Abbey Cwm Hir Hall – Wales – Photos

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

I’m sure that Abbey Cwm Hir Hall is wonderful at any time of the year, but at Christmas it is truly spectacular.  The reception area is fascinating, with lots of old signs such as this Singer advert.  We saw vintage bikes hanging from the ceilings, traditional bellows beside the fire …..

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

This is before you have begun the tour of fifty two rooms, each one decorated for Christmas with a different theme.  From the outside it’s hard to believe that there are so many rooms within it.  It was dark by the time we’d finished the tour, so we didn’t even have a chance to look at the 12 acres of gardens – we definitely need a return trip in the summer.

Seashell tree

Seashell tree

The Collections

We were shown around by Paul, the owner and he had a wonderful and amusing store of anecdotes about the hall and the area.  These photos aren’t in any particular order – just examples of the decorations. In this room the theme was obviously the sea and the tree was blue, decorated with shells and fishnets.

Sewing machine collection

Sewing machine collection

The owners of the hall seem to be obsessive collectors so it wasn’t long before we came across their sewing machine collection.  There must have been half a dozen sewing machines (all vintage) in this area.  Paul’s wife makes all the curtains, covers the seats and makes the decorations so I’m sure there is a modern sewing machine tucked away somewhere.

Gold star

Gold star

Tree Decorations

There were many wonderful tree decorations throughout the hall and I found loads of inspiration in all the rooms.  The lovely thing about Abbey Cwm Hir hall was that we were encouraged to take photos and pick up ideas during our tour.  What a refreshing change from the many places that don’t allow photos.

Button Christmas wreath

Button Christmas wreath

Christmas Wreaths

We came across many wreaths, but this one particularly stood out for me because I’m sure you have a huge button tin – I certainly do – and this struck me as an interesting way of using them.  The buttons were formed into a chain which was then wound around the basic wreath.

Dolls house room

Dolls house room

The red mantle scarf was interesting.  It varies from my own one in that it can be used on any length of mantle.  It was also very striking with Christmas trees forming a zigzag pattern across the scarf.

Clothing room

Clothing room

This room was dedicated to clothing.  The decorations on the tree showed lots of small dolls in different outfits.  So much detail!

Crocheted cakes

Crocheted cakes

A mouthwatering display of crocheted and knitted cakes formed a central feature of this room.

Floral mural

Floral mural

Abbey Cwm Hir decorations

The attraction of this hall is not just the Christmas decorations:  the hall has been renovated over a period of twenty years by Paul and his wife with some very talented artists.  This floral display was just one of many painted on the walls.  I would never have the confidence even to begin a project like that.

Paintings beside the stairs

Paintings beside the stairs

These two paintings on the stairs have been shaped so that their base follows the line of the stairs.  I had never seen this before and the effect was really striking.  Many of the walls and doors had individual floral paintings applied directly on the surfaces.

 

Angel tree

Angel tree

More Trees

Festive cheer

Festive cheer

I’ll leave you with more photos of a small fraction of the fifty two trees.

Fabric ornaments

Fabric ornaments

These tree decorations were a great idea – fabric shapes with a small amount of stuffing.  Very striking.

Visiting Abbey Cwm Hir was a great experience and certainly went a long way to putting me in the Christmas mood.  I would recommend anyone to visit there if they are in the Llandrindodd Wells area.

 

Pineapple Quilt Pattern – Courthouse Steps

Pineqpple quilt

Pineqpple quilt

In order to make this Pineapple Quilt I have used all the easy options.  The pineapple sections are folded squares, so minimum sewing.  I have used the courthouse steps quilt block which I always find quicker than making a traditional log cabin quilt adding logs all round the central square.  Altogether I think that the quilt looks complex but is very easy to make.

The quilt measures 50″ square, using four blocks which are 20″ square finished size.  I used 1.1/4 yards of purple fabric, 1.1/4 yards of white and 1.1/2 yards of the leaf fabric.  The leaf fabric actually comes from the Tropicana range and is probably meant to be palm tree fronds.  I felt that they looked sufficiently like pineapple leaves to add to the quilt.  As usual you can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed pineapple quilt block

Completed pineapple quilt block

Cutting requirements for the pineapple quilt

8.1/2″ squares:  four white

3.7/8″ squares:  sixty four purple

2.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric:  eighteen in leaf fabric, seven white, five purple

Fold the squares

Fold the squares

Make the central area

Begin with an 8.1/2″ white square.  Fold the purple squares along one diagonal to make a triangle.

One triangle on each corner

One triangle on each corner

Place one triangle on each corner of the white square so that the raw edges are all in line and the folded edge of the triangle lies across the corner.

Pin the triangles in place – just take care that your pins are not along the seam lines.  The two right hand triangles are waiting to be placed.

