Categories: inspiration; home life

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Sunday Rolls On By (I Wonder Where!)

Fete, a handmade and hand quilted patchwork quilt by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Tiny pennants, big stitches

Sunday Coffee

Sunday afternoon already. How did that happen? I’ve stitched a few hours away, hacked back my triffid-like tomato plants, cleared up my sewing space and packed Kim off to see his grandparents for a few days. I’ve fed the cat. I’ve daydreamed and thought about how I can fit some walking in this week. And I’ve thought and thought and thought about this blog! *Sigh*…

I just took my last sip of cappuccino and gave myself a metaphorical kick up the backside: stop thinking, just do it! So, this is where a few hours went:

Fete, a handmade and hand quilted patchwork quilt by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Finishing up a section

I finished hand quilting the left hand side of this section of Fete this morning (not in the photo)  and I plan to quilt up what you can see here this evening while I watch The Handmaid’s Tale (anyone else as engrossed as me?).

By the time I’ve stitched this bit up I reckon I’ll have covered an unimpressive 1/7th of the surface…such a long way to go. It’ll be good to finish a whole section though; it usually motivates me to move onto the next. Roll on this evening, I’m giving my arm a rest for now.

Arm Ache

My arm aches. Actually, that’s an understatement. My arm has been causing me agonising pain at times, but it’s my shoulder that’s at the root of it. I can’t lift my arm out more than 90 degrees to my side or ahead of me, and I can’t raise my usually very flexible arm behind my back at all. Not without howling at any rate. My gp says it’s “frozen”. My physio says no long stretches of quilting. Or sitting at the lap top. Or drawing. *Sigh* (Again!)

I’ve been good, I’ve listened and diligently completed my daily shoulder exercises, and I’ve been rewarded with less pain and much more mobility in a relatively short time. I’ve read of other quilters suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow, which has meant they’ve had to give up quilting for months on end. I’m not going to join the list.

It’s an odd ailment this ‘rotator cuff‘ injury. Quilting, typing, etc, doesn’t hurt at all so you don’t realise you could be making it worse. My physiotherapist told me that the very small movements in activities like quilting mean the shoulder muscles are kept in the same position for long periods of time, which leads to them ‘freezing’ and creating the excruciating pain that comes with the larger movements your shoulder needs get you through the day. Which affects everything else from getting dressed to carrying the groceries!  Personally, I reckon it’s all down to age, meh.

Age Will Not Stop Play

I decided sometime ago that advancing age wouldn’t stop me doing the things I love, like long distance walking. I really believe I have to do these things before something as inevitable as a crumbling skeleton or weakening muscles puts an untimely stop to one of life’s joys.

So, last Thursday I headed off to the north Cornwall coast for a couple of days hiking and a night’s wild camping on the cliffs. I thought I’d share a couple of pictures with you because it’s such a spectacular part of the country and fills me with inspiration every time I stretch my legs there.

Boscastle

Boscastle Harbour © Stephanie Boon, 2017 All rights reserved. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Spectacular cliff walking at Boscastle

Millook

Millook, North Cornwall on the South West Coast Path. Interesting geological folds in the cliff face. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. All Rights Reserved. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Beautiful zig zag geology exposed on the cliff face at Millook

Cliff Tracks

 

Slate track bordered with purple bell heather on the cliffs of north Cornwall. South West Coast Path August 2017 © Stephanie boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Slate tracks bordered with colourful bell heather and gorse

Rocky Valley

Busy tracks around Rocky Valley near Tintagel. © Stephanie Boon, 2017 All Rights Reserve. www.dawchorusstudio.com

Tracks around Rocky Valley near Tintagel, smudged with the orange of monbretia.

I got home on Friday night and was already thinking about the next hike! Sometimes inspiration is everywhere, you can’t get enough of it and want to take it all in at once. But it’s not always like that, sometimes things just percolate for a while, bubbling to the surface every now and again, until a bubble finally bursts into a lightbulb moment.

Inspiration for my other sister’s quilt has been like that. I’ve been collecting nature themed fabrics for it, but I didn’t really have any idea how I’d use them. Until recently. It’s all that drawing in the woods. I noticed something and it’s stuck in my mind. It keeps going round and round and sooner or later I’m going to have to get out some scrap fabric and try out an idea.

But first… yes, first, I must push on with Fete.

