Friday, 24 April 2015

10 Things: Week 16

1. Read: The Dinner is finished. What a strange book! I found it a little clunky too, which I suspect is  due to the translating from one language to another. I then read: Fizzlebert Stump: The boy who ran away from the circus (and joined the library) - by A F Harold. It's a children's book by author and poet A F Harold who entertained us with his poetry on the Friday night of the bookcrossing convention. I'm sure any 8-10 year old that hasn't discovered Fizzlebert Stump is missing a treat. I'm desperately trying to finish have just this moment finished:  "In the Dark" by Deborah Moggach. Which would actually make a great book group choice. So much in this book and plenty you could discuss. Once I've read that I may well start on my own book groups next choice as the May meeting will soon come around.

2. Made: I have really lost my sewing mojo. I want to finish the Amsterdam quilt, but to baste it requires ironing it and piecing the backing and quite frankly I've been too lazy to get the ironing board out. I've even contemplated whether I should be destashing a load of my treasured fabrics to fund a camera lens I REALLY want  need. I am far more into photography than I am sewing. I can pin point the exact moment things stopped being so fun for me. The changes in the community haven't helped things either. The only thing stopping me destashing is what if I regret getting rid of stuff in six months time?

3. Watched: Safe House - a new drama to ITV on Monday nights. Starring Christopher Eccleston, it's a gripping drama about a family in need of some police style protection in a safe house and the ex police man who provides it. There is a tense sense of menace as the person/people out to get the family seems intent on stopping at nothing. Creepy. I switched off the laptop to concentrate fully on watching it and am already looking forward to next weeks episode.

4. My Garden/Flowers I am loving the spring flowers everywhere. Something new in the garden every day.

April in my garden 

My Garden 

April in my garden

5. Eaten: At long last a friend that had been desperate to try the thai tapas at The Railway came over on Wednesday so we could have an early dinner. Sadly since I visited with my niece at the begining of the month they've done away with the three dishes for £12.00 so it does work out more expensive. When I asked about this it turns out they're changing the menu and will be adding a large sharing platter as a starter (Yay!) and more thai soups and salads (Boo - these are my least favourites on the menu. Not a soup person and the salads just don't do it for me at all by comparison to the other lovely tempting things that were on the menu.

She got to try it at last

6. Visited/Seen: Chief came down last Thursday night and stayed until Saturday tea time, when he had to return home. Friday we headed off to Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens near Burford, Oxfordshire. It's a lovely wildlife park as you can get so close to many of the animals. There is something pretty special about seeing  a crash of white rhinos on the lawn of a Cotswold Manor House.


Me in the Giraffe Area 

Cotswold Wildlife Park Cotswold Wildlife Park
The baby Rhino was only born at the end of last month and is called
Ian - so cute! 

7. Recommended: I can't think of anything right now to recommend. Well, I can but that particular recommendation deserves some pictures, so maybe next week!

8. Stash: In 0 Out 0 I'm not even looking at fabric right now. It's so tempting to buy and I'm sure most of us have more in our stashes than we can ever use. I really don't want to add to a stash I'm hardly using!

9. Birds: I've done really well on the bird front. Whilst a post Cotswold Wildlife Park trip to Farmoor provided no new birds. I did get to add a bird I'd never seen before to my list the next day: Ring Ouzels. Not the greatest shots. But the countryside was pretty amazing too. I also got my best ever Red Kite photos at what Chief refers to as: The Kite Cafe.  If I look back at my first attempts at capturing them I cringe out how bad and blurred those attempts were.

Linky Down
Only record shots but those black and white blobs are Ring Ouzels

Red Kites
Red Kites - there are more in the flickr set if you click through from either picture.

Red Kites

10. And Finally: I'm looking forward to a long overdue lunch with a school friend tomorrow. I haven't exchanged birthday or Christmas presents with her! I'm so looking forward to catching up with her.

Friday, 17 April 2015

10 Things: Week 15

 A very Book Crossing centric post!

1. Read: I'm still reading 'The Dinner' by Herman Koch on my kindle and for the bath time reading: 'In the Dark' by Deborah Moggach. Set in the great war it follows the lives of those in a boarding house and what happens when the widowed boarding house owner: Mrs Clay falls for the Lothario local butcher.

