Sunday, 30 November 2008

Stitcheries, packages and autumn walks (146)

I really must try to write a little more often. At the moment I seem only to write when I have lots of pictures to share all at once. I guess that's why I was never any good at keeping a diary, not motivated enough to write every day.

Well, today is grey, wet and cold, so I've come back to bed to catch up with everyone and write my own blog. My DH is out running (and I'm trying hard not to giggle to myself at the contrast!).

Okay, so what have I been up to? I finished Number 2 son's shirt and sent it to him, having forgotten to take a photograph, so I have asked him to send one of him wearing it. I've done a couple of Christmas stitcheries, with Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop's Cyber Stitching Day, a table centre and a stocking. The table centre was done with some wonderful plastic that you draw the design on, then stitch it to the fabric, and then it washes away once you're finished. Amazing.
From New Album 30/11/2008 10:33
From New Album 30/11/2008 10:33

Yesterday the postman brought me yet another package! Such fun. This was for Chookyblue's Secret Santa Christmas Swap.
From Amanda's Musings
Once I'd opened the envelope I found a plastic wrapped package.
From Amanda's Musings
Could I take the plastic off? Yes, there was Christmas paper underneath.
From Amanda's Musings
Could I rip off the paper? NO!! It has to wait for Christmas, and I'm not going to be tempted.

From Autumn
Yesterday we went out for a walk in the park. It was a bit damp and jolly chilly, and got colder the longer we were out, but it was good to get a breath of fresh air. These pictures are a bit more wintery than those I took a few weeks ago.
From Autumn
Now that I'm feeling better I really need to start getting out for longer walks to build up my fitness again.
From Autumn
We met a squirrel who was busy collecting mouthfuls of leaves to take home to line his drey for the winter and he wasn't going to be put off by us stopping and taking photographs!
From Autumn
From Autumn

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving (145)

With best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my American friends.

Sunday, 23 November 2008


This is just a quick post, because I'm tired and ready to drop off! I've been doing quite a bit of hand stitching over the last few days, as part of Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop's Christmas Cyber Stitching (that's quite a mouthful!), so I'll take some photographs soon. On Friday I did nothing as I was sooo tired. And then, in spite of being so tired I didn't sleep a wink on Friday night. Very strange. Last night I slept like a log, didn't wake up once and slept till 8.15 this morning. Unheard of for me to sleep so late. And now, I'm ready to drop.

I did just want to show you this photograph though. We have several azaleas which Christopher brings indoors when they are about to flower. Isn't this one pretty? Such vibrant pink flowers. There's another one almost ready to come in, but we're trying to keep it outside for as long as possible so that there might be a chance of it flowering for Christmas. Sorry, it's not a great photograph. It's been so dull today that I had to use flash, which always drains the colour somewhat.

Have a good week,

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Practising my quilting(143)

I've just finished four projects which gave me an opportunity to practice my free motion quilting. I'm getting smoother, but I really should do more if I am to make real progress. 
From Amanda's Musings

I made two almost identical hangings for my two sons. I've bought them advent calendars in the past, but they're both far too busy to open those now, so these should cheer their flats up for Christmas. They're ready printed panels which I've quilted with red metallic thread. I've done simple meandering with occasional stars and holly leaves.
From Amanda's Musings
I've also made two table runners - one for me and one for my cleaner (that one's a commission!!). The first one has Ohio Star blocks, although the stars don't show up very well, and the second one has Friendship Star blocks.
From Amanda's Musings
I've quilted with both with the same red metallic thread, and kept to the same simple meandering with a few loops, and some holly leaves and stars.

And now I'm on to my big Christmas project, Friends for Christmas quilt. I've finished all the applique and need to do the borders and then think about how I'm going to quilt it. I'll post a picture soon.

