Tuesday 31 March 2020

A Corona Day.

As the new normal goes on, so normality must also continue.
For me, that means going off to work as usual, albeit less often. So yesterday, before work, I went into my wee room and had my lovely me time. I made the third of my Frivol blocks. Another pretty floral fabric.
I was having a think while I was sewing, and if I keep on going at this rate, I should have all the blocks made inside two weeks. I could have it finished inside three!
Do I want to finish it that fast? Do I stop the block a day routine and stick to work days only?
I'll ponder that while I make block four today. LOL
No work today, it's my corona day. I stay away from the office, so the boss can go in. He can work from home generally but thought I would appreciate more days at home.
What a sweetie. (But don't tell him I said so) 
 A project that is moving somewhat more slowly is the shades of grey sweater I started for myself sometime last year. Believe me, I do want to go faster on it, but as knitting does still cause some issues for my wrist I am trying to take it very slowly. 
I try to stick to bouts of 15 - 30 minutes, but sometimes I just get into a lovely rhythm and want to keep going. The front and back are done, and what you see here is progress on the first sleeve.
 My companion was keeping a very close eye on my yarn, as it danced and snaked it's way out of the basket, up the couch and over my knee. Until disappointingly, I put the knitting away. You should have seen the dirty look I got!
Then she hopped up onto the back of the couch, curled her paw over her eyes and would you believe it, began to snore!!
Yes, my can snores.
I'm off to play. Have fun with your day.
Stay home, stay safe, stay well.

Sunday 29 March 2020

A very busy Sunday.

I have had a very busy and successful day. First I made up the next frivol block. In a beautiful lime green. I was able to complete it much faster today. So very happy about that, but I still think I need to only commit to making half a block before work in the mornings, unless those disturbed nights return.
 That done, I got on with quilting the pears. I'm quite pleased with the way it has turned out.
That was fun.
At some point I took a break to make lunch. Left over mince  became very tasty pies in no time with frozen pastry and my trusty pie machine.
Hmm, where have I seen that brand before!!! LOL
I also made time to make apple and blackberry crumbles.
One for today and two for the freezer.
 While the apples were stewing I made the binding for the pears.
And while the crumbles baked I sewed it on.
I just finished sewing it up.
I'm unsure at this time if this one will be a wall hanger or a table topper.
So for now it will continue to hang from a skirt hanger in my room, while I think about it.
This evening I hope to make some knitting progress, but I was knitting on and off all day yesterday and my wrist started to ache, so I'll see how that goes.
I still have to quilt the unicorns and I have more smaller projects I could be getting on with too.
Hmm, what next?
I've also been out to the greenhouse today, and picked more chillis. They are slowing down now, with the cooler nights, but I still find bright red fruits most days.
I have almost enough for another batch of evil chilli chutney.
Tony will be happy. 

Saturday 28 March 2020

My bonus day off.

I really wasn't sure what to do with myself yesterday, and considered a few things before eventually pulling my recently acquired Frivol tin down off the shelf. 
As you know, the tins don't really show much, so here is a look at the pattern sheet inside.
I had fun sorting the fabrics and then set about finding and cutting additional white fabric.
There are nearly 200 little triangles in this pic.
It took quite a while to cut them all.
After all the cutting of white was done I cut the first row of colours.
If I follow the cutting instructions provided I get scraps like the blue ones to the right of this pic.
Yes, they are blue, honest!
I juggled things around a little and came up with a less wasteful way of cutting, well I think so anyway.
I was going to stop there, telling myself that this was to be my 15 minutes in the morning project.
But then I told myself I should make one up, just to try out the pattern instructions.

It was fun to make.
But took a bit longer than I anticipated.
I'll see how it goes...
After playing in my room for the morning and most of the afternoon, I took a nap, given that we were up so early, I think I deserved it!
After a few rows of knitting, I'm happy to say, I slept well last night, and didn't wake until 7 am this morning.
That's more like it.
I'm not sure what I'll do today.
But I'm sure I'll think of something.

Friday 27 March 2020

And then there were three.

While having a tidy up of the freezer to squeeze in more of the bounty from our garden, I came across two bags of chopped pumpkin. As there are just the two of us, I often have left over pumpkin, they are such huge fruits sometimes, so I chop it into roasting size pieces and freeze it for later use.
Anyway, I decided to make a batch of soup.

