Friday, 30 September 2016

Day 5 - it's all starting to come together now

Last day for the gardeners and they told me, at coffee time, that they are 3/4 way through - erm?  how does that work?  Again they have come as a pair but, by lunchtime, the large patio is done, an area gravelled and just a couple of paths and a small patio to be completed - I have hope and it does look a lot LOT better!  Not only that but the "Shecave" has arrived - all flat ready for construction - but it's here!  Mind you my nice cream carpet has muddy dog prints all over it - drying (hopefully) ready to be hoovered later.  The perils of earth mounds in the garden!  It will be nice to get back to some form of normal tomorrow.  I will also post a piccie tomorrow - its getting late here and they haven't finished yet!

Sewing wise I have been concentrating on designing and sewing a cover for the ScanNCut machine.  Amongst my stash I managed to find fabric and matching bias binding so the cover is free (always good to say that I am using my stash up!) and, apart from a small fault which I won't point out to you, I am rather pleased with it.  The cover certainly does its job of protecting from dust.

I also continued with my quest to sew the curved pieces for Tuesday night and have now completed 63 out of the 168 (34%) - only another 21 to go to get to the halfway point then!

The other present today were the pair of tables for the summer house - oh the vision of sitting in the rocking chair, doing some hand sewing with my coffee beside me and two contented dogs curled up on the carpet together.  Well - a girl can dream can't she?

On a totally different note, my cousin was complaining in her blog last night that she has lost her crafting mojo.  I know that she is a knitter and does crochet and, coincidentally, a local yarn shop here was doing a mystery block of the month club.  Thus an idea was formed and, starting after Christmas, we are going to swap a block a month.  The structure is fairly sketchy at the moment but we both have a stash of wool to use up so the concept of receiving a mystery block to knit and using up the stash has to be a "win win".  If you would like to join us in this venture and could source a pattern for a 10 inch square, using DK yarn, which could be emailed / link sent electronically then we would love you to join us - if we could get a total of 12 then we would all have to only find one square each!  How about another a  new challenge for 2017?

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Day 4 - now they're multiplying!

So - last night and Shakespeare's Cymbeline.  It was a good performance of a confusing play with at least three different storylines - all becoming clear in the last scene.  On the positive I am now educated and could tell you the brief outline, on the negative I don't think that I would rush to see it again.  Mind you Wendy only nudged me once when my snoring got too loud!!

Today the gardener turned up with a friend in tow - the friend was deputized to make concrete all day long and to carry all the paving slabs around the back.  They undoubtedly got on a lot quicker but I am struggling to see how they will have finished by tomorrow!  They still have to buy soe gravel for the back garden and its now heading towards 5pm!

Today was another sewing fest - well, this morning anyway.  I started with The Blue Project and completed the 6 parts that I talked about yesterday.  That means that I have completed step 2 of a ten step process!  Meanwhile I then set to sewing the curved pieces that I so lovingly pinned yesterday.  Then I pinned some more, then sewed them.  In all I have completed 34 pieces - not too shabby until you realise that I have to do a total of 168!! So that would be 20.2% completed then!  I wouldn't mind but we have a two hour lesson every fortnight (the others have 3 hours every fortnight) and our class is already ahead of the others doing this project.  Why am I killing myself to get these done before the next class then?  Well, Wendy and Trisha will have completed theirs by the next lesson and I don't want to be left behind - you know how competitive I am!

This afternoon was a WI committee meeting - with truly divine home made coconut macaroons courtesy of Carine - followed by a lovely sunny walk with the dogs at the beach.  Can you tell that the diet is not going great at the moment - my only excuse is the lack of sleep and painful leg means that I am not as focussed as I should be.  However the meal plan has been made and I am trying to keep away from temptation! 

Tonight I have a date with an ironing board and some more pinning to do.  I also promised Sewingbuddy that I would design a cover for the ScanNCut machine so will do some drafts tonight with a view to making the cover tomorrow - something totally different to the projects that have been dominating the past two days,

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

day 3 - now you see him, now you don't

After an early rise for the gardener - he didn't turn up until 9:30am.  He apparently hurt his elbow 4 months ago but decided yesterday to go to the doctors and was sent for an x ray first thing this morning.  He had arranged for a friend to help him today - but his friend let him down.  Why me?  Not only that after about an hour or so he rushed into his truck and drove off - I had no idea why / where he had gone - but he left his tools here!  after about two hours he reappeared apologising - saying that his wife had messaged him saying that the trucks MOT had run out so he's taken it to a garage and returned with his trailer - ladened down with the slabs etc.  Mind you he made up for it this afternoon - the cement mixer ahs been going all afternoon and slabs are starting to be laid.

