Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Circus skills

Sunday was a beautiful hot and sunny day which was great since Lucy and I spent it outside. We took some of our Rainbows to an event day at our favourite camp site. The theme of the day was circus skills with the girls making a range of crafts based around the theme and trying a variety of skills including stilt walking, juggling, riding a uni cycle and  plate spinning. The girls joined in enthusiastically with all the activities. In the afternoon we enjoyed a performance by Happy's Circus. The clown was really funny and the magician's were very good but the parts the girls loved the best were the acrobats and balancing acts.

When we got home Katy and Olly had arrive to share Sunday dinner with us. Even better they cooked! As they were both tired and working early on Monday morning I drove them home at the end of the evening. The down side was that I had no slow Sunday stitching this week. I had found time to do a little work on Earlene last week so at least the stitching had moved forward a bit.

This week Lucy and her boyfriend are travelling to Le Mans with a group of friends for the 24 hour race. The group drive there in convoy. I'm not sure how long the drive will take but I think I'd fly if I was going. It will be odd this week being just the three of us at home.

So that's it for now. I need to get some sleep. I'm hoping I'll get some sewing time over the next two days but I've got a lot of paperwork to finish first.


Saturday, 9 June 2018

Oops I forgot the maintenance

Today I had the house to myself, well except for Scamp and Picasso.  I rushed round to get the chores done, feed the washing machine, sweep and clean the kitchen floor and clean the bathroom so that I was free to do some sewing. My plan for the first part of the day was to finish my dress that I started last weekend so that once that I was done I could make some blocks towards my OMG. The first task on the dress was to overlock the seams to give a good finish. I do own an overlocker but it's a bit of a pain to get it out and even more of a pain to make it behave and produce beautifully finished seams so I decided I'd use the overlock stitch on my sewing machine. I was more than half way down the first seam when the machine started making the most awful noise so I decided to nurse it along to the end  before investigating. The noise seemed to be coming from the bobbin so I started there and discovered the compartment had a lot of fluff in it. That's when I remembered that I hadn't cleaned the machine after finishing quilting the compass quilt. I couldn't get all the fluff from the top of the bobbin compartment so I tipped the machine over and took the screws out of the bottom. Well I was horrified at how much fluff I discovered. It was at this point that I tried to think when I last cleaned it and just couldn't remember. My poor machine was being choked to death with this mountain of fluff.

I gave the poor love a thorough clean and having done that booked her in for a stay at the spa next month. I'm not sure what happened as I usually give her a good clean before I start a new project but obviously that hasn't happened recently. When I'd finished, I re- threaded  and had a test run. She stitched beautifully with no whining and we have spent a great day sewing.

The dress is all finished but since there was no one around I couldn't take a photo. I'll do that when I wear it. Having finished the dress I decided to start on the blocks for my June goal. In the end I only got one made as Katy phoned for a chat and after that I decided I needed a cup of tea and some time catching up on my blog reading. Anyway here's the block I made.

I have the fabrics organised for the next block but didn't get as far as cutting the pieces. Instead I found myself cutting strips of fabric to make a trip around the world block. I was about to piece it together when John arrived home. John needed some bits from the shops so I went with him and when we got home I packed my sewing away for the day as I was feeling tired. Never mind only another 5 blocks to go to complete my goal.

Tomorrow I'm taking Rainbows (5 to & year old guides) to a circus skills day with Lucy so there won't be much opportunity for sewing. I might take some hand sewing with me as there's a show in the afternoon so the girls will be fully occupied watching it and I can add some stitches to Earlene.

I'm off to bed in a few minutes as I've stayed up later than I meant to. I've been reading this evening and I really got into the story.


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

OMG for June

I find it hard at the beginning of the month to decide on my goal. I have quite a range of projects that need to move forward but there are so many variables that affect the final choice, such as how much sewing time will I have, do I have all the fabric or threads I need to get on with the project and what is the weather going to be like? The weather here in the UK has been rather up and down recently, one day very hot and then rain and thunder. Now it's gone cooler which means it's great for stitching the binding on to a large quilt but when it warms up again, which is supposed to happen in the next few day, that will not be a pleasant task. Because of that I shelved this idea and will hand stitch the binding on cool days.