Happy Slow Sunday Stitching everyone! I’m linking up with Kathy for the first time in an absolute age.

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

 

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Walking’s Where It’s At

Oh boy, I had no idea it’s been so long since I posted! Quilting is still going on in these parts, but it’s taken a bit of a back seat for a while because I’ve decided to do some training in something a bit different…

Walking

Zennor Head on the South West Coast Path, Cornwall, June 2017. © Stephanie Boon, 2017, www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Sweeping coastal views on the north coast of Cornwall

Walking and exploring my local landscape has always been a source of enjoyment and inspiration, and has a clear benefit to my mental health. The health benefits of walking are always touted by medical professionals and health and fitness bloggers and it’s become a bit of a hackneyed cure-all.

I’ve had decades of trying to stave off chronic depression with varying success, but I can attest to the need to get outside and run or walk, whether it’s 2 miles or 22 miles, and gradually the positive benefits  affect my mood. When you’re in the depths of ill-health it can be really hard, like walking through treacle, but I’ve learnt I just have to push through it.

I had a bit of a blip a few months back and pushed myself through to the point, where today, I’m feeling better than I have for years!

A5 study of willow tree-tops in oil pastels. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Tree-tops. Willows.

I’ve been feeling creative again. And looking to the future. I’ve signed up to train as a walking group leader. It’s a nationally recognised award that qualifies you to safely take groups on guided walks in lowland Britain.  I’m full of ideas of how to put the training to use! Walking/drawing workshops for artists and textile artists, hiking and walking around glorious Cornwall, workshops in map reading and navigation (I’m not too bad, haha!) – you get the idea I’m sure.

View from Trencrom Hill, St Michael's Way, West Cornwall. Pastel drawing by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

View from Trencrom Hill, St Michael’s Way, West Cornwall.

But training requires walking. Lots of walking. So, I’ve been out and about a lot and quilting has been confined to a few snatched hours here and there, progress has been slow and I felt I had nothing to show. And then there’s still the issue with the comments not working on this blog…

Quilting

Prosperity – hand quilting still in progress

This quilt, a wall quilt, is still in the hoop, although the centre section is now finished and I’m working on the border. A few more concentrated hours and it’ll be finished up.

Prosperity is a small hand quilted wall quilt by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Hand quilting underway

Prosperity is a small hand quilted wall quilt by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Close up of the hand quilting on Prosperity

I decided to work Prosperity with as small stitches as I could muster and I’m pretty pleased with my efforts, even if they are a bit uneven here and there. I’m looking forward to getting this one finished up because I’ve got all the things I need to be getting on with my sister’s quilt Fete now.

Fete – my sister’s 40th birthday patchwork top all finished up

© Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved Patchwork quilt top in progress

Fete – trying it out for size

The top’s all finished up and I squared it up just last week. I’ve begun the back, but still need to make a strip for the side because it’s not quite wide enough. Shouldn’t take long, just need a bit of inspiration! I made an appliqué title block last year, but it doesn’t work with the deep blue Kaffe Fassett backing fabric, and it’s probably a bit too big (have you seen the new Kaffe website, it’s so much more inspiring than it used to be). I’ll probably add the appliqué to a cushion or something…what would you do with it?

Patchwork fabrics.

Almost ready for a sandwich! – The bright Kaffe backing is in the centre

 

'Fete' applique in colourful fabrics for a patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Fete – feeling summery!

Exmoor Stars – slowly growing English paper piecing

English paper pieced patchwork stars. © Stephanie Boon, 2017 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Making stars

Exmoor Stars is my English paper pieced ‘background quilting project’. I do a little bit here and there, usually once a week when I’m out with my knitty friend for lunch.  It’s slowly growing, but I need to cut and baste more fabric before I can do anymore. At the moment I think I might give this one to my brother for his birthday in 2019 – so plenty of time to work on it. Well, I’ve got a quilt on the go for both my sisters, so it would seem fair to make him one too, haha!

My other sister’s 50th birthday quilt

I haven’t actually started this one yet, even though I’d intended to by now… her birthday’s next May and I want to get the top finished by October time really, to give myself enough time to quilt it. Better get on with it then! I’ve started a good collection of fabric though, which is getting me a bit excited.

