Monday, 2 March 2015

I did it!


I finished month 1 of the Natures Journey SAL on time!

In fact.... I finished and posted to SAL with two whole days to spare!  I still haven't stopped grinning and happy dancing.  No chance of me experiencing the wrath of Chookyblue......yet!!   

Here are all the large blocks for Feb......


and here are all the small ones....


I decided not to date the quilt so I made a second square applique block instead.   What a rebel eh! 

If you happened to read my post over at SAL you'll know I was so flushed with success and giddy with delight that I announced I was thinking of making a second Natures Journey using fabrics from my stash.   When will I learn to keep my big mouth shut!   Chookyblue is nipping at my heels wanting to know when I'm going to start #2.

Shhhh.... don't tell her but I've decided that one is really enough.  There's too much stuff around here needing my attention for me to go for the double..... maybe one day.   

Made a bit of progress on Stonefields this week too..... 


I really love these blocks.   Much better than my first attempt.  Hope to do more this week.

Stealing the odd minute to work on this .....


A little progress is better than not at all.   Love that bird!

On the home front...... Mac is much better after his fall.   His bruises have reached the 'yellow' stage (definitely not his colour) so they should disappear soon.    A couple of nights ago... during TV time in the bat cave....   one of his front teeth just dropped out!  The one that's been protruding since the fall.    Mac simply picked up the tooth... examined it then put it on the table.... without a word spoken.    Is that super cool or seriously weird?   I'd have been having a dicky fit if that had happened to me.

Humph.... I'd just gotten used to living with Bugs Bunny too!  

Better go and throw some logs on the stove.... did I tell you I have logs... lots of logs!   Just as well... I don't want to risk little Mimi getting chilly....    



I'm off....
Hope you all have a really productive week.... whatever you are doing.   Just don't do anything stupid like tell folks you are going to make 2 of something......;o)

Hugs
Josie   xxx

Monday, 23 February 2015

Thank goodness for FNSI....

It was the perfect end to an imperfect week and boy did I enjoy myself.

Nothing went wrong on Friday.  Can you believe that.   I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming.  As it hurt I obviously wasn't.... still got the bruise to show for it though.   I wasted no time picking up my needle (Black Gold Applique #10)  just in case my luck ran out.    First off I appliqued these blocks......


and enjoyed every minute of it.   My favourite is the little star flower... actually that bubbly fabric makes it look just like a starfish...... don''t you think.


 After that I prepared the applique for the rest of the blocks that make up month 1 of Natures Journey.  I'll show you those when I stitch them....

Next I tried out something new.    Stitching is nothing new for me but using a larger hoop and a lap stand is.    I ordered the stand earlier in the week and couldn't wait to give it a test stitch....


Love it... well I did once I figured out how to use it.    Where did I get the idea that you anchor the stand under a buttock!   Obviously that doesn't work unless your preferred stitching position is to have the hoop in your armpit.    After a lot of experimentation I found my comfy position with the base under my left thigh (slid in from right to left) the stand protruding between my legs and the hoop turned to face me.   All I can say is it's a good job I don't wear skirts!

So... that's it for my FNSI sewing session.   I had a brilliant time..... hope everyone else who joined in did too.

Now for what has been going on in the garden.     A tree surgeon came by.....


and spent two days operating on some trees.   Some of his work was a bit radical to say the least.  I love trees and have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that some of them just outgrow their space.    

Still.... next winter will be a warm one.   This heap was once a 30 foot tree growing at a 45 degree angle alongside the road in here....   I carried it up to the house myself.   By rights I should have biceps like Popeye but the only muscle that I seem to be able to develop is my gluteus maximus! Life is just not fair.


We've got an awful lot of logs....


Don't blame the surgeon for this odd stump.... he was reluctantly following instructions from Mac who insisted the tree will grow again.   Only time will tell.

