Monday, 31 December 2012

100 Day Hustle - Check in Time

I'm probably going to be too late linking up with this. But I hadn't been up to blogging about this before now.

Now my last check in post was here.  That's definitely the post to read if you want to see how I got on because the original list here was pretty much completed when I posted at the midway mark. In fact about the only thing I added to it was a Christmas Table Runner. I wanted one for myself so as the swap Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap was having a second round I decided I'd join in the fun.  Unfortunately my partner didn't receive until about yesterday. (At least that's when I noticed she'd received in the group.) So it was a bit late getting there for Christmas.


I hope my partner liked it as I had fun making it and would have happily kept this myself.

In all I feel I managed to get a fair portion of my list done and a few extra things not on the list.  Hopefully when I'm feeling better I can get cracking with some more sewing.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The drama continues

I most be going through one of those patches, that everyone goes through from time to time. You know where everything that can go wrong seems to go wrong. Firstly though I had a lovely Christmas Day. Mum absolutely loved the quilt I made her and was shocked and surprised at how I'd kept that secret.


Things started going down hill on Boxing Day. I developed a sore throat, which has turned into a stinking cold. Just what you don't need when you're on antibiotics for another infection and have low iron.  Mum and I went down to my brothers for lunch and had a lovely day despite everything. 

Boxing Day I gave my niece the rubbish hit and miss quilt.  I'd caught the fabric in the backing in a sort of horrible pucker not noticed until after I'd finished sewing the binding on which was another shit thing about it. I decided it was too crap to give as a proper present so she got handed this in a carrier bag with the proviso she could bin it if she wanted.

Boxing Day night Mum said she was off to bed and went to fill the kettle for a hot water bottle. I heard a really loud crash and thought that one of the bins had been blown over in the gales or something. I called to Mum and got no answer. When I went to investigate she was collapsed unconscious on the bathroom floor. I dialled 999 and she came round during the first call.  To cut a long story short it took an effing hour and fifteen minutes from the first call to 999 for the ambulance to arrive!  They did various tests and said the ECG showed that she's possibly had a heart attack in the past. But they didn't know what had caused this episode. They offered to take her in but said there would be a long wait. I told them she'd stay at home. After all if it takes over an hour to get an ambulance 'under emergency conditions' then they'd probably get round to us in A & E sometime in 2013.  I said I'd take her to the doctors the next day. So they sat and filled in release forms and left the ECG read outs and went on their way.

Her own GP was more helpful the next day. He said if it happened again call 999 again. (Which made me smile as it's hardly the emergency service I thought it was.) and he's referring her to a clinic in hospital in the New Year. He said the portable ECG machines aren't that reliable and he doesn't think she's ever had a heart attack - which is a big relief.  Of course I've been pretty crap looking after her feeling so rubbish myself.

Then today Chief phoned with more bad news. He's had the Noro Virus the past few days. But has heard that his Dad's cancer has spread and they've given him 2 weeks to live. There is no treatment that will help. It's taken the shine off Chief having a minor mention (so minor they don't put it in the papers.) in the New Years Honours list. 

All this going on means any Bee blocks I hoped to catch up on over the Christmas break are unlikely to happen now.  I don't know when I'll next sew. It doesn't feel right now like I'll ever sew again. I've not even been tempted by the many fabric sales going on.  So I'm sorry that everything will be so late.

Hope you all had a fab Christmas though x o x

Monday, 24 December 2012

Advent 24: He's Coming...

He's coming...

Wishing  you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas. 

See you on the other side. 


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Advent 23: 7 Random Questions

I just read this post over on Katy's blog and thought I'd play along. I have nothing I've made to show you. Unless you count these mince pies. I don't think I've sewn anything in December.

7 Random Questions

1. Do you wear make-up every day? 
No. I used to never be seen without lipstick or nail varnish but since I've been poorly putting on make up is another chore. However, when I have had my Christmas eve shower and am ready to open a pressie (as is our tradition) I will no doubt put on some make up so not to look too scary in the photos!

2. In your opinion, what is the best part of the holidays?  Christmas Eve when the tree's been decorated, all the chores and work has been done. The presents are under the tree, the lamps are on, candles are lit and nothing matters other than chilling out and watching a bit of TV.

3. Which character are you most like from Winnie the Pooh?  Piglet. Was a nickname at school. And like piglet I try really hard even if I don't always get it right.

4. What holiday movie are you excited to see?  Umm not sure. I do like to watch It's a Wonderful Life - 'Every time a bell rings and angel gets it's wings...'

5. How many pairs of jeans do you own?  No idea and do I count jeggings? ;-)

6. What’s a gross fact about yourself?  Umm I can't think of one off hand. I mean I'm sure there are plenty but my mind is blank.  

7. What would you choose to eat as your “last meal”?  Smoked salmon belinis to start, Mum's home cooked roast beef, Yorkshire Pudding, horse radish sauce, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrots, runner beans and a dollop of cauliflower cheese. Dessert would be a bowl of champagne sorbet and a fresh cream eclair. (The scary thing is I didn't have to think hard about this at all!)

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Advent 22: It's the little things that keep you going.

Acts of Kindness
A surprise in the mail I'm keeping for Christmas Day.
I'll reveal what it is after Christmas and who it was from.

