Kaleidoscope Quilt

Well I never, another finish!

Actually, I finished this quilt ages ago, but never quite got round to taking any photos of it. But a timely reminder last week that the Q1 Finish-Along is about to, well, finish, reminded me that this had been on my To Do list. So I whipped out the camera, hopped onto the balcony, and got to it!

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I started this quilt back in September last year, when I took a class with Marti Michell at the Carrefour Européen du Patchwork in Ste Marie-aux-Mines. I’ve loved the look of the Kaleidoscope block for a long time, and the chance to take this class with such a well-known teacher, and in ENGLISH  too, was way too good to pass up. Now my French is certainly good enough that I can follow when I take classes here, but, well, they can be quite exhausting! I always have to concentrate really hard to make sure I’ve totally understood what I need to do, and then there’s all the having to translate cm into inches, which makes them somewhat challenging at times. A class in English for a change – well, hooray!

According to the pre-course information, highly contrasting colours work the best for this quilt. So I chose black and white, with a pop of yellow.

The quilt top itself was actually finished on the day of the class – which is an absolute first for me. I’m not a super-speedy quilter like my friends Ms JJ or Ms C, and I’m pretty much always one of the last people to finish any given project. But this time I was the first – probably because it was all in English!

Then I came home, and the quilt languished in the back of the cupboard while I tried to decide how to quilt it.

Back in January, I decided enough was enough, and added it to my list for the Q1 Finish Along and the projects I wanted to finish during my fabric fast. And I got stuck in. I started off quilting in the ditch around the distinct Kaleidoscope circles, hoping that this would make them stand out. But it didn’t have the effect I wanted. So I then quilted every seam in the ditch, thinking that this would show up the contrast between black and white.

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Now this worked a little better, but it still didn’t have the effect I was after. I wanted to highlight the circular nature of the Kaleidoscope. And given that the fabric had circular motifs and dots on it, I decided to try quilting some circles.

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The design then evolved to contain concentric and interlocking circles in the quilt centre, and overlapping circles in the outer border.

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Quilt top

 

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Border

It’s easier to see the quilting design from the back of the quilt – and yes, it really is that bright a yellow, one of the many perils of choosing fabric online…

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I finished the quilting back in January, and it was one of my first finishes of 2014. And I’m really pleased with it. It’s only quite small (measures 33″ x 33″) so it wasn’t too daunting to quilt. In fact, it was a great confidence boost for me, as I am always petrified that I’ll ruin my beautiful quilt tops with inexpert quilting or a badly chosen design. This time I just went with it, and let the quilting design evolve organically. And I think that it works. Maybe I should have more faith in myself!

So even though I’ve only just got around to sharing this quilt, I’m linking it up with the Q1 Finish Along Finish Party. Why not pop over and have a peep at some of the other beautiful finishes out there?

Shopping my Stash for a Mystery Quilt

In less than a month I will be at the next Patchwork in the Peaks!

Patchwork in the Peaks is a bi-annual quilt retreat, run by my wonderful friend, Ms E. In April and October each year, a group of lovely ladies gather in Morzine in the French Alps to quilt their hearts out for four days. I’ve gone to every retreat since the start, I’ve made some fantastic friends, and it’s a wonderful way to spend a long weekend. You can read all about October’s retreat here.

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Quilting with a view!

(Incidentally, it seems that 2 spots have opened up on the upcoming retreat – if you’re at all interested, I’d hurry up and snap one of them up before someone else does, seeing as they were all taken within a week of registration opening back in December – click here to find out more…)

But I digress…

As always, we’ll all be working on the same project during the retreat, and this time around it’s going to be a Mystery Quilt.  I’m really excited to see how it’s all going to turn out, but it’s also rather daunting to choose fabric when you have no idea what you’re making. Oh, and when you’re on a Fabric Fast and so have to use what you already have rather than jump in and use the lovely Fat Quarter Shop discount for Peaks participants…

So what to do?