More logs.....   I won't bore you with more photos but there are lots more photos of lots more logs...


and huge heaps of wood chippings......


which I'm going to use to hold back the field grass that is still trying to take over what passes as a garden.  When it warms up a bit..... I'm getting soft in my old age  :o)

Last week wasn't without it's difficulties.    Mac had a nasty fall on Wednesday.  He's sporting an amazing black eye... bruised cheek... cut lip... and two front teeth that are now protruding at odd angles.  He's obviously in more pain than usual but will he visit the doctor or have the doctor visit him.... no way!     Same goes for the dentist.    This is going to sound awful but I wish he had knocked himself out.  At least then I could have called an ambulance and hope that once medical professionals got their hands on him he'd get the treatment he needs.   Better go and put my horsehair vest on for saying that.....

Well that's it for now.    I'm off to make myself tea and cake which I will enjoy while visiting my blogging buddies.  Wish I had enough to give you all a slice but there is only enough cake for little old me... sorry.   Think I've just figured out why my gluteus is so  maximus!! 

Have a great week.....
Hugs
Josie  xxxx

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

FNWF.... saved by the BOM

When I signed up for FNWF I had plans... BIG plans... for the most perfect, self indulgent sewing day you could ever imagine.   I was so confident of that I even commented about it when I signed up. 
Talk about tempting fate.

Friday morning was a dead loss and I was seriously worried that the whole day was going to go the same way when..... the postman arrived.....



with the first part of my new BOM.    I would have hugged him but he shot out of the gate like a scalded cat.......scaredy cat!     

Held my breath while I opened the package  Would you believe my hands were trembling with anticipation.....

 


it took me all of a second to fall in love with the contents.   Who wouldn't love them... they're gorgeous!   My face is aching from grinning every time I look at them. 

The day didn't go as planned but suddenly I was fine with that.   All the spare moments that came my way I spent happily blanket stitching circles while Tiggy  looked on....


We agreed that it was so nice to relax .....


just wish I could chill out as well as she can.

I finished stitching this too....


it's the latest free pattern from Hatched and Patched that's kicking off the 2015 SAL.  You might have noticed the button on my sidebar.   I'm chuffed to bits to be part of this stitch-a-long and determined to keep up with the rest of the girls.... no matter what.

Heck... I forgot to mention that the SAL project is the BOM that just arrived.  Honestly... if brains were dynamite I couldn't blow my  hat off!

Well... that was my FNWF... hope you had a good one.   I will be checking out what everyone else got up too.... better late than never eh!     Thanks again Cheryll for another fabulous Friday and thanks a million too for the lovely pressies my name came out of the hat for last month.   I love them all but have to admit I have a real soft spot for this cutie....


It has a special place dangling on my sewing machine right over the needle plate.... prettied up the Pfaff no end don't ya think   :o)

In case you're interested in why I've been an absentee blogger lately here's a clue....


First off....my laptop croaked!   When I switched it on it sounded like a demented squirrel chittering at me.   Kitty says that noise means the hard drive was 'stitching'.... how about that.  That's the term systems gurus use for the clicking noise that tells them the hard drive died... trust her she was married to one of those geeks.

I tried everything to revive it.  Even considered the kiss of life but decided I didn't want to risk electrocuting my lips.... anything that might stop me talking is a no go in my book.   I'm not one to give up easily hence I wasted way too many days looking for a fix.    Finally.... I caved in and ordered a new laptop.  It came last week.. loaded with Windows 8.1....arrrrggggghhhhh.  

Wish I could say I was getting to grips with the new software but the fact that...so far...it's taken me since Saturday afternoon to write this speaks volumes.  My brain is as fried as the dead hard drive.   The keyboard on the new machine is much more sensitive than the old one too.... for every word I type it deletes two.  I could cry.... hang on... I did!  Sniff!!

What's next.....   a rundown on retreat I think.   It won't take long to show you what we were all up too.  That's not to say we didn't do much because we were all busy but I just didn't get enough interesting photos of the proceedings.     How come I get friends who are all camera shy.  Other bloggers retreat posts are full of photos of girls having fun... eating ... drinking and doing a bit of stitching too.    I tried creeping up on my pals but either I'm just not stealthy enough or they have some inbuilt radar that can pick up a camera coming from a mile off.

Without further ado....here's what I worked on....


recognise it?    Of course you do.. it's the Economy Blue quilt from Kaffe Fassett's book Country Garden Quilts that I did all that triangle cutting for before our fated September retreat.

That's not a glass of water on my table..... it's soluble headache meds!  