Just as I was feeling my health was starting to improve I had another drama on the home front. Mum went to go to bed on Thursday night to find her bed was wet through.  The flat roof above her bedroom was leaking.  Of all the places it could leak it was right above her bed. As it was too late to do anything other than grab some buckets to catch the water she had a sleep over in my room. The next day I organised someone to come and put a tarpaulin (or three as it turned out over the roof.) They couldn't see an obvious place where the roof had failed although they said the whole surface was very spongy.  Unfortunately today with more rain it's still leaking and she is unable to return to that room.  The room is small - as are all the rooms in our cottage, so sleeping in the leaky room is not possible. Today I've been moving stuff about, throwing stuff out and generally find her space to sleep elsewhere until the roof is replaced. (Not ideal when energy is at a premium.) Yes, the whole roof will need replacing. Not ideal given my time off work without pay. In order to replace the roof, a dry spell, with no frost is needed, it will be some time well into the New Year before this is likely to be possible.  The only spare room upstairs has the stairs through it, so not ideal, especially when Chief comes to stay. 

It's at times like these the unexpected little act of kindness from friends is so appreciated.  As I see the flooding in parts of the country on the news, I am grateful that I have not lost my whole home to water damage and that Christmas will still be possible in this house.

I'm hoping 2013 can only get better. And well if it doesn't at least I am blessed to be surrounded with so much kindness and support. 

Thank you xox

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Advent 18: A festive touch

I had to stop by again to share with you my received runner in the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap.

Festive Runner

It was made by Leona and as you can see, already in use. I have no tree this year. Brother did offer to get it out of his loft last weekend, but really it would involve too much effort so I did the clean we'd do before put the tree up. I just have no tree. If I'm honest I miss it. But really with everything else that's been going on it's not a priority.

Thanks again for all the messages and comments. I am still really behind with everything.  Chief got down on Sunday (hence the big bunch of flowers in the jug.) It was nice to see him before Christmas and helped make up for another get together I'd had to cancel that day.

I ventured back to work today. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But I am so looking forward to being properly well and not having to take at least two different kinds of tablets a day. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Advent 12: Rays of Sunshine

I can only apologise if my last blog post worried people. I wanted to let people know I was unlikely to be around, not make people think there had been a bereavement or that I had cancer or something. I have read each and every one of your messages, even though I'm not really up to answering them all at the moment. It's at times like these I feel truly blessed to be part of this community.

It is also why I'm back today. I need to share with you a ray of sunshine that was left in my back porch.  It was discovered quite late on because the postie must have sneaked it there and then put mail through the letter box.

As many of you know I am part of Bee a Brit Stingy - a new Bee starting in January. A few months ago we had a getting-to-know-you pin cushion swap. It went down so well that we decided to have a Secret Santa Swap. Today when this parcel arrived I knew my Secret Santa goodies had arrived.  I had to take a picture of the tape because it's so pretty.


Inside the parcel was a card and this package:

Note how it's in a cellophane bag making it look like a 'proper' gift basket.

This was everything that was inside.  (It obviously was a tardis among gift baskets!)

Rays of Sunshine
Excuse the crap photo. 

I mean wow! Nicky my Secret Santa partner, obviously decided to be a rebel and ignore the 'stingy' bit in the bee!   Inside was chocolate, fudge, candy cane, big stack of fabric charms, wonder clips, perle thread, Aurifil thread, purse frame, mini Paris post-its, cuddly toy (no, that's The Generation Game!), fun tape, embroidered giraffe book mark and a cute robin tree decoration. I have to admit I'm a bit emotional about everything going on right now and when I kept pulling out more and more lovely things. Completely 'Me' things. I confessed I burst into tears. Happy tears - obviously. I think anyone that knows me can see why I'd love absolutely everything here. Every last thing. Touched by how much kindness and thoughtfulness there is in this wonderful community. I can't thank Nicky enough.

If you want to see the things in more detail they're here and totally worth a look even if my pictures are not that great!

I should also tell you that Chief found his medals this week. They were in the bag he expected them to be in. The bag he'd nearly ripped apart searching for them. He came back from the weekend working in the north and went to get a lead from the bag to upload some pictures and he found the medals sat inside. We have no idea what happened there but he has them back.  He did get some replicas (at rather a cost) but it is not the same as having your own with your name engraved on them. 


Monday, 10 December 2012

Advent 10: Black Monday

Life is full of the most awful stress and well misery filled at the moment so I've decided to take a bloggy break.  It's bad enough with feeling constantly ill without other things to deal with. So I've decided it may well help if I cut out blogging for a while. If I'm not in touch again before Christmas I hope you all have a Happy, Peaceful, Healthy Christmas with the good kinds of things in your lives you all deserve.

As I'm sure you can appreciate I am removing comment notification from this post.

Best wishes x o x

Jan - Isisjem

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Advent 8 & 9: Ready for Secret Santa

The trouble with deciding to blog every day and then being ill so you don't do much or go anywhere, is you have nothing much to say some days. Yesterday was one of those days. On the health front though I managed to walk up the road with Mum while she delivered parish magazines to four houses. I consider this progress. (We'll ignore the fact it felt like I'd just walked a marathon.)

Today I assembled my Secret Santa parcels for the swap being held in the Bee a Brit Stingy bee.  Thankfully I'd had the forethought to make the fabric baskets already. I had planned on making some other bits for inside, but that's fallen by the wayside thanks to my health. However, I still had scraps and other bits to assemble.

Seeing Double?
No you aren't seeing double. One is for my partner and one is a secret. 

The swap requested we made a fabric basket as per this tutorial and then put some scraps inside. That was the minimum. We could put other stuff in to. But had to remember we are called Be a Brit Stingy for a reason. 

Sneaky Peeky
Two scrap piles for the bottom of each basket.

I don't tend to have big scraps of fabric and a lot of my scraps are odd shapes too. But I figured if I sent a selection my partner would have something they could use out of the whole lot.

