Saturday, 20 June 2015

Fiddling FNSI....

I missed all the sew - ins last month so I was really keen to make the most of Friday night.     Had to take mum to an appointment on Friday afternoon so I packed a little bag.....



Most of you girls get to stitch at football matches or swimming pools or at the athletic track.  Me... I get to sit in the car outside the Chiropodist.    For once mum timed her appointment well.... Gardeners Question Time was on the radio.    Stitching along with Bob Flowerdew (that's his real name) is as good as it gets!  

I did stitch Friday evening too.   Took advantage of a dry spell to take my stitching out into the garden.   Wasn't out there long before couple of  neighbours  popped over for a chat....


Blanche (I made that up) seemed very interested but I don't know if it was my stitching or Tiggy doing her yoga routine that fascinated her....


I haven't a clue what this position is..... have you?

All in all I had a good time.....


The June blocks for Natures Journey SAL are finally under way.   I haven't had much time for sewing/stitching since I got back from the cottage so it was lovely to spend some quality time with one of my most favorite projects again.      

Thanks for hosting FNSI again Wendy....  you made my day!   Love your new website by the way!!   

Well... TV time with Mac is almost upon me again so I'd better grab a bite to eat before I head into the Bat Cave with my stitching.

Roll on tomorrow... I'm taking time off from garden/building duties to spend a whole day blog visiting..... see you soon then  :o)

Hugs....
Josie  xxx

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Tempus fugit......

Time really does fly doesn't it.    I swear I blinked and missed most of May and half of June.  I have been super busy but when I look back it's hard to see what kept me so busy that I couldn't find time to spend in blogland.  

I did have a mini break at the beginning of June.   The girls (Chris, Sally and Kitty) and I travelled to our favourite cottage for a week of hyper sewing or just plain hanging out depending on the mood of the day.
   
Day one and here's my little workstation all set up and ready for action.....


Three days of snail sewing later I had this.......


A finished quilt top!!    It's ages since I had one of those.  No one can accuse me of being prolific!     The pattern is Sweet Pea from The Pattern Basket.... it's a really nice one to piece.  No hassle... which is exactly what I needed.

Chris occupies the work space to my right (we are creatures of habit).   Day one and she continued working on a gorgeous Dresden quilt she's been busy with.


We crossed the finish line together......
.

impressive eh!    Chris is gifting this quilt and I reckon the recipient is going to be thrilled to bits with it.    Problem is.... her DH loves the quilt too so guess who's going to make another one.

To the right of Chris is Sally's space.   Day one she was getting down to the serious business of making her first wall quilt....


some piecing and some beautiful applique later here it is.....


Don't you just love it.   The pattern is  Prairie Spring from Cornbread and Beans Quilting.  I have a vested interest in this project... Sal borrowed my pattern.   Does that make me part owner?   Maybe she'll let me put it on my wall for half of the year.   Maybe I just better make my own.

To the left of me is Kitty's space.   Day one and she's starting the week with a four patch set on point with sashing and cobblestones.   Believe me there were a lot of patches to be stitched for this one.   Fortunately Kitty is the machine sewing equivalent of Michael Schumacher ...... she is fast!

 

Didn't take her long to finish her first project....


Reckon the 5 stars on the gate refer to her quilt as well as the cottage!

Flushed with success we all worked on a second project.   This is how mine arrived at the cottage nicely organised and packed ready to sew.


This is how it looked just as we began packing for home......


It isn't finished.    The girls helped me lay out the blocks till we were all happy with the arrangement then stack them in rows ready to stitch.   Well.... hold onto your hats.... this is how that top looks today......


I unpicked it!   Brave or plain stupid eh?    I just didn't like it.   I love the fabric (Flora by Lauren and Jessie Jung)  I love the pattern too.   I've just fallen out of love with the combination.   Not to worry.... Flora will find a home in a new quilt.... a scrap quilt... and I'll have the pleasure of sewing it all over again.   Being a process person does have it's advantages.

That's it for the quilty stuff.     I can't show photos of the girls second projects because in the rush to pack at the end of the week I forgot to take some.... duh!

Actually it's not quite the end of the quilty news.   I'm still sewing away on Natures Journey.  My May blocks are all done and dusted .....


and I'm about to make a start on June.    I'm still loving this one but have to admit that wasn't what I was saying when I was making those strange flowers.

