Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sharing the love!

At Christmas, I was given probably the most useful present ever. My friends Blue Tortoise and Judith made it for me. It is based on the pattern by Mandy Shaw. Which I had bought several years before and not got around to making – a bit too much effort for myself I guess. They borrowed the pattern and as a surprise thought I would use it for my sewing things only but, it fits my circular needles, DPNS, pliers in other words I have it stuffed with everything remotely crafty that fits. The only time in fact my sewing Angel hasn’t been useful was when I mislaid it for a week and literally couldn’t do anything! Some helpful person had put it in with the clean washing.
Last Sunday was Judith’s birthday and I was completely at a loss as to what to give her. So I asked …..And she said that she would like one of these. It was really good fun as I hadn’t had my sewing machine out properly for ages. So Wednesday afternoon I swung into action. The pattern is reasonably straight forward so long as you can sew as some of the instuctions and diagrams were a little garbled. I had to re-cut the outside fabric as the original was far too small for the innards. Also the way the zip is put in is very strange (well to a dressmaker at any rate). I really like the thimble holder and the needle holder they really are cute. The fabric was left over from a baby quilt I made last year.

The sad thing is I can’t remember anything about the quilt or who the recipient was. Both colours look lovely with the denim. The buttons came from my button stash, Elenya and I had them all spread out on the ironing board choosing just the right ones for flower centres. We had a birthday celebration on Thursday and I gave it to her then.which is our quilting day. I am just wonder how full it will be by next Thursday,if it is anything like mine it will be stuffed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Catching up.

Italy was fantastic! It seems like a long time ago now as we have been back about a week. Sorrento was having a heat wave whilst we were there and the temperatures were over 32 most of the time. Not really conducive to doing very much but there was so many things that we wanted to see that even when the locals were enjoying a siesta we were traipsing about looking at things.

I am not really a gardener but, it was amazing to see things that we would only ever be able to grow in the house growing in people’s gardens. I particularly loved this purple flower which grew with great abundance everywhere if anyone knows what it is I would love to know.

On Saturday we spent the day in Sorrento town centre, it is a very vibrant place. St Francis of Assisi is buried there and although no one is quite sure why the cats come to visit him.
All of the cats are fine boned and thin coated my Tigger would fit right in. Sorrento is renowned for its leather shops and the most amazing marquetry; we got a demonstration on how they did that and how they make cameos. Although I have never really liked cameos you have to realise how amazing it is to create something so intricate from a piece of shell!
On Monday we spent the day in Pompeii,

I found this a very moving experience much of it isn’t in tact but you can get a real feeling of the city as it is filled with people. It is still filled with black ash and tiny pieces of lava. We came home filthy. The plaster casts of the people are housed in Perspex case several of them have their arms around each other. Italy is expecting Vesuvius to erupt again at anytime I fervently hope that no other casts can ever be made. Mario thought he should get a photo of me in the kitchen but it turns out that it was one of the first Take Aways

On Tuesday we went with another couple, Dave and Hannah, on the train to visit Herculaneum another town destroyed by Vesuvius.

Unlike Pompeii it was virtually perfect as it had been covered by mud slides rather than ash. Mosaics and paintings were so beautifully preserved they could have been new. It was strange to be standing a town and then look up and see the new town that has been built on top looming over you.
We had planned to visit Vesuvius but Hannah and I came out of the wrong entrance and managed to get very, very lost. I was glad that I was with someone else. We didn’t have the Italian dictionary with us that was with the guys. Most people walked past us when we tried to ask for help. One kind man drew us a map – shame it wasn’t for the train station. We finally got to a station by making Ivor the Engine chuffing sounds at an old man who took pity on us and walked us to an unmanned station. From there the guys came and got us. I have never been so grateful to see anyone.
Wednesday we visited Capri what can I say ………WOW!!

The views are spectacular we went to the very top in a chair lift. We both held our shoes in our hands for fear of losing them. Beneath us were other people’s hat, scarves and shoes. Sea is the most amazing colour, if they could capture that in wool I would knit with it. !
There were some very strange cows living there must be because they are on an island. Mario tried to milk one without any great success

Thursday, the last day of our holiday, we travelled by bus along the Amalfi coast to Positano. I couldn’t have gone all of the way to Amalfi as although the view is breath taking it is very windy and the bus was very hot. It was a lovely restful day as we whiled away the hours eating ice-cream and watching the locals.

We got back just in time because on Friday Tigger had another stroke and has been left with little or no sight. I took him to the vets on Saturday morning expecting the worst news but, they told me he would adapt – and he has. He can find his food and the tray although he mews pitifully until he can go into the garden. He has even been trying to get up the stairs but, I keep pulling him off there as I am not sure how easy he would find it to get back down. Of course sleeping,curled up with Oriana is still a favourite activity.

I didn’t get much knitting done in Italy as it was too hot. I took Jude with me and only finished the rib on the back. I have made up for it since I got home and completed Melon for my Rowan International Exchange.

I packaged it up with a couple of skeins from socktopus and have sent it off to its new home. Although Kidsilk haze is awful if you make a mistake it really redeems itself when it is blocked. I really hope it is liked.

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