Friday, 29 August 2008

Fungly, fabric and swaps (109)

At last, a 'Fungly'! I've been noticing several fungly quilts on people's blogs and thought that I didn't have the time to join in at the moment; then I realised that the quilt I've been making as a leader/ender project well and truly qualified. The 4patch blocks are the last of the first set I made and then discarded for the Orange Crush mystery, then there are loads of strip/crumb blocks and part of the sashing and border fabric is some of the ugliest material you could find. It came as part of a job lot I purchased over the internet. Once finished, it will be donated to the Nursing Home where my mother-in-law now lives - as long as they can find someone with poor eyesight, or who's a bit 'away with the fairies' I'm sure it will be much appreciated.

I had a follow-up appointment about my knee today, and he doesn't really know why it keeps collapsing - the MRI didn't show much. So I shall have some physio, and doubtless there'll be loads of exercises that I will have to push myself to do, and if that doesn't work he thinks he might 'have a look' - by which he means stick one of those mini-cameras in and have a poke about. Huh!!

After that, we went into Hobbycraft to pick up some wadding. I had no intention of buying any fabric, but they were having a clearance and had some of their fabric knocked down to less than one third of the original price, so what can you do? My mind went a complete blank of course, couldn't think of what I might need, but bought several pieces for backings.

I've discovered a fundamental flaw with doing swaps - you work away like a maniac, but can't show anything on your blog - or at least that seems to be the convention. But why? My
partners don't know who I am, so it will still be a surprise even if they have seen it on my blog. Ah, well, who am I to buck tradition. So I will just satisfy myself with a few sneaky pics of my current projects. 

Monday, 25 August 2008

Amy's 100th (108)

Amy, at Amy's Passions, has made it to her 100th post and is having a super give-away. Pop over and tell her about your favourite quilt.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Olympics quilt (107)

Well, the Olympics are over for now. What an excellent job the Chinese did, and the opening and closing ceremonies were both terrific. I have no fears though for London in four years time, I have no doubt that we can put on an equally stunning show, though hopefully different and less expensive. I thought London's 8 minute segment was great today - quirky, young, polished and witty. The party in The Mall which went on straight afterwards was televised by the BBC and was good fun too. Poor Michael Phelps seemed totally overwhelmed by the number of people there and the welcome they gave him. Good to have him here though.

And my quilt is done too. I started it during the Opening Ceremony and put the last stitches in just as the Closing Ceremony ended! It was an Anni Downs, of Hatched and Patched, pattern - her Simple Pleasures quilt. Of course, I didn't notice until I hung it up and stood back from it that loads of the stitcheries were on wonky! It was just the same when I was putting up displays at school, they looked absolutely straight when I was close to them, but when I stood back I always found they were on a slant. I think it's something to do with my astigmatism. So, do I unpick them and have another go, or see if I can live with it?

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Charity Shop Finds (106)

Isn't it strange how you can sometimes go into a shop, or into the library and find nothing that takes your fancy and then on another occasion things just seem to jump out at you. Today was like that in the Oxfam charity book shop.

The first book - Simple Country Style - has lots of lovely photographs of country style rooms from around the world, and will give me loads of inspiration for redecorating once we move.

Hometown Quilts took my eye because of the different paper pieced buildings, including a lighthouse which I have wanted to make for some time. I don't much care for her choice of fabrics, but can see myself using
                                        the patterns.

The last book was a real serendipity find. I don't usually look at the 
cookery books as I already have far too many that I don't use enough, but this one just caught my eye as I passed. Lady Castlehill's Receipt Book has a selection of 18th Century Scottish Fare, and are the original recipes from a collection made in 1712. I'd love to type out loads of the recipes for you, but it would just take too much time and space. Some of the recipes have wonderful titles : To make the Countess of Norwich her Almond Butter; A very true Receipt of Naple Bisket; To make Cheeses that the Coats may be pulled off; A Remembrance of Preserving Cherries. Here's one of the shorter recipes in full, that could easily be made today:

To make Jumballs

Take halfe a pound of baked flowre, Mingle it with halfe a Pound of Sugar, the Yolks of 6 new layd Eggs, and 6 Spoonfulls of clouted Cream, 2 or 3 dropes of the Oyle of Nutemegs and a little of Rosemary; Make it into Paste, and into Rolls, tye them in small Knots, Bake them in a warme Oven; then Ice them with Rosewater, Sugar, and the white of ane Egg, and when dry, box them.

These were said to be a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. Does anyone feel brave enough to have a go?

Friday, 22 August 2008

This and That (105)

Somehow I seem to have ended up with two six-and-a-half-inch square rulers - if one would be of any use to anybody I'd be more than happy to post it off to you. Obviously, I'll pick the first one to answer affirmatively.