I’m going with prints with a nature theme for this one – there are some really good ones around at the moment, and I’ve been lucky with a donation of the butterfly fabric by a friend who was having a clear out. As I’ve mentioned before I think, my sister suggested pastels for her quilt because she said she had ‘no idea what colour my walls will be by then’… since when do quilts have to go with walls?!?! Pastels shmastels, there are going to be a few brights in there, otherwise it won’t be a quilt made by me, ha!

Fabrics for patchwork

Pastels…ish!

That’s about it for me at the moment. My apologies to you all for not being around much lately, but I hope you’ll forgive me and welcome me back into the fold soon. I’ve still got a lot of walking to do, so will be out and about a lot, especially in this wonderful summer weather we’re having here in the UK.

Why not come and join me on Instagram, where I try and post more regularly (daily when I can)? I’ve opened 2 accounts now,  stephieb.dawnchorusstudio for quilting and a bit of home life and TenMileHike where I share photos just of my walks – hopefully you’ll enjoy at least one of them! And it would be a great place to chat, since I just haven’t had the time to sort out the comment form here…

Hope to see you there, and I’ll pop back to the blog sooner rather than later! I might even have a finished quilt to show before the end of July!

Love and best wishes

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

 

 

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Sunflowers and Sewing

You know what it’s like when you’re at a low ebb and it feels like nothing’s ever going to come together and all you want to do is sleep. Then something comes along out of the blue that lifts your spirits and makes everything alright again. I had one of those moments recently. A little parcel addressed to me arrived on the doormat one morning. I wasn’t expecting anything; Kim’s the one around here that gets all the parcels from his Ebay trading. I opened it, wondering what on earth it could be, and got a lovely surprise that made me smile all day.

Remember Roz? How we met on line some years ago and then in real life when she was on holiday in Cornwall this summer? Roz had sent me “a little something”.  A little something she’d made.

Sewing case sent by a friend. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

I’m not going to pretend my desk is tidy!

The Sewing Case

I was so touched when I realised she’d sent me a lovely little sewing case that’s perfect for putting in my bag with my portable English paper piecing (EPP) (follow the link to my tutorials on this technique). It has a pocket for just about everything I need, from scissors and thread to fabric and templates. The cheerful sunflower fabric will always make me think of Roz and how she made my day…again!

Slow Sunday

This Sunday has been all about slowing down and easing the stress. I went out for a walk (the first since camping and food poisoning) and a bit of blackberrying with friends this afternoon, followed by a cool glass of summer cider in one of our favourite pubs.

Friends on the village green!

The blackberries will go perfectly with a big bag of apples they gave me from the trees in their garden. Blackberry and apple crumble is one of my favourite desserts at this time of year, and the rest of the apples should make a good batch of chutney.  Or maybe I’ll pick some more berries and make jam or jelly. That’s yet another lovely and unexpected gift from friends. In return (as it were) I took them on a walk they’d never been on before, a lovely meander through the woods and creeks a few miles from home.

Slow Sunday Stitching

I’m so exhausted that this evening’s slow sewing is going to be very slow and peaceful. I plan to do nothing more than organise my lovely new sewing case and baste some EPP diamonds for next week.  What was the best slow sewing gift you ever received, and why do you cherish it so much? I’d love to know, tell all below!

Inside of a sewing case made by a friend. Pockets for scissors, needles, etc. In sunflower fabric in blues and yellows. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Putting everything in its place

Don’t forget to hop on over to Kathy’s to find out what the other slow Sunday stitchers have been up to today. Have a lovely start to the week and fingers crossed I’ll have some news about somewhere for us to live next week. Until then…

happy stitching!

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

 

 

 

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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

 

 

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The Neglected Needle

Truth be told, everything’s been neglected around here of late. Kim was given an extension for his photography assignments, which meant another week of stress. This past week I’ve been de-stressing with extra sleep and a bit of time out doors. Today looks like a day of catching up with the very neglected housework and then, finally, the neglected needle will be put to some good use.

Hand quilting a flying geese quilt border. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

A few stitches

I’ve managed to grab a few minutes stitching here and there and the flying geese border on Summer Blues is slowly but surely getting there – and I’ll be slow stitching plenty more this evening! I’m still enjoying it and love the quilt, but I can’t wait to put this one to bed and get on with quilting some other things. I will remain firm though: no more quilting other projects until this one is done! (You have no idea how hard that is!)

