Thursday, 30 June 2011

Who's a Happy Girl Then?!

Me! I'm a happy girl. No, not because my machine has been suddenly resurrected from the dead. Chance would be a fine thing. I spoke to the shop today and they think they will get a chance to look at it next week. Oh, that sounds promising, doesn't it? Won't be holding my breath here then.

No, I am a happy girl because this fell through my post box today. The fabric for the July bee blocks -

Judith, over at Needles and Lemons has opened the door wide open on the design options for July. We received this amazing Oakshott fabric and can decide how we want to do our blocks ourselves. Oh, the pressure is on! I cannot stress enough how gorgeous and rich that red fat quarter is. These fabrics will make stunning blocks - if I can come up with an idea of what to do!

Now, you would think that was enough excitement for one day, wouldn't you? Nah! The postman was more than generous. I got my Brit Quilt Swap through that post box today too! (Cue excited squealing!)

Guess what adorns my house now? This wonderful mini quilt -

I watched this quilt developing over on Flickr. Karen, who made it in Northern Ireland, does not have a blog but she should. Because she makes beautiful things which can be seen on her Flickr site. I am so very pleased to receive this quilt because it is so very well made, uses fabric that I covet and was made by a complete stranger just for me. How cool is that?!

You could easily presume that receiving this quilt was more than enough to fill my heart with joy - which it is. But I got more. Karen made me a gorgeous zip pouch to use to carry my sewing stuff as I travel around the country this summer, the girls in tow, visiting family and friends.

It's less than a week to my birthday and I am going to consider the receipt of this quilt and pouch as early birthday presents because they are too nice to think I got them just because. You can tell this is my first swap, can't you? No matter that I have followed the making of so many lovely quits for the last couple of months there is still a part of me that is surprised that one of them was for me!

The zip pouch is so perfectly made that I have already turned it this way that, and inside out, looking at its construction. I am more than ever determined to over come my fear of zippers because I want to be able to make things that try to emulate this kind of skill.

So I started the day with a glum thought that I had no machine and still haven't had the courage to venture into the garage and see what state my neglected and unloved Singer is in. I thought this would be a non-bloggy post day because I just would not have anything to say. Imagine?!

And look how good the day turned out to be. Expect the unexpected and be prepared to be thrilled. I hope everyone in the swap is as happy as I am with their mini quilts.

Isn't that incredible sewing of my name?
And the girls can't nick it because it is so obviously mine, mine, mine!


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

CLUNK is Not a Happy Sound!

'Clunk' is most certainly not a happy sound, indeed! Because that is exactly the sound my sewing machine made right before it stopped working. (Sob!) There I was, happy in my own little world, piecing fabric and 'Clunk'! Everything on the machine still goes on doing what it looks like it is supposed to do only the thread is not sewing. It isn't catching the bobbin thread underneath.

Yes, there is thread in the bobbin! I did check. I cleaned, and oiled, and did a copious amount of begging, but to no avail. I then got online, found the nearest service dealer and off I went as quick as the speed limit would allow me. (I can't get another ticket - not allowed to do another driver's awareness course for another two and a half years!)

And to add insult to injury, just as I was packing up the machine into its carry case I had this thought about it being rather dark - and it had been so sunny. Yup! My laundry was getting rained on. Oh please, what did I do to deserve that?

But all is not lost. I did make good headway turning my wonky stars into matching 9" blocks -
Eleven done (sorry about the big old shadow in the photo).

Four to go.
I will obviously have to make more stars as well as even I can figure out that there is not much of a quilt or a layout with fifteen 9" squares. What I have to figure out is how many more stars? And how much of a border - and what the border will be?

But with a broken machine I am left languishing. I guess I can go out to the garage tomorrow and dig around until I find my old Singer - which isn't one of those really old ones that people use because they are such dependable work horses. No, mine is a relatively cheap, light weight plastic one that used to annoy me in any number of ways which I no longer remember because as soon as I got my Bernina I pushed that Singer right out of my mind. On the other hand, it is a machine and if mice haven't eaten its cables then it is most likely the closest thing I have to sew on. I'll see how I feel after a (hopefully) good sleep.