Things have been very busy on the home front.   Any sniff of fine weather has us outside trying to catch up with all the chores outdoors.   Take a look at the courtyard....


Looks like Mac is building an aeroplane out there doesn't it.   It's actually a fancy new metal shed to replace two old, battered wooden ones.    I thought it would be a good idea to dismantle them (Mac wants to keep the wood panels) in situ but he had other ideas.   He wanted to try out his new  ratchet winch.  He roped a shed to the winch and the winch to a convenient tree and began the move.  Problem!   He'd used his old climbing rope which is stretchy.   I stood waiting for the huge "twang" that would hurl the shed into orbit along with Mac still hanging on to his winch.  

Three days later..... the sheds have moved 3 feet and boy have they suffered in the process.  Believe me they weren't this dilapidated before Mac had his bright idea!


Right now I'm working on the foundation for the new shed base.   Got my Bob the Builder hat on again.   Love must be  in the air..... Mac bought me a mini cement mixer!   It's banana yellow and very girly.   Who's a lucky duck then.

These poor plants are not so lucky.   I'm still working on clearing and laying bark and membrane on the long flower bed.   The previous sunny spell we had was short lived.  The rain returned and work on the border came to a halt right after I'd bought these plants.   They are all dressed up with nowhere to go at the moment.    I'd better get a wiggle on with the shed base and get back to the flower bed before they croak!       


One of the reasons I've not been around for so long is that I attempted  to stop taking the Anti Mac and Anti Mum pills.... with the Dr's permission of course.   Turned out to be a big mistake.   Seems I need to be drugged up to cope with them both.

I was just about holding my own till the day my mum took delivery of an Electric Wheelchair. Great... now we can go for walks.  Well..... we made it to the supermarket on a wing and a prayer.  I had cause to remember that when my mum drove a car she was a speed queen!     Problems started when we left a home store in the town.   First off I had to persuade her it was not a good idea to power the chair up the middle of the car park access road.   I finally won the argument and guided her to a long pedestrian ramp up to the pavement.  Success.

At the top of the ramp a group of people were standing talking alongside a very large (4 foot tall) rubbish bin.   I reached the top first and turned back to see mum powering up the ramp towards them at full tilt.   They managed to jump out of the way just as mum careered into the waste bin!  She wasn't hurt.... the bin was empty.   To say those folks were gobsmacked was an understatement.     Mum simply smiled and told them it was her first time out with the chair.   By the look on their faces they thought it should be her last too

Apologies complete we carried on towards home.    Without warning mum took off like a bat out of hell.   I chased after her yelling....  "Take your hand off that knob"!    She took not a bit of notice.   An elderly couple walking  towards us stopped and watched in horror as mum found more speed. Her wild ride came to a sudden stop when she steered into some poor guys garden fence.  It was a miracle she wasn't thrown over it into his flower bed.   As I was running to see if mum was alright the old guy yelled at me.... YOU WANT TO GET THAT WOMANS LEGS COVERED UP!!!    OMG.... what had he seen!

Mum was totally fine.... totally unrepentant and chastised me for fussing.

I'm back on the pills.

That's about it from me for now.    Hopefully I'll be around much more from here on in.  I'm looking forward to catching up with all your antics.

Hope you are all enjoying the season Summer or Winter
See you soon.....

Hugs
Josie xx

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Freaking out at FNWF!


Just look at this then tell me you wouldn't have been freaking out.....


Your eyes aren't deceiving you... there really are holes where there should be petals.   Before you get the idea I was trying another new applique technique.... I wasn't.    I didn't cut holes in the fabric for the challenge of sewing petals over them (even I'm not that stupid).   Truthfully... I made a real pigs breakfast earlier when I appliqued the flower petals.     With or without my glasses I could tell they were a mess so where did I get the idea that trimming out the background fabric would miraculously fix the problem.   Did I just  tell you I'm not stupid!

So.... first job on Friday evening was to applique more petals around those holes.   I swear I didn't breathe out till I'd finished.

I had a better time later when I attached this paper pieced star to it's block... very relaxing.  Especially with a nice glass of Californian Red... hic!


