Saturday, 28 February 2009

A new toy (185)

I've bought a new toy. I found this Singer Featherweight 221K on e-bay, bid for it and won it for a surprisingly low amount - let's hope there's no catch. I'd made enough by selling some books on Amazon to cover the postage, so I felt justified!!!

I've spent a merry time this morning cleaning it up, oiling it (in about 20 different places!) and trying it out. Once I'd sorted out the correct needle for the thread - it seems much more sensitive to this than my modern machines - it went like a dream. I had fun getting all the old thread off the bobbins, the previous owner just wound new thread on top of old. The pad of post-it notes next to the needle is to give me my quarter inch seam. I hope to take this to workshops in future, much easier to lug around than my big one. I need to find some new rubber feet for it but that's about all.

I've not done much else today, as I'm pretty tired. Yesterday Alexander was moving out of his flat into a new one, and we went down to help. He lives up three flights of stairs, and was moving to a new flat up three flights of stairs! It took two trips in the car to move all his stuff, plus a trip to the dump. By the time we eventually got away at about 8 o'clock (having arrived at about 1 o'clock) I was tired, cold, thirsty and hungry, so came home, had a boiled egg and went to bed.

Monday, 23 February 2009

A new look (184)

I know it's a little premature, but I felt the need for a little bit of spring fever! The snowdrops and crocuses are in full bloom, and the daffodils are rapidly making their presence felt. It's starting to be light when I get up, I don't always need gloves when I go out, and I'm really getting a feeling that spring is on it's way now - hence the new look to my blog. What do you think?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

What's on your bed? (183)

Lynette Anderson has posed the question - which quilt do you have on your bed at the moment?

This is the first quilt - with the exception of a small lap quilt made of square patches - that I made. It's in a mixture of browns, dark reds and pinks. Most of the browns are homespun and the reds and pinks are floral. I don't know the name of the block, but it fascinated me the way you made one block but see something completely different. It was my first attempt at hand quilting too.

I don't imagine that it will last for very long, as I had no idea how to add a border then and there's no wadding in it, though I do like the way that makes it soft and 'frilly'. It also taught me how adding a completely different fabric could make the whole quilt sing. I tried several different fabrics for the binding, but when I used the brown gingham the whole thing came alive. I suspect that the gingham is poly cotton too!!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Sorting, tidying and culling (182)

It's a glorious mild, sunny day here in Surrey and what did we decide to do? Tidy up the attic! Get stuck in the gloom and the dust and the heat of our attic instead of getting out for a walk and breathing the (almost) spring air.

Mind you, it was a job that sorely needed doing. Our attic is a fair sized room, though the head room is limited due to the sloping roof on one side, and you could barely get through the door any more. So drastic action was called for. We put on our oldest clothes, rolled up our sleeves and got down to it - we worked for about five hours, with a half hour break for lunch.

Christopher is a hoarder, hates to part with anything, but he was persuaded to get rid of loads. We halved our book collection, keeping all the good stuff, getting rid of those paperbacks we'd both read or decided we'd never read, so there's about 150 books ready to go to the charity shop next week. We got rid of loads of other stuff too, including two old shelf units that really were no use to anyone. So we've now got one pile to go to the charity shop, and one pile to go to the dump. And we're about half way through the job!

But now, I'm worn out. I've had a long hot shower and am about to put my feet up and have a rest. Hopefully we'll be able to finish the job tomorrow or Monday.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

What's going on??? (181)

Yet another February finish, that's what's going on!! This was my one and only UFO. I made the top last year to use up lots of odds and ends of fabric, using the Random Ohio Stars pattern from the Quiltville site. I didn't want to buy any more wadding just yet, so I backed it with a fleecy blanket that lives in the car and quilted the two layers together. It's a fairly rough and ready quilt, one that I just wanted to get done and dusted. There's lots of bits of fabric in there that I'm not keen on, so it will be ideal to live in the car to drape over chilly knees in the winter, or drag out for a picnic blanket in the summer.

