Sunday, 15 December 2013

le challenge - precious

The last 2 months (really since I started blogging) I have linked up with Le Challenge, and this month it really has been a challenge. Not that the brief was difficult, "precious" covers so wide a spectrum but that time really is precious now, now that it is officially the silly season and things are going into overdrive.

I made my "precious" Le Challenge jewellery bag at the tail end of an afternoon of Christmas card writing and ironing, not at the same time, but almost. And whilst doing this I was watching an Inspector Montalbano dvd, difficult when I don't speak Italian and I was trying to follow the subtitles. I am currently typing this, watching Kirstie Allsopp do magical Christmas things and waiting for a taxi to take us out for a meal.

Apart from the really precious things, my family etc my most precious things are my pearl necklace and earrings. Of course I would put my family first, well I have to, they bought me the earrings and necklace.
The necklace was from my husband and 3 adult children for my 50th birthday. I feel really sentimental about them because the day they gave them to me was the same day as one of my sons' graduation. (The timing was slightly off though, the cheapo pearls were worn to the graduation and the "real" ones were given to me before we went out for the celebration dinner.) The earrings came last year as an add on after I thought I had lost my previous lesser pearl earrings. They turned up after I was bought the good ones. (strange that).

Liberty has always had a precious place in my heart. My parents met whilst working in London (they were both civil servants at that stage) in the late 1950's and they always spoke fondly of Liberty, that magical shop in Regent Street. My mother unfortunately died young, so Liberty, the shop that she loved to window shop in  always felt a connection to her, she loved the old fashioned properness of the shop and also of course the arts and crafts fabrics and  the flower shop at the entrance. On the rare visit to London, my father took us to Liberty, much more interesting to me than Harrods. And of course the actual fabric is precious to me, it is so dammed expensive!
Liberty fabric jewel bag

I made this little Liberty jewel bag from the Liberty fabric I bought from Shaukat, on the Brompton Road, London. I have no idea what the fabrics are actually called, the outside is a large green flower, a carnation type thing and  inside it the eponymous Liberty peacock fabric in green. The photo is not great, it is a phone photo, I have "done something" to the space in the laptop the camera card fits in, in other words, I have broken it. Although I have a travelling pouch for my pearls, it is still quite large if I am "hand baggage" and have to stuff everything in, this can fit in the inner zip pouch of a handbag, and is fine for a day or two.

If there was a fire what would you grab? Most people say their photo albums, well we would grab our photos too except they are handily placed in a large frame in the hall. This is incredibly precious to all of us, maybe my sons don't realise it is precious, but then they are sons. Again the photos are pretty poor but I wanted to show you this labour of Hercules, finally finished maybe a year ago, but I wanted to share it anyway.

the top half

When my daughter was about 8 or 9 we were walking home from school and a flock of geese flew overhead. I explained to her that there was a patchwork square called flying geese and that  the quilters of old used to tell a story through their quilts. This struck a chord with her and she announced that I was to make a fabric picture of these flying geese squares. This then progressed to a fabric picture of her and I out walking and pointing to the geese flying overhead, and it would always remind us of that day when she was grown up. I said, of course I will, but there was no getting away with it, she was determined. Around that time I spotted a book on photo fabric transfer and so began our millennium quilt. We all chose our favourite photos and they were duly transferred onto fabric and quilted together. I made up some squares depicting us made out of appliqued fabric, my husband and the two boys in Chelsea shirts, holding the FA cup, for one. The Simpsons, that well known dysfunctional family were another fabric picture. And even Henry VIII, who Hazel at that time was obsessed with made an appearance. Alan (my husband) then put the pressure on to have it finished and on the wall for the Millennium party season, and so it was, though at that stage unfinished. Then a border was added and some writing that he liked from Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Berniere chain stitched round the outside. (when being in love subsides, you have to work out whether your roots have so entwined it is inconceivable that you should ever part). Over the next 10 or so years we added badges from countries or events we were at, badges from the boys brigade, the guides etc, another Henry VIII badge. Finally last year we were afraid it was beginning to fade so the hubby got it framed for me as a surprise, though I had noticed it was missing from the wall. Bit hard not to as it is least 4ft by 3ft. Hopefully I never have to prise it off the wall and run down the street in my nightie carrying it!

the bottom half



  1. Wow, the work in that quilt is unbelieveable and I love how the whole family was involved in it.

  2. Well now that's what I call precious. Such a clever idea and well done on completing it too, I'd say many of us would fall by the wayside before it was finished.
    V x

  3. I have to agree that is a precious heirloom! I really love your jewelry bag!

  4. I am a big Liberty fan myself so love your wee bag. Your photo quilt is amazing and such a great idea!

  5. what precious projects you have created!

  6. The photo quilt is amazing. I am sure it means a lot to you, and so it should. Especially with the stories it holds. Family is the most important part of life after all. Even if it does take the children a while to realise it.

  7. wow - that quilt is amazing :-)

  8. So precious and great idea for a quilt! Thanks for sharing on le challenge!

  9. Oh Helen I so love reading your posts. Totally agree that time is precious, especially at this time of year - I admire your multi-tasking! Very cute Liberty bag and a sweet connection to special memories. The quilt is incredible and so special! Thank you for taking the time to link up to le challenge :) x


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