Friday, 31 March 2017

Deadline approaching ...............

Why do I do it to myself?  would it really be the end of civilisation as we know it if this sampler was not finished by the end of today?  No, of course not!  So, why did I find myself sewing the sashing together after 10pm last night so that I "just" had to add the hanging sleeve and binding today?

After a lovely sleep, I woke up to sunshine - which didn't last and the rain soon appeared - ah well, at least I don't have to water the vegetables today (the sunshine did appear later).  First job was to sort the house out - it's feeling neglected at the moment! (Daisy helped by bringing plastic pots in full of soil - bless!)  Then it was on to the afore mentioned binding.  Without a large piece of fabric to cut from, I used 2 1/2 inch strips from some of the fabrics used in the sampler.  It's always a guess for me as to how long the binding should be (I know - I could measure it but .....) and I usually make too much but, today, the binding was exactly right!!

A dog walk, lunch and a swim later (today I upped my game, since I can't go again until Monday, and swam 770m), I then set to and hand sewed the binding and hanging sleeve in place.  I can't hang it yet behind my bed since I need to buy a pole, but I have met the deadline, with a matter of hours left - phew!  Three months in and the new year's resolution is intact - I have finished a UFO every month.  So, what's the one targeted for April I hear you say?  Well, last August, I paid for and attended an expensive sewing workshop with Lynette Anderson and started a bag.  Maybe I ought to get that finished before I go back to another workshop with her this August!

Tonight its the monthly book club meeting at the pub (Steak with jacket potato and vegetables, no pudding) and the quiz afterwards - one my of my favourite nights out.  Now then, I've just got a few minutes free to spend on the current jigsaw - a very tempting one, borrowed from Trish, depicting our favourite sweets and chocolates  from the 1970's!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Anyone for a free cuppa?

Today was a trip to IKEA to buy a bookcase for the church.  That means a 2 hour journey each way so, of course, you have to make a day out of it!  Both Jean and Linda wanted a run out so we headed off around 8am, stopping at around 9:15 for a cuppa.  I was really good and resisted the urge to buy a muffin / lemon tart and then found that I had enough points on my Costa card for a cuppa - result!

 As IKEA devotees will know, we mooched around the marked path being tempted by all sorts of goodies - picture frames for Wendy and I to display our Kantha pictures, 2 Monty mice for Carine, etc, etc.  By lunchtime we had ended up, quite fortuitously, at the restaurant where I had meatballs a sw friendly Caesar salad that I had brought from home ( don't worry, I hid out of sight and the other two had bought their lunch).  I will admit, though, that my halo slipped with this lovely Princess Cake pud - who, on earth, resist marzipan?  Hey, guess what, the coffee here was free as well - since I had an IKEA card - with the pud costing just £1.10 this was turning into a cheap day out - food and drink wise of course!

After I had loaded my goodies into the car, and whilst I was waiting for the other two to arrive, I saw a "typical" IKEA shopper - one whose eyes must have been bigger than her car would transport.  Was she defeated?   No Way!! With the help of a kind IKEA man she drive away safely with this chair AND a footstool on the tiny back seat, plus a passenger who looked, from this angle as if she had a pot on her leg. I did chuckle to myself about her determination!

So, we are all safely back home and now have to find a home for everything.  Once that job has been completed, it's time to sew some more of the infamous sampler - in time for some hand stitching tonight.  Once that has been done, I then need to start getting ready for Sunday's workshop at Scamblesby - its all go, go, go here!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The perils of Pinterest - step away now!

Last night I was perusing Pinterest - I am REALLY good at saving links to different boards but never then going back and looking at what I saved - let alone actually completing the project.  Let's face it - I have enough sewing projects to last me this year (and several more besides!)  However Sewingbuddy and I are working our way through a range of bags which use the same lovely fabric and will therefore match.  We had bemoaned the lack of a lunch bag - that was until I found this free tutorial!!  Not only that, the Range has some shower curtains reduced by 70% which could be used for the lining. 

