Friday, 30 January 2015

10 Things: Week 4

It seems the only blogging I'm managing at the moment are these 10 things posts!  At least I'm keeping this up though.

1. Read: I've charged the kindle up and am reading the first in the 'Wire in the Blood' series of books by Val McDermid. Several people have recommended these thrillers to me and I did watch the TV series. I'm starting off with The Mermaids Singing.  I've only read a chapter so can't really tell you much about how I'm finding it.

2. Made: I haven't done any stitching since last week. I've had a bit of a cold and life has just got in the way. But I want to get back to that head board cover and I have some plans for some sitting-on-the-sofa projects.

3. Watched: I've not watched much TV this week. Well not all the way through. But later on I intend watching The Muskateers, which is on series two and every bit as swashbuckling as you'd expect.

4. Worn: So I've been doing this for four weeks now and not managed to come up with anything. I may have to change this category or get my act together.

5. Eaten: Birthday cake. I bought one in Asda just before my birthday then we didn't eat it. My niece came around after school and we did the cake/candles/happy birthday singing.

Continuing the celebrations 

6. Visited/seen: Again I need to get out and about. Although this week I did go to a funeral and the wake. It wasn't photo worthy though.

7. Recommended: Blurb Books for self publishing. I know I've gone on about this before, but I've just got my 2014 Blurb book published. I sent it for printing on Sunday and it arrived today. That was using standard delivery. No mean feat considering it was shipped from Europe.  Mum said earlier that when I'm an old lady I can sit under a quilt and read my year books and remember the 'good old days'. She knows me so well.

I <3 Blurb books! 

8. Stash: In: a lovely pile of Leanne Fanny scraps. I'd not seen her fabrics in the flesh before. They are even more beautiful that the instagram pictures would lead you to believe. I was probably tempted by them because of the birdie print poking out of some of the packs. Ironically I didn't get one in my pack. I can see I'll be buying more of her fabrics if the chance arises. Out: 0 - yes must try harder to dent that stash!

Hand printed. 
The colours and designs are so bright and vibrant. They remind me of India and hot 

9. Birds: The list is up to 26! and that's without going out birdwatching. I'm happy with that.

10. And finally: Um whilst on sick leave Chief has bought a camper style van. I've seen pictures on flickr because I made him post some.  The snow up north and his continued ill health means he's unlikely to make it down this weekend as hoped.  It's a VW T4 and has a small kitchen, shower/toilet and even a little TV. I'm not sure I'd have given up my car to have this instead, but it's been Chiefs dream for a while. It could be fun. As long as we can still have nice hotel breaks and eat out at nice places (He's stocked up on pot noodle!) Anyway, I'll need to make a quilt now because Chief has one and I don't and of course I'll need a new one just for trips out in the van won't I?

Friday, 23 January 2015

Week 3: Ten Things

1. Read: I'm reading another book that has crossed my path thanks to Bookcrossing. It's a great book for reading in the bath. It's the story of a couple who after a night out find that one of them is accused of the murder of a nightclub owner. As they've both taken drugs neither can remember much about the night. It's told from three character view points: the female half of the couple, another female character (I won't reveal why I think she's important to the plot.) and the detective who makes the arrest.

Latest read 

2. Made: I sorted through all the low volume charms I've received as part of charm swaps or swaps with friends. I was really brave and decided to just get on and use them and not think I'd save this one or that one for some other project. They were sewn into 9 patches then randomly cut into four and re sewn to create new more improvised blocks. I deliberately wanted something that was liberated and didn't require 100% accuracy. That may shock the quilt police, but I didn't worry about cutting accurately, matching seams or using pins. I just sliced and sewed. 110 odd charms later I'd made a panel large enough to cover the head board. I then basted it with some polyester wadding.  (Yucky! bought for another project many years ago before I knew that cotton was the only way to go - however expensive!) The other project lay unfinished and was too ugly to consider finishing; so I unbasted it and decided to also repurpose the sheet I'd used as backing. I've started quilting it in wonky straight lines. Randomly placed of course. Everything about this is a make-it-up-as-you-go break-all-the-rules kind of make. It's felt incredibly liberating. The plan is to bind both edges and then fold in half and sew together to create a slip cover that can go over the head board. It can be removed and washed as necessary or replaced easily. I'm hoping the calming low volume colours not only compliment any bed linen I use, but aid a restful nights sleep.

I do need to get some decent pictures of this project!

3. Watched:  I tried to watch Wolf Hall which has been dramatised and is being shown on BBC 2. I've not read the Hilary Mantel books and have no interest in doing so. I was curious about the drama though. Whilst I'm sure it's quality drama it has only managed to reinforce my opinion that the books would so not be my kind of thing. Please don't ask me to tell you what happened in episode one. I haven't a clue. I remember seeing Damien Lewis as Henry VIII. I could have made that up though.

4. Worn does having a new bag for my birthday fit into this category? I ask because I had the most lovely and longed for Orla Kiely bag.

New bag!

