Friday, 25 February 2011

Pagoda Pots

Yesterday I went to a workshop to make these Pagoda Pots.
They were reasonably easy to make, at least once I'd worked out which metallic thread my machine was prepared to work with and look very elegant.

I may well make some more of these.

Well, this is post number 399, so keep an eye open for 400, as I'll be having a give away of some sort to celebrate.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Those dancing feet ...

Christopher and I have just got back from our first dancing class for over thirty years. We went to a few classes when we were first married, but that's been it. These classes have been going for four or five weeks so we had some catching up to do. We did a slow foxtrot, quickstep, waltz, cha cha and jive. How much we'll remember for next week I don't know, not much I'd imagine. I've got achy legs and achy ankles but it was great fun, and lovely to have something to do together.

Strictly Come Dancing, watch out, we're on our way!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

In the Red

Finished! My red scraps are now down to a very few, and I think I'm going to hang on to those for the time being. It ended up with asymmetric borders and a strip of light green down one side just to bring it to life. Now all I need to do is decide where to hang it, not an easy decision as it is very 'in your face'.

Now what will next month bring? I bet it's green, though I hope it's not as I have loads of green scraps to use up. Well, I'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Happy Village

A couple of days ago I was having a bit of a tidying up in my sewing room when I came across the bag of fabric pieces that I'd cut for a Happy Village quilt I made a couple of years ago. The instructions in the book were wrong, and told you to cut ten squares of fabric instead of one, so you can imagine how much fabric bits I have left over.

The urge kicked in and I made another which I finished yesterday morning. I enjoy making them, and love the finished effect, but can't see me making another eight!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Tote that bag ...

I've made this tote bag for my niece for her birthday, which comes up next week. It's just a simple bag, no pockets or closure, but with longish straps. The stitchery comes from Lynette Anderson's book 'Its Quilting Cats and Dogs'.

Nothing much more to say about it really. I'm saving all the words up for my 400th post which comes up soon.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Scrappy reds

I'm making some more words with my red scraps, as I enjoyed making them before. I'm making them pretty much according to the book, rather than adapting them as I think they'll look better like that if I use them all in the one quilt, which is what I'm planning to do.

Ignore the blocks to the right of RUBY, they're just some scrappy log cabins I've made to fill in the lines. Today I'm going to stitch the rows together, with some navy blue sashing between, and make a narrow navy border. After that I'm planning some flying geese for the second border to use up the last of my red scraps.

I did start on something else last week, using red scraps, but it didn't work out, so I used it to practice my free motion couching and played with my new couching foot. Parts of it will probably end up on the back of the words quilt.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Turn your back for just a few days ....

and spring starts to appear. We've had lots of rain and wind, and really dreary weather over the last few days, and today when I ventured out this is what I found.

So, whatever the weather might throw at us in the next few weeks, spring is definitely on the way. Hurrah!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


I've made this small Valentine gift for Christopher. We don't usually bother with Valentine's really, but I made this little heart sampler when I first started practising machine embroidery and thought it was worth using. It' will make a good mug rug, or to put 'something' on.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Observations on Life

This was sent to me in an email, but I thought you might enjoy it too.

Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, 'Lillian, you should have remained a virgin.'
-   Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter)


I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: - 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.'   
Eleanor Roosevelt   
Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement.  
Mark Twain 
The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible 
George Burns 
Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year. 
Victor Borge 
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. 
- Mark Twain 
By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher. 
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury. 
Groucho Marx 
My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe. 
Jimmy Durante 
I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back. 
Zsa Zsa Gabor 
Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat. 
Alex Levine 
My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying. 
Rodney Dangerfield 
Money can't buy you happiness ... But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery. 
Spike Milligan 
Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP. 
Joe Namath 
I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap. 
Bob Hope 
I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it. 
W. C. Fields 
We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.  
Will Rogers  
Don't worry about avoiding temptation.   As you grow older, it will avoid you. 
Winston Churchill 
Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. 
Phyllis Diller 
By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere. 
Billy Crystal 
And the cardiologist's diet: -  If it tastes good spit it out.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Blue Stars finished

This has been waiting for a day or two to try and get a half way decent photograph. The sun came out for about half an hour this morning, though it's gone again now, so I grabbed the camera and took some photographs. I machine quilted it with various random patterns, though my BSR foot decided not to play properly so I gave up with that, and then discovered that my machine quilting is so much improved now that I don't really need it.

