Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Day out in the Sunshine

We have had a rather wet and miserable summer here in Scotland, so opportunities to explore more of the region have been thin on the ground. The rain held off long enough recently for us to visit Culzean Castle and it was definitely worth dodging raindrops for!

The site has been the home of the chiefs of Clan Kennedy since the 14th Century, although the building you see in the photo above is the converted Castle designed by the celebrated architect Robert Adam for the 10th Earl of Cassilis. The Castle has been owned by the National Trust for Scotland since the Kennedy's gifted it in lieu of death duties in 1945. One stipulation of the gift was that the top floor of the castle be retained as an apartment for use by General D. Eisenhower, who did visit four times during his lifetime. Nowadays you can walk in the General's steps as the apartment is available for rent

Culzean Castle sits in nearly 600 acres of grounds, so as well as exploring the house with it's magnificent Oval Staircase there are some wonderful gardens to discover.

The Fountain Court garden in front of the Castle was closed to the public the day we were there, as they were setting up marquees for a wedding that weekend. A marquee wedding is a very brave thing to book in Scotland, even in August!

The Walled Garden, which was split in to a kitchen garden and pleasure garden was entered through these imposing gates.

As well as pleasant avenues,

the Walled Garden contained an apple orchard and a meadow garden.

Between the Walled Garden and the Castle sits the magnificent Camellia House. The 10th Earl certainly knew how to splash the cash around, didn't he?

We decided not to see everything in one day so have left the Swan Pond, Ice houses and Pagoda for another visit.

Instead, we indulged in coffee and cake in the Stable Coffee House and enjoyed the view (and the rare glimpse of sunshine!).

Sunday, 6 August 2017


On a recent visit to a local Farm Shop I came across a basket of china dishes for sale.

Closer inspection revealed this stamped on the lips at each end.

 And this message stamped on the inside.

I have no idea what these were for or, indeed, what the Patchwork products referred to in the inside are or were, but, really, I couldn't not buy one now could I??

Friday, 4 August 2017

Stag do!

I have had a Reverse Applique project on the go for ages, it has been taken apart and re-done at least three times.

First of all the patchwork back for the applique didn't fit the applique outline, so needed to be reworked to fit the frame. Then, I really struggled to turn under some of the allowances on certain parts of the design. All in all it has been a complete pain in the proverbial, but I am delighted to say that I have finally completed the Reverse Applique!

You will not be surprised to know that the antlers were where I really struggled to turn under the allowance. I discovered when I compared this to the magazine photo that the antlers on my version are a lot narrower than in the pattern version. I do remember taking the pattern to be enlarged at a local printers (don't you just hate patterns that need to be enlarged!) and have a vague memory of having to compromise on the final size, so that presumably accounts for the difference.

Having seen these magnificent beasts on a recent visit to a Deer Park, I think the antlers in the version above are pretty accurate though, don't you?

I did not help myself by picking a linen blend fabric for the top fabric, as it was fraying where the applique points are narrow before I had even got to stitching it down!

So, I went for a belt and braces approach by hand stitching the turned applique and then machine topstitching. Next up an application of Fraycheck to be sure, to be sure :)

The piece will become a cushion eventually when I have sourced some Deer Horn buttons for the back!

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