Artnextdoor's Blog

My place to be creative


Creative Week 50

As I sit here watching the birds on my feeder, I am freezing.  We have still not been able to find a plumber/heating engineer to come and replace our boiler – one has even told us it could be May before he could get here!  I would be suspicious if any of them said the could be here immediately but May!  British Gas want silly money as usual but could do it sooner – We maybe desperate but not that much money desperate – at a third more expensive than anyone else, for a boiler with lower specifications, they can think again.

It is not so much the cold but the damp that hangs around the house after the five of us have had showers, washed up and all the other things that need doing in the mornings, then it all starts again in the evenings.  I sit here all day with the windows open trying to get rid of the condensation but to no avail.  I have now resorted to shoving an electric fire in the rooms, shutting the doors and walking away, expensive and I’m still sitting here freezing but it sort of works.  I think I’d rather be cold than have the children sleep in damp beds ( although I don’t think they are damp, just very, very cold).

Note to self – when we get the new boiler DO NOT get it serviced and have an annual check in the winter nor allow British Gas to move the appointment from summer to winter.

Ok enough moaning.

This weeks quilt idea:- Radar

radar 1


This quilt I have named Radar 1, it reminds me of those old WWII radar pictures I saw in history lessons when I was a child.  This quilt measures 60″ square (my favourite size) and is made up of two blocks which are basically the same but the second has more piecing.

Here are the links for all the info that you need to make this quilt.

radar 1 fabric yardage

Radar 1 block 1 templates   Radar 1 block 2 templates

Radar 1 block 1 foundation papers  Radar 1 block 2 foundation paper

Radar II

Radar 2

This quilt is again 60″ square and only uses 1 of the blocks, although this time I have used dark to light radiating fabrics in one and light to dark in the other.

Here are the links

Radar 2 fabric yardage

Radar 2 templates

Radar 2 foundation template

That’s all for this week, hopefully by next week I will have happier news on the heating and hot water front – thank goodness the shower is electric!

Until next week, thank you for dropping by. x





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Creative Week 18

What a week! Our beautiful darling daughter had the private view of her university exhibition, so we had a lovely trip to Cambridge.  It was great to see her work along side her fellow students, we also got to see the work of the other departments too, some very interesting ideas were on show.


My Beautiful Girl at her exhibition.



My youngest son had his internal school exams all week, followed by a trip to Edgbaston, with his dad and big brother, to watch the first match of the ICC Champions Trophy which involved England beating Australia.  then up early to play in another cricket match in Coventry.  He has now gone off with school for a week to Wales under the guise of a geography field trip but really I think they are all just going to have fun.

With everybody being out of the house all of Saturday I managed to make a quilt and the backing before they all came in for something to eat.

Quick quilt a


Quick quilt backing b


I have written the pattern which can be found here:- Quick Off Set Block Quilt (and backing) I made this quilt primarily to practice my quilting and as per usual I have not yet layered it up ( a job for very early next week).

Last week I also made the Rail Fence Trio quilt from last week blog post.  As can be seen I made it larger as I had extra fabric and yes I have made (sort of) a cushion to go with it – neither are finished (yet).

Rail Fence Trio quilt


So what’s on the agenda for the coming week?  I intend to design a quilt using a layer cake I have called Ticklish from Me & My Sister Designs for Moda, I also want to make a blouse that has been sitting waiting for a while and I suppose I had better take advantage of the fact that little son isn’t here to do some cleaning (what!!!!) before making cakes for the cricket teas on Saturday.

Thanks for dropping by.

Until next week. x



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Witley Court Worcestershire

Sunday 21st October dawned with clinging fog but with a small promise of becoming brighter.  Regardless of the weather we had decided as our trip to Germany had been postponed due to circumstances beyond our control we would have a day out.

Witley Court and Gardens are only 45 minutes from our home so are quick and relatively easy to get to, via a number of motorways and a variety of minor roads.  I had intended we set off early but as usually it didn’t happen, I suppose I should have learnt by now, but I suppose if we had gone early the fog would have still lingered.  As it was we found numerous trees draped in clouds of cobwebs encrusted with diamond-like water droplets just waiting to sparkle when the fog lifted.

I managed to take some really quite good photos, some of which are above taken with my small compact Nikon digital camera as big son was using my Fuji and little son my Panasonic Lumix.  Husband was using his new Olympus, which is able to take panoramic and 3D shots without the help of Photoshop to create the magic.

The photo with the spiders shows the fog just starting to lift. 

We had a great day out which was enhanced by enjoying a light lunch at the tea room just outside the gardens.  It was so nice we didn’t need our Sunday dinner when we got home.

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Broken Bread Machine–Enter Hand Made Bread

I know it’s not a life changing event but here is my first batch of bread from scratch by hand for a very long time.

handmade bread

We got home from America only to find the bread machine, which I used to make my dough, had decided it had had enough – after all it worked very day at least once in its long life.  So now I have decided to make my bread completely by hand; it takes a bit longer but I do get a work out with the kneading and I can control the rising, allowing the yeast to ferment slowly therefore preventing the bread bloat which can happen with shop bought and machine made bread.

