Sarum: The Novel of England and a visit to some of the places mentioned.

Sarum: The Novel of England by Edward Rutherfurd


Sarum by Edward Rutherford is an epic novel about the area of England known as Sarum. This novel, of more than one thousand pages, spans more than 10,000 years, covering the span of English history from primitive times to modern times.

ABD Trip to Stonehenge 2015

We went through Old Sarum and Salisbury on our way to visit Stonehenge.

This was an interesting read, I started it a couple of weeks before we took our 16 yr old granddaughter to the area. I was hoping to finish it on the plane over, or bare minimum, as we were traveling between locations. No luck. I should have started it much sooner, weighing in at a hefty 2.8 pounds, I was glad to have a digital version!

It opens in primitive times, 7,500 years before Christ. There is a very primitive society of hunters with small groups banding together and living in huts. One of the hunters, his woman, and their children migrate to the south for better hunting. They meet another family, who leads them to Sarum, where they settle. Their descendants remain in the area for centuries.

This historical novel is basically the saga of five families, some direct descendants of the first families, while others descended from the ancient Romans, Saxons and other groups that came to the area and remained. As Britain changes, the families change with their fortunes coming and going. Their lives and intertwined through events and marriage.

Westminster Abbey

So many impressive churches and cathedrals all across Europe, but Westminster Abbey might be my very favorite!

Sarum explains how places like Stonehenge were built as a great temple to the gods so the great chief Krona would have a male heir. During Christian times, the great cathedral at Salisbury is constructed, filling the lifetime of Osmund the Mason. The reader watches then as Porteus, a Roman soldier who marries and remains in Sarum, constructs a Roman style villa with its rich mosaics and introduces Roman farming methods to the area, which improves the quality and quantity of the estate’s output.

ABD London

We took the time to climb to the top of Tower Bridge. What a spectacular view and, with the glass floor, you could watch the traffic beneath your feet!

The reader also sees the religious and political development of Britain through Sarum. There are the days of paganism with its human sacrifices and the building of the temples and the barrows. There is the gradual transition to Christianity with the pagans practicing their rites in secret, a practice the Protestants followed many years later. There is the burning of the heretics under Mary Tudor and the Puritan burning of witches. The different Protestant sects struggled until they all came to live together peacefully.

ABD trip Tower of London

We chatted with a Beefeater at the Tower of London where many of the royal beheadings took place.

The political development of England gradually changed from the great chiefs into a constitutional monarchy. The reader sees how the institutions like the Magna Charta, jury trials, and Parliament came into being and watches how various wars, both internal and external, are fought.

We watched a military review led by Prince Charles.

We watched a military review led by Prince Charles; this was the Trooping of Colours for the Queen’s birthday.

Through all of this change, life goes on for the five families, as they adapt and cope with their changing world in Sarum.

If you have an interest in Great Britain’s history and enjoy epic novels, I think you’ll find it fascinating.

At least you won’t have to research your next book anytime, soon!


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Blue, orange, green….

I made Amelia this quilt for her first birthday. It’s called orange, blue, green….

No, it is really a St. Louis 16 and is a classic patchwork quilt design. It is also an awesome tool for teaching colors, when using solids. I chose Kona because that is what my scrap baskets are full of!

I made this one with 2″ finished blocks. 5 columns by 6 rows and finishing at 40″ x 56″.

Checkerboard quilt by Sewfrench

It barely hangs over the fence to capture all the blocks. This is how I balance all those shorter quilts on the fence! Clamp-on lamps, that’s right!

Sewfrench quilt
Yellow gingham made a perfect binding for this colorful little quilt.

St. Louis 16 quiltOf course, I had to add her name in embroidery. I always embroider the recipient’s name, usually in cursive though. This was different.

Checkerboard St. Louis 16  Kona quilt by Sewfrench
St. Louis 16
a vintage quilt design
by Sewfrench
40″ x 56″

Linking up with:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop

Posted in 2014 completes, Birthday, Design, fabric, Quilting, scraps, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Two rainy days in a row…

You know what that means?!!
Clean bathrooms, fresh sheets on the beds and more time to sew! I got the large portions of yesterday’s Quilt Math project sewn together. Looking through the camera’s lens, I’m not real happy with the center stripes abutting each other. What are your thoughts? And it is bright!

