Saturday, 22 November 2014

Hooray for Friday Night Sew in.....

It got me sewing again!      It might not look like much but you've no idea how happy it made me to pick up an needle again.

Remember this.......


I prepared the leaves for applique back when we were on retreat.... last night I finally stitched them down.   Not only that but I made another block just like it... from scratch....


You wouldn't believe how long it took me to choose the fabrics for this one.    I wanted to make blue leaves but couldn't come up with a fabric combo I liked.   Gave up on the blue and decided to look for yellow fabric instead.  Do you know why I would have stored some blue fabric in a box of yellow?   Not a clue why I put it there but I'm pleased I found it.   Can't say I'm overly happy with the very pale fabric leaf.... looks OK in 'real' life but a bit peely-wally  (that's pale and sickly looking) in the photograph.

So... that's two more Stonefields blocks done and dusted.

And there's more......


I prepared another project for sewing while I watch the Grand Prix on Sunday.  There's some faint
clues on the fabric.... it's the wrong side.   Can you tell what I'm going to be making?

That's if for FNSI.... doesn't look like much but I'm thrilled to bits to be back in the saddle  I'll be popping by all you other FNSI'ers to see what you've been up to tomorrow.... after I've painted my bedroom ceiling!   I'm trying to get a head start on my 'Spring' cleaning!

Now... here's something I made weeks ago too.....


my first attempt at a hand pieced Sweet William block and the first one that won't be making it into the quilt.    The size worked out fine thanks to a 'tip off' from Marina I was ultra careful when I stitched.  Pity I didn't get a tip about making sure there was enough contrast in fabrics!    Where were my glasses when I choose those fabrics!   Not content with one mistake I made another.... I pressed the block and what a pigs breakfast I made of it.   There are seams going every which way on the back.  Every which way but the right way!   Back to the drawing board for me!

Any tips... tricks or brilliant ideas for keeping William sweet will be gratefully received.

Heck I'd better go.   I need plenty of sleep tonight if I'm going to paint that ceiling in the morning.

I'll leave you with the reason I didn't get to post about FNSI last night....



Could you have moved her to type?    Bet you couldn't.    How about that for cute!

OK... I'm off.     See you tomorrow... if I haven't painted myself into a corner....

Hugs
Josie  xxx

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Winter drawers on!

It's that time again.   Time to dig out the thermals, fire up the wood stove and snuggle down to hibernate till spring.    I'm kidding about hibernating by the way but judging by the time it's taken me to get around to writing  this post I wouldn't blame you for thinking I was already deep in the land of Nod!  

So... what's been going on since the last time I posted.    Chris, Sally, Kitty and me did go to the cottage.   Did plan a whole week of sewing...food... wine and plenty of laughter but this time it didn't work out that way.

I did get some of those dastardly triangles stitched together.   To say they drove me nuts is an understatement.....




My back was killing me..... after effects of the cutting marathon before we left.  Have to tell you it's hard to sew a straight line when you only have one buttock on your chair and the other one is dangling in mid air.    Did more pain pill popping than anything else.

Sally was productive....



She pieced the corner 'dolly' blocks for her most recent quilt.   Yes... all those triangles round the edges are to have heads and arms appliqued to them.    The colours are gorgeous... shame my photography doesn't do it justice.    I know we are going to have a big problem with Sally when the heads go on..... she has a 'thing' about faces without eyes.  Can you imagine how spooky it'll look with 44 pairs of eyes watching your every move.... especially in the bedroom!   Can't see her hubby being very happy about that.   

How about this......


can you believe this is her very first tote bag!      Sal did a great job.  Love the fabrics don't you. Love that view out of the window too..... (sigh).    Not content with just one bag she made another... fit for a little princess.    


Kitty got to grips with a BOM.......



Is it still a block of the 'month' if you are sewing all the blocks at once?    Whatever!   It's gorgeous and I'm happy to say I have the very same BOM waiting to reach the top of my 'to do' list.   Might be a long wait.....


Kitty did a whole lot of piecing and applique.   There's quite a lot of stitching do do on this little quilt too... it's a really pretty project.     You can see the pattern here at the Bobbin Patch.

I thought I might have more success ditching the triangles..... changing chairs and trying a spot of applique.....



this is it..... talk about a feeble effort.

I did eventually finish piecing all 98 of the central section of each quilt block.... 4 triangles around each centre square.   Only one block got it's outer triangles attached... but it's looking good




Well... that's it for the sewing news.

