Saturday 31 October 2015

A very busy Saturday.

During the week John was very busy boxing in some pipes in our kitchen. He's done a great job, really neat and now the area only needs painting. Today we started the tiling. A while back I bought some fabulous tiles that look like mini quilts.

The main tiling is done but there are quite a few places where the tiles need to be cut. We did a few but decided to leave the rest to do tomorrow. 

On Thursday evening I went shopping for curtain fabric for the kitchen. Usually when I'm planning on making new curtains it takes me ages to find exactly what I want but this time it was very quick and only involved going into one shop.

I can't wait to get started on the curtains. This afternoon I went and picked up some lining and we also needed a new curtain rail. Tomorrow I'll cut the fabric lengths and start the sewing. I also picked up some muslin and spotty fabric for use with a christmas present.

Originally I was looking for red gingham but the in your face pink spots was too difficult to ignore.

Whilst helping John with the tiling I noticed that there had been a spillage on my cooker hob and no one had bothered to clean it up. Just as I was about to wipe it away I spotted that it looked like a little ghost which seemed perfect considering the date.

Can you see it too? Most spooky. 

Last night I started a list of all my 'in progress' projects. I got really into it and instead of just writing a list I used index cards with one project per card. I tried to remember when I'd started the project and I also included whether it was gifted to me, I'd won it in a raffle or bought it as a treat for myself. I was a little shocked to discover I had 32 projects in progress and another 4 I haven't started yet. Then to day while looking for the photo of the tiles I found one which added another two projects to the list. Help!, I need to stop starting new projects and get some finished. Maybe it's a good job Barbara from Cat Patches stopped running her NewFO challenge!

It's been a very busy Saturday but it feels good to be getting on with the decorating. Hopefully tomorrow will be as productive and I'll have time for some of the sewing.
Has your Saturday been a success?


Thursday 29 October 2015

A weekend away and plans for 2014 rainbow scrap blocks

This last weekend Lucy and I went away to the New Forest,- Lyndhurst Hampshire to be exact.  The event was a training weekend for our guide county which takes place every two years. The event is held at Foxlease which is a beautiful old house set in 65 acres that was gifted to the Girl Guides in 1922. You can read some of the history here  The house is called the Princess Mary House.

This was the view looking away from the house. As you can see the leaves are now turning to the glorious autumn shades.

The weekend was fun with lots of laughter, friendship and chocolate. I took some stitching with me and managed to get some hand work finished. Last year I had started the final block for the Rainbow scrap challenge 2014 but had never finished it. I got on with the hand stitching over the weekend and once home again I finished the block off. The block finishes at 16 inches.

I now have 12 of these blocks ready to turn into a quilt top but first I need to get some fabric for the sashing. Last year I also made some nine patch blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge. These also need to be turned into a quilt top. I see a trip to a quilt shop in my future. Here are the black and grey 9 patch blocks I made

I'm excited about getting on and putting these tops together. My plan is to shop for the sashing fabric saturday morning and to start sewing in the afternoon. I'm thinking that the nine patch blocks would look good set on point.

This weekend I'm going to sort out my stash. I seem to have fabric and bits everywhere. In the corner of our dining room I have a large wooden chest. This is full of fabric and work in progress. On top I've got stash and scraps and also paperwork piled up. It needs to be sorted and organised. I also have fabric stashed away in my bedroom. The golden gnome beside the box was given to me last christmas as a joke. He gets moved around the house and you can never tell where he'll turn up next.

My other plan is to go through all the projects I have in progress. I tried to do this a while back but got side tracked. I know I have some projects that I've forgotten about so I want to make a definitive list and then I can work on reducing the number. Maybe I could start on that now as I still have a little time before bedtime ... or maybe I could do some hand stitching?


Wednesday 28 October 2015

Halloween Haunts

Halloween Haunts 2015

Hi everyone welcome to the last day of Halloween Haunts. First I must apologise as I got confused and set the schedule time for my post to publish incorrectly. Last weekend here in the UK our clocks went back and instead of setting it to post earlier I added time. It's been great fun visiting the posts from the blog hop and I must thank Marian from Seams to be sew for all her hard work in organising the hop for us. 

Halloween isn't such a big event in the UK as in America however over the last few years trick or treating has become more popular. A couple of years ago I had lots of children visit and I loved their costumes but last year no one rang our doorbell so I'm interested what will happen this year. I have lots of sweets ready and my son has offered to eat any that are left over! As we aren't meeting for guides this week we celebrated halloween last week by playing several traditional halloween games including bobbing for apples which left everyone very wet.

