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    


Monday, 9 March 2015

FNWF... In My Garden

I didn't really spend Friday night's sew in in my actual garden.  It was far too cold, wet and muddy out there to do that... not to mention dark!    

This is the Garden I'm talking about.....


In My Garden block of the month.   Bet you thought I'd banished this one to the UFO pile... no chance!      I did prepare most of the applique pieces for the house and trees a while back.  Made it the  perfect  'grab n' go" project for a relaxing evening of stitching.   That's the largest part of the block finished.

Just in case there wasn't enough applique in the above block able to keep me busy (!) earlier on Friday afternoon I prepped the fence posts and gate ready for stitching.    Back stitched the wrought ironwork on the gate too....  ever the optimist eh!


Needless to say the fence is still a work in progress.....

Stitched in the lounge with Mum till 9 pm then took my stitching outside into the Bat Cave for TV time with Mac.     The Bat Cave is not the best sewing venue in the world.... it's pitch dark in there. Still Mac must love me really because he let's me sit in his high work chair with one spotlight on to illuminate my work.   I get a little patch of sawdust strewn bench to call mine for the evening too.... aren't I the lucky girl !    

I did get him to take a photo but can't show you because it's too darned spooky... what with the bat showing up in the picture and the old witch.... hang on... that was me!!   Mum is right... I must moisturise more.  

That was it for Friday Night.   I had a great time yet again   Thanks Cheryll for another lovely sew in.  Hope Brisbane was as much fun  :o)

Thought I'd show you this before I go.....


Yet another 'Star' block for Stonefields.    I needed to make two.... this is my 5th... so far.   I swear this block is jinxed.     It's not the sewing that's the problem... it's everything else.   First one I didn't like the fabric.  Next two I changed my mind about the colours.  Number 4 was going great till I spilled a Bourbon & Coke over it.   Got it into the sink so fast I was sure I'd saved it but no such luck.  Tried to convince myself the blotchy bits gave it an 'aged' look but there is no way to talk up just plain grubby.  So... number 5 is a recreation of 4.   It's going well so far but I've probably hexed it now by saying that.   Time will tell.

Well.... I'd better get going.    Chris... Sally and me are off on a little Quilt Shop Hop tomorrow so it's an early start for me.

Hope you have something lovely planned for tomorrow......
Have fun.....
Josie...xxx

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