I've now got three swap partners. I've finished the bag for Linda's Bag and Bucket Swap - my partner lives in the USA but didn't give any colour preferences, but seems to like a wide range of colours and materials, so hopefully I'll be in the right area.

My Stitcher's Angel partner lives in Australia and from her blog seems to like country style projects and reds - so that's a bit of a help.

My Secret Santa partner lives in the USA and also likes reds, which is handy for a Christmas project.

I know what I'm doing for the Secret Santa swap, but haven't yet decided on what to do for the Stitcher's Angel swap. I'd better get a wiggle on as I've also signed up for the next Cyber Stitching organised by Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop and I ought to start thinking about small Christmas gifts to make for the family. They only need to be small as we give charity 'virtual' gifts to the adults and tend to give larger presents for birthdays.

Well, I've had several blogs without any pictures, so here's one that's got nothing to do with anything, but I love it. A few years ago we had a History Week at school, and based it around the Norman Conquest of 1066. As a grand finale we re-enacted the Battle of Hastings on the school field. My class were Norman archers and we dressed them up with hats and black bin bag tunics, and made cardboard swords and cardboard (very floppy) bows and arrows. We had such a wonderful time and I know the children will remember it for years to come. So, here's a picture of the class I was teaching at the time, lined up in two ranks preparing to shoot at the Saxons.

A new blogger (104)

There's a new lady in blogland, Helena from Sweden, and she's offering a cute little stitchery pattern to everyone who comments, so do pop over to say hello.

Idiot that I am I forgot to put her blog address here when I posted earlier - you can get to it from here.

And the winner is .... (103)

Amy, from Amy's Passions, who was the 32nd person to comment. Thank you so much to everyone who took part, it was lovely to meet so many new people and to find many more interesting blogs to add to my list (and to the amount of time I devote to 'computerising' rather than sewing!). Amy, if you let me have your postal address I will send your goodies off to you post haste. I won't put a picture up until I know that's it's arrived, as I don't want to spoil the surprise (and I haven't fully decided what to put in yet!).

Here's hoping everyone has a lovely weekend. It's a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, and the weather is looking reasonable. I have no plans except to watch the last of the Olympics and the closing ceremony on Sunday, and do as much sewing as possible.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Handbags and shoes (102)

DH's assistant, who has worked with him for 10 years, is moving on to another job, so I thought I'd like to make her a small present. It all happened rather suddenly, so I haven't had much time. Luckily, this little wall hanging went together like a dream. She's very fond of shoes and handbags, so this seemed appropriate. My new (well, I guess it's not quite so new now) machine made this so easy; machine applique no problem and a lovely range of embroidery stitches to choose from for the quilting. I just hope that she likes purple!
I had an extra handbag which I was able to put on the back for a label.

Now it's back to my Simple Pleasures quilt, which was my Olympics project. The stitcheries are done, the four patch square in a square blocks are made, so it's time to assemble it and add the borders, then decide on how best to quilt it. All being well I should be putting the finishing touches to it during the Closing Ceremony.

I've been delighted with the number of people who have commented on my 100th post - several people I've not met before, so new blogs to read. I'll keep it open until noon GMT on Friday, then pick a winner. Isn't it exciting!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

200 posts (101)

Debi at Quilting with Debi has just reached 100 posts and is having a give-away to celebrate. She's much more organised than I am and has already decided what the prize will be, so go on over and have a look (don't comment though as it will lessen my chances!)

I haven't done much sewing today, as I had another eye clinic appointment, and those drops they put in leave me with blurred vision for hours, but I have managed to finish the little stitcheries I've been doing and stitched them to the patches. So, with any luck, my Olympic quilt will be done by the end of the Olympics. 

I forgot to write about my daft son. Number 1 Son has always been accident prone and a frightful dare devil, getting into all sorts of scrapes when he was a youngster. He's 27 now, but on Saturday evening went to a party where they had a bouncy castle. Of course he went on it, and of course he was the one who ended up having to go to hospital for 5 stitches in his head, following a collision. All the girls had hysterics apparently, because of the amount of blood. Typical.

Lurline's 100 blogs giveaway (99)

Lurline, at Lurline's Place has reached 105 blogs and is giving away a beautiful Cathedral Window bag to one lucky commenter. She's not feeling too well at the moment, so pop over and cheer her up.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The Mummy - Return of the Dragon Emperor (98)

Number One Son, had given me two cinema tickets for my birthday, so yesterday Christopher and I went to see The Mummy - Return of the Dragon Emperor. And then, bless him, we found he had also organised a drinks voucher for us, so DH was able to have a large glass of wine, I had some water (the last of the great drinkers, that's me!) and we shared some salted popcorn.