5. Eaten & 6. Seen/Visited; For my birthday my family took me out to a recently reopened local(ish) pub. The Fox and Goat. It does your classic pub fair and the pub has been modernised to retain character, but feel modern and up to date. I had a yummy burger and my niece who had Confit of Duck on a bed of Garlic mash with red cabbage said it was better than a similar dish she'd had at a rival esteemed restaurant. I rarely go out with the family for my birthday because it's too difficult to get everyone together mid week. So this was a lovely surprise.

7. Recommended: Well if you're in the locality of the Fox and Goat I may well recommend you go there. Other than that I recommend good birthdays full of lovely swag like this:

Birthday Swag!

8. Stash: In 0 Out: Over 110 5" charm squares, more cotton sheeting and leftover batting.
9. Birds: My list is over 20 now. Chiefs is probably about 1000. Certainly way more than 20!
10. And Finally: This has been the best week of the year so far. Not full of the stress I've come to expect in the last few weeks so I'm hoping that this continues. Sadly Chief is still stuck up north signed off work and not feeling great. No idea when I'll see him. It looks like for once I'll be having Christmas after my birthday!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Week 2: Ten Things

So here I am for a second week!

1. Read: Alys, Always by Harriet Lane.  A book in a package of Christmas goodies from a friend I made through Bookcrossing.

First book started in 2015

If you enjoyed Notes on Scandal by Zoe Heller, then I think you may well enjoy this.

2. Made: I managed to finish another cushion! Everything was shopped from stash and it was great to see those hexies I won in Sarah's give away finally stitched together and into a completed cushion cover. I am hoping to do a proper blog post about this cushion and the one I made last week.

Hexie cushion 

3. Watched: Series 2 of BroadChurch  I hadn't seen all of series one as despite starting watching it I was then out quite a lot on the nights it was on and never got around to catching up with watching it online. Once I'd missed several episodes I sort of gave up. It had such cracking reviews that I knew I had to see what series 2 was going to be like. Two episodes in and Mum and I are hooked.

4. Worn: Oh dear miserable fail to have anything interesting to report. I will file this into the category of 'must try harder' and then one week I hope to amaze you with lots?!

5. Eaten: I have to say I'm the sort of person that struggles with my appetite if I'm under repeated stress. These last few weeks have certainly been stressful. I've lost weight. I'm seeing that as a bonus. Faced with this lovely creme brulee even that couldn't tempt me to eat all of it.


6. Seen/Visited: The weather has been pretty rubbish and whilst I have done more than just go to and from work. I've not done anything remotely worthy of putting in this section of ten things. Again: Must-Try-Harder.

7. Recommended: Cheap Asda flowers. My local supermarket is an Asda and that's the place I most often buy flowers when I treat myself. For £3.00 (sometimes a few pennies less.) you can get lovely bunches of flowers such as these bright red tulips. 7 days after I bought these as tight buds, they're still going strong. And at £3 who can't afford the occasional bunch?

red and green

8. Stash: In  1.5 yards     Out: 3/4 yard (Plus more wadding and sheeting scraps.) OK so I bought fabric. It was only because I won the choice of three bag patterns last week in the FAL give away and whilst I haven't technically got my prize yet, I know which bag I want to make first and I needed some fabric suitable as a bag lining. In my defence it was on sale big time. I regret not going even madder in the sale and buying enough to back quilts and the like!

9. Birds: The gales have blown my Mum's bird feeding station over twice smashing some of it the second time so I've not been attracting any new birds to the garden.  I've only managed to add house sparrows onto my bird list this week. Unsurprisingly Chief's list is now over 60.

10. And Finally: Chief is still off work poorly. We've not had our Christmas. And can you believe I've been a very good girl and not even peeked at one present that's waiting for me to open from him. (He brought them down before Christmas so they'd be here ready when he did get down.) I need a medal for will power. Unless it's for not buying fabric. Then I have little will power once the pretties call!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Week 1: Ten Things

As promised here is my first (of what I hope will be many) weekly posts of 10 things that have gone on in my world this week.

1. Read: Moon Island by Rosie Thomas. This was a recommendation from a bookcrossing friend. I didn't hesitate as the last Rosie Thomas book I read: The Kashmir Shawl; I really enjoyed. I haven't quite finished it as it's my read-in-the-bath book at the moment.

2. Made: I finished Chiefs 'Birds of a Feather' Quilt which is one of his Christmas presents. I can't get better pictures because I want him to see it before the rest of the world and right now the weather is not suitable for quilt pictures anyway.

Birds of a Feather 
Chiefs Quilt. I can show you this much as he's seen this!

It's always satisfying to get a WIP finished.  This cushion deserves a blog post of it's own. I can't resist showing you a picture now though. It's based on the wafers EPP templates by Nellies Niceties.

Wafers Cushion finished!

I also made one of these drawstring bags by following the excellent tutorial on this blog. I see many more of these in my future. I think they'd make lovely presents if filled with a few treats.  This one is destined to hold my DSLR when I only want to take a handbag and a small lens on the camera and therefore don't want a full on camera bag.  As a result I used some thin fusible fleece to line the main body part and it's made it nice and cushioned whilst not making it bulky.

