Tuesday, 28 April 2009

For My Next Trick..............

Back to work yesterday, but it was a good day, I sat a COSHH exam and although it has to be officially marked, the examiner went thorough it with me once I was finished and told me that I have a 100% pass mark!! Cool Huh?
I've done a few rows of Knitting and have almost reached the point where I must start to shape sleeve and neck holes. I must say I am enjoying knitting this sweater up for Joe. I also found a pattern which I may use make a cardigan for Kay.
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My sister in law almost pounced on me when we visited on Sunday, and presented me with her laundry basket! Would I make a nice lining for it please as she is growing tired of tatty old bin liners, but if she does without, the wicker snags on her clothes.
I plan to do it today, I should have plenty of time, before going in to work at three. I have the pattern already worked out in my head, it's not hard.
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Jannimary was asking how I found doing a pieced binding on the fan quilt. I have done pieced bindings before and love them. This one, like the fans has pieces of fabric left from other projects and is full off memories, it was fun to see each piece go by.

I chain pieced a whole bunch of 2.5 inch squares, a couple had started to come unstitched, but only right on the edges and I was able to put a couple of extra stitches on each of the joins as I passed them.
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As well as a little knitting I have also made a little more progress on French Roses. The first round of applique is under way and I've had my winter pinwheels out again, Hunney has decided they just need a wide white border and a navy blue binding and they'll be done. So that's what they shall have. Hehehe, an excuse to go shopping! I don't have enough white, I just used it all.
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Time to hop onto the rowing machine. It's working.....although the scales in the bathroom still tell the same story, I've gone down a bra size and lost two inches from my waist and 4 from my hips!! Yippie
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Gratitude's.
1) Lost inches
2) Time to play
3) 179 days.


Saturday, 25 April 2009

And twelve hours later.

My boy and I popped out to the shops for a few essentials this morning, then while I kept one ear on the goings on in the kitchen, I got stuck in on the sewing machine.
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While the biscuit base was chilling, I sewed up the back of the top panel by hand. (I'm quilting as I go).
Then Joe and I went out for lunch. This boy has hollow legs!
While he played a little of his game, I attached the binding.
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While Joe mixed the cheesy bit, I closed up the binding and by the time Hunney came home from his extra hours at work I was ready for his help with the photo shoot!
'I'm not a Fan of This One' is finished. I'm undecided about whether or not it will take it's turn on our bed.
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The cheesecake? Oh! It was lemon, and delicious, and, it's now gone, even though it didn't set properly. Hmm, maybe I should have paid a little more attention.
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Gratitude's
1) It's done.
2) Lemon Cheese cake
3) An evening ahead with Hunney.

Life, the Universe and Everything.

It feels like an age since I did anything other than check my emails on this computer. Life has been hectic work, work, work. With countless other things thrown in, all designed of course to keep me away from my needles.
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Needless to say I haven't yet managed to get that final panel onto the fan quilt, it's still resting on my sewing chair, exactly where I left it. (Sigh) Maybe today.......
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DS Joe, my little chef, wants to make a cheesecake, maybe while he is busy with that, I'll get close to my sewing machine. It would be good to be able to get this one finished and get the binding on this weekend.
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My life has not been totally devoid of needles. I have managed here and there to knit a few rows of a sweater for Joe. I don't think he'll be getting this fancy cable pattern over the whole thing, I think I may do the back and sleeves in a simple fisherman's rib, just to get it finished.

It's tempting to sit and knit today, though I have to say, my quilt is calling the loudest, the knitting is snoozing in it's basket, shhhh, don't wake it.

What else can I say? Work has it's ups and downs, it's currently on a small up! I have worked with some great colleagues this week and ended the week on a high note, with an early finish on Friday and a weekend off, with NO ON CALL!!
My Hunney is currently spreading himself very thinly across 3 university courses, extra hours at work and, well, precious little time for me. We had a chat last night, I pointed out that the words 'Thank you for my dinner sweetie' and 'see you after work' just aren't enough. I need more of his time than it takes to brush his teeth in the mornings and eat his dinner in the evenings. I feel awful, like I'm adding more pressure to his already stressed life. One of his courses finishes very soon, but he still has two others and some intensive projects at work which require his attention 'out of hours'. As well as feeling sorry for myself because I miss him, I worry for his health.
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Whine over!!
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Gratitude's
1) A long chat and a cuddle.
2) Two days off.
3) Sunshine.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Bit O' This, A Bit O' That.

