Saturday, 30 April 2016

Well - a girl's got to do what George tells her - hasn't she?

I woke up a tad late this morning - and came down to a hive of industry.  Fortunately the pannacottas, cupcakes, lemon cakes and roulades were nearing completition and just needed my (oops that should have said mum's) magic touch before being delivered to the church hall. The bride and groom had a lovely sunny and warm day fo their wedding and we left the village as the guests are starting to arrive.  Why leave the village you ask?  Well when I checked into Facebook this picture popped up - and we all know that Mr Clooney is right - yes?

The plan was to pop over to Tavistock - a lovely drive across Dartmoor- for a mooch around and a spot of lunch.  Since we were later than usual we parked in a car park that was further away than usual - and be fitted from a wonderful walk with these views.

Once in Tavistock I trotted off to the lovely fabric shop - mainly to see if they had some fabric for Wendy.  They didn't - but they did have this very attractive bundle of French General fat quarters at a reasonable price - oops!

We had a lovely lunch - Dad had cauliflower cheese with cheesy chips!  We won't mention my steak pie and chips or mum's Scampi and chips!

Then it was time to enjoy the walk back to the car park before heading home for a snooze.  Well - with three dogs, one of which is a pup that has been in all morning and has far too much energy - Mum and Dad didn't get too much sleep!
Tonight I am planning to start the decluttering that I came down for - now that the wedding is out of the way I have told mum that we need to give the craft room half an hour and make a start!  Since I finished the Anni Down's ornaments yesterday I want to continue with the Anni Down's tab appliqué so that I can join both together - ie lots more hand sewing ahead!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Wedding preparations - full steam ahead

As you will recall Mum and Dad are cooking the desserts for a local wedding tomorrow.  So the day started ( I'd love to say early but not quite!) with a test of last night's roulade.  Dad wanted to investigate whether the roulade would suffer from being made the night before so this was a trial run.  Sadly he concluded that it cracked too much so will need to get up early to make his two roulades - and fill them - before taking them across to the village hall by 10am!! It did taste good though - we "suffered" a slice, in the name of research you understand, for elevenses.

Meanwhile Mum set to making around 7 dozen cupcakes - three different flavours and a multitude of toppings.  My task was to make up  the presentation boxes to look like a bouquet of flowers. Now I don't want to take credit away from Mum but I do think that they have turned out rather well!

Not being of much help in the catering front, I then sacrificed myself again by looking after the dogs and keeping them out of Mum's way.  I managed this Herculean effort by sitting quietly by the window embroidering my Anni Down's ornaments - 20 done, 4 to go.  I felt quite Jane Austen-esque particularly with Daisy asleep by my feet.

The next call on my expertise was to hoover out the car and arrange clean sheeting for the transportation of desserts tomorrow.  Meanwhile Mum made a start on the individual pannacottas and finished decorating the cakes - I'm not underplaying her efforts but she really enjoys these sorts of challenges!  Mind you - once we have delivered the goods tomorrow morning we are going out for the day and a rest ( plus a nice quilt shop of course!)

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Sometimes the day just doesn't turn out the way you thought it might do ......

Last night I set to with the huge amount of sewing that I've brought down - starting with the embroideries for the border of the Anni Downs quilt.  They are nice and simple - but there are 24 of them to do!

Today was a leisurely start the day.  Mum and Dad have taken on the task of making all the desserts for a local wedding - the daughter of a good friends of theirs. Consequently today's task was shopping based - Atlantic Village( hence the Cornish pasty), Morrisons and then Wickes ( well you have to give Dad a treat now don't you?).  We got back to find an email with encouraging news - sorry to be a pain but I can't say more at this moment - but it sure made the day look different to how it started.

I also got a parcel from Amazon with my dissolvable glue.  I want to appliqué some tiny pieces so need to practise with my appliquick tools.