Anyway - back to my day.  Having spent some time on some church admin, and then at the doctors getting the dressing on my leg changed, it was down to working on The Blue Project.  Without giving too much away, I was working on creating 6 pieces from all those strips.  Let's just say that I managed to get over halfway through but its a long process!

I also managed to find some time to work on my Tuesday night project.  We are making a quilt using curved piecing - each one needs to be pinned within an inch of its life before sewing.  On the grounds that you only have so many pins you have to pin, sew, pin, sew etc - this will sure take a long time!

Tonight is one of our forays into the world of Shakespeare live.  This time its to see Cymbeline - a play that, even after I have read a synopsis, I am not familiar with and cannot pretend to understand!  I have watched a trailer and its seems a bit trendy but we will give it a go.  Let's hope that I don't fall asleep again!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Garden rehash - day 2

Truthfully this could be the shortest post ever - I have literally done nothing all day! 

The gardener arrived early again - darn it , no lie in then - and set to taking the slabs and greenery away.  Meanwhile Jean picked me up and we set off for the senior screen.  We had decided to watch Absolutely Fabulous and there were moments which gave us a good chuckle.  However the darkness combined with a lack of sleep saw me really struggling to stay awake.  When the lights went up Jean confessed that she had nodded off here and there!

Once home, after a detour via a local farm that sells lovely veg, the garden had been scalped and conversations had re paths / gravel / patio levels etc - there are now yellow lines sprayed all over the garden!  However, along with the pile of sand dumped at the front of the house, I can see that progress has been made.  Apparently there will be two of them tomorrow - digging out old roots etc.

So, apart from lunch and an afternoon nap, that is literally my day!  Tonight its my sewing class so I will need to get ready for that and I did spend some time sweeping out and trying to tidy the carft roo  ready for the blue project to advance, but I don't think that I would win the workers prize this Tuesday!  Ah well!

Monday, 26 September 2016

The disappearing garden

So - today is the day that the back garden gets a total facelift.  Sure enough, the gardener turned up at 8:20am and set to cutting everything back.  The idea is to tame the hedge, cut down some unwanted shrubs, take up my patios and relay properly with concrete - all in all a total overhaul which will then make it "she cave" ready.  The first problem happened within half an hour - we have a nest with baby birds in the hedge - I thought that this was the wrong time of year for that - so one part will have to be left for another month or so.  Otherwise the morning went smoothly and the first truck load of garden waste taken away.  As you can see from these before and after photos - the lack of greenery is already making a difference.
This afternoon he took most of the slabs away - although the truck's limit was reached so a second journey will be needed!

Meanwhile I set to finishing cutting for the blue project.

Then I made another tea towel bag before working on another Christmas present.  Truthfully I had another bad nights sleep ( I am averaging around 4 hours of sleep if I am lucky) and am struggling to cope with so little. 

That being said life goes on and it was the Textile Group this afternoon where the request was to give a Masterclass on needleturn applique!  Well - I tried my best.  They tried both the appliqué paper method, using the appliquick tools, and the needleturn - and declared their preference for the needle turn.

With the rain starting to look like it was settling in the for the rest of he day, we had a quick turn around up at the beach (the girls had had a day shut in due to the gardener being here so needed to stretch their legs) before getting ready for the evening.  Craftwise me thinks it's more hand sewing!

On a different note I seem to have won again on a facebook give away - afternoon tea for two at Springfields - an outlet shopping centre that I just happen to be going to with two friends soon!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ( Mark Twain)


Last night was thoroughly "strictlyfied" - catching up with Friday's programme as well as Saturday's.  In-between the fantastic dances I also worked on the crewelwork project started at the workshop - and managed to finish it.  Now I just need to decide what to do with it - make it into a cushion or perhaps combine it with others and turn it into a wall hanging.  The jury is out at the moment.

Sadly I didn't sleep that well last night - my leg means that I have to sleep on my back - not my natural position.  I am so sleepy that closing my eyes in church today to pray seemed dangerous!  Perhaps that goes someway to explaining why I lost an hour or so this afternoon and took some time to come to.  However come to I did and began a task that I have been putting off for the best part of a year - hence the quote as a title.  I can't reveal what I am making (yes it's another Christmas present so let's call it The Blue Project) but it involves 18 pieces of fabric and then cutting each piece into 6 strips - so that's 108 strips to cut!  On the grounds that you've got to start somewhere I am, at least, off and running and have reached the halfway point - well, with the cutting at least.  Mind you it seems that complicated that I have made a crib sheet to remind me what's what!  I would also point out that this is the most technically difficult project that I have ever attempted - I may just have to buy this person a present in case this doesn't come off!

