Tuesday, 29 March 2011

More requests.

It's been a busy weekend. Aside from working both days I had two nights out! A quiet evening on Friday with a British Legion meeting, followed by a couple of drinks with some other members. Saturday was somewhat rowdier, a girls night out, we ate at the local Indian restaurant, and carried on the party in more than one pub in town. It was a great night out. :-) * Remember the Kindle covers in the last post? Tony's colleague was very impressed. Then when he saw the i-pad cover he requested one of those too, and a cover for his i-phone. I do have some of the brown fabric left, but I decided on a change. I dug about until I found some old shirts I had cut up. I found two similar shirts, both purple with stripes. Once again, just a little quilting on the inner fabric, bag out and fold. Rather than try to include my 'made by Loulee' label in a seam I stitched it into the flap. I also found some press studs and stitched them on. That phone is mine, it's somewhat smaller than an i-phone, but it's just the right colour. :-) My Hunney took these items into work today. * I had a dig through my scraps box as promised and I've started cutting pieces for a Dresden quilt. Time for me to make another commitment. No more starts until the Dresden is finished, and I finish another work in progress. * So what about downstairs? I've done a little stitching on 'Floral Trio'. Not a huge amount though. The hydrangea is about two thirds done now. What you see here is just about the extent of the flower, then there is the stem and another bigger leaf to stitch. If I get on with it I could have it finished in no time. * My back is very sore today. It's been a while I have to say, but it's my own fault. Rather than sit in my granny chair I curled up on the sofa with my Tony last night. I have a late shift today, so plenty of time to play, but I'm not sure what I'll get up to, it depends where my back is comfortable. ***GRRRR< Blogger is messing with my formatting!*****

Friday, 25 March 2011

Bloke stuff

Another day off work! I finally used up the majority of the Time I was owed. Today is just a normal day off. :-) I might settle with my cross stitch and a movie this afternoon.
*
Remember my Hunney asked me to make two kindle covers? Well I got stuck in after work yesterday. Two completed kindle covers before he got home.
Nothing fancy, I did a little straight line quilting on the inner fabric and bagged it out, then a quick fold and stitched around the edge. I'll need to add some poppers/press studs, but that's it, they're done. Quick and easy.
So, buoyed on by that success I got stuck in again this morning and made a cover for the i-pad too.
In exactly the same way. :-)
Three cute little sleeping bags for the boys electronic toys.
*
I think I'll go play in my scraps box for the remainder of the morning. I looked back to here, where I made certain commitments and I reckon I'm allowed a new start. By making Mums latest creation double sided I killed two birds there and I've finished Freya's quilt, so I must be entitled to an upstairs start. No downstairs starts though. I need to finish a cross stitch before I can do that. Just because I called time on one and gave it away doesn't make it a finish.
*
Playtime. Have a good day! :-)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Finished!

I'm up bright and early again. Never mind, I'm back to work today, so plenty of time to get ready.
*
Yesterday was a very good sewing day. And a good housework day too as it happens. I set out quilting the animal print top I had walked away from on Tuesday. My Hunney had done a great job of fixing my sewing machine. Thanks Hun. :-)
I quilted for an entire CD, then took a break, I did some housework, collected another CD, then quilted some more, when that CD ran out, I did more housework, and collected another CD. Do you see a pattern forming here? You know me, I didn't get fancy, just plenty of aiming for the ditch.
I know I have shown this top before, but I thought I might show it off one more time.
*
After I had finished quilting the top, I had lunch, then got stuck into the back. I thought I might as well make it pretty too. I pieced together a large panel two smaller pieces and plenty of black.
Then I bound the bottoms of both parts separately, before doing the other three sides all together in the usual way. It's kind of hard to see here, but I used Tiger print for the binding. I put a label on the inside, now I just need to add some press studs along the bottom edge and it's done.
That just about finishes off Mums fabrics. I have one Leopard panel left, it's a cushion size, there are some off cuts too, maybe I'll make a couple of pillow shams. There is certainly enough for at least one.
*
Tony treated himself to a kindle back in January. I've been threatening to make a cover for it ever since. Seems he was chatting with the boys at work yesterday about kindles and looking after them. He came home and announced that he has 'orders' for two please. Guess what my next project will be? Blokey kindle covers!
*


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A Frustrating Day.