By the time it came to wrapping the bits for in the basket I was feeling a bit wobbly so it looks like I delegated that and writing the cards to a small child. I was further foiled when I ran out of parcel tape. So the parcels have ended up a bit pass-the-parcel in the hope everything arrives in one piece.

Posting day is tomorrow although I will be late posting. Hopefully my partner won't mind the wait too much. 

I hope you've all had good weekends and aren't finding the Christmas preparations too stressful.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Advent 7: Packaging

Given my health at present I will not be making any more Christmas presents this year or trying to venture to shops for them. Online shopping is my best friend at the moment. Today a massive box from John Lewis turned up. It almost feels like Christmas unwrapping them.


There was tonnes of giant sized air bags. The box was lined in a sheet of them too. Wow I thought they must really want the charging dock thingy for Chief to be well protected. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and inside was this:

For this?

Yes, a roll of budget gift wrap. Three packets of chocolate coins, and a box of pins. (I only bought the pins because I was just short of qualifying for free delivery by the price of the pins and pins are always handy.)

Along with the massive box came this bag:


One of your standard plastic envelope bags.  No extra packaging. No protection and inside was the rest of my order including the most expensive bit - the charging thingy for Chief. 

Hmmm all that packaging for some coins, pins and gift wrap - barely a fivers worth of goods and the expensive stuff was in a plastic bag. 

Thank you all so much for all your well wishes. I am actually feeling a bit better today. Haven't really felt faint at all which is a big turn around to the last week. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Advent 6: Pointy Bottoms by Mail

Ha! I bet that title got a few peoples attention?

I am sure (probably like many people) if I get to 110 I'll still not get over that lovely feeling when you get nice mail. There is something lovely about a little parcel popping through the letter box or being left in our back porch and then opening it up and finding treasure inside.  Yesterday was one of those days when this turned up:


This month I've been fortunate enough to win two give aways. This one was a give away Mary had. I won a framed purse.  We could choose which one we got. As I like surprises I asked that Mary should surprise me.  She also sent a very generous pile of scraps. I was looking through them thinking Hmmmm she seems to know my tastes very well, then when I read the card I discovered a spot of stalking had been done over on flickr. 


This was the purse Mary chose for me.  Isn't it sweet? It has one of those pointy bottoms and is a sew in frame. I haven't had a go at this shape of purse or tried a sew-in frame yet. It's definitely on my new year list for things to try because I like the pointy bottom.

There is a tradition that if you give someone a purse it should have a coin in it for good luck.  Every purse I was ever given as a child would contain a shiny penny or similar. Luckily for me the coinage inside this purse was of the chocolate variety.  Hmmm would it be really bad to carry this purse in my bag year round full of chocolate coins for those moments when a little edible currency is needed?


You may also spot something else hiding inside there.


Yes, a matching mirror.  Ideal for checking my mouth isn't smeared with chocolate.  (Mary stalked me so well to know I would need this.) As you can imagine this made my day no end so thanks again Mary for such a thoughtful prize.

If you've not checked out Mary's blog I urge you to do so and also her Etsy shop. Where as I failed miserably with finding any vintage sheets to turn into quilts this lady is the queen of vintage sheeting. I think in the New Year I'll just some charms from Mary and let everyone think I scoured the charity shops for days on end to get such a great mix. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Advent 5: The First Snow of the Season

First Snow of the Season

We had some snow. By the time I was up and out of bed with my camera there was only this much left. Apparently it had been snowing at 5 am.  I stuck my camera out of my bedroom window because that was about all I could manage. I did have some lovely post today. But I think I'll save that for tomorrow when hopefully I'll have more about me to do a longer post.

Wherever you are: Stay warm, drive safe and take care. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent 3 & 4: Not the Countdown I Anticipated

I am continuing to be plagued by health problems meaning the count down to Christmas on my blog isn't really working out so far.  Being this unwell so close to Christmas I wonder what sort of Christmas is in store for me. I'm certainly going to be having a few more visits to the doctors surgery.  There are no decorations up and with bright sunshine streaming through the living room window it doesn't even feel Christmassy.  There will be no Chief here for Christmas either. With his dad so ill in hospital (he's been there since the Summer) I told Chief to not feel in the least bit bad about going up and spending it with his dad. It maybe his dad's last and it hopefully (!) won't be mine. As Chief and I have never managed to spend a Christmas together it's getting a bit of a tradition we have our own version of Christmas in the New Year.

I wont bore you with all the details health wise. Suffice to say if you want to be seen by more than one doctor at your local surgery, try fainting in reception. Ask me how I know.  Although be warned it's so embarrassing I can't really recommend it. Thankfully I have a brother that lives in the same village as the doctors surgery who was able to walk up to the car park to drive me home.  He then took my Mum to collect a prescription for me and given what it was I'm sure it raised a few eye brows in the chemist when she collected it.  Suffice to say this week I'm signed off I will not be struggling into work.  I'm not even stressed about losing a weeks pay. Sometimes the capacity for worrying about other things fades into insignificance.

I don't have anything creative to show you at the moment and my picture of the day might make vegetarian readers feel sick.  So here is a picture of my Advent Calendar a present from my Mum. She'd wanted to get me one of the pretty old fashioned picture-in-each-window ones, but limited options to get out meant it was either this one or One Direction. I think she made the right choice in the end.  Although I'm ashamed to say I don't know who all the Disney Princess' are!

