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August 2010

Echino charm square baby quilt

Modern Echino baby quilt

by Clare Mansell

Echino charm square baby quilt
Next month I am going to be teaching a beginners quilting class in Cyprus. Wherever the military are there’s nearly always an adult education centre, and pretty much anyone with experience of a subject can put in a pitch to teach a course in it… and get paid!

The sign up day happens next Monday, often there are queues and sometimes courses get booked up quickly… sometimes they don’t! I need a minimum of six students to make my course viable, so fingers crossed!

Echino Baby QuiltIMG_1915

I have decided to teach a patchwork quilt, so that if they want, students can skip the cutting and just buy charm packs. I very much want to avoid a repeat of my dressmaking course where few of us actually completed our projects, so simple is the plan!

I’m making two sample quilts for the class. One in very bold modern fabrics and a second in more traditional paler fabrics. The former to shatter a few illusions about quilting being old fashioned and chintzy and the latter so the students aren’t entirely scared off – I hope I have got the balance right!
Echino baby quilt
So anyway, the first one was completed today. It’s made with Japanese Echino linen (front and back) from my new favourite fabric store The Eternal Maker and I have quilted it about a third of an inch in from the ditch with contrasting turquoise stitches. The second quilt will be made by the end of the week, before I fly back to Cyprus on Saturday…

Want to see more of my quilts?

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This week

This week

by Clare Mansell
230/365 - 18 August 2010
232/365 - 20 August 2010

Whilst I’ve been enjoying overcast skies and cooler temperatures in the UK this week, Jim is back in Cyprus where despite reaching the (alleged) mid-August cool off point, it has apparently still been stiflingly hot.

Bella our beagle was spayed yesterday, and I don’t envy her being the one recovering for an operation in the humidity. There’s small consolation in the fact that this should be the dogs last summer in Cyprus. We are due posting next July and have a few tricks up our sleeve that mean the dogs at least, should get an early release.

Meanwhile it’s another two weeks before I’m allowed to fly back to Cyprus, but my recovery is going well. I’ve had a remarkable lack of pain and the worst aspects have been not being able to shower properly and being restricted to sleeping on my back. Small prices to pay.

It’s been an interesting week to jump on the 365 band wagon. I missed the start of the year, so instead I’m documenting 2010 from my 34th birthday onwards. My mother has kept a 5 year diary for twenty five years, so this will be my modern interpretation…. and of course it will provide lots of photo fodder for this blog.

PS – By the way, that’s my birthday cake in the photo above. You are NEVER too old for jelly babies.

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A step forward…

A step forward…

by Clare Mansell

We are back in the UK again, amongst the greenery, the rain and the fading days of summer… The air is cool enough for trousers, breathing and thinking. It is a wonderful change.

We’ve come back not just to escape the heat, but also so I could go ahead with a decision I made a few months ago. On Wednesday afternoon I underwent breast reduction surgery. I spent a long time reaching my decision, 15 years on and off, but in the end I did what was right for me.

The internet was (as always) an invaluable source of information. Diaries, blogs, forums even bra reviews. Where would we be without it?

Ahead lies two and a half weeks of ‘rest’ before I’m allowed to fly or drive… I do not do sitting still easily, so this may yet prove to be the hardest part.

I have a few bits to keep me occupied… Good books, my camera and preparations for a quilting class I am teaching in September. Tomorrow is my 34th birthday and from where I’m standing the year ahead looks good.  I’ve learned that sometimes the hardest decisions, can produce the best results…

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90% humidity

90% humidity

by Clare Mansell
July 25

August has arrived and we are struggling.

On Sunday temperatures in Cyprus reached record highs of 45.6c with 90% humidity. We’re trying every trick in the book to keep cool. The houses we live in are not built for the Mediterranean climate and manage to be hotter than the outside temperature in summer, and colder in winter. We have two portable air-conditioning units, which bring the temperature in the living room down to about 30c, but upstairs we rely on ceiling fans.

Last night was possibly the worst nights sleep I have had yet. I woke up at midnight actually stuck to the sheet, tried showering (for the second time in two hours) in what should be our “cold” water, then tried sleeping in the living room floor, going outside, and eventually gave up and went back to our bedroom.

The worst of the heatwave is due to pass by Wednesday, and the heat of summer generally subsides from mid-August onwards. Fortunately we won’t have to wait that long. We are making a well timed trip to the UK next week and the dogs will have a break in air-conditioned kennels… something I think they might actually enjoy.

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