Progress was slow but steady.......


Just got an outer row of small square in squares to attach  (squares are made just not joined together)
and the top is done.     How about this for a bowl of triangle trimmings....


I like to cut big and trim down to size wherever possible.   Clever or just chicken?

I did get one photo with a real person in it......



Chris... displaying her quilt of the week.   Apart from the borders and setting triangles I don't think there was one piece bigger than a two and a half inch square.   It was almost finished... just one more red border to add.  She purpose made it for her D/H for those odd moments when the cows stop phoning him (no kidding) and he gets to nap.  

She added the prairie points to this too.....


It's a cot bumper to match the quilt she made on an earlier retreat.   You can see it here.... lovely Bunny Hill fabrics.

Sally pieced this one.  It's two layer cakes of Moda Persimmon simply sewn together.  Love those fabrics... which is just as well because I have two layer cakes of it too!   Guess who got sucked into the Craftsy sale.... all four of us!


She went on to piece this one too..... totally from scrap


Love how she used all the remaining bits and pieces to cobble together a border... looks great.

Kitty almost drove herself to distraction peicing this,,,,,,


it's one of those designs that messes with your brain.  The pattern is Surfside by Camille Roskelly.  It's one of those patterns that makes you feel dizzy if you stare at it too long.   That's  the top of Kittys head above the quilt.... she did survive the making after all.

Suffice it to say we all had a fabulous time at the cottage.   So much so we've booked a week at the beginning of June and another at the end of September.    We haven't won the lottery.... we've all decided not to go to the Quilt Festival in Birmingham this year.    We worked out for the cost of our accommodation/travel/food  for that trip we can afford two weeks in the cottage.... bit of a no brainer eh!

I'm going to shut up now.     Combining FNWF with a retreat update and computer woes  might not have been such a good idea.  

If you are still awake and reading this..... thank you!   I much appreciate your stamina and dogged determination to make it through to the end.    If you were here I'd pour you a glass of vino but as you're not I'll raise my glass to you..... cheers!  :o)

I've set aside the whole of tomorrow for blog visiting.... can't wait.    I'm so out of touch with what you've all been up too it's going to be fabulous catching up.

Have fun and stitch loads.....
Hugs
Josie  xxx

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Friday Night With Friends.....

Before I begin I'd like to wish you all a 2015 jam packed with happiness and lots of lovely projects to keep your fingers nimble and your heart content.

I almost missed the first FNWF of the year.  Where I got the idea that there wouldn't be one in January I don't know.  Lucky for me I noticed links to the event popping up on the blog and got my name on the list just in the nick of time..... phew!  Thank you for hosting a lovely evening yet again Cheryll .......  your efforts are much appreciated.   

Well.... as it was Friday evening before I discovered there was a FNWF this month I didn't exactly have time to plan a project to sew.    I toyed with the idea of starting work on Poke Berry Baskets  as the threads for the embroidery arrived earlier in the day.    Don't know about you but I like to savour the build up to a new project so I kicked that idea into touch.  You should know by now I don't make snap decisions..... decisions in general are enough trouble.


While I was procrastinating my mum was turbo knitting........


just look at how focused she is on the job in hand.   I bet if the house fell down search and rescue would find her in the rubble still knitting.  More to the point she wouldn't have dropped a stitch!   She finished that little blanket for Africa and started on another.   There isn't a day goes by without me wondering if I was adopted!

This photo is to keep Mimi happy.....

About time I got on this blog thingy!

She's a little sweetheart.... guarding mum and her knitting like that though I suspect her intentions with regard to the ball of wool behind her weren't all good.

I didn't waste my whole evening.   I did sew......


Finished the last little bit of this block..... had fun with the flowers.    Not so much fun with this block though.....


what a disaster!!   What was I thinking.    The petals just merge into the background fabric.   Why didn't I see that before I stitched all but one of them.   Reckon Mac is not the only one who's delusional around here.    Can't live with it.... starting again.

I did trace the pattern onto another fabric and was attempting to choose petal fabric when I realised I was late for TV time in Macs bat cave..... literally... his bat cave.....


