Friday, 23 December 2011

I gave it my best shot!

I didn't go down without a fight.  In fact I'm still clinging on to some small hope of a quilting miracle.   This is how my design wall looks tonight....

The reason it's bare is not because Macs Christmas Quilt is finished.   No... it's here...

Cast aside in the corner in serious need of an iron.

I did finish stitching the Alien applique.   I also finished the last of the three panel cartoon strips and made good progress on the final two panel one......

...only the dog applique and a bit of block assembly to go and I'd won.  So close and yet so far! 

I think the box of tissues and the EU Cough Lozenge Mountain in the above pic might be a clue.   I caught a stinking cold last Sunday.  At least that's what I thought.  It knocked me for a six all week.  You know it's bad when you find yourself staring at the same cobweb in the corner for 4 hours straight.... without blinking! 

I finally ventured out to do the Christmas food shop yesterday.  Couldn't quite hold out long enough to get everything so went back out this morning.    That's when things got even more pear shaped.     Suffice it to say I had a bit of a 'Funny Turn'  caused by a bout of volcanic coughing on the pavement outside the Post Office.  Very embarrassing. 

Thanks to Sue (who works in the Craft Shop) backed up by my Mum delivering an epic lecture on caring for my health.... I was persuaded to go right to the Doctors Surgery.       Boy do I have egg on my face now!   I'd argued with the both of them that I was fine... I'd had worse..... etc...etc..  and it turns out that was a lie. I have.... pneumonia!!    How the heck did that happen!!

Good news is I've got some bug busting pills which should fix me up fine......

And just in case they don't work..... I've got a tub of GU Rocky Road to fall back on!   Well... it's the best excuse I can come up with for buying it.   Just a shame I can't actually face eating it....yet!!

You might have noticed that the 5th block of  In My Garden BOM arrived this week.   I'd planned to start that as my Christmas treat.   Hummm... could still happen.    Dear Jane is up there too.  I'm two thirds through  Block A2..... so if you are visiting from Janiacs Unite....  I am trying... honest.

There's a couple of balls of blue wool up there too.   I have an urge to knit an elephant.... in one piece.  I signed up on Craftsy for a Susan B Anderson workshop called Wee Ones - Seamless Knit Toys.   I watched a little of the lesson and low and behold...... I discovered what I was doing wrong with Short Row Shaping when I tried to work a heel that way when I was knitting socks.   I consider the cost of the workshop (on offer right now) worth the money at twice the price for that revelation alone.

Who knows... I might have quite a knitted menagerie in here by the time I can remove myself from my recliner to sew again.

OK.... I'd best be getting back to my chair.... Dr's orders you understand!! :)

Hope you are all enjoying your Christmas preparations and looking forward to a wonderful family day.

Take care and have fun.....
See ya soon

Josie  X

Saturday, 17 December 2011

FNSI and guess what.....

At the risk of being boring.......I worked on Boys Story..... again!!

Got the Alien stitched down but didn't quite manage to finish the stitched words above his head.   Didn't get to finish the comic strip either.   I intended to burn the old midnight oil again but I started nodding off  on the job around 11pm and had to give up and head on up to bed.   

Had a great evening though and made some progress.   One step nearer the end!

I've stitched and appliqued so much this week my little fingers are getting a bit sore.   I'm not good at stitching wearing  a thimble... I'd have better luck with boxing gloves on.   However I do have a great way of protecting my digits when I feel the need....

First.... take a roll of equine bandage!

 cut off a nice square

fold it in half

place your finger on it and trim like this

fold the sides over your finger and press

then fold the top down and 'mould' into a comfortable pad

And there you have the most wonderful comfortable finger protection you could ever wish for!! 

I promise you that you'll forget you are wearing it in a matter of minutes.   I wish I could claim it was my idea but I'm not that bright.   It's a tip passed on by Nikki Tinkler at a workshop Chris and I went to a few years ago.    It's the only protection I use while stitching although sometimes I think I could do with a stab vest too!

OK.... my Mum is waiting (not so patiently) for me to get off this computer so she can Google 'Balaclava Patterns'!!   Guess her charity knitting is taking a whole new turn..... I daren't ask!!

Hope you all had a fabulously fruitful FNSI.....

See ya soon...


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

How many days till Christmas?

Not enough!!

I'm trying not to get daunted but everywhere you look folks are counting down the days.  Am I the only one who'd like to push it back a couple of months.  How about Christmas on Feb 14th.... then I can get Valentines out of the way with the same pressie.   Please don't call me mean.... I'm just desperate!

OK.... here's where I'm at with THE quilt.....

The Robot block is appliqued and pieced.   Drat!!  I just noticed I haven't stitched his antennae or the dots in his eyes.