I started the Austen Family Quilt block of the week several years ago now but I have never finished it. I can't remember how many blocks I've done but I think it's time to get the rest of the blocks made. I'm not going to set a goal of completing all the remaining blocks since I'm unsure how many are left to do  but I will make 6. That means I need to make three over each of the next two weekends.The last weekend in June I'm away on camp with Lucy and our Guide unit. If I get more made I'll be very happy.

These are two of the blocks I've already made. So my goal is 6 blocks to be added to this quilt by the end of June (more would be fantastic!) Note to self, find the blocks I've already finished and check which one's I need to make, also pull out the storage pot with the fabric for these blocks

I have also set myself a hand stitching goal and that's to complete the stitching on Earlene

I've already added some some more stitching to her and I'm fairly certain I'll be able to complete her in my hand stitching time this month.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for her June OMG Link up Last month I finished my monthly goal which made me happy so here's to a successful June goal.


Monday, 4 June 2018

Binding attached and more thunder

Earlier last week I set to and cut and stitched the binding onto my compass quilt. It took a little time to get it machine stitched to the quilt but now it's all ready for me to hand stitch to the back. I spent time sewing in the threads from the quilting, hopefully I've done them all but there may still be a few I've missed. As the quilt nears completion I have fallen in love with it again. I've made a start on sewing the binding on but this is a big quilt, 80 inches by 80 I think, so it will take some time.

The weather the end of the week continued to be wet and thundery. Poor old Scamp really doesn't know what to do with himself as the thunder terrifies him. There is nothing you can do to calm him down and playing the radio or TV loud just doesn't work. At the end of the storms he usually falls asleep on my lap. Thankfully the weather over the weekend has been warm and dry and Scamp has enjoyed walks on the common.

Yesterday we had a family dinner which was lovely but when all our family are together it gets quite loud. Earlier in the day I cut out a dress pattern. This is an old pattern that appeared in Prima magazine ages ago. I've made it several times before and it's a great dress for the summer.

This is the fabric I am using, I've had it in my dress making fabric stash for a while but didn't make the time to sew it.

Whilst I made a start on the sewing this morning Picasso was most helpful. He takes his responsibility as a sewing cat very seriously and likes to check the pattern is all there and that the machine is working properly, and that the fabric is soft and comfy. When he starts checking out the machine I get worried that he might get his paw caught by the needle.

For once he has his eyes open in this photo and he wasn't very pleased to have the camera pointed at him.

Today is slow Sunday stitching. I had hoped to have finished this spitfire this week but being on holiday doesn't mean you have any extra free time to stitch. At least the stitching now looks more like a plane. There actually is very little left to do of the cross stitching but the back stitch outline always takes quite a while.

I'm going for a run with Lucy before dinner but will have time later to add several more stitches.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching  Pop over and see what everyone has been hand stitching.

I'm back at work tomorrow so my dress won't be finished until next weekend. 

Take care


Monday, 28 May 2018

One monthly goal completed

Take me to the May OMG LInk-up

May has been a good month for sewing and completing goals. I set myself a main goal of completing Mathilda, one of the bag lady embroideries. I finished her with time to spare and have since been working on my millennium sampler during my hand stitching time which I'll continue until the end of the month. So here's the completed Mathilda.

I also gave myself a second goal which was to complete the quilting on my compass quilt. I've spent a lot of time over the last few days working on this quilt and a little while ago I finished up the quilting  and trimmed it ready to add the binding. I haven't cut and stitched the binding yet so it will have to wait until tomorrow. We are supposed to be going out tomorrow  but I'll try to get it attached to the quilt before we leave.

As usual Scamp wanted to get in on the photo but wouldn't look at the camera. I had fun playing with the quilting  and did several patterns from this book.