The work I expected to find in the office wasn't there! So frustrating. But the journey through to Onchan wasn't a total waste. I called into the crafty shop while I waited for the bus to return home. I found a basket of threads going cheap, so I grabbed four big reels, I also picked up some butterfly motifs, I thought they would be pretty on the back of the butterfly quilt.
Once I got home again I got stuck in to mums animal print quilt. I layered and pinned it all ready for quilting. I fell in love with this lil' guy, he shows up more than once in one of the border rounds. Such a happy face, who says animals don't smile?
After a quick food break I was ready to quilt. The frustrations started again. Nothing was going right, I sewed and unsewed. I changed the needle, I sewed and unsewed, I threaded and re threaded the machine, I sewed and unsewed,I tried a different bobbin, I sewed and unsewed then the noise started and the needle broke! I tweaked and twiddled, and found a bit of fluff, then broke a second needle! So I walked away. I sat downstairs and stitched the butterfly motifs onto the butterfly quilt. I shopped online for a Dresden Wedge ruler. And had a glass of wine while I made dinner, then I had a second glass, just because I could. While I was slurping, my Hunney fixed my machine. Well, he hopes he has, it seemed to behave normally for him. The bobbin housing was lose. How does that happen?
I have another day off today, hopefully I'll be able to finish what I hoped to do yesterday.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Can't Sleep.

It's one of 'those' nights. Well, those mornings really. I woke just before 5am and can't get back to sleep, so here I am talking to you.
Fortunately it's my day off work today, though I do have to call into the Onchan office for a short time. I'll call into the craft shop while I'm through there. :-) Maybe I'll buy something, maybe I won't. I've been very good this month and not bought stash of any kind, my only crafty purchase has been the new magnifying glass.
Before going into work yesterday I completed the animal print top. Here it is. :-)
I also had time to piece together two large off cuts of batting, a necessary task as I don't have a piece the right size and also prepared a piece of fabric for backing. I carried all three and the pins, downstairs with me when I got up, I'll get the table cleared shortly and start pinning.
*
Hope your day starts off better than mine did.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Catch Up.

It's been a very busy weekend. When I got in from work on Friday I was exhausted, and had no energy at all, thank goodness dinner was quick and easy. I helped out at the Royal Naval Association bric a brac sale all day on Saturday. getting away just in time to go to work. An early shift on Sunday left me exhausted again. Boy was I ready for a lie in this morning. Not that I did lie in really, but it was nice to wake up naturally rather than with the alarm. I was still up bright and early and got a few bits out of the way before going into my sewing room.
*
After blogging on Thursday I went upstairs, I still didn't make a label for the butterfly quilt, because Mums fabrics were calling to me, so I got stuck in, and when I went to work I left it looking like this.
These fabrics have been bothering me, ever since mum and I bought them. I would think about them on 'those nights' when I was lying awake, ideas would come to me unbidden at all kinds of times, but when I pulled out the fabrics to look, nothing seemed to work. On Thursday they were calling again and I started pulling books off the shelf, hoping to find inspiration, I happened upon the booklet which came with my calender from Janice and there it was. A cot quilt , which seemed perfect. It has lain like this all weekend, waiting for me. So it was an easy task this morning to slip in there, still in my PJs and sew up those border seams. A quick press and time for a photo.
The cot quilt stopped at the zebra print, obviously I'll need to add a little more, then it's on to quilting it. Mum wants it as a duvet cover rather than a quilt, so there will be a second loose back when I eventually bind it.
*
So that's upstairs taken care of, what about downstairs? Nothing, not a single stitch since my last report. But I'll have time this week to do more there.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

A Finish.

