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

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