Okay, me thinks, not too bad - we were looking for a lunch bag after all.  But then I saw this!  Recently I have been bagging up my projects in ziplock bags - with a pattern and cut pieces inside.  These storage bags go one better and I am in love with them - cue more work!!  There isn't a pattern - you have to pay for that but the link is broken - but I think that I can work it out and make some slight adjustments - they're bigger versions of my mini storage bags aren't they?  I will really be organised at the next sewing retreat!!

After a quick trip into Grimsby for petrol and aforementioned shower curtain (plus a towel for my swimming activities - don't want to ruin a decent one), it was back home to quilt the last square and cut the sashing for my sampler hanging.  With a quick break for a dog walk and some lunch plus 40 winks of course (Daisy wedged herself own between me and the sofa and went to sleep with her head on me - bless), it was back to sewing before heading out to the swimming pool.  Fortunately I don't ache as much today so feel ready for the challenge again!  I did an extra 25 m today (625m altogether and so have added a tracker to this blog - can I swim the English Channel this year?  As you will see, I have also added a weight loss tracker again - well, you have got to keep trying now haven't you?  So far, so good - 3 days in lol!

Tonight I have the binding on my challenge entry to complete and then some handsewing on the sampler sashing.  This sampler will be finished by Friday - honest!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Oh, ah, ouch .....

Now I am going to be honest.  Yesterday I woke up full of energy whereas others on the holiday complained of being bone weary.  Today I know how they feel!  Everything feels like a real effort - even something simple like walking.  Of course its probably partly due to the swimming yesterday - I haven't swam for two years so may well have overdone it!  I read somewhere that, when you start exercising, you shouldn't overdo it at first and should make an appointment with yourself to make sure that you don't find another reason to avoid it.  Consequently I am swimming tomorrow and Friday - with rest days in between!

After sorting the kitchen out, it was time to look at this sampler UFO - with only 1 square left to complete, I cut the rest to size and laid them out for a possible final positioning.

Then it was time to set to with the final square - an appliqued one that shouldn't take too long.  With any luck I can start the sashing process tomorrow.

Tonight's sewing class is finishing the Kantha stitching that we started last time.  However the teacher also has two more patterns for us to complete if we wish to.  On holiday I bought some more threads so my next "job" was to prepare some back ground fabric and attach the weaveline stabiliser.

By now the dogs were making it abundantly clear that they wanted some attention - so we went out for a walk.  I keep seeing nice weather pictures from around the country - I think that we have forgotten what the sun looks over here!  I did  try to get 40 winks - but then the BT digger turned up so no such luck!!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Was it all a dream?

Back home and back to reality!  Today started with our craft group.  Truthfully even I am sewed out but we met up as usual and had our last meeting before the Easter break.  I took my hand quilted block to continue with.

After a cold dog walk, lunch and a nice meeting with the auditor who confirmed that all was well with the books - phew! - it was then off for a swim.  You may recall that I joined the leisure pool at our local holiday park and this was my first visit of the season.

With the washing completed, suitcase packed away and house tidied, it was then time to try and finish the challenge entry for this week's Scamblesby meeting.  I've got so far, and just know that it needs something, but still not sure what.  This afternoon was a time to "play" with some ideas ( it's still not finished though!)

So, the frantic, fun filled days of the holiday have passed and life is returning to normal.  Just have to catch up with sleep, and eat less (much less) food now and all will be well!  Today I have started a 7 day slimming world menu plan - will let you know the results next week.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Roll on November 9th!

Last night we had a celebratory last meal - a roast beef dinner with ore beef and vegetables that we could imagine!  We were also given a glass of bubbly to mark the final evening.  We then went back to continue with our projects - devoted to the last. 

I managed to finish a Christmas present (back view - sorry),

before starting to complete some sampler squares from two years ago.  This is supposed to be my UFO for March - running out of time as ever!

This morning, that quest continued with a third square and a fourth one started (hand embroidery).  That then leaves me with one final square to start and complete before trying to cut to size and complete - gulp!

We then, of course, had the obligatory group photo with our stash of completed goodies, before packing our cars up, having lunch and then making our merry way home - after wishing everyone a goodbye and "we'll see you next Sunday at Scamblesby!"  I even managed to get home in time to pick up the dogs from the Kennels and they are now fast asleep at my feet - nice to be needed eh?

