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Patchwork for a Starry Night

One Crazy Month

I’ve been in a tail spin as usual, running around and getting nowhere fast. About 5 weeks ago we were given 2 months ‘notice to quit’,  i.e. told to move out of the house we’ve been living in for 8 years. It was a complete shock and I’m still reeling. And in the middle of it all I’d arranged to take Kim on a camping trip for 5 nights. I decided we should still go: two months to find somewhere to live in our circumstances is never going to be easy, so what difference would a few less days make?

Camping on Exmoor

Westermill Farm Campsite, Exmoor National Park, 2016

Peace and quiet at Westermill Farm campsite in Exmoor National Park (that’s our tent and Kim at the picnic table).

None, as it turned out: we still haven’t found anywhere.

Camping was a mixed bag of beautiful scenery, long walks, peace and quiet…and moody teenager! We spent 5 nights at Westermill Farm, a simple campsite on a working farm right in the middle of Exmoor National Park. Exmoor crosses two counties, North Devon and Somerset, with a good deal of dramatic coastline, open moors and rolling countryside to explore.

Kim’s biggest complaint? The fact that we used public transport and carried our tent and everything else on our backs. When we got to a nearby town we discovered the bus service we planned to use to get us to the campsite had been withdrawn. It was 15 miles away – and Kim refused to walk! (To be fair it was late in the day, haha!) We took a taxi. This much he coped with, but it was the realisation that he’d “have to walk 7 miles to get anywhere” that put him in a right strop. (And 7 miles was a slight exaggeration, the nearest village was only 1.5m away!) So he spent the next 2.5 days lying in the tent. We locked horns anytime he refused to go anywhere, because he specifically asked to go walking on Exmoor to take photographs. I went off on my own instead and had a wonderful time exploring valleys and villages. His loss, I told myself, but to be honest I really missed his company – there were so many delightful things to share.

Starry Night

Exmoor was designated Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve and we were lucky to be there on a full moon with a brilliantly clear sky. Even Kim couldn’t resist a night time walk. Discovering the world in the ‘real’ dark is like discovering a whole new landscape: the sky, the sounds, the wildlife, the silhouettes. It was magical and I couldn’t help wondering what life was like before light pollution.

The night-time walk worked wonders, because the next morning Kim was up with his camera ready to take a bus trip to the medieval village of Dunster. We took a walk up to Bats Castle Iron Age Hill Fort where he finally got into his groove and photographed some unusual butterflies and flora. I couldn’t take my eyes off the wider landscape.

Stephanie Boon, walking up a track on Exmoor, uk

On the wooded track up to Bat’s Castle

 

© stephanie Boon 2017. cornwall, UK. All Rights Reserved Exmoor

Watching the changing skies from Bat’s Hill Iron Age Fort

© stephanie Boon 2017. cornwall, UK. All Rights Reserved Exmoor

Blustery walk with Kim

It’s a stunning place. I share lots of pictures of my walks on Instagram, come and say hello and find out where I’be been.

Starry Quilt

Another great thing about a camping trip is the opportunity for some sewing: you can’t go camping without taking along some English Paper Piecing, it’s not allowed! There’s the time to fill on the train journey and quiet evenings in the tent too. I prepped some diamonds before I left, picking out blues from my scrap box and a couple of pieces left over from my Summer Blues quilt. Why make stars? I have no idea, I just fancied playing!

English paper piecing patchwork with diamond shapes. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Night sky?

It occurs to me now though that it was a serendipitous decision. One of my abiding memories of this trip will be the moonlight walk with Kim. Maybe I’ll call it Night Sky or Exmoor Stars (if it ever gets any bigger!) – what would you call it?

Tutorial

As random as the stars seem, it kick started me into updating my English paper piecing tutorial on making 6 point stars. The old tutorial is still available, but I’m expanding it and adding new photographs. I’ll let you know when it’s complete!

From Bad To Worse!

I’d hoped that by the time we got back from camping I’d be feeling refreshed and ready to take on the challenge of moving home, but life never seems to be that easy! The day after we got home I was wiped out with food poisoning and then gastroenteritis. It’s lasted well over two weeks now. I seem to be over the worst of it and finally feel up to decorating and packing up our home (even though we’ve still got nowhere to go). The illness has been a nightmare with trips to a&e for morphine, sleepless nights and generally wishing I could sleep until it was over!

Last night was the first night in weeks I felt up to taking a few stitches – and had the energy to look for the quilt I’m working on under all the dust sheets and boxes! And it’s this improv quilt, On The Edge, that I’ll be working on again today for Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy. After all the trauma of the last few weeks, some quiet stitching is just what the doctor ordered!

Hand Quilting Floating Squares Patchwork, 2016 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Taking some stitches

What will you be working on today?  I plan to get a good stretch of this top done over the next few days, but who knows what else will come along and put a spanner in the works!

