Sunday, 10 January 2016

Friday Night With Friends.....

 Friday was a strange day here in South West Scotland.

I woke up and it wasn't raining!   That was odd for a start.  I set out on the grocery run happy and relaxed.   Should have know it wouldn't last.   By lunchtime we'd  had rain... sleet and finally snow.     By the time I arrived home I was soaked to the skin.  Frozen to the bone. And more than a bit ticked off.  

When I finally made it into the sewing room I was greeted (actually she couldn't be bothered) by a rather sad looking Tiggy.....


This is what a really fed up little cat looks like after weeks of rain.   Pour soul.   She's as sick and tired of being damp as I am.   Looks like she's lost all hope of a day in the garden that doesn't leave her looking more drowned rat than cat!   Anyone got any tips on cheering up a depressed kitty?

She did hang around (albeit halfheartedly) to assist with the cutting of all these squares though.  She's not one for missing out on a sew in.....


After I'd warmed up and had a cup of tea I did some thinking.  Really productive thinking.   As you know a while back I decided to join Audry in her Quilty 365 Challenge.     I'd like to say I deliberately waited till 1st January to make a start but that would be a fib.    I just couldn't get my backside into gear before the new year arrived.     An evening with all you girls finally gave me the momentum to get going.

First off I decided that I wanted to use just two fabrics for circle backgrounds.   Spots and gingham. Then I decided I wanted to set the blocks 'on point' so I could play around with the setting triangles. How about that.... two major decisions in one evening.   Can't begin to describe how chuffed to bits I was.  

Next... I began to applique the circles that I'd prepped earlier in the week....


I really like this 'tree'.   It does look better when it's 'on point'.  


This is another favourite cut from a charm square of Curio fabric which I've been saving for something special.  

All in all I manage to applique 6 of the 8 circles I'd made and I was very happy.


Just realised that green circle at the top looks plain.... it isn't.   It's a text print.  Don't know what happened to the photo.   Rubbish photographer I think!

I really hope everyone who joined in FNWF had as good a time as I did.   Thanks Cheryll for hosting yet another lovely sew in.    I very much appreciate it.  

I'm about to head up to bed now for some much needed beauty sleep(!)    Tomorrow morning (weather permitting) I'm off to audition some chickens.   Won't be bringing them home though.  The weather has been too bad to get the coop sited.   Besides the girls and I are off to the cottage for a week at the end of the month and I really can't contemplate leaving Mac 'home alone' with poultry.  Not when he wants to call them.....  Kebab,  Bar-B-Cue,  Kentucky Fried,  Casserole  etc.   Seriously!

Before I go I have one last thing to say.    I want to thank all of you who leave lovely comments on my posts even though I haven't been responding or commenting myself lately.    I do so appreciate your support.     My resolution for 2016 is to make finding time to visit and chat a priority.    Chatting is what I love to do (you'd never have guessed) and I miss it terribly.

So... watch out!   I'll be about!

Have a great rest of the weekend doing what makes you happy.

See you soon
Hugs
Josie   xxxxx


Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!





I love the first day of a new year.    It's the one day I'm guaranteed to wake up so full of optimism I might just burst with joy.    It's the day I feel invincible!    I can climb every mountain.  Ford every stream.  Follow every rainbow..... right to the door of the nut house (according to my mother)!  

Who cares.  I'm having fun.

I fitted a new toilet seat before breakfast.   Gathered up storm debris in the garden before lunch.   Cleaned the oven this afternoon and now... joy of joys.... I have internet access again so I can talk to you all.    Storm Frank took out what was left of our internet connection after Eva hit us earlier.  

Christmas means SSCS and this year my gifts were sent by Jan at Little Red Hen in Australia.    Jan made not one but two ornaments.   Cute little felt hearts with pretty button centres.   They've been decorating my sewing room for the festive season.   I have a fibre optic tree these days so I have to be a bit more creative about where I hang ornaments.


On Christmas day I got to open the other two packages.....


and found all sorts of goodies.    A new sewing pouch and needle keeper.  A really cute hoop ornament with what I'm sure is a Hatched and Patched design.   A pretty felt brooch and some lovely little buttons to save for just the right project.    Thanks Jan...... I luv em all!     Turns out Jan was born in Glasgow but emigrated to the Antipodes when she was 'wee'.    How clever of Chooky to pair her with a gal from her homeland.