As for November 9th?  Well, would you believe it, we are all checking diaries but have provisionally booked another retreat in November!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

"All you can buy" - it's a rugby scrum!

Last night we hit the hot tub! I should say, at this stage, that my rather "merry" look was down to happiness, laughter and wet fabric that had been dropped into the tub - rather than any , ahem, alcohol!

After a lovely nights sleep, and another cooked breakfast ( we are eating well!) it was off to another sewing shop for, ahem, more fabric!  This table shows this mornings haul between us - the local economy is doing rather well!  Put it this way, we have booked to come back in November!

As if we haven't bought enough, our host took her zips, threads and notions out and put them up for sale at knock down prices.  As if we hadn't spent enough, the vultures came out and we bought more!  Me?  Well I did need more bias binding for the wedding bunting!

This afternoon, Terry and I have been working on another sew organised bag and should be finished by tea time.  It would have been earlier had we not been distracted! 

So, another great day - full of fun, food, fabric and laughter - well, they say that it's good for the soul!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Three needles broken within 5 minutes!

After a lovely dinner of chicken breast wrapped in bacon and stuffed with haggis ( dont knock it until you've tried it!) we went back to the sewing room where I managed to sew the outside of the bag together. Terry was not so lucky and her needle kept braking.  Eventually, whilst I sewed the bag for her, Terry sorted her machine out and got  it working again - just in time for us both to sew the lining.  I think that it's true to sat we should have just gone to bed - something was horribly wrong with my lining so, instead of pressing into and finishing the bag, we left it.  It was now around 9:30, we were the last to give in and we were shattered.  I have never ached so much in my life!!

The next morning, after 5 hours sleep since I couldn't drop off straight away, and we went to breakfast- trying to put off the evil moment when we faced our efforts!  We shouldn't have really worried - widen the seams, top with the binding and add the handles - hey presto, the bag was finished by 10am!

We then set off for Wroxham Barns and, erm, a fabric shop.  Now I am not saying anything but I did like this view when I stopped for a break!

Lunch was a very nice quiche, salad plus chips-mmmmmm.  There were also Jamie doughnuts for afters - as you will see from the forthcoming photos, we were very restrained!  

This afternoon Terry and I completed our second project- the Tooly!  Hey presto, 3 hours later it was done!

After a short break, and reorganising the sewing table, it was onto project 3 - another sew organised bag.  It will be interesting to see how much we can remember from that workshop in Lincoln!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

We've arrived!!

Having set off at the crack of dawn, sorted the house sitter out and taken the dogs to the kennels, it was time to pick Jean and Terry up ( remembering to force everything into the car of course) and head off into the wilds of Norfolk.  On the way we stopped for a bacon buttie and then made good progress into the retreat.

On arrival we were met by our hosts, Alex and Emma, who could not have been friendlier and force fed us coffee and biscuits followed by lovely homemade soup and rolls.  However the main event was to be shown into the amazing sewing room and get started!  We have all brought a number of projects and I am quite sure that we won't finish them all- my first project is a bag that starts with quilting NINE prices of fabric ( I know that I should have done this before I set off!).  

To mark the occasion I had given everyone a present - remember those stocking fillers I mentioned?- a needlecase with a picture of the retreat - Emma had never seen that before and Alex asked for another 50 before we left so that he could give them as presents - I declined!

So - so far, so good - hopefully we will have pictures to show progress tomorrow.  So far it's only Jean that has managed to complete a project!
Mind you - Terry and I have beaten the record - bottle has been opened by 2pm!  I didn't take the picture - I'm not that drunk that I would take a shaky picture!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

1 day to go ..........

..... and the list of jobs start to mount up!

First up this morning was to take Daisy to the groomers for her 6 weekly trim.  She always comes back looking so trim and pretty - but just not my tomboy Daisy!  Whilst she was being groomed , I planted out the vegetable plants in my veg trug.  Suddenly the massive trug seems quite small - it now contains 6 caulis, 6 sprouts, 6 cabbages and 6 turnips, 5 strawberry plants and a line of carrots.  As the weather warms up I will plant some lettuces at the edge of the trug - it's exciting isn't it?

