Friday, June 29, 2012

Stroll in the Garden

Yesterday was just glorious.  It's summer in England, so you never leave home without an umbrella no matter what the weather.  I decided to take a stroll through our local garden spot.  To my delight I was not disappointed.  With my umbrella in hand I set off .  As soon as I entered I was greeted with full shrubs like hostas, green grassy nooks and meadows and flowers in all their glory.  Here is just a sample of what I encountered.

Can you tell I am a purple lover?  When it comes to flowers I can't resist blue and purple.  Here in England the wind is never still.  It was challenging to take photos in the winds we've had and when I got home I was afraid only a few would actually be worth saving.  To my surprize, over 100 pictures and only 8 have been deleted.  I really do love my point and shoot Canon PowerShot SX210 IS, and of course, it's purple. 
Anyway, as I came up to the Kitchen garden I was in awe of how wonderful all the vegetables looked while taking in the aroma of blooming sweet peas.
So tempted to pick this lettuce and take it home.  It was all neat and tidy in raised beds.  I really love this way of gardening.  I think back to my mother's garden many years ago, it was a large garden and she used a roto tiller.  Our squash plants used to get so huge with big orangy yellow blossoms.  I doubt these beds would hold plants like squash or melons. 

As the pathway winds downhill you come upon a tiny cottage like building and today they had an art exhibition so I wandered through, bought a couple cards and started out the door when it started to downpour.  I waited in the doorway for a few minutes, then darted out with my umbrella to a nice greenhouse like enclosure.
Yep, even dodging in this space to avoid a few drops of rain was worth while.  It was serene.  The rain subsided in minutes and the sun started to shine through, so I exited this hidden jewel.  If I hadn't had 3 cups of coffee before setting out, I would have stayed here longer to enjoy some Betty's coffee.  Maybe another day.....
Along the path were just hundreds of foxgloves.  They are just beautiful.  I don't recall seeing all white before.  This one above was the only one among a sea of pink ones. 
The children that live in this area take field trips to Harlow Carr gardens and are very lucky as there is a teaching garden here along with a working garden, greenhouse and a library filled with books and publications about  vegetable plants, herbs, just everything having to do with gardening and horticulture.  There are adult learning programs as well. 

One final splash of purple before I go.  Off to get creative in my sewing room.  Maybe I've sparked some inspiration in you today?  ;o)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

IQFOI - part 4

The Claddagh ring is a symbol of Love, Loyality and Friendship.  Here in the city of Galway, the Claddagh fishing village has been consumed long ago.  But there remain remnants of the past all around. 

The Chocolate exhibit was unusual in that as you entered the building the scent of chocolates was in the air and candy themed music was all around.  The quilts lined the entry way and in the center were 2 pedestals.  One with a giant fabric cupcake and the other with a faux box of chocolates that looked real enough to eat. 

Of all the chocolate quilts, this one by far was my favorite.  It is 3 dimensional with the chocolate poking out of a gold lame wrapper.  The chocolate was made from either faux or real leather.  It looked real.  It must have been very challenging to work with. 

This isn't a very good picture, but it shows a closeup view of the 3D chocolate poking through the top. 

This was another one of my favorites of the chocolate themed quilts.  The stripped border pieces were pretty small.  This quilt measured about 30 inches square (I'm guessing). 
You had to climb a flight of stairs and go out a sky-walk to the next building where the classrooms were, or school house.  These classrooms were a good size.  Pfaff sponsored the event so in class we used their new basic machine.  From this area you passed through double doors down a long corridor to the Promenade where the miniature quilts, 3 D quilts, Round Robins,  and more were displayed.  I took hundreds of pictures but will only share my favorites with you. 

On the first day of the festival I saw this quilt being hung, by the way, it is facing a wall so I had to take it at an angle.  They didn't have the black lights on this display yet, so I thought "hmmm 3 color quilt not very interesting".  The next day I returned and the lights were turned on and as you see above, the black light really made this quilt glow.   There were a couple more 2 and 3 fabric quilts in this display, but this one really made that statement. 

This is my son's favorite quilt.  He would love to have one like it for his media room.  I liked this one as well.  My picture doesn't do a lot of these quilts justice and the quilting detail doesn't show up well.  I will have to learn more about my settings in my camera and work with difficult lighting. 