Now you would be left thinking that today was all doom and gloom with what I have written so far. But far from it. Because today I got some post. Remember I told you I won something? Well Annabella at Life's Rich Pattern had a giveaway. And I won!! The amazing things she is sending me are arriving in two different parcels and today the first one arrived. Courtesy of Annabella, I have officially joined the bandwagon -

I think there are over 550 people who have joined the quilt-a-long and are on the Flickr site. Well, one more is about to add her name. I had been debating whether or not to do it because I have never done a quilt-a-long. But as more and more photos began appearing on people's blogs of these lovely little blocks I started getting intrigued. You start seeing so many possibilities in ways you could combine them.

Seeing as how I have won the book it is now a done deal. I am another Farmer's Wife - though having had a good look at the Flickr site I think I may be a girlfriend or mistress. Those are the people who have signed up but are not committing themselves to the full 111 blocks. Not sure if I have the staying power for all 111. Something else is bound to snatch my attention away at some point.

So all is not bad today. I have a book to read. Pages to mark as must do blocks. I can always make myself a needle book by hand if I am feeling lost without my machine. And I can sort fabric, looking at how I want to make those little Farmer's Wives blocks. I am sure I can keep myself entertained. If all else fails, I can make cake - and then eat it.


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Back In The Saddle Again!

I almost feel like breaking into song - but that would really, really scare the neighbours. Singing is NOT one of my talents. But I am happily ticking things off my list of things to do as quickly as my little fingers can accomplish them. Yes, I have my machine back on the table and whirring away happily (other than the broken needle incident, but we won't talk about that).

First thing I did today was to finish piecing my cushion cover, which I then promptly layered up and basted.

The piecing is not as good as on my first cushion - which should teach me to try and rush through piecing something like HSTs before visitors land on our doorstep. I gave myself a talking to, and then got on with quilting it.

I went with straight line quilting on either side of the seams like I did on the first cushion because I want them to compliment each other, but I love how going around the squares on this one makes the green fabrics stand out and accentuates the square pattern.

Moving swiftly on, I made the label for my June bee blocks, photographed everything (to be shown once permission is granted by Miss June) and then put the 'little something extra' with it so that I have it all ready for wrapping up and posting. Fiona (aka Miss June) was the person who spoke up first when I offered up some of my ugly fabric to a new home. So 12 fat quarters of fabric which I no longer wish to own and she has a very good use for will be winging their way to her shortly.

Here are the fat quarters disguising the blocks beneath.
Next on my list was to put a label on my Brit Quilt Swap mini quilt which I was a bit worried about because the wonderful group of talented ladies in this swap have been posting photos of their labels on the swap flickr site. The more I look at them the more intimidated I get. I had to ponder what to do for a long time. I couldn't print one because my computer is not currently hooked up to the printer. I wanted it to fit with the quilt design. Here is what I eventually came up with -

The pencil 'cleverly' hides the name of recipient.
Our date for posting these quilts is the end of this week. I am getting more and more nervous as the big day approaches. I don't think this is what my partner is expecting at all and really, really hope that once they get over the shock of realising that this one is for them that they genuinely like it.

I still wasn't done for the day. I wanted to make a 'little something extra' for my swap partner too. I also wanted to it to be complimentary to the quilt. I quickly set to FMQing a needle case for her. I have placed a piece of felt over the bottom part because I FMQd her name.

And that is what I have accomplished today - so far.

Happy, happy, happy!


It is Tuesday so I will be linking this up with Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday - you can find their button on my sidebar.

Monday, 27 June 2011

I'm Developing a Theory

I have a theory, and it is this - Whenever I say that I will spend the next day with my sewing machine I have pretty well guaranteed that I won't. Today was case in point. My poor machine still languishes in the corner.