On the way home with Daisy, I popped into Jeans for a cuppa and to drop off her share of the veg plants, before  coming home and stripping the bed for another load of washing.  I know that I could leave the house in a mess but its much nicer to come home to a neat and tidy house with clean bed sheets now isn't it?  In that vein I also did an online grocery shop to be delivered Sunday evening so that I don't have to worry about going out next week.

Once the washing had finished, and the last load of ironing had been completed, it was time to pack the suitcase ( I always worry that I have forgotten something), contact the house sitter, make sure that the sewing machine has been serviced and has all the correct leads & feet and to sort the car out.  It's not particularly messy but we will need every inch of space if Terry and Jean are to be believed - I think that we must be going to outer Mongolia for six months!  There might also be a couple of bottles chilling overnight in the car - just to be sociable you understand!

I have no idea what the wifi situation is like on holiday so will post if I am able. However I should warn you that the posts are likely to be sewing, sewing, sewing!  What's new?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

2 days to go ........

Well, as expected, Millie was a real pain at the vets - only calming down when we got out and was on our way home - where she slept her anxiety off!

Today has been a really indulgent day - you could almost say that the holiday had started.  First up was a small breakfast at out local garden centre followed by a quick shop for essential sewing supplies - ha ha!

Then it was onto the cinema to watch Beauty and the Beast.  The showing was quite full - from little girls in their Belle dresses up to aging grandparents.  I have to say that I really enjoyed the film but had to restrain myself from singing along!

By the time the film had finished and I got home, it was nearly tea time and not a lot achieved - but it was a lovely relaxing day!  Tonight will see another load of washing and some ironing - not the most glamorous of tasks, I know, but one that enables the exciting packing that will take place tomorrow!

Monday, 20 March 2017

3 days to go .........

Today started, as usual, with the textiles group.  The plan was to continue with the individualy designed embroidery picture but I was distracted by a visitor.  Mick Booth was the deputy at the school when I was first appointed as Head of Maths back in 1991 and has been charged with writing a history of education in North Somercotes.  Consequently he wanted to talk about the school and get some information.  When I was finished, Jean gave me this lovely crochet heart kit from her travels yesterday - what a lovely kit and it should develop my skills even further.  Another new year's resolution still on track!

Back home, and with the washing on ready for the holiday, it was time to settle down with this year's "Dobbo's Challenge".  Back in December I gave everyone in Scamblesby this picture and asked them to create an A4 quilted piece to be brought to Scamblesby at our first meeting in April. I am leaving this rather late for my efforts but made a start yesterday laying out my fabrics.  Today was time to start the quilting!  Since it's a competition, I won't show you my efforts yet - all will be revealed in April!

This evening, and yes this is still holiday preparation, I am popping Millie through to the vets for her booster injection.  This job ranks as one of my least favourite tasks - she turns demented in the vets - but it has to be done if she is going to the kennels for her "holiday"!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

4 days to go ........

Last night, as you may recall, was my monthly volunteering at the theatre.  As I walked in there was a round of applause from the bar staff - they assured me that thee was no hint or scarcasm there at all - they had simply missed me in December and January and were worried about me - hmmm!  Nice to be missed though!

Today was spent measuring and cutting again!  First up was finishing the bag kit that took me all afternoon yesterday.

Then it was on to a kit for a "Tooly" stand,

before moving onto making another sew organised bag kit - this time with Lynette Anderson fabrics.

I am sure that I will end up taking too much but, then again, I don't like to think that I might run out of projects!  So, my final preparations relate to this month's UFO (not that I am leaving this late at all!) - the sampler that I started several years ago in my sewing class.  There are two blocks to do from scratch, and several which require some more work, before quilting them, adding the sashing and binding the whole piece - sounds like a weekend's work in itself!!  On the plus side, if I don't finish the projects then I will have ready made kits to make - and have not bought a thing, apart from some mountboard, for any of them - saving money really!

The other task today was to get outside and get some fresh air.  Dad had pruned my raspberry canes for me and left last year's canes to clear up.  It was a welcome break to the proceedings - as was the treatment of the veg trug.  It comes ready treated but Dad felt as if one last coat couldn't hurt and might make it last just a little longer.

