-sew templates and are ideal for a fast sewing fix. I couldn’t resist this sweet little makeup bag:

Makeup bag - from Crafty Sew and Sew

At the end of November, I attended another workshop at Artworks in which the lovely Hillary taught us how to make a lined tote bag. By tote bag, I thought simple, lined shopping bag. How wrong I was! This was a ‘proper’ bag with zips!! I bought some bright fabric from the Clarke and Clarke range and I made this:

Bag - 1

Bag - 3

I managed to complete it in one day! I was pretty proud of myself!

So, some new sewing skills have clearly been acquired in 2015. But no quilts have been created. Since I intended to learn the art of quilting, I feel that this needs to be remedied in 2016. I wondered about setting myself a few goals re the number and type of quilts but then I thought that might be putting myself under a bit of pressure and this is meant to be my way of relaxing…

So instead, in the interest of acquiring skills, I will list just a few techniques that I would like to try in my quilting quest:

  • Creating blocks with triangles. I’ve read a lot of books but I don’t quite understand triangles. I must be missing something.
  • Make ‘orange-peel’ blocks.
  • Make more blocks using the free-form piecing method. It is extremely liberating. If all goes well, this might make a good quilt-top.
  • Develop my skills in applique.
  • Learn how to properly bind a quilt and make mitred corners.
  • Make blocks using the foundation paper-piecing technique.
  • Do more English paper piecing using different shapes.

That sounds achievable doesn’t it?!!! And there are a few special occasions taking place this year so, if all goes well, there may be a few special quilts!*.

Well, it’s getting late and it’s a ‘school night’ so I shall say Bonne Nuit for now.

Till next time!

April x

*If not, there’s always John Lewis…




Why I simply love sewing…..


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I happened to peruse a copy of Management Today (not a publication that I normally read) whilst waiting for an appointment the other day and I came across an article about the ‘internet of things’. Apparently, in the future, we can look forward to a more ‘connected’ lifestyle where objects such as our fridge will be online and will not only know when we’ve run out of milk but will contact the supermarket on our behalf to order more. We can also look forward to ‘wearable technology’ that will ‘helpfully’ let us know if we’re unfit and suggest ways for us to remedy it. Indeed, it has struck me just how reliant we are on the internet and how influential it has become in our lives. On my daily commute, I am always amazed at the number of people tapping away on their mobile phones and tablets. The sky in the morning can be quite lovely but its beauty seems to go unnoticed as our attention is claimed by the latest online quiz, trending article or (yes, I’m totally guilty of this one) another cute cat video…

And this brings me to the subject of today’s blog post. The wonderful thing about sewing is that you don’t need a tablet, mobile phone or 3G. All that you need is a little imagination, a needle, a bit of thread and a lovely piece of (low-tech) fabric. You don’t require any complicated technology to sew together EPP hexagons or to create beautiful hand-pieced blocks. And sometimes other people might become interested in your project and actually start a conversation, which is always quite pleasant!

Sewing picture

Photo from Flickr (via Creative Commons) – click here for link to image

Of course I am aware of the irony of my mini-diatribe against the internet when I am writing a blog that will subsequently be published via Facebook/Twitter etc! And there is no denying that the internet has brought many benefits to sewing enthusiasts. It has allowed the craft to increase in popularity and we can ‘connect’ with one another to share ideas, projects and to join virtual quiltalongs. Websites such as Craftsy provide us with a wealth of online tutorials and irresistible fabric offers.


But when you just want to ‘escape’ it all for a little while, when you’ve had a trying day at work or you’re feeling worn down by life, then there is nothing more satisfying than contemplating your boxes of fabric in preparation for your next project, or the soothing rhythmic sound of your sewing-machine as you run a length of fabric through it. Your mind is entirely focused on the creation of something beautiful, perhaps a gift for your partner, a friend or a relative. It is focused on the joy that you know they will feel when you present them with your completed project, made especially for them, with love sewn into every stitch. And that, dear readers, is why I simply love to sew.

Happy crafting!


Scottish Stitchery….


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At the end of September I took a train ‘up north’ to attend the Stitch Gathering with my good friend (and keen quilter) Lynsey. This annual meeting of quilting and stitching enthusiasts is organised by Jo Avery of My Bearpaw. A few months before the event we were sent a piece of Kona cotton and asked to use it to create our ‘ticket’ by embellishing it with our favourite word. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite manage to find time during the day to take photos of all the amazing tickets but Jo has posted photos of all the wordy creations on her blog so you can have a look if you’re interested. I had planned an elaborate appliqued creation using the word ‘hope’ but, as ever, time ran away with me and I ended up doing a bit of panic stitching on the train to Edinburgh. I thought that I’d treat myself to a cheeky G&T as a reward but was most put out to discover that there would be no trolley service due to a fault with the trolley!