OK... it's not a real bat .... it's a bit moth eaten and it doesn't do much but hang around but Mac likes the company so who am I too argue.    I do think it's a bit much that he named it Joyce.... after my mother!

It wasn't the end of my sewing though..... I worked on a re do of another block while we watched NCIS.   Bet Jethro Gibbs doesn't have a bat in his cave.....


took this photo while the morning sun streamed through the window.... right before it snowed!
Didn't like those green stars I showed you in the last post.... they've gone to the scrap bag too.  Bet I end up making every block in this quilt at least twice.  

Last bit of news...... the girls and I are going back to the cottage next Saturday for a whole week of machine stitching mayhem.      Hope my poor old aching back can cope with all the fabric cutting I need to do before we go.   Don't want a repeat of last time.   Wonder if I can quilt a corset in time for the off......

Have a great week all of you.   I'll be spending my down time blog hopping this week.  It's about time I checked what you're all up too.....

Hugs
Josie    xxx


Thursday, 25 December 2014

Greetings!


Just popping in you wish you all a very.....




Have your very own perfect day wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate.

Big Festive Hugs....

Josie  xxxxxxxx




Monday, 22 December 2014

Friday Night Sew In......

and not just your regular sew in..... last one of 2014.    Is it just me or are years not so long as they used to be?

Anyway.... I thought I'd roll back time and work on some good old fashioned needle turn applique....



I say old fashioned because I'm fond of trying every new technique out there.   But this time there's no freezer paper... no stabiliser.. no fancy tools (quick or otherwise)  and not a glue stick in sight.
Just me and my needle and thread.   Going back to basics....



I loved it....... and  it worked a treat on these stars.   Guess what......another Stonefields block!  Do you think I'm a bit obsessed or just blinkered right now.


Think I'll be returning to the 'old' way from here on in.   Better knit myself a shawl and grow a beard while I'm at it.

I did manage to drag myself away from my new/old love long enough to finish off these blocks....




Don't think I'll be needle turning circles any time soon though.... I still love my Perfect Circles and won't be parting with them...ever!



Don't they look like planets in orbit.... luv em.    Made a couple of other circle blocks over the weekend too...



The block is called 'Square Peg In A Round Hole'...... that about sums up my life!  :o)

Well... you're up to date with my sewing progress.   Now... did I mention I while back that I was going to paint my bed.......



I did and I absolutely love it.    It was originally pine... not quite as orange as the stool I painted a while back but getting there.     It's great to actually sleep in the bed again.   I'd dismantled it and took it down into the conservatory to paint.... boy it was cold in there.   I got through sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a couple of weeks by pretending I was in Japan on holiday.   Maisie & co  thought it was great fun.   I had to sleep with one eye open on watch for uninvited guests of the rodent variety.

When the bed went back into the room.... I changed it's position.   For the first time in almost seventeen years I rearranged my bedroom furniture.  Radical or what!!     Didn't think I'd like sleeping in a different position but I'm loving that too.  

Have to show you my bargain.    I picked up this picture in the local antique junk store.   I bought it for the huge sum of £10 purely for the frame.   I intended to paint it and use it for something else. When I cleaned all the grime off the glass I decided I quite liked the picture so I painted the frame and popped it back in.  .



 
Well guess what..... it's hanging in my bedroom now and I love it too! :o))   Not bad for a tenner!  I've another 'bargin' in the pipeline.   Busy distressing it right now .... fingers crossed it won't be me that's distressed when I'm done.

That's it for now.     Big thanks to Wendy for another sugary sweet sew in.....  you're a star!!

I have to get going.   Mac and I have a new routine.   It's called TV time.  Means I go into his workshop and watch TV with him for a couple of hours before I go to bed.   Remember... he's nocturnal.... bit like a Fruit Bat.... only comes into the house to sleep during daylight hours.   The only other thing I can think of that sleeps during the hours of daylight is a vampire.... should I be worried?   Hummm......

Hope you are all having a smooth run in to the great Christmas Festivities and that you are managing to find a little time out to stitch and relax....

See you soon...
Hugs
Josie   xxx

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Friday Night With Friends.....

OK... it's Monday Tuesday (couldn't get this posted last night)  but better late than never eh!