Here's Rosie checking for loose threads - you can see how little space I have in my sewing room, it's impossible to lay anything out there.

Rosie giving it the okay!

Now I'm at a bit of a loose end - I've got plenty of hand stitching to do, stitchery BOMs to catch up with and applique to do on my Mariner's Compass quilt. But no machine sewing planned. That won't do at all, so I'm going to have fun looking through my magazines and books and planning something new.

Noah's Ark (180)

Hooray, the rain stopped and the sun came out just a little (sadly, no rainbow!) and I was able to take a photograph outside of my completed Noah's Ark quilt. I loved doing these little blocks and then ummed and ahhed quite a bit thinking how to finish them. Then I remembered that I'd bought a jelly roll of solids in The Quilt Room's sale, and they were just the ticket. Many thanks to Lynette Anderson for this pattern - here's hoping that she does another one soon.
From February 2009 03/02/2009 16:56

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Spring IS on its way (179)

Today the sun shone for a few hours in the late morning and early afternoon and it was milder than it has been (I still needed my thick coat and gloves though), so Christopher and I went for a walk in the park. Lots of other people had the same idea. The skate park was heaving with youngsters on BMX bikes and skateboards; there were more playing football and basketball on the tennis courts and a football match going on over on the pitches. The playground was absolutely full of small children haring around all over the place, going on the swings, slides, zip wires, climbing frames and roundabouts.

As we were walking along I spied these little beauties nestling in the long grass - crocuses and snowdrops, a sure sign that spring is on its way. It's the best time of the year I think, as life starts to reassert itself again.
From February 2009 03/02/2009 16:56
From February 2009 03/02/2009 16:56
From February 2009 03/02/2009 16:56

This is one of the newly laid paths in the park, and I can see a table runner calling me using this pattern.
From February 2009 03/02/2009 16:56

Saturday, 14 February 2009

A finish for February (178)

From February 2009 03/02/2009 16:56
I've finished my first February project - quillow number 6 for one of my nieces. Sadly I couldn't wait for that elusive sunshine to photograph it, as I finished it just in time to pack it up and deliver it yesterday. I used a Kaffe Fassett charm pack and some other fabrics, some wonderful purple buttons and embroidered it using perle cotton and big stitches. 
From February 2009 03/02/2009 16:56

I hope to finish Lynette Anderson's Noah's Ark quilt in the next few days too, and then to catch up on all the other stitchery BOMs that I've started. I'm also machine quilting a quilt that I've backed with a fleecy rug, to go in the car.

This morning I took some time out to make half a dozen star blocks, using Quiltville's Maverick Stars pattern. A UK blogger, Maria at Sew Love to Sew, has volunteered to gather blocks together and send them out to Australia to be made into quilts for victims of the bush fires. This is such an easy pattern to make.
From February 2009 03/02/2009 16:56

Friday, 13 February 2009

I've been tagged (177)

I don't usually get involved in tagging, but since I haven't blogged for ages I'll have a go.

Becky (The Quilting Booklady) has tagged me with an Honest Scrap tag. The idea is to reveal 10 honest things about yourself that you haven't blogged about before and list 5 addictions. Now, this isn't going to be at all easy.

I don't really have any addictions. I get obsessed with something for a while, then I find something new to play with and obsess about that for a while instead. I'm currently obsessed with Germ Buster, a game on my Brain Training game on my new DS. Apart from that, I can't think of a thing. Sorry.

Some things about me that you might not already know.

1 I hate using the telephone. I really have to grit my teeth before making a call. 

2 I don't like parties. I'm not very good at small talk and can't see the point, so can never think of anything to say to strangers. We have used all sorts of excuses in the past to get away early.

3 I have always loved acting, and went to a drama college when I left school. I was too nervous to take it up professionally though, and did the teaching option instead. I've belonged to many amateur dramatic groups and enjoy acting and directing.