Finally I can unveil all of my completed April Blocks.  See that 'fixed' flower (top left) that's the one I'm most proud of.....


Strewth.... just realised my cherries are upside down!

Here are the small blocks.....


Not sure about those little bugs that look like crosses but I'm not tempting fate by unpicking them.  You guessed... I slashed the back on those too.   Scissor happy or what!

Hope you had a less problematical FNWF than I did.     

Thank you Cheryll for hosting another successful sew in.   See you again soon.

I finally got some photos of my last batch of Stonefields blocks.....







I seem to be having a 'brown' phase.  Didn't realise till I put the blocks together.  So much for random!   Still not good photos.... my camera just doesn't seem to like them at all.

That's the end of the sewing news.

On the home front I've taken advantage of every tiny bit of good weather to make progress in the garden.    This year I'm determined to stop the field from invading the flowerbed for good.   Here's the problem......


and here's how I'm dealing with it......


digging out the grass then setting too with a hand axe to remove the rocks (ready for new plants) then laying weed membrane and bark.   6 feet done.... 80 more to go!

The black contraption is Macs method for forcing his rhubarb! The girls and I had some of the first pick last week with ice cream.... scrumptiou.

Tiggy thought laying out the membrane was great fun.....


she decided burrowing underneath then scrunching it up was much more satisfying than laying it flat.

I asked Maisie if she'd like to step in and show Tiggs the ropes but I got short shrift.....

Talk to the paw!

She'll be purring a different tune when the bag of Dreamies comes out.   Funny how her colour changes from day to day.   She never seems to look like the same cat twice.... no wonder we call her Mystical Maisie.

Well... that's about it from me for now.     It's going to rain for the next few days.... perfect opportunity to catch up with my blog reading.   Am I the only one who finds it hard to keep up at times?  

Time for bed I think.....

Have a lovely week ......
Hugs
Josie  xx

Monday, 20 April 2015

What happened to FNSI ?

 I fell asleep.... that's what!  I was so looking forward to a cosy evening in front of the wood stove stitching along with all my FNSI friends too.   Rats!

I did manage to focus my one good eye long enough to choose this little stitchery kit to work on....


The perfect choice given my tenuous hold on consciousness .... a kit.   It had everything.   Fabric, threads, wadding and even a needle.  All I had to do was open the packet and stitch.   That's not quite true.  I did have to trace the design onto the fabric...


You can just about see the design there.  I ditched my Pigma pen in favour of a fabric pencil to do the tracing.  Felt it was a bit safer to use something I could correct if my wandering eye strayed off the lines.

I settled down in my recliner to stitch....  so warm... so cosy.... so sleepy!

Much later... when I came too I stitched...... during TV time in the workshop with Mac.  No mean feat given it's dark in there....


seems that wonky trees are my new speciality!

Since I last posted I did finish the three Stonefields blocks I was working on.   I've taken hundreds (!) of photos of them and still can't get a decent one to show you.    I'll try again.... you will get to see them... whether you want to or not.

I have a new pattern to love.....

 up

from the Temecular Quilt Company in California.    As the finished quilt is 40" x 40" I figure it'll be a nice one to work on as a little light relief when the 'biggies' are decimating my brain cells.   I have another pattern combo on the way from this company too.... more minis to relax with.

Now... a little news on my Natures Journey project.    No sewing on the April blocks yet I'm afraid.   My block of the month for April arrived just yesterday.   No worries.   There are still 13 days to stitch before the wrath of Chookyblue  is unleashed..... gulp!   I am not afraid... I'm not... honest!

That's it for the stitching news. I hope you all you girls that joined in the stitch-a-long  managed to do better than I did on Friday.   If you don't know what FNSI is go  HERE to find out what it's all about and to find links to everyone who joined in.    Who knows... you might be tempted to sign up next month.

Now. Do you know what this is.....


It looks so exotic it's hard to believe it's humble Rhubarb!   Weird how that leaf  looks like a brain isn't it.   Maybe one day thinking Rhubarb will rule the world.   It might just make a better job of it than politicians too.     One day they really will take me away......... ho hum

It's that time of the year when the weather has improved enough for me to start clearing up the winter mess in the garden.    I started by clearing the veggie bed and tidying the flower bed by the greenhouse then power washing all the paths......