Yesterday was one of those days, you know the kind, they go on and on, forever. Time seems to move very slowly. But it was in a good way. I got loads done, house work, sewing, gawping at the goings on, I even went in to work for a while! I got through a lot.
Upstairs.
I finished the Butterfly Fling quilt. I did do some more quilting, I added more in the columns as I suggested. I'm glad I did, it looks lovely. I also bound it using blue strips from the jelly roll.
It got a rinse and spin and a turn in the tumbler. Now it just needs a label.
I love how soft and cosy it feels. This is the first time I've used Hobbs 100% batting. I like it. :-) I think it will become a must for baby quilts. I have some blocks left and think I have a plan for those too. Watch this space.
Downstairs.
As I was sat here blogging away yesterday, something totally unexpected floated passed my window! You know I live in a flat right? Above a shop. I climb up three flights of stairs to get home. Yesterday there was a commotion and noise in the street below, there was some hooting and tooting, I could hear blokes shouting to one another in an amiable way. When I looked out I saw this. I just figured they were here to look at the street lighting.
Next thing I know, I'm blogging away, minding my own business when this floats passed! Well it's not every day I see something like that up here! LOL The street lights are not up this high.
They weren't here to look at the lights at all, they were here to clear the gutters on the buildings across the street. There is a deep gutter behind the parapet and the gulls like to nest up there, they make such a mess and the guttering gets blocked. After twenty minutes of cleaning they were craned back to the ground and away they went.
Also downstairs. When I got home from work I sat down with my cross stitch. I can't believe I have the Hydrangea almost half way completed. :-)
*
Back to work for real today. I start at 3pm. But first I'm off to play for a while.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

An acquisition

My DD kay turned up yesterday, she brought me flowers and took me out for lunch. Yum. We also had a quick look around the shops. Kay bought some cards and I found a not so old quilt hanger in a junk shop. It's a little on the wibbly wobbly side, but I'm hoping my Hunney can do something about that. Right now it's upstairs being used as nature intended it.
Speaking of Upstairs.
Before DD and I went out for lunch, we took a cuppa upstairs and I finished quilting the Butterfly Fling top. I trimmed the edges and it now awaits maybe a little more quilting, or maybe I'll just add the binding and call it done.
Currently it just has simple almost in the ditch quilting across the rows. I'm thinking maybe I should do the same down the columns too. But a little voice is tempting me to just bind it! I'll keep you posted.
*
Downstairs.
Once home from our lunch and shopping I got out my cross stitch and sat stitching while we chatted.
My purple and mauve blob has grown a little, and sprouted some leaves. I took a break to say goodbye and throw a casserole into the oven, then kept on stitching until a late dinner time.
*
I go back to work today, albeit on a short shift. LOL Still making efforts to use up some of that time I'm owed. I have a meeting this afternoon with a government H&S officer, so I couldn't take the whole day off, instead I'll hopefully only be there for a couple of hours. Tomorrow I'm back to work for real, on a late shift. Phew, I've had a long and slack weekend. Just a shame I didn't find a little more stitchy time.
*
It's surprising what goes passed your third storey windows! More about that tomorrow!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

At last.

No upstairs, downstairs today. I didn't put in a single stitch yesterday. Instead I spent the day sat right here at the table with my student head on. Yep, I studied and studied. It was an e-learning course. I took lots of notes and then sat the E-exam. I passed. 100% :-)
Today it is lashing down, so hopefully I will get to sew.
But first.....
At long last both Annie and Janice have received their gifts from my 600 posts give away. Both girls were very taken with the tiny socks I knitted. I found a newborn size pattern on Ravelry and just couldn't resist adding a key ring.
I wanted to do a little more with the pears, but I think my choice of fabrics excluded pretty much everything I tried. I settled for the less is more look, just adding a button to the leaf and some primitive stitching and pretty pins in the seams.
For the flower pins I enlisted the help of one of my colleagues. They were fun to make, once I got my hands on the correct type of glue.
*
I'm off to play.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Homemade is best.

I don't know about you, but some things I find really are best when they are homemade. Often though, time is an issue and we have to make do with store bought produce. If we're lucky we are able to access a farmers market or shop and can purchase some one else's homemade produce. One thing I am never able to find here is a nice coleslaw. I always find the bought stuff very watery and anaemic, with little or no flavour. It's so simple and quick to make. The basic recipe is always the same. Carrots, onion, cabbage and mayo. Adjust the quantities to suit your tastes.
I finely dice the onion and about a quarter of a small cabbage, then add grated carrot, I always make sure there is plenty of carrot. I stir in one table spoon of mayo, I use organic, and that's it, it takes about 10 minutes to make from start to finish.
I store it in an air tight container in the fridge for a couple of days. It might last longer than that, I don't know, cause it never lasts that long! Best of all? Because I bought the ingredients I know it's 100% organic. If you have the garden and the time to grow your own, even better.
Sometimes I change things a little by using red cabbage or red onion. Spring onions are a nice change too. Chives are a nice addition, fresh is best, but dried will do if you can leave it to sit for an hour or two before use. How about big juicy sultanas?