My SSCS partners gifts arrived in Aus right on time.   My pressies went to none other than Chookyblue herself!     No pressure for me then!   I was super happy (not to mention relieved) to hear that she likes what I made for her.  It was an honour and a pleasure to make for you Chooky.   Hope you have one foot back in the world soon.  Luv ya!    

I got one present this Christmas that Santa had to drop off early........


a Chicken Coop!    No chickens yet though.  We need to prepare a base for the coop and get equipment ready.    Don't think I've been so excited about anything since I was a kid.  My dream of chickens in the garden is finally coming true.   Mac is excited about the amount of chicken manure coming his way.

He thought it was funny to pull his new hat over my head when the girls were here.  They took a photo of Chicken Josie and dared me to show you....


you'd think they'd know by now not to dare a fool.    Think it suit's me... don't you.  

On the sewing front I've been sewing lots more quarter circle blocks.    I put a few together just to see how they'd look.....


I'm really happy with them.    Of course it's taking me ages to choose the 4 quarters for each block.... nothing new there.    Which reminds me.   While it's still the 1st of January I need to make the first circle block for my Quilty 365 Challenge .   Better go and choose more fabric.....

I hate to cut and run but the bat cave beckons and I need to prep that circle to stitch during TV time...


Happy New Year!!

See you soon...

Hugs
Josie  xxx

Friday, 25 December 2015



Hope you are all having a lovely day!

See you soon.....

Festive Hugs...... Josie   xxxxx

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Was it good for you?

It was great for me.   I'm talking about FNwF's of course.

I had a surprise visitor.   My Mojo!   Don't know where it's been hiding for the last few weeks but was I glad to have it back.   Together again we had a really fun evening.    This is how it started....


with boxes of inner and outer drunkards path block components or as I prefer to call them... pies and crusts.  This diet is really messing with my head.    I set up the tubs to the right of my sewing station on a rickety old collapsible  table I found in the Bat Cave.   Smart move.   Might not have  been so smart if the table had fallen to bits and spread my pie parts all over the sewing room floor.  Fortunately... my luck held.   Pretty soon I had a nice production line going.

Nothing could phase me on Friday evening.   I didn't even get flustered when my precious Pfanny Pfaff decided she wasn't too sure about the curve master foot after all.   She showed her displeasure time and again by chittering her spool, throwing out a couple of wonky stitches then tangling threads just to show who was in charge.    I was patient with her.   Did what had to be done to keep her comfortable and sewed on.

When TV time came around and I had to stop playing I counted up my blocks.   I was hoping I'd managed to sew about 30 quarter circle blocks.  Well imagine how chuffed I was to find I'd actually managed 63 !!!    I'm still happy dancing.


To celebrate I raised a glass of vino and toasted  Cheryll and all my FNwF's companions.   I was so excited I drank the whole bottle.....


Yep..... this diet really is messing with my head!      It may not have been much but it was the perfect end to a lovely day.

Thank you Cheryll for a really lovely evening.   Hope you and all who joined in enjoyed themselves as much.    I'll be around to check.

Earlier... when I arrived home after the grocery run soaking wet and prepared to kill for a cup of tea and a sit in front of the wood stove I found this in the postbox......



my face went from grumpy to happy in a split second.   Doesn't take much eh!

I'm going now because I want to spend this Sunday afternoon catching up with what you've all been up too.

The sun is shining and I intend to enjoy every little moment of brightness because it's going to be short lived.    We've been pummelled by Storm Desmond with his torrential rain and gale force winds for the last 24 hours.   Flooding everywhere.   Still... a few hours respite is not to be sniffed at when there is more rain and wind forecast for tomorrow.    Santa better get some scuba gear if he wants to visit here.

OK..... I have a hot date with my web browser.... see you soon.....

Have fun... cause a ruckus and don't forget to laugh in the face of adversity.  Folks will think you're mad but we know different.....

Hugs
Josie  xxxx

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Muddling along....