Now.... I imagine you are wondering why I haven't mentioned Chris and what she was working on.   Chris did come with us on Saturday and between then and Monday lunchtime she enjoyed working on a pair of cot quilts ready for the arrival of her first grandchildren.   I'll tell you a little of what happened next....

Chris had to leave after a receiving a phone call to say her DIL was on her way to hospital.  We all thought the twins were arriving earlier than expected.   How wrong could we be.    Her DIL was actually en route to the specialist Cardiac Unit in Glasgow in a police escorted ambulance.  Later in the evening we spoke briefly to Chris who told us that the situation was critical and that her DIL had suffered heart failure and faced surgery early Tuesday morning to both deliver the babies and operate on her heart.    The prognosis was not good... for any of them!

The operation was successful ..... thank goodness.....both mum and babies survived.    Mum remained in Intensive Care in the Cardiac Unit attached to an external heart pump while the babies were transferred to a Neo Natal Unit in a nearby hospital.    It was hoped that the pump would allow her heart to rest, recover and resume beating regularly on it's own.  It didn't and within 72 hours she was placed at the top of the Heart Transplant List.

After weeks of uncertainty there is good news......Mum has a new heart and is home with her husband and babies.... a boy and a girl.  It's so hard to comprehend that a healthy, energetic, vibrant young woman on the verge of becoming a mum for the first time could suffer heart failure.    The cause..... an undetected heart defect she was born with.    It's more common that you would like to believe so... please consider taking a moment to sign up to the Organ Donor Register or become a blood donor.  

Without the amazing generosity of the donor family one young mum would not be at home today to enjoy her little family.

Hope all your families are healthy and safe tonight.....

Big Hugs
Josie  xxxxx

p.s.    I'll be back very soon to fill you in on what's been going on around here while I've been absent minded.
:o)

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sew looking forward.....

To tomorrow!    I'll tell you why in a bit.   After I've brought you up to speed with the happenings here.  

You'd think after being absent for a month I'd have loads of sewing/stitching/quilting to show you but (sorry to disappoint) .... I don't.     I haven't totally neglected my projects but I've come darned close to it.    

First off......


I started hand piecing (!) the first official blocks of Stonefields.   It looks like very paltry progress but since I took that photo I've finished the pink star... made a green one and am almost finished a brown and white one.   Only had to make 4 so I've got the first blocks in the bag.

Really need to get my hand piecing act together soon... I'm still a bit cack handed which goes to show I need more practise.    Hummm... I really do need to speed up since I  bullied persuaded Marina to order  Sweet William and promised to stitch along with her.    Hi Marina!!  (waving and grinning).... I haven't forgotten... honest!  :o)

Began building works.....


on the centre block of In My Garden.      I love this block!    The colours are so soft and delicate... it's got to be my favourite block so far.



Don't get to thinking it's all been appliqued because it  hasn't!    I just laid it all out to check I'd prepped all of the pieces.   It's been dismantled and is waiting patiently for me to get my act together and start stitching.

This last few days I've spent every available spare moment cutting fabric.....



and as you can see... I had help.   Notice anything different in this photo?    Honestly... if I never had to cut another triangle in this lifetime it would be too soon....


These are just the tip of a very large iceberg!   My back is breaking from all the slicing and dicing.. but it had to be done.... I'll tell you why later.

Now... I have some sad news.    Mac's Bonsai is officially dead......



Well... we all know it's been dead for some time but finally Mac has accepted that fact.   Have to say the little branch tree didn't collapse on it's own....


Good fun... this tree felling malarkey.    Did you spot this little girl in the photo with Maisie above?   You did... well done!  :o)   She's not the only new arrival around here......



she has a sister.     They are a couple of real cuties with the loudest purrs you ever heard.    They do everything together.   Eat together.....


but they are more than happy to share with their big sister too....



Maisie is a real star!   She's taken to the big sister role like a duck to water.  So... we are now officially a three cat family.   Surprise!!     Now I haven't mentioned their names because we are having a bit of an issue choosing them.    Mac refers to the little ginger girl as 'Ginger Bread' and her little ginger and white sister as 'Apache'.... where the heck did that come from!    It'll take at least a dozen experts to figure out how that mans mind works... I haven't a clue!    He won't call Maisie by her name (the one she arrived with) he refers to her as Flea Bait... Flea for short.  Actually I think she likes it.... but then.... she's a real daddies girl.     I'll let you know what we decide on as soon as we do.... if I've not been incarcerated for murder before then.