Back in February, I read this post from Isisjem, and it really struck a chord. Isisjem is also on a Fabric Fast, and she writes about approaching her stash as if it were a fabric store, with the idea that anything can be used for any project, rather than seeing it as a precious hoard of beautiful fabric to be saved for something special. I’m totally guilty of doing this with certain Too-Beautiful-To-Cut-Into fabrics (you know the kind..), but if I’m brutally honest, this means they’ll likely never get used because a) I have so much fabric already and b) I already have so many projects and ideas in the pipeline.

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So I have decided that as of now, any fabric in my stash should be fair game, and I have spent this morning ‘shopping’ for the Peaks Mystery Project – a throw sized quilt which will finish at 58″ x 74 1/2″.

Obviously, I need to start with the focus fabric. All I know is that it should ideally be a large scale print, and I will need 1 1/8 yards of it. This already takes a whole load of my stash out of the running, as I have a lot of fabric cuts of 1 yard or less. And so, after a hard morning’s work, I have narrowed down my choice to one of 11 different fabrics, all large-scale prints

Well, it’s a start, right?!

 

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Amy Butler – Love – Cypress Paisley

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P&B Textiles – Florentine

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Michael Miller – Eiffel Tower

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Holly Holderman – Jolie Jardin

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Philip Jacobs – Trumpet Flower

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Gift from the wonderful Ms JJ

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Robert Kaufmann – Tuscan Wildflower

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Kaffe Fassett – Dancing Leaves

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Yuko Hasegawa for RJR Fabrics

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Hoffman International – Indulgence

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Philip Jacobs – Coleus

 As you can see, I have a wide variety of colours and styles of fabric in my stash! Some of them have been in there for several years, waiting for the right project. Is this that project? Who knows!

I think I know which one I want to use, but I’m going to sleep on it for a few days before making a final decision.

And anyway, I’m interested – which one do you like best????

Linking up today with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday – because, hey, pulling fabric for a new quilt counts as a work in progress…

The Colours of the Caribbean

Over the years I’ve discovered the Caribbean from afar. I’ve read books and articles about the islands, seen documentaries, and drooled over friends’ holiday photos. I knew that all the islands have a different character, and were a riot of colours. That the flowers were hot pinks and reds, the foliage lush and green, the sands (generally speaking) almost white, soft and fine, and that the sea was a glorious, ever-changing shade of turquoise.

But it wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that I finally made it here for the first time and the beautiful reality of it just blew me away.

As a quilter, I love colour, and so, naturally, I was in my element! And all I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks is how to capture the essence of the Caribbean in a quilt.

Or, indeed, in several :-)

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Blues, aquas, turquoises

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Luscious shades of green

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Yellows and oranges

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Hot pinks, purples and reds

These photos may not even begin to do it justice, but hopefully will be enough to spark memories of the beautiful colours that we saw during our wonderful holiday.

I’m still not sure how I want to capture all this vibrancy in quilt form, but the Caribbean we saw was gloriously untamed and wild with colour, so I’m pretty sure it will be scrappy and probably quite improvisational. And thanks to an impromptu gift from the wonderful RR, I know what I’m going to use for the backing…

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And one more thing I’m sure of is that I just can’t wait  to get started!

Cricket in Barbados

RR and I love to travel. We love re-visiting our favourite spots over and over, as well as seeing new places for the first time. For us, one of the best things about travelling is the opportunity to try new things. Sometimes this can be as mundane as trying a new food, other times it’s a new activity, like when we went to Japan and learnt the technique of roketsu, or wax-resist dying, or Catalan cooking on Barcelona. But in Barbados it was cricket.

Yes, cricket!

Like many Brits, cricket forms part of the backdrop to my childhood. Dad was always watching the cricket on the tv, or listening to Test Match Special on the radio. Cricket scores were ever-present on the evening news and in the newspapers. And, of course, there were always the summer-afternoon matches on the village green. But until this week, I had never even watched a match on the television, let alone in person.

