‘Home sweet home’ teabag quilt

I have been enjoying hand sewing very much recently, so I decided to make another tea bag quilt. A few people have asked how I made my first one so I thought I would do a step by step. My friend Fran Halperin and I have been experimenting with joining techniques. Fran has been using her sewing machine.

On the left zigzag stitch, on the right she has straight line stitched along the edge of the teabag and then jumped over the gaps.

On the left I used blanket stitch on the right for my new quilt – I back stitched the tea bag onto material. NB try and use something with very little ‘give’ – I used an old linen nappy and it’s very difficult to sew neatly on top of.

I decided to make my ‘ Home sweet home’ quilt have a more quilt like feel- the last one was a bit abstract. I printed some tea bags blue/ purple and others pale blue/ white. With my doors and window hand carved stamps .

The tea bags were a bit higgledy piggildy on the linen so I decided to add some strips of kitchen towel ( dyed with tea during the drying of teabags process) with writing on between the rows and buttons at corners. This stitching held on the back piece which is a white tea towel

I am edging the quilt with a sheet of used colour run paper/ fabric that goes in the washing machine. It needed 3 rows of running stitch to keep it flat. I used white sewing cotton throughout. I think I will print over this again when it’s stitched all around

Nearly finished. It needs a few more buttons and I haven’t stitched the edging all the way round but you get the idea.

I wanted this quilt to be a bit more obvious that it was teabags. I haven’t used any glue on the joints so that it feels much more like fabric

I think I need to do a bigger one ……

Amsterdam mini break

Saturday

My daughter has moved to Amsterdam to work. She and her boyfriend have rented a flat on Haarlemmerdijk which is near the centre of the city. The road is in a busy neighbourhood with lots of independent shops and interesting architecture.

With a bit of anxiety I agreed to have a go at riding a bike around the city. It’s great fun but a bit scary. I wasn’t brave enough to try pedal brakes. The Dutch have different rules than the ones that I am used to and drive on the right. This morning from the flat window I saw someone riding a bike – holding a bunch of flowers, a coffee in one hand and a couple of bags in the other.

For my birthday I was treated to a posh boat trip around the canals (cushions and cocktails) we arrived at the dock a bit early so we went for coffee at #IvyBros- I can really recommend the hot chocolate and Jon reckoned that the coffee was a 9/10.

The coffee shop looked a bit like a game lodge with lots of skulls and interesting decor. ( loo was spotless)

The boat trip was fab- it was hot and sunny and we lolled around on cushions drinking gin and tonic as we ducked under bridges and listened to interesting commentary. The trip was run by #friendshipamsterdam

I learnt about ‘dancing houses’ that were built along the banks of the canals. They have wooden stakes as foundations. The stakes mean that the houses move. Some present at quite alarming angles.

The boat trip and the coffee shop are in the redlight district. I found the girls in the windows and doorways disturbing. There is the oldest church in Amsterdam, a kindergarten and ladies standing in windows right next to each other.

Sunday

We went for a cycle around Westerpark. There is lots of different playparks, ponds and paddling pools. We stopped at De Baakers Winkle for coffee.

The menu illustrations were fab

The buildings in the park are all very similar designed in redbrick with lots of patterns

Winkles is light and airy over three floors. We sat outside in a lovely covered garden area.

Before lunch we rode back to Haarlemmerdijk and wandered around the street window shopping. ‘Lost in Amsterdam’ recommends the area for shopping ( http://www.lostin.com)

I particularly like all the roof details and a tiny old cinema called ‘the movies’

We also wandered around Haarlemmerplein where someone had parked wooden bikes

Inside a bedding shop I found some interesting paper mache shapes illustrated with Indian line drawings

Door detail from the square

Monday

Last day today and I got to wander up and down Haarlemmerdijk. So here are some more detailed pics. There is a noticeable amount of wisteria growing up and around buildings. I would like to come back when it’s in flower

I have noticed lots of stained glass and art nouveau tiles when I was cycling around over the weekend. I managed to find a few tiles and a mosaic.

The old wooden doors are fab too

I also noticed quite a lot of different metal work on doors ( I have exceeded the data allowance for this post ….)

In-between the blocks of houses on Haarlemmerdijk there are lots of plants and bikes – it makes the city feel very green.

I really enjoyed my trip. Though I have to say the Dutch cycling rules are quite tricky- one is supposed to give way to the right …… Cyclists seem to rule the roads , particularly when there isn’t a pavement – so it’s a bit alarming being a pedestrian as well. I think it’s fab and wish there were more bikes instead of cars everywhere.

Home

In 2013 Jon and I were both writing about what ‘home’ meant to us after we moved up from Oxfordshire to Edinburgh after 25 years in the same house.

We merged our writing and added some photos because Jon had been asked to write an article

We are now going to deliver a paper at a conference …… I decided it would be interesting to look at what ‘Home’ meant now in 2018.

I have been enjoying making zine fold mini art journals and thought it would be fun to make a ‘Home now’ series

I am very influenced by the Georgian architecture of Edinburgh’s New town where we have a lower ground and basement flat.