It's still school holidays here, and DS Joe is still trying to keep me busy. Yesterday the weather was awful, so we didn't go out anywhere, except to get a few essentials, well they are essential if you want to make Lamingtons! Yummy. My baby sister came for dinner and Joe wanted to make dessert. He set out wanting to make souffle, but I managed to convince him that Lamingtons was a much safer bet. I'd show you a picture of the finished result, but we scoffed the lot!
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As my sister was coming I had to put the fan quilt away again, my sewing corner is the corner of the dining room! Here it is nestled in its bag, hopefully today the extra wadding will arrive and I'll be able to get the last panel quilted and on then I can add the binding.
I may have had to put the quilt itself away, but while Joe was baking I was able to spend a couple of hours finishing off making the scrappy binding. I had a series of pieces ready to be sewn together, I simply cut some more 2.5 inch squares and put it all together.
It's all ready to be added once that final panel is in place. I'm not sure I'll get chance to do it today though as it is a nice looking day and I did promise Joe we could go out for lunch. He'll want to walk too. He likes the idea of being in charge of one of the cameras.
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I've also done a little more knitting and have only a tiny bit left to do on the second jacket, I could have it finished in less than a day if I pull my thumb out!
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That's it on the crafty front. I did say I'd show more pictures of our day at the Wild Life Park, so if you don't want to see loads of pictures of critters, now is the time to leave.
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It's spring here in the Northern half of the world, so everywhere we looked there were nests and babies. The Park is situated on the edges of a Curragh or swamp, so there are lots of water loving creatures, especially ducks, everywhere you look you see ducks. There were about 5 of these huge storks nests all clustered together.
This old pelican has been around for a long time. He is not as glamorous as his pink relatives, but is a great character.
Hunney loves the European Lynx. There are three. Mum, Dad and Junior.

DS Joe was bothering the Rhea, until it posed for a photo.

Everywhere we looked there were nests and and spring activities going on.Ducklings!! We saw hundreds of em!

And quite a few mums too!
Who doesn't love the penguins?

We took lots more pictures, I may show them another day.
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Gratitude's
1) A few days off work.
2) Lamingtons.
3) Time with my family.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A stitch on the wild side.

I may have been quiet of late, but I haven't been idle. I've done a little sewing and knitting. Pictures of that later. I've also been walking. Lots and lots of walking.
Yesterday DS Joe, myself and DD Kay headed up into Glen Auldyn, where I grew up. We saw hundreds of pheasants, who didn't want their picture taken. I spotted this guy hiding in the hedge, the kids had walked right passed him.
We climbed way up into the glen and up the hill sides. There are miles and miles of foot paths through plantations and wilder areas. Town is over there somewhere in the murky mist.
I used to swim in this pool as a child. On long hot summer days it was wonderful to come home from school and jump into the waterfall. This pool is right across the road from our old house.
On Saturday we did a very different kind of walk. We went to the Wild Life Park. That was a great day. The area is very wet and swampy, so there are hundreds of wild fowl from all over the world and of course lots of species who like water. The otter enclosure was empty while maintenance was done, but I did manage to capture a lesser spotted Hunney lurking nearby.
This red panda was a character, we watched him for quite a long time.
Did I mention that there are all manner of birds? (We took dozens of pictures, if you'd like more just leave me a comment and I'll do a whole post about our day out.)

In between days out and hiking about on the hill sides I have managed to get a little sewing time. Though to get any farther I'll have to dig out my table.

I found the scrappy border I had stashed away in the bottom of the scraps box and also pulled out a few extra scraps, just in case. I'm glad I found these I think they will make the ideal binding.