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Lack of progress....

Upstairs.
Nothing, nada, nowt! The butterfly fling top remains stalled where I left it on Thursday. Half of the top is already on the wadding and partially quilted, the other half is still lying in long strips on the table. The all white and washed out area under the skylight! I have a couple more days before going back to work, I'll get back to it. I started putting it together in a weird quilt as you go method. Downstairs.
Things are not much better to be honest. I sat here on Friday stitching away at the dressing table bear and came to the conclusion that I really don't like it. I wouldn't be keeping it.......and why on earth am I persevering? I made an executive decision. I took it off the scroll bars and put it away along with all the threads and charts. I will not be finishing it. It felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It's official, Loulee has a UFO.
That done I still intend to stick by my no new start commitment. I pulled out 'Floral Trio' and got stuck right in. Starting on the Hydrangea felt a bit like a new start. LOL
I also pulled out the package containing the 'Endangered Babies'. They are sat watching me, I wonder how long they will remain patient?
Ailsa will be posting a progress picture of her cross stitch today. I hope she has more 'stick with it' than I have! LOL

Friday, 11 March 2011

Bright ideas

Upstairs.
Thanks to everyone for your support yesterday. I was so frustrated, how on earth could I make such a silly mistake? I'll blame tiredness! I had plenty of the white fabric and was able to cut more strips. The top is almost complete. The smaller pieces I have dropped into a scraps box. I'm sure they will get used up in something.
I looked into my sewing room this morning but can't seem to find any enthusiasm for that today. Maybe later.
*
Downstairs.
When I looked into Ailsa's blog yesterday she was showing yet more WIPs. Some of them she mentioned needing good light for.
When I first started Cross stitching I could sew just about anywhere, in any light. No help or assistance needed. Things have changed somewhat in the last 30+ years! More so in the last 15. LOL
First stop was spectacles, then gradually over time more and more assistance has crept in.
My newest helper is this little clip on magnifier and light. What a great wee toy. It just arrived today and I have it positioned so that I can easily read my charts.
Some years ago my Hunney bought me an angle poise lamp and magnifier, I have this set up so that I can pull it over my sewing. On projects with 14 or 16 count fabric I just use the light, but for finer counts and evenweaves I utilise the magnifying glass. It's handy for lighting my knitting too and the glass helps out if I have to un knit!
It has a daylight style bulb, perfect for sewing and knitting. It has a clamp which holds it in place on another of my Hunneys gifts. A Lowery work stand.
I have everything all set up around my chair.
When I have my days with David Attenborough, this is where you'll find me, possibly wrapped up in that cosy quilt, certainly knitting or sewing.
*
Today is one of those bonus days off I mentioned earlier in the week. It's also my weekend off! I have 5 days to relax. Bliss. :-)

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Could kick myself!

Upstairs.
I was up early this morning, ridiculously so, it was one of 'those' nights. And it shows. I've been upstairs playing in the sewing room since I heard my Hunney getting up and I knew I wouldn't disturb him. I finished putting together the rows of Butterfly Fling blocks. Then I cut the last of the sash strips and the blue corner stones and got them all put together.
I was flying and having so much fun. Then after I had pressed the first strip from the new batch, I came to a crashing halt.
Now I'm in the middle of unsewing said sash strips. I had cut all of the white pieces 1/2 inch too short. Time for a break and a cuppa. I'll get back to it soon, I want to try and get this top finished before I go in to work today. I start at 4pm.
*
Downstairs.
On the cross stitch front, I've almost completed the cross stitches for the bear piece. There seems to be very little back stitch, so I predict a finish fairly soon. :-)
After my last post about Cross stitch Ailsa got in touch with me asking about a stitch along, so that we have a little incentive and can encourage each other. Like a lot of us, she's a busy lady with a job, family and life all conspiring to get in the way of her craft time. Go have a look at her blog, tell her I sent you and crack the whip while you're there. LOL
No picture from down stairs today, Ailsa and I will post updates on the same day hopefully. Work, life, family...........permitting.
*
Right, I'm off upstairs to un sew some more.