Feeling about as much use as a chocolate teapot!   Don't anyone ask me to run a booze up in a brewery either.... it ain't going to happen.   Coming from one who likes the odd (!) tipple.... that is sad indeed.

Don't know where my brain was last week.   The week that I packed and despatched SSCS gifts to my swap partner and forgot to post a photo of them.  DUH.   I was doing so well too.  Thoroughly enjoyed making the gifts.  Didn't panic once during the whole process (miracles do happen) and had them wrapped and ready to go right on time.    Well... here's the photo you all should have seen a week ago...


Not long now before this box will be arriving at someones door.     Hope they like the contents.  

Now I'll need a second to put on my horsehair vest..... I have some serious penance to do.   I broke a swap rule!   It's been weeks since I posted and we swappers are meant to post regularly to enable our partners to get to know us and our likes etc.   I'm only hoping I've been gobby enough over the years for my partner not to have had too much trouble deciding what to make for me.     Humm... wondering who my partner is.... if it's you.... sorry!   

Ok... time for an update on what I've been up to.  Sewing wise of course.   I'm plugging away at reducing and resorting my stash.  It's taking forever!     Got a nice pile of background squares cut and ready to receive baskets.  Got lots of baskets cut too.....   

Here are a few of them

This is where the wheel fell off my speeding waggon.   Lots of baskets cut meant lots of baskets to prepare for applique.  As I'm working at the rate of a snail on sleeping pills right now this is a BIG problem.

I tried out a new (to me) method I found on Esther's blog.   Basically it's using Best Press with freezer paper templates.  Check out Esther's tutorial HERE.   It works a treat!   As the freezer paper is removed before appliqueing it's so nice and supple and super easy to stitch too.   I'm a convert!
Thanks Esther!

Have to admit I treated myself to a new mini iron.  One with a much shorter shank.  Don't know about you but I find the distance from handle to iron on my old Clover one a problem.  Attempting delicate pressing with it is somewhat akin to eating a fried egg with chopsticks as far as I'm concerned.  


My new Mini Iron Master works a treat and was much cheaper too.  Win...Win...eh!

Now.... you might have noticed a new button on my sidebar.   A link to Quilty 365 a great idea from Audry at Quilty Folk.    I've signed up and I bet if you take a look you'll be keen to join in too.  Take a look HERE  (only if you are sure you can resist temptation).

I've been really keen to start my own circle project but as yet haven't been able to get going.   I will make a start soon.... like maybe Friday.  Well it is the last FNwF's of 2015 this week what better day to start a new project.  Fancy joining in a lovely night of self indulgent sewing/stitching?   Well click HERE and sign up.   If the thought of a whole evening of enjoyment  isn't enough just check out the lovely gift that Cheryll has put together..... who wouldn't like a chance to win it.

I may not have started  my 365 but Sally is totally smitten with hers.....


here's her first batch of circles.   I know... I've tried telling her she's only supposed to do one per day but she's a woman possessed.      

She turned up with batch 2 on Monday....


and she's still going strong.... except for the occasional coffee break to watch Chris knitting.


Heck... they do look serious.   Shows how tough it can be to get the foundation row of a baby cardigan just right.

I'm afraid I can't show you more of what I've been up too since I was last here.   My projects have either been secret or not very photogenic.   Been cutting lots more Drunkards Path components for my 'get rid of as much stash as I can as quickly as I can' project.   If ever a project was badly named it's that one..... quick it is not.    You see I'm not just dipping into stash for fabric I'm actually ironing and re folding and sorting every last piece of it.   I have a really cunning sub project going on though.    Every time I press a piece of fabric I slice off 4 pieces.   One goes into a new 'applique scrap' box for me and the other three go into large... pretty bags that (once I am done) are destined for the applique boxes of Chris... Sally and Kitty.   I'm quite chuffed with myself for coming up with that bright stash reducing idea.  Only hope they don't recipricate.   I need more fabric like I need a hole in the head.  I'm crossing my fingers.  

It has been hard to find motivation here.  We've been having the worst spell of weather we've had in ages.   Every day is dank, dark, dreary and dismal... it's been that way for weeks.  I've forgotton what the Sun looks like.   It rains every day too.... occasionally not for the whole day.   Last week I spotted this little beauty on the burn......


