Wednesday 25 October 2017

I just can't get things done.......

I have quite a number of projects that I would like to get finished and a lot of new ones I want to start, but which one to work on or start and how can I juggle work, household chores and my projects? Trying to make decisions has sent me into a flat spin and so I've sat around doing very little or nothing at all for a while. A severe case of procrastination has set in. In my head I hear myself saying,  'I'd better not start that as I won't have time to do the whole job and then I'll forget where I got to' or 'shall I work on this or that?' So how to get myself going with my numerous sewing projects? Well the problem with procrastination is that you can become very good at making excuses so you don't have to get on with things which means the only way to deal with it is to start getting things done.

First I decided to finish the makeover on the skirt I started a while back. The skirt was way too long and the wrong colour so had sat at the back of the wardrobe for ages.

I cut quite a bit off the length of the skirt so it was just on knee length and then I dyed it black. 

I love that the black dye is blue and this is my idea of messy play! Next a thorough rinse in cold water before I washed, dried and ironed it. I now have a skirt that will get used regularly for work. Why didn't I do this ages ago?

Next up the backing for my quilt. I was going to use some of the left over fabric from the top to piece some of the backing but decided to use some solid white fabric instead as I could then use the left over fabric in another project. This is the backing fabric I bought at the Stitching and Knitting show for this quilt.

Piecing the backing and pressing it took very little time and now I'm ready to make the quilt sandwich. I can't do that right now as John is working at the table and I really haven't got the energy for crawling around the floor.

Whilst I wait for John to finish I'm going to get on with some of my admin jobs for work. If I get them done now I'll have more fabric playtime later in the week. Later this evening once I've got the quilt sandwich made I'll do a little embroidery on Abigail.


Sunday 22 October 2017

Back to some sewing.

Last Saturday John and I headed off to Alexandra Palace for the annual Stitching and Knitting Show. I try and go to a show most years and since this one is in London it is very easy to visit. We decided to go by train as there is very limited parking but as always happens at the weekends the trains were delayed due to engineering works. In the end the delay was only half an hour so it didn't spoil the day, and neither did the walk up the steep hill from the station. Even the crowds didn't feel as bad as last year.

I was only planning on looking but I found this extra wide grey and white fabric which is perfect for my quilt backing.

Now all I need to do is piece the backing as I want to use some of the left over fabric from the top in the back and then I can make up the quilt sandwich. I've got a few ideas for the quilting but I need to have a little practice before I start on the quilt. I have some fabric to make up another couple of bath mats and these will be perfect practice pieces. 

As always we treated ourselves to a tasty lunch and in the afternoon looked at the quilts and artwork on display. John saw a picture that he really liked and I bought it for his Christmas present. We couldn't take it home as the exhibition is going to Harrogate at the end of November, so it will be delivered after that. I forgot to take a photo so I can't show you what it looks like at present. We also bought a light box so I can draw out my embroidery patterns more easily. There was a lot of scrumptious fabric and yarns but I am trying to clear my backlog of projects so resisted the urge to buy lots of things.

Last week I did a little work on Abigail. I didn't have a lot of time as I was trying to clear my workload from work. I started my radiotherapy on Friday and I'm not really sure how that is going to affect me at the moment. In case I need to take time off sick I wanted a clear desk. I haven't got any teaching commitments until the beginning of December but the day to day organisation needs to run smoothly. I'm having 15 days of radiotherapy running Monday to Friday. I have early appointments so if I'm OK I can go into work or work from home. I do have sensitive skin and I'm expecting to experience some problems. After the first treatment the skin was sore overnight but was better by Saturday morning. 

Abigail is the latest Bag lady and I love this pattern.

Here's what I've done so far.

I think I love this pattern so much because of the pink duffel coat. Many years ago when Lucy, my youngest daughter, was four years old I made her a pink duffel coat and she looked so cute. She loved the coat and would wear it all the time. Oh happy memories.

At the beginning of the week I had a little package arrive. Back in June I ordered a novelty pack of buttons in order to get the little pair of scissors to use on one of the bag lady pieces. The mailing label says it was mailed on the 2nd October so once it was mailed it had quite a quick journey from the United States to the UK. I'm very pleased to have received them but I would have liked to know the company couldn't mail them earlier, a quick email would have been useful. Anyway I can now completely finish off that bag lady. Once I've added the scissors I'll post a finished photo.

What's left of this evening will be hand stitching on Abigail. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. Pop over and see what everyone's working on this week.


A trip to Worthing.

This last few weeks have been very tiring with two new student groups starting and therefore lots of admin bits to sort out. Knowing it would be busy John and I organised an overnight trip to Worthing at the beginning of the month. The reason for picking Worthing is that it allowed us the opportunity to visit Cissbury Ring, Pagham Harbour and a quilt shop.  I had to go into work on the Friday so we started our journey quite late which didn't leave us any time to stop and visit somewhere on route so once we had found our hotel we went for a walk along the sea front and found a restaurant for dinner. Looking out to sea we were fascinated by the off shore wind farm. Worthing also has a pier but we decided against a walk around the pier and stayed on the promenade. Quite a lot of folks were out walking.