For this hop I wanted to make a square table topper. I had fabric in my stash from previous years and this was a good opportunity to use it up. Using up my stash is currently a priority as it has been expanding and taking over all available space and needs to be tamed.
I also wanted to include some embroidery and applique if possible.

Here is my my pumpkin table topper. I have started the quilting since taking this photo and it will be completely finished by Halloween. 

I'm using this fabric for the backing. Then once halloween is over I can flip my table topper to enjoy the autumn colour backing. I love it when an item can cover for two events.

The leaves are made from a green wool fabric and the leaf veins on them are machine stitched.

Sewing the project hasn't been the easiest thing as the tension on my machine kept on playing up. I must book it in for a service as I have a couple of quilts I need to finish.

This table topper will be on my coffee table. I'm still using the runner I made in an earlier hop on my dining table.

There several other haunts you need to check out today.Featured Haunts On Wednesday October 28

There is also a giveaway for the event sponsored by Fat Quarter shop.

I  hope you've enjoyed visiting and good luck in the give away. Have a great day.


Thursday 22 October 2015

I need a new stitching project

I'm celebrating tonight as I've just finished the last of the stitcheries for the 'It's a dog's life' quilt.

I've still got to soak the fabric solvy off but I'll do that tomorrow. This is the last of nine stitcheries for the quilt. They've been fun to do . Now I need to get the fabric for the pieced blocks out of my store cupboard and get the blocks cut out. 

I also need to plan my next stitching project. I have a couple of possibilities. A while back I bought a pattern for one of the snow ladies. 

I'm quite keen to get started on this pattern but I also have the pattern for a Pride and Prejudice quilt.

This pattern has been stitched as redwork but I've also seen it stitched with a range of colours and a variety of stitches. I'm not sure which piece will be next but I'm away for the weekend and need to get the piece I'm going to work on prepared so I can take it with me. Oh I hate having to make decisions.

Halloween Haunts 2015

Tomorrow is day 5 of the Halloween Haunts blog hop. Featured haunts are;

Quilt Shop Gal
Jane's Quilting
U Can Quilt 2
RMS Handcrafted
Everyone Deserves A Quilt
Life In The Scrapatch

Go and see what folks have made and have a chance of winning in the give away.

I must whoose away on my supercharged broom stick as I have work tomorrow and need my beauty sleep. See you soon.


Tuesday 20 October 2015

Adventure to Oxford.

On Sunday morning I received a phone call from my older daughter. She and her boyfriend had tickets to see Michael Palin at the New Theatre Oxford. If you don't know this British comedian, actor, writer and traveller you can find out more about him here and here They had planned to travel to Oxford by train and set off to the station to catch an early train. Unfortunately the train was delayed and when it did arrive it only had half the number of coaches it should have had. It was very crowded, unpleasantly so and they got off the train. Katy rang me to tell me what was happening and the idea for an adventure was born. I had planned to do some work and then a little sewing but I can't remember visiting Oxford before and I do like to make sudden decisions to do things. Katy and Olly caught the tube to our house and the four of us set off in the car.

Oxford isn't far outside London, in fact only about 60 miles from where we live. The journey is an easy one along the M40. The weather was good and the journey passed quickly. Whilst driving along the motorway we saw several Red Kites.

I've tried on many occasions to get a clear picture of these birds but always failed so this is taken from the

The journey was uneventful and we found a parking space easily. We didn't plan to visit anything in particular but to treat it more as a reconnaissance visit for a longer trip in the future. Whilst Katy and Olly went to the theatre we planned to walk around Oxford and also to treat ourselves to a nice dinner. As the shops were still open we spent a little time window shopping. 

We were a little surprised to find that the Christmas decorations and lights were already up (but not switched on) A couple of the hotels were putting their Christmas trees up as we walked past.

I always like finding out who was born or lived in a place and as we walked we came across this plaque to Dorothy L Sayers. She wrote a series of crime novels about Lord Peter Wimsey as well as other novels, plays and translations.  I've only read the Lord Peter Wimsey novels but I love her varied storylines. Oxford boast many famous writers amongst its past (and present) residents including C S Lewis, and J R R Tolkein, 

I was going to take photos of the Bodleian Library and the Ashmolean Museum but I'd forgotten that I used my camera a lot last week and so my battery was totally out of charge. We walked down to Folly bridge over the Thames and the Bridge of Sighs. It was a really lovely afternoon and evening.  We're going back to visit again and this time I'll take lots of photos. Because of our adventure I didn't get any more stitching done.