Princesses Counting Down to Christmas

Ps. I'm a bit behind with answering comments at the moment, but I will get round to it xox

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Advent 2: The First Finish of December

Last year when my friend Susan decided to run a swap for Modern Christmas Table Runners I had to decline an invite to join in because of the amount of home made Christmas presents I was making and the likelihood I would not be able to make the deadline if I got a lurgy (I always seem to before Christmas) or the snow cut me off from civilisation and the post office. But the minute the deadline passed and I hadn't signed up I really regretted it. So this year when it was the second round of the swap I decided to join in.

Then I took forever to get started and once I did I got ill and for the first time ever I'm late with the swap.  I tried to catch up with some commenting last night in the group and noticed that most of the group seem to be in the same position so I feel a bit better for not getting my runner in the post until tomorrow.

It is finished though. With a few short cuts that I'm on the whole happy with and hope my partner will be too.


I decided to use my new machine for the first time to stipple quilt it. This is about the third time I've stippled and I think possibly my worse effort. I'd only stippled on the Brother machine before, which I found a nightmare for regular sewing but a joy to use for this kind of fmq work. I think it would have helped me greatly if I'd managed to get the quilting extension table for my new machine assembled and maybe being unwell and a bit weak made it harder to manipulate the fabric?  I don't think I can really blame the machine.  

I had intended perle quilting by hand around the stars, however with time against me I'm going to leave it with stippling alone.  Can those of you with more experience than me explain why I've got these funny eyelash looking bits on the back? I assume it's something to do with tension but I had the machine set to auto tension as the manual recommended.  I didn't notice this effect when I've stippled before and not sure how to correct it for future FMQ projects.


I'm hoping these eyelashes won't be too noticeable with the pattern of the back material - which is a Basic Grey design I've forgotten the name of.

The other shortcut I took was I machined on the binding. I had sewn the binding on the front as normal and then the thought of having to hand stitch the back down just made me feel exhausted. So I zigzagged it on the back - which of course does show through on the front. But as I'd used a sketch fabric for the binding it's not that noticeable unless you get your nose right up to it. And really, rarely does my work bear that kind of scrutiny! The other thing I struggled with doing this method was the corners. I've got white dense patches where the zig zagging refused to budge on from each corner. But as it's on each of the four corners it sort of looks deliberate...sort of. The bottom line is I am actually really pleased with this table runner and would happily keep it and display it so I'm hoping these little niggles don't spoil it for my partner.

First Finish of December

I had already made a decoration to send with the table runner as per the swap instructions. So once I've wrapped this up to look all festive, both will be in the mail tomorrow.  I can then start getting excited for mine to arrive!

EPP Christmas bauble

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Advent 1: Stiffy Snowflakes

It's become a bit of a tradition on this blog for me to blog every day in the run up to Christmas - a sort of Advent Calendar of blog posts. I'm not sure how well I'll do with it this year given my iffy health of late. In fact just yesterday I was thinking of taking a blog break.  But I'm sure that's just the terrible week I've had speaking and because I've been feeling quite low at the moment.  In fact normally I'd be linking up with Fresh Sewing Day and showing what you all what I did in November. But really I can't be bothered, so I think I'll do a combined November/December post in the New Year. Assuming I get any more sewing done in December!

I had a great surprise in the mail to cheer me up today.

It must be Susan as the Angel it's certainly Not me!

A card, chocolate (Hmm how did she know one of my favourites?) and a very nice looking Christmas package from Susan.  

Inside was something I've wanted for a very long time. In fact since the run up to Christmas last year. When I completely fell in love with Susan's Stiffy Snowflakes. (And no not just because of the snicker-a-minute sounding name.)

Stiffy Snowflakes

Aren't these just beyond cool? I actually almost want to put my tree up now just so I can put them on the tree. I say almost because the thought of having to do the required housework in order to move furniture etc to get the tree up is a bit beyond me a the moment. Anyway the tree and decorations live in my brothers loft as I don't have storage space, so it will be a while longer before the tree goes up. But when it does these will be having pride of place.

I managed to get my table runner for the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap finished this afternoon (I'll blog about that tomorrow, all being well.) It's a relief to have another tick of the list of things that are overdue. I'm usually such a goody goody that does everything by the deadline. There will be a few things heading to mail on Monday and fingers crossed the ones headed abroad do make it in a timely manner for Christmas.

Before I started sewing I gave my machine a clean.  All this lint build up is from piecing with Empress Mills Thread.  Since the last clean out I have pieced the table runner I showed you here and the Christmas Quilt I showed you here. Nothing with fleece or batting.

This is what greeted me when I took out the bobbin case and removed the metal plate.

All this lint came from the part of the machine you see above.  I cleaned around the needle area after I took this shot.  The thread I was using was cream, but it looks like a fair amount of lint shed from all the red material I've been sewing with!?


I need to repeat a similar experiment with using another thread brand.  At least it's giving me a good excuse to not put off cleaning out my machine between projects.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Good Stuff

So where were we last? Ah, yes. I was contemplating a dessert that never was and having myself a Pity Party.  But I'm over all that because the trouble with having Pity Parties is, it's best to keep them short. Otherwise you'll never get invited to any real parties or have any fun friends left at all... And as it turns out it was probably as well I didn't make the dessert as someone at the party has an allergy to a key ingredient.

I won't bore you with the medical details. I'm a bit better but not 100% yet. Not really anywhere close. I've been for a blood test today and will know more when I have the results of that.  I was also signed off work on Monday for the week. Although I've had to go in each day to collect work I can do at home. Thanks to the IT techy person setting me up some remote access I can sit on my sofa and see my work desktop from home.  Really amused someone when they were alone in the office and paperwork started churning out of the printer and it wasn't them! They even phoned me to tell me. Yeah, technology is clever. I just told them it was magic.