This is the view out of my kitchen window – through white pained windows, the railings onto the street opposite

As you know I draw mandalas all the time so I decided to use these as a basis for my ideas. They have become a part of my daily practice on Edinburgh. At the moment I am still using water soluble ink and sprays to release the inks afterwards

The other day I made a series of notes to print out and use as text about what ‘home’ means at this present time.

‘Feeling torn watching the common wealth games – wanting Scotland to win

Diagonal crossing at junctions as a pedestrian

Walking up Dundas st to George st

Looking at the world from my lower ground and basement

The weather

Edinburgh airport

The grey sofa

The sound of a bus

Variety of independent coffee shops

Smell of coffee’

I have also been playing with layering handwriting, asemic writing

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asemic_writing

And street maps

http://www.old-map.com/Edinburgh.htm

I also made a couple of carved rubber stamps of Georgian doors ( they are not fine enough to be used on their own but are ok as another layer)

I had fun cutting out the doors so that they opened and then I made a whole street

My latest few are a bit more abstract and reflect the light and the frames of the windows/ railings l. I used a geometric stencil and white paint

A few more designs with Maps and text

I need to get cutting and folding these ……

Visiting Leuven, Belgium

Tuesday 6th Feb We are staying in Leuven, Belgium for a few days. Jon booked an Airbnb apartment. The layout and proportions of which are almost the same as where we stayed in New York about 18 months ago. I suppose there are limited alternatives for designs of studio flats. This one is a bit unnerving when they have a shower upstairs, it sounds like it is pouring with rain inside our room. 

At the train station last night all the announcements were in English, French and Flemish, which was interesting in terms of the length of time it took to make announcements. 


After visiting France regularly over the years I was expecting to be able to understand menus and road signs , but we are in the old Flemish capital so everything appears to be in Dutch which I recognise but don’t really understand .

 According to Wikipedia Flemish ‘is one of the three national languages of Belgium, together with French and German, and is the only official language of the Flemish Region. The various Dutch dialects spoken in Belgium contain a number of lexical and a few grammatical features which distinguish them from the standard Dutch’ .

When we got off the train last night and into a taxi the architecture felt familiar, my birth Father lived in Holland for 15 years. He moved around a lot and stayed in a variety of houses. One was a tall maisonette in Den Haag. These were the buildings that I recognised

Last night when we ate out, everybody spoke English and they had English translated menus…..  

Wednesday 7th Feb 

I have braved the murk and the drizzle walking in an almost straight line from the house back to the station to get a Starbucks and what I hoped was free wifi – 

The shops in the centre are very chain store biased – but I saw some pretty smaller house ones 


And lots of half mandala drain covers – I seem to have managed to take 9 different designs –


Bikes and pedestrians appear to  have the same rights on the paved areas, I haven’t managed to kill any one yet lol 

Also please note if you are visiting Leuven and reading this blog , the main museum isn’t open on Wednesdays – it feels a bit like visiting Japan for one day and all the museums and art galleries being shut that day of the week – well at least I am here another few days lol. 


Archtecural details that caught my eye today 


The town hall-  the building of which began in 1439


A window from St Peter’s Church 


Demolition showing tiles and wall paper from the old rooms 

Memories of California-  wood and succulents 

Memories of my recent trip to California keep popping up in my head. I was thinking about blogging this morning and I decided that my prevailing memory is wood, houses, paintwork, floors, textures and succulents as big as dinner plates  

Living in Europe you don’t see many houses made totally of wood. 

 I remember a friends wooden kit house as a teenager and being very curious about it – wooden window frames and doors have to be constantly protected from the weather, how long would it last? (That was in the 1970’s it’s still there) 

In San Francisco ,Monterey and Sacramento there are lots of wooden structures – maybe because the weather is so clement – without our European extremes – the wood doesn’t need as much protection? 

My Dad and I commented whilst in SF on the quality of the paint work – we thought it would be a lucrative job being an external painter and decorator . 

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the houses in SF . They are alien to my Edinburgh and Oxford raised eyes. 

The last weekend of our stay ,in Sacremento the weather was hot and sunny – you can tell by the clothing Jon and my Dad are wearing and the light , that it was not always so in SF lol. 

Visiting 3 locations  in 2 weeks , my eyes were constantly looking at different textures and decor- The SF house was quite dark , full of books and art 




One of the things I love about Airbnb is living in other people’s houses and looking at how they decorate and the stuff that they leave in situ when people visit . 

Monterey was the least looked after location that we stayed in – but it was decorated with fab stuff and had a charm of it’s own -looking back  it was a haven from the bustle of SF and the overwhelming business of the wedding 



Below a Monterey wooden house


Sacremento – the house was near Fair Oaks a suburb about 10 mins drive from my daughters law’s home. This was light and airy with a jacuzzi and a pool 

Succulents – I have always liked what Megan’s mum calls ‘Hens and chicks’ my Dad always says that a ‘good  big piece of art is much better than small piece’, I have found the same with the succulents  after my visit to California