Wednesday, 13 September 2017

How do Folk Do This Every Year?

We have the decorators in. The whole house is being painted inside and out. Nothing complicated. I am not only the Queen of Sheba, I am also the Queen of Magnolia. I have a good friend, Mary, who is the Cointreau Queen but that's another whole story. All our walls are painted magnolia, as our ceilings. No feature walls for us.

I know magnolia paint has become a bit of a joke. It is boring, it is bland. "it doesn't reflect my personality". Rubbish. Magnolia gives a calm restful background. It makes the rooms look bigger. The light reflects off the walls. They take on different shades depending on the direction of the light,  time of day and angles. We add all our paintings and stuff, and that's what reflects our personalities, not the paint. If I call it not magnolia but Egyptian papyrus does that make it sound exotic?

Whether the walls have three differing papers and a umpteen dado rails, the house still has to be cleared. I thought our house was quite minimalist, except for the books and the art work and my "stuff'". We have a lot more books and dvds than we realised. We have a lot of "framed" stuff. I have a lot of crap, sorry craft stuff. Scrapbooking starts again tonight. This year I am DEFNITELY not buying any more supplies. ~Fabric, I have rather a lot too. And my wool collection was growing rather nicely too. How do other folk decorate every two years? The seven year itch is more than enough for me.

This is a long way of prevaricating and saying there hasn't been much sewing done here. There wasn't much done last week either, we were in Malaga with friends. I sneaked in a little machine sewing on Sunday morning, I got another 2 bubble bee blocks done. I think if I do 4 more done, that will do me.

What I have been doing is hand sewing. Actually rather a lot as I am spending my days in the bedroom until the living areas are finished. I have started hand piecing my EPP hexie quilt, the Liberty one I laid on the floor a week or so ago. Hold on, I only have one EPP hexie quilt, I don't need to specify which one!

This is what I have created. To date. Is it big enough? Nope, not unless I lie very still and don't move.

I had a momentary panic yesterday when I thought I had used up all my completed circlets. Luckily I found another 10. Have I enough? Probably not.

It is actually very restful half sitting, half lying on the bed with the windows open. Sewing my hexie circles together and listening to podcasts. The Grocery Girls are entertaining, and Amy Florence,  as is local girl Kate from Hawthorn Cottage Crafts. I always finish a book but if a podcast doesn't grab me in the first minutes, I move on. The painters probably think I am lazy, I am not. I am being creative. 

This is a rather photo light post this time. If you have lost the will to live, that's ok. If not, I will tell you a story.

I had/have two friends called Liz. Liz my booky friend, who is my best friend, and another Liz I was also very close to at school and  have just recently met again. Well, Liz, non booky Liz, used to take me to visit her granny. Granny M lived in a little terraced house on the side of the street where the sun didn't shine. This isn't a metaphor for anything. ~The sun just shone on the other side of the street. Anybody from N Ireland, or the north of England will know what I mean, a narrow street with narrow house, two room downstairs, plus kitchen and two rooms upstairs. Perhaps a bathroom, perhaps not. Granny M's back room was stuffed full of furniture, her whole house was stuffed full of furniture. There were religious pictures and embroideries all over the shop. One that intrigued me was a large picture of a road that split in two. The left road had only one man, walking a solitary dark path with many bends towards a light. The right road was the party road. Lots of people, lots of bright colours, leading towards a fire. When I asked what the painting was about, Granny M looked at me as if I was a heathen. That's about the leading the right life and going to heaven or leading a wrong life and going to hell to burn in damnation. I knew that, I thought the right hand road looked more fun, but I didn't want to burn in hell either. What I did want to know was, who painted such a picture?What was it based on? What was his motivation?  I was 9! My dad explained it would have been based on John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" a very old book written about Pilgrim's journey to a life with God,  an allegory, a cautionary tale for those in the 1600s. That was what I wanted to know! Dad bought me a children's version and we read it together.

Anyhow, back to Granny M. Liz and I stayed at Granny M's one night and I never slept a wink. All night I was awake. The prospect of burning in hell after a life of partying kept me awake. The big high bed we could hardly climb into kept me awake. The cold house with no central heating kept me awake. And the rustling. The rustling kept me awake. The rustling went on all night. It particularly kept me awake. Every time Liz or I moved the bed rustled. Beds don't rustle. My mum told me that Granny M mustn't have taken out the papers from her patchwork quilt that was on top of the bed. This sparked my interest. My mum explained and then showed me how people folded fabric around papers and sewed them altogether to make quilts. I thought this was brilliant. Mum and I made a quilt for my doll from papers and fabric.