Tomorrow, as I have said before, the gardener comes to start clearing the back garden so time was spent moving tables and chairs, pots and ornaments out of his way.  Luckily it has been a glorious afternoon and the dogs enjoyed their walk (what did the nurse say about keeping the leg up - well the girls deserve some fresh air!).

Tonight the plan is to spend some time cutting and preparing the pieces for some splendid sampler blocks ready for the sewing.  As Sewingbuddy is fond of telling me - if the pieces are cut then it is an easier and more achievable task to make a block up.  After all I am still playing catch up but now have a bed ready to receive its stunning quilt!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Well - it's a new skill to learn and fill our time!

Last night, you may recall, it was the WI quiz.  I am pleased to report that we didn't come last - in fact even our quest to watch all of Shakespeare's plays (there's another one this week) came in useful for one question!  However, not even the half time refreshments could help us win!  Our best round, though, turned out to be entertainment - cue lots more tv watching then - it pays off!

Today Wendy, Sewingbuddy and I attended a workshop to learn about crewelwork.  The aim was to learn a variety of stitches from a Royal School of Needlework tutor to produce this piece.  It was then up to us what it was turned into  - but a cushion looks favourite.

After setting up our seated frames and trying a few stitches, it was time for elevenses -where the choice was carrot cake, passion fruit cake with marscapone cream or, for Wendy, Lemon posset.  this was clearly going to be a non dieting day!  Lunch went the same way with a lovely buffet ranging from smoked salmon quiche to fresh bread with pate and cheeses - all followed by lemon posset.

By the end of our six hours we had all made progress and learnt - in fact we had learned so much that Sewingbuddy and I are going back in October to learn about stumpwork.  with all the free time that we don't have - is this a foolhardy move?

Any way - these are our efforts - judge for yourself!

Friday, 23 September 2016

A "Bits and Bobs" day

With nothing really planned for today (apart from a visit to the nurse to dress my leg and the WI quiz tonight) it seemed a good chance to sort those niggling little jobs that seemed to get over looked.

First up was to book a twin room for Wendy and I at Horwood House for the Lynette Anderson workshop next August.  I know, its thinking ahead, but it may get booked up and we would regret not getting it sorted.  I managed to get a package which gives us bed, breakfast and a two course meal for £61 per person each night - not too shabby me thinks!  Yesterday a plan was formed whereby we might just call in at The Bramble Patch on our way down - well it's my birthday so would be rude not to wouldn't it?

Then it was onto my summerhouse.  Shockingly I received a phone call from Tesco yesterday evening wanting to deliver the summerhouse next Wednesday - yikes - I can't guarantee having a  patio until next Friday, I thought it was coming at the beginning of November!  We settled on next Friday and now I have to see if the joiner is free to come and put it up.  Meanwhile I saw a lovely nest of tables, that would look lovely next to my rocking chair, yesterday in Marks and Spencer's so ordered it this morning and they will come next Friday as well.

After a break to expose the duster to daylight, ahem, I then set to mowing the lawn,  Truthfully the grass was a tad too wet but I am running out of time given that the gardener is coming on Monday and I still need to move everything (pots etc) into the centre of the garden out of his way.  I also started the process of moving the tables and chairs indoors for the winter - even though it is a glorious and warm day today!  It was nice to see the geraniums clinging on for dear life in their mini pots so I have hung them over the newly painted fence just to enjoy their flowers for a little longer.

The final task, before setting off for the doctors, was to book a mini workshop for Wendy and I.  There is a Big Craft Event mid November in Lincoln with lots of craft stalls  (ooh a Christmas shopping opportunity!) and some one hour workshops are on offer.  We have chosen a log cabin Santa - I am sure that we could both do this but it seemed like a useful project to replicate in the future (red hats! - my family will understand that one!)

A visit to the doctors (or rather the nurses) revealed a shocking fact.  They had a new nurse there - Victoria - who I used to teach - and not so long ago either!  She sweetly asked if I wanted her to stay out of the room - she had just qualified and had started there on Monday - she thought I might be embarrassed.  There would be some procedures where I might have said yes but dressing my gammy leg wasn't one of those.  15 minutes later I emerged with a swab taken of my war wounds, a dressing put on and then ankle to knee bandage and stockinette - and have to go back next Wednesday.  Oh - and the best thing of all - strict instructions to rest and elevate the leg - lots of hand sewing then!!!!!  Well - I am not being lazy - its medical orders!