So... what have I been doing with my time.    Gardening (if that's what you call outdoor demolition).   Since I'm dieting (I've lost 14 lbs so far that's 6.35 kg to those of you who are metricated)  I decided that the exertion of reclaiming the 'secret garden' would potentially burn up thousands more calories than I could eat on any given dieting day.

So far...


I've located and dug out the 18 steps down from the top of the garden  (known as Hill 69 ) into the secret garden.   Cleared the embankments too.   Did some tree felling to let in more light....



Hit a brick wall of brambles!   It's hard to tell from the photo but they are almost as tall as I am.  I haven't a clue how far back they go but I do know it's going to take a while to cut my way through.


Thinned out branches and cleared the path of the stream......


 hard work but.... I love it!  

Well... that's it for the update.

Now... the reason I've been cutting triangles till I needed a back brace is.... I'm going on retreat tomorrow!!   Yippee!!

The girls and I are headed back down to our favourite cottage on the Mull of Galloway....


for a whole week... yes... 7 days of fun, frolics and a lots of sewing.    Hence the triangle prep.  Can't tell you how ready I am for this.   I'm taking the laptop and I'm so looking forward to a spot of blog visiting and catching up.    Feels like forever since I had the time or the energy to do that.

Mac is going to be 'home alone' this time.   Not ideal but as he and my mum don't exactly hit it off these days it's the only option.   I need a break!!     Mum is OK staying at her own place but I don't know how Mac is going fare taking care of 3 kittens without the aid of a resident skivvy.  Something tells me they are going to run rings around him...:o)

So.... I'm following this little Swallow chick... and heading out of here first thing in the morning....


Wish I could take you all with me.... think of all the fun we'd have......:o))

Hope you all have a great week......
See ya soon....  
Take care
Hugs
Josie  xx

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Precious Little Progress.....

but a little progress is better than none at all.... right?    I'm not convinced.

I do have one finish to show you....   ta da!


 I finished the bedroom stool makeover.    It took umpteen coats of paint to cover that horrible orange pine but I'm pleased with the end result.   And very pleased that I had enough bits of Tilda to cobble together enough fabric to re-cover the seat.  Finally.... a finished project from stash.... yippee for me!

Hang on.... I just spotted another finish in this next photo.....


almost forgot I'd finished the re-vamp of the antique junk shop mirror.   I'm very pleased with that too.   The intention is to fix it to the wall above the dado rail... right next to the plug socket but I have to say I do like it just leaning against the wall like that too.   Decisions...decisions.     At least I have somewhere comfy to sit and dry my hair in the mornings.  

This is my bedroom to decorate as I please.   Yes.... Mac and I sleep in separate rooms!    Don't worry we're not estranged we are just not compatible during the hours of darkness.  It's all a matter of heat..... Mac loves it... I hate it.    Right now he's sleeping under two 13.5 tog duvets and a quilted throw ... in summer!     His tog requirement increases in winter too.   I mean... would you sleep with him?    That's a rhetorical question by the way not an invitation.    I on the other hand am known for sleeping in the buff in sub zero temperatures with the windows open and without a blanket, duvet or throw.   Don't try to visualise that... it'll put you off your tea!   Wonder if any of my decedents were Inuit......

There's this too.....

 
the 4th block of In My Garden all done and dusted.   I haven't started on block 5 yet.... maybe tomorrow.
Not a lot of progress considering I've been AWOL for three weeks.  

Right now I'm sorely tempted to start work on either Sweet William or Stonefields.   I know... I'm totally devoid of common sense.... there is no hope.


They are BIG projects and I'm handicapped in that I've never hand pieced before yesterday when I thought I''d better see if I could do it......


I was all fingers and thumbs when I started but by the time I'd finished the block I was in the groove... stitching a little bit faster.    This is how the back looks....


I haven't a clue whether I've done it right or if this is how it should look (I haven't pressed it).  If you hand piece and have any hints or tips I'd be really glad if you'd share.    Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed stitching it together... felt very connected to quilters of past times and very respectful of them too.  How they worked without electric light beats me.