Whilst RR and I aren’t exactly fanatical about sport in general, we do love to watch baseball (a legacy from our time in the US). And to be honest I had always considered baseball to be the exciting and fast-paced relation to the interminable cricket matches I vaguely remembered from my childhood. When I thought of cricket, I thought of matches that seemed to go on for days and days without anyone actually winning. Dull or what?!

Then we came to Barbados, and all that changed.

Just before we left to come on holiday, RR realised that England would be playing the West Indies in the final match of a 20:20 series on the day after we arrived. Given that cricket is so popular in Barbados, we thought that it would be sold out, but we contacted our hotel on the off-chance to enquire about availability. The upshot was that the wonderful Mr J offered to pop into Bridgetown on his day off to pick up a pair of tickets for us. We were more than impressed – I mean, can you imagine anyone taking the time to do that in England???!

And so, on the Thursday morning, 2 cricket tickets were delivered to our breakfast table, and a mere four hours later, we were at the Kensington Oval cricket ground in Bridgetown.

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It was hot and sticky, and we were in what seemed to be the cricket equivalent of the bleachers, surrounded by fans of all ages, from well-behaved and immaculately turned-out school kids through to excitable 70-something grandmothers shouting abuse at the umpire. England won the toss and elected to bat first, and so began an wonderful afternoon.

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I have to admit that I couldn’t quite manage to follow all the rules, and cricket-terminology still leaves me totally stumped, but even I got quite caught up in it all. As the scores mounted, and the beer flowed freely, excitement reached fever-pitch, until the West Indies were left to score 6 from the last ball to win the match.

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They didn’t. England won. The visiting fans were ecstatic (apparently we don’t win very often…), the West Indian fans congratulating them, and happy chatter surrounded us as we made our way back out to meet our taxi driver. And I really enjoyed the whole experience. It was something totally new for me, unexpectedly entertaining and enjoyable, and, clichéd though it may sound, it made me feel like we connected a bit more with the real Barbados.

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Travel broadens the mind, as they say. And the cricket certainly broadened mine, challenging my cricket-is-boring prejudices. It was brilliant! And who knows, I may even go and watch another match some day. It makes a change from sewing in any case!

Hotspot with a view

This morning our boat anchored just off the coast of Ile-des-Saints, Guadeloupe, and RR and I took the tender into the marina at Terre-Haut in Marigot Bay.

It is just beautiful.

Although we’ve loved all the destinations on our cruise, this is our favourite so far by a mile. Bizarrely enough, we find ourselves feeling more at home here, on a French-speaking island, than we have done on any of the English-speaking ones we’ve visited.

And having explored a little, and spoken some French, we’re now partaking of a drink before lunch in a beautiful café on the marina, with the most glorious view.

DSC01252It truly is a little piece of paradise on earth :-)

Last minute holiday sewing

As I write this post, I am on my way to Barbados. And boy do we need a holiday! New York over Thanksgiving was marvellous, and the UK a few weeks ago was wonderful too, but with so many friends and family we wanted to see and so much we wanted to fit in, neither could really be classed as relaxing. Lots of fun, certainly. But exhausting too. We’re bone-achingly tired. 10 days of proper rest and relaxation is most definitely called for.

I’d already made some clothes to take away with me, primarily a couple of pretty skirts, but the last few days have seen a veritable flurry of activity in my sewing room. My first little project was caused by the realisation that I needed a plain white top to wear with said new skirts. My goes-with-everything top from last year sadly no longer fits (it must have shrunk in storage…), and I couldn’t find anything suitable in the shops in Lausanne. So I decided to make one, using some white broderie anglaise fabric I had in my stash. The result was this precious little top, which I adorned with a little turquoise ribbon as a pretty trim.

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After that, all was ready to pack, and as I was merrily putting things into cases, I came across RR’s ratty old drawstring bag full of various cables, chargers and adapters. I have always hated this bag. It’s too big for what he uses it for, so everything ends up in it all higgledy piggledy. You can never find what you’re looking for in it, and everything gets all tangled up and messy. Now, I had some Spitfire fabric left over from a cushion I’d made him for Christmas, and I wondered if I could make a better bag to contain all those cables.