Tonight sees a continuation of the embroideries - I really want to finish one job before starting the next. I also have to look at some of the cupcake boxes that mum wants to use at the wedding - apparent,y I have to turn them into a bouquet or three!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Well - I've arrived

Just a short post to say that I've arrived in Devon - after a seven hour, trouble free journey.  Well - almost trouble free. I had been worried about how Daisy would react to such a long car journey - but she was fine - sleeping most of the way until I stopped and then waiting patiently in the car until I could put her lead on.  If only I could say the same about Millie!  The first stop was fine but she slipped her lead at the second and ran around - to the amusement of a pack of bikers!  Millie finally came back to the sound of a box of shape biscuits being rattled - Labradors eh?

Well - we are here and causing chaos already.  Let's just say that Daisy has left a couple of presents and is in the doghouse!  Meanwhile she is annoying Mum's dog and being a real irritant.  This could be a long week!!!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The final countdown ........

Sometimes I think that holidays were only invented so that you could recover from the stress of packing etc.  My day has consisted of the following:-

  • Make upstairs respectable for the plumber - tick
  • Pack suitcase - clothes were ironed yesterday - tick
  • Change bedding and wash - nice to come home to clean bedding - tick
  • Finish two Tuesday night blocks and layer them up ready for tonight - tick
  • Empty the airing cupboard (why do I have so much bedding - this will need some serious decluttering) - tick
  • Load and then emptied the dishwasher - tick
  • Hoover and tidy around - tick
  • De-Daisy the conservatory (it's full of twigs etc) - tick
  • Pack the craft projects up - tick
  • Pack the dog bowls, food, chews, beds etc - tick
  • Attend a WI planning lunch - tick
All amongst hailstones, serious winds, rain and then sunshine - on a  rotation basis. 

Now I may have left some tasks out but I think that you get my point.  I once had a notion of retiring and buying a campervan with the idea that I would just take off for a few days here and there - not a chance - I would need time to recover before, during and after the holiday!

So - now its time to rest for a few minutes before setting off for our first Tuesday night class of the summer term.  I have prepared for some quilt as you go techniques - 28 blocks are layered up and ready to go!  Sadly I believe that the final quilt has around 49 blocks in it - so only 21 to go then!!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Getting there at last - part 2

You may recall (someone told me recently that this seemed to be my favourite phrase!) that my current diy project is the craft room.  I want to get onto the layout and organisation stage - but there are many hurdles to jump before then.  The biggest one is a new boiler - today the men came to look at what was needed and to agree a date for work to start.  To my amazement they had a vacancy and could start this Thursday - normally you can't get them for around 6 weeks!  I guess that tomorrow's tasks will include the emptying of the airing cupboard - where the boiler is situated - then!  I am away on holiday on Wednesday so have warned the house sitter of the disruption!

Once that visit was out of the way, and after the usual Monday housework, I made another block for Tuesday night.  Yesterday's had a deliberate error which will need to be corrected before I go back to the sewing class tomorrow night!  However I also need to have a count up and see how many I am behind!

Next up was the removal of the carpet from upstairs to outside - ready for the refuse collection tomorrow morning.  The carpet is not heavy but was awkward - cue a pile up at the bottom of the stairs.  Whilst the plumbers are here putting the boiler in they are also going to sort the shower out upstairs so tomorrow will also see me sorting the bedroom upstairs to make it look respectable.

By now it was nearly time to go out to the craft group.  Just as I was about to leave there was a knock at the door - my new chair (complete with castors for ease of movement between machines) had arrived.  I will try to open it tomorrow - otherwise it will have to wait until I get back from holiday.

At the craft group we were finishing our wonky house brooches and people seemed pleased with their finished results.

Then it was onto walking the dogs (in freezing, raw hands weather) before emptying the freezer ready to fill the bin before being collected tomorrow.  I don't know what you think but today feels much more active than yesterday - and at least the craft room is being moved forward.  Next step?  Emptying the room and taking the laminate flooring  - before calling the decorator in!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A quiet day at home

After watching the usual Create and Craft programme at 8am, it was time to get ready and head off to church.  Today we had a visiting preacher - "Vicar Kate".  A young lady who preached about love and used the film Love Actually to illustrate her points.  It was different - and made the idea of an afternoon in front of the tv watching the film seem really appealing!