I started off with the best of intentions. Do the necessary before the fun, as per normal. After bidding our guests good bye I did the Tesco run, mostly because the car was running on fumes. I came home and did the dishes, and started collecting toys from here, there and everywhere to pack away until another young one appears on the scene. So far so good.

Then the phone rang. It was himself. Could I do some things on the computer? Of course. It took a while. It was frustrating. It has irritatingly frustrating when it wouldn't do what it was supposed to do. I kept at it.

I went and ate a piece of cake. I needed something to calm my nerves!

It still wouldn't work. I spoke to himself again. There was nothing for it. I put the documents on disc, hopped in the (thankfully well fueled) car and took a little jaunt to Silverstone and delivered the disc. Job done. The free time part of my day was just about done too.

No sewing! Not one stitch.

All was not lost though. I cunningly negotiated a stop off at the fabric shop on my way home. It was on the way, sort of, maybe, if you drove the very long way around. I bought some things. Somehow it just seemed fitting after giving up my day to needs greater than mine. Do you want to see what I got? (You do know I am going to show you no matter what the answer, don't you?)

From the sales basket.

More stash building.
There is a wee bit of a purpose to this particular bit of stash building. I won something last week and when I receive it I shall show you. Then I will need fabric. Mostly from my (slightly enlarged) stash. I will show you what I won when I receive it.

So the day was not so bad after all. I did something good for our company which is satisfying as himself works long and hard so it is nice when I can constructively help ease his stress levels - other than feed him well and keep him in clean clothes! And I have some nice new fabric.

I also have this -

- left for me by our guests as a thank you. What a treat! And much appreciated because having them stay was joy enough. But I don't say no to chocolate. Ever.

Hope you are getting the same hot summer weather we are having a few days to enjoy. I don't believe it is set to last but I will happily accept it while it is here.


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Withdrawal Symptoms

Another day without my sewing machine and I think I am starting to get the shakes! It isn't as if I get the chance or the inclinatin to sew every day normally - but I like to know that the opportunity is there if so desired. Tomorrow! Tomorrow I shall be alone again. It will be sad to say good bye to our friends, for probably at least another year and we all know how much a small child changes in that time so it will be really hard to say good bye to Jenny. My girls cried when they said good bye last September, and I presume that there may be a repeat of that in the morning.

Time you met the delightful Jenny. She really is a sweetheart. Hardly any tears ever. Very inquistive and talkative, picking up new words on a daily basis. She is loving the freedom of the garden which is something that she does not have at home. 'Outside' has become one of her most frequently used words. So without further ado, here is Jenny -

Isn't she gorgeous? I could just cuddle her senseless, but she would rather be running around exploring. Shame.

To fight off the withdrawal symptoms from my sewing machine I picked up needle, perle cotton and felt this afternoon and spent a delightful time in the shade (I am pale and freckled so know my limitations) making me inordinantly pleased with myself. With no prior planning, no pattern, no sketching of design I just happily free stitched this -

My first ever needles book. I don't own one made by me or anyone else for that matter. But this one is destined for a different home. I want to give it to a deserving friend who is having a bit of a rotton time of it - just hoping to put a smile on her face.

I lined the inside with white felt and added in another page of the white - which is thicker than the usual felt so will hopefully stand up to being prodded with needles constantly.

I hope the recipient likes it. I didn't think I did too badly for a little bit of impromptu hand sewing. And I really enjoyed it. Maybe I should do more embroidery? Maybe I should consider making myself a needle book and a pin cushion, neither of which I own. Then I would stop jabbing them into spare scraps of cloth, etc. I might actually look like a real seamstress then. Imagine!


Saturday, 25 June 2011

May Bee Blocks and Other Stuff

I am posting earlier than I normally do today because there are things going on, barbeques to prepare for (the weather man better have been telling the truth when he said summer was returning this weekend!) and toddlers to keep entertained - as well as the usual dance classes, etc. So here is today's offering.