2. Made: Not a thing. Well,  I lie.  It hardly counts and I have no photographs. There is a game us BookCrossers love to play at meet ups called 'The Bookswap Game' or 'Steal and Reveal'. It requires you to take a long a wrapped book you've read, so I opted to make a simple drawer string bag to hide the book until it was revealed in the game. I used some texty fabric and it was all very 'cheap and cheerful'. Needless to say I didn't win the best dressed book in the bookswap prize. That went to my friend Retromonkey, who of course made a sock monkey. The sock had books and book worms on it.

Retromonkeys entry

3. Watched: I am all behind with my TV watching this week. I have watched a couple of the 'special' one off episodes of Only Fools and Horses. Which for non UK readers was a very popular comedy in the 1980's. 

4. My Garden/Flowers: Spring has sprung everywhere now! The garden is looking so lush and green. Bulbs and blossom everywhere. My brother has given the lawn it's first cut this week and cleaned down all the patio areas. The mini heat wave means I've had shorts and t-shirts on and we've even been able to have meals outside!

5. Eaten: Friday night at the world bookcrossing convention, which was held at St Hilda's College, Oxford we had a buffet. The convention runs for three days and there are extra activities arranged for those arriving earlier or later than the convention time. It's put on by a committee of volunteers and the price for the whole weekend is just £50. I say 'just' because this is far cheaper than some sewing related things that I've seen advertised or experienced. For that price I was kind of expecting a very basic buffet. It was far from that. It was a sit down buffet in the Main Building and there were waiters on hand to replenish water jugs/coffee and any food that looked like it might be running low.

Excellent Buffet!
Bookcrossing friends Beqi and Retromonkey impressed by the food.

Proof I actually went

me - the only photo of me as I was behind the camera rather than 
in front of it.

6. Visited/Seen: As already mentioned I've just come back from the annual bookcrossing convention. This is only the second time it's been held in the UK. The first time was in London.  The venue was St Hilda's College. The indoor activities were held in the Jaqueline du Pre building (JDP), although it was such lovely weather quite a few of us enjoyed the lovely grounds. Sadly there was problems with my accommodation and I wasn't well so after a poor nights sleep I ended up missing most of Saturday and going home. It wasn't an easy decision but both Chief and I are still struggling after the tummy bug we had a few weeks ago and I really needed to get some proper rest and be near a toilet. Something the college couldn't quite work out to my satisfaction, despite pre-paying for en suite accommodation back in July of last year!

St Hilda's
Just part of  St Hilda's College.

That aside the convention was brilliant. Great company and so many books! 

Book Buffet or Table of Temptation
the book buffet - all these books to tempt
a reader!

7. Recommended: How can I not recommend Book Crossing? I have been a bit of a lapsed bookcrosser these last few years. The convention has really rekindled (hmm unfortunate pun) my enthusiasm for it though. 

8. Stash: In: 1.5 Out 0 - it was boosted by some destashing by Lily's Quilts. I really needed to boost my low volume stash after using so much of it recently.

9. Birds: Friday afternoon, after some of us had lunched at the aptly named 'Tick Tock Cafe' - there was clocks everywhere and my friend was wearing a top with clocks on it - a no brainer to eat there then!

The Tick Tock Cafe - Cowley Road Oxford

We sat down on bench in the college grounds heckling the punters watching the valiant attempts of those punting along the river Cherwell. I'm a dreadful spectator of punters and can be heard muttering: They're in Oxford not Cambridge what are they doing trying to punt from the front? or Umm they're punting from the back but they're actually stood on the front of the punt to do it?! Although I do feel for them. Some went round in circles and could hardly navigate the five yard stretch in front of us bouncing from one bank to the other.  Of course the professionals think nothing of having 4 punts lashed together and whipping up the river. We shouted words of encouragement to those we thought might appreciate it and waved at excited children.  I am not a punter. I keep saying I should go. Really I should go with my brother who is an experienced expert punter. I've heard tell that near Folly Bridge where the  River Thames meets the more gentile R. Cherwell that whilst people are rowing in circles or losing punting poles my brother is the one over taking them and off miles ahead leaving them all in his non literal wake.