Can't clean the greenhouse itself because.... it's about to collapse!     Mac needs to decide whether he wants a replacement greenhouse or a couple of poly tunnels.   It could take a while for him to get around to thinking about it.... put it this way... I'm not holding my breath.     At least it has somewhere tidy to fall onto.

I carried on power washing the conservatory and the patios until rain stopped play for a couple of days.   Last Monday was fair.... cold and windy but dry.   An opportunity to power wash the very last dirty patio of spring.    By the time I'd set up the hose and the power washer I was frozen.   Not to be daunted I put on a second fleece and pinched borrowed Macs Peruvian hat complete with tassels.   Not a good look on me it has to be said.

Three hours later I was done.... done in!  Frozen to the bone, soaking wet, stiff as a post but still standing.   Impressive eh!   Did you know that fat freezes fast and hard?  Well it does.  It's been a week since I cleaned that patio and I can still feel the permafrost in my bum.  

Now... they say every picture tells a story.   Miss Maisie guarding what she sees as her personal supply of cat biscuits.  Note... she's already been busy opening the pack.....


Along comes Mimi.     Honestly.... does she look like a biscuit thief to you?  Seems Maisie isn't prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt......


A preemptive bop on the bonce will show her who's in charge of the biscuit bag....    


Poor Mimi.... she didn't see it coming.    Happy to say the only thing hurt was her pride.  Cats... don't you just love them.

I really must go to bed now.  It's way past my bedtime.    It remains to be said that if you sewed along on Friday I will be popping by to see what you got up too.  Might take me a few days to get around you all but I will.  

Thanks Wendy for another lovely sew in.   I'm already looking forward to the next one...:o)

OK... it's up the golden staircase for me....

Hope you all have a great week
See ya soon..
Hugs
Josie xxx

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Friday Stitching with Friends...

Another lovely FNWF was had by me..... how about you.   Did you join in?

Last night I felt the urge to stitch.... back stitch.   Recently I joined Jenny at Elefantz Stitchery Club....
what's not to love about a surprise bundle of stitcheries arriving in your inbox every month.   March patterns are a gorgeous Alphabet Sampler which I really.. really want to stitch. 

Don't know if you've realised but I'm a real information junkie.  If I see a tutorial I just have to try it. Of course I had to try Jennys stitching method... well her stitching is fabulous so why wouldn't I.  So Friday night I traced and started work on this.... stitching 'a la Jenny'.....


I ditched my hoop and stitched rather than stabbed.   Popped a cushion under my hands as recommended and boy did it make a difference.    Just goes to show it's never to late to teach an old dog new tricks!


Wish I could have made more progress but I'm stuck with another bout of Blepharitis... in both eyes this time.   It's testing my patience for sure.   So... if you see any wobbly bits cut me some slack ;)

So... that was the sum total of my FNWF.   Not a lot!  I hope you all managed to do better.

Thanks Cheryll for hosting another lovely stitch in.    Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Now for a general update......

I finally finished this Stonefields block.....


and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Realised I'd posted my completed Natures Journey blocks to the SAL blog and hadn't blogged about them here.   So.... without further ado... here are my March blocks....

Little ones.....
and big ones....





No accidents with this batch....  kept the Bourbon in the bottle this time.   I'm getting really antsy waiting for the next months blocks to arrive.   I know I've got lots of other lovely things to work on but I'm a bit obsessed with NJ at the moment.     

I have started work on another batch (3) of Stonefields blocks and hope to have them finished quite soon.... blurry eyes permitting.

That's it for the sewing news.  

On the 'log' front.... Mac is still pretending he's a lumberjack....


That's not ear defenders on his head it's earphones.    He couldn't possibly venture 50 yards from his workshop without  radio contact with his TV!    He's sawing along to one of his favourite programmes .... Alaska the Last Frontier!

Have to tell you about that cardigan/jacket he's wearing.   Early in our relationship I knitted him a lovely Aran cardigan.. It was perfect (if I say so myself).  It fitted him like a glove and he loved it.
Then one day while we were out and about with our caravans (we had one each) he decided to wash his 100%  wool lovingly hand knit cardi in the industrial washing machine on the caravan site.