Sew the first frame

Sew the first frame

Add an 8.1/2″ strip of the leaf fabric to the top and the bottom of the square.  Press with the seam allowances away from the square.

Add triangles to the corners

Add triangles to the corners

Then add a 12.1/2″ strip to either side.  Check that the triangle edges are lying along the edges of the square as you sew – sometimes they can slip out of line while you’re not looking!

Add a purple triangle to each corner of the block and pin in place.

Second frame

Second frame

Add the second frame

For the second frame you will need two lengths of  12.1/2″ for the top and bottom followed by two lengths of 16.1/2″ for the sides.  Pin purple triangles to each corner.

Third frame

Third frame

Add the third frame

The third frame is the final frame.  I had intended to use four frames, but then decided that the block was going to be large enough with just the three frames.

You’ll need two lengths of 16.1/2″ for the top and bottom followed by two lengths of 20.1/2″ for the sides.

Add a purple triangle to each corner.

Sew a white strip between the pairs

Sew a white strip between the pairs

Assemble the pineapple quilt

Sew the blocks together in two pairs with a white strip between each pair.  This strip measures 20.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ in white fabric.

Make the central row

Make the central row

Now make a strip using two 20.1/2″ white strips with a purple square between them.  This makes the central row which will lie between the two pairs of blocks.

Sew the central strip to the top pair of blocks.  I find it safest to pin the row at the central purple square first and then smooth it in each direction.  That way you get a nice clean join in the middle.

Next sew the bottom pair of blocks to the central row.

Add the top sashing

Add the top sashing

Finish the sashing

At the moment the sashing is only between the blocks but not round the outer edge.  Cut two 42.1/2″ lengths of white fabric and sew one to the top and one to the bottom of the quilt.

Add sashing to the sides

Add sashing to the sides

Then cut two 46.1/2″ lengths and sew one to each side of the quilt.

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

I have used 2.1/2″ strips of purple fabric to frame the quilt.  You’ll need two lengths of 46.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 50.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the pineapple quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the quilting for beginners section.

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/D9tYHQvR8jE

 

Lapworth Museum

Lapworth Museum

Last week I stumbled upon a fascinating museum just up the road from where I live.  It’s called the Lapworth Museum of Geology.  To see my photos click here or click on the photo.

Another busy weekend at the Christmas Craft Fair at the Mac in Cannon Hill Park.  I really will remember to take some photos of my stall this time – I’ve had several requests for photos.  After that I can relax and start to plan my own Christmas.

Lapworth Geology Museum – Birmingham – Photos

Lapworth Geology Museum

My visit to the Lapworth Geology Museum was an unexpected treat.  It's run by the University of Birmingham and was absolutely fascinating.  It's also free to visit!  The Museum is set within the University and there is a lot of building work going on … [Continue reading]

Medallion Bethlehem Star Quilt Pattern

Bethlehem Star quilt pattern

Using the Bethlehem Star quilt block for this week's quilt seemed appropriate for this time of year - and it is a lovely block.  I have used it as the central medallion and then surrounded it with a circle of smaller stars.  I love the way it has … [Continue reading]

Liverpool – Merseyside – Photos

Liverpool memories

Liverpool is a photographer's dream, but I have chosen this photo because the symbolism moved me so much.  A bombed out church has been left as it must have been at the end of the war and the sculpture in front of it shows a German and an English … [Continue reading]

Bluebirds Flying Quilt – Free Pattern

Bluebirds flying quilt

The name of the Bluebirds Flying quilt block attracted me, thinking of all the birds migrating to warmer climates at this time of year - it's also a very pretty block!  I have teamed it with a simple alternate block to make this lovely fresh looking … [Continue reading]

National Memorial Arboretum – Alrewas – Photos

National Memorial Arboretum

I visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas earlier this year.  This was officially opened in May 2001 and is a moving tribute to our armed services.  This is the official description of it: A spiritually uplifting place which honours the … [Continue reading]

Curved Log Cabin Quilt Pattern

Curved log cabin quilt

My curved log cabin quilt pattern has turned out really well - well I think so, anyway!  I've used the basic log cabin quilt block but with different sized logs.  This means that the red square which began in the middle of the block actually ends up … [Continue reading]

Warwick Castle – Photos

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is one of those places that I had always intended to visit but as it's nearby I hadn't quite managed a trip there until recently.  After all, it has been there since 1068 so I felt that it was likely to be around for a while yet.  What … [Continue reading]

Budapest Quilt Pattern – Floor Tile Design

Budapest quilt

The Budapest quilt design is based on floor tiles that I saw on my recent visit to Hungary.  You can find a link to the photos from that trip at the bottom of the page.  The quilt measures 67" square, using nine 15" blocks with three borders. For … [Continue reading]