Although it is almost the end of June, we were not to post about our May Brit Bee Blocks until we got the word from Miss May. Well word has been received so this is it, my first blocks in my very first bee. It started with this, a lovely packet full of gorgeous Giddy fabric already cut into squares.

It was at this point that I conquered my fear of HSTs and just got on with it and realised that they weren't nearly as bad as I had imagined - you just had to pay attention and be precise. Our challenge was to turn them into Lynne at Lily's Quilts Lynne Bob Square Pants block.

So I did. And I think I did okay. Then shortly thereafter Lynne posted about this quilt  made entirely with Lynne Bob Square Pants blocks and I saw its full potential and fell way more in love. Ever since then I have been thinking of the combinations and permutations that I could do based on this block or something that is a twist on it.

So thank you Trudi (aka Miss May) for choosing this block, and breaking me of my steadfast avoidance of HSTs. Trudi can be found here and is fast becoming a rising star on the quilting scene as more and more people recognise her amazing abilities with fabric. Most of you probably already follow her, but if you don't then head on over and have a look.

If you like Riley Blake fabrics then head on over to Stitch Steals and see the deal they have on "Lola's Posies". They have all the precuts on a very good special - fat quarter bundles, layer cakes, charm squares and jelly rolls. Something for everyone - unless you are me and have no money in the pot. But maybe one of you likes these fabrics and can benefit instead.

Emily returned from her residential yesterday afternoon. She had a wonderful time and conquered some fears of her own - homesickness, swimming (with a lifejacket) in water over her head, and heights. She loved all the challenges, even the ones that made her wobble at first. I loved the way she raced out the school at the end of the day and launched herself at me just the way she did when she was three and getting out of kindergarten. That was completely brilliant! I also love that she was the only child in her group who did not fall in the swamp and managed to do the whole obstacle course built over the mud from beginning to end flawlessly. It meant I had far fewer clothes to go in the laundry than expected. Woohoo!

My family is all here in the house together tonight. Life is good!


Friday, 24 June 2011

How Much I Have Learned

I have debated whether or not I should humiliate myself like this - but I am going to go ahead and do it anyway. I am going to show you the first quilt I ever made. Before I had ever done a class, or learned just about anything about quilting. I did this five years ago. I made it for friends when their second son was born. I did it the way I do most things. With reckless abandon and a complete lack of prior research.

I had never heard of mitred binding.


I hand quilted it. Without basting it well enough so the fabric pulled and stretched where it shouldn't have.

And it is hugely imperfect. But it was given with love and warmly received. And it started me on this path that I still walk today. I learned lots of things with that first quilt, just like I learn something each and every time I make a quilt still. I like that growing process. It is the way I am and suits my personality.
So that leaves the question, what was your first quilt like? Was it wonky, imperfect and obviously a beginners quilt like mine? Or was it like some I see online - which floor me with their intricacies and all round perfectness? Will  you blog your first quilt? Or have you already done so many moons ago, before I ever knew about this Land of Blog that has opened my eyes to so much?


Thursday, 23 June 2011

I Forgot

I forgot what it was like to have a toddler in the house. It is many things. Delightful, full of giggles, seeing the world through a whole new angle - and messy. In a whole different way than my family is messy. Jenny is asleep right now, with her jet lagged, exhausted parents, but I hope to introduce you to her in the next few days because she is gorgeous. Inquisitive, funny, talkative and cheeky. I could go around and tidy up the toys while they sleep. It seems like a redundant idea though.

Now I am going to return to a few things that got left unsaid and unseen on yesterday's post due to me having a falling out with Blogger (which I have come to understand was not personal and happened to many). I did want to show you Emily, happily awaiting departure on her residential. I am missing her but trust she is having the time of her life (every finger and toe crossed here) -

They give you such a long list of things they need to take with them and then tell you that they will have to carry their bags themselves. Bless, the bag is almost as big as she is.