Now.... Mac is blind to every setting on a washing machine except one.... hot!!   He loves to kill bacteria... mostly imaginary but still satisfying.   Not content with that he popped it into the tumble dryer on full heat... he likes that setting too.    All in all... a smart, well fitted cardigan went into the wash and a knee length XXXXXL coat with a collar that would fit a bull elephant came out.  Don't ask me how.  I'd expected he'd end up with a garment that would fit his teddy bear (!)

OK... I'm a forgiving soul and I did eventually regain the power of speech.   But what rankles to this day is that he tells everyone I knitted it like that!!!    I swear... one day........

Well.... I'd better get going.   I've got things to do not least of which is visiting other FNWF'ers who stitched along this month.

I know just what will happen.... I'll get sidetracked on their blogs and end up lost in cyber space for hours.   Better get a cup of tea and a biscuit before I start.   It doesn't pay to start a journey on an empty stomach....;)

Bye then....
See ya soon
Hugs
Josie   xxx

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Home Sweet Home.....

First off last Friday evening was FNSI (click to see who joined in and what they got up to) and it couldn't have been a more fabulous sew in.

 I had a great time finishing work on the centre block of  In My Garden.........


It was lovely to finally join together the various sections of the block and stitch down that overlapping blossom.....


 I'm officially more than half way through the project and here's a photo to prove it.....


Yippee!!     Block 5 here I come!  

Kitty arrived Friday lunchtime to stay the weekend so I roped her in to FNSI too.   We got down to business early afternoon.     Kitty worked on the block of the month she started on retreat.....


She appliqued all those penny rug thingies then worked hard on some of the stitcheries.   There's a lot of embroidery on this project.   Think I mentioned I have it sitting in my 'to do' heap.    I did take more photo's but the darn camera just wasn't co operating.... they were awful.   Sorry Kitty... I'll do better next time.

Once I finished my house block I prepared all.... that's right I said ALL.... of the applique ready to stitch Month 2 of Natures Journey.   Spent a good bit of the weekend blanket stitching and sewing some of the applique ..


I'm really happy with progress.    Love that pear!

Maybe I'll stitch this one in the Bat Cave tonight......


Or maybe I'll work on my latest Stonefields block ....


I have a question!   When you applique do you have one favourite method that you stick too regardless or do you mix and match techniques?     For the large star above I'm using back basted needleturn.   The small star I've used Floriani stabiliser and glue basted the edges.  You might think I'm mad but I'll remove the Floriani when I've finished stitching!  The two circles have been prepared using templates... gathering stitches and Best Press.   So... there are three techniques in this one block.

Just wondering if I'm totally crackers or if any of you girls like a bit of variety when you are enjoying an applique session .  

OK.... I finally bucked up the courage to stitch down the last star on the 'hexed' block.....


Success!!   I've never been more relieved in all my born days.

Well... that's it for the sewing for now but before I go Mac insisted I show you his logs!  Honestly he's like a dog with two tails he has so many logs.... split ones now at that!

Here's the regular log store...


Couldn't squeeze any more in there.  So he created an over spill store.....


which is getting a bit to high for my liking.   I've only got short little legs and that heap is about as high as the garage/workshop door.  I'll need ladders to get firewood!

I feel like I'm living in Sawdust City......


Mac has a cunning plan to get rid of the sawdust though.....


He discovered there are Guinea Pigs in Sally's #1 sons family so he's bagged the sawdust for her to take home.  In net bags!!!       Sally doesn't know this yet (unless she's reading this) so she's in for a surprise tomorrow.    Hate to think of all the cussing that will accompany the cleaning out of the car,,,, there'll be sawdust from now till Christmas.     Hang on.... they are coming in Chris's car... oh heck!

Notice more logs above?       I still have to collect more tree parts from around the garden too.  Even Mac hasn't a clue where we are going to store the next lot..... I wouldn't be surprised if he suggests hoarding them under the beds!

Well.... it's time to get something to eat before TV time is upon me once again.   Hope all you girls who joined in FNSI had as great a time as I did.  

Thanks Wendy for hosting...... luv ya for it!  :o)

It might take me a few days but I will be visiting each and every one who took part on Friday so get the kettle on girls.... a bit of cake would be nice too  :o))

See ya soon
Hugs
Josie