The train is now on track and the rocket is boldly going......

The fish are appliqued ready for block piecing.  

And the Alien is glue basted and ready to stitch.   I'm working on one of the comic strip stitcheries tonight... burning the midnight oil again.    Had to take a photo of the new tin I got last week.   I love it's retro look and it's just the dab for storing my silk applique threads.

You can see my new best friends in the photo too.   Clover Black Gold applique needles!!   How did I ever live without them.   They are fabulous.  They go through fabric like a hot knife through butter.  They pierce skin painlessly too.  I proved that when I tried to put my applique down and discovered I'd stitched no less than three stitches through the skin on my underneath finger...ouch! 

All that aside... the very best thing about them for me is..... they don't bend!!   Every needle I touch morphs into a banana shape in 10 seconds flat.  I have a death grip on my needle when I sew.  I actually snap needles with my fingers while I'm stitching.  I've tried to stop it but I can't... it's a natural (and costly) talent.  These needles are Josie proof.  I've been using the same one all week and it's still as straight as a die.  Luv em...luv...em...luv em!

At last..... my SSCS partner has received her package!!   I can't tell you how relieved I am.  It's like I've been holding my breath for the whole 18 days it took to arrive in.....Australia!!  Now I can show you the ornament(s) I made for her....

Pop over to visit Sue at Charlottes Cottage my swap partner..... I love what she's done with them.
I didn't know if I was rule breaking by painting a gift but it was lovely to blow the dust off these again....

I've promised myself... and Chris (who has never stopped) that I'll make time to paint again in 2012.   Hummm.... how I'm going to fit that in I don't know!  

Before I go I have to say..... it's FNSI again this coming Friday (16th).     Thank goodness for 2 FNSI's this month.... I might actually get to finish Mac's quilt after all.
So... you know the drill..... if you fancy joining me and lots more desperate keen Christmas stitchers just click on the link on my sidebar that looks like this......

and sign up.   You'll have a great time... honest!   (One day I'll figure out how to get a link directly on this darned picture).

Heck.... I'd better dash.  I'm not allowed to sleep till I've stitched a whole planet.... see ya!!


Saturday, 10 December 2011

What a difference a day makes....

All is not lost.....  Santa might be bringing Mac a quilt after all.

I got FNSI off to a flying start yesterday.    I came right in here the minute I got back from taking the cats to the vet and got down to some serious sewing. 

I'm thrilled to bits with what I managed to get done....

What a difference eh!    I bet the eagle eyed among you can spot a few changes in fabric selection from the ones on the wall yesterday.    Choosing fabrics quickly was good but I still found myself unpicking and replacing ones that didn't work for me.   Less than I thought though so I reckon I might start trusting my gut a little bit more instead of over thinking everything.

I sorted out the grass and pieced this....

Still need to re stitch the end of the kite string though so I can't really call it a finished block.   Then I did this...

Pieced the castle block.  This one really is finished.

I stitched train tracks till I ran out of floss.... just the bottom track to add the 'sleepers' to.   Appliqued on the space ship... which still needs a nose cone and windows but I was getting really dog eyed by the time I got to that bit.

Did a bit more of the applique on the robot.  Funny.... I needed to replace the grass on that block too for the same reason as the kite.... too narrow!   Beats me how I managed that.

This is how my little room looked in the wee small hours of FNSI

A hive of industry.... or a right mess?

I've not done any stitching today... yet.  After my late night I slept in this morning!   I was almost late for going out to lunch with my Mum.  Then we were off to the shops.  Not for anything exciting just the usual grocery run.

Right now I'm planning  a nice relaxing evening in my recliner working on the last of the stitcheries for Boys Story.   There'll maybe be a glass or two of wine in the plan too..... well.... it is my BIRTHDAY!   I'm allowed a treat....right!

Hope you've all had a lovely day.... or are about to have one depending where in the world you are

See ya soon....
p.s. I bought more floss today so the train block will be back on track soon.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Never say never!

That's my catch phrase from now till Christmas.

I will not be beaten.  I will pull out all the stops.   I will finish Mac's Christmas quilt in time or expire in the attempt!   I am making quick decisions right left and centre and as you know that is not easy for me.

Tuesday I was all set to give up on it.   Because of this....

Why is it when you are up against the clock everything goes wrong!   I'd finished the Kite block and was about to trim it to size ready for piecing when I found the piece of grass I'd appliqued on to the bottom was almost half an inch too narrow.   What!!!   

My heart sank.  All my hopes of finishing in time for Christmas were dashed in an instant.   I even apologised to Mac... who knows I'm making him a quilt but doesn't know which one.    He told me not to worry he'd take an IOU for Christmas and look forward to getting the quilt when I could finish it. 