Getting Rid of Your Old Needles

If you’re anything like me you’ll go through a hundred needles in the blink of an eye. Blunt. Bent. Snapped. Blunt needles are the bane of my quilting life – I can virtually see the points disappearing before they even touch fabric. I regularly pull one out of the pin cushion only to stick it straight back in again, because it would be a better garden dibber than quilting needle. My pin cushion looks like a porcupine and I pull out each and every needle to inspect under a strong desk lamp. I stick each one back in turn and finally give up and use the only needle I can find with a point, which happens to be an embroidery needle. Great for threading, not so great for hand quilting.

I have a large collection of blunt needles littering my work place, they’re in glass jars, hanging around on the base of a lamp, stuffed in pin cushions, loose in a little box of bits and pieces I keep on my desk. I even found some on my bedside cabinet the other day! Since the demise of the film canister I’ve run out of ideas on how to dispose of them safely. Sometimes my needles come in a plastic package and I can stuff a few back in there and bin it, but it seems to be slow going and my pile of rejects continues to grow. How do you get rid of yours? I ask, of course, with all the impending housework I have in mind!

Out and About

I’ve had some great walks this week and have been sharing some pictures on Instagram (come and join me), here are a couple of my favourites. I love the little Dexter cow I met on a walk over at Mylor yesterday. I used to live in the village, but now I live about 10 miles away so I cycled over on my bike, met a friend for a walk around the creek and some lunch at the pub. A soft mist hung in the air all day, but it was warm and sticky and felt like summer’s on the way.

 

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

Pond in one of the fields I cross regularly on my local walks. #pond #hedgerow #tree #skies #reflection #field #buttercups

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

This cow may have the shortest set of cow legs I’ve ever seen!!! #cow #dexter #noseycow #walk #mylor #cornwall #kernow

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on


I wonder if I can squeeze in another walk today…dare I forego the housework again?!

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching and hope to see you there.  Happy Sunday everyone!

PS let me know what you think of the layout of the new blog/website design so far, still lots to do but I’d love your feedback – thank you!

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

 

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Slowing Down The Stress

Stressful Times

Hello lovely friends! What a stressful couple of weeks it’s been, so hectic that I’ve barely had time at all for any (much needed) slow sewing. If you’ve had teenagers going through exams I’m sure you’ll understand! Kim has got so far behind with his AS level assignments (due to illness earlier on in his course), that the closer his deadlines loom the closer my blood pressure is to exploding. He, of course, is so laid back and leaving everything to the very last minute hoping mum (aka The Biggest Nag on the Planet!) will help him pick up the pieces. There’ve been at least two 4am finishes this past week alone. I’m a zombie. And there’s more to come: he’s just been given another week’s extension, aargh!

Sheep and lambs in a rainy lane near Truro, Cornwall. Photograph © Kim Gentle-Boon 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

One of Kim’s photos taken a couple of months ago.

The thing is, if he hands in his assignments ‘as is’, he’ll get a pass, but his tutors say he’s ‘very talented’ (especially in photography) and if he can get it together (in time) he’ll get a much higher grade. Every mother wants their child to reach their potential – even if they don’t seem bothered! So, what are you supposed to do?  How many of us wonder when their child will take responsibility for their own actions; how do you know when to step back and let them get on with it, no matter the consequences? Kim is just 18 – going on 14. I gather it’s a common issue with teenage boys! It goes without saying I love him to bits, but boy this parenting business is ruddy hard work at times. If you think a toddler’s behaviour is a nightmare to deal with, brace yourself!


Refresh and Rejuvenate

When I’m this stressed I need to get out; over the years I’ve learnt that vigorous exercise is the only way to get it out of my system. And this week proved to be the most wonderful time to escape the house. Along with the glorious sunshine has come some spring warmth and an abundance of rejuvenating colour. I’ve walked and I’ve cycled and every time I’ve been out I’ve seen something that’s stopped me in my tracks.

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on


I’m so lucky to live where I do, I can’t imagine how I’d centre myself in a big city. I’m a country girl all the way through, despite (or because of) growing up in London (lots of open spaces there then though, that aren’t there now).


So, Onto Sewing!

I’ve managed to spend an hour or two stitching in the evenings, which is the perfect way to wind down, as I’m sure you all know! I’ve managed a few more Quilty365 circles, a little bit of hand quilting in the borders of Summer Blues and the odd bit of hand piecing half square triangles too.