That's all for sewing stuff I'm afraid.    Everything else I've been up to while I've been missing involved getting very dirty and very stiff and sore.     Gardening of course but also helping Mac put a new roof on one of the outbuildings.    It's a good job there is no one close enough to have seen me up on the roof sweeping it at 6:30 in the morning then slathering on tar for all I was worth in an attempt  to beat the rain clouds looming on the horizon.   I did it!!   Sorry there are no photos to prove it... Mac was tucked up under 27 togs sound asleep and Maisie can't work the camera (no opposable thumbs).

Chris, Sally and I did go on our annual pilgrimage to the Quilt Festival in Birmingham.   We had a great three days away.   Mum came to look after Mac.... Mac thought that he was looking after Mum and in truth it was Maisie that was looking after both of them!   She's got more common sense than the other two put together.
Anyway.... I'll tell you more about that in another post.   No photos I'm afraid... I forgot to take the camera! Duh!!

OK... I'd better go and find something to eat.   I'm on a diet (again).   Is it just me or when you diet can you think of anything other than food?   I've joined an online slimming club this time... no escape from the weekly 'weigh in' now I have to log it on the their web site.    Keep your fingers crossed for me.....

I'm off......  see you again soon.   The weather is breaking here so less opportunity to work outdoors... must finish weeding the drive though... rain or shine... have to lay 20 tons of gravel on it before Winter sets in.  At least the exercise should help the weight loss campaign.... unless I build muscles like Schwarzenegger... then I really could join the circus.

Have a great week everybody.....
Stay safe
Hugs
Josie   xxx

 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

I didn't forget FNSI........

I was there sewing along with you all and feeling very content.   Made some progress albeit not very much but I did have an relaxing evening in good company and that's what counts.

No prizes for guessing what I was working on... you've been seeing a lot of it lately and I've become very attached to it.....


for the umpteenth time on Friday I appliqued my finger to the block.  It gets painful after a while.  Had to take the thread out of the needle to unpick this stitch... it was one of my better ones.    I might have been slow... I might have been inept but I did come very close to finishing the last piece of Block 4.....


I need to trim off fabric on the left side and add a pieced strip before I can applique the berries (big aren't they) onto the remaining branches... they overlap the border.    Maybe tomorrow......

That's all for the evening stitching but I was busy earlier in the day.    I'd just completed a coat of paint on the mirror frame when I got my beady eye on this.....


It didn't look  like this when I brought it downstairs... I've already been working on getting the really boring upholstery fabric off the seat.   Here's stripped back stool waiting it's turn to be painted.....


Handy little things those microwave pudding containers... they're perfect for 'jacking up' the frame while I paint.    I still haven't decided how I want the seat cover to look.    A fancy pieced block design?  Plain and simple patchwork squares?  Single fabric?     Any ideas?    The legs will be painted with Laura Ashley Ivory eggshell.... like the mirror frame.  At least two things will match up!    

I'm a bit challenged in the 'style' department.   I can't decide on the look I want for any room in this house.   One day it's going to be Shabby Chic the next Country.  Perhaps Primative or maybe America Folk Art... I know this is Scotland but I like the style!     The problem is I like everything and as the house is a muddle of everything I guess my current style is eclectic... posh name for a mess eh!    Any tips on styling a room would be gratefully received...... :o)

Before I go.... I meant to show you this photo a while back.   Foxes investigating the field behind the house.   Parent and child out of a sniff about......


and there's more.....


the other parent and two more cubs checking out the boundaries.       Poor Maisie found herself kept indoors for a while.... she wasn't happy but she was safe.    The fox den is at the very end of the secret garden. There's entries into a badger set up there too.  Don't see many badgers out in daylight though.   Anyway... the fox family have moved on and Maisie has her territory to herself again... happy days.

I'd better go now.    Bedtime is getting closer by the minute and I have things to do... I need to do a bit of blog visiting for sure.    I'm running a bit late this sew in.  There is a good reason for that which I can't show you until I figure out how to get photos from my very basic mobile phone onto this laptop.  Rest assured.. in the next day or two.. I'll be visiting you all you lovely girls who kept my company on Friday evening ... so watch out. :o)   See you soon....

Thanks again  Wendy for hosting another lovely sew in.   Roll on the next one.....

OK... hope you are all healthy... happy and ready to tackle the week ahead.  
Have fun
Hugs
Josie   xxxxx

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sew neglected.......