I let it soften a little then chopped it into smaller pieces and into the pan it went.
This is my go to pumpkin soup recipe. and it is YUMMY!
 I found it in this book a few years ago and it's become a favourite in our house.
We are not vegan, or even vegetarian, but there are some very tasty recipes in there which we cook on meat free Monday, the salad section is a great inspiration for BBQ season and I've even taken some of the meals along to pot luck suppers with great success and approval.
Look for it in your local bookstore. Once all the lock downs are over of course. 
Sorry, no pics of my finished soup. What wasn't eaten right away, went back into the freezer! LOL
After giving myself a kick in the backside the other day, I'm finding my groove again and yesterday before work I finished the third of my butterflies for the RSC.
What a happy wee trio they make.
This of course means I'll have to have a look about for something else to do in the mornings.
I do have one or two kits floating about and will have a look at them today, or maybe I'll make a start on quilting the two quilts I have layered and waiting.
I have a bonus day off work today. Good thing really as the restless nights continue. Both Tony and I were awake just after 3 am and both of us gave up and got up a little later.
I've done a few rows of knitting here and there, so progress is being made. 
I'm off to make eggs on toast for brekkie, then find some pretty fabrics to play with.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

The new normal.

I'd like to say that normal service has returned, but it just hasn't, nor will it!
Life is going to be very different for the whole world, for quite some time I think.
So it's time to find a new normal.
At the moment, the new normal for me seems to include waking at some point in the wee small dark hours. Giving up trying to get back to sleep, so getting up and knitting a few rows, before returning to bed to try again!
My companion is not very good company. After the initial 'what are you doing up' look last night she stood up, stretched, yawned and wrapped her paw over her eyes and went back to sleep. If only I found it that easy.
Sewing wise, I cut out the RSC block pieces on Sunday, I didn't sew on Monday, but on Tuesday morning I gave myself a kick in the backside and got on and made one block, even though I was exhausted and wanted to stay in bed to make up for the midnight knitting.
This morning I made the second. Just one left for tomorrow morning.
Then I'll have to find something else to do in the mornings.
One norm that has survived from the old routines is preserving.
What to do with a whole heap of Red Hot Chilli Peppers?
 Preserve them of course.
Don't breath over the pan!! The steam was lethal!
The recipe is Evil Chilli Chutney!
It even looks evil. And in it's younger state it is evil.
But as it matures in the jar it really does improve.
There are plenty more chillis still to ripen, weather permitting.
Though this recipe can be made with green chillis too.
I'm happy to share if anyone has a glut of chillis and loves the heat!!
Work will change too, for a while at least.
NZ will go into lockdown tonight.
The government is asking everyone who is not essential to stay at home, and work from home.
As OCS is primarily a cleaning company here in Timaru.
And we clean many of the essential services, we have to remain open.
My role as admin has changed somewhat, but I'll still have to go to work three days a week, beginning next week.
So, I'll have two extra days at home to play!!!
And maybe even blog a little more often.
Be safe everyone, stay home if you can, stay away from other people.
Wash, wash, wash your hands.
Lets get together here in blogland as often as we can and support each other in this new normal.

Sunday 22 March 2020

And then the world went mad.....

Life has changed somewhat in recent times. 
Covid 19 has appeared and spread across the world.
People are scared and buying too much toilet roll.  Self isolation and social distancing are the new normal. I work as an admin for a multi national cleaning company, my role has changed a little , there is less paper and more laundry and mixing of chemicals. My hours have increased somewhat too. I can deal with all of that. Then we found out that Friday 27th March will be my husbands last day at his work. He has been made redundant. Not by Covid 19, but for some other reason I really don't fully understand. The day we got that news was the last day I put in my 15 minutes in the morning before work. My pears have stalled as you see them here, all layered and pinned ready to be quilted.
I just don't feel like working on them.
I have been knitting though. I mentioned to a couple of folks that I might need the 15 minutes challenge in the evenings to get a couple of knitting projects over the line.
And it worked.
Over the last week I've been able to complete this wee sweater for my grand son Floki.
And I've pulled out the sweater I was making for myself and made great progress on that too.
I feel awful that I haven't felt like doing anything quilty, but I did achieve something crafty.
In an effort to cheer up and hopefully inspire both myself and my pal Clowie, we hopped into my car yesterday and visited the Quilting shed. We were there for two hours, talking to Cathy and looking at all the lovely fabrics and model quilts. Clowie and I both bought kits for this quilt.
It was done originally as a quilt along, but we both opted to purchase the entire kit and do things in our own time.
 Look at the lovely bag it comes in.
 If you can see it past the inspector!!
Seeing all of the loveliness at the shop yesterday did inspire me and I feel that I just might get myself back into my room sometime soon.
But first I have about a kilo of Red Hot Chilli Peppers to deal with!