Lunch was leisurely - reading the paper in the conservatory - and then I made a start on today's Splendid sampler block.  It went together well so I then moved on to a Tuesday night block.  When it turned out that I had been sewing for a while with no cotton in the bobbin, I felt that it was time to take a break - even more so when the replacement bobbin got all tangled!.

So I headed for the lounge and tried to find the film Love Actually on my Now TV box.  However I got side tracked and settled down to watch a box set whilst doing some hand sewing and, ahem, having 40 winks.

I finally got around to finishing the Tuesday night block - and tonight I will layer a number of them up.

Meanwhile the girls had some fun - bombing round the garden after each other and trying to dig the biggest hole they could - just in the area that I had weeded.  Now why couldn't they start on a pile of weeds instead?

Daisy has managed to bring most of her pile in on her fur - thank goodness that she's due for a trim soon!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

An unexpected day of freedom

How strange that I would think of that as a blog title - every day of retirement should be a day of freedom - yet I seem to fill them with commitments!

Today should have been a day's sewing over at West Ashby.  Throughout last year we created a block a month and I was looking forward to starting to complete the quilt.  However, and after the car was packed etc, the tutor rang to cancel - she sounded very poorly.  Initially I will admit to feeling a little confused - what was I going to do with this unexpected day?  But then I remembered the list I made several days ago of jobs that needed to be done - now was the time to get stuck in.  (I should add, at this stage, that I am going away for a few days next week so a number of jobs were craft related - ie getting things prepared to take.)

So, first up was a Tuesday night block - this was cheating really since it went so easily together and I was avoiding the second 48 piece block.  Just as I was finishing, Wendy rang wanting to borrow my appliquick tools so I popped round with them - complete with apron, slippers and Daisy!  By the way Wendy wants it to be known that she wasn't responsible for Donnygate yesterday (puppy love was played on the radio today - ah!) - and that I didn't need much persuading.  All I can say is that that's her story!!


After hoovering around, putting the washing on, cleaning the kitchen and ironing a few more backing squares for the Tuesday night blocks, I then started on last Sunday's Splendid Sampler block.  My intention is just to take hand sewing on holiday so I needed to make the block before tracing the design.

Talking about tracing, I then had this week's Splendid Sampler block to trace - as well as 24 Christmas ornaments to sew onto my Anni Downs quilt border.

By now the rain and hail stones had finished and the sun had been out for some time so it was out to the garden to mow the lawn and scatter some grass seed.  I am not sure how much the birds will leave for me but I didn't want to protect them with twigs - Daisy brings enough of them into the house as it is.


Finally I just couldn't put it off any longer and gave myself a couple of hours to cut and make the second 48 piece block - it would feel like a wasted day if I didn't manage to complete it.  whilst there are still some faults it went together a lot quicker than my first attempt - perhaps I learnt something along the way!

Tonight?  Well it's Shakespeare live at 8:30pm - I've even traced a Shakespeare design and have a rose design for additional SS blocks.  I think that an evening of hand sewing is called for - I've done the preparation after all!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Mum - Wendy has led me astray again!!

Last night, you may recall, I went off to the WI craft club with a rag bag of materials in an effort to transform them into a fairy.  Well - ta-da - here she is -with hidden sparkly undies!!  Truthfully fairies aren't really my thing but I enjoyed the process.  However a friend, Jenny, wanted to make three for her granddaughters so I offered my fairy to reduce her work load - it was gratefully received!