Time for some chillaxing now me thinks!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

5 days to go .........

After Sewingbuddy's dreadful behaviour over the past few days, what did I wake up to today?  Another bag pattern that she fancied!! I ask you?  That was after being sent details of a workshop last night that we are now booked on!  Mind you, what goes around, comes around.  I was able to pass this appalling behaviour onto Wendy - after asking her advice re some fabric for our new sewing project after Easter, Wendy then bought a piece for herself!  Mind you - it is very nice!!  At this rate there will be no money left in the coffers soon!!

So - back to reality and holiday preparation time.  The washing machine has been on and today saw the start of the craft projects preparation.  I cannot convey how long it takes to cut out all the pieces for a particular project, especially if you are "fussy" cutting to ensure that the right image is where you want it.  This afternoon, after finishing the stocking fillers this morning, I managed to create the pack for the bag that Sewing buddy found (well, one of them at least!) and therefore the holiday storage box was started!

Tonight is one of my volunteer evenings where I serve ice creams and sweets in our local theatre so everything finishes early.  I must, however, share this picture that I came across on facebook from someone that I know.

Would you believe that it is a cake?  Yep - I couldn't at first either!!

Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy National Quilting Day

Well - I just had to celebrate that one now didn't I?

Last night we went out for a meal with my brother, Graham, and his wife, Janet - they very kindly picked up the bill!  We were trying a restaurant near to us that made a point of the customer cooking their own meat on a hot stone - we didn't really know what to expect.  However, we all agreed that the fillet steak / lamb was the best that we had tasted - and would certainly go back again!

Today started early - not only was Daisy making a racket but Mum and Dad wanted an early start to their journey home.  Consequently by 9am, the house was clear, I had tidied up, hoovered around and stacked the dishwasher - not bad eh?

Next Thursday Sewingbuddy and I, along with five other friends, are going on a Quilting Retreat for 4 days so the next few days will be targeting the holiday and the necessary preparations.  Of course the most important requirement is to get all of the possible projects sorted (I have changed my mind / had my mind changed so many times but it is preferable to get some of the preparation - cutting/ bonding etc done before we go).  Consequently today was a much needed visit to the hairdressers before meeting up with Sewingbuddy for a light lunch. 

Sewingbuddy, being Sewingbuddy had, by now, come up with yet another sewing project to be completed on the holiday - then a third idea just before we left - help!!  Mind you, having come up with the ideas, I am now making her do them!!

Home, and the weather has really changed and is cold!!  A couple of days ago I turned the heating off and could, I know, turn it back on but I fancied a real fire so, as I write this, the laid fire is hopefully taking and starting to roar!  Apart from some sewing of "stocking fillers, tonight will be a laid back, hand sewing evening in front of the tv - this week has been far too hectic for me!!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The veg trug is up!!

Today Mum and Dad revisited "their" new home and bonded with heir sellers.  Discussion took place about what was staying - all the kitchen equipment, for example and most of the curtains - and Dad discovered that he could gain another 6 feet or so of the garden - apparently their boundary fence isn't on the true boundary - result!  In short, they have come away happy to go home , knowing that everything this end is as sorted as it could be.  The next step is to get the property surveyed and hope that nothing nasty crops up which could endanger the sale.

Of course all of this activity take it out of you - and so we met up at the local tea shop for a refreshing cake n cuppa.  Dad was brave, bless him, and had cheese with his Lincolnshire plum bread!

Once home, Dad kindly did a couple of jobs for me - putting a mirror up and hanging the cordless Dyson up on a wall charger - before the Z team ( Mum and I) started on the construction of the Veg Trug.  I had watched the you tube video several times - how hard could it be?  Of course, reality set in and Dad came out to help - eventually resulting in my fantastic veg trug!!  Ta da!! 

The next step is to buy the adjustable spanner to tighten the nuts, paint some more sealant onto it to protect it, line it, load up the soil and then plant away - and then the fun starts!  Mind you - the dogs tried to help by giving advice from afar!
Tonight Mum, Dad and I are out for a meal with my brother and his wife before Mum and Dad go home tomorrow.  It might only have been a flying visit but they have sure achieved a lot!