And last but not least, some thing creative.....
I've made two of these blue fans, and just need to get them finished off before layering, quilting and attaching them. That really shouldn't take too long, maybe I'll get a chance today. It's really not a nice day for walking, so I'm hoping Joe will do some baking while I sew. His Nana gave him a recipe book for Easter rather than an second ton of chocolate and he is itching to try out a few recipes.
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Gratitude's
1) Beautiful countryside.
2) School Holidays.
3) Time to sew.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Less than 200 days!

My count down to New Zealand has finally dipped below 200. The time is going by pretty fast at the moment. I am sooooooo looking forward to this holiday.
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Life and work have been getting in the way of sewing as has become usual around here, not totally though. I was thinking you know, (Yes, that was the burning smell) I made progress on the fan quilt while I was going through some personal horrors with a few work horrors thrown in for good measure. Once things had calmed down, I wandered away from it and couldn't bear the thought of getting it out for any reason. Once again there are stresses and pressures building at work, I seem to be getting it from all sides there, and life at home is not much better as my ex husband stirs his poisoned brew and attempts to pour it on to my kids. Poor lil' Joe is at his wits end and has said he doesn't want to be there any more, he just wants to stay here. Ironic then that this quilt should make a come back.
It's a shame it has become associated with stress and grief as I did love the fans, especially the original nine which were a give away win and my first real taste of the truly generous quilty/bloggy community. The fact that they were part of a swap and each one is different presented it's own challenges, did I have enough scraps to stick with the truly scrappy feel? Well obviously I either found or made them. LOL
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Anyway, on with progress, here's what I've been planning.
I'm hoping I can find this bundle of treasure, I'm sure it still nestles at the bottom of the scraps box, I plan to use it as a scrappy binding. Though at one time I had planned to use it as a border around the original nine. Something else which seems to have come full circle.
DD Kay and I had a discussion about how this quilt is going, I mentioned to her about my plan to add another back as I wasn't over joyed with what I have achieved with my quilt as I go method. We looked at the back and she has convinced me to leave it as it is. Maybe she has a good idea there. Perhaps if I keep on grumbling about the back it will become the metaphor of the stresses in my life while I learn to love the top all over again. It does after all hold lots of good memories in all the scraps not to mention some of the lessons I learned along the way.
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Speaking of scraps, these beauties came from a scrap collectors club I belonged to for a short while. Each month you got a bundle of scraps and an instruction sheet for a quilt block. I only lasted about 6 months before I cancelled it! Anyway, when DD and I discussed doing another round we came up with the idea of laying it on my bed, just to see............ Instead of a whole round we decided I could do just one end, which would lay over the pillows. Here you see enough fan blades to complete two more fans, though I'm still not finished playing about with ideas and may not need them all.
Meanwhile, the quilt waits patiently as it has these past few months.

I have a bundle of fabrics here auditioning to be the back ground for this latest fan or fans, and they all need ironing.
I'm hoping there will be a break in the weather just long enough for me to scoot to the post office, I have a card and a gift here which will be late!! Mind you, the bad weather is a good excuse to stay home and sew.
I'm going to play.
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Gratitude's
1) 198 days.
2) DD offered to vacuum.
3) My Hunney and my kids.


Friday, 3 April 2009

Quilting!!

Now don't go into shock!! But I have actually done some quilting this morning.
Not only that but, prepare your selves now.....
I pulled out the fan quilt!
When I put it away all I had left to do was to quilt and add the two remaining side panels along with their butterfly corner stones.
This morning I have quilted one of those panels and have it all ready to be attached to the main body of the quilt.
If you remember I'm doing this one, quilt as I go style.

Sorry these pictures are a bit washy, I'm still learning this new camera and I can't seem to get in door pics just how I like them.
I have the second panel all pinned and ready to quilt but I think I'll call it quits for today.
Even though I've quilted as I went on this one, I'm not delighted with the back and have found a lovely duvet cover next door in the charity shop which I'm hoping will serve as a quilt back, with some careful cutting and re piecing it should be just big enough. I'd do only some very basic quilting as a means of attaching it. It's 100% cotton, which you don't often see these days but has a stain I hope to be able to remove, if I can't....well it is the back!!
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Gratitude's
1) Another beautiful day.
2) My quilty muse is back
3) DD is going to help with the grocery shopping.