It might look a bit grubby right now but once it's adult feathers arrive it will be the most beautiful Swan.    It paddled up to the bend in the river then let the current carry it back to the start point time and time again.   I stood for ages totally captivated by it.  Hardly noticed that it was chucking it down and I was getting soaked to the skin.


This is the exact same bit of the burn a couple of hours later......


At this point it has burst it's banks.  Later... it flooded the field and the lower garden.  

On the home front Mum gave us a bit of a scare.   She hasn't been eating lately and had an appointment at the Hospital for an endoscopy to try to find out why she felt she couldn't swallow.   I arrived at her building (sheltered accommodation) to take her for the appointment to find an ambulance outside and the warden and paramedics in mums flat.   The ambulance took mum to A & E and I followed.   Everything was OK.   Basically fasting for the endoscopy and not having taken her heart meds that morning (she got mixed up) had caused her blood pressure to lower to the point she passed out.   She recovered quickly and was super keen to keep her date with the Endoscopist (is that even a word).  

With only a minute to go to her allotted appointment time I popped Mum into one of those hospital wheelchairs which you can only pull  and set off  on a mad dash across the hospital from A & E to Day Surgery.  Honestly.... I ran so fast that when we arrived I was relieved to find mum still in the chair.

It all ended well.   Mum had her tests and was diagnosed with a small Hiatus Hernia which doesn't require treatment. A discussion with her Dr later resulted in her being prescribed an SSRI which appears to be working a treat.   She's found her appetite again and is making up for lost eating time.

I'm still trying to stop her from telling everyone she is has a High Anal Hernia!!!   Note to self... get more batteries for her hearing aids!

Do you ever have one of those days when you just don't know which way to turn?


I think Tiggy was having one here.   Or perhaps she's trying out a new yoga position.

Well.... that's about it for the update.   All I can say is I hope to be back in the sewing saddle soon... like FNwF soon.    I'll be there.... will you?

I need to be out of here and heading into the Bat Cave for TV time.   Here's hoping Mac has ran out recordings of disaster documentaries.  I've had all the Armageddon I can handle for one week.   Still... he's recording Dr. Jeff Rocky Mountain Vet these days.... thank goodness for a fluffy animal programme with a (mostly) happy ending.

See you all at the weekend

Have a great time till then and beyond.

Onwards and upwards....

Hugs
Josie   xxx


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A little behind....

A little behind.  Who am I kidding but more on the diet later.

Life hasn't been very interesting since I talked to you last.   Chris, Sally, Kitty and me did go off on retreat for a week.   No prizes for guessing where but you could go here for a peek if you are new to the blog and are feeling curious.

With hindsight we'd have been better booking in to a convalescent home for a week.  Chris, Sally and me had the most stinking cold virus.   Chris (aka Typhoid Mary) gave it to Sally who kindly passed it on to me.   We've been passing it between us ever since.  The darned thing is going round in circles. We'll be lucky to be shot of it before Christmas.  Heck.... did I just say a dirty word!! 

Well.... none of us made much progress on our week away.  Apart from Kitty that is who somehow managed to avoid the bug.   I reckon that girl has the constitution of an ox.    I had intended to finish up my Natures Journey before we left but the dreaded lurgy put a halt to that.   So... it was the first job on my to do list at the cottage.....


I'm thrilled to bits with it.   Now all I have to do it quilt it....yikes!   I'm working up to hand quilting it.   Watch this space.

Chris started work on Message In A Bottle by Irene Blanck.   Here's her first block taking shape....


She actually prepared four blocks for this project.... no mean feat when you consider she's not much better at choosing fabrics than I am.    I'm afraid I didn't get photos of the other blocks.   Hard to take a decent photo when you are sneezing for Scotland.

Here's an almost good shot of Chris and Sally at the kitchen table.... would have been better if there heads were intact.... perhaps.


Sal is studying her copy of

She's combining the centre of one of Irene Blancks amazing quilts with the borders of another.  She is either inspired or totally off her trolley.  The jury is still out.    This is how the centre looked back then.....


now it has borders and lots of colourful circles around the bird.   Have to say.... it's looking great. Shame you can't see it.  You guessed.... I didn't get a photo of that either.