The film was great fun, well up to the standard of the first two. Predictable plot, but good fun and the CGI was amazing. Certainly worth seeing on the big screen. And very topical for us, of course, following the visit of the Terracotta Army this year and with the Beijing Olympics. I think it's had some pretty average reviews, but for me if fulfilled all the criteria for a Saturday afternoon movie - entertaining without being intellectually challenging.

It was a real 'square eye' day yesterday, having spent the rest of the day glued to the television watching the Olympics - a brilliant day for the UK, with gold medals in swimming, rowing and cycling, as well as more bronze and silver medals. Thank goodness we were able to walk to the cinema, I needed a little exercise after all that sitting around. Lots of hand sewing and knitting though.

Friday, 15 August 2008

At last, some pictures of sewing! (97)

I've finally got myself organised to take some photographs of a couple of things I've finished over the last few weeks - I've done more, like the bag for Linda's Bag and Bucket Swap (which obviously I can't show yet) and luggage tags for my son and his partner (which I posted before taking photographs). 

Well, here's a series of firsts. This is the first piece of paper piecing that I've done. I bought a book called 24 Blocks You Never Thought You Could Paper Piece and had a go at the Scrapbag Block. It was much more complicated than I expected, and I kept getting pieces back to front, but I'm pleased with the end result, the corners are pretty accurate. I think if I'd known it would turn out so well I might have used a different central square, but it looks okay. And it was the first time I'd tried mitreing the corners on the binding, so all in all I'm pretty pleased with this. 

I love the latest block from Lynette Anderson's Noah's Ark BOM, the french knots in Noah's beard look so cute. I really look forward to getting the next block each month.

I've finished the bonus stitchery from Capricorn quilts. I've seen that some people have started to put borders round them, but I'm not sure what to do with them yet, so will probably wait a bit longer.

Today I hope to finish the hand quilting on my Strawberry Crush Plus One and continue with the stitcheries for the Simple Pleasures Quilt - I got the pattern for this with the Cyber Stitching Pack earlier this year.

Watching the Olympics is fun isn't it? I've seen sports I would never usually watch, such as badminton, boxing, weightlifting. Michael Phelps is amazing, and the Chinese gymnasts just so drilled. I'm really looking forward to seeing more cycling and to the athletics starting today.

Happy viewing everyone,

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Lucky me (96)

Doesn't it make you feel special to receive goodies in the post, especially when they're prezzies from someone you've never met. Today I got a package from Anita, who celebrated her birthday on the same day as me. She sent me two knitted dish cloths - which are far too nice to be used to wash dishes, so may find their way into the bathroom. 

She also sent me six of the cutest little quilt-bug 
badges. I'm thinking that they would look good on plain centre blocks of a small quilt, maybe some more wonky stars. Any other ideas?

And since I haven't posted any pictures of Rosie recently - although she never does anything but lay around it's really difficult to get photographs as she always gets up and fusses around me when I appear. Here I've managed to catch her just as she spotted me and before she started moving.

I haven't posted any pictures of sewing recently, although I seem to have been doing heaps of it. I need to get some pictures taken then I can share them.

One year blogiversary (95)

Cheryl, at Polka Dots and Ric-Rac, is celebrating her one year anniversary with a give-away. Much as I'd rather not let you know, as it will decrease my chances, do pop over and wish her well.

Joanna, on Applique Today, is also celebrating - 100 posts and her 1st year anniversary - so go and have a look at the lovely little quilt she is planning to give away.

Monday, 11 August 2008

A wonderful surprise (94)

Was I ever excited! I got home from having an MRI scan on my knee this morning to find that the postman had left me a parcel. A parcel from Candace. Beautifully packed with bubble wrap (now that's a bonus present on its own!), scrunched up paper and tissue paper.

And inside - a pretty little glass cat ornament, which will be a lovely addition to my Christmas tree this year; a dinky little bird house; a ruler holder thingy which will be brilliant to hold my smaller rulers steady; some thread and needles and four beautiful fat quarters! And she had packed the fabric in two of her lovely tea tins, so there's another bonus - pretty tins to keep things in. 

Thank you so much Candace, it was a really lovely surprise. I shall so enjoy planning what to make with the fabric.

I've had a busy day, so I'm now having some R & R. I had the MRI this morning - my left knee keeps collapsing. It doesn't hurt, just gives way, which is pretty amusing but does need to be sorted out. Just another of those boring things that seems to be happening this year. I did some shopping on the way back. Then I took No 2 son up to visit his grandmother in her nursing home. He was home on a very rare visit. This afternoon I ran him and his partner to the station so that they could get back to Brighton and popped in to Hobby Craft to get some thread. I also bought a diamond ruler - not that I actually need it, but had fancied it for some time. I think I will make some diamond strippy quilts perhaps.