Another prezzie (142)

The postman came with yet another prezzie this morning, only it wasn't our regular postman but the post van, very impressive. Today's surprise was from Susan Tornes in Fleming, Ohio. Susan doesn't have a blog of her own but does sometimes read this one I think.
From Amanda's Musings

There is a lovely, big, solid pear-shaped pincushion, a dinky little angel stitchery hanging,
From Amanda's Musings
 a felted wool needlecase and a beautiful wall hanging.
From Amanda's Musings
To go with that Susan had added a hanger for the quilt and a magazine.
From Amanda's Musings
Thank you so much Susan, I love them all. I just hope we can move soon as they will look great in my new craft room (when I get it!). The little quilt is beautifully stitched and hand quilted. I look forward to sitting down with a cup of tea very soon and having a thorough read of the magazine.

Many thanks also to Linda, at All Stitched Up, for organising the swap and getting so many wonderful designers involved in donating their lovely free patterns. There are still some I haven't done yet, perhaps next year.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Ornament swap (141)

I arrived home from my exercise class today to find a lovely surprise waiting under the doormat on the front door step (did you read that - exercise class - the first time I've felt up to going for about six months - I'm tired now, but hope it doesn't wipe me out).

My ornament has arrived - for the swap arranged by Jo-Ann Carter, at The Carter Clan. I ripped open the envelope and the bubble wrap inside and 
all of this loveliness tumbled out. There's a red felt stocking simply bursting to overflowing with sweets - candy canes, chocolate bars and loads of Hershey's Hugs. I'm sure they're called chocolate kisses over here. The burning question is - will the sweets last 
until Christmas, or will I have to refill it? There's also a snowman tree ornament, and a musical bauble that I'm sure will drive us all demented, and a lovely pattern for Christmas tree ornaments. I'm sure I'll be able to make some of those for the tree this year.

And the piece de resistance (you'll have to imagine the accent over the e, my computer doesn't have one) is the cutest little angel. She's so simple and so effective, and will look lovely hanging up at Christmas time. She has a brownish red gingham dress and wonderful hair that looks just like mine first thing in the morning! If only I had the wings to go with it. 
Thank you Tara, at Just Bergie Boyz for my lovely present, and thank you too to Jo-Ann for organising the swap.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Applique workshop (140)

I was sitting here at home this morning, waiting to drive DH to the station and planning my day, when suddenly the 'internal filofax' kicked in and I realised I was due at a workshop over at The Quilt Room. So, having been to the station, it was a mad dash to find fabric, sewing kit, change into more suitable 'going-out-for-the-day' clothes, make some lunch and leave by 9.30am. The washing up just had to wait.

The workshop was about making rough edge applique flowers, stuck on with bondaweb and edged with herringbone stitch. The flowers look really effective, the hand stitching gives them real texture. It was a very friendly group, and it's a lovely way to spend the day, stitching and chatting. I managed to complete 4 blocks, which I will turn into a cushion cover, with a wide border for a vine and leaves design. The tutor had made a wall hanging size quilt which looked terrific, and another to add to my To Do list. (Using flash has left them looking a little washed out I'm afraid).
At lunch time I went out for a short walk in the town and came across a book shop that was closing down. I really don't need any more quilt books, but what can you do when they're drastically reduced? I bought Lynn Edwards 'New Sampler Quilt' book - I used her first book to make my black, white and red quilt earlier this year. I'd been thinking that I'd like to make another sampler quilt some time, so now I have no excuse not to! I also bought a little book of Star blocks - another idea for a future quilt.

Now, shopping. Where do 'they' get the idea that women like shopping? From the huge response to my last post, it seems that few of us enjoy it. A few of you enjoy buying fabric and books, but little else. I'd forgotten about books, but that is really the only kind of shopping that I do enjoy, it's so unhurried and unpressured, and you end up with something that you really want. If only I could be as organised as those of you are who seem to do most of your shopping on the internet. I buy all my shoes online, but haven't found anywhere to buy clothes yet, and can never get myself organised enough to buy groceries or vegetables online. I suppose if I could plan menus ahead of time it would be easier, but I'm not much of a cook either and leave that right until the last minute too, cooking whatever I can dig out of the fridge, cupboard or freezer. Hey ho, I don't suppose there'll ever be an easy answer in our life times.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Shopping (139)

I have to admit it - I really dislike shopping. Any kind of shopping - food, clothes, shoes, and, if I'm being brutally honest, I don't greatly enjoy shopping for fabric either. I hate the amount of choice, having to make decisions, having to try on countless items if I'm looking for clothes or shoes, and the crowds. And always, in the back of my mind, is this little Puritan voice saying "Do you really, really need that? Do you want to spend the money? Can't you manage perfectly well without it?"