 Thought I'd start off by showing you a photo of a corner of my sewing room that I love


before I show you the 'working' end of the room which hasn't seen much in the way of action this past week.


Before Chris gets in a snit with me I'd better tell you she came over on Monday and she was busy.  Me... I was useless.   My Sloth genes kicked in again on Saturday making it almost impossible to remain conscious for more than two minutes at a time.    At one point I couldn't even form a sentence and according to Chris was talking in a language that made gobbledygook sound intelligent!    Hey ho....

Now.... the more observant of you might have noticed the absence of the very large bag of bark mulch that was blocking the view from the sewing room window.    I moved it......


the entire bag is now spread over the newly weeded fruit bed.   I did get to play with fabric though... weed control fabric.   You just never know when your cutting and fitting skills will come in handy do you.   I finished the job on Saturday morning.... racing the rain!   I worked like a maniac to get the last wheelbarrow of bark laid just seconds before the heavens opened.   I ended up drenched with sweat,  perspiration or glow whatever you care to call it.  Hair sticking to my head and  face the colour of  an over ripe tomato.  Not attractive!

I did make a little progress on In My Garden......


four of the five applique blocks are finished.   Amazing how much can be done in stolen moments here and there.   Loved stitching that little row of plant pots and those bugs are so cute.  Mum thinks I'm nuts!

I cut some fabrics for Economy Blue.   Still having trouble with lights and darks.   There just doesn't seem to be enough contrast in the fabrics I've managed to collect.    Can't get my hands on enough Kaffe light blues. Maybe I'll get lucky and find some at the Quilt Festival in Birmingham...  ....

 

Then is was back to the land... again.      This photo might not look like much to you but believe me a lot of hard work went into clearing this piece of ground.   The picture doesn't show the real gradient of the slope to the right either.  

My first death defying feat was to lop as many of the lower branches off the three pine trees as I could.   A job which at one stage involved me hanging onto a branch stump with one hand... one foot on the slope the other leg wrapped around the trunk and my spare arm/hand wielding a saw trying to persuade the thickest of the branches to part company with the trunk.   All this without the aid of a harness or safety net.......   first person to call me stupid gets a black eye!  :o)


This steep hill (this is just the top.... it's a long way down to the bottom)  is at the back of the garden and leads down to the 'Secret Garden' which needs some serious clearing out to make it accessible again.  There are some concrete steps but I need to clear them before they are safe to use.   This is a job that's going to take a while.......

Now... bet you can't guess what this is a photo of....


it's a shot looking down into a drainage channel that runs round two sides of Mac's workshop.  It's about 14 inches wide and four and a half feet deep.   I'm showing you this because Mac fell into it last Tuesday.   That's why there's a bit of broken wood and some torn mesh (it keeps out leaves).   This goes to  prove that
there are downsides to being slim.... I'd never have managed to fall in there!

Still.... we did get to spend a 'night' out together courtesy of his nose dive.... in the A& E department of the regional hospital.   Mac injured a knee and foot (same leg) in the fall.   He was hoping for a plaster cast or at least some strapping and a brace but the X-rays showed no broken bones at all.   He left disgruntled at midnight with a bad sprain and some paracetamol!

The was a touch of Deja Vue about the evening.   When Mac asked me out on a first date he suggested we go out for a meal.   Lovely.   Well....imagine how stupid I felt dolled up to the nines eating fish and chips in a hospital canteen.   As a policeman he assured me his knowledge of  gourmet hospital eateries was beyond compare.    I should have known then ......

OK... today I put the first paint undercoat on this.....


the mirror I bought for £20 in the antique junk shop last year.    I've removed the mirror... it's on the floor... just in case you are thinking there is something strange about the photo.

I'm also stitching happily on this.....


I know it looks lop sided but trust me... it's all part of the plan.

Before I go I wanted to remind you that this Friday is FNSI..... amazing how quickly these sew in's come around isn't it.    You know what I'm going to say next don't you...... SIGN UP... it's fun!    What's not to like about a totally self indulgent evening doing what makes you happy.   I'm assuming that will be something to do with fabric or yarn....... if not... keep it to yourself! ;o)


Look for this button on my side bar.... click on it... then sign up.   Easy!  

OK... I'm going.   I've just taken a roast chicken out of the oven and Maisie is going bonkers trying to get her paws on it.    Better rescue dinner before she succeeds...

Have fun.... see you at the weekend
Hugs
Josie
xxx