I also discussed cleaning Emily's room yesterday. What I wanted to bring up was that delightful toy Sylvanian Families (aka Calico Critters in America I think). Great toy. The girls love it and play with it often. They have a lot of it. Before you go thinking they are spoiled I will tell you that they saved for a lot of it themselves and request other bits for birthdays and Christmas. But that aside, you cannot hoover a room that has Sylvanian Family stuff in it until you have crawled around the floor and checked every nook and cranny because this stuff is small, and it gets everywhere. For example, here is the Bakery -

Can you see all those little cakes and buns in the window display. They are tiny! How tiny, ask those of you who do not have children addicted to this toy?

More Sylvanian Family accessories
That small. This is why it took me so many hours to get Emily's room sorted out yesterday. I have a great fear of  missing something that Jenny may put in her mouth. This is not a toy intended for an under the ago of two child.

On to more interesting stuff. I have been at it again. Yup! Making HSTs. Time for cushion number two for our sofa. I am so pleased with the first one it only makes sense to do another, at a minimum. So in the past couple of days I have managed to get myself to this point -

I am going to try and sneak in some sewing when I finish this post, while they are sleeping, before I really and truly must put away my sewing machine until Monday at the earliest.

Last of all, I have one Pinwheel left from making my Pips pinwheel quilt. It is the result of inattention and thinking I knew what I was doing. It was a quarter of an inch smaller than all the others. I think I will make a cushion with this as its centre.

The twist is the challenge that will be linked to this cushion. When I made the HST cushion I mentioned my fear of zippers - and the fact that I haven't actually sewed a zipper into anything - yet! Well at the same time Wendy over at The Crafter's Apprentice mentioned that she had never done proper binding - yet! Needless to say I picked up on this and told her that if she would take on a project that she had to bind, I would put a zipper in a cushion. Seemed like a fair enough deal and she thought so too. So when I have my wits about me again, and a machine back in use, and everyone out the house (husband, kids and visitors - so they can't hear me swearing or crying) I am going to take on the zipper challenge.

Who knows what new projects conquering this fear might lead to?!

And while I am doing that Wendy is going to be binding and becoming another of us quilting addicts. Warning Wendy, once you have done it there is no turning back!


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Domestic Bliss

Domestic bliss my a**e. Honestly, I know that there are people out there who revel in housework. I am not one of them. I have spent the best part of today in Emily's room, finding the room beneath a packrats hoard of every scrap and bit of anything that she could ever collect. There is a theory that if I was a tougher, more disciplined mother then her room wouldn't get into this state. Obviously I am not very tough, or disciplined! Bless her little socks that she wasn't here to witness the devastation of her carefully organised tip!

Because my baby is gone. For three whole days. I think I am more traumatised than her. She was smiling widely as I left her at school this morning -

At this point there should be a photo of Emily but things are going wrong here.

Okay! Now I am p-ed off. Blogger isn't letting me download any photos onto the blog. It gets them onto the 'Get Images' bit but won't actually put them on my post. I have tried repeatedly. I even rebooted my computer but no go. Still not being nice to me. Arrgghhh! Makes this whole post slightly redundant because I am like a small child, I need pictures to make it interesting.

Tried but can't get them off Flickr! Can you do that? If so, how? Because I failed at that too.

Anyone else having this problem?

I am now abandoning this post from sheer frustration.

I am going to have a slumber party with Helen. At least that is what she is calling it. She wants us to snuggle up in our pyjamas, eat pizza, watch films and have popcorn for desert. I am not adverse to this one little bit. It will be way more fun than sitting here banging my head against my computer screen in frustration.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

You Spin Me Round, Round... Again!

Edit: I am linking this with Lily's Quilts monthly linky posty thing. I have a Lily's Quilts button in my side bar. She is the bee's knees. Between sewing machine malfunctions and house guests I didn't get as much done as hoped in June so I am harping back to an older post.

Sorry if you are tired of the sight of this quilt in progress. But I am pleased to announce that I have completed the perle cotton stitching. Woohoo! Every pinwheel is now in motion. Sort of. Maybe?

