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.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Eilean Dubh

This is my third attempt at putting this up! You 
can see the Eilean Dubh book in all its glory, but
Blogger is mucking about with the layout, and I 
am not changing the html in case I spoil the pictures.
Enjoy, (if i can get Blogger to behave!)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Eilean Dubh – The Black Isle

One of my friends sent me a link to this new book. It is absolutely fabulous! The pictures have been taken in the Black Isle, within the county of Ross and Cromarty in Scotland. You can actually see all the photographs inside the book, by going to this link - HERE   Go get a cup of tea and enjoy the pictures, and remember to put the widget up to full screen size. The book goes on sale today, and trust me, the Black Isle looks just like the photos - absolutely beautiful!! (You can tell I am a proud Scot!), so this book will sell fast.

You can see more photos by the photographers, by going to their websites, here, here and here, and more importantly, you can buy the books from the photographers direct. I know this sounds like an advert, and that I am pushing sales, but I have no affiliation with the book, I just think it is amazing, and think it should be shown to as many people as possible. Scotland is beautiful, and this book shows a small part of it in all its glory!! I will now get off my box!! 

My back is a lot better, so a little hand sewing has been done. I will show photos in a couple of days.
Till next time.

Friday, 4 February 2011


I forgot to give you the link for the videos!


Till next time

Have you seen?

We are having awful weather - very bad gales and lashing rain and hailstones. I have hurt my back, so no sewing outside for a few days, therefore I thought you might want to join me watching a few video tutorials. Enjoy!
Till next time,

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Frosty Flakes 2 and Burns

I am continuing very slowly with the Frosty Flakes BOW. Trouble is I keep on doing other things as well, so progress is slow. I did not like the block below, as the stitches are so big (quite a few are like this in the pattern), so I took it out and did the stitches smaller.

Here are three more blocks.

I know I am very late talking about Burns - how could I forget him - but we had an awful lot on. We had a Burns Supper on the island, and it was great. There were the usual poems and speeches, the dinner - haggis and clapshot (mashed potatoes and turnip mixed together), clootie dumpling (a fruity pudding steamed in a cloth = cloot) and cream, tea or coffee, any nip (shot) to toast Rabbie, shortbread and chocolates and then a dance. We had a great time, all for $11.50. At 11.50pm the soup and sandwiches came out and then the dance continued. A great night!! 
A few days later, we had a Burns Supper for WI members. I had to do the address to the haggis. (see below). I found a translation of the poem (also see below), so that non-Scots could understand what I was saying. Again we had haggis and clapshot and trifle. No dance this time, but we had two competitions -
1.  a scottish souvenir and
2. design your own tartan.
I got a first for a Scottish brooch - a luckenbooth (This Scottish brooch usually of engraved silver in the shape of a heart or two hearts entwined and is used chiefly as a love token or betrothal brooch. Sometimes there is a crown. The heart (love) and crown (loyalty) both appear on the claddagh ring too. Luckenbooth brooches are of late 19th or early 20th century origin. Sometimes the brooch was pinned to the couple's firstborn's blanket as a good luck charm. Luckenbooths are usually worn by women.) and a third for my tartan design. I had great fun designing it on this site - http://www.house-of-tartan.scotland.net/interactive/weaver/index.html

Hope you enjoy the poem(s).
Till next time.
Address To A Haggis


Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race! 
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm: 
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

horn for horn, they stretch an' strive: Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive, Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, 
maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad 
staw a sow,
Or fricassee 
wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down 
wi' sneering, scornfu' view
sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him 
owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a 
guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood 
or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread. 
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, 
an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, 
wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their 
bill o' fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer 
Gie her a haggis!

To a Haggis

(Haggis is a wholesome savoury pudding, a mixture of mutton and offal. It is boiled and presented at table in a sheep's stomach)
All hail your honest rounded face,
Great chieftain of the pudding race;
Above them all you take your place,
Beef, tripe, or lamb:
You're worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your sides are like a distant hill
Your pin would help to mend a mill,
In time of need,
While through your pores the dews distil,
Like amber bead.

His knife the rustic goodman wipes,
To cut you through with all his might,
Revealing your gushing entrails bright,
Like any ditch;
And then, what a glorious sight,
Warm, welcome, rich.

Then plate for plate they stretch and strive,
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all the bloated stomachs by and by,
Are tight as drums.
The rustic goodman with a sigh,
His thanks he hums.

Let them that o'er his French ragout,
Or hotchpotch fit only for a sow,
Or fricassee that'll make you spew,
And with no wonder;
Look down with sneering scornful view,
On such a dinner.

Poor devil, see him eat his trash,
As feckless as a withered rush,
His spindly legs and good whip-lash,
His little feet
Through floods or over fields to dash,
O how unfit.

But, mark the rustic, haggis-fed;
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Grasp in his ample hands a flail
He'll make it whistle,
Stout legs and arms that never fail,
Proud as the thistle.

You powers that make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill of fare.
Old Scotland wants no stinking ware,
That slops in dishes;
But if you grant her grateful prayer,
Give her a haggis.