Halloween Haunt 2015

Today is day 3 of the Halloween Haunts blog hop. The featured haunts today are;

Featured haunts on Wednesday 21st October are;

Tea Time Creations
Grandma's Stories
In The Boondocks
Just Because Quilts
Just Let Me Quilt

Fly over on your broom sticks to see what folks have been busy making.

I'm going to settle down and get on with some stitching this evening. I hope you've had a little sewing time today.


Sunday 18 October 2015

A Cathedral, and hand stitching.

Earlier this week John was presenting a paper in Derby. I needed to visit my younger brother and so we combined the two as my brother lives about 25 miles from Derby. As it happens I also ended up having to do some work whilst I was there due to a colleague being ill. 

The trip into Derby gave me the opportunity to visit the city itself. I've been before but years ago and couldn't remember anything about it. I took some time out to check out the shops and found some little items for stocking presents. I also found the cathedral. I didn't realise that Derby had a cathedral so I had to check out it's history when I got home. The church (known as All Saints Church) has been there for longer but was only created a cathedral in 1927. It boasts the Bess of Hardwick memorial and I also came across this plaque to Florence Nightingale. I didn't manage to get a photo of the Cathedral but you can see some images here

I had only been teaching 'The development of nursing in the UK' on Monday and of course this includes information on Florence's role in setting up the first nurse training school. As it doesn't discuss her earlier life I hadn't realised that she was born into a Derbyshire family. It was such a coincidence to be talking about her in class one day and to see this a few days later.

I looked for a quilt shop in Derby but there wasn't one. I found a fabric shop but it sold fashion fabric so I came home empty handed. If I can find a quilt shop I always like to visit as often they have a slightly different range to those near my home. Not that I need to buy any fabric at present as I haven't been doing that much sewing recently and so my stash hasn't gone down much but you can't have too much fabric, can you?

I took my hand stitching with me and managed to get some time to work on it. I'm pleased with the progress I've made.

Just the writing and the one dog to finish. That's about an evenings worth of stitching (when watching TV) so this will be finished tonight. I can then start on the pieced blocks and make the quilt top. I also did some work on my cross stitch sampler but that grows much more slowly so whilst there is a noticeable difference in the area I'm working on its not enough to get excited about. 

This afternoon we are heading out on an adventure. Not sure yet what we are going to do but I'll tell you about it later. I like sudden decisions to go and do something. Planned activities are great and you can enjoy looking forward to them but spontaneous outings always seem exciting and daring.

Tomorrow is day 2 of Halloween Haunts blog hop. The featured haunts tomorrow are;

I hope you are having a good weekend. I'm linking my post with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching. Do pop over and take a look.


Monday 12 October 2015

A blog hop and stitching

I was excited a while back when Marian from Seams to be sew contacted me to see if I would like to join her halloween blog hop. I used to enjoy taking part in the hops organised by Madam Samm and took part in quite a lot of them. They encouraged me to be creative. 

Halloween Haunts 2015

Halloween Haunts blog hop starts on the 16th October and goes on to the 28th October. My day is the 28th and I'm busy working on my project. I'm looking forward to seeing what other people make. I'll be posting the schedule as we go along so you'll know who to visit.  The Fat Quarter Shop are sponsoring a prize of $25.00 gift certificate each day.

This evening I've been working on the 'It's a dogs life' block. This is moving along quite quickly. Its the last of the 9 stitched blocks.

I wanted to see how the dogs would look so haven't worked consistently in one place. I try to complete one area at a time but I never manage to do it I always want to move on. This block should be finished by the end of the week.

Oophs I didn't notice the time. I need to go to bed as I have work in the morning. I'll get back to this piece tomorrow.


Sunday 11 October 2015

Cake, pudding and more.

Last Christmas the house was in uproar having had the heating system completely renewed (all the pipework, the radiators and the boiler) as well as rewired and the kitchen was pulled apart in preparation for our new kitchen being fitted in January. Christmas happened and was fun but not like our usual celebrations. So this year I decided to start early and so earlier this week I made my Christmas cake. I don't usually make the dip in the centre deep enough to ensure the top stays flat but it worked perfectly this time. 

Today I made Christmas puddings, four 1-pint puddings to be precise.. We'll only use 2 of the puddings and the other 2 will be gifts.

The 4th pudding is in the steamer.

Yesterday evening was Big Gig. This is a pop concert organised by Girlguiding UK for the guiding membership over 10 years of age. They do one earlier in the year in the north of the country and yesterday there were two concerts at Wembley Arena in London. We had tickets for the evening concert. This is an ear splitting event as the arena holds 12,500 and when they are teenage girls they have a tendency to do a lot of screaming after each act.