As I said, tonight I am taking part in a WI quiz event.  I have no idea what to expect but hope that it will be fun.  I will let you know tomorrow!!  Meanwhile I'm off to hunt the house for something suitable to rest my leg on - I'm eyeing up a plastic box with a cushion on!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

At last - a diagnosis!

So - let's start with last night and the Indian meal with the WI.  It was, in fact, a lovely evening with laughs and good chatter throughout.  It was banquet night and, after getting some advice I chose Chicken Pakora for starters (I had one of Jean's Onion Bhaji's and she had some of my chicken), followed by Chicken Korma, Pilau rice, some spinach dish and a Peshawari Naan - far far too much food and, breaking news - I left some!!  Still I'm sure there's enough veg there to qualify to be a slimming world meal - yes?

Today Wendy, and her husband Nigel, took Jean and I over to Meadowhall.  With this hectic social life, not to mention the new slimline figure (ha ha) I wanted to buy some new clothes and came back laidened down with bags!  Of course we had to start with coffee and a muffin (Costa of course) but lunch was kept to a snack of a toasted sandwich and spiced iced bun from M & S (it's a SW meal for tea - I'm back on plan!! (well maybe tomorrow eh?)

With a quick detour via Dunelm (for Wendy's nets), we were soon home - a lovely day was had by all!

And the diagnosis you ask?  Well, I came across this on facebook and it seems to sum me, Jean, Wendy, Sewingbuddy etc etc up - in fact almost everyone that I know in my sewing groups!  Ah well!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Girls are doing it for themselves

Forget the Spice Girls - today was a lesson in doggy power.  Let me explain.  Today was a day when the mattress was due to be delivered - time unspecified.  So, when I noticed that the laminate floor laid in June was lifting, I contacted the firm and they were in the area today so agreed to pop in and sort it.  As it turns out they think the oil leak several years ago is to blame - literally dissolving the glue!  However, whilst they were regluing it, I went outside and started to paint the fence in the front garden (remind me to never have a picket fence again!).  So there I was - the dogs sat oneside of the fence and me the other painting away - secure in the knowledge that Daisy could not escape - I had stapled chicken wire to the bottom of the fence.  Sure she tried - as you can see from the picture - but was getting no one there fast.

Cue Millie who, on seeing Daisy's dilemma, pulled the chicken wire off so that Daisy could get through.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't watched it for myself!  Daisy quickly wriggled through and came to say hello -pleased as punch with herself.  I put her back, redid the wire and put a plant pot in front.  Once again Millie calmly pulled the wire back and Daisy was through.  Two plant pots later Daisy was put in the house!

So - the side fence now has its first coat - well on the front anyway!  That job took two hours!  But as you can see it has made a difference.

Having had to get up early for said mattress ( a time wasn't specified)  I also managed to get some sewing in (Christmas presents - sorry no photos).  I even managed to squeeze in some more preparation for the Tuesday night class.  Last night I cut 42 squares of calico into triangles, folded said triangles in half, pinched them and then drew around a template - finally cutting out the template from the 84 triangles.  Today I managed to start on the layer cake - much more scary!

Since the weather here is dry a least - with an occasional view of sunshine - it was also time to start sorting the garden out.  By that I mean bringing the outside table in - as I do every winter (there's a really heavy glass top so not my favourite job).  However, once the lawn is mowed (hopefully on Friday) I need to start moving other objects into the centre of the garden ready for its transformation next week.

The mattress arrived around 2:30pm - along with a man who apologised but said that he wasn't allowed to help me upstairs with it!  After much puffing - not to mention wet hair as I sweated away - I noticed the sign that told me the mattress needed two people!  Cue an emergency phone call to Wendy who gallantly came around and helped me - it was done with ten minutes - including the turn over when we realised there was an upside and a downside!  Of curse that meant that we could the  enjoy a more leisurely cuppa and catch up!

Tonight is the WI supper Club outing.  This time it's an Indian Restaurant - not my favourite type of food since I don't like the heat.  Hardly slimming I know - but I can't complain about my social life now can I? 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A trip down memory lane

Last night, as I promised, I finished the applique and embroidery for the Lynette Anderson bag but, before I managed to complete the yoyo's I got side tracked.  Some weeks ago I had bought a multiple photo frame with the intention of going through old photos and displaying them upstairs.  Well, last night was the night.  As I trawled through the photos so memories came back - of people and animals, of course, but also of the house and how much it, and the garden, has changed over the 25 years that I have lived here.  The kitchen, for example, is unrecognisable whilst I used to have a gorgeous garden that I had worked hard to create.  Perhaps the work being completed in the garden next week will reignite that passion!