Of course I could! And here it is.

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I used u-Handbag.com’s Sugar Loaf Pouch pattern again, only this time I borrowed the template from my friend Ms C, so it actually turned out the right size. I still can’t work out what went wrong with the printing the first time around, but thankfully this time it worked like a dream.

Then I decided to make myself a couple. Just because I was already all packed and I had the time and I was jealous of RR’s bag. I used a couple of fat quarters I’d had prettying up my stash for a good three or four years. I made the larger size for all my cables, and the smaller one for a little holiday medical kit – tablets, plasters, etc.

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Sitting together, pretty as can be…

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Side view

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View from top

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Check out that top-stitching!

I’m pretty sure I’ll be making some more soon, given that they’re so pretty, and so easy to make (once you have the right size pattern template, that is!) Imagine what a lovely little gift that would make, stuffed full of yummy Swiss chocolates :-)

But for the next few weeks, all I have to concentrate on is deep rest and extreme relaxation.

Bring it on :-)

The Quilt from Hell

Have you ever had one of those projects? The kind you thought was going to be an absolute breeze? That you left till the last minute because you thought it’d take a day at most to piece? The one you never realised you could be so wrong about? That you ended up cursing out and wanting to rip apart with your bare hands in frustration? The project that, once finished, you took such deep satisfaction at managing to overcome all the issues that the Quilt Gods threw at you, that it actually seemed worth all the Very Bad Words that were uttered during its construction?

I have. And it will forever be known as The Quilt from Hell…

It all started out innocently enough, with some Very Good News. My lovely schoolfriend, Ms S, and her husband, Mr M, announced last year that they were expecting a baby boy. I was so happy for them, as I knew how much they’d been looking forward to becoming parents, and I immediately decided that the new arrival would need a quilt. 

Now Ms S is an exceedingly talented lady. Not only is she pretty and kind and a complete brain-box, she is also extremely crafty. She creates, sews, crochets, bakes a mean chocolate muffin, and even has her own Etsy shop. I am in total awe of her! So the quilt needed to be super special. And when we were in the US back around Thanksgiving, I found just the thing, handily bundled together as a super-cute kit. The fabric range was Boy Crazy from Riley Blake Designs, and included cars and robots and space rockets, and lots of other things that little boys like to play with.

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The pattern seemed deceptively easy. It consisted of 12 scrappy 16-patch blocks, set on point, alternated with plain white squares, and a couple of directional borders.

I know, sounds like a walk in the park, doesn’t it??! But one word in the last paragraph would come back to haunt me. And that word is ‘directional’… Given some of my previous experiences with directional fabric, you might think that warning bells would sound at this point, but no. All I thought was – oh how pretty, the little cars are all driving in the same direction!

I won’t be making that mistake again…

The first issue I encountered had nothing at all to do with directional fabric, though. It was an error in the pattern itself, which called for the white fabric to be cut into 8″ squares.

While I was cutting them, I remember thinking “Gosh, 8″ is a funny size for setting squares – wouldn’t it usually be either 7 1/2″ or 8 1/2″‘?” but I foolishly ignored the Inner Voice of Reason and continued cutting happily away.

It was only once I’d made the 16 patch blocks that I realised that – yes – the finished block size was indeed 8 1/2″ square. So my setting squares were too small. So I had to recut them. And I didn’t have quite enough fabric. A small annoyance, easily rectified with a visit to my stash to retrieve some Kona white.

So, then, so far so good. The main part of the top was duly pieced with the right sized setting blocks, and I even decided to jazz it up a bit by appliquéing Daniel’s name into the setting squares. This was all RR’s idea, and a jolly good one, too, I have to say :-)

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Then the directionality of fabric came into play.

Border 1 – little cars, all driving from the left of the quilt towards the right. The fabric supplied in the kit was cut both crosswise and lengthwise to make this possible. The only problem was that there wasn’t enough of it. There was just about sufficient to do the top and bottom border, but not enough for the sides. Lateral thinking was called for, and so one of the discarded 8″ setting squares was cut into 4 cornerstones. And it was still 1″ too short on each side…

After some Very Creative Pressing, Plenty of Pinning to ease the fabric of the quilt top, and Lots of Words Beginning with ‘F’, I managed to get the first border to just about fit.