And then, whilst the light was still reasonable I took the opportunity to take some 'before' photographs of the kitchen. Not only before renovation but before I'd tidied up at all! Come on, you didn't really think I was going to do a special tidying up just for you did you? Though I did move the washing from in front of the fire; I always do that when visitors come.

Oh dear, now that I see the photographs I think that perhaps I should have tidied up a bit, though it's not really as messy as it looks in the photographs, I'm sure they exaggerate.

See all that orangey pine? I can't wait to get rid of that. We're keeping the alcove as it is, though we might put some new shelves in. And we're keeping much the same layout for the kitchen as it seems to work reasonably well.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


My Open University course, Understanding Shakespeare, officially starts today, though I have been doing some reading over the last week or so. It's a level one course, equivalent to a first year university course, and runs over twelve weeks. Nothing too onerous I hope. It will be good to get back to using my brain for different things again.

I'm used to distance learning as I did my degree with the Open University some 38 years ago, and have done several other courses since then. When I retired I had a plan to read for an MA, but my time and enthusiasm somehow got subsumed in patchwork and quilting!

The studying will of necessity cut down on my sewing time (it can hardly cut down on my housework time as I already do the bare minimum!) but not too much I hope. I plan to do 8 to 10 hours per week studying.

Hopefully I won't end up like this!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Yesterday, whilst the kitchen designer was measuring up and checking where the drainage pipes and electricity points were, and putting it all onto his computer, I couldn't do much as he kept asking questions. So I sorted out all my scraps into different coloured piles, ready for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over the coming months. It was a fascinating exercise, to see which piles were the largest and smallest. I've loads of orange and yellow, a fair bit of brown and quite a lot of black. There's quite a big pile of green, but virtually no pink or purple. There's a small pile of turquoise as well. So some months I'm going to be busy, some less so.

Thankfully, there's not too much red. Here it is ironed and in the same basket as I used for the blue scraps last month.

I have a few ideas what I'd like to do with the red, so will start to play once I've finished quilting the second blue quilt that I made. Then I'll just have two quilt tops to finish, both to be hand quilted using cotton a broder, so they shouldn't take too long I hope. 

A new kitchen

We've finally taken the plunge and ordered a new kitchen. We knew when we moved here that we wanted to change the kitchen. The one we have now was handmade by the previous owners and shows it. The doors are all a very orangey pine and nothing fits terribly well. But at last we've made the move, signed on the dotted line yesterday and now await an installation date.

It's not going to look anything like this very modern looking kitchen that I found on the internet, but you can't have a post without a picture of some sort can you? We're going for more of a country look, but modern country.

I'll take some photographs soon of the 'before' kitchen before it all gets removed and show you what it looks like at the moment. How very exciting, and frustrating, the next few weeks are going to be.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Fat cat

Oh dear, poor Rosie is now officially obese! I had to take her to the vet yesterday for her annual vaccinations and they weighed her. 6.2 kg!! We're always really careful about what she eats, I even weigh out her cat biscuits each day, and the poor thing never gets any treats. But she's just so very lazy. I've now been given some special biscuits for her, called Obesity Management, so we'll have to wait and see. And I've got to take her to a weight management clinic, a sort of Weight Watchers for cats.

I'm seriously considering getting a cat harness and taking her our for a walk around the garden each day, but I fear that I'd end up dragging her along as I'm sure she wouldn't take to a harness.

She'll play for a minute or two, but then gets bored and wanders off. So, we're a bit stumped as to how to help. Perhaps I'll have to start putting her food up high so that she has to jump up to get it and then jump off. You can see that I'm getting a bit desperate for ideas!

Taking photographs

Following a question on a previous blog, several people very kindly sent me some links and ideas to help with improving my photography skills. As there were several other people who bemoaned their own skills I thought that these links and hints might be helpful.

Etsy Sellers' Handbook

 (From Oh Sew Busy)With photographing quilts, when I have flash trouble (not that my photographs would be able to even enter a photo contest!) I stand further back and zoom in with the flash, this way the light fromteh flash is dispersed more before it hits the quilt. Experiment. I like to lay my quilts out and then be half or a full level above them for a photograph, much easier than pegging on the clothes line!

I haven't yet had a chance to look at any of the links, as I'm starting my Open University course this week (A177 Shakespeare: an introduction) and have been busy getting things ready. So I can't vouch for the usefulness of any of these sites. I'm just passing them on as I have received them.

I hope that some of you might find this helpful.