River Cherwell from St Hilda's 

There is so much wildlife around that area. Green Woodpeckers would fly along the river and spend ages on the grass of the sports fields across the river. Even when I checked in at the lodge earlier that morning there was a lot of quacking and some mallards looked set to join me in the lodge! Also flying up the river bank and swooping in and out of nearby trees was a Jay! A new one on my year list and a bird I really love because of it's pinky plumage and that magical flash of blue and white on the wing.  And of course just like the Jay I've also been referred to as another 'J' that's quite a chatty bird! 

I spotted a Jay flying about near the river!

10. And finally: Chief is due down on Thurs night so this will be another scheduled post and hopefully we'll have a pleasant few days together before he returns to northern parts on Saturday night. I am hoping that next week I can baste my Amsterdam quilt. It would be so lovely to get it finished!

Friday, 10 April 2015

10 Things: Week 14

1. Read I have The Dinner by Herman Koch on my Kindle. I started it out in the garden in the glorious sunshine. It's been warm enough for shorts on our front bench! I also finished Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. I think I preferred the film.  All the climbing/mountaineering terminology was hard going for a non climber like myself.

2. Made: The Amsterdam quilt top is pieced! No time to get it basted and whilst I've found some fabric from stash that'll do for the backing; it'll need some cutting and piecing to get it to a workable size.

3. Watched: I've been working my way through a Survivors box set.  It was a show from the early 1970's about the survivors of a flu like plague that wiped most of the world out. Survivors is about what happens to the people after the plague has spread. How they rebuild lives and eek out an existence in a world robbed of basics they took for granted in the early 1970's like electricity and cars. Ironic now that as a world we're much more reliant on technology than ever and I always wonder how we'd fare now if a plague wiped most of us out.

4. My Garden/Flowers: I absolutely love this time of year for how something changes in the garden every day.


Japanese Quince


Fritillia uva vulpis

5. Eaten I enjoyed a squid salad. A tub of char grilled squid from the Deli section in Marks and Spencer and some salad stuff from my fridge and I had a tasty salad that is reminding me of the lovely salads I can enjoy throughout the summer now the weather is warming up.

Stopped gardening for lunch

6. Visited/Seen Mum and I had a lovely walk on Easter Sunday. We walked through an area that our village is going to lose to a neighbouring village in a boundary change. Some of the land has been ear marked for affordable housing.  I wanted to get some pictures before the land changes forever.

Next to Fairfax Gate
This wooded area runs along side the A40

Next to Fairfax Gate
This land will become the site of affordable housing.

7. Recommended: Have a clothes audit - it's the perfect time of year to go through your winter clothes and see if you need to add or replace your summer ones. I've made a start on mine and it's been really satisfying.  

8. Stash In 2.5  Out 1 yard.  I bought a lovely bundle of vintage sheet fat quarters from Mary this week. I wanted to boost my stash and haven't been able to go vintage sheet hunting myself. Unfortunately I haven't managed any pictures yet.

9. Birds Nothing to report on this score.  I haven't added any new birds to my list although I'm always keeping an eye out wherever I go!

10. And Finally: By the time you read this (if the scheduling of posts works!) I'll be in Oxford for the World Convention of Bookcrossers, which will no doubt deserve a post of it's own. 

Friday, 3 April 2015

10 Things: Week 13

1. Read: Stardust is finished and I'm still pondering what to read on my kindle. Touching the Void has been languishing as the last bubble bath I had was accompanied by a tiredness induced headache and reading didn't appeal. We had book group on Wednesday discussing Mister Pip where I realised (as it often the case) I got far more out of reading it than I realised.

2. Made: Lots more Amsterdam blocks! In fact at time of typing I have three more tulip blocks and a bit of sashing and I'll have a quilt top!