I've also had a fancy to do some knitting. I've no idea why, because I never used to enjoy it that much, but there you go, these odd fancies strike every now and then. So I bought a pattern, some needles and some tweedy denim coloured wool. Should it ever be finished I will post a picture - but don't hold your breath!

Well - now it's back to the Olympics to catch up with what's been happening, and later some sewing I hope.

Another give-away (93)

Inger Lise has reached 100 blogs and is having a give-away. You can find her here.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Our first medal - and it's gold!! (92)

Hooray!!! Britain's first medal, and it's a gold! Nicole Cook has won the women's bicycle road race, in the most atrocious conditions. The rain probably reminded her of England!

Too early! (92)

Well, it's about 4.45 am here in the UK and I can't sleep, so I've been catching up with all the blogs, adding the Wylde Woman award and adding Linda's Bag and Bucket Swap to my sidebar. It's taken me ages to get these two on because I couldn't work out how to 'grab' the pictures. My Mac doesn't have a right click, but No 1 son reminded me how to do it.

It's pouring with rain - again - here. It's so strange reading about the searing heat some of you are having to contend with and knowing that we shall be lucky if the temperature rises above 23 degrees this week (that's 74 fahrenheit). I'm not complaining, though, as I always remind myself that this is the reason that England is so wonderfully lush and green.

I've been doing all the usual things this week - keeping the house tidy for potential viewers (2), hospital visits (2), shopping (too much, too boring) and sewing. No sewing finished enough to show pictures though. I'm sure I'll be getting loads of hand sewing done during the Olympic games, so I'll post some pictures soon.

Can I ask for your help for a new blog friend, Tracy. She has just started a new blog, Flower Pebble, and is gamely adding entries even though she has somehow lost the Add a Comment button. Does anyone have any ideas as to how she can get it back? 

I do hate to post without any pictures, so here's another one of my two wonderful boys at our picnic last week.

Well, since I'm still not sleepy, I'm going to switch on the television and see if I can find any Olympics.

Thank you Mary (91)

I've been very slow to acknowledge this award. Thank you so much Mary at Stitches and Ditches for awarding it. 

This award was created by Tammy Vitale to send love and acknowledgment to women who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy.

These are the rules of this award:

1.  You can give it to one or one hundred or any number in between - it's up to you. Make sure you link to their site in your post.

2. Link back to Tammy's blog site so that she can go and visit.

So, I've chosen three people whose blogs always give me huge enjoyment.

Amy (Amy's Passions) and Angela (So Scrappy) manage to fit so much in to their lives - teaching, young families and sewing.

Tanya  (Taniwa) lives in Japan, and I learn something new every time I read her blog.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Candace is 100!! (90)

Candace, at WraggedyPatches has reached 100 posts and is having a give-away. The prize is still a mystery, so have a look at her blog and sign up quickly. She puts me to shame - she started her blog after mine and has reached 100 before me. I just haven't been blogging much lately, but need to pull my socks up and get down to it.

Mystery solved + Help needed (88)

As promised yesterday, here's a picture of the mystery object.
Being a bit of a wally, I left the picture on my Picasa album, so some people saw it  too soon. It is of course a hat. DH spotted it when he went to a Malaysian exhibition in London last week, and added it to my birthday present pile. Julie recognised it instantly, as her brother had brought her one from the Phillipines. I can't see me actually wearing it, but it will look goo hung up on the wall somewhere.

I seem to have done a lot of sewing recently, but nothing much finished to show. I have finished the bag for Linda's Bag and Bucket Swap, but obviously I can't show you that yet. I've also finished a bag for my sister-in-law's birthday, quite a different pattern, so I can show you a picture.  
Don't you love the stripped pine door and the old lock and handle? We have doors like this throughout our house.

The other sewing I'm doing is getting caught up on all the odds and ends - BOMs, finishing off a couple of mini quilts etc - so that I can start something new. I've got lots of patterns I want to try, but don't have the mentality to start something new until I've finished everything else. No UFOs for me I fear. This week I'm also going to get stuff ready for hand stitching during the Olympics. I think the time difference will mean that I'm watching repeats, but I'm sure the BBC will have a daily programme that I can watch. 

Chookyblue is organising a Christmas swap, so if you fancy joining in hurry and sign up as I imagine it will fill up fast. I haven't put the logo in the side bar (nor the Bag and Bucket swap logo) as I can't seem to work out how to do it. I managed it with the Stitchers' Angel and Noah's Ark pictures, but seem to have had a senior moment and forgotten how I did it! I've got a Mac, which doesn't work in quite the same way I think. If anyone can help out I'd be eternally grateful.