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It almost looks like it was planned that way, doesn’t it? If you can ignore the fabric puckering and rippling round the corners, that is…

Next up – border 2. And the same problem reared its ugly head. The border was once again directional, and once again there wasn’t enough fabric. Well, this time there was more than enough for the top and bottom borders but, unfortunately, not quite enough for the sides. So, to make it fit, I had to piece it, by cutting into the surplus from the top and bottom. Fortunately, there was just enough left over.

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And yes, it really was only 2″ or so short, which made it all the more annoying…

Ok then, quilt top pieced, issues overcome. Now for the backing. A beautiful piece of large scale directional fabric.

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Uh-oh! Did she just say directional? Sadly, yes… And therein lay the next issue. The print was oriented lengthwise across the fabric rather than crosswise. And there wasn’t enough fabric to piece it so that it ran in the right direction. Grrrrrr……

So out came the rotary cutter and I chopped up my 3 yards of fabric into smaller pieces, which I then proceeded to sew back together, to make a hodgepodge of a backing that just managed to fit.

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Perhaps hodgepodge is a little harsh. Let’s call it improvisational, shall we???

After all that, the actual quilting was a piece of cake. I used white thread to echo quilt the appliquéd letters and the edge of the setting blocks. Then I quilted concentric squares in the 16 patch blocks, using a vivid orange colour to co-ordinate with all the bright colours in the prints.

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Finally, I quilted parallel straight lines around both borders, again in orange.

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To finish the quilt, I decided to use a bias binding, to make my stripes appear diagonal. I’d never done it before, but my friend Ms E has used it on her quilts and talked me through how to do it at the last Patchwork in the Peaks quilt retreat. I thought it looked beautiful and had been wanting to give it a try for ages. And anyway, I figured, what else could possibly go wrong???

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!

This is what could go wrong. I miscalculated and cut the square to create the bias strips too small. So there wasn’t enough binding, and I had to cut another square. And when I cut the strips from this one, I cut them the wrong way…

Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhhhhh!!!

Some more creative cutting and piecing just about salvaged the situation (along with a stiff gin and tonic…). And the quilt was finally finished. Ta da!!!

It was delivered to the adorable little man himself last week, when I was back in the UK. Ms S and Mr M loved it, and  Baby Daniel showed his appreciation by throwing up his milk on my jeans, then all over his Daddy’s jumper :-)

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Looking back, though, I have to say I’m rather proud of myself. Normally when things go wrong I would simply go and get some more fabric to put them right. But I’m on my 6 month Fabric Fast, so that wasn’t an option. I was forced to think creatively about how to get round the issues. And no, the quilt isn’t 100% perfect, there are seams where I’d prefer there to be no seams, and a slight puckering in the corners, amongst other things, but you know what? It was a labour of love, and I think that makes it more personal.

After all, there can’t be many babies out there who have the honour of owning The Quilt from Hell!

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And by the way, people, apologies for the rotten quality of the photos – they were taken in our hotel room the morning I delivered the quilt, when I suddenly realised that I hadn’t quite got round to photographing it yet…

An Expat’s Shopping Basket – weird yet wonderful!

On Sunday night, RR and I arrived back in Switzerland after a wonderful but exhausting trip to England. RR had driven over 2 weeks ago, and I joined him partway through the first week. I managed to fit in seeing a large number of family and friends, we took in 2 rugby games, went to see the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain play in Basingstoke, got my sewing machine serviced, and did a not insubstantial amount of shopping.

Whilst the journey back home to Lausanne was long and extremely tiring, one of the major advantages of driving over has to be the opportunity to fit in a proper supermarket trip, and to stock up on what I consider to be all the ‘essentials’ of British life. Whenever I do one of these major grocery shops, I always wonder what the checkout person thinks about what can only be described as the rather odd assortment of products lined up on the conveyor belt.