Good Friday

3. Watched: I stumbled across: Back in Time for Dinner on BBC 2 on Tuesday night. They were up to the 1970's so I'll have to seek out previous episodes on iplayer. The format is a family spend 10 days going through each year in a decade and eating the food of that era.  They're given a kitchen/dining room of the era. I have to say being born in the 1970's I felt quite nostalgic when I saw the garish wallpaper and spider plants. I find these kinds of programmes very interesting because they show how socially things changed, often due to things that we all now take for granted. Like I had no idea that when the deep freeze became popular in 1970's you could go to Iceland and buy your frozen peas, carrots etc loose like you would fresh fruit and veg'.  It was also the era we started to eat convenience foods and the highly processed foods like pot noodle and pickled onion flavoured Monster Munch (two of Chiefs favourites!). Although there was also a movement to be more healthy with 'The Good Life' style of food. Era's on the programme from now on will be especially interesting for me as I've lived through them.

4. Worn  My garden/Flowers: It seems far more appropriate to switch this category to one far more doable - my garden/flowers! Now the weather is warming I'm noticing new things in my garden every day like these green and black iris', which I'm told smell lovely if ever I could be so inclined to get my nose down that far!  Unfortunately the weather has been too rubbish for pictures!

5. Eaten:  Although long over the tummy bug, I still feel a bit funny around food and am easily filled and just as easily put off foods still.  However, yesterday Mum and I took my niece out for Thai tapas.  It didn't upset my stomach one little bit. It was so yummy!

The Railway, Wheatley
Ketchup and vinegar are only in the picture because Mum
had fish, chips and peas

6. Visited/Seen: I've ventured no where of interest this week. I hope to make up for that over Easter.

7. Recommended: I can't think of a single thing to recommend this time. Apart from maybe Cadbury's Mini Eggs. I stockpiled them from the local shop when I discovered the supermarket had run out!

8. Stash: In 0 Out - at least a 1.5 yards so far making tulip blocks and doing the sashing.

9. Birds: Nothing to report on this score. Just the usual suspects arriving at the garden feeding station.

10. And Finally:  I have decided that I will not be standing as a parish councillor in the May elections. I had the forms filled in ready to be proposed and seconded, only I'd had this nagging sensation ever since I had the forms. A little niggle in the back of my head that was growing on a daily basis and then I woke up and decided I really did not want to stand again. Lots of reasons. But  now the decision has been made I feel so much better for it. I have my last meeting in just over a weeks time.

Friday, 27 March 2015

10 Things: Week 12

Hot on the heels of the last post of ten things I'm back with this weeks round up. Can't believe I've managed to blog for this many weeks and hope the format is something people are still enjoying. I suspect I'd not be checking in weekly or even monthly if it wasn't for these posts to prompt me.

1. Read: Touching the Void is still the bath time read. Only I've not done the bubble bath thing this week so it's been untouched. I have been reading my Kindle and am over half way through Stardust by Neil Gaiman. It's like the film with a few differences, as is often the case.

2. Made: Despite the post sickness fatigue meaning I'm in bed each night by 9pm and struggling to do much of quality in the day I decided mid week I had to make something and as I'd recently bought some lovely buttery soft voile from The Village Haberdashery I decided that I'd whip up an infinity scarf. Really less than 15 minutes and it was done and ready to wear.

Infinity scarf

3. Watched: I keep forgetting to watch Gardeners World now it's back on TV. It's lovely to watch together with Mum on iplayer when we do remember.

4. Worn: I may bump this for a better category as this is the one I struggle with the most. I can't even show you a picture of me wearing the infinity scarf as I'm still post sickness pasty and I thought my mug might detract from the beautiful fabric. I'm thinking from next time I should maybe do garden/flowers.

5. Eaten: I've been a bit funny with food this week. My appetite has not fully returned and I find I'm filled quickly and not really enthused by anything.  The only food I have photographed is blurry. That's what happens when you take a quick snap before you eat and it looks good enough on the camera. Only when you upload it it's not.

Twice baked potato skins
Twice baked potatoes

6. Visited/Seen: I haven't been anywhere other than work and the supermarket. However, I have seen violets out in little clumps in the most unexpected places all over my garden. They are my favourite flower and just seeing these makes me smile!

