Monthly Archives: July 2014

Scottish Highlands

View of the Firth of Forth from Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland

Second stop on our trip – Scotland.

Edinburgh has some great shopping and gorgeous gardens as well as historic buildings – as in a castle originally built in the 12th century in the middle of town –  and museums.  The city is clean, beautiful and easy to walk around if you don’t mind hills that make it easy to work off  a haggis meal.

Scottish Thistle
Thistle – The symbol of Scotland

The thistle in this picture was too perfect to pass up while walking through Princes Street Gardens, a public garden that is beautifully kept and full of people walking, picnicking, climbing the Sir Walter Scott Memorial, and generally enjoying themselves.

Princes Street Gardens Roses

I know there are no signs of quilts yet – but there were amazingly well planned flower beds and roses everywhere that could inspire a future quilt or wall hanging.

Scottish Tartan and Wool

Edinburgh has plenty of wool and tartan( no quilt shops that I saw however) and I really wanted to get a bolt of that excellent woven fabric, but again a lack of suitcase space kept my charge card in my purse.

Sterling Castle

On a sight-seeing day trip outside of Edinburgh we visited Sterling Castle and Loch Lomond – this being July, one would think that shorts and a t-shirt would be fine, right? But in Scotland, this day had a high temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now I know why they need so much wool.

Scotland Highlands

We ventured into the Highlands from Loch Lomond, walking up what felt like a 45 degree angle hill in order to see the Loch from the official highlands region of Scotland.  I felt like I could have been in a forest in the Pacific Northwest. The view was amazing!  Perhaps these giant ferns will provide some additional inspiration for future projects of the knit or sew variety.

Loch Lomand
View of Loch Lomand near the Oak Tree Inn

Stay tuned for our third  and last stop on the tour  …… I did manage to find a couple of souvenirs there to serve as cushions for my tea cup and saucer.

London Finds

Changing of the Guards
I’ll give you three guesses about where I took this photo –  write and tell me the location if you know know it – and if you have been there too!

This month, our family vacation took us across the pond for a visit.  Our trip first family trip overseas celebrated the milestone that both of our children are now officially university graduates – yes!  Keeping my hobbies and this blog in mind, I had a plan to try and visit quilt and knit shops in each country we visited – between museum visits and site-seeing of course. I’ll share what I found in my next few posts.

Our first stop was England where we spent all of our time in and around London.  There is so much to do there and so much left to see – the next time! It is a bustling city made even more so with our timing Wimbledon going on, the Tour de France, and all the pubs showing the World Cup.

While staying in London, we visited Buckingham Palace, the London Tower, the British Museum, Arsenal Football stadium, and took a Thames River cruise! We were able to do most of our traversing the city via the London Tube which is quite an experience.  In addition, we walked everywhere, it is a surprisingly easy city to navigate if you have a map!  Of course shopping was on the itinerary, and we found great little shopping areas in Greenwich near the National Maritime Museum and the Prime Meridian where GMT time is set each day.  We also wandered a bit on the cobblestones of Camden Passage to shop while in London.

vintage tea cup

It didn’t take much looking through boxes of china at one of the many vendors set up in small storefronts along Camden passage, before I found this gorgeous tea cup and saucer to bring home as a souvenir.   I could have come home with a box of these little treasures, but my suitcase was already dangerously close to the weight limit, and I didn’t want to break anything. Now, I’ll have a nice cup for the Earl Grey I picked up at The East India Company flagship store on Conduit Street in London.

loop knitting

While contemplating tea cups and patterns, I found Loop; an adorable knit shop, so  I stopped in to see what a London knit shop looks like.  They have loads of yarn in all colors and weights, with two levels of shopping.

Loop Knitting
I decided at that moment that I would pick up wool from each country we visited as my souvenir.

As for Loop, it is a quaint two story shop with places to sit and knit and plenty of yarn to choose from.   They are on the web – so you can order online if you wish! The women working at the store were courteous and helpful in pointing me toward something that I hadn’t seen in shops here in the states,  as they could see I went for anything with England or UK on the label – and I definitely did not sound like a Londoner.  While there were several local choices, the yarn I chose from Loop is a 4-ply fingering weight, hand-dyed merino/silk blend in a yummy colourway called Oak from Yorkshire.  The supplier is Eden Cottage Yarns, who also sell online!  I have 400m of this soft yarn to knit into something fun  – probably socks this fall.  Let me know if you have any ideas for me.

Summer Afternoon Kids Sewing Project

On a hot sunny day you’ll need your sunglasses, and what better way to keep them from being scratched than an easy to sew sunglasses case.  This project is SEW easy, you can do this with your children, and it is a great way to keep them from being too bored when they want to come inside out of the heat.


Pick some scrap fabrics for the inside and outside of the case.  I found some fat quarters that worked out well.  The contrast is fun – we chose the Blue for the outside and the red for the inside.  I also had some yellow fabric pre-cut into 2.5 inch strips for some home-made bias tape.



I cut the two layers of fabric and some light weight batting into a rectangular shape that was larger than the sunglasses and allowed for a fold-over flap.



I then sewed a basting seam around all three layers to keep them together.



I folded the three layers into the shape I wanted, and bound the edges by sewing some bias tape made from a 2 1/2 inch wide strip of yellow fabric.


I decided to sew around the tape two times in order to get a slightly more finished look.



Then added a button and button-hole for a closure.

DSCN0086[1]This project is so quick that you could do it with a free afternoon and so easy that kids could do it too!