I know I need a lot more practice but it was such fun to try out different designs and I'm very happy with my first attempts.

I 'm really pleased that the quilt looks as good as it does. Don't get too up close and personal with the quilt because you'll see all it's faults. Last year when I made the quilt blocks I had a lot of problems concentrating and my cutting wasn't as accurate as it should have been, my ability to match seams was also rather suspect . This year my neuropathy has made the quilting difficult at times but it has been very enjoyable. As this quilt is staying with me I just let it happen, faults and all. It was amazing occupational therapy and it did it's job of keeping my mind and hands active and involved in my hobby. The fabric for this quilt was my Christmas present from John for 2016 and it's given me hours of pleasure to date and will continue to do so for a long time to come.

A while back I made this dress. When I say a while back I mean 2016 and today I wore it for the first time.

I look a bit grumpy but I was looking into the sun. As you can see my hair is growing back quite fast. Currently it is rather curly but as it gains more length the weight should pull it into a wave rather than tight curls. Anyway I've given it permission to do whatever it wants as I'm just very pleased to have hair again.

I'm off to bed soon and I'll spend a little time trying to decide on my one monthly goal for June. There are several possibilities but I want a goal that will stretch me a little but that I stand a chance of being able to complete. For now I'm linking this post with Elm street Quilts for May finish link up  

Plans for tomorrow... machine sew on the binding to the front of the compass quilt and think about making the label. 


Sunday, 27 May 2018

Thunderstorms and sewing.

For some inexplicable reason work got completely out of hand last week. There was no more work than usual to be done but everyone seemed to be very stressed and tetchy. Not a good combination as it is almost impossible to switch off from it and just carry on serenely with what I needed to do. It could have been the result of our very odd weather. The week before had been unseasonably cold and we were all pleased when the forecast said it would warm up again over the week and this weekend would be very hot and sunny. Those of us who are more cynical took little notice of the predictions of a hot and sunny bank holiday weekend, after all you only have to look back through the records to see that this combination doesn't usually fly in the UK. However many of my colleagues were excited at the prospect of BBQ's and days in the park or pub garden. On Thursday afternoon whilst teaching I had to turn the lights on as the rain swept in and since then it's been a bit of a rollercoster with warm and sunny weather followed by heavy rain and scary thunderstorms. Last night's thunderstorm was spectacular for the intensity of the lighting. There didn't seem to be a break between the flashes and the whole sky was lit up. It was mainly sheet lightening which I always think is more interesting to watch. I didn't get a photo as I was trying to keep Scamp calm, he is just so frighten when the thunder starts. Today he's really tired.

Picasso on the other hand likes to sit at the window and watch the lightening, oh how I wish Scamp could do the same. Because of the storm and Scamp getting so stressed packing up my sewing didn't happen and Picasso took the opportunity to make himself comfortable for the night. When I finally got him to move there was quite a lot of cat fur left behind as he's still losing his thick winter coat

Yesterday after some household chores I set up my machine and managed to complete the quilting on the star block border of the compass quilt. I had hoped to do more but my neuropathy has been bad recently with pains like electric shocks in my arms and hands when I do certain movements. Moving a heavy quilt during the quilting process is too much to deal with for long periods. Not to worry because I'm going to do some work on it today since I left it all out last night.

On the hand stitching front I've finally finished Mathilda. She is another lovely bag lady. These girls have so much character once they are completed and they're so colourful. I've now finished 6 of the 12, halfway there. 

The next one I'll work on is Earlene. This is how far I've got with her.

I won't be starting work on her until the beginning of June. Until then I'm going to work on my millennium sampler. This is my oldest UFO and I'd like to see it finished. I used to enjoy doing cross stitch but unfortunately over the last few years I don't find it as much fun to work on hence the need to seriously push myself to get this finished. I find the cross stitch much more tiring on my eyes and this is probably why I've gone off doing it. This evening I will be working on this section and I hope to complete the spitfire. It does rather depend on how exciting the new episode of Midsommer Murder is, ( I hope it's on tonight but you can never be sure when it's a bank holiday weekend.)