However, since I got ill there has been some definite rays of sunshine in some otherwise grey days.   First off I received in The Scrappy Swap. It was a complete surprise as I must have been the first in the group to actually receive, so I'd hadn't even thought about it coming. This came a week last Monday and I could have blogged about it in the last post, but I didn't want me feeling sorry for myself to over shadow this gorgeous stuff.

The highlight of my day.

For those of you that haven't taken part in the swap we had to make a small scrappy goody and include a fat quarter of scraps - which didn't have to be designer, but good quality and should reflect our partners tastes. Then finally we had to include a small local item which could be something foody or a postcard of our location.  I got the above bundle of goodies from Catherine. Which some of you have probably guessed already when you spotted the preserves from her part of the UK!

Catherine hadn't revealed the side of the pouch you can see in the above pic, as she thought the scrap of fabric with the Eiffel Tower on it might be a complete give away for me.  And I admit that every time I see something Parisian in a swap I assume it's for me. Chief and I still haven't had our trip to Paris but we're optimistic it will happen next year!

I may not have been able to meet up with Susan last weekend, but she did manage to lead me astray when she blogged about this Etsy shop and the wonderful Washi tapes they sold. I'd been looking for some for a while but they always seemed to be for sale in the US and once you added in postage they ended up being jolly expensive tapes. I am hoping I may find a couple of these in my Christmas stocking. But I thought I'd photograph these all stacked up. The sellers were brilliant to deal with.

Pretty Tape.

Then today just as I was leaving the house to go and have a blood test I nearly stepped on a parcel left in my back porch.  Recently I won a giveaway Laura had on her blog for some chocs from Trufflepiglet. It was so great they turned up today as knowing I could open them when I got home from the surgery made them an extra special treat.

My creation

Now I confess sometimes when I've been bought handmade chocolates I think: Oooh great packaging, great looking chocolates - and then I eat them and think. Oh. They look a lot nicer than they taste. These Trufflepiglet chocolates are the complete opposite. They actually taste even better than they look. I'm rationing them (as well as sharing with my Mum - I'm nice like that.).  See that top stripey one? That's one of two I've had so far and it's Pear Schnapps. Yummerty-Yum-Yum!  

The other great thing about the selection is Trufflepiglet include a chocolate menu. So many times I've been offered an artisan chocolate with no idea what the flavour is. At least with a menu if there was one I didn't fancy I'd know to give it a swerve and leave it for someone who did like that flavour. It also means you know exactly which flavours to re-order...

My Mum is a real sweet/chocolate connoisseur.  She never puts on weight despite her ability to quite easily demolish pounds of chocolate and sweeties given the chance.  She too often finds chocolates look nicer than they taste. But she has already dropped hints about us ordering more when these run out. When I say hints. It's probably not a hint if you ask directly for more to be ordered is it?  Did I mention she was almost dribbling on the laptop when she saw the pictures of chocolates on the website!

So you see even when life is less than perfect.  Even when it would be easy to continue with the Pity Party because of all the things in life that are not right.  There are usually little things to remind you that there are always things to be grateful for. Always things to make you smile. Things to make you hopeful. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Dessert That Never Was and My Own Private Pity Party

Some may have noticed I've been quieter this last week. I have been laid low with a lurgy (for those needing a translation Lurgy = seasonal ill like flu or flu itself.) It came out of no where and is showing little sign of really going properly. Which is doubly unfortunate as I have to be in work next week.

Yesterday I ventured out for the first time since Monday. Just to the local shop to get supplies and also some  ingredients I needed for the dessert I was going to make to take to Susan's today for the BritBee plus friends get together at her house.  I walked around the supermarket like an extra from The Walking Dead. To be fair I probably fitted right in with some of the customers...I came home and felt completely wrecked. I knew unless there was some kind of miracle I would not be making the dessert let alone going to Susan's.  Confirmed later in the afternoon when I became very wobbly and faint.

The Dessert That Never Was
Ignore the green grapes and the marshmallows should really be the big kind but I forgot them.
And there are some other non key ingredients missing too.

I had been trying not to get my hopes up when the invitation was first sent as transportation was going to be an issue. But in the last few weeks I'd been looking forward to meeting Susan and the others.  None of whom I'd met before, apart from Katy.

I have felt absolutely gutted to be so close to going and not actually make it. Even when I've had the energy to be online I've not felt like blogging. 

I am also going to be behind in making the HipBee block for Catherine and probably won't get the table runner finished for the swap in time either. I've never been behind before, but really, if I try sewing right now it's going to go horrendously wrong.

So I've had my own little Pity Party of one. (without even dessert). A couple of nice things did happen in the week but they deserve a more positive post so I'm going to save them until next time. When the pity party should be well and truly over.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Modern Christmas Decor

Someone asked me on Facebook how long it took to make something like the red quilt. I find it really hard to gauge the time it takes me to make stuff because sometimes I have a really haphazard means of working. My sewing machine is set up in the adjacent dining area of my living room. It's not quite open plan, but it has no door between the two. It's not unheard of, say, for me to only sew on my machine during the commercial breaks, whilst I'll sit on the floor pinning or tinkering on the living room floor between ad breaks. In the case of making the red quilt I was also working simultaneously on the table runner for the Modern Table Runner Swap.

Runner Pieced
The top here is pieced but not ironed!