This morning I decided to go to the supermarket after dropping DH off at the station. The shop was only just open, so there were very few people there, apart from loads of secondary school children stocking up on E numbers. So I couldn't complain about the crowds. As always, I was astounded by the number of different items available. I mean, how many flavoured yoghurts can we need, how many different breakfast cereals, etc etc. I usually go to a much smaller supermarket - just 4 aisles, everything I need, not too much choice and I'm out in 20 minutes.

And then, you have to unpack everything and put it away! I hate that almost as much as buying the stuff. The freezer and fridge food gets unpacked and stowed away immediately, but the rest of it will sit around for ages until I can summon up the energy.

I'm not really feeling grumpy this morning! I just thought I'd share my thoughts on shopping and see how many people share them.

Have a great, stress-free day!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

English weather (138)

I know that people joke about the English always talking about the weather, but you have to experience it to know why. Yesterday we travelled to Brighton in lashing rain and howling winds, almost reaching gale force. We were soaked in the short distance from the car to the fabric shop to buy fabric for a shirt I'm going to make for Number Two Son (red satiny chinese fabric, with red velour for collar and cuffs and zips for fastening the front and the cuffs - just don't ask why!!!).We then got even more soaked in the dash from car to his flat, where we had lunch. We spent a very comfortable afternoon in his warm little flat, chatting (son and I), dozing (DH) and watching a bit of television. Then it was back out into the gale force winds and the driving rain for the journey home, windscreen wipers going nineteen-to-the-dozen.

Today - blue skies, sunshine, not a hint of a breeze and not too cold either. 

Tomorrow - who knows?

Saturday, 8 November 2008


I've finished my father-in-law's quilt in record time. We're going over to visit him this afternoon, so I wanted to be able to take it with me. I hope he likes it, and that he actually uses it. It's a good size to snuggle in, but big enough to use on the bed as well. The fabric is Moda's Cranberry Wishes, and the pattern is Pandora's Box from the Jelly Roll Quilts book. I've kept the quilting simple, just straight lines around each block and round the centre block, and diagonals across each four patch block, and zig-zags in the border. The colours don't show up well in this photograph because it's such a dull rainy day here and I had to use flash, but you get the general idea.

It occurs to me that I haven't shared a picture of the project I did for Chookyblue's Secret Santa Christmas Swap. I sent it off a few weeks ago since we were expecting to move and wanted to get it out of the house before it got lost. Kate (at Stitched With Love) has already received it, and opened it! So here it is. It's about 2 foot square, and was great fun to do. Sadly, I seem to have mislaid the pattern book, but it has a wall hanging for each month of the year and perhaps I might get to make a few more of them next year

Friday, 7 November 2008

It's all gone Pete Tong (136)

I'm a sad, sad bunny. Sad and soooo disappointed. Our house purchase has crashed about our ears because the person buying our house suddenly decided that he would only buy if we dropped the price by a further 3%! He refused to compromise and we had to call a halt to the proceedings. It's a really crappy system that allows someone to mess you about like this, an offer should be binding. We are so upset because the house we were buying was absolutely perfect, and the chances of finding anything quite so good again are practically nil. And, of course, we've already spent a couple of thousand pounds, trying to get things going quickly so that we could do as he asked and be out by Christmas. The people we were buying from will also have spent money which they'll have lost too. Some people just have no sense of honour. I hope he's blacklisted by the agent (and plenty of other uncharitable thoughts!!)

So, we're back to square one. We've taken the house off the market and will lick our wounds and wait till next year before we think about what to do. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Remember, Remember (135)

Today's the 5th November, and this evening Rosie will be hidden under our bed, and for the next few nights until after the weekend I imagine. Why? Because of the fireworks that will be going off all over the place. If you'd like to know the history of Bonfire Night follow this link to Gina at Quilting in the Valleys, as she's written a super bit of history, so there's no point in me doing it too!