Quilt Math @ SewfrenchCurrently 44″ x 56″. I am not sure how big I am going with this, but I think I need to take a break to cut more variety of color.

And to get out there and enjoy some sunshine and weed pulling.

The French Riviera, Crystal Lake, MIHope you make time to do something that puts a smile on your heart today!

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How ingenious of me :) 

You know I love working with scraps and when we got ready to head to the cottage, for the season, and I didn’t have a project to work on, I grabbed my Kona cotton scrap basket and headed out the door. Usually when I make a scrap quilt I just cut and sew random pieces, and sizes, and when I get down to squaring and finishing, I add pieces, as needed, to make it all go together.

After 37 years of quilting, I decided to try a new method.

I went with numbers that would easily make a 12″ block. Pieces were cut to a finished size of 2″, 3″ and 4″. I added strips finishing at 1″. With all the common sizes, I can pretty much make any layout work. Crazy how much easier this is going to be to put together!

Quilt math @ SewfrenchAnd don’t look for this to be done anytime soon. This is for rainy days with nothing else going on. We’ve been here a month and yesterday we saw our first rain. It even went as far as a lightening show out over the lake. Though we do need rain, this crazy beautiful weather can continue, quilting will still be here when the snow flies!

Linking up with:

Scraptastic Tuesday
Fabric Tuesday
Sew Cute Tuesday
Let’s Bee Social

Posted in Design, fabric, Quilting, scrap, scraps | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Best Banana Bread, ever.

To say I love banana bread is an understatement. I think I have tried every recipe out there always trying to perfect the last one.

Until now.

This is where I draw the line in the flour. No need to go any further. This is THE one. Thank you Apartment 46 for the jumping off point!

Best Banana Bread ever
printer friendly version

3 ripe bananas; 2 mashed, 1 diced
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325°.

Mash bananas in large bowl. Add the sugar and egg, mix together.
Stir in dry ingredients.
Add butter.
Mix in cinnamon and pecans.
Line an 8″ x 4″ bread pan with foil. Lightly butter.
Pour batter into pan. Place pan on the middle rack in the oven.
Bake for one hour and 15 minutes, give or take 10 minutes.

Eat like there is no tomorrow.

Best Banana Bread ever @ Sewfrench
When you make this, let me know if this is what you think Banana Bread should taste like, will you?!!

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Amelia approved!

I whipped this bag up, as a Christmas gift, for our youngest grand-daughter, Amelia. Her family recently took up camping and you know, if you have ever camped, you can never have enough tote bags. Well, if you travel with young ones, you know you can never have enough tote bags, as well!

Poolside Tote by Noodlehead was super easy and quick to make. I used Cotton and Steel’s, All the States, canvas fabric. I used car headliner fabric as the inner liner. It is so easy to use and makes a tote stand up beautifully. It is a bargain at between $10-12 a yard (36″ x 56″) when compared to some of the fancy products sold for about the same money, in a much smaller quantity, (18″ x 54″), for the same purpose. I have to say I have never used this other product, but I have handled it and it has almost the same feel except headliner doesn’t get creases. I buy headliner locally and usually buy 10 yards at a time. It comes in handy for all pursescomputer bags, travel bags, weekenders… Pretty much anything you want to hold a pliable shape. Tote bag by Sewfrench This was my first time using Zippers by The Yard, the “cut to length” “add the zipper pull yourself” type zippers. It was pretty easy once I googled how to do it. The only reason I bought this style, as opposed to just a regular zipper, the correct length, or cutting even shortening it to fit, is because I wanted the big pull that came with this style. Normally you would have to buy a zipper meant for a coat, with larger teeth, to get the larger pull (and run all over town trying to find the right color one at that). I am probably more particular to finding the exact zipper for the job, but that’s just me…. Learned something new when I did it this way, I learned I could get it all in one zipper and get it at the same store I bought my fabric! Poolside Tote by SewfrenchI added a second exterior pocket, between the straps, on the flip side. I may have matched the fabric up a little too well to make it easily spotted, but it is there, perfect for something you need to easily grab, without digging. Noodle head Poolside Tote SewfrenchI love the All the States fabric when combined with the linen Mochi Dots, as the accent fabric. I like how the inside is faced, it makes for much easier and neater a finish as opposed to some other methods. Then I chose Moonshine by Tula Pink, (aka Forest Frivolity in Sky by Freespirit), a camping theme fabric, as the lining. What could be a more perfect coordinate? I’ll have to get back with you on whose fabric line that is, it has slipped my mind. I couldn’t have been happier that I was able to pull this together in our small, local, newish fabric store! Love shopping local! Inside Poolside Tote bag by Sewfrench Forest Frivolity in SkyWhen I first started reading about this bag, I kept reading/hearing how HUGE is was. Six large beach towels…. Enough for a family of four….. Yadda, yadda, yadda…. I have to say, it is not as big as I imagined, based on what I was reading, and that is a good thing. It is just a nice sized bag. It is the perfect size for an 18 month old’s  weekend at Grandma’s. Noodlehead Poolside Tote Bag by SewfrenchEven plenty of room for the tennis ball she plans to take home with her. I love how she just snatched it up and claimed it as her own, as she was packing up for home!! Linking up with: TGIFF LAFF Crazy Mom Quilts Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Weekend Retreat Behind the Seams