Onto today and it was a return visit to the hospital for my neighbour - she was having her cast removed and a boot fitted.  As the taxi driver it was therefore an early start.  I cannot go to SW tomorrow night (its the WI supper club) so I took the opportunity to get weighed at a morning class. Despite the pie and mash / salted caramel ice cream in Bridlington, I still managed to lose a pound so have to be pleased with that (although I would, of course, have liked more!).

Once home, it was down to finishing the stitch and flip sewing from yesterday (yes I know that I hoped to finish it last night but ......) and putting the photo frame up before moving on towards completing a Christmas present that has been on the boil for a week or two.  I don't know about you but it's cold and wet here so it's a day to stay in and get on top of jobs.

Tonight, Christmas present permitting, I want to focus on my Tuesday night class homework.  As you may recall the classes are now every fortnight but we have been given a mountain of cutting to do before next week so it seems pertinent that I use tonight's time to at least make a start.

Monday, 19 September 2016

The "She cave" is on its way!

Inspired by TT&T's trip to Australia, I decided to look up my summer house - you know, the one I dreamt about in the MRI scanner for half an hour!  The back garden / patio is being sorted next week so I had planned to wait until next spring before ordering - but it wouldn't hurt to see if there was an offer on now would it?  As it happens - Tesco had the summer house on with £150 off if I ordered by Wednesday.  Too good to be true?  So I thought let's just get this ordered - at least it can be painted etc before the harsh winter starts.  As I logged on I noticed that Tesco was also offering a £25 discount for orders over £150 AND I had £13.50 in vouchers waiting to be used.  Therefore the she cave is coming in nearly £200 less than planned!!!  Worth waiting for a sale then!

Monday is the day I like to scoot around and square the house up - but there was also preparation to be done for the Textile Group.  We are tackling a project from Lynette Anderson's book - Cats and Dogs.  It's a handbag so last night the applique / embroidery was started and, this afternoon, we have to do some crazy patchwork for the outside of the bag - cue cutting of 2" strips of lovely fabric!

As ever, though, I was a rebel.  This is how the bag should look

and this is my version.  I have got rid of the cat (the lines will iron out) and replaced it with a Daisy like puppy.

Of course, whilst I was in the craft room I just had to put together the latest Splendid Sampler block - a nice and easy applique cupcake.

Lunchtime saw me at the doctors - I really love the idea of going online to book an appointment but you do have to wait a week if you want to pre-book.  Nothing serious - I knocked my leg and broke skin in the middle of August and it just won't heal up so its time to admit defeat and see the nurse.  Cue a dose of antibiotics to prevent it turning into an ulcer and another appointment on fridya to have the dressing changed - guess that will mean showering with cling film around my leg then to stop it getting wet!!

The weather here is really autumnal with rain and wind - so the dog walk at the beach was bracing nd blew away the cobwebs - all the better for coming home, locking the doors and settling down for the night.  My aim is to finish the LA embroidery for the bag and the Stitch and Flip - that way I am ready for next Monday and can focus on other projects.  Strangely I am also desperate to do something for the new bedroom upstairs - eve if it's just a simple padded coat hanger!  Why do I always want to do the project with the least priority?

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Christmas has officially started!

Well - the turkey farm says its only 97 days to go!

Today was one of the fortnightly Scamblesby sewing days where a group of friends get together and sew, talk, and eat - but not necessarily in that order.   With a large family to endure enjoy my handmade presents , I wanted these days to focus on said presents - hence the reason why I cant show you what I have been working on for 6 hours today!

However, as usual, I do have a quick round up for you.  Terry was finishing her Lynette Anderson Christmas wall hanging and then moved on to her Splendid Sampler block. She has never tried English Paper Piecing before and I think that the jury is still out!

Lynn was working on her Lynette Anderson wall hanging.

Julie was practising her free motion / satin stitching skills ready to complete a hand drawn Christmas wall hanging,

whilst Jean finished a Christmas present, traced some applique / embroidery work and was busy making a tiny pin cushion.

Meanwhile Pat, who was sitting on the deceptively easy cushion made from scarps of calico and using the embroidery stitches on her machine, was finishing a quilt and making the pocket to turn it into a quillow. 

A wide variety but with one aim I mind!

Once home, it was dog walking time before settling down for the evening and, oh wait a minute, what's the word for it?  Ah yes - more sewing!