Tuesday, 22 March 2011


I am sorry I have not been blogging recently. I was all ready to post, when our power went out. Now this is not unusual. We are a small island, and when there is a fault, it can affect a small area, or it can affect the whole island. We have two men on the island, who do the repairs, if they can, and if they can't the power company sends out mechanics from Mainland Orkney, either chartering a plane or a launch, to effect the repairs.

So the power went out. It was nearly 2pm. still daylight. We are all electric. except for a wood burning stove. The fire went on to keep us warm, and then I started having problems. I wanted to use my computer - NO ELECTRICITY! I wanted to use my sewing machine - NO ELECTRICITY! Also my machine was out in my studio -NO HEAT. There was no chance of watching the television, listening to the radio or cd and the light was not good enough to do hand embroidery. I could not do any baking, which I love or do any cooking, but I solved the question of a cup of tea by putting a pan on top of the wood burner, much easier than getting out the small, gas camping stove. I ended up reading a book, and using a torch , when the natural light began to fade.

This failure of power made me think how dependent on power we really are. I need light to see, a cooker to eat, television, radio and cd/dvd to listen to, heaters for comfort. It made me wonder how we managed before I became so dependent on 'gadgets'!! Our island did not get electricity till the 1970s (I think 1972), so it was tilley lamps, aga cookers or individual generators. Suddenly we cannot do without ipads, ipods and mobile phones. Now I may drool at the adverts for ipads,  but I hate mobile phones! They are intrusive. Who wants to be phoned when you are walking down the street, or, in my case, walking along a deserted beach, listening to the surf and the seagulls? Yuck!!

From there it was a small step to thinking about the disaster in Japan. Can you imagine what the Japanese are going through just now? It was bad enough that they had a massive earthquake, but then the tsunami arrived, and now they have the radiation from the damaged power plant with which to contend. Just watch this-

It beggars belief. I think one of the most poignant pictures for me was people queuing up in a very orderly fashion, waiting for food. Adults were handed a very small package of rice (maybe about 3oz) for two adults. This is in a country that only the day before had the third largest economy! The Japanese people must be asking themselves, 'Are the government telling us the truth about the radiation?" Imagine what these people are going through? People who are used to the highest types of technology, reduced to nothing.

And to add to all this distressing news, our government has involved us in another war. Where and when will all this madness end? It doesn't bear thinking about!!

To go back to the power failure. The transformer had failed in the field behind our house and about thirty people were still affected, fours hours later. A launch had been chartered from Kirkwall, and the engineers came out to repair it. We went down to the hotel and had a lovely meal and then decided to go to the bingo! We had a great evening, won some money and came home to find the power had just been turned on - seven hours after the initial fault! I have appreciated electricity ever since.
Till next time.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Hexs, DJ, Log Cabin and Applique Tutorial

It has been simply ages since I posted. My back was playing up again, and then I had to get a small growth cut from my eyelid. It looked as if someone had socked me good and proper, but the swelling has gone down, the black is gone, and I am back sewing once again. I always thought if you were not feeling well, the natural thing would be to pick up a bit of sewing, but when I am off-colour, it is the last thing I want to do. 
Anyway, you do not want to hear my grumps and groans, you want to see some pictures!

I usually sew some of these hexagons, when I go on the ferry, so it is slow going. I want to make this quilt -
I saw this on the Net a long time ago. I do not know who took this picture, or did the sewing, but I thought the design was absolutely gorgeous!! It will take me years to make it, but I like being able to pick up and lay down the pattern, and still know where I am, when I go back to it.

 This is the latest Dear Jane block - I 3 - Family Album. It is hand-sewn. It looks wonky, but is just not well pressed.

I started this log cabin last year too, so this has to be finished soon. I am trying to be really good and not start any new projects. I have made a pact with myself that I have to finish two UFOs before I can start anything new this year. I was doing really well. I thought I would pick two small UFOs, trying to be sneaky , and that way I would get two projects finished quickly, and I could get onto something new! Best laid schemes o' mice and men and all that. I lost one part of a table topper and can't find it anywhere, and have run out of material to finish another! Mind you I have had a lot of UFOs, so don't need to worry about sitting around, doing nothing!!

I really love applique, but am always worried I don't get it right. My friend sent me this wonderful link to a tutorial or tutorials on Back Basting at http://appliqueaddict.blogspot.com/  
There are three tutorials on Back Basting, and they are really good. I have permission from Marjorie to pass on the links, so enjoy the tutorials here, here and here!
Thanks, Marjorie (and Cyn for telling me about them!)
Till next time.