The pinwheel that is getting away!
I have said in previous posts that I have really enjoyed using the perle cotton and that I think it will be the hand quilting thread of choice for me for now on. Several people have told me that they aren't any good at hand quilting, so despite liking the look of it they don't think they could accomplish the same effects that other quilters do. If you put yourself into this category then please consider this -

- I have never hand quilted with perle cotton before and am more than pleased with my efforts.
- If I can do it then so can anyone else because I can not be considered expert in quilting in any way at all.
- You have nothing to lose in trying, other than the pleasant realisation that you actually quite like it after all.

A few years ago I did a one day course on hand quilting at my local quilt shop with the absolutely brilliant Barbara Chainey. One of the lasting pieces of advice she gave that has stayed with me is that it is not the individual stitches that count but the over all effect of all the stitches together on the quilt. They don't all need to be equidistant from each other. They even sometimes fail to form a proper stitch on the back of the quilt. It doesn't matter. Stand back and see how it looks when you have a few rows done. Look at her website on the link I put with her name and you will see some absolutely amazing whole cloth quilting. (And her stitches are perfect despite her advise.)

If any of you have a fear of hand quilting then I hope her words help you as much as they helped me.

So here are some photos of how the overall stitching looks on my quilt -

On a bright day how do you avoid all those godawful shadows on the quilt when you are photographing it?
The pink perle cotton works here but if I had to do it again I might choose a different or stronger shade.
Still love those scooter girls!
I now have the very important task of sorting out Emily's 'packing' for her residential trip. She worked very hard on packing yesterday but I will not have peace of mind until I reassure myself that she really did put in everything that was on the list.

For those of you who do not know, a residential trip is what happens here in Year 4 where the students go away for three days and have an absolute lark - wall climbing, canoeing, raft building, something mucky in a swamp, etc. For the students a complete joy. For the mothers, just a lot of very dirty, exhausted and happy kids at the end of it.

I shall link this post to Quiltstory for my usual Tuesday show and tell - and the joy of looking at what other bloggers are up to out there that I might not have seen otherwise.

You might also want to take a look at Annabella's blog Life's Rich Pattern if you haven't already. She is doing a brilliant giveaway for her 100th post. She doesn't just quilt but also makes beautiful jewellery and takes the most amazing photos. I started following her blog just to see what wonderful things she would capture with her camera next. Then I made a friend in the blogosphere because she is so nice. That is the great thing about this whole bloggy thing. You get to meet the most amazing people spread out around the world that you never would have had the chance to otherwise. Got to love it!


Monday, 20 June 2011

Pottering About

I am loving today. It is sunny - for a change. My laundry is drying outside - for a change. There are not too many thoughts flinging around my head - for a change! I am just pottering about getting things done. Not too much, but enough to make me feel I have accomplished something. A fine balance.

I have spent a certain amount of my time alone happily doing more pinwheels -

I am really enjoying using the perle cotton. It is such a thicker thread that I have to use a bigger needle, which means I haven't been drilling a hole in my finger pushing the needle through the layers - for a change. I am not even using a thimble and certainly not missing it. I think I am a perle cotton addict now. There is no going back.

Today's pottering included the garden. I pulled a few weeds, but not enough to make a difference. I watered all my pots, though I must say that my tomatoes are no looking happy. I kept them inside far longer than usual due to the crap weather we had in May but knew they had to go out eventually. Which they did and they have not forgiven me. The shock may have been fatal for some of them. Time will tell. It is just that some of the evenings have been so cool, and days so windy, and rainy that the poor tomatoes don't know what to do with themselves.

The potatoes on the other hand are thrilled with life and growing beautifully. I will show you a photo of them. Much more enjoyable than looking at plants clinging to life - just.

The girls brought the seed potatoes home from school. For lack of a good veg plot we used two extra recycling boxes that were here when we moved in. They seem to be doing the trick.

While outside I also took the time to admire my lavender and the herbs beyond.