Monday, 7 March 2011

WIPs and Upstairs Downstairs.

I thought I might show you my cross stitch WIPs. Maybe that will help with completion! First up is a piece which I inherited from one of my service users. I'm really not sure I like this one, but I'll finish it anyway.
I haven't done a huge amount to it, here's after and before! LOL
I'm not sure what will happen to this once it's done.
*
Next up is a piece I've been working on and off for about 6 years. 'Floral trio' is about 2/3 done, with only the back stitch on the Clematis and a hydrangea left to stitch.
I set out doing this one for mum, but she has since announced that she has no wall space left? Maybe a cushion?
*
This one has been seen more recently, like in the last two years recently. LOL
'Endangered babies' is also almost complete. I used to be a prolific cross stitcher, until I was seduced by patchwork and quilting.
My plan is to complete all three of these cross stitch before I'm allowed to cast on any more knitting, or indeed, begin a new cross stitch. Even though I don't really like the teddy bear piece, I have enjoyed working on it over the last couple of evenings. So that's down stairs. Upstairs nothing has changed, the sewing room is all tidy after the other day and I didn't get a chance to mess it up again. I'm sure I'll remedy that tomorrow, I have a late shift!
*
You know when you find out you have to take some time off? I was certain I had used up all of the Time off in lieu I worked up last year, but my line manager just told me today that I have 22 hours to use! Bonus. :-) Then she got stressed out trying to cover some of my shifts so I can use it. I have two shifts covered already, one to go. Extra time off, means extra time to play. :-)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Planning.

I've been meaning to show you this beauty for a while. Mum bought me this plant a couple of years ago and it's never stopped flowering. This latest bloom has to be the best yet.
I know it by two names Kalanchoe or Flaming Katie. It's clicky if you want a better look.
It sits on the bathroom window sill, above the most important seat in the house. While I was in there, sleeves up scrubbing away, the sun was shining through the window and it just looked beautiful. Typically, by the time I'd taken off the gloves and fetched the camera the sun was hiding, but I took the picture anyway, all those golden blooms don't need sunshine to look beautiful.
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I completed the bag lining yesterday as planned, and the zipper behaved perfectly. :-) So finish number one is accomplished. Finish number two is almost upon me. I picked up the last of the Christmas mopping up projects. My SIL Angie didn't get a hat to go with her scarf and mitts, she's been waiting ever since. This could be her lucky day, I really am that close to finishing it. The new project I cast on just wasn't working, another of those times when the pattern just wouldn't stay in my head, I kept making the most silly mistake, always the same one! LOL So I've abandoned that for now. I think someone was trying to tell me something. So after two relatively quick finishes, I have only the longer haul projects left. LOL
*
My tidy up in the sewing room revealed that the makings of at least four projects remain in Mums pile! Two could be quick finishes, the others will require a bit more time and thought. Though to be honest, what was the least inspiring bundle has been talking to me, ever since I read this post.
My tidy up forced me to put a bit more thought into my goals. The rules have changes slightly! No I'm still not allowing myself any new starts! No new knitting starts once Angie's hat is complete, if I want to knit I work on my blanket if I don't want to do that, I'll have to cross stitch. That's downstairs taken care of.
Upstairs, where the patching and quilting takes place, I want to clear out Mums fabrics, but I don't want to commit to just those, so if I need a break from them, I get to work on the Butterfly Fling quilt for Freya.
Does any of that makes sense? Still with me? Lets simplify this, I think I need it even if you don't.
No new starts until I complete.
1) Two of Mums projects, one quick, one longer.
2) One cross stitch project.
3) Freya's quilt.
Wow, I don't think I've ever spelled it out quite like that before.
I'm off to smear marinade over the chicken pieces, then I'll finish the last few rows of Angie's hat.