I'm linking with Kate and all the lovely people who check in for her 15 minutes  to stitch, I'm hoping you'll all inspire and cheer me on. 

Be well everyone, be socially distant, except here in blogland and remember to sing happy birthday as you wash your hands, often.
And another thought, if you're holding a needle, you certainly won't want to touch your face. 

Sunday 8 March 2020

Slow Progress

Things have slowed down a little in my corner of the world. My Gail Pan Pears project is all cut out and ready to applique. But I had issues with my thread. I found two perfect coloured threads in my box, they are older spools, that came with me from the Isle of Man, I had a few issues winding bobbins, but eventually got a good wind. That of course slowed progress on that morning. Then the following morning, when I started to sew, I had yet more issues. The thread would knot and bunch making awful nests which I struggled to unpick.
I re threaded the machine, reset the bobbin. Got it to stitch ok in straight stitch, but as soon as I tried my preferred applique stitch, it all became messy again! Finally I changed to a different brand of thread, and all was fine but I didn't have the right colours in that thread brand!!
Off to the shop with me, to find the right colours.
Friday morning before work I was able at last to begin some satisfactory applique.
I'll show some progress soon.. Thread issues aside, it really shouldn't take long to make this one.
And there are more thread issues!
the unicorns are loaded onto the frame, but I have a choice of quilting threads.
Which is causing me to dither........
So rather than spend the weekend finishing that project, I'm busy with my secret Christmas project instead.
I have achieved my minimum of 15 minutes a day before work.
With some days surpassing that.
Linking with Kate at A Life In Pieces Blog to see what other 15 Min challengers have done.

Monday 2 March 2020

A New Month, A New Week, A New Project!

Well the month of February saw me finish a very large project in my Flip Flop Scrap quilt top.
And some smaller finishes too.
My top secret Christmas Ornament.
And part two of Gail Pan's I stitch BOM.
Speaking of which, Gail released the March block on 29th February. So I had all of the stitchery traced and ready to go on Sunday morning. I had the whole block finished by dinner time.
As usual I made a couple of changes. Gail encourages us to personalise our blocks and like my idea of an extra bee. On the original design, the circle with a bee in it was a flower. But I wanted a bee.
We have a thrush who visits our garden often, so I tweaked the bird in to a thrush by adding french knots to his chest.
And below, you see the first three blocks all together.
I've also finished the bonus project. This time it's a wee table topper, with more bees.
It's not quilted or bound in this image, but that has been done, I just need to close the binding.
It was the first time I have bound a hexie, so after some research I set off. While I was concentrating hard I could hear a noise behind me, it sounded like a paper bag being beaten into submission. Sure enough, when I got up to investigate, this is what I found!
She is still in there, purring her furry little butt off!
Sew, with my Flip Flop Scraps all done and made into a quilt top, what am I going to do in the mornings?
 This morning I spent some time looking for Rainbow Scrap Challenge fabrics, but more about that in a moment. 
I picked up this kit in a sale recently. A not quite so local store is having a big clear out and lots of things have been popping up on facebook. This kit was one of them.
Sorry for the sideways image.
 I do love Gail's original colourway, but this kit came with these lovely blue fabrics. Yum!
It is a Gail Pan design. I had not seen it before, but I'm delighted to get my hands on this one.
It will be my 15 minutes before work focus project for a little while.
And while I work on it I'll be planning another scrappy project I think.
Another on going project is the RSC.
Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
This month the chosen colour is Teal.
A dig through my stash this morning revealed no scraps!
 Two fat quarters and two larger pieces which I don't want to cut into yet. I have something in mind for them.
But I want to make three blocks, which in my mind means at least three colours.
So, on my way home from work I popped into the sewing centre and bought the middle one.
Maybe I should have taken a sample with me, it looks a little blue here.
 Mind you, they all do. Both photos were taken within 30 seconds of each other, and less than a fat quarter apart. One on my chair and one on my machine desk. The bottom image is closer to the real thing.
I have a whole month to make three butterflies.
I also need to make a start on my One a month Christmas project. This will be the third blue one.
I might have a change of colour next month.
Well, that's my news, I'm off to close the binding on my bumble bee table topper.