Wednesday 31 December 2014

Can't wait for 2015!

2014 seems to have flown by. Why do the years zap by so quickly the older you get? This year has been a good year and I have managed to do a lot. Last New Year's Eve, John and I decided we needed to make better use of our leisure time. We both like walking, going to the theatre, bird watching and visiting places in Britain but we realised we hadn't done very much of any of them over 2013. This year we put a lot of effort in and as a result we went to the theatre a lot seeing some really good plays. We particularly like to go to Richmond theatre (Surrey) as it is small and intimate. We managed more walks this year with our friend Tony and we also took Scamp on his regular walks round the commons that are near to our home. We also visited new areas in Britain even fitting in some birdwatching.

The year wasn't quite so good for my sewing but I still completed quite a few projects.

Hannah's quilt as she left Guides and heading to university.

A commission for Lauren, a quilt for her daughter Grace.

The votes for women quilt made for my daughter Katy. I plan to quilt this in January

Katy's friend had a baby and I made this scrappy quilt for her.

A quilt for baby Tommy, the son of friend's of my younger daughter.

I completed the quilt for Jennifer.

Cushion cover from scraps 

Quilt for Edward, the son of my niece Hannah.

Bird quilt for my husband to use on birdwatching trips (it's cold in the hides.)

Knitted blanket for Mercer's baby Arthur.

Cushion cover.

I have a pile of unfinished projects which I must move forward next year. I also have lots of ideas for new projects. 

I love cross stitching and other types of embroidery and have a lot of unfinished stitcheries hiding around the place. I have been doing some work on my millenium sampler over Christmas and I have now finished the crown. This project really must be finished in 2015. 

Finally I set out to walk 1000 miles this year. This was completed in November so I've set myself a new target of 1500 miles for next year.

Tonight John and I are welcoming in the New Year on our own but tomorrow we will have a family celebration. I not making any resolutions but I do have a few goals I would like to achieve but more of that next year.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year.


Monday 29 December 2014

Walking off the Christmas excess!

John, Tony (one of our friends) and I have been walking the Capital Ring, which is a walking route of 78 miles (125 km)  around London. Last year we completed the London Loop which is 150 miles around outer London. Today we had arranged to walk the penultimate section of the ring and hopefully we will complete the whole ring on Friday 2nd January. 

The section we walked today was from Grove Park to Crystal Palace, a distance of approximately 8.2 miles. Today in London the weather was dry but cold which is great for walking. The fun bit with the Capital ring is that it takes you through the city and you discover lots of green open spaces that you didn't know existed.

As you can see the sun was shining and in the background you can see the towers of Canary Wharf. A little further on we entered The Downham Woodland walk. This runs for about a mile along a narrow strip of woodland that is a remnant of the Great North Wood. This was a vast oak forest that stretched 7 miles from Croydon to Deptford before London expanded.

Whilst walking along this path I noticed this pile of beautiful frosty oak leaves.

We walked through Beckenham Place Park, where we stopped to eat our lunch.

and another open space which I missed the name of

until we finally arrived at Crystal Palace Park. Here we saw a cute gorilla,

and  various types of dinosaurs,

Although I have lived in London since 1972 I have never visited the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace.  Some of them are looking a little tired but they are still fun and the children running round looking for them found them fascinating.

There is also the crystal palace tower which is the main television transmitter for the London area, 

Just one more section to walk on Friday.  The walk will have helped to take off some of my Christmas chocolates. Now I have some time this evening to get on with a little stitching. That would make it a perfect day. I also need to plan out my projects for 2015. Not that I'll stick to the plan but I love the idea of being all organised.

I hope you've had a good Monday.


I'm not cross, just stitching.

I hope you all had a very happy Christmas. We had a very enjoyable time. Christmas Day was unusually quiet as there was just the three of us but on boxing day both my daughters and their boyfriends joined us for a family meal. It was very noisy and chaotic but really enjoyable. I had been worried how the cooking would go as the kitchen is in bits but it all worked well in the end. 

Quilting bits worked their way into my presents with an A3 portable cutting board from my son which will be perfect for my quilt classes.

He also bought me a quilting calculator. It helps works out the yardage. Being me I don't always trust calculators so I gave it a test with a quilt I had already planned out and done the maths on. It came up with the same answers so I'm very happy. The calculations took me a lot of effort but the calculator did it really quickly. That means more sewing time. I'll let you know how useful it is as time goes by.

In my Christmas stocking I also found three fat quarters. As these are the only pieces of fabric easily available in our house at the moment I gave them a good petting and stroking. I've missed pulling out fabrics as I decide on a new project!

As all my sewing stuff is packed up at present I've been catching up on some hand stitching. I seem to have a backlog of cross stitching. I realised that this was because several of the LED's in my sewing light/magnifier had gone. Richard helpfully replaced these and now I can sew what I'm doing. Some of my cross stitch is on high count fabric so my old eyes have a few problems without the light.