Hand quilting a flying geese patchwork border. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.om

Summer Blues border

Hand pieced patchwork pinwheel blocks. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Pinwheel Block (repeated three times!)

I’m planning on updating my tutorial for hand piecing half square triangles – it seriously needs some much better photographs. It seemed like a good little project to work on when I could grab a moment in the evenings. I love the way these blocks have turned out, what do you think? The large floral is an Anna Maria Horner fabric, but I don’t have a clue where the little rose print is from – it was just something from the scrap box. I’m going to have to make something with these blocks, they’re too pretty to leave languishing, but there aren’t many of them, so, something small; what would you make?

I hope you’ve all had a good couple of weeks and your projects have been moving on as you’d hope. I’m aiming to try and catch up with everyone over the next week, but just in case I don’t make it you’ll know why! And if I don’t, there’s only one more week of stress to go and then I’ll be back to ‘normal’!

Happy Slow Sunday Stitching!

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

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Art Studio – Sunset in Pastel

Sunset Over Kea Downs

'Sunset from Kea Downs' Fine Art Drawing, Pastel on Paper © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Sunset Over Kea Downs

I packed up my pastels in a rucksack earlier this week, tucked a few sheets of A3 paper and a sturdy board under my arm and headed out for a walk. I wasn’t planning on going far, 6 miles or so.  I had no plan at all really, just the feeling that I wanted to find somewhere to draw. I left home later than I intended and it wasn’t long before sunset.

Walk

I headed out along Kea Downs which gives far reaching views towards the hill of Carn Brea, a local landmark with a memorial to the mine owning Basset family on top.

Field of Maize near Chacewater © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Footpath across a field of maize

I usually carry an Ordnance Survey map with me, even on local walks: I like to find new paths or tracks to explore and you never know what gem you’ll find next. I didn’t need the map for a familiar footpath across a field of maize, but when it’s grown taller than me I sometimes think I’ll be lost in it forever. The path goes down into the village of Chacewater and I headed out again on the other side through unfamiliar, stony bridle tracks, consulting the map every so often to check my progress.

At the top of one particularly steep bridleway there was a spectacular view over the valley. It was scarred with the usual abandoned mine workings and waste that haunt the landscape across Cornwall.

Close to sunset at Creegbrawse, nr Chacewater. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

View across the valley

By now it was close to sunset, the sun was hanging low in the sky and cast a pinkish glow over the landscape, but I still hadn’t seen anything in particular I wanted to draw.  I sat down beside a metal farm gate and watched a small herd of cattle as they came towards me to check me out, probably expecting to be fed.  I sat for a while watching them, rubbing their soft heads which they shook away like a horse shakes off a fly with its tail.

I decided to head back home down another unexplored track and gave up hope of finding anything inspiring. But back on Kea Downs road, after the sun had dipped below the horizon, the sky turned into an incredible spectacle of changing pinks and reds, sometimes washed with golds, all with a rich purply darkness for a backdrop. I decided I had nothing to lose.

I scrambled up on top of a high hedge covered in thorny brambles and started drawing the sky. The colours shifted and changed quickly until darkness fell.  I carried on drawing until I couldn’t tell whether I was picking up a grey or purple chalk any more, then packed up and trudged home.

'Sunset from Kea Downs' Fine Art Drawing, Pastel on Paper © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Sunset Over Kea Downs

Coldness had fallen with the dark.

If you enjoyed this, why not read about one of my collage pieces next?

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

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Slow Stitching Sunday in Summer

Beside the Sea

Slow Stitching Sunday in the sunshine is a bit of a treat around here lately.  When you see the sun it’s wise to grab the opportunity or there may not be another one for weeks.

Slow Stitching Sunday - Janie by the sea knitting. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

A sunny slow stitching spot beside the sea

This is Mylor, a small village in an idyllic location tucked away near the more famous town of Falmouth.  I met Janie for our usual Slow Stitching Sunday lunch date in a bustling cafe that overlooks the marina. We sat outside under an umbrella swatting away wasps and watching boats come and go for an hour or so. Lunch was particularly delicious; summery delicious (simple Greek salad for me and a rosti and poached egg concoction for Janie).