I hope to be back soon, but if you don’t hear from me for a week or so rest assured it’s not because I don’t love you anymore, I’ve probably just lost the plot!!!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

 

 

22 replies
  1. MaryAnn Mings
    MaryAnn Mings says:

    So sorry to hear about the hard times which surely are bringing about some major change in your life. I enjoy your writing and the tender truthfulness of your adventures. Know that I relish hearing about your daily life and enjoy our friendship. May all be well!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      It means a lot to me that we’ve been friends for a number of years MaryAnn and I cherish your good wishes very much. Things will work out for us I’m sure – I only need to look at you for inspiration for a big move and what a positive thing it can be! x

      Reply
  2. Christine Bell
    Christine Bell says:

    Lovely to read your blog, I too love starry nights. One of the things I loved about living in MH was looking up and seeing the Milky Way – magical! Thinking of you x

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Christine you’re one of the brightest stars I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet! It’s funny, Kim and I were looking at the Milky Way together not that long ago 🙂 We’re definitely lucky to have pretty dark skies here too, but I can’t remember seeing the brightness of the moon like we experienced on Exmoor for some time. Still nothing like seeing the Hunter’s moon from the top of the Beacon though! x

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Deb! I honestly thought I was just being a wimp needing morphine for gastroenteritis, then a letter arrived on Saturday that changed my mind. It was from the Public Health authority (a great big form to complete about where I’d been and what I’d eaten for the 5 days before I became ill). In the corner of the letter in big type it said that the bacteria I had can cause “excruciating pain likened to that of appendicitis”!!! I’ve still got my appendix and if that’s what it feels like to have appendicitis I’m going to hang on to it thank you very much, haha! I enjoyed some lovely stitching this evening thank you, needless to say I got sidetracked though and wasn’t sewing what I’d planned to ;D Hope you had a good day too!

      Reply
  3. Karen Goad
    Karen Goad says:

    such a rustic sounding trip that you took – I bet the views were amazing – sorry about the moody teenager – been there done that!! I do hope you find a new place to move to soon that is not something fun to do especially when it wasn’t planned. Hope you get to feeling better soon – I had wondered why you weren’t blogging!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Karen, I hope you’re well! It was a wonderful trip and you’re right, the scenery is just jaw dropping. I’ve been to the same campsite a number of times over the last 25 years and the area never fails to inspire me. It was the first time we’d been without a car though! Honestly, teenagers – when people complain about the terrible two’s I think ‘brace yourselves…you ain’t seen nothing yet!’, hahaha!!! Please tell me you do eventually come out the other side?!?! Thanks for your well wishes – I’m glad to say I’m getting there 🙂

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Pam, thanks for coming by and saying hello. I love the comparison you make between Van Gogh and Kaffe Fassett – you’re spot on! I just had a quick peek at your blog, oh. my. word – you’re an applique goddess!!! Fabulous work and I look forward to a proper explore tomorrow, so lovely to meet you!

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Monica! I usually have a portable project on the go for when I meet my friend Janie for lunch once a week. I finished up the last one, so I think this one might be a good candidate to work on now! Yep, I see more stars in my future 😀

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      ‘Starry Night’ seems to be getting the thumbs up so far Cathie! Thank you for the well wishes. It’s been a rough ride, but hopefully everything will come together soon x

      Reply
  4. CARLA F THERRIEN
    CARLA F THERRIEN says:

    I wish you the best with your search for a new home. Never fun to move especially since it even wasn’t your idea. Love your stars. EPP makes my hands hurt but I think maybe I could handle making some new coasters Thanks for the inspiration

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hello Carla, thanks for coming by – it’s always lovely to meet another quilter! It’s a shame EPP hurts your hands. Is it a condition in your hands, or just the EPP that sets it off? There are definitely some methods of patchwork and quilting that are easier on the hands than others. Sometimes I think I grip things too tightly and get cramp because of it! I really hope you have some success with the coasters – good luck and let us know how you get on 🙂

      Reply
  5. Robin
    Robin says:

    Wow! You’ve put in quite a month. So glad you’re finally feeling better. I love the colors you have chosen for your stars. They look so soothing.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Robin 🙂 These things always seem to come at once don’t they? Hopefully that means there won’t be any more to follow for the rest of the year. It’s good to have something soothing to work on though, just in case!

      Reply
  6. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    It has to be time the universe threw you some luck, Stephie, as the last month sounds horrendous. At least you managed your camping trip – fantastic photos by the way – and made a start on what looks like a lovely EPP project. Teenagers do come out the other side eventually, and then often turn out to be lovely company. You can’t be too far off that with Kim now, I reckon.

    Reply
  7. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    Crikey, what a month! I do hope you are feeling stong enough for house-hunting and wish you early success with it. To reduce the amount of stuff you will have to move you may as well post Summer Blues to me now. Ha ha ha! *she says with fading hope

    Reply
  8. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    What a time you’ve had. It’s so difficult when everything seems to happen at once. Later you’ll look back and wonder how you managed! Hopefully your stitching brings you some peace.

    Reply
  9. Ann
    Ann says:

    Good luck with house hunting. That’s always difficult.

    I’m glad you chose to go camping still. What a refreshing time you had, even with a moody teen. I love to sew on trains and planes, too. Then to see ancient sites, colorful scenery and starry skies. Perfect.

    Reply

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