Favourite little flower

7. Recommended: The lovely Jude has some fab deals on fabric in her etsy shop right now. I may have needed to restrain myself in purchasing. (And not succeeded terribly well considering I'm supposing to be using stash not buying more!)

8. Stash In. 4 yards!!! Out 3/4 yard. It took a half yard to make the infinity scarf and I probably sent a further quarter yard in scraps to Lynz who was in need of some purples. Purples are the hardest colour to find. My stash only lacks two colours more: Yellow - although I have rectified this a bit, and Red. Red mainly because I made a Christmas quilt that wiped out what little red I did have and it's not a colour in fabric I particularly like so the pattern/design has to be really something to tempt me away from the blue/green/orange/pink palette.

9. Birds: After 16 last week 0 to report new this week.

10. And Finally: The forecast is not great for the weekend so I'm hoping to get working on using up that stash. I have some birthday sewing I'd like to do and also some more tulips for the Amsterdam quilt. I also want to do a little secret sewing which I'll probably hide in plain sight on here.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

10 Things: Week 11

Rather late this time due to spending the past four days being unwell.  I'm still feeling pretty washed out. At least I'm back on solid food and keeping it down!

1. Read: I finished the Veronica Stallwood and it's reminded me how much I enjoyed the previous novel I read of hers. I really need to get more found. I think I'll keep an eye out of in charity shops when I go vintage sheet hunting. I then started on the latest book group choice: Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. I'd managed to get a second hand copy from Amazon. I was in denial about reading this book because I'd had a copy previously and passed it on because I decided I was never going to read this. When it was chosen at book group I did a little inward sigh and didn't relish the cost of buying it again - even for Kindle. As it was the book was OK. I read it in a couple of long leisurely baths. I'll be interested to hear what the group make of it as there was some pretty unpleasant violence in it. (Mind is violence ever pleasant?!) The story is about a civil war on a little island in the pacific and when most of the people leave the island (or go and fight for the rebels.) it leaves groups in villages left to fend for themselves. In  young Matilda's village (and the story is told from her view point.) the only white man on the island becomes teacher to the children and decides to read them Great Expectations with both positive and devastating consequences. Now I'm reading Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. More about that next week.

2. Made: No making to speak of this week.  I really need to get on with Amsterdam Quilt.  I also need to stop buying fabric to replace fabric I've only thought about using in projects. I am seriously considering a destash because my fabric drawers are crammed full and I can't get the lid on my scrap boxes - yes the scraps are multiplying like Tribbles.

3. Watched: Second episode of Poldark watched and I'm already only watching in the hope that Captain Poldark will take his kit off again and go for another swim. Otherwise I'm losing interest already. (I have to say I haven't watched episode 3!)

4. Worn: Well it wasn't the lovely clothes I packed for a night away in a suite with Chief on Wednesday night because after he had breakfast on Wednesday, Chief started being sick. He was sick all over Otmoor (literally!) and then crashed at the hotel in bed, in a dark room. Thankfully we had booked a suite because I could at least watch TV in the living room and order room service without disturbing him.  Although using the pool and spa facilities wasn't much fun on my own.

5. Eaten: Room service feels very decadent. It certainly doesn't come cheap. But when I told Chief I'd go down to get some food in the bar to spare him the smell of food in our room, he said I should come back and check on him before I go down to the pool. I then got really worried. When a man like Chief thinks he may need checking on you know that he really is feeling bad and the bravado he's trying to put on may just be covering something more serious. I decided to order a salad and sit in the suite and eat so I didn't leave him for too long. It was called a Vespa salad and it was delicious.

Vespa Salad lunch

Later in the evening Chief thought he could manage a spot of scrambled egg. (The hotel were great and had assured him if he felt like food they'd whip him up something plain of his own choosing.) I opted for the hand pressed burger and chips. I got some fruit for Chief just in case he fancied it later and he did!

Burger for room service dinner 

6. Visited/Seen: I visited the dentist this week to have a filling replaced. It was the tooth that caused me a lot of drama a few years ago. Resulting being on antibiotics for months and the need for surgery.  Now with no nerve left the replacement was easy as no pain! No injection required.  

