How I Spent my Summer Vacation – and a Super Special Meet-up

Greetings, all! Long time no post. But I’ve been around (mostly on IG), doing a bit of sewing, planning lots more sewing, and having a lovely vacation in Wales and England. Some of the high points follow. Trust me when I say this is a majorly abbreviated look at our trip. We had so many wonderful experiences (I could write a whole post on the cheese alone!)  Be sure to read through for details of a meet-up with a special someone at the end. She’s a blogger and most of you will know her; she sews, she paints, she makes shoes and jewelry, she’s a writer, and a great photographer…can you guess who she is?

Here we go!

Our boat, and a few of my favorite things about her.

There are eight spare propellers –  seen here from the top deck. It was fun to wander through them.

The cloud of steam is actually coming from a red and black stack
directly behind this giant orb. They’re much farther apart than it seems here.

The radar tower is fascinating, with or without flags.
Good morning, Southampton, we’ve arrived!
We’re off to Cardiff, and rainy day Eistedffod at Millennium Stadium.
Pretty streets downtown (and the shops! and the restaurants!)
A planned visit to Butterfly Fabrics and a vendor in an open air market yielded this.

We explored ancient sites – such as Raglan Castle…

Hubby is at the tip top looking down on twinning cousins.

Photographing him photographing us.

My turn in the crow’s nest.

Stunning 360 degree vistas.

…and Tintern Abbey – remains from the 12-century

Looking out.

Looking in.

Looking up.

We found a high peak in the old stomping grounds near Brecon.

We also found sheep. Who would have imagined?

And horses. Wait a minute, no cows???

Well of course there are cows. This is Wales.

We spent two days in Cheltenham, in a lovely B&B similar to this one.

Prettiest administrative offices I’ve ever seen.

Dinner with another cousin and his family.

And after a short train ride the next day….

We are ready for the Shakespearean actors!

“Now just wait a minute”, you must be thinking. “Shakespeare? Stop teasing us! What happened to the super talented, sewing, shoe-making, jewelry-making, surprise meet-up announcement?” Did anyone guess who she is?

Would you believe Kate Davies of Fabrickated? Yes! The one and only. Her husband Nick retrieved us from the train station and drove us to their lovely home, where we were introduced to Kate with hugs all around. This lovely lady is just as I had expected – warm and welcoming, and all the good things. As we sat enjoying the view, Kate asked about my sewing progress, and my response led from one thing into another, such as children, family, losing loved ones, even a dip into politics. My thoughts were confirmed that we are of like minds on many topics. Somehow we never returned to the sewing conversation!

We had a quick tour of their home and I was wowed by the amazing sewing room where Kate works her magic. A colorful huilpil from her Dress Like Frida challenge was artfully arranged on the dress form in the window. A framed painting of a special dress she had created (from her own hand-painted fabric) was on the wall. With a place for everything, this room accommodates all her creative pursuits, and even allows guest space. This is what happens when two clever, artistic people design a home together!

Nick is a talent in his own right. Not only has he built most of the cabinetry in the home, he is also a marvelous cook. A delicious (and beautiful) lunch spread was waiting for us; meat, cheese, and veggies of our choice on homemade focaccia bread. All he had left to do was assemble it. And all we had to do was enjoy! Which we did, with gusto.

They had also arranged for us to see an outdoor presentation of Much Ado About Nothing on the lawn at Rendcombe College after lunch. The day was brisk and cloudy, but the cast carried on and never moved the performance to the stage indoors. It was funny, well-acted, and completely enjoyable.

They could have chauffeured us back to the train station, but instead took us all the way to our hotel. More hugs, and a most delightful day was complete.

Since the pictures included above are only a tiny fraction of the pictures I took on our vacation, you’ll be surprised (if not appalled) to know that the empty stage shot is the only one I took of the entire day with Kate and Nick. Likewise, Kate took only two photos (of our husbands), so to prove that my story is true, I’m sharing one of them with you! No doubt they are discussing their wonderful wives.

Kate Davies was the first “real” blogger to follow me when I started blogging, and has always been so kind and encouraging even as my postings dwindled. And now I have met her and consider her a friend. How very cool is that.

Be back soon, and in the meantime, stitch on, everyone!

 

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Excuses, it’s the end of the road!

My sewing has been going sooo slowly. I’ve made a few garments (and got in some good practice time and a little skill learning) and have created a plan to make nine garments this year. Of those nine, I’ve finished one top, and really like it! Have a pair of pants and a few more little projects already started, but not worthy of posting as yet. (I do, however, have about a gazillion ideas for fabrics, patterns, etc needing to be ordered from absolutely everywhere! I’ll need to find a job … and a place to store everything …)

But you may wonder what I mean by the end of the road for excuses. I’ll explain. If you’ve followed me for the nearly two years of my blog (amazing!) you’ll recall that my sewing machine initially resided on the little-used dining room table. The table height wasn’t perfect for my back, and I had to run upstairs to the laundry room every time pressing was needed, but it sufficed well. But when my mother moved here with us, we converted hubby’s office to her suite, moving his office furniture into the dining room. Stella the sewing machine was banished to the laundry room, convenient now to the ironing station, but squeezed into a tiny corner. We purchased 2 utility tables, strapped them together, and the resultant 48″ square table is perfect for cutting fabric and folding laundry (and storing everything left over from remodeling) in this tiny room. To further complicate the situation, after my recent knee surgery, the dining room is now the dining room/office/infirmary. So, no more room at all for sewing (although I have been printing and cutting out some pdf patterns in there.)

You also know that our old house always has projects; the latest were the master bedroom and an emergency bathroom repair. With those completed, the sewing room arrived at the top of the list! And now it’s up to me to make all requests for my perfect sewing space. Soon. Like today or sooner.

And as is my wont, I’m turning to my knowledgeable sewing friends for some advice.

Here’s a little description for you. We are working with a 14′ x 10′ 6″ space with 3 doors and 2 windows and one overhead light/fan fixture. The little closet in the second picture will be for hubby’s clothes storage (after all, I have both tiny closets in the MBR).

Mr LTSB is crafty and has offered to build shelves, tables, storage, update electrical – you name it. (Yes, I’m the lucky one, that is for certain.) What I’ve come up with so far is a 48′ x 60″ cutting table with storage underneath. It would probably be in or near the center of the room. The sewing machine will go just to the left the window on the longer wall. The ironing board will stay in the laundry room, which is just steps away.

My general questions to you – what storage is best for what purpose? open shelves? closed shelves? drawers? what size cutting table works best? should it be against a wall or in the open? TV? lighting? I’ve seen lovely pics of sewing rooms (so many pictures my head spins) with threads, scissors, etc on display – very pretty, but don’t they get dusty? Think I’d like mine enclosed. Fancy sewing machine cabinet or just a table? This will be a simple, functional space.

And the most basic question – what is your number one must-have in an efficient sewing workspace?

I’d appreciate any advice. And when this is all finished, I solemnly promise a flurry of fabulously finished sewing projects!!

Stitch on, everyone!