Not your average weekly shop, that’s for sure!

So, if you’re at all interested in what a longish-term forty-something expat misses the most about England (apart from friends and family, that is), here, in no particular order, is my rundown of the essentials of my shopping basket (or, in our case, a rather large shopping trolley!)

1. Assorted cleaning products.

Swiss cleaning products are rubbish. They are waaaay too eco-friendly, and just don’t seem to get things clean enough. We normally source ours over the border in France, at the local Carrefour supermarket, where one can generally find a large number of British and American expats in the cleaning products aisle, fighting over the last bottle of Domestos :-) (for my American friends out there, Domestos is the British version of Clorox …)

This trip back, I took the opportunity to pick up some products that you can’t find in Carrefour, or pack into a suitcase to take back on the plane.

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2. Proper marmalade

Not Bonne Maman bitter orange jam or any other inferior substitute – the real deal :-)

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3. Assorted curry ingredients and spices

Ok, so maybe we went a bit crazy here, but they were £1 a jar and there was loads of choice, whereas they cost a fiver a pop here for a choice of 2. Poppadoms are self-explanatory, and the assortment of spices – well, you can never have too many. And we do eat rather a lot of curry…

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4. Marmite

Love it or hate it (I love it, RR hates it) – in my opinion, it’s as much a breakfast necessity as marmalade…

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5. Ribena

Not available here. Especially not the reduced sugar version :-)

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6. Heinz Baked Beans

Ok, so you can get a tin of beans here if you’re willing to shell out £2, but we can get a four-pack for the same price back in the UK. So we bought 2…

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7. Assorted Cadbury’s chocolate

I know, I know, Switzerland is awash with chocolate, all of it delicious and creamy, but trust me when I tell you that there are times when only Cadbury’s will do.

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8. English cheese

Ditto for cheddar and Wensleydale cheese. Swiss cheese is yummy, but for a decent cheese on toast or cheese sandwich, you need a proper, sharp cheddar. Gruyere just doesn’t cut it.

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9. Crumpets

I used to live on crumpets back in England, so I really do miss them. And guess what – you can’t find them here…

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10. Baking products

Yes, I know you can make self raising flour by adding stuff to regular flour, but it never seems to work as well. This should last me a while, I hope…

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11. Marigold Swiss Bouillon Powder

Despite it’s name, it’s not actually Swiss, and you can’t get it here. We find other stock powders waaaaay too salty. And we use it a lot.  

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12. PG Tips

Last, but by no means least, the mainstay of a British expat’s store cupboard – proper teabags. British teabags don’t come individually wrapped in namby-pamby packets of 20 envelopes. They come in boxes of 240 (which will generally last us 4-6 weeks, depending on how thirsty we are). An absolute essential :-)

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So there you have it. I love living in Switzerland, really I do. We have a wonderful life here, and have no plans to move away any time soon, but sometimes a little taste of home is just what’s needed to put the world to rights.

What do you think?

Dreaming in Turquoise

Over the winter months, I tend to do less dressmaking. In the summer I love wearing flirty skirts and pretty sundresses, both of which are fun to make, but during the winter I usually feel less inspired. I’ve been working on the same dress for a couple of months now. It’s a simple shift dress, made from an off-cut of beautiful grey wool which I picked up for a song in New York back around Thanksgiving, and I’m lining it with a gorgeous turquoise coloured satin. The dress is coming along well – all that’s really left to do is line and hem it – and if I like the end result, I’m planning to use the same pattern to make a dress to wear to Miss S and Mr E’s wedding in May, using some glorious pale blue French linen I bought in Paris a few weeks back.