7. Recommended: Splurge on a suite if you ever get the chance. They aren't always as expensive as you might think and to have our own separate sitting room and all the extras were really lovely. However, I don't advise you get ill when you book it on a no cancellation deal. Although I have to say having two toilets was pretty useful under the circumstances.

St Anne's Suite - The Belfry
View of sitting room - can't see the dinning table or sofa properly.
Bigger than my sitting room at home!

St Anne's Suite - The Belfry
Bedroom - lovely comfy bed

St Anne's Suite - The Belfry
Bathroom - shower was wet room style and just out of shot
around the corner. The bath was a spa bath.

The view from St Anne's Suite - The Belfry
View from the suite.

8. Stash: I confess I've completely lost track of fabric this week. I'll get back on track for next time.

9. Birds: Thanks to a trip to Otmoor I got 16 new birds added onto my year list.  One new addition I even managed to photograph - Redshank - I think you can probably work out it gets its name from the colour of its legs.

Red shank 

My favourite pic of the day was of the robin. It posed quite happily for us. It wasn't a great day for pictures as it was rather murky and misty. 


10. And finally: Friday when my own bout of sickness kicked off (kindly passed on by Chief.) I did have one ray of sunshine. My Spring Time Surprise Swap package arrived. I can't find my partner on social media so I hope she sees this or the pics on IG to see how much I liked the package she put together for me. I am looking forward to growing those dwarf sunflowers in my new cuttings patch.

First day of spring
Thank you!!!

Friday, 13 March 2015

10 Things: Week 10

1. Read: I finally finished Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry. I didn't enjoy it as much as A Fine Balance but it was still worth reading. I also finished Wreckage by Emily Bleeker, which I found an easy read with a few twists and turns I didn't expect. So I have new books for the Kindle and the bath. I have started reading: Stardust by Neil Gaiman on my Kindle. I saw the film at Christmas and found it quite enchanting so thought it would be a good one to read when I saw it on a kindle deal. For the bath I'm reading Oxford Letters by Veronica Stallwood. I had read Oxford Exit before and had been saving this one until I could get some of the novels in between. I'm not sure it's crucial to read them in order but I usually find that there are reoccurring back stories that progress through a series of books. However, next month I'm off to the Bookcrossing World Convention in Oxford and I could do with some Oxford books to take with me so it made sense to get on with reading it.

2. Made: Jude shared this lovely tutorial for a little fabric basket, perfect for stuffing with chocolates. I decided to make one for my partner in the Spring Time Surprises Swap. I think these would make great Easter gifts and will probably be making more shortly!


3. Watched: Poldark on Sunday. I do like a good period drama and have very vague recollections of this show when they did a version in the 1970's. I was relieved that unlike last years BBC dramatisation of Jamaica Inn - you could actually hear what the actors were saying.

4. Worn: I have been venturing outside without a coat. I still need a thermal top on at work though so I'm not banishing the winter clothes just yet.

Me the other side of the spinney

5. Eaten As my brothers family had a fair bit of illness around Mum's birthday we didn't get to go out for a family meal as planned. Last Sunday we were invited down for lunch at theirs to have a belated celebration and my niece made dessert! It's a flour less torte with ground almonds being used in place of the flour. It was yummy!

Lunch at Derek and Claire's

6. Visted/Seen: Reindeer in the Oxfordshire countryside. Who'd have thought it?  I took this picture when I came out of The Crazy Bear Farm Shop. They have all kinds of animals in their fields. But I LOVE to see the Reindeer the best.


7. Recommended I bought myself a Japanese Razor Hoe because it'll be just the job for weeding around plants and readying my raised beds. I've already decided I want a cuttings patch and planted Sweet Williams in the Autumn. Whilst I love the idea of veg growing I tend to grow veg and not eat the majority of it. Twice I've grown beetroots and then they've spoiled whilst I procrastinated about what to do with them.  I'm going to limit the veg and concentrate on flowers so I can get back into a bit of flower arranging.

Japanese Razor Hoe 

8. Stash  In: 2 yards (and a Liberty Scrap Pack) Out: fat 8th!  Ok so a lot more in than out. Hopefully when I can get back to sewing I can remedy that.