Can you believe I signed up for FNWF nice and early.  Number 7 on the list... how about that for keen.  Looked forward to the stitch-a-long all week.   Friday did not turn out to be a good day for me. Things went from bad in the morning to worse in the afternoon culminating with me having a 'funny turn' in the supermarket!    Perhaps I'll tell you more later..... if you promise not to run for the hills!

I probably would not have sewed  at all in the evening if it hadn't been for Tiggy  (self appointed sewing supervisor)  chivvying  me along.....

"come on Mum... how hard can it be"

Alright Tiggs....  perhaps prepping a Stonefields block would be nice.....

"Ok... got the pencil.. what's next?"

Circles.... lots of pretty circles!



Thank heavens for perfect circles and best press.    I appliqued large circles on two blocks earlier in the week and really enjoyed picking fabrics and preparing their smaller satellites.    


Made two other circle blocks earlier in the week too.   Would you believe it took me 2 hours to choose the melon seed fabric for that block on the left.   Embarrassing or what!  

Prepared this earlier too....


Actually I prepared two of these blocks but couldn't get a decent photo of the other one so you'll have to wait for that till the light is better in my little room......  April perhaps.  

Well... that's it for the sewing.    All was not lost and I did have an enjoyable evening after all.

Now... an overview of  'stuff'  I've been dealing with.   A flash flood.  This is the result of one and a half inches of rain falling in 45 minutes.


The road in here turned into a river.   At one stage water was deep enough and the current strong enough for me to have gone white water canoeing.    Fortunately I couldn't get the canoe off the garage roof .   If I had taken to the water I imagine I'd have been arriving in New York about now.  

  
When the water receded..... after 4 days.... this is what was left.   Tons of rock and gravel where the road should be.  I could have cried.... hang on.... I did! 


Standing there with my trusty shovel... I felt defeated.   For all of 5 minutes..... then I saw the plus side.   I'd been about to order a load of gravel to mend pot holes in the drive now Mother Nature had kindly gifted me more than I needed.. for free.    If only she hadn't been quite so generous....

The road is still a work in progress.    I finally had to admit that I couldn't move all of this myself.   Finishing the job is now down to Lawn Cutting Man who... having no lawns to cut at this time of year...  is happy to dig instead.  Phew!   

After the flood came.... pests.    Woolly pests at the front


 and at the rear.....



We were surrounded and forced into negotiation with the gang master mistress.....


who I have to say was quite confrontational.   I was getting nowhere with her.... till Maisie arrived to sort things out.....



Hasta la vista... woolly backs! 

What a trooper.....


she deserved a kitten nap after that.

Now.....about that 'funny turn' in the supermarket.    All down to stress and anxiety (mine) I'm afraid.  It shouldn't have happened.... the Doc gave me pills.   Anti Mac and Anti Mum pills!    Now don't get the wrong idea... I love both of them to bits but they are driving me nuts... literally.    

Mac's comfort zone is getting ever smaller.... he is not even venturing to the garden gate these days.   He has a dental appointment on Thursday.... who knows if he'll actually leave the house... I've cancelled two appointments on the day already.     Right now he's convinced he has radiation sickness.  Well... I did offer to line his hat with tin foil so he can't blame me!   This week I'm the love of his life.... last week Frankenstein's Monster.   Life really is a box of chocolates.....:o)    Spare a thought for any friends or relatives of yours who are caring for someone with psychological issues.... it ain't easy.  

Add to that the fact that Mum's short term memory is now around 30 seconds and you have the full picture.    It's not so much Groundhog Day here as Groundhog minute!    After acknowledging that mum needed a box of coffee for the millionth (felt like it) time in the supermarket on Friday.... my chest hurt.  So much so I thought I was having a heart attack.  Very scary.    I'm a bit of a wreck but I'm still standing....hey ho!

All I want for Christmas is a thicker skin....... I got the teeth last year! :o))

Hope you are all having a great stress free week.   Who am I kidding... Christmas is just around the corner!    Do your best.....

I'm off to crack open a bottle of wine.... first in a long time.   Well.... I'm 61 tomorrow.  What better reason to drink....bottoms up!

Hugs
See ya soon.. life permitting.....
Josie xxx