My other piece of ‘homework’ prior to the event was to make a name badge for Lynsey. Here is my (somewhat wonky) attempt:

Lynsey name badge - Stitch gathering

Here is Lynsey’s creation:

April Badge - Stitch gathering

Not the best quality photos I’m afraid as it’s been so dull lately…

Having never attended such a large stitching workshop, I was a little apprehensive but I really needn’t have worried as everyone was very friendly and we were even provided with cake to accompany the stitching! During the morning, I attended a class taught by Fiona Calvert of Poppy Makes, who showed us how to make a Nosegay block using EPP. I’ll be honest, I didn’t accomplish a great deal as there were a lot of fiddly bits to cut out and I was having such a nice time sewing and chatting away that I didn’t notice the time passing!

I finally finished the block last week!

Nosegay block - Stitch Gathering

During the afternoon I also spent a bit of time doing some hand embroidery and the last session of the day was taught by Julie Rutter of Forest Poppy. Julie showed us how to do a little bit of freeform piecing using scraps of fabric. I found it particularly liberating as you don’t really have to measure or cut the fabric accurately and it’s a much quicker way to sew! I made this freeform log-cabin block using scraps from Lynsey’s scrap bin and I have to say that I was quite pleased with it!

Log cabin - Stitch gathering

I certainly intend to make a few more blocks using this technique. The husband gave me a book for my birthday called Sunday Morning Quilts which also features quilts made with ‘fabrics’ that have been pieced together out of several scraps.

The day was thoroughly enjoyable and we were even given a goody bag with lots of lovely bits and pieces from sponsors. I really loved the beautiful Liberty hexies from Duck Egg Threads and have plans to use them in a few handmade Christmas presents. Yes, I mentioned the C-word!! It’s only about 5 weeks away!!

Don’t panic!!!


A little trip to the South of France…


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Well, here we are at the end of October. The nights are drawing in, it’s becoming noticeably colder and the husband is delighted that he can now light the log burner. But before getting into all of that, I’d like to take you back to the end of August. Imagine a gentle summer breeze, the cries of children playing in the sea, the feel of the warm sun on your face, the scent of freshly baked bread and pastries….and the insistent voice of a small English woman dragging her husband behind her in the search for a fabric shop. Yes, I’d like to tell you about our little trip to the south of France.

A distinctly un-summery British summer led the husband to beg that we go somewhere in search of a little warmth. As I’m not terribly keen on flying, I was delighted to discover that Eurostar had started running trains all the way from London St Pancras to Avignon and Marseille in the south of France. So, we boarded a train very early on a hazy Sunday morning in happy anticipation of warmer weather, quantities of French wine, freshly baked pastries….and (for me at least) the possibility of stocking up on beautiful French fabric!

The city of Marseille underwent a major facelift a few years ago when it was named the European capital of culture in 2013. It’s very different to Paris but I actually much preferred its friendlier vibe and, of course, its proximity to the sea made it particularly appealing! Here are a couple of (slightly arty!) photos:


Marseille from Notre dame de la grande

We spent a great deal of time just wandering around the various quartiers. I particularly liked the rather bohemian district of Le panier, which is the oldest part of the city. It is now the city’s artistic quarter and you can find several artists’ studios and workshops:

Artwork in Le Panier Mirror tiles - Le Panier Mosaic - entrance to Le Panier Staircase - entrance to Le Panier Pretty window - Le Panier

It is also home to the narrowest streets that I’ve ever come across. I have absolutely no idea how the Marseille folk manage to navigate them but I’m guessing not always terribly well judging by the number of cars that we saw with severe scratches and bumps!

I did, of course, seek out a fabric shop and found one in the Rue de Rome where I just couldn’t resist purchasing a metre of this absolutely beautiful owl fabric:

Owl fabric

Did you know that the French word for owl is hibou (pronounced ee-boo)? It’s such a lovely word. It even sounds like an owl hooting (perhaps with a French accent…)

Towards the end of our week we took a little trip to the lovely city of Aix-en-Provence where we happened upon a lively little market:

Lavender bags - Aix market

Close up of Lavender bags

Sunflowers - Aix en Provence

And wouldn’t you know it! I found another fabric shop! The delightful Tissus la Victoire can be found nestling in the Place Richelme. It was a veritable treasure trove of colour. The typical Provencal fabrics, known for their vibrant designs and colours, are called Indiennes. I could have taken several metres home with me but I’m not certain who would have carried the suitcases….

Tissus La Victoire

Aix-en-Provence was apparently built over hot springs and every time we turned a corner, we came across a little fountain. I particularly liked a fountain that is affectionately known as Mossy. Can you guess why?

Mossy fountain

It isn’t quite as grand though as the stunning Fontaine de la Rotonde:

Fountain - Aix en Provence

If you haven’t taken a little trip to this part of France, I’d highly recommend it. Indeed, I do hope that we’ll be able to return at some point as there is so much that we would still like to see and, of course, I’m quite certain that there are many fabric shops that I still need to visit! Perhaps with a slightly larger suitcase…hmm…

A la prochaine fois😉