Friday 28 February 2014

New tricks

I can't believe a whole month has passed since my last blog! To say February has been busy would be a understatement, mainly due to our decision to up sticks and go travelling. We put the house on the market in January, and have sold it! And today we exchanged, with a month to completion. Very scary, but also exciting. I am very sad to leave my 'dream' job in a lovely quilt shop, I'm certainly going to miss being surrounded by all those beautiful colours. I will also sorely miss the wonderful people I work with, and our lovely customers.

But I feel the time has come to be more creative in life. As much as I have loved managing Doughty's quilting shop, it is a full time job and I struggle to find the time and energy to make all the projects that go round my head, many inspired by our customers.

So, we have a month to pack up, move everything into storage, then we're treating ourselves to a couple weeks in the sun, then hopefully going to the States for a while for "research and inspiration", and obviously some fabric buying!

During my time working in the shop I have seen the interest in learning to quilt grow and grow, and really believe that the future of patchwork and quilting lies in encouraging all those beginners out there. With so many modern and funky fabrics available, together with simple and accessible quilt patterns, many made using pre-cuts, I hope I can help, encourage and share my inspirations. I plan to develop a series of tutorials perfect for those new to quilting, as well as a collection of quilt kits to  help those who need a little help choosing their fabrics.

I have inserted a couple of pics of my latest makes to break up my ramblings, I am loving free-motion quilting more than ever, and the linen-look cottons from John Louden are great for this, and also perfect for hand embroidery.  The hedgehog purse is also made from this linen-look cotton, I just love this print, and is the perfect size for hand-sewing projects to keep me busy this summer while my machine and stash are in storage :(

Sunday 9 February 2014

Yeah! We saw the lights!

As I may have mentioned, my lovely Jus has taken me to Iceland to see the Northern Lights for my 40th. Having spent a couple of rainy cloudy days in Reykjavik, we then flew up north, having read that the best place to see the Northern Lights was further north. However, arriving in Akureyri we found snow, and more and more fell as we were there. Our first night out in search of Aurora was fruitless, and as part of the deal, the companies who arrange the tours promise that if you don't have any luck the first night, you can go out again the following night and try again.

Waking up the next day under two foot of snow, we decided to stay in the warmth and get drunk, rather an expensive evening, but worth it! :)

So, back down to Reykjavik for our last night, where the forecast looked much more promising, so we decided to give it one last chance... And we're so happy we did!

One fact about this beautiful phenomenon is that you really can't see all this colour with the naked eye, and the only way to capture so much colour is by using a good camera with a long exposure so that as much light gets into the lens as possible, which then captures these magnificent patterns in the sky.

Then they started dancing....

Even though the bright moon was a hindrance, as it was producing too much light, I do love the effect with the clouds and the starry night.

And then this happened....

On a soppy note, I am so happy and grateful to have had such an amazing birthday, to friends and family who came up for the weekend, for such an unforgettable trip to see the Northern Lights, and for a very clever Justin who took these amazing photos, thank you all very much. Xx


Wednesday 5 February 2014

Celebrating the big 40 in Iceland

So we're here after a wonderful weekend of family and close friends, wine and good food. It's a bit cold in Iceland, as you would expect, but the scenery is amazing. Hubby gets a bit trigger happy with the camera, so I thought I'd just share a few our sights so far....

Reykjavik is in a bay on the west coast of the island, so you get amazing views of the mountains towards the north. As you can probably tell, these pics were taken at different times of the day!

We do enjoy walking around a new town, with no real route in mind. To escape the rain, we spent a while in the Harpa Concert Hall, a very modern glass cube-like building, and guess what... There were hexagons!! I loved the way the shapes on the glass walls and the mirrored ceilings changed depending on where you stood.

Off to the north tomorrow, hoping to see the Northern Lights... Watch this space!