This morning was spent gathering supplies for the few days ahead (sewing tomorrow and Tuesday night etc) before I could sit down and finish my project from the Janet Clare workshop.  Sewingbuddy had assured me that she wouldn't finish hers in time for Saturdays sewing class - and then sent me a picture of hers last night! Grrrr - I really couldn't turn up without mine now could I?  I had left the hardest part (the free machine sewing) until the end but warmed up first by writing my name etc.  Truthfully I was pleased with the finished article but it really came to life when I covered an old canvas frame with the price of fabric - I love it!  Not only that but it is extremely satisfying to finish something and not add to the UFO pile!

There was nothing for it - I just had to tackle the 48 piece Tuesday night block next.  I cannot count how many hours have now been spent on it - but it's finished - sort of.  I won't even begin to point out the faults - we would be here all night!!  I should be pleased that its finished - but each block has to be done in two colourways - so there is a second one to do yet!

So - what has Wendy done now you ask.  well I was minding my own business when she rang me this afternoon.  She had read in the paper that a certain Donny Osmond was touring the UK next year and should we go and see him.  The nearest venue is Nottingham (2 hours away) but it is a Saturday night - what did I think?  Well we obviously discussed it at length - for the sake of decency - but it was never in question - tickets are now booked and, for a couple of hours in January, we can all pretend to be teenagers again!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Happy 90th birthday Queen Elizabeth II

May I first take this opportunity to join in with all the well wishers in celebrating the 90th birthday of our Queen.  To live to 90 and still be carrying out your duties in the way that she does is remarkable.

Today I have to admit that I am shattered.  Truthfully the day after a long drive I am normally very tired but when you have a blog to write it makes for a very boring day - you have been warned!  So what did I get up to?


Well, truthfully, not that much.  I spent the morning hand quilting the piece of work started at the workshop yesterday and ironing on the hexagons.  I now have to quilt over the hexagons before drawing on the pieces with the fmq foot and then deciding how to finish it.  If I can find a canvas the right size then I wold like to stretch it over - otherwise it will be a wall hanging.

Then I made a start on one of the Tuesday night blocks - this one has 48 pieces!  I was doing okay until I realised that some pieces were sewn the wrong way around and had to start again.

My final task was to sew on the picture that Janet Clare created for us - it has pride of place on the apron.  I think that I have mentioned before that the concept of the apron is to add to it as you go so that it becomes a collection of work in its own right.  Janet's was fantastic - yet she just threw it on the pile of her quilts as she left for lunch.  There is no point being precious about it - it would seem.

So, apart from walking the dogs and phoning the plumber to come round and talk new boiler with me, I am afraid that sums up my day.  Quiet and peaceful but hardly energetic!

Tonight it's the WI craft club where we will be tasked with turning this pile of goodies into a fairy - I kid you not!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Spending the day with Janet Clare

As I mentioned yesterday, today sewing buddy, Pat and I travelled three hours each way to attend a Janet Clare workshop and to learn how to draw with a sewing machine.  As you can see from these attempts I am not the most artistic of people but we were put through a series of exercises - write your name, draw a face, draw a chicken - then a penguin.  At this point we were all beginning to wonder what a penguin looked like!  Finally, and before we were let loose, we had to draw a garden.

Throughout the morning Janet was kind, patient and encouraging - just as life affirming as I thought she would be.  Janet was delighted to see us in her aprons and insisted on having a photo taken.  She even designed us a personal picture from her to us to sew onto our apron which I will show you tomorrow.

The afternoon was spent starting a wall hanging / cushion (not sure yet) but I will share it with you when it is completed and I have more time.  But for anyone thinking of attending one of Janet's classes - then please do - it was the most fun 6 hours I have had in a long time!

The only thing that has marred the day is the sad news of Victoria Wood's passing - she was a fantastic comic writer and will be sadly missed by many. Remember Barry and Freda?

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Anyone for nettle tea?

or nettle cake, nettle jam, nettle soup ..............