I am very happy my lavender looks so healthy for good reason. I planted it last June and it took to its new home very well - until there was an incident involving me, a swingball racket, the phone ringing - and decapitation. It wasn't a pretty sight, but my hardy plant survived and thrived. Yippee!

Finally, take a look at this -

What is it, you may well ask. Well, it's Emily's bed. Or the bed she currently chooses to sleep on. Neither the two 'normal' beds in her room will do. But a sheep skin rug and a fleecy blanket or two on the floor are dandy. Who am I to argue? In my quest to not sweat the small stuff I have decided that if she is sleeping well (which she is), and happy on the floor, then fine. What it does mean is I got to strip the beds in readiness for the guests ahead of time without any worries. There are benefits to even the strangest things.

I am in the process of making a Gooseberry Fool, which we haven't had in almost two years. There is lots of leftover Indian food for dinner and Helen says she is too tired to go to dance tonight after her extremely busy weekend.

You can't see it - but I am smiling.


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Happy Father's Day

To everyone who is indulging in a little spoiling of the fathers in their families today - I do hope you are enjoying yourselves. We are doing it by our traditional method here in our household -

Himself is busy enjoying his breakfast and being loved up by his girls. That's what it is all about, after all.

And now I am going to do that mother thing. Overflow with pride. The girls were great last night. The whole show was wonderful but - of course - I was focused on two dances in particular. Helen and Emily only joined this dance school in September after doing most of their dancing on the Isle of Wight. The classes they went into here, according to the grades they were dancing, put them in with girls who were quite a bit older than them - three to four years older on average. That can be more than a little intimidating for young girls. So to see them hold their own last night, enjoy themselves and give it their all was that much more satisfying.

I have a couple of photos here. My camera flash was not up to the distance involved so Emily's in particular is very dark, but I am showing you because I want you too see the height difference between her and the only other girl in her modern class. Let's just say that where Emily was robbed in the height genes department her partner wasn't.

And here is Helen with the teenage girls she dances tap with. Helen is on the far right -

So today we are just slobbing about eating big breakfasts and being lazy until the girls have to go to their friend's birthday party. I'm feeling the need for a takeaway tonight.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

We're Getting There

Bit by bit all the things on the list of things to do are being ticked off. Woohoo!

Today kicked off with me finding Helen in the kitchen not making fairy cakes. No, she was making scones. In fact at 8am they were already in the oven. Warm scone for breakfast anyone? She did a remarkably good job for her first try. Better than I have ever managed, that's for sure.

Then it was Baby Bunny's birthday. Emily reminded me that we promised fairy cakes. I knocked together chocolate cakes in world record time using this recipe. It really is the quickest, easiest recipe which produces far better cakes than the effort that goes in to them should allow.

The day since then? Well it consisted of serving cakes, watching country dancing, the heavens opening with a good old fashioned down pour right after the dancing (phew!), giving money to the girls, serving cream teas, cooking sausages (don't ask), more cakes and cream teas, giving more money to the girls, more cakes, denying the girls any more funds, a bagpiper (huh!?) and then eventually leaving just before the magician came on. Sorry, but the girls - and me - really needed some down time before the show tonight.

Now they are watching Dr Who recorded episodes with their dad and eating their stew - prepared yesterday. I am about to have mine and then I shall do the hair thing and head off to the show with them. I think I will park up in the car park and read a book until us ticket holders are allowed in. No sense coming all the way home again.

Oh, and I continue my quest to become numpty of the year. After that manic day yesterday we got the girls to the show for 6pm as instructed only for me to realise that I forgot Helen's tap shoes. I couldn't even blame her because she was in school all afternoon and we picked her up straight from there to go to the show. Thankfully the dancers had to be there an hour and a half in advance of curtains up so I had time to come home and return with shoes in hand. I don't plan on repeating that lark tonight!

The only sewing I have accomplished is to finish the hairband. It is enough to report, I think.

And apologies to all for that whinge yesterday. My brain had fried by the time I wrote the post and it was a wee bit self-indulgent. We all have busy lives and we all have bad days. Sometimes I don't manage to suck it up and get on with it as much as I should.