I'm really pleased with how this has turned out so far. The scrappy border really lifts it, as I thought the three stars on their own were looking a bit flat. I have next to no modern Christmas fabrics so, as with the red quilt, I've opted for Christmassy images: The stars, and a colour scheme that says 'Christmas'.  Red and green and to keep it fresh and modern some aqua.  To me the key thing in any design for this swap was 'Modern'. I think if anyone was expecting me to use the traditional Christmas fabrics I have shoved at the back of my fabric drawers, they would have entered a traditional table runner swap or a swap that didn't specify - right?

Something I've realised about my style as far as quilts go, is I get the most satisfaction making simple quilts. Quilts I don't run out of steam with during the making. I think that's another bonus of joining bee's - I can try out blocks I'd never want to make a whole quilts worth of. If you use the right fabric - whether they're scraps or precuts or whatever - it's about letting the fabrics do the talking for me, rather than the intricate piecing. 

What do you prefer making quilt wise? 

The next job, in true multitasking style will be to baste and quilt both this and my red quilt. I'm on track to meet the deadline. Phew!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Not the Sunday I had Planned

366-323 18 November 2012
Excuse the shadowy pic. Was trying to make the most of the sunshine.

The Red/Christmas Quilt Top is done.  I have sorted the backing, but not taken a photo of that. When I've done the scrappy border for the table runner I showed you in the last post I can baste this and and the table runner and get quilting. Not 100% settled on the quilting of this, so open to suggestions. 

Given that I actually only bought two fat quarters of red fabric specifically for the front of this quilt (and one half yard which is going on the back now) it seemed I could rustle up more red than I realised from my stash. Although now my reds are only down to some old fashioned Christmas fabric and scraps! 

I was not going to be sewing today. Nope not a stitch was planned for today as Chief was coming down as soon as he'd taken parade this am.  When I woke up and eventually rolled over and looked at my phone I saw I had a missed call from him. When I rang him thinking maybe he'd got away earlier than expected, it turned out to be the complete opposite.  He'd been to hospital after having a 'turn' in the breakfast queue. Which turned out to be a diabetic hypo. He only remembers feeling light headed. The person he was talking too had thought he was having a heart attack or something and rushed him to hospital.  This has meant no Chief coming down here as he's still not 100%. I made the most of my extra time to get on with some sewing. It's not the same as spending the day with him and I feel bad that I'm not better at driving long distances because it wasn't like I could go and look after him. No idea when I'll get to see him now. I think making the quilt top made the best of a bad job.

I hope you've all had a great weekend and I'd best get on with that scrappy border! 

Saturday, 17 November 2012


I have actually spent most of the day sewing. The mojo returned late last night when I started a new project. I blame that Pin-it-to-win-it competition on Pinterest, that I didn't win by the way. But I did fall in love with the bundle and namely the colour red. I would have bought the bundle but I was itching to get sewing and it will take too long for it to arrive from the US. Especially as I am itching to make a Christmas quilt.

No surprise that when I was buying fabric for the Low Volume Charm swap a couple of red lovelies fell into my basket too. I have to say I'm not usually a fan of red quilts. I love the colour and often wear it. Particularly in winter. I even have a bright winter red coat. The sort of coat that stops traffic. (Which I find especially useful if I'm crossing the road at the time...) What I'm not normally drawn to is red in quilting.  As a result my own stash is woefully short of red fabrics. In fact to assemble this quilt I've had to turn out draws and hunt high and low for reds that will be suitable. As a result this is not patchwork-by-numbers kind of quilt. It's a simple quilt with a story.  For example there is a Wonderland charm square that Reene sent me as part of the Pay-It-Forward she did on her blog; Some left over scraps of red fabric I'd originally won when Kerry had a give away.  There is some left over It's a Hoot from Mum's special quilt; A charm cut from a free Spoonflower Swatch.  I also raided the rainbow charm swap pile for some reds and also a Summersville Charm pack. There is also some Sherbet Pips that were destined for a Christmas quilt a few years back and after a couple of cutting accidents, has been used to make a baby quilt already this year.

Seeing Red

Someone once told me that if you save fabrics for just the right project you become a fabric hoarder. I don't agree with this. I am loving raiding my stash for reds, precious texts and Lake House Dry Goods fabrics that will work so well in this project.  I'm happy to use any of them - even precious ones because this is the perfect project for them. And to get this to lap sized I'll need every bit of red I can lay my hands on.  Happily I have some red Summersville and some Bliss I can back the quilt in. With a bit of work I can have a Christmassy lap quilt to form part of my holiday decor.

And on the subject of Holiday decor I have started the runner for the swap.  I was good and sewed the stars before any red squares were sewn together. I'm thinking it needs a scrappy border? Oh and if I do perle and machine quilting I should do the hand stitching first, right?

Three Wonky Stars

So how's your weekend stitching up?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Never work with Animals, Children or...mothers

Warning: For those of a delicate nature and Hadley please note this is not a Jeggings Free Post. 

I managed to get the floor hoovered today - ironic because then I started laying out fabric and scraps all over it. For a while it was relatively thread free. And in a fit of domestication I decided I needed an apron.  Actually I made the decision when I placed my order for fabric for the low volume charm swap, and one of my other purchases was some fabric for one side of a reversible apron I decided to make.  If I hadn't been gripped by a rare fit of domesticity I may have thought to photograph my fabric purchases. As it was half of them went in the wash. (They were prominently red and I live in fear of red fabric running.).  After about an hour of domesticity I decided I really needed to make the apron before I did any more housework.