I  had forgotten all this until I moved whilst piecing yesterday and I rustled. I moved again and I rustled again. All of a sudden Granny M's quilt came back to me.

And just as an aside. Liz's mother (or was it her father?) was annoyed because Liz and I slept in the big bed somebody had died in. Apparently if a young person slept in a bed an old person died in, it sucked out all the strength and youth ........ It took my own mother a while to persuade me otherwise. Granny M was a tiny woman, like a fussy little bird, she clearly loved having 2 girls to stay with her. She also gave us vegetable soup and poured milk into it . Strange. We didn't do that at home either.

And with these cautionary tales, I will leave  you. Nearly. Last night I wound some wool whilst watching the GBBO . Doesn't my wool coordinate nicely with Prue Leith's top? Maybe I could colour coordinate my wool every week! It is the GBBO but not as we know it. Bring back Mary Berry.

linking up with Beth, Cooking Up Quilts
and Lorna, with Sew Fresh Quilts


  1. Your hexie quilt may need to be a little bit bigger. Interesting tale of Granny M, now I'm going to be thinking about rustling papers, even though I don't have a hexie project.

  2. I really enjoyed the story about your friend Liz and Granny M. I have a really poor memory, so I can relate to how the sound brought you back there. Keep on stitching!

  3. Such a wonderful jaunt down your memory lane! Your post goes wonderfully with my coffee this morning!!! and now I am wondering what shade "magnolia" is...a pearly white, maybe? :)

  4. Isn't funny how the smallest of things can bring back such vivid memories? Loved the story of Granny M. and her rustling :)

  5. Delightful post! I love how little things trigger amazing memories. Here's the thing that struck me though! Magnolia! What a classy name for a color. I think in the states we say, off-white, maybe? Or cream? How boring. I had to google magnolia to find that it is a color (um, colour) name for you. From now on, my walls (most of them anyway) are magnolia. Enjoy your hand sewing--and your fresh paint!

  6. You are a caution the story!! :)
    I am also a big fan of magnolia!

  7. Hahaha, good story Helen. Johnstown castle in wexford has an antique hexi with still newspaper attached on display. Can't remember the story but interesting to hear the same from you!

  8. Hahaha, good story Helen. Johnstown castle in wexford has an antique hexi with still newspaper attached on display. Can't remember the story but interesting to hear the same from you!

  9. I made it through the story - it was great! The things that bring back memories... I also wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts on paint colour and feature walls

  10. Yes...pale neutral colours. ..easy to live with. Your mum and dad were great getting you interested in things. Funny the things that stick in your mind from years back....enjoyed your story.

  11. Another lovely post. You fit so much into each one and it's lovely how you share with us. I love the stories..and I am sure we can all recall something vivid from our past which has stuck with us over the years. Mine is a certain shade of green flowery curtain that my Nana had in her 'parlour'...and how she taught me to French knit using a sewing bobbin... Anyway good luck with the decorating and hope your are finished soon..and then you have to put all that lovely 'stuff' back lol...only don't do what I did when having a clear out after decorating... I 'donated' by accident all of hubby's shoes.. he was left with the dog walking pair he leaves in the porch lol it could have been worse, they could have been mine... Bye for now hugs xxx

  12. I am currently addicted to watching the GBBO on the CBC. We are watching reruns so we still have Mary Berry. They are advertising a Canadian version but I can't imagine it being as good. I love your story about staying with Granny M.

  13. Great story! How funny that your US readers haven't come across magnolia; I can't imagine anyone over here who wouldn't know exactly what colour it is. I'm with you on the neutrals, though the idea of decorating every two years just makes me shudder; seven, or more sounds much better.

  14. Love your posts, Helen :-) I'm reluctantly enjoying the new GBBO - I didn't want to! I can only cope by recording it and fast-forwarding through the adverts though.

  15. I think the party path sounds more fun, too :) I'm waaaaaay behind on reading blogs after a week visiting my Mom. And I didn't sew a single stitch, alas. I'm jonesing for my stash...

  16. Someday you and me will get together and exchange grandma tales. I will bring fabric 😊
    Hexies aren't my thing - too much patience and therefore I appreciate every hexie you make!

  17. Love the story of Granny M, isn't it wonderful when something simple happens and you are transported back into a long forgotten memory. I know exactly what you mean about the dark side and light side, me being from north east England where we has long rows of colliery houses in my childhood, although you don't see as many now. Happy days.


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