Kitty did a great job making this bag......


it's totally gorgeous!   The front applique is actually a zipped and gusseted pocket.  There are applique side pockets too and a magnetic clasp and ties and great tube lined handles.  Very professional looking.   Not only did she make the bag she started work on an amazing Dresden quilt.   Ooop's... no photo!

As for me.... I did sew... secret stuff!    Finally an excuse for having no photo's.   You'll all have to wait till next year to find out what I was sewing I'm afraid.    You see I signed up for Chookyblues 2015 SSCS Swap.    The girls threatened to kill me... or have me committed to an asylum if I so much as harboured a thought of signing up but I went ahead and did it anyway.    Am I scared they'll carry out their threats.... you bet!  If you don't hear from me by Christmas... call the police.

That's all the news from retreat.   Well... not quite all.   There was a bit of a drama one evening when I appeared to be loosing my eyesight.    After dinner I picked up my laptop to check mail and discovered the screen was so blurred I couldn't read anything.   Took off my specs.  Checked I had on the reading ones and not the distance.  Gave them a good clean and checked out the screen again.... couldn't make out a word!   Took off the glasses again and this time the room was blurred too.   Believe me I was petrified.   Chris and Kitty took one look at me and asked what was wrong.  Heck... I was about to burst into tears when I blurted out I was loosing my sight.   They were very concerned.... particularly about who was going to drive me to the hospital as we'd all had wine with dinner.   The situation was very tense when Sally came into the room and asked if anyone had seen her reading glasses.   You could almost hear the penny drop.   I was only wearing them wasn't I!!   Amazingly my sight was restored when I put on my own specs.    Duh!   We all had such a good laugh the profits of Tena Lady doubled.

I did make one major decision while on retreat though.  I need to seriously reduce the amount of fabric in my stash.  So I'm on a mission to make as many scrap quilts as I can as quickly as I can.   I won't tell you what the girls said when I told them my plan.  Actually they didn't say much.  They were too busy laughing.   Perhaps I should advertise for some new pals.

I have made a start.   Inspired by this gorgeous quilt I discovered at Quilting With The Past ll I've bought some drunkards path templates and started slashing my stash......


Each time I cut circle components I cut a template for a basket too. Remember those baskets?  Long time no see!    I was a bit miffed that it took longer than I thought to achieve......


a tub of both inner and outer quarter circles.   Well... I was cutting them one at a time.  Don't trust myself with a mini rotary cutter and a curved template.   I'm too fond of my fingers to try multiple cuts.     Looking at those tubs I remembered that (after watching an amazing demo at a show) I bought a Curve Master presser foot.   Of course I had to drop everything and give it a go.....


Wow!   Why haven't I used this before!   It's amazingly simple to sew curves without any pinning at all.  Seriously.  You need to check it out if you haven't already.    It took no time at all to stitch these....


without a pin in sight and they are pretty perfect too.   Finally I can see a light at the end of my stash tunnel.   All I have to do is keep going and not get distracted.... right!   What are the chances of that I wonder.  Somewhere between slim and none.......huh!

Thought you might like to see what Mac got up to while I was away.   He revamped the post box!


The postman is not impressed.   He's started opening the kitchen door and popping the post inside.

Before I go I have to admit I'm wearing my horse hair vest again.  Seems I never get to take it off these days.    I must apologise for not responding to everyone who left  a lovely comment on my last post.   Your comments really do mean a lot to me.  Knowing that there are lovely people out there who take the time to pop in and 'talk' to me really make does make a difference.  

If I didn't have you and my pals here I'd have gone totally bonkers by now.   I'm trying hard not to make excuses for being so impolite but there are times here when things just get too much to cope with and I tune out.  I have to switch off from the outside world and concentrate on doing what needs to be done for Mac and Mum.   Times like this I wish we were a bigger family and there was someone to share but as there is only the three of us and I'm the only one who is compos mentis (and that's debatable) I have no choice but to knuckle down and get on with it.

Things are a little calmer here at the moment so I'm hoping for a lovely spell of blog reading and commenting on your blogs.   I love blog visiting.  You gals (and guys)  are so inspirational.