The rhyme goes - 

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Hectic times (134)

Life's been pretty hectic since we got back from Wells. It's really weird, we have to proceed on the assumption that everything will be going ahead, but there's still this niggling fear in the back of our minds that it might all fall through. We've filled in countless forms for the solicitor, hunted for countless papers that should have been filed away and hadn't been. We've made heaps of phone calls and list after list. And I've started going through drawers and cupboards sorting them out. So now the dustbin is full and I've got two big bags of stuff for the charity shop already. Ah well, the clearing up is a useful job even if does all fall through.

Thankfully all the tablets I've been taking for the last few months seem to be having an effect at last, and my old energy is returning. And not before time. It's so good to be able to finish a job without having to sit down for a rest every half hour or so. Let's just hope it lasts, I've had many false dawns over the last couple of years so I'm being cautiously hopeful.

There's not much sewing going on as you can imagine, so no pictures for this post I'm afraid. I am working flat out to finish a lap quilt for my father-in-law. He seems to have decided that he doesn't need to put the central heating on now that he's on his own, so the house is like an ice well. When he's watching television he sits wrapped up in a blanket, so a quilt will be warm and cosy for him. Hopefully I'll be able to get the top finished today and then quilt it tomorrow so he can have it by the end of the week.

So, off to work I go (hey ho, hey ho).

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Back home from house hunting (133)

Well, we've done it - we've bought a house! Well, we've put an offer in and been accepted, so that's nearly the same thing, as long as the business side of things goes without too many hitches.

After a rotten week two weeks ago (stomach bug, the funeral and to top it all off I got a cold) we finally set off for Wells last Tuesday. We left Reigate in bright sunshine, but about 5 degrees F. Half way there we hit a tremendous rain storm, which then turned into hail and sleet, which was settling on the hills. We later heard that a village in Devon had had a really freaky hailstorm which left them with 4 foot high hailstorm drifts! The weather this week has been sooo cold - bright sunshine but a bitter wind; hats, gloves, scarves and big coat weather.

From New Album 02/11/2008 06:55
We stayed in a 15th century hotel in Wells, the White Hart. Our room was built into what was originally the stable block. On the first afternoon we tramped round estate agents, confirming appointments and making several more.

We viewed 14 houses in three days! Exhausting, and it was beginning to get a bit disheartening, as nothing appealed. And then the very last two were lovely. One especially was absolutely perfect, it really appealed to me. There's hardly anything I don't like about it. It's in a quiet country road in a small village about 6 miles from Wells. I'm not going to say much more about it, because you never know what might go wrong and we might not get it, but if we do I can show pictures once we move. So we stayed an extra night so that we could make a second visit, and put an offer in, which was accepted. So, great jubilation and joy. I'm really excited, and a bit daunted too.

We had an hour in Wells on Saturday morning before we left, to trot round the market and for me to take just a few pictures.
From New Album 02/11/2008 06:55
 This is a view of the market, which is held in the original market square right in front of the Bishop's Palace, you can see the gateway in the background. It's still the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells (any Blackadder fans out there?) It's a terrific market, a real farmers' market with lots of locally produced food. We bought some proper cheddar cheese (made in Cheddar, just a few miles away) and some jerusalem artichokes, for soup.
From New Album 02/11/2008 06:55
This is a better view of the entrance to the Bishop's Palace. It dates from about 1240.
From New Album 02/11/2008 06:55
This is a rather poor photograph of  Wells Cathedral. The sun was shining on the camera screen and I couldn't see what I was doing. It's a magnificent cathedral and I'll show you some better pictures next time we visit.
From New Album 02/11/2008 06:55
From New Album 02/11/2008 06:55
One of the features in Wells that I've never seen anywhere else are it's wide, purpose built gutters, which round down both sides of the main streets. Wells gets its name from three wells which are right in the city centre, and these gutters help excess water to drain away, rather than flooding. This year they were running full, after all the rain we've had.

So, now, it's back home to lots of work going through the process of moving and keeping our fingers crossed that it all works. You never know, we could be in our new home before Christmas. How weird does that sound.