Tomorrow I, along with sewingbuddy and another friend, am going to another workshop at the Bramble Patch.  This time its being run by Janet Clare - yes her of the artisan apron fame - I wonder if she will sign my apron?  The dogs are being well cared for by Jean , for which I am extremely grateful, but it does mean a whole day out - leaving around 5:45 am!  So this morning was mainly centred around preparation - having the car valeted (we can't allow precious friends to endure the state of my car now can we?), filling the car with petrol (its a six hour round trip) and buying something for the "pack up".

Whilst I was in Cleethorpes I popped into the garden centre for a cuppa and some goodies for the WI craft evening on Thursday night - saves me going out again.  I have to admit that I was rather taken by this little friend for the garden - it reminded me of a musical - anyone like to guess which one?

Once home I then spent time gathering all the sewing materials and equipment that we need to take.  I have to say that its all rather vague - I prefer to work to a colour scheme - but I am sure that it will all come out in the wash.  We are at a fabric shop should we run short ...........

Being a lovely afternoon here, I then decided (after walking the dogs and moving the tumble dryer to the boundary of the property - it will be collected within 3 working days!) to continue with the garden clear up.  After sweeping the side ready for some more power washing later this week, I then continued with the weeding.  It would appear that I had done the easy part of the border on Sunday - today it was time to tackle the nettles!  I have always been told that nettles are a sign of fertile soil - well I have them in abundance!!  Daisy tried to help by digging - but in the area that I had already weeded!

Mind you - I loved discovering this little blue and yellow partnership!

Tonight I must, must, MUST finish the wonky house brooch and the turn down of the apron pockets!!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Proud mama

Firstly I must say Happy 21st birthday to my nephew Harry Dobson.  He is my 8th nephew / niece out of 12 so I am feeling a tad old today!

Today has followed a usual Monday routine.  I like to start the week nice and neat - even if it doesn't last - so it was housework first and dusting / hoover throughout.  I also spent some time outside sorting out the side of the house.  For those doubters out there - can you tell which part of the side I used the powerwasher on yesterday?

Then I set off for the craft group.  Today, and next week, we are creating "Wonky House" brooches.  For some people this was their first taste of free motion embroidery and I was so proud of the way that they took to it.  However one or two did seem to get confused - particularly with the bondaweb - forgetting to take the backing off, for example, and wondering why it wouldn't stick, or not cutting the bondaweb to size and ironing glue all over the ironing mat - a true chapter of errors!!!  However, given that the workshop I am going to on Wednesday uses similar techniques then I was pleased how quickly I managed to pick it up again.  We will finish the brooches next week but I will aim to finish one of mine tomorrow so that I can wear it on my apron on Wednesday.

Tonight I am aiming to make a start on the second Lynette Anderson block - at least getting the  pattern traced.  I have cut out the templates for the applique so will hopefully get around to that as well.  Block one was put together last night - it has a mushroom button to be added but that will be done after quilting.  So one block down, 9 to go!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A more mellow kind of day

Well if yesterday's burst of activities were down to my new slippers then all I can say is that I need to charge them up again!


Today has been less industrious.  Firstly I sorted the Lynette Anderson block out.  As well as the embroidery I showed you yesterday, there is this small patchwork block and another small block with an embroidered heart on it.  Cue plenty of cutting, sewing and tracing - I will do the embroidery tonight.

Then I put the thin blue trim on the Anni Downs top - the simple blue seems to set the multitude of applique blocks off well.  I have also sewn together blocks for the border - ready to applique the 40 "tongues".  Tonight I will use the Roxanne basting glue to secure them into position but I might save the applique task until I go away on holiday.

After a journey out to church to pay the grasscutter his expenses, and another one to walk the dogs at the beach, it was time to get the powerwasher out to finish cleaning the back of the house.  The weather has been inclement recently, to say the least, so its good to see that job finished.  I also took advantage of the sunny weather to start some weeding before they take over.  Mind you I didn't reckon on Daisy's wish to dig down to Australia!!

So - not as good a day as yesterday but at least I can say that I've made progress with some tasks - I guess!