Posted in Christmas, Crafting, Design, fabric, Finishes, Gifts, Linkys, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

New Leaves

As for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, you vote by going here and then click in the upper right hand corner, of your favorite quilt picture. A red heart will appear when you have voted. Thanks if mine was a favorite!! If not, enjoy them all!!

High School graduation is always the time I think about turning leaves, turning the page, starting fresh, a new beginning.

Maple Leaf quilt @ Sewfrench

“In every change, in every falling leaf, there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.” – Amit Ray

I started this quilt exactly a year ago.

how to make a maple leaf quiltI was testing out the stems of leaves, thin and a bit thicker… Then opting to leave them off altogether.
Stems or no stems @ Sewfrench

I knew it would be a graduation quilt for my nephew Seth. Seth is a pretty special young man in this quilter’s heart.

Baptist Fan hand quilting @ Sewfrench

He is also the “only” person I have made a second quilt for, because they wore the first one out.

How to quilt a Baptist Fan @ SewfrenchThe quilt was made for him when he was born, back when I didn’t photograph half the quilts I made. I don’t remember it very well, it was worn out well before most kids are ready to give up their blankies. I do know it was very similar to the pattern, Welcome Sunshine, which I used to make it.

Welcome Sunshine quilt @ SewfrenchSeth then went on to love on his older brother’s baby quilt, another unphotographed quilt. It is a good thing his older sister didn’t get her gift, of a quilt, until her HS graduation or he may have loved it to death, too!

New Leaves @ Sewfrench

Gotta love a guy who appreciates handmade quilts!

Quilt Label @ Sewfrench
This one is chocked full of good wishes and happy thoughts for all the changes to come!

Maple Leaf quilt by Sewfrench

New Leaves
Hand-quilting category
a maple leaf variation
for Seth
60″ x 90″
Kona cottons
hand-quilted in the Baptist fan design
by Sewfrench

If this quilt so happens to be one of your favorites you can nominates it by clicking here. And copying and pasting this web pages’ address which is

Thank you!!!

“In every change, in every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.” – Amit Ray

Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2015Previous BQF entries:
Flower Garden ~ Fall 2009
Mosaic Tiles ~ Spring 2011
Shoot For the Moon ~ Fall 2011
Bubble Quilt ~ Spring 2012
Out of This World ~ Fall 2012
Thousand Pyramids~ Spring 2013
Head Over Heels in Love ~ Baby quilt ~ Fall 2013
Take A Hike ~ Art quilt ~ Fall 2013
Blowin’ in the Wind ~ Spring 2014

Also linking up with:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
Weekend Retreat
Fiber Tuesday
P.S. I have been told this quilt is in the book Vintage Quilt Revival Quilts. Though I have not seen the book, or the author talk about it, there is always the possibility that I have seen someone else make it, though I do not recall that either. That is not to say it wasn’t lodged in my subconscious, at some point, and if that is the case I would definitely want to give the designer credit where credit is due. I was going for an oversized maple leaf quilt and apparently Lee had the same idea as well!

Posted in 2015 completes, Design, fabric, Gifts, hand quilting, Quilting, Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments