Saturday, 28 December 2013

stormy weather

There was a window in the stormy weather this morning, so we took ourselves off to Portland Bill.     A good walk, with the chance to see some unexpected winter visitors of the feathered kind which had been blown across the Atlantic.

The country side bore evidence of the gales before Christmas.   Several trees down, fields turned into lakes and debris everywhere.   The sun was shining, although to the west we could see rain clouds gathering.

We stopped at The Fleet, Weymouth.   Lots of 'birders' were searching the shore for our visitors.    Well wrapped up, we strolled along to see what we could see.   Nothing unusual.

The top of the pebble bank at this end of Chessil Beach was covered with driftwood and,
sadly, lots of plastic rubbish.      We wandered up to the top to see the rain clouds were approaching from the west in a very dramatic way.

A retreat to the car seemed a sensible option.  By the time we got there the rain had turned to hail.    I did drag down two splendid pieces of driftwood, too big to get into the boot.  My man was very heroic, removing the shelf so my treasures could fit.   In the process Keith was soaked, and the inside of the car looked like a snow globe.

The storm passed over very quickly.   This is Weymouth harbour to the east.

The sun was shining by the time we drove to Portland. 

Portland Bill lighthouse

It's always an exciting place to be, whatever the weather.     The sea was calm but rolling. sending waves crashing into the rocks.    Herring gulls wheeled in the sky and guillemots dived into the sea.    Two big ships were glinting in the sun under dark blue clouds.   No sight of Atlantic visitors this time.

We sploshed through the muddy ground, had a good blow, then decided it was time to go home for a bowl of warming soup.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

from the silk rag bag

The sun is shining -  quick, quick, take photographs of the December Journal Quilt!

Christmas baubles

a little seasonal offering

background, cream dupion silk machine quilted
I think it looks like anagylpta wallpaper!

the baubles have layers of silk bits, covered with
turquoise silk circle - stitched, and the channels slashed
very raggy texture with little bits of colour showing through

ah, made the deadline

there were times when I almost gave up
especially in the summer months, busy
with workshops, and then taking time out

so, I can tick that box - job done

Saturday, 21 December 2013


The shortest day, and it is indeed grim out there.   Lashing of rain and high winds.   Still we are on the right side of winter.   At the end of the month the sun makes an appearance though my kitchen window (always providing it is not hiding in cloud).

The December Journal Quilt is finished.   It is far to dark to attempt a photo.   That will have to wait for better lighting conditions.

This afternoon the Christmas decorations box will be opened.   Holly, ivy and mistletoe were gathered from the garden in between rain bursts.    Lights already festoon the balcony rail, making the raindrops look beautiful!

best wishes for a wonderful festive season
and all good things in 2014

(Indian embroidery from Rajasthan)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Almost there

October and November Journal Quilts finished

Dowry Bag

old Indian textiles are recycled, giving new life to old cloth,stitched together regardless of 
  techniques or origin

the blue panel is from an old shirt  embroidered  Rabaristyle with shisha and shabby embroidered applique patches

the main panel is a vintage piece of Indian printed cotton
over block printed with blue zig zag pattern
hand quilted


Kurta Deconstructed

elements taken from old kurtaa (tunics)

December Journal Quilt almost done - very seasonal

really must post our Christmas cards!

Thursday, 5 December 2013


'tis the season of the year and next week Christmas lunch with my chums at The Mill.   We all bring a plate of food and end up with a table full of delicious dishes.

It was decided that this year we would all make a 'postcard'.   Found my 
sewing machine,  gathered materials and this is the result.

painted tissutex, block printing, free machine stitching 
and sequins - suitably festive I think!

Now I must turn my thoughts to the three Journal Quilts
that need to be finished by the end of the month.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Two days in hot and steamy Mumbai - 33c during the day and 26c at night!   We stay at
The Sea Palace Hotel, down the other end of the road from the Taj Hotel and the Gateway of India.   It's lovely looking out on the bay and refreshing breezes come off the sea.

The first day, shopping for the Emporium, stocking up on beads, buttons, sequins etc.
Fabindia for household linen and other goodies, and a new find, Good Earth.   Wonderful table ware.  Awarded myself with a bone china leopard cup!   Other goodies included some cutlery, which means we will have to go back again to complete the set.

Lunch in Cafe Mondegar.   A great place for people watching and Kingfisher beer on tap.

A walk in Mumbai

The next day we explored the Fort area.  It was fascinating looking at the 
old buildings. The docks, originally owned by the East India Company are
now used by the Indian Navy.   