9. Birds Again nothing new to report. I need to get out with Chief who's own list is way over 100 for the year now!

10. And Finally I've a very busy week next week. Including time away with Chief. Lots to look forward to and hopefully lots to come back and blog about.

Friday, 6 March 2015

10 Things: Week 9

1. Read: The Val McDermid novel got finished on my kindle. Didn't really see who'd done it until it was about to be revealed. Surprising as I'd watched the Wire in the Blood series on TV which was based on this series of books. Just be warned if you're thinking of reading these books they are pretty graphic and gory.  Now I've started 'Wreckage' by Emily Bleeker.  I've only read about 20% of it so far, so I can't tell you too much. It's about a plane crash and what happens when the survivors are rescued and become media darlings but are they all telling the truth about what happened.

2.Made: I've started making an Amsterdam quilt for me to use in Gertie.  I have about 10.5 tulips made so far and then the week got in the way and it's been untouched since the weekend. I'm going to use wider sashing to help get the quilt up to a usable size. I was hoping to make it entirely from stash but as I wanted some red tulips and am woefully short of red I have ordered a couple of fat quarters of fabric to use.

Still doing a spot of flower arranging
Amsterdam Quilt - I'm enjoying making these tulips

3. Watched: TV watching has been pretty disjointed this week as I've had a lot on.  I have been enjoying re-runs of Enterprise as ever since I was a child I enjoyed the whole Star Trek thing.

4. Worn: The problem with the whole worn category is it requires me either to do selfies (and I'm the worlds worst at them.) or get someone to take a picture for me of what I've been wearing. This week though I did put on a posh frock (for me!) because I had a funeral to attend where colour was requested. I went for a dress I'd bought but, not worn for another occasion. It's teal with a black leaf/flower design. I felt I had to make an effort not least because I'd be standing up in church reading a piece chosen by the family!

5. Eaten: The celebration of life after the funeral was a two course sit down meal at a very lovely gastro pub near to me: The Mole.  We'd been asked to choose from a set menu prior to the lunch and I opted for Aylesbury duck on a bed of mash with herbs and peas.  I hate peas and am not a fan of mash but luckily there were some yummy roasted new potatoes on the table for those that had chosen the smoked haddock option so I was in no danger of starving!  Dessert for me was a passion fruit and mango pavlova.  It was very civilised and a nice way to remember our special friend and chat with other friends and family.  It's just a shame someone has to die to have these occasions! Mum has already requested a return visit to the pub and she's not even a foodie.

6. Visited/Seen: The place I've visited the most this week is our local church yard. Whether it was to line the path up to the church with pots of spring flowers prior to the funeral; attend the funeral or take Mum to see the flowers afterwards.

Holton Church
pots of spring flowers lining the path to the village church
(these have been planted in the church yard as they are all 
native wild flowers.)

7. Recommended: If you're somewhere in the world right now where the weather is improving do venture our for a walk. The spring flowers are pretty abundant at the moment and I think it lifts everyone's mood to get some exercise and see some pretty flowers. Well, I know it does mine!

Wildflowers by the church
aconites, snowdrops, primroses and soon daffodils all in a field behind our local church

8. Stash: In: 2 yards Out: 2 yards. IG has become my new tempter of fabrics. I've bought some lovelies this week and forgot to take a picture of any. Suffice to say there was a fat quarter of some novelty vintage sheeting and some lovely Denyse Schmidt. I'm saying 2 yards for out because it's not easy to calculate how much fabric I've used so far on the Amsterdam quilt. It'll be easier once I've made all the blocks.

9. Birds: Nothing of note to report on the bird front. They're definitely courting and nest building though.

10: And finally: I joined up in a spring time surprises swap that was happening via IG. I've tended to avoid swaps on IG because it's not so easy as flickr used to be and most swaps I've seen have been for mini quilts and whilst I don't mind making a mini quilt, I never know what to do with the ones I receive as I don't have suitable wall space to hang them. The spring time swap sets a £5 budget and asks that you're creative to your partners likes/dislikes and anything goes! So I need to get working on that.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Quilt for Gertie

When I say a quilt for Gertie. I actually mean a quilt for me to use in Gertie. It is going to just about break every rule in Chief's book as I've already been warned I'm not going to be allowed to fill her with "Girlie S***". But one little quilt to keep me warm is hardly filling her with 'Girlie S***' and as I feel very much like a guest when I'm in her. (No doubt it's his territory.) I do want to have a little bit of something that makes me feel more at home when I'm out and about.