Draw-string bag

3. Watched: I loved Esio Trot starring Dustin Hoffman and Dame Judy Dench. How did I not know this Roald Dahl story already? I thought I'd read most of his books and I'd even read Crockywock the Crocodile to him in a school assembly when he came to open my primary school!

4. Worn: Clothes! Yes, I bet you're all relieved about that. Seeing as I haven't taken any pictures or really thought this item through on my ten things list, I'll leave it at that and promise to try and do better next time.

5. Eaten: I am still working my way through chocolates I had for Christmas. I think I may be eating them until June. Not these. I've eaten all of these already!

Don't mind if I do

6. Seen/visited: Some weeks I'll probably have loads to tell you in this section (I hope).  With this horrible weather I'm in hibernation mode unless it's essential.

7. Recommended: Sophie Court Designs  Last year my Mum bought me a robin necklace by Sophie and this year we  both fell in love with the reversible stags head necklace and luckily Mum managed to buy the last one at the Christmas Craft fair at Waterperry Gardens to give me for Christmas.

My stags head Christmas present

I follow Sophie Court Designs on Facebook and there was a sale. I had to buy this birdie necklace. It's reversible so you get double value from this jewellery; which is made from paper and acrylic.  It's also nice to support local to me artists.

Purple Side of my new necklacePretty birdie

8. Stash: I want to keep a check on in coming and out going fabric this year and do as much 'stash' shopping as I can. I have had some lovely fabric arrive of late, but I'm not counting it as it was bought or won in 2014. The plan is if I can save my pennies I will be able to pay for a bed sized quilt to be professionally quilted. It's long been an ambition of mine. Of course I have to make the quilt too!

So, fabric in: 0 Fabric; Out: 1.5 yards (plus some left over scraps of batting and sheeting.)

9. Birds: Chiefs year list is already over 50 and he's mainly been bird watching via his car as he's not well enough to be out for long or walk too far. My list is at 17. Not so shabby given that's pretty much only the birds I can identify through my front window.

10. And finally This has been a week of ups and downs. I had a horrible stressy start to the week and lets just say stuff happening on Friday made everything better. I won something in the Finish-A-Long. Amazing. I'd forgotten I'd actually made something and it was only one thing on a very long list of WIP's I'd listed out!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year!

It seems I've lost a month. My blogging mojo has completely gone. I'm hoping I'll find my voice in 2015 although maybe I need to change the format of my blog to feel at one with it again. Mainly I've been hanging out on Flickr (yes I'm still persevering with the format everyone else seems to hate.) and Instagram.

I hope that in 2015 I'll get back into sewing properly and will have lots more projects to show you. I'm yet to finish Chief's Christmas quilt. I stopped rushing at it when I discovered that Chief would be unable to spend Christmas with me as I'd hoped. Just over a week before Christmas Chief was diagnosed with a chest infection. Despite the antibiotics this turned to pneumonia (with tonsillitis for added fun!?). He's been lucky to stay out of hospital. He's still on antibiotics now. I have no idea when I'll be able to see him as he was taken ill up in Middlesbrough - hundreds of miles away from me.  We will have Christmas again when we finally do get together. I am just thankful it hasn't been any worse. His brother had his own health drama's and the outcome has been far more serious.

Cushion top piecing done
I hope to turn this into a cushion cover very soon.

2014 wasn't an altogether bad year for me. Although I do feel I lost touch with the sewing community.  I went for large chunks of time when I didn't really do much making and it seems so much harder to connect these days without the flickr groups to rally us. I know swaps go on over on IG but I've never managed to get my head around these so far. Or maybe I've just not been tempted by a swap for another mini quilt. Maybe I need a swap for some other small sewn item?

Anyway, I did manage to record 110 different birds via the bird track app on my phone. No small thing given I'm not a dedicated bird watcher and live in a county that has limited habitats with which to spot a variety of birds.

Gannets at Bempton Cliffs 
I loved seeing the gannets at Bempton Cliffs

I also found that as 2014 came to an end I had read 39 books!  I'm also signed up to go to the world bookcrossing convention in spring. It just happens to be in my home city of Oxford.

Really looking forward to discovering more great reads in 2015

I'm also loving continuing my journey with my camera.  I didn't miss a day of my project 365 over on flickr and the 2014 memory book has shaped up to a staggering 188 pages. Previous books barely have touched a 100 pages!

I <3 Blurb books!
Looking forward to getting 2014 Blurb book published.

I'm thinking at the very least I'd try and pop in at least weekly to the blog to update you with 10 things. A list of things I've done that week. You know places been, books read and things made.

I'm not signing up to a fabric fast this year as last year I signed up in January for a 6 month fast and  I did it but regretted several fabric designs I missed out on through being good. (I'm thinking of those blythe confetti dots and some Liberty Hello Kitty.) I do want to focus on using up my stash before buying so I'll try and keep a tally on what goes in and out. I have fabric on order from 2014 purchases. I'm hoping to not just buy in 2015 because I want it!

Happy New Year! And here's to a fabulous 2015!

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