Sunday, 31 July 2016

Another day in sewing paradise

It's like medicine - the ability (and time) to just please yourself - surrounded by good friends and like minded people!  Today was my Scamblesby sewing day - but one with a slight difference.  Most of us were doing the same project - a Gail Pan tote bag - completely with some embroidery panels.

I had the kit so did the bag in a blue colourway.  Everything is complete - apart from the handles and finishing touches.

Pat had already done the bag twice so had made up a couple of her own original designs - before starting to make a caravan machine cover.

Gill is a beginner and was working on a stunning Filbert Fox cushion.

Meanwhile Lyn, Heather and Louise were all working on their tote bag

Ev was starting to cut out the myriad of pieces to make the bag in a red colourway and PAt was working on her patchwork blocks.

Meanwhile Terry was working on her squirrel splendid sampler block.

Talking about the blocks - I managed to finish the Dresden plate block last night - so that's 10 left now!

Saturday, 30 July 2016

In which Cinders rebels!

Yesterday I mentioned that the internet was down.  I could live with that one and was getting stressed about tomorrow's sewing day - we are doing a bag with soooo many pieces that have to be labelled etc that I just needed some down time to get my head in gear!  However my "silver surfers" just can't live without their internet -"I'm checking my technology" or "Have Leicester signed anybody in the last minute?"  In the end I sent them out to do the shopping!!  Meanwhile I have sorted out the internet - loose connection in the telephone socket.  At least we can watch a film tonight.

This morning also saw the removal of the summer house  the recipients were planning to repair it, line it and then use it to house their snakes!  Funnily enough though they were scared of spiders!  Fair do's though, they came early, took it down and away in one piece - along with a car load of rubbish from the shed that needed to be taken to the tip - what a result!  As a consequence I now have a much larger garden - and an elderflower tree to remove!

Consequently I have had a sewing sort of day - getting ready for tomorrow, as I said, doing some prep work on some blocks and starting a paper piecing block (there will be three pencils in the end)  Not many steps on the old step counter but a really enjoyable "Me day".  I also got to try out the best press to starch some thin strips - very impressive!

Talking about the blocks - I finished this last night so the total to complete is 11 by next Thursday.  I should finish the grey and red Dresden plate tonight and make a start on the Gail Pan embroidery.  I also have the squirrel picture set up for blanket stitch and will, hopefully, finish the three pencils tomorrow - so that's nearly 7 left to go - right?

Friday, 29 July 2016

Frugal friday

This post may be short - my internet is playing up today!  Anyway back to last night - what was I scared of. I took the British stiff upper lip approach and laid back, eyes closed, thinking of my new summerhouse, new rocking chair and singing "oh what a night" to myself. Half an hour later the ordeal was over - and I really couldn't believe that it had lasted as long!  I definitely won't be so scared next time.

Today, as the title suggests, we are being frugal. After seeing a recipe for "cheese pudding" on the back of Wendy's bookmark last night ( what a star - giving up her free evening to drive me to Scunthorpe and back!). I just had to try it out. I added onions and bacon but it used up those hardening slices of bread that we often throw away - and was amazing.  Dinner tonight is shepherds pie using left over mince from yesterday whilst dessert is a family concoction. Chocolate borboun biscuits dipped in the left over raspberry coulis and then sandwiched together with cream. If it works ( we usually use orange juice) then , over the day , the biscuits will absorb the flavours and takes on a consistency similar to tiramisu - don't knock it until you've tried it!  Of course all this cooking took its toll on everyone. I looked around to find everyone sparked out!

( they will hate me for this  one!)

Of course we ruined the frugality by popping out for a coffee this afternoon - yep, another garden centre - but mum did get to try out a wheelchair. She found it the most frustrating experience - apparently we only stopped when we wanted to look at  something and she ended up with a crooked neck!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Another day, another lunch out!

Today was one of those days when I didn't really know what to do with myself.  It's my MRI scan tonight at 7:30pm - you may recall that I REALLY am not looking forward to that one!  So - in an effort to take my mind off things, we went out to another garden centre (got some REAL bargains with red on them - nudge nudge) and saw a really nice rocking chair  in the sale that I could just see in my new summer house - if I ever decided which one to buy, have the patio laid etc etc!

Of course we had a coffee out - and then went onto Watts for Tea in Grainthorpe where we had a late lunch.  Dad and I had a sausage bun,

whilst mum had an eggy bread cheese and ham sandwich with salad.  Very tasty apparently and something that we fancy trying at home.