And best of all it tastes great – Yum.

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Batik Quilt finished and Kaffe Fassett top done

I can’t quite believe how productive I have been since my return from America.  I have started and finished 3 quilts, finished another quilt top that will be layered up early next week and quilted, bound and label attached before the end of next week; I have also knitted two jackets and a scarf, designed, cut out ready to sew at least 12 creature bag tags – only another 18 to go to complete the set.


Kaffe Fasset top 1Kaffe Fasset top close up

The above quilt top has only been on the go for 12 months since last years festival of quilts.

I have had fabric printed ready to make into scarves, that’s another job for next week as this weekend is DD 21st birthday, so party time!  The garden is tidy and cleaned up the lawn needs mowing and the edges clipped but that will get done this evening.  Sunday garden party here we come.  Tomorrow I will be making a tiered death by chocolate cake covered in chocolate fudge sauce, chocolate and then just to add something more sweets – smarties, minstrels, chocolate buttons, jelly beans, marshmallows, glitter anything I can find oh and of course 21 candles!

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Great American Adventure Part 4

Sadly, I have returned home now, leaving my amazing American family 7000 miles away – I’m coming back in August be warned!

The following photo’s where taken on the return from my cousin Kate’s home in Blanding in the south east of Utah.  Again the rock formations are astounding and the resident of Wilson’s Arch did enjoy the Doritos we fed to him.  Oh don’t miss the horses face that appears  naturally in a tree formation on the side of the hill.

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Great American Adventure Part 3

On our trip we visited an Indian Trading Post where I was able to take photo’s of some of the art work; all of which would make excellent quilts – sometime in the distant future!

We then carried on to Gooseneck National Park, just as good as the Grand Canyon but only a mile down.  The bends in the river so look like they are from the Burt Reynolds film Deliverance but that was supposed to be set in the Appalachian Mountains.  A walk down would be good but not in flip flops, without water, walking sticks, a hat or sunscreen!


The Indian woman in the car, Julia Halliday, was making and selling jewellery which of course I had to buy (Dear Daughter please don’t read this as you will know what your present is)

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My Great American Adventure!

I know I’m a few days late writing this blog about the start of my trip but I’m doing it now.

The flights were ok, very boring except someone was ill on the long flight and the call went out ‘Is there a doctor on board?’ 

I arrived on time and went straight to have something to eat and to meet 2 parts of my family Ryan his wife and children and Liz , her husband Jason and their children.  the portion sizes are massive, I have children’s size meals but they are still too big for me to eat all of it.  Food to eat out is very reasonable.

My oldest cousin Tony came to the house with 3 of his children in the evening by which time I had been awake for nearly 30 hours!

Thursday was a lovely quiet day just local trips around.  We did buy drinks out, I was offered a 42oz cup but declined asking for a smaller one.  A 32oz one was ordered but behind my uncle’s back I was indicating to the server the size I could cope with which was about that of a UK coke can.  The soda’s do taste differently here a bit sweeter.

Friday we set off to visit another cousin Kate and her family 41/2 hours away in Blanding SE of Salt Lake near the border with New Mexico.  We went via a national park called Arches the name of which will be obvious once you have seen the photo’s!  To be going on with here’s some from the start of the park.

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I can’t believe it has been so long since my last post!

Has it really been 5 weeks since I last posted?  Well sadly it has my excuses…. I have none, other than I have been working hard to finish my Open University course which has finally been sent off on its merry way.  The results won’t be available, I have found out, until at least 15th June.

I have worked on a quilt ready to take with me to America on Wednesday.

It is based on the 10 minute block I found on the internet, using Kaffe Fassett and Sherrill Khan fabrics.  I tried the quilt as you go method of quilting – I layered up each individual block then quilted them very simply by straight stitching diagonally into the corners.  These where then joined together with fabric strips.  I then built up the borders from fabrics from the same layer cake pack of Kaffe Fassett fabrics for the front and from the remaining fat quarters of Sherrill Khan fabrics.  I had run out before the binding was done so this was cut from fabric bought for me for Christmas by my big son.  I love it, it looks scrappy and now that it has been washed it has that old puffed up feel to it which I love.  I hope the recipient loves it as much as I do.  But I suppose the big question is – would I do it again?

Well – yes I would but!……. I would re-think the 10 minute block whilst it is very easy to do, getting it to ‘sit’ right was very difficult even though I have been sewing for years and years trying to get the points perfect, hmmm………Maybe I have just got to get over the perfect bit.  Would I quilt as I went again – Yes I would it is so less stressful to manage a small block than to try to fight a massive piece of work, although I am not too keen on the fabric strips all over the place(unless, of course, that’s the look I’m after), so there again I will play with it until I find the solution.  Would I use these fabrics again (if I can get them) yes I would I love the graphic bright Sherrill Khan ones – the colours are just lovely.  The Kaffe Fassett ones hmmm… I’m not a floral person but if the pattern is big enough to enable the cut to look like an abstract and the colours were ‘right’ then possibly.  Having said that I do have another quilt on the go using some of his fabric range.  See the following link-:

Right I must pack!