This lily pad quilt was sprawled in the middle of the floor in one of the exhibits.  I really liked this one, but I thought it was very risky to just lay it there.  I am sure it got stepped on. 

Ribbon winners

Miniature quilt winner.  I didn't have a ruler, but I would say it was not bigger than 16 inches square.  The pieces were incredibly tiny.  I love this one.  I must have taken a dozen pictures of this one alone.  I don't know why I was mesmerized by it even before they pinned the ribbon on. 

All the miniatures were amazing.  I am sure most were made using a foundation, but it was incredible to see such precision in a tiny piece.  The pink fans above were only 1.5 inches square (I'm guessing here).  Next time I will have to remember to bring my tape measure.  They all look so even and perfect.  I always wanted to do a super small miniature quilt.  I even have a couple books on the subject.  I've attempted a couple charm quilts and they look too much like a doll quilt, not a miniature. 
Overall it was an amazing festival in a wonderful city.  Visit IQFOI to see more about this year's festival.  I hope you've enjoyed seeing my view of the show.  Maybe this has inspired you as this trip has inspired me.
Until next time, have a good day and take some time out to do the thing (s) you love.  ;o)

Monday, June 25, 2012

IQFOI - part 3

The Garden exhibit.
As you entered the quadrangle at NUIG (National University of Ireland Galway) you were greeted with pots of fabric flowers like these.  There were all types from Poppies to Tulips and Pansy's.  These pots filled in spaces where the quilt stands and screens came to corners and on the ends.  It was a well thought out exhibit and it has to be my favorite of all the displays. 
This rose quilt was very impressive to me with precise applique and quilting.  The pieces didn't look flat like some applique can look, but I don't think it was trapunto. 
This quilt was unusual and 3 dimensional.  The quilting was also impressive with thread painting in the 3D butterfly. 

This is another 3D quilt.  The hydrangea petals looks so real but are actually fabric that has been fused and backed with a contrasting fabric and a bead in the center of the petals holds them onto the top.  I made a similar 3D hydrangea quilt for my sister for her birthday years ago however, I used french knots for the centers. 

This quilt was very creative as the river in the quilt flowed down the left side down the wall and onto the floor.  I had to crop this picture but there was another 3 feet to the end.  You can't see by the picture but on one of the fabric rocks was a frog, a dragonfly and butterflies.  These are only a few of the quilts from the garden exhibit. 

I will post part 4 soon which will be my final say about the festival. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

IQFOI - part 2

As you entered the Town Hall on campus to register, the vendors were located almost straight ahead through a doorway.  To the left of that was the Antique quilt exhibit.  These quilts were amazing.  No photography was allowed, so I do not have any pictures of these quilts.  There was one that really stood out for me.  It was made of silk ribbons in the log cabin pattern.  It wasn't very big.  Wall hanging size, not a miniature and certainly not a usable throw quilt.  The colors were still vibrant and I saw only minor damage for an 1880's quilt.  Above the reception desk was an enormous 20 panelled quilt suspended from the balcony which all linked together in design.
This is the work of the Irish Patchwork society and called "Cu Na Mara" or Seahound.  Below was the reception area where the "Cead Mile Failte" (100,000 welcomes) hands display was. 

Next door to this display was the Wellness cafe where you could sit and have coffee or a snack.  Across the hall from the display was the Wicked Thimble pub.   Doors leading to the patio with picnic tables meant we could enjoy the view of row boats on the river while sipping our coffee and snacking on fruit scones.  There seemed to be plenty of places like this where you could escape from the crowds if you wanted to. 
The theatre next to the pub, held the Neighbors exhibit.  Here are just a couple quilts I found very interesting from this display.

This is a close up of the right upper corner of this quilt.  It was dark in the theatre with spot lights on the quilts, so some of my pictures did not turn out the best.  

There's still more to come.  I need to take a break now.  We are finally getting some summer-like weather, so I must go soak in some sun rays.  Here are some pictures to give you a little inspiration.  We walked along the beach between Galway and Salt Hill and here is what we found.  These are all shells, not stones. 
It is very shallow here for a long way.  The tide was still going out.