Once home, I finished blanket stitching a Splendid Sampler block

and then, miracles of miracles, downloaded today's block and finished it!!  It used foundation paper piecing but was a nice easy one and might, once I've got more time, lend itself to some embroidery on the seams!

So the block count is now down to 12 to be completed by next Thursday - yikes!

Yesterday I mentioned that there was some work being done on the house and that I would report back.  Well I now have a lovely new double glazed window  in the craft room and there is no longer a hole in the floor upstairs on the landing.  I also have a lovely workbench in the craft room and can move easily between the sewing machine, computer and iron.  Sadly, however, and it is COMPLETELY my own fault - the bench is too high and will need to be lowered - it's just not a comfortable height to work.  As I said - it's down to me and a valuable lesson learned!  The craftsmanship, however, is faultless.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Warning - this is a "no crafting" blog!

Today Dad drove Mum and I over to Brigg garden centre.  It's a lovely garden centre - full of really interesting nick nacks.  This door stop, for example, I could make - but for £5?

These wooden baskets just called out to come home with me!

But the real reason for going was to meet up with my brother, Phil, and his wife, Chris, who drove over from Manchester to meet us and have lunch.  It was also Phil who challenged me to write a non crafting blog!

When we meet up we have a £2 challenge - pick a name at random, split up and buy them something for £2.  Today we upped the price to £3 and Phil bought me these three lovely hanging ornaments.

When we arrived home, a parcel had arrived - my birthday present a week early - a new house sign!

There is more to say - particularly about some work that went on in the house today - but I will leave that until tomorrow!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

I'm in training for my new job.........

Let's start, as usual, with last night.  I had a fantastic sleep - only to wake up 8:05am!!  I felt lovely and rested - just as well really!  With mum being out of action, and dad walking his dog (and fetching elevenses), my first job was to get breakfast.  Mum has a penchant for a soft boiled free range egg with toasted soldiers and a sprinkling of salt.  Today's effort was perfect, apparently.  Yesterday's was "good" but the soldiers didn't fit into the hole that she'd made!!

Next up was the washing of mum's hair.  She is finishing it difficult to bend over or stand long enough in the shower - cue the shower hose and the computer chair raised up high.  Afterwards she trimmed and blow-dried her hair. 

By now Dad had been working hard on the shed - or rather the trimming of the conifer hedge so that it could sit straight (with the help of sand that we need to get).  Seeing as it was after 11, it was time for morning coffee and dad's treats.  Daisy, of course, liked to help Dad get rid of the trimmings.


My next task was to make mum a "bum bag".  I had already sorted her a hanging system on her frame so that she could carry her ipad etc with her from room to room.  Her "bum bag" was to hold her tens machine and her purse when she ventures out.

By now it was lunchtime ( they had deconstructed sandwiches to make up - I was flagging!) and they took a nap whilst I finished and prepared some blocks. 

I finished the hexagon block - sewing a small country scene across the middle.

Then I prepared the latest block - ready for some blanket stitch - and trimming to size.

Finally I prepared a squirrel block - again ready for some blanket stitch, button and a "yoyo".

Next up was some more work emptying the summer house.  In a ruthless mood, I listed my bike on the sale facebook page for our area (it's a good bike but has just been sitting around in the shed and is too high to get on).  Within the hour someone I know contacted me and is coming tonight to collect and pay cash - more funds for my holiday then!!

Finally ( I say finally but I still have tea to prepare and I have already made dessert - the summer pudding "roll" that they made on masterchef last week -well my version anyway) - Dad drove us all up to the beach to give the dogs a walk and a run (they are now flaked out) whilst mum sat outside the car on a seat and waited for us.

It's been a good day - but I'm not sure that I'd be up to the job of carer on a permanent basis!

Meanwhile the block count is reducing - 14 to go with, as I said, two prepared for some hand sewing.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Phew - what a day - its madness here!

Let's start with last night and the airbed.  It was the most comfortable airbed that I have ever had.  Sadly I did not get much sleep, however - the room upstairs is warm and faces a different way so is more noisy than my bedroom.  My mind was also going nineteen to the dozen - about nothing really - just silly things like how to make mum a bag for her walking frame etc.  Consequently I heard the start of the dawn chorus - and was then woken up by Dad's dog Maisie who was moaning and whining whenever she heard them move - at 6am!  Being the kind daughter that I am, I got up, made a coffee and then took all three dogs into the garden with the radio on my phone.  It was a beautiful morning and one to cherish!