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Shift dress                       Lining

But as February is coming to an end, my thoughts have once again been turning to the warmer months ahead, and, in particular, to our upcoming holiday. In two weeks’ time, RR and I are flying away for some summer sun in the Caribbean. We’ll be spending 3 days relaxing on Barbados, followed by a week-long cruise aboard a Clipper ship. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to it immensely! We’ve never been to the Caribbean, and we’ve never been away in the winter to some place sunny, and we love Clipper cruising, so we’re both very excited! But what to take to wear??? Back in January, I had a massive re-organisation of my sewing room, and since then all my dressmaking fabric has been moved from the top shelf of the spare room wardrobe. It’s now temptingly on display in my glass-doored fabric cupboard, bang in the middle of my sewing room. I see it every time I’m in there or walk past it (which is most of the time, to be honest!) And sitting on the top of the stack of dressmaking fabric are some beautiful prints, ideal for making pretty, summery skirts and dresses. DSC00644 So the combination of our upcoming holiday and having all my fabric on view has got me inspired with my dressmaking again. So far, I’ve made two summery skirts, and I’ve earmarked some fabric to make a sundress to take with me on holiday (which is also turquoise – my new favourite colour, it seems!)

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              A-line skirt with wide yoke and box pleats      Panelled straight skirt with flared hem

I’m back in the UK at the moment (hopefully the skirts will still fit by the time I get back home!), but now I’m absolutely raring to go with the sundress and my wedding outfit for May. And I’m pretty sure that when I do get started next week, I will have plenty of ‘help’ from my chief sewing assistant, Mr. Boy. Whilst Mimi Bubba likes to help me quilt, usually by plonking her not insubstantial bulk on top of whatever I happen to be piecing or quilting, Mr. Boy prefers to help out with dressmaking. And his favourite activities to help with are stealing tape measures and lying on top of crinkly-sounding  pattern paper. DSC00665 What a helpful boy! It’s a good thing I love him, isn’t it?!

Fabric Fast check-in – 2 months in, and going strong…

Well, who’d have thought it?!

It’s been 2 months since I took the plunge and signed up to the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, and I’m doing well. Really well, in fact. Oh yes!

I started out back in January by taking a good hard look at my sewing room, and deciding that it Was Not Conducive to finishing projects or making the most of my stash. Sure, I had fabric stored neatly in my cupboard and drawers (and the spare room wardrobe too, if you really want to know…), and my projects were all nicely organised into boxes, but they were piled up all over the place higgledy-piggledy and not desperately accessible.

Following the tactical purchase of an Ikea bookcase, and the relocation of my sewing machine to the corner by the window to enable said bookcase to actually fit in the room, my sewing space is now much more organised, and I can see all my stash and my projects at a glance.

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New Ikea bookcase full of project boxes

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My newly-organised stash cupboard

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Pre-cuts and fabric bundles

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Dress making fabric

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General yardage

Now I can actually see all my yummy fabric, I’m feeling inspired to cut into it and use it up. And I have been! I earmarked my stash of Taxi fabrics for the 2014 Sugar Block Club block of the month, and have already made January and February’s blocks. I’ve also re-discovered some Fig Tree pre-cuts, which had been stored out of sight in a drawer, and which I’m planning to use to make a wedding quilt for RR’s cousin, Miss S, and her soon to be husband, Mr E.

I still have a whole box of scraps which need to be sorted, but I’ve been waiting for a snow day to get going on this and we haven’t had any snow yet this year…

I’ve also been working my way through my project list, and already have a couple of finishes to my name this year- like Mum’s lap quilt and my Whole Lotta Bag.

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But what’s more important for me is that I haven’t felt the need to buy any more quilting fabric. I’ve unsubscribed from all the fabric-porn newsletters I used get, and haven’t been actively looking on-line at new, must-have fabric lines. A big test came 2 weeks ago, when I popped into my local quilt shop with Ms C, who needed border fabric for her beautiful one block wonder quilt. Yes I looked, and yes I touched, and yes I may have been a teeny bit tempted – but I didn’t buy ANYTHING!!! I don’t know who was more shocked – me, Ms C, or the owner!

What’s more, I’m not getting bored with the projects I have on the go, or with my stash, and I’ve so many quilt and dressmaking ideas whirring around in my head that I’m excited about.

So, all in all, so far so good on the Fabric Fast front – long may it continue!

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