That section is the top right hand corner. I haven't worked on this piece since June 16 so it's more than ready for some more attention and love. Even when all the main stitching is done there is a lot of outlining with back stitch before it's finished.

John has just created a fabulous salad for lunch so I'm off to enjoy it. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. Do hop over and see what folks have been hand stitching.

Take care,


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

A walk in the sun

Yesterday I wasn't working and so I had some time to do my own thing. I have lots of projects I need to work on but as the sun was shining I decided to go for a walk with John and Scamp. I asked John to organise a walk of about 6 miles and that didn't mean we had to drive too far. He met both of these criteria without any trouble. We headed out to Bushy Park, the start of our walk. Bushy park is a large flat site near Hampton Court Palace. It is the second largest of the royal parks (only Richmond Park is larger)  From the car park we headed a short distance to an open area of water that had swans, moorhens, coots and mallards on. The swans had a good clutch of cygnets.

This juvenile grey heron was desperate to have his picture taken and kept flying ahead of us and posing.

A little further along in the shallow water we spotted a lot of tadpoles. They were quite large and should be growing their legs soon. If all of them survive there will be masses of frogs.

The walk took us through the park. We were heading for the woodland garden which is a fenced area. Unfortunately no dogs are allowed in the area so we had to circle around the outside of the fence. It was at this point that John realised he didn't have his rucksack on his back. When I stopped to take the picture of the swans he had stopped at the bench to get his camera out of his bag. He then took several pictures and together we walked away from the pond. Now we retraced our steps so he could pick up his bag. I didn't walk all the way back with John. Instead Scamp and I sat on a convenient bench and enjoyed the scenery. That's when I saw the bear! OK so it's really a tree stump but it looks like a cuddly bear to me. 

John joined us happy to be reunited with his bag and we resumed the route. We passed this old pump along the way.

A bridge took us over another water channel and I spotted some large fish. Back at the main pond the fish had been creating a frenzy in the water. Spring definitely seems to be in the air! The fish in the main pond were bigger,some probably 40 lbs in weight.

As we circled through the park we came to the Diana fountain.This is a bronze statue of the goddess Diana set on a marble and stone fountain.

At this point we followed the road out of the park and crossed the main road into the grounds of Hampton Court. We decided to stop for some lunch at the cafe and we got Scamp some flapjack. This is his favourite snack when out walking. We didn't stop to go round the house. Instead we just walked across the front drive heading towards the river Thames and exited the grounds onto the tow path.

From here we walked along the Thames path until we reached Kingston. It was fun watching the boats on the river. Scamp found a lot pleasure in all the different smells along the path.

Several of the Canada geese had young. These little ones are so soft and cute.

As we got nearer to Kingston it became more built up on the opposite bank. Scamp fancied getting a drink from the river but we held him back as it was deep here and he doesn't swim.

Once at Kingston bridge we crossed the road to enter Bushy Park again. Walking through this side of the park we saw a lot of deer. The red deer were very interested in us and one of the females followed us for a fair distance before entering a water channel and moving away.

The fallow deer kept their distance and were very wary.

Almost back at the car and I managed to get a picture of Scamp and John.

As it was hot we enjoyed an ice cream at the little cafe at the car park. I shared some of mine with Scamp to help cool him down. Then home in the car. Scamp fell asleep on my lap.

Yesterday evening I did some planning on the next baby quilt. This one is gender neutral as the parents don't want to know the baby's sex until it's born.. At the moment I can't decide on the pattern I want to make but the baby isn't due for a while.

It was lovely to have a day off yesterday but I was in work today and now I'm really tired. There are three more working days till my holiday starts and I can't wait. I just need the time to go as quickly as possible.

The wish upon a star blog hop is continuing. Don't forget to go and visit.

May 23

May 24

May 25