The major difference between Chief and me is that Chief puts practicality over beauty. And whilst I can be as practical as the next person, I can't see why you can't mix beauty with practicality. I like colour. I like texture. He may not understand how a bunch of nice flowers can make my heart sing, let alone get why I love fabrics. Colour makes me happy. So I've decided the quilt for me to use in Gertie will be the Amsterdam Quilt and today I made a start.

No fancy design wall for me. Couldn't even remember where I put the washi tape so it's taped
to the wall with a torn customs sticker!

I have made 8 of these blocks today. Two I've trimmed a bit too much so they're about a quarter of an inch smaller than the rest so I may have a final row of the mistakes! I've put them to one side for now and joined four blocks together with wider sashing than the pattern calls for because I'm trying to get this quilt up to size without having to make loads of flowers. 

The actual block comes together quickly and easily (more so when you concentrate and don't rush! More haste, less speed and all that.) 

A while back Leanne sent me a bloc-loc ruler. This is genius for squaring up half squared triangles. It makes such a huge difference.  I have always had a bit of a problem with HST's and have come to dread any block that requires them. Mine still aren't perfect but they're a lot nearer to it than they were previously thanks to the bloc-loc ruler. 

I am trying to make this quilt entirely from stash. Although I will need to buy some wadding as I used my last 'roll' up.  I've been getting through the low volume fabrics lately too so I may have to buy some more of low volume stash blenders. I'll see how I go. I'm really wanting to use up some stash. But why is it I can have so much fabric and still so much that won't play nicely together?! 

Friday, 27 February 2015

10 Things: Week 8

1.Read: I'm still plugging away with both the Rhoninton Mistry book and the Val McDermid one. Maybe if I was only reading one by now I'd actually have had one finished. I'm conscious I need to get the next book group choice and read it too. I've also been reading and re-reading the piece the family have asked me to read at the funeral.

2. Made: I had plans for making that just didn't happen in what's been a busy and difficult week. I feel numb and unable to settle and conscious of all the stuff I need to get done.

3. Watched: I've been watching that zombie apocalypse reality show on BBC3. More out of curiosity than anything else. It's pretty slow viewing to be honest. But they do make the victims look like they are being properly attacked by zombies.

4. Worn: I promised pictures of me in the hats of late and pictures you get. Or at least one picture because it's the only one I've got of me in one of the hats. I'll still be friends with you even if you snicker.  In fact I'd be more surprised if you didn't snicker.

Me looking like a twit at Blenheim Palace
You even get me pulling a silly face as just as he was going 
to take the shot I spotted a kestrel zoom over his head and land on Blenheim 
Palace - see the picture below

5. Eaten: Mum's birthday was on Thursday and we were all going out for a family meal. However, my brother got ill and we've had to postpone. I suggested I made her afternoon tea and we had a little celebration at home with my niece coming in after school to join in.

Mum's Birthday tea

6. Visited/Seen: Chief got down last weekend and we had a few trips out including spending the morning at Blenheim Palace. We have annual passes so can spend as little or as much time there as we want.

Reflections of Blenheim 
Interesting 'balls' on the lawn at Blenheim. Nicely reflect the palace.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock

Kestrel at Blenheim
The kestrel that caused me to pull the funny face above.

7. Recommended:  Nothing springs to mind this week.

8. Stash: In 0 Out 0. I am very conscious I need to sort out my scraps which have started to overflow badly. Think fabric Niagra out of a plastic box!

9. Birds Thanks to a trip to Blenheim Palace and a drive around our usual countryside circuit out between the villages of Chalgrove and Ewelme I have managed to add a few more birds to my list. Including Ravens! The highlight of our Blenheim trip was being able to photograph that male kestrel that kindly posed for us on the house.

10. And finally: I'm hoping things will return more to normality next week.