Friday, 17 June 2011

Me Ambitious? Uh-Uh!!

I have never been an ambitious person. I do not aspire to be superwoman. Some days I am happy just to be hanging onto my sanity. Today would fall into that category. I'm hanging by a thin thread here folks! There are too many thoughts whizzing around my head and not enough of them are happy, happy quilting thoughts. Hmmmfff!

Today I did the usual - packed lunches, school run, laundry. I also made a run out to the tip because the council has changed how we do our recycling so I can no longer put large boxes into the composting wheelie bin. These boxes had to go somewhere so to the tip they went. Next stop was a search for a birthday present for a nine year old for the party the girls are attending this weekend.

Then it was home to make dinner for tonight. And dinner for tomorrow because there will not be time to do that tomorrow. I also needed to make a cake for the cake stall for the school fete tomorrow. I would liked to have conveniently 'forgotten' but someone cheerfully mentioned how they could always rely on me when we were speaking yesterday afternoon. Hate when that happens! That was not enough, because the girls are also manning a table at the fete for the Brownies - The Brownie Brownie Stall. Chocolate brownies were requested.

Something had to give. In this case it was the brownies and I thank Betty Crocker profusely -

As I said, I do not have ambitions. I do not wish to be mother of the year or anything like that. I just want to live my happy little life and keep those around me happy. Some days it just seems harder than others and that there are too many balls in the air. I never was very coordinated and juggling was not a skill I acquired.

But I managed to get it all done. And I made it to the meeting at the school regarding Emily's residential trip next week. Now I am trying to make a reversible hair band to go in the gift bag on Sunday. (You may well ask why I am doing this but it is hard to buy for the child who has everything already.) So far I have accomplished this much -

Still to come - cook the lamb burgers and make the couscous, do Emily's 'show hair', make a packed lunch/dinner for Helen, go pick up Helen from her after school club, take them both to the show, come home, have dinner with John and wait until it is time to pick them up.

Then have a glass of wine as I collapse in a heap. Bring on the summer holidays, no routine and the fun stuff, say I!!


Thursday, 16 June 2011

You Spin Me Round, Round...

Ah, summer in England. Blissful! All the wishing and hoping I could do did not prevent me from spending the afternoon standing on a playing field cheering on children as the rain beat down and the wind blew coldly. Would life be the same without these traditions? But I was in good company and we had a laugh despite the appalling conditions - maybe because of the appalling conditions!

Between that and stocking the larder I managed to finish the machine quilting on the Pips pinwheels. Each and every ditch is well and truly stitched. I was getting positively bug eyed by the end of it trying to keep a careful eye on that needle bobbing up and down and the walking foot vibrating all over the place!

It was time to break out the perle cotton. I was ever so excited because I would still be wandering in the hinterland of quilting, unknowing of these wonderful things if I hadn't started reading blogs and looking at Flickr. My eyes were opened to the wonderful possibilities that existed in the world of quilting that aren't introduced to you at the average quilting class.

My idea for the hand quilting was to see if I could create a sense of movement in the pinwheels. I have attempted this by doing an outline of the pinwheel like a shadow over the actual pieced pinwheel. Does this make sense? Easier to show you than explain. I have only had to time to complete one pinwheel so far -

Now I am happy with my quilting but starting to realise that I really, really need a camera with a better macro!
I am going to do all nine pinwheels with one perle cotton pinwheel outline and then decide if it needs any additional quilting to see if I can get that sensation of movement into the quilt in any additional way. This is an ongoing experiment for me to see if I can create with fabric and thread the quilt that I pictured in my head before I started this project. As it is I am still just thrilled that I managed to get that last pinwheel to look as if it was spinning off the quilt.

At least I have a project to work on tonight while I sit and relax since I haven't been doing any crochet for a little while.


I am going to try and link this with Our Creative Spaces where they do a linky thing every Thursday for people to show off what they are creating. Have a look to see what other people are up to if you would like.