I managed to take this picture before the heavy presence of security guards 
and police made it known we were in a secure area.   In fact, we were right
outside the Stock Exchange and in the middle of the financial area of Mumbai

about five minutes walk away is St. Thomas' Church the first
English church in Bombay.   Building started in  1669.  The walls
had risen by l5ft when building ceased for thirty years. Richard Cobbe.
formally vicar of Whitchurch, Dorset,  organised the completion of the
church which was opened for Divine Service on Christmas Day 1718

Inside the walls and floors are lined with memorials and tributes to people from every walk of life.   Tales of bravery in battle, whether on land and sea.  Loses due to disease or accidents.   What a strange and alien land it must have seemed.     

Pause for thought.

There is another connection with Dorset.    The Rev. John Hutchins of Swyre, Wareham, Dorset wrote The History and Antiquities of Dorset.    His daughter, Anne Martha married at St. Thomas's Church on 3 June 1766,  John Bellassis then a major of artillery in the service of East Indian Company , later major-general and commander of the forces at Bombay.  She died at Bombay on 14 May 1797 and her husband on 11 February 1808. 

down a back street, a bakery shop  that look likes it has been around for a long time

street scene - looking through a cafe window as pavement 
vendor sell bananas to a taxi driver

friends - while Keith was checking out the music at Rhythm House
this charming group were taking photos of themselves, and then
me with them.    They live In Nagpur and were spending a few
days in Mumbai.    So I took photos of them.

Back in Colaba a bangra band lead a wedding procession

exuberant wedding guests

The evening was spent having supper and a beer on the roof of the hotel.   
Watching the lights in the harbour and enjoying the warm night air.

In the morning after a stroll down to the Gateway of India and back,  it was
time to go to the airport and home.

Monday, 2 December 2013

last wander

We had to prepare a parcel to send home.   With only a 15kg luggage allowance there was no way my metres of fabric, plus two large white applique bedspreads (to be transformed into curtains) and other little purchases (!) would fit into the suitcases.

First all had to be pack securely into a plastic bag, sealed with tape to make it strong and secure, then to the parcel maker

wrapped in calico, stitched and sealed with wax
to the Post Office where many forms have to be filled
the address added, forms attached, and off it goes
with any luck it should arrive before Christmas!

we walked past a photo gallery, as we have done many times the owner invited us in to  look at his photographs and prints, then suggested we might like to see an exhibition of his work. Through back streets, up winding lanes, we came to the Madri Havel.    Over 300 years old, it has been restored sympathetically, usual traditional materials.   The view from the roof is panoramic and the rooms just gorgeous

Our friend Ilyas had received a new batch of wooden print blocks

to late to put in the parcel - maybe I could squash some into my 
hand luggage?   Of course I could!


For years I have been trying to find the location where shisha are produced.   Last year took me to Sayla in Gujarat and the nearby town of Limbi.   They might have been manufactured here in the past, but no more.   Indeed, the local textiles use plastic instead of mirrors.

About three hours away in the Kutch area, beautiful mirrorwork is produced in abundance.
Where are they made?!!!

Glass Inlay work panels grace many hotels.   Coloured and mirror glass is cut into intricate shapes.  Patterns are drawn on paper, lightly glued and placed on plaster, in the manner of making mosaics.

getting closer, but that will have to wait until the next trip

meetings on the road

images of fellow travellers

a detour from Ghanerao to visit a dam - checking out
birds and a possible future fishing venue
I made myself comfortable, enjoyed the surrounding
countryside and was joined by a local farmer
as Mark Tulley says - you're never alone in India
we had a conversation of sorts but he really wanted
his photograph taken   he was a very happy man
and I have a theory that most photographs are for
official purposes which require a serious face

the durry man giving a demonstration on turban tying
before rushing us off to see the weaving

the durry is in the sun  the weaver is hidden in shadow

looking the other way into the light

amazing horns

elephant gate and sleeping dog

time for chai so we could get some photos of a caravan of tribals
on the move with donkeys carrying little kids in bags

the ladies were in charge of this section

bring up the rear, the men  with the goats

best I can do, they will keep moving

the joys of being on the road in India!

the intermission!

from bright to autumn colours

yes, we are back in the UK    brrrr...30c drop in temperature
yesterday spent swathed in shawls, socks and fingerless mittens

the travel blog post will continue today - my fingers being suitably warm

lots from Udaipur,  a round and about
two days in hot and steamy Mumbai where internet access
was worse than useless