When it was time to get out the sewing we decided to head for somewhere more peaceful.  Just a short walk along the coast we found the perfect spot and out came the picnic blanket.  We settled in for a while lying on our backs cloud-watching, like children. I’m not one for lying in the sun doing nothing for very long, so I lazily stitched some half square triangles for my Ocean Waves quilt. It seemed pretty apt, as we sat overlooking the sea.  I thought about how the memories of this afternoon will be stitched into this quilt, a kind of synchronicity.

Slow Stitching Sunday - boat in the harbour. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Love the name of this fishing boat!

I lived in Mylor for about 5 years and after Janie left I decided to take a favourite walk.  It goes along the coast and then heads back down towards the marina along a woodland track. I loved living there; I could literally step outside my front door and be on footpath in minutes, a world away from everything.

Slow Stitching Sunday - marshes on the Bissoe Cycle Trail. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

The ride home on Bissoe Bike Trail

When I got back to my bike it was beginning to cloud over. The ride home was 11 or 12 miles and I took a short stretch of it on a trail that wends its way through an old tin mining area. It’s marshy here and can look pretty barren and desolate in winter months, but today I was in love with the reds and greens of the landscape. All I could think about was capturing the colours and saving them in my mind, sealing them away for future inspiration. I have so many ideas for quilts, but not enough fabric – and I fear not enough slow stitching Sundays to get them all finished!

Where’s your favourite outdoor place to sew? Do you ever sew beside the sea?

PS If you’d like to have a go at hand piecing triangles like me have a look at my tutorial here.  It’s such a satisfying way to get some slow stitching done when you’re away from your sewing area that I barely leave home without some!

Linking up with Kathy for this week’s Slow Stitching Sunday and looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to since last week.

Happy stitching.

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Lost in Stitches

 

Slow Sunday

Sunday afternoon. There are a few minutes to spare before your friend arrives to take you out for a walk.  How do you spend them?

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Hand sewing a patchwork quilt. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Lost in stitches

Being a quilter, of course I picked up my latest English paper piecing project and set in the last few triangles to finish off the centre panel of the cushion I showed you recently.  It’s almost there now, almost at the end of its journey.  Which is really apt: I’ve been sewing this on my journey up to see Kim (my son) in hospital in Plymouth over the last 6 weeks and as I come to the end of the piecing journey Kim is coming towards the end of his inpatient stay.  He’s been doing so well lately it looks likely he’ll be home in a few more weeks.  So exciting!  The hospital has a gradual discharge policy, to help him settle back in at home while he continues with therapy, so he was home for the weekend. On Sunday afternoon he was visiting friends, so I grabbed the opportunity to catch up with one of mine.

Norfolk Bricks Octogan Cushion English Paper Piecing © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

On the final stages now

The morning’s rain began to clear while I waited for her to arrive. I sat in the kitchen in my favourite grandad chair under the open window, taking a few stitches, clearing my head as the clouds passed.  By the time we got to Cubert we were basking under warm blue skies.

Walk

© Stephanie Boon, Smuggler's Den near Cubert www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Smugglers’ Den

Before we headed off down a steep hill towards the sea we stopped for lunch at the Smugglers’ Den, a quintessential English pub, pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  I love this place; in winter the wood burners are lit and the low ceilings and low light make it a warm and cosy place to retreat with a good book, on a day like Sunday you can enjoy the fabulous views over the countryside.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Geraniums growing in the hedgerow

Inspiration was everywhere.  These beautiful geraniums growing wild in the hedgerow remind me of a saying my mum was always quoting as I was growing up: ‘blue and green should never be seen without a colour in-between’.  This photo proves her wrong entirely, haha!  And it goes to show that the best place for colour inspiration is the nature around you…not what your mother tells you at all!

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Walking towards the sea

The footpaths crossed fields full of buttercups and flag irises, lazily drifting across the landscape towards the dunes.  Footpaths we hadn’t followed before.  Belinda and I agree that finding new places, new paths, close to home is as exciting and inspiring as finding them anywhere: we’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and have all this on our doorstep. But we didn’t quite make it down to the sea; we had to turn back so that I could get Kim ready in time to go back to Plymouth. No matter, it’s something to look forward to next time.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Footpath

Back in the car again on the drive to Plymouth I have my slow stitching in my lap, and a lighter heart.

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