The next piece of excitement was that I managed to find a scrap of the missing yellow fabric and so finished another block - that's reduced the count to 15 now then by August 4th! (errrr - 10 days then!)

I am starting to think about the garden now that the house is nearly finished and am exploring the idea of a "she cave".  Today, therefore, was the start of making way for a patio to be laid and picking the right "cave".  Dad helped the venture by constructing a new shed for the lawn mower etc (I tried to give instructions but that didn't work - apparently the washers were important!)

Meanwhile Mum watched on whilst she sat and rolled newspaper - long story but she is constructing a coffee table for the church's paper festival.

My job?  Well I started to clear out the summer house - moving small tools to another store, filling bags for the tip and listing anything of use on the freely given facebook site for our area - including the actual summer house!  Yes - I had plenty of takers with someone coming on Saturday morning to dismantle it and take it away - along with anything that I might want to take to the tip - what an offer!

After going to the tip ourselves, and then a quick visit to the shops, I think it's fair to say that we are all tired and should sleep well tonight!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

A frustrating and busy day


As I mentioned yesterday, my parents are travelling up today from Devon for a visit.  Therefore today's activities were centred around getting the house shipshape and preparing a meal - just your usual everyday tasks.

However, I also have my target to achieve so I also focussed on completing a couple of blocks.  The first one was the finishing off of the pincushion block - the embroidery adds the necessary detail and I am particularly fond of the "seeds".

The second one was machine sewn but should have been easy to complete - 36 1 1/2 inch squares (some of which were made using half square triangles ).  It was an intricate pattern but one that went together well - until ...........

Finishing the last row I was one half square triangle short.  Somehow this had got lost between sewing, ironing and trimming.  Never mind I thought - its bound to turn up as I tidy up throughout the day.  Well, folks, it didn't!  Not only that the yellow was from a scrap that I don't seem to have any of left so I can't remake the square. 

All I can do is to walk away and decide whether to patch with another piece of fabric or start this quarter again.  I suspect it will be the latter grrr!

Let's put the tea on!!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

The day that I get excited about an airbed!

Another day and more sewing.  Not surprisingly, I hear you say, I used today to prepare another three blocks - a bonus block and two official ones.  I say prepare because these are all appliqued in some form and require some embroidery.  I can't count them finished until this is all done.  So we first have the bonus block - which will just require a button on the flower after the block is quilted.

Then we have a pincushion which needs some buttonhole stitching to secure it and then some embroidered features.

Finally we have a set of hexagons.  I saw someone else turn their hexagons into a countryside theme so thought that I would give it a go - there's more work to be done here yet!

But my man excitement, as the title suggests concerned an airbed.  Let me explain.  As I have explained, the next room to be completed is the spare room and, having checked that no one was due to visit, I gave away the bed to make it easier to decorate and because the bed was old. Then my parents decide to visit!  It's okay, they say, we will sleep on an airbed so we bought a regular foot pump version.  Then mum gets sciatica and wouldn't be able to get upstairs let alone down onto a low airbed.  Truthfully I had already offered to swap anyway - but I wasn't looking forward to the experience.  But a friend, Sue, came up trumps and offered me her single airbed that you just plug into a socket and it inflates.  What she didn't tell me was that the bed ends up nearly two foot off the round - 2 minutes inflation and luxury!  I won't be sleeping on it until tomorrow night but I am seriously impressed with it!!

The other piece of news is that I have finally heard from the tax man and am pleased to report that his figure broadly agrees with my calculation of the tax that I overpaid - it should be in my account by the end of July.

This afternoon I treated myself to a musical - and a childhood memory.  BBC radio 4 extra are having a season of musicals - 9am on a Saturday morning.  So - using the iplayer I can sit back and enjoy them on a Saturday afternoon.  The first one was last week - Sweeney Todd.  It wasn't really up my street, to be honest, but today's was Guys and Dolls.  When I was young I used to watch these musicals with Dad - and fondly remember watching Marlon Brando singing "luck be a lady tonight".

So - the block count is still at 17 (but the bonus block has been completed) - 4 to be published yet (the next one is tomorrow) and two should be completed by tomorrow night.  Onwards and upwards!