Once it was done I asked Mum to take some pictures of me modelling the Apron. The light is rubbish and I could think of no way of showing it to you without actually modelling it. Oh. What. A. Drama. I'll spare you a blow by blow account of what happened next but suffice to say there was about a squillion blurry pictures, a couple of close ups of my feet and ankles and a few shots of the wall with only a flash of me in it. Not to mention quite a lot of bickering between Mum and I.

The best of the bad bunch was this:

It's sort of ended up chopping of the top of the apron and er a close up of my Jeggings.

The apron is completely reversible and this side features a bright pink Klona pocket and trim and some Sinister Swarm from Anna Maria Horners Field Study range. The trim was necessary because I was using a fat quarter of a metre of fabric one side and had cut down a half yard of the Field Study - which of course was narrower than the metre cut.  After the bad pictures I said to Mum right you're modelling I'm taking pictures. She was not happy especially when  I asked her to remove a large cardigan over her jumper, as I said it was creating a big funny bulge in her middle. She started carrying on and huffing and puffing.  Probably   not helped by my diplomatically telling her: For goodness sake just take of your cardigan it's hardly a cause for all this drama, I'm asking you to remove a cardigan not donate a kidney.  


The reverse side is some Ta Da Dot by Michael Miller with a Sinister Swarm pocket. Aprons need a pocket. Mum always wore a half apron like this when I was growing up. I asked her why she stopped and she said because they were warn out and she could no longer get more.  Her apron pockets always housed all manner of junk - string, elastic bands, bits of detritus she'd picked up around the house.  The apron string is more Klona . 


I used another of my fancy stitches to give some detail on the Klona pocket this side. Mum then had the cheek to ask me what she was getting paid for modelling my apron. I just can't dignify some questions with a response. (Although she maybe getting an apron...)

So today I have stitched. Ok it's not something I really should have been doing. I have also done some really crappy sketches for my partner to peruse in the Modern Table Runner Swap. I'm not really a-do-a-sketch -of -what-I-have-planned type of person as I work straight out of my head. Mercifully Flickr doesn't allow you to upload the contents of your head straight from source, so a sketch had to suffice.

Today has been a good day though. My boss bought me lunch. It may have only been a bacon sarnie, but it was a very nice bacon sarnie! I also got bought a cake being sold by some passing hairdressers in pyjama's for Children in Need. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Mañana for Sewing

Ok, so there is no sewing today either as I went out straight from work again.  I was a woman on a mission. Top of my mission list (Unless you're Chief; then it was buying Franks Strawberry Flavoured Diabetic Ice Cream from Waitrose) was to track down some vintage sheets for the vintage sheet swap.  It doesn't officially start until January, but I rarely go to places where there are charity shops so I thought I'd best get looking now.

Having seen Judith's fab quilts made from vintage sheets I've had the urge for a quilt like that myself.

I went in three charity shops. Mum was with me. Completely perplexed by my mission: You want to buy used bedding from a charity shop? You're going to what? You're going to cut up said used bedding and swap it for other cut up used bedding with people on the Internet. There was a bit of head shaking and looking at me like I might have taken leave of my senses. And to be fair put like that even I can see why it might sound bonkers.

Anyway, back to the charity shops. The first one I ventured into was Cancer Research.  I'd been in here previously. Friendly staff, a pleasant smelling shop (ie it didn't smell as Chief would say: Like a Pensioners Sofa.) and a great place to stock up on pretty great value greetings cards. I also managed to find a cookery book I've often perused, but never owned for the bargain price of £2.00. But not a curtain, sheet or duvet in sight.

Charity Shop Buys

Then there was Oxfam.  Not a big fan of Oxfam Charity Shops I have to say. Far too expensive and in the case of a local Oxfam Book Shop the staff always make me feel like they think I'm going to stuff a couple of paper backs up my jumper and make a run for it...  Oxfam did have some bedding and curtains hanging from trouser hangers. Couldn't see any prices, but nothing was suitable in the least.  

The last shop was...I can't actually remember. It had tonnes of clutter outside the shop and inside it definitely could have done with some air freshener  Not quite Eau De Urine but definitely not pleasant. They too had some home furnishing at the back of the shop, again nothing suitable. 

So then it was off to Waitrose to get frustrated and upset because every obnoxious, snooty shopper in a 10 mile radius must have decided to do their shopping this afternoon.  

Tomorrow I think I'll stay home and sew. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The One Where Hadley Shouts At Me.

I am feeling really naughty. Maybe I'm just getting practice in for next years FQ Retreat where I will no doubt spend a fair amount of time on the naughty step. But I have been a bit naughty. I'll let you judge just how naughty and how loudly Hadley will be shouting at me.

1) I have not done any sewing. Not a needle has been threaded let alone used.  No sewing of the table runner for the Modern Table Runner Swap. No sewing on of that binding on the quilt for my niece. No sewing of anything on the 100 Day Hustle. No sewing of Bee Blocks for HipBee or Bee Blessed.  The Mojo has done one of its vanishing acts.

2) I have not hoovered the many threads from the living room floor. Maybe because I've not actually picked sufficient cr** of the floor in order to actually be able to hoover it...

3) Nor have I done any ironing and the ironing basket pile is so tall it's like the leaning tower of clothing. It would scare the French. There maybe some French living in it for all I know.

4) I went out straight from work just because the sun was shining and it was either that or come home and curl up on the sofa and sleep and browse flickr and Pinterest. And to be fair I did that as soon as I got in anyway.

5) OK so I was on flickr and pinterest and signed up for another charm swap that Laura from Needles, Pins and Baking Tins is running.

