Blackwell House-a perfect retreat

I needed a break, time away on my own after dealing with some health issues and this was the perfect place. I considered spa retreats and hotels and knew that all if those would make me feel isolated and uncomfortable. I wanted somewhere quiet, not too many people, not too far to travel to and a little bit of luxury. The colonial room was perfect.

I was only 90 minutes from home but I could have been at the other end of the world because I didn’t leave the building as everything I needed was right there.

The entrance was so homely and welcoming even before I met Joyce and Steve.

There was also a friendly greeting from both The dog and cats so I didn’t miss smudge too much.

Afternoon tea was yummy with home made scones that melted in your mouth not to mention the home made preserves of which I had to try both the raspberry and strawberry. I sat in the very comfortable sitting room to give the other guests some privacy as they were in the garden conservatory. So much space for a guest house that only had three rooms.

They even provided a little bubbly for my birthday.

There was so much space and comfort you didn’t have to lock yourself away in your room to get quiet.

The evening meal was like something from master chef but it was difficult to make a choice from the menu as It all sounded amazing. 

I had the duck and medallions of beef followed by the apple tart. The wine was also perfect for the menu I chose. I was given the choice to eat alone or sit with oth guests at the dining room which again was lovely to have the option. The other guests were also thoroughly enjoying every aspect of their stay and we enjoyed the meal together.

The colonial room was incredibly comfortable to retire to with a little sitting area so you didn’t have to sit on the bed to read or relax. Some of my favourite animals around the room also.

And how did they know ivory roses were my favourite!! LOL

I rarely take time to relax in a bath but given the opportunity like this with no plans I took the time.

I was only there for one day and night but the effect was that of having a break away for so much longer. Sad to leave but looking forward to returning.


Out and about in Co Down as Summer is ending

Elephants and pigs are my two favourite animals after my dog of course. No elephants in Co Down but plenty of pigs. I feel so fortunate to live in this area.

We are regular visitors to the Ulster folk and transport museum whether it’s just for a walk with Smudge or to demonstrate some traditional patchwork. These little pigs reside in the farm there and I do plan to paint some pig pictures soon.

There is so much in in this area throughout the summer I find myself spoilt for choice. The red hot chilli pipers came to Donaghadee and although I hadn’t coped by well with noise over the summer with the work behind my house this was much more acceptable in Donaghadee.

We even found some Pokemon at the concert and had some hot chocolate at the end of the evening when it was getting a bit chilly. It’s almost end of September and I am still in my flip flops, weather wise it has been my kind of weather. My travels to family in Connecticut, USA and Weymouth, England did help.

Back to Cultra folk park to their present exhibit on Irish dancing. I have always been fascinated by the dancing but even more so the embroidery detail on the clothing. Having grown up in Portadown in a school that was considered Protestant I feel I lost out a lot on the Irish culture that my ancestors would have enjoyed. I try to make up for it now.

I am trying to incorporate gaelic design in any future designs I make especially quilting.

What I did notice about the older costumes was the heavy fabric that I am sure would have been cumbersome and not as comfortable as some of today’s costumes.

I forgot to take a photo of the wonderful wicker sculpture outside the building of an Irish dancer.

A Quilt in a day using a flannel jelly roll and some scraps

I have been crocheting most baby presents last few years but due to time constraints and the fact boys seem to be very popular I was low on blues so I decided to quilt. I had a lovely jelly roll I purchased in Joann fabrics many years ago and thought it would be ideal. 

I had some plain flannel that would compliment it. I attached all the jelly roll strips end to end then cut them into the width I wanted the quilt. I knew I hadn’t enough to make it as big as I wanted and I didn’t want the blue and white flannel in strips as felt it would be too boring so I cut rectangles to place randomly in the quilt.

I made up my mind as I went along. I also thought that for all the rectangles to be plain may also look boring so after mentioning it to the coffee and craft ladies I decided to personalise it.

I thought the initial of the surname would be better so it would suit any other Hamiltons that may come along.

I appliqués the letter and felt it did cheer it up a lot.

I edged the quilt with scraps of flannel and quilted it using a stitch in the ditch method. Batting was used between layers so it should look more quilt even after the first wash.


A national Trust property well worth the visit.

Orangery which may actually have been a fernery
Excellent tour guide who helped us see how it would have been to visit back in those days.

The builder or owner wanted to show his wealth and loyalty to the crown throughout the design.

Embroidery sampler display.