It was a good evening even though I only knew one of the acts. Guess I'd better admit to getting old, that and the fact that I'm not a lover of pop, rock is more my style. The girls had fun and didn't stop talking about the show all the way home.

A busy but enjoyable weekend but this evening I need to chill out and do some slow stitching. I decided to do some work on my millennium sampler. This has been stuffed in my embroidery box for ages and it is time to pull it out and try to get it finished before the end of the year. This is where I left it. Now I'm going to watch TV and finish the stitching of the knight at the top of the piece. I'm linking this post with Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

I hope you've had a good weekend and Happy Thanksgiving to readers in Canada.


Saturday 10 October 2015

A little sewing and other things

This weekend has been busy and it feels great. Over the summer I didn't get much done around the house and I did hardly any sewing but this weekend I got myself into gear and got on with some jobs. 

First however Saturday was busy because we went walking.. The day wasn't very promising at the beginning, being rather chilly and with lingering fog but the forecast said the afternoon would be warm and sunny and therefore perfect for walking. We had planned to do a circular walk around Shalford near Guildford in Surrey. The walk was eight and a half miles so we decided it was a reasonable length for Scamp to join us.

The village of Shalford was very pretty and had a lovely coffee house, so John started the walk with coffee and Tony and I had delicious hot chocolate. At the start of the walk we headed along the towpath of the River Wey or Wey navigation. It was fun watching the canal boats

From there we headed into woodland and then across open country. There were a lot of wild flowers including this Evening Primrose.

There was evidence that Autumn (Fall) is on its way. I love the red of the Virginia creeper that was intertwined in this tree.

We enjoyed our lunch by a small lake and by this time the weather had warmed up and the sun was out.  Scamp really fancied my cheese and pickle sandwiches but he had to make do with dog food. The next stop on our walk was the Watts cemetery. 

I've just got back to writing this post.  I started it on the 5th October and now it's the 10th! I got this far when the first of a few mini crises hit and this is the first chance I've had to finish writing the post or to read any blogs. I'm going to indulge in catching up with all my favourite blogs a little later. Anyway most of the problems are sorted and the rest will slowly resolve over the coming weeks so back to a calmer and more enjoyable time.

I got as far a telling you about Watts cemetery. George Watts was an english victorian artist and sculptor. You can read more about him here and see his works here. Watts cemetery is located in Compton, Surrey and has a gothic revival chapel within it. When the Compton Parish Council set up a new cemetery Mary Fraser-Tytler,a local artist and the wife of George Watts offered to design and build a new chapel. The chapel was built between 1896 and 1898 and most of the villagers helped to build it whilst George Watts paid for it. 

This was around the doors.

Inside the chapel there were beautiful paintings but it was difficult to photograph.

The altar was very ornate.

In the cemetery many of the gravestones had crosses with knots and flower designs on them.

Having left the cemetery we walked a short distance to the Watts gallery where we enjoyed scones and cream with a pot of tea. 

Feeling happy (and full) we completed the rest of the walk quite quickly, enjoying the late summer sunshine. We have another walk planned for the 17th October. I hope there's a chance of another cream tea.

I'm also slowly getting back into my sewing. I'm trying to do a little of something everyday. As a result I have completed the top of one of the baby quilts.

The baby hasn't been born yet but my colleague knows she is having a girl. I kept the background pink quite light to enable the other fabrics to pop. The backing fabric is pink and has a small all over pattern. Tomorrow I need to make the quilt sandwich so I can get on with the quilting.

I've also started on the last block for the'It's a dogs life' quilt.

I'm hoping to have this one done in the next two weeks. I've also done some work on my millennium sampler. I really will get this finished soon!

A couple of weeks ago Lucy and I took our Brownies and Guides away for a weekend camp. We had a great time with lots of activities, friendship and good food. The Rainbows joined us on the Saturday to enjoy some climbing, archery and indoor caving. It was a fun weekend but very tiring. The girls were all very excited and didn't really sleep on the Friday. With Saturday being a full and activity packed day and staying up to enjoy the campfire, hot chocolate and s'mores by Sunday afternoon the girls were all happy to go home for a good sleep before school on Monday. Before they left the Guides persuaded us to book the February freezer camp again, so since this is in tents we are keeping our fingers crossed it will be dry and mild 

Well that's all for now. I need to go and get organised as Lucy and I are taking some of the Guides to Big Gig this evening. This is a pop concert for the girls who are 10 and upwards in guiding. There will be a number of acts and it is always good fun. We are going to Wembley Arena which holds 12,500 people. That number of girls making lots of noise ensures there will be a headache in my future but I like doing it as the girls enjoy it so much.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.