Well.... that did it!   How could I not pull out all the stops for him.   Yesterday I cut more grass... the applique sort... stitched it in place and now the block is almost pieced.   Just a couple of inches of kite string to re stitch and I'm in business. 

The Castle is almost pieced too and the last of the train tracks for the next block are being laid today.  Guess what I'll be working on at FNSI> tonight....

That reminds me.... It's FNSI time again.

If you fancy a quiet night in catching up with your Christmas stitching why not click on the link on the sidebar and sign up... there is still time.

It's not been all bad news this week.  The postman brought me these...

My SSCS goodies sent by my lovely partner Jeanette from Australia.    Of course I couldn't wait to unwrap the ornament she stitched for me and it now has pride of place in my sewing room.  Hanging on the lights right over my table.  She really is a beautiful stitcher...  sooooo neat.  I definitely won't be putting my stocking away after Christmas.  Now I'm trying not to peek inside the main parcel..... so far I've been good.

Well... I'd better go do something.   I'm taking both Licky Lou and Baguss to the vet this afternoon.   Baggie for his ongoing thyroid problems and Licky just for a full check up.   She's beginning to suspect somethings up coz I brought down the sooper huge twin cat carrier today.   I'm not looking forward to lugging that complete with two not so dainty pussies on board.   It's snowing too.... heck!

Hope you are having a smooth ride to your  festive season...

See ya tomorrow... with my FNSI catch up

Sunday, 4 December 2011

10 Days In A Nutshell.....

Hummmm... maybe that should read 10 days in a nut house!

I'm going to do my best to catch up chronologically but as my recent past is a bit of a blur I could be setting myself up for failure.    Oh well... onwards and upwards....

First off....a note to my SSCS swap partner.   Your package is well on it's way.....  yippee!!  I've never been so relieved to finish a project in time in my whole life.   Hope you like it.

Now don't get too excited I haven't really parceled up and posted Licky Lou to you and I apologise in advance for any stray cat hairs and souvenirs of the Scottish Countryside that she may have decided to gift you.   Honestly... you can't leave a box unattended for a second in this house.  

Then.... Kitty came to stay last Friday till Tuesday.    She arrived with her nemesis "Quilters Friend" project and a very optimistic outlook.    That didn't last long     She did achieve one thing though.... she reached a whole new level of cussing!!    I should have turned my kitty money box into a cuss box for the weekend... I'd have made a fortune.     Still.... you have to admire her she stuck with it and the end result is lovely.

Here it is folded up...

The outside.....
And the inside....

 The right and left sides  are actually zippered pockets... with more pockets on top!  If you think don't have enough pockets in your life you can find the pattern at  Daisy Chain Designs

You know I can't actually remember what I stitched while Kitty was here!   I now have these.....

so I reckon I must have stitched them unless there really is a Quilting Fairy.   I clearly remember two things from the weekend..... Shiraz and Chardonnay...hic!     Purely medicinal I promise you.

I did finish up my Twelve Red Robins stitchery too....

Now all I have to do is figure out how to get it into it's frame.    I've never framed a stitchery before but I think it has to be laced up the back sort of like corsets.  Or perhaps it could be stapled?   If you are reading this and have an idiot proof way of framing (apart from paying a fortune at a framers that is) I'd really love to hear about it.

I have done a bit more on Mac's Christmas Quilt.... soon to be renamed Mac's Birthday Quilt.  I think there's more chance of me making a June 2012 deadline than there is of me getting it into Santa's sack before he hitches up Rudolf & Co.     Still... you never know.   I live in hope.   Here's a bit of one of the blocks along with the heap of still to be read quilting/craft magazines I've collected lately....

Last... but by no means least..... I'd like to send a big THANK YOU to Wendy over at Charlottes Web  for giving me this.....

The Leibster award showcases up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers.  Wow!!  I'm up and coming.  Just goes to show... you are never too old!    Seriously Wendy... thank you so much for thinking of me for this award and your regular lovely comments on my posts too.

Now... the rules of accepting this award are that you must show the award on your blog and thank the person who awarded you it to you.   Then choose 5 blogs that meet the criteria to pass the award on to and leave each one a comment.   I'd like to pass the award to these lovely ladies I've 'met' in blogland....

Girls...  I really enjoy visiting you and hope you'll accept the award in the spirit in which it's given.

I'd love to have given the award to everyone on my blog list and all those who I follow and who follow me too.  I do appreciate each and every one of you.

Heck I'd better go.... before I launch into a longer acceptance speech than an Oscar Diva!   Believe me once I get going there is no shutting me up.   

I'm off to work on the Birthday Christmas quilt.... ever the optimist eh!

See you soon....