Keeping my fingers crossed.....

Better get going.  I'm trying to clear out the big flower bed so I can do more laying of membrane and bark before Winter arrives in earnest.     It's all dig..dig...dig right now.

Hope you are all happy and healthy and having as much fun as you can pack into your days.

See you soon..... crossing those fingers tighter!
Hugs
Josie

p.s.   The diet is going great.   I've lost 31 pounds and counting.   The only downside is my trousers are hanging at half mast and I'm too mean to buy smaller ones while I'm still loosing.   One of these days I'll be mooning in the high street!  

Monday, 21 September 2015

Flipp'in Fabulous FNSI !

Did I have a great time at FNSI or what!

Nothing went wrong!     Bet you can't believe that.  But it's as true as I'm sitting here in my wee goonie and baffies (nightdress and slippers) poking toast crumbs out of my keyboard.

Last week I did the grocery run on Thursday to leave the whole of Friday free for FNSI.  Maybe I should call it FDSI  because I really did sew the whole day.  Started stitching along with all you Southern Hemisphere gals..... picked up the European lasses at tea time then made a valiant attempt to stay up late enough to say 'Hi' to Canada and the US of A!    Wow... what a day!

Started out with some therapeutic slicing and dicing......


Cut the 200 blue squares needed for the next border of Natures Journey.  While the blade was in my hand I prepped the outer border too... optimistic eh.

Next... some chain piecing....


I don't often chain piece but I managed to make it work for me this time.    Before you all start telling me that chaining is super efficient and fast... I know all that and I agree (in principle).   My problem is brain saturation.   My little grey cells fill up very quickly and once that happens all bets are off.  I loose track of what I'm stitching to what and chaos quickly ensues.  That usually means a lot of unpicking.

No chaining the next step.  I needed to keep control and my cool for this bit....


Things went swimmingly well and pretty soon a miracle happened......


Ta Da!!    Another round of Natures Journey done and dusted.   I don't mind saying I love it to bits.  Plan is to work on joining the applique block borders today.   The girls are coming over so as long as I don't talk too much (as if) I stand a good chance of getting that bit closer to the finish line.

That was my FNSI now how about yours?    When the girls leave I'll be showing up on all your doorsteps to see what you got up to on Friday.....  provided you joined in of course.  

Thanks Wendy for hosting us all again and for the yummy cake recipe.  It's a keeper.  Click HERE to visit Wendy and all the other girls from around the world who stitched on Friday night.

HOT OFF THE PRESS.....


I did it!   I pieced and attached the applique borders this afternoon.   Am I on a roll or what!  Just two more easy peasy borders to do..... getting excited now.    

It's nice to be sewing again.  I've been working through a bit of a stitching slump the past couple of weeks.    Outdoor chores ate up lots of my time.   Jobs like.....


collecting rocks from the field next door... and hurling them over the garden wall.  Great Scottish pass time.  Shame it isn't an Olympic sport I reckon I could make the team.


My rock tossing did have a purpose......


Mac started work on some steps from the drive to the upper part of the garden.   Can't wait to cut the ribbon at the grand opening.    No more risking life and limb slithering up and down the slippery slope to short cut the route from top garden to drive.   Lost count of how many times I've slid down there on my bum!

Been doing a bit of garden work too (weather permitting).   I'm trying to clear the undergrowth around that path with a view to laying some membrane and bark.   I'm getting too old and cranky to have to dig out the darned path every year.    Won't tell you what Mimi is up to but she seemed to think my digging was for her convenience!


A lot of death defying lopping of tree branches and the removal of an old bush from the middle of the lawn has opened up a new view from the kitchen window.....


Nice to see 'the girls' enjoying a paddle in the river.   Wonder what those two were talking about.

Maisie might know....


but she's not saying.  

Well.... that's it for now.    I'm sewing again tomorrow.   I need to finish Natures Journey before Friday..... when the girls and I head off on retreat again.    Want to come?

I'm going now,   I've a lot of lovely blog visiting to catch up on and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.   See you soon....

Have a happy time stitching....
Hugs
Josie   xxxx