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November 2013

My wonderful washing machine

My wonderful washing machine

by Clare Mansell
Tots 100 & Part Select are running a competition at the moment giving bloggers the chance to win a full house clean and £250 of John Lewis vouchers by telling them about their favourite appliance.

Whilst household appliances are not the most exciting topic of conversation, our washing machine has lead quite an interesting life. Well, for a household appliance at least…

I bought it in 2007 when I was a single girl living in military quarters in Germany. Typical to many German houses it lived in the basement. There was plumbing for a tumble drier too, but I couldn’t afford one, so the washing machine had a whole floor to itself – I bet even David & Victoria Beckham’s new house couldn’t top that!

When we got married, we were posted to Canada and my poor washing machine had to go in to storage for two years as it wasn’t the right voltage for North America.

Next, the Army moved us to Cyprus, so we filled in the paperwork and requested retrieval of the washing machine from its warehouse. Across the sea it traveled and arrived one hot August afternoon in southern Cyprus, ready for two years duty washing shorts and swimsuits!

But before we knew it we were on the move again, this time to Northern Scotland and I was pregnant. The washing machine was about to face its toughest challenge yet… no not the cold weather kit or even all the baby clothes, my husband had something far worse planned for it!

One day when our son Theo was a small baby, my husband Jim decided to wash an ancient bright orange dry clean only throw in our washing machine. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to a dry clean only bed throw in a washing machine, I will tell you now… it disintegrates!!!

So the poor washing machine had its guts filled with thousands of tiny pieces of fabric which clogged up all the pipes and machinery. It was not a happy washing machine and it ground to a halt mid-cycle! As you can imagine my husband was not flavour of the month (I never liked the bloomin’ throw he was trying to wash anyway!)

Many cross words were exchanged while we worked out a plan. Eventually he forced open the door and soaked up the deluge of water (a drum full!) with every towel we owned, then he spent several hours cleaning out the insides of the machine before tracking down the spare part to replace the latch on it. I was actually quite impressed he managed it!

So apart from the odd orange bit of fluff working its way out of the machine every now and again, it is still going strong and I think Jim learned his lesson about reading washing labels and I learned mine about underestimating my husband’s DIY skills!

This blog post is my  entry into the Tots100/PartSelect ’Love Your Appliance’ competition.

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Brit Sewing Thursday Linky (28th November 2013)

This week most of my sewing has been focused on my project for the Doll Quilt Swap. I mentioned last week that I’m really pleased with the partner I have been assigned as she looks lovely in her photo and her images on Flickr and her blog show we have very similar tastes.

I really think having a partner you feel you have common ground with really makes the whole process so much more enjoyable and less stressful! I had a partner in a swap last year who right from the start I knew I would struggle making for and it really took the pleasure out of it.

Anyway, my lovely partner in this swap has expressed a liking for warm colours and this wonky freehand windmill block. So I have been experimenting this week…

wonkywindmill1
The top layout definitely works better, but I’m not sure about the grey low volume fabric, it’s just a bit too…  grey! What do you think? And while we are at it, I have a question about swap extras. Have you received any good ones or given any that were well received? I’m always looking for ideas

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And finally, I have had a few questions from new followers about how this weekly linky works, so I thought I’d do a recap…

 (1) Add a link to a recent blog post with sewing/quilting content below using the blue “add your link” button bottom left

 (2) We ask that you use the HTML code in the box above to add the linky badge to your post. It’s not compulsory, but it helps readers to find other blogs taking part, so we all benefit.

 (3) No restrictions on linking the same post to other link parties, though those link parties may have their own restrictions of course!

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So here’s a funny thing…

So here’s a funny thing…

by Clare Mansell

When I started working in radio all those eons ago, the naive and optimistic young me thought that as I worked my way up in the industry one of the many perks of the job would be free stuff, but I was wrong.  I did get a few free records (and yes they were largely actually records) and I got a random longlife ready meal sent to me when I did the night shift, but that was pretty much it.

So forgive me if I chuckle a bit at this morning’s post…

I got nothing when I was working in mainstream media, but now when I have a small blog, I get a box of personalised crisps with my name on. A lot has changed in twenty years I think, not just the technology to produce stuff like this, but also the question of who makes us buy what we buy.

Have you watched that movie The Jonses? You really should….

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The shifting sands of East Head

The shifting sands of East Head

by Clare Mansell

East Head is a sand dune spit at the entrance to Chichester Harbour and right at the eastern end of West Wittering beach. I first visited by boat in my twenties when we’d cadge a lift on whatever floating vessel we could come by, bringing with us ball games and disposable barbecues. I borrowed a sailing boat once, forgot to put the bungs in before we set sail and only noticed when I saw it had sunk in the shallow water where we’d moored it. We got it afloat and made it home just, bailing out all the way.

Later I cycled here, via the small ferry that crosses from Bosham to Itchenor, and had similar mishaps with a puncture and a passing stranger who stopped to help us.

These days we come by car with dogs and a small child and just as my life has changed, East Head is always evolving too, a constantly shifting spit of sand anchored to the mainland by the briefest of hinges. If you look at historical charts you can see how the whole land mass has moved around the clock face over the years, from 3 o’clock in the 1700s to 6 o’clock where it is now.

These places that we return to time and again become markers in our lives, ways to measure the changes while all around us the sands are shifting.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Brit Sewing Thursday Linky (21st November 2013)

Brit Sewing Thursday Linky (21st November 2013)

by Clare Mansell

So another week has gone by and I am deeply into university research at the moment, so very little sewing has taken place in the last seven days. Fortunately though I do have one of last year’s Christmas quilts to share with you. As I mentioned before I had a couple of quilts that I made and didn’t post about on the blog, so it’s good to finally get round to doing so.

This is a wall quilt that I made for my niece Millie. It was a bit of a last minute make as the wall quilt I originally made her didn’t quite fit the bill when I finished it a couple of weeks before Chrsitmas, so I decided to do another. I made it by creating 4 pieced strips from scraps and then sticking them together. All rather haphazard, but remarkably it turned out ok!

Millie’s name which I printed from photoshop in a font called Lobster, is rendered in white felt and was attached using Heat N Bond Ultra. The only thing I’d do differently if I could was to use a different fabric for the binding. It works well apart from the bits where the turquoise pigs are visible and a bit distracting.

Here it is on the wall at the head of her bed. The original quilt which I made for her in Christmas 2010 is on the bed, with a less successful one (in my opinion!) from 2011 folded up nearest the camera. It’s quite a thing I have started with this girl and quilts!

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