Needles, Pins and Baking Tins

If that doesn't seem too naughty wait until you read 6! And I've not actually finished my last low volume my defence I need some low volume lovelies to add to the charms that will be coming from the text charm swap. It seems like ages ago that I sent off my charms so I'm really hoping they'll arrive soon as I am itching to get started on a certain project.

6) Of course joining the LVCS means I needed to go buy fabric. That's reason one that Hadley may start shouting at me. As I did say if I bought more fabric I needed shouting at. She'll shout even louder when I confess that I may most definitely bought other fabric while I was shopping.

7) And then an email popped into my mail box saying all Michelle Patterns are on sale at $5 so I bought a pattern too.

But I did have a nice walk in the sunshine over at Waterperry Gardens.  Down by the River there was some Jackdaws up in the trees kicking up a right old racket. When I looked up to see what the fuss was all about (and I never did see) I saw this lovely view. 

Autumnal Beauty

So glad that I had my camera with me and I'd like to think the Jackdaws were shouting at me to look up so I didn't miss it. I'd have never looked up other wise. 

And if Hadley hasn't yelled at me enough she will when she see this next picture.


Yes, Hadley I'm wearing Jeggings! 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pin it to Win it and other Pinterest Stuff?

Do you Pin? On Pinterest I mean. I have to say when the concept first came out I wasn't sure I'd really make much use of it and I have to say I'm more of a dabbler than a die-hard pinner.  In fact most of the time I'm more of a repinner. I follow a bunch of cool people and when I see they've pinned something interesting I repin. It gets a bit frustrating sometimes when I go back to that pin and find it doesn't go anywhere useful. But most of the time I'm using my pin boards as inspiration. I am kind of amused when I find people start pinterest accounts and then only pin their own pictures from flickr. Hmmm could you not just make sets on flickr? And actually when pinterest first started I thought there was a rule somewhere that it was for repining other people's stuff and not to be used only to pin your own stuff? Or do I just think that should be a rule?

Pinterest is a great diversion when I really should be doing other stuff like ahem sewing down binding, making a Christmas table runner for the swap, taking the washing out of the washing machine or hoovering all the zillion threads from my carpet. I don't actually feel motivated to do any of that!

If you want to go check out the junk creative and inspiring wonders I pin - and there is everything from card board cut out tardis patterns to clothes I'd wear if I was more fashionable than I actually am - then go here.

While I'm on the subject of Pinterest Fresh Squeezed Fabrics are doing another Pin it To Win It competition. They've made the rules clearer so hopefully there will be no confusion and disappointment with people thinking they've won a bundle when they haven't. Basically when you get the required number of pins you can then get entered into a drawer for that bundle. Of course you can pick more than one bundle but I'm not being greedy I'm only picking this red one because my stash is very very short on red. If you'd like to help me get the correct number of pins so I can enter to win this bundle I'd be most grateful just go here.

Source: via Jan on Pinterest

Monday, 12 November 2012

Fluff and Nonsense

I did no sewing yesterday. I wasn't in the mood. I watched the TV coverage from the Cenotaph and thought about Chief being in the North East. Many in the armed forces find Remembrance Sunday and this time of year difficult. It's a time to remember friends and comrades lost. For many it's like going through the grieving process all over again. Sewing felt too frivolousness.

There was some stress midweek last, when Chief discovered his medals were missing. He's still not found them.  They were not where he expected them to be. It means he's either done something silly like thrown them out by accident (and that's not easy as they're quite heavy), or he's put them somewhere completely random or (and I really don't like to think this) someone has stolen them as they're worth money.  Thankfully a replica seller on eBay came to the rescue with a replica set, followed by the tailor who mounted them at the last moment. Not the same as having your own, especially as they're engraved with your name. But he was going to need them yesterday so had to get something sorted. Mean while fingers crossed his medals turn up.

Yesterday afternoon I went out for a walk.  The weather was glorious around here and I'd noticed that many of the trees were holding on to their Autumn colours.

Remembrance Sunday

Today I got on with the binding of the quilt for my niece. When I say I got on with it. What I really mean is I made the binding and sewed it on with the machine, I managed to get a join in the binding to land right where a corner is so I have a nice ugly thick bulky corner to deal with. I have started hand sewing the binding down and normally I quite like this because it means I have a nearly finished quilt and I can sew and day dream, as I do it.  Today I've looked for any excuse not to sew it. I just don't like the quilt or its organic quilting. It's not one of my finest efforts. It's the sort of quilt best viewed from a from the surface Mars.

When I took my walking foot off to swap back to my regular foot I cleaned out the bobbin case area and as promised took some picks. OMG what a lot of fluff.


And yes I have cleaned it out before! You can see from the picture that quite a lot of this fluff has a purple tinge to it. Given I've been using the purple thread from empress mills and no other purple thread I think it's safe to say this is responsible for the purple tinges you see there.  Since I've used the Empress Mills thread I have used it with a lot of wadding/fleece so I was expecting a fair amount of shedding. But I'd say not all of this fluff is wadding related. 



Not sure if you can see very well, but in the second fluff picture it's green. This came from the bit of the machine right above the needle.   I can't really say how much other threads shed as I've not exactly road tested anything else in my machine. But now I'm thinking I should!  Hmmm maybe I need a thread sponsor. On second thoughts nobody would be brave enough to ask me to review their thread would they?!

I am feeling slightly panicked by my lack of progress in the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap.  A lot of people have finished and all I've done is managed to move a pile of fabric to a patch of the living room floor. 

Now I'm going back to sewing the binding. After I've read a few blogs, made a cuppa and oh done just about anything so as to not have to sew on the binding.

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