4 I'm not keen on much that television has to offer, though I'm more than happy to watch old detective repeats - Midsomer Murders, Bergerac, Poirot, Pie in the Sky etc.

5 I'm a real sucker for science fiction on television though - Star Trek, Torchwood, and especially Dr Who (you may have spotted my knitted Dalek in my sewing room)

6 I am an only child, with no cousins either. My grandmother was the matron of a small children's home, and I used to love to visit them or go on holiday with them.

7 I am a very fast reader, and get through books at a gallop

8 I've lived in 15 different homes since I was born

9 I love doing quizzes and puzzles and get very competitive

10 I hate yorkshire pudding and cucumber

I'm not going to tag anyone else, this was really difficult, but feel free to tag yourself and have a go.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

I won !! (176)

Do you find that some people are born luckier than others? My mother, for instance, rarely entered a raffle without winning at least one prize, whereas I never seem to win anything. But this time I was lucky. Back before Christmas, Kate (at Stitched with Love) had a giveaway and I was the lucky winner. And today my prize turned up on my doorstep, delivered by a postman in his little red van.

Such excitement, but I did remember to have my camera at the ready. First, the box, all covered in airmail stickers and customs declarations and stamps - all the way from Australia. 

Then, inside that, a brown paper carrier bag.

And then all these goodies spilled out. Wow! and double Wow!! There's a dinky little bag - I've not decided what I'm going to do with that yet - and a stunning notebook cover, complete with notebook. Then there's a wonderful pincushion, which is going straight into use in the lounge, for my evening sewing. There's a cute little tin, with some glass headed pins inside, two pieces of fabric, one with lovely little bluebirds on; there's a pattern for a pincushion shaped like a little cottage which I'm looking forward to making. And an Australian Homespun magazine which is earmarked for my next rest and cup of tea.

Thank you so much Kate - it was well worth the wait!

WANTED!!! (175)

We still need some more people who'd like to play along with our PIF challenge. I've got my three people, (Lynn, Candace, and Kate) who I'm looking forward to making gifts for during 2009, but they don't all have their three recipients yet. So come on, join in and play - all you have to do is to commit to making three gifts during the year for people who come to join you, and when you join in you know that you will be receiving a wonderful, surprise, hand-made gift some time this year.

If you'd like to join in let me know, and I'll pass your name on to one of the other participants.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A giveaway (174)

Tracey, at Flower Pebble, is having a giveaway, so pop over and say hello to her. There's some fabric and a lovely Beatrix Potter cross stitch pattern.

Big Snow (173)

We woke up yesterday morning to about 6 inches of snow. We haven't had that much snow here in the South East of the UK for well over ten years. And of course, because no-one is used to it, no-one is ready for it. So everything ground to a standstill. All the schools closed - which I'm all in favour of, because snow is such a rarity and children ought to be outside playing in it and building up great experiences and memories. Public transport stopped altogether, so most people weren't able to go to work.

Christopher doesn't work on Mondays, and Oliver had the day off yesterday having just returned home from accompanying a school skiing trip to Italy (he enjoyed it but it was very hard work). So we decided to meet up in the town for lunch. Christopher and I walked down - lovely fresh white clean snow - and met Oliver there. And then we found that every single restaurant was full to bursting. It seems that loads of people had taken their children down to the park, where there's a great slope for tobogganing down, and then topped off the fun by going out for lunch. And of course, the restaurants were all short staffed because so many people had been unable to get there. We eventually found somewhere and had a very pleasant lunch together.

I haven't done much sewing for the past few days, though I have got going again today. Instead I had great fun spreading all my paper crafting supplies around and making cards. Not for any particular reason, it was just fun. So here's a few pictures of my cards.

I wish I could claim the credit for designing these cards, but I can't, the inspiration all came from a magazine I take called You Can Craft. It's a real cheat because it comes with papers and embellishments for the cards, but you still have to trace the templates, cut out all the shapes and assemble it, using your own ideas to tweak the designs if you wish. It's all very satisfying though when you see the end product.