I started on the crown on the millenium sampler. This piece really has to be finished in 2015. (I have been threatening to get it finished for ages.) I think I'd better stick to smaller projects in future as it takes a lot of stamina and determination to complete these big projects. There is still a lot of work to do on the crown (not to mention the remaining bits of the sampler.)

I also pulled out this teddy bear cross stitch. It had been put away in a box and forgotten about. This is how it stood when I found it earlier this year. I hadn't done any work on it until today. Scamp seems to have eaten something he shouldn't so he has been on my lap whilst I stitched. I wrapped a hot water bottle in a towel and he lay on this on my lap. I got rather hot but he got better and the stitching has moved forward so a good day all round.

The finished size is 8 x 8 inches. There is still quite a bit to do but it should be finished soon. I know the instructions say to leave the outline stitches until the whole thing is completed but I find it helps to do it as I go along as it helps me keep track of my place.

I still have the rest of the little teddy plus the butterfly net and one more butterfly to do. I think I would have done more hand stitching over the holiday if there had been more interesting programmes on the TV (Not that I'm saying there wasn't anything interesting to watch as there certainly was.) I always stitch or knit when watching TV. Lack of good programmes meant I did some reading instead. 

I'm linking this post with Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy's Quilts

I hope you've had some time for stitching over the holiday and that your Sunday has been relaxing and peaceful.


Monday 22 December 2014

First there was labyrinthitis then...

It has been quite a time since I posted regularly. It started in October when I developed labyrinthitis and kept on getting very dizzy. I didn't use my sewing machine as I found it made the dizziness worse. I am really pleased to say that I'm now over that and apart from a very annoying cold and cough that I caught from a work colleague I am fit and well.

So why no posts? Well in early November we had our heating system completely redone. A new boiler, new radiators and all new pipework. It created a lot of mess and Picasso loved disappearing under the floorboards. Fortunately Scamp wasn't into that adventure. Now the house is delightfully warm and I can also alter the heating settings from my phone such as turning up the temperature so it's all snug when I arrive home.

A couple of weeks later at the end of November we also had the house rewired. This created huge amounts of dust and mess. That work was more or less finished last week. I'm still trying to clear all the dust. No wonder my cough has been so bad. I must give Scamp a bath as the dust has got into his fur. Brushing him keeps his fur OK but a bath would make him silky and comfortable again.  Picasso has spent a lot of time out doors and visiting our neighbours houses. Cats always find somewhere comfortable to spend their days (but he is always home every night.)

In having the house rewired the biggest impact was on the kitchen. We needed the ceiling plastering as it wasn't very flat and we wanted to move a wall to make the kitchen a little bigger. We also wanted new kitchen units and appliances. So all the kitchen units had to come out except the sink and all the contents of the kitchen are camped out in our dining room.

My old cooker got damaged when the ceiling was taken down but I have a new range cooker on order for January when the new kitchen is being fitted. I also have a washer/dryer on order but don't tell the old one as I need it to keep working a little longer.

The new wall section has now had plaster board added and it has all been skimmed with plaster. 

There are pipes to be boxed in and the new boiler had to be covered to prevent it being damaged by the dust. I now have the smaller window in the kitchen as well as the bay window so it is now very light and airy. Once the ceiling plaster is fully dry I can paint it and push the ceiling lights into place. The new lighting is really clear and bright and will make cooking so much easier.

My very cluttered dining room. The big plastic boxes have all my store cupboard items in them. These are now back in the kitchen until that is fitted..roll on the 19th January!

The box underneath the piles of pans and plates is my fabric and project store. The pans will stay here until the kitchen is done. Meanwhile my sewing machine is in its case and stored away from the dust. Yesterday I took all the pans off the box and got out some supplies so I can do some sewing over Christmas.

On Saturday whilst I was out shopping I wanted to get a quilting magazine as I was suffering with withdrawal symptoms. The only one I found was this one which has some nice modern quilt designs.

It also came with a free gift. This little cat pincushion to make. It is quite small so will be a little fiddly. I put my embroidery scissors next to it to give an idea of size. So far I've sewn the head and started on the tail.

So I have finally started back to sewing and it feels good. Until all the work in the kitchen is completed I think a lot of my work will be hand stitching as everything is in the wrong place. We also have to redecorate everywhere as the rewiring meant channeling in all the walls to put in new switches and sockets. I'm not starting on that until the new year. Before the kitchen is done we need to sort out the walls and get the electricians back as I am not happy with their work in this area. Elsewhere they did a good job but in the kitchen the sockets aren't level or where I wanted them plus the heat detector has been put immediately over where the new cooker will go. When I use the grill it is going off and is a very loud alarm!

Now I must finish my shopping for Christmas and generally get a little more organised. We are having our big Christmas meal on boxing day as all the family will be with us then. I need something a little special for the three of us for Christmas Day.

I hope you Christmas preparations are going well and that you will be spending time with your family at this special time.