We woke early on the Saturday morning and after a leisurely breakfast looked up the address of the quilt shop decided to walk to it. The shop, The Eclectic Maker, was fairly small but had a good range of fabrics.

There was a classroom at the rear of the shop and a class was in progress. I needed some wadding for my compass quilt and I was pleased to find they sold Warm and Natural at a very reasonable price

I wasn't particularly looking for fabric but I couldn't resist these two pieces.

I particularly love the bird fabric and I think orange is my favourite colour at the moment. John also bought me a fat quarter bundle to go in my Christmas stocking. He's very good at making his purchases without me being aware of the fabric, so it's a nice surprise when I open it on Christmas morning. We walked back to to the car collecting coffee on the way and headed out of Worthing for Cissbury Ring. 

Cissbury is a hill fort on the South Downs. It is the largest hill fort in Sussex and second largest in Britain, covering some 60 acres. The earthworks that form the fortifications were built around the beginning of the Middle Iron age which would be approximately 250 BC. It was abandoned at some time between 50 BC - 50 AD. The site of the fort also contains a Neolithic mine, one of the first flint mines in Britain. We walked around the inner wall of the fort which is about a mile round. The wind was blowing quite strongly so it made for a bracing walk. The view from the fort was good but the morning was quite misty and there was a fine drizzle of rain.

The path around the inner wall was easy to follow but in places rather uneven.

In the middle was this fabulous tree.

and of course a trig point at the high point.

There were a lot of ponies within the ring. These two took no notice of us as they went on munching away.

Back at the car we checked the map and set off for Pagham Harbour. This is a natural harbour or inlet in West Sussex. The harbour forms an area of saltmarsh and shallow lagoon. It is a site of special scientific interest and a local nature reserve. We followed one of the paths for quite a way and enjoyed the bird life and butterflies that were around. We then spent some time watching a variety of birds on the water and at the waters edge including an Avocet. By this time the light was fading and it was time to head back to London.

It was a short breathing space in a busy few weeks but it helped us recharge and relax before returning to work. It also gave us time to ourselves and space to enjoy each others company which is most important to any relationship. We are already planning the next away days.


Sunday 8 October 2017

Is it really 45 years?

Last Saturday I met up with 29 ladies that I started my nurse training with over 45 years ago. We actually started training on 21st August 1972 and apart from maternity leave I've been working ever since. There were 45 of us who started that day and on Saturday 30 of us made it to the 45th reunion. Not only was the date my 45th anniversary of starting my nurse training but also of leaving home and moving to London. I'm not particularly surprised that 45 years on I am still working and using my nurse registration. I no longer work in the clinical area having moved into teaching in 1982, 35 years ago, but you have to be on the nursing register to teach nursing  and this involves keeping your registration up to date. No, what surprises me more is that I'm still living in London 45 years on and that I don't have any plans to leave it.

I trained at The Royal hospital of St Bartholomew which is situated in Smithfield in the City of London. The hospital is often just referred to as Barts. When I started training it had general medical and surgical ward, obstetrics and gynaecology, children's wards and the specialist wards cardiac surgery, Ear nose and throat, Ophthalmology and Neurosurgery.  However a lot of our patients were being treated for cancer, especially the rarer types. It wasn't until I left the hospital that I realised what a specialist training I had received and that most doctors and nurses over their career would not see any patients with some conditions that I had seen. 

Many of the buildings were old, except the new block which housed the specialist wards.

This is the King Henry VIII Gate at Barts which was completed in 1702 The picture is courtesy of Wikipedia as I don't have a photo of it. You can read more of the history of Barts here

The hospital is built round a square and during the summer we would wheel our orthopaedic patients who were on skeletal traction out into the square to enjoy the weather. The fountain pond used to have goldfish in it but when I visited last weekend there were no fish. Now the square is pedestrianised and so much nicer for patients and visitors.

Inside the buildings the ward were all traditional open plan nightingale style wards. They are great to work in as you can see all the patients but not so good for patient privacy The hospital has changed dramatically since I left and on Saturday walking into the George V  block I found a whole new world. The front of the building looked the same but inside this is what I found.

Good gracious were had the long narrow corridors with the dim lighting gone. I had gone with a small group of my set to see the place and we were too amazed to hunt out the wards and see what they looked like. After 45 years you need to preserve your memories. The hospital was old style but the training was excellent and we had such fond memories of our time there. We decided that we liked the new hospital but we wouldn't investigate further  as we'd rather hang onto our memories.

As I said earlier there were 45 of us who started training together and 30 of us attended the reunion. Some people were very difficult to recognise but other didn't seem to have changed at all. Here's a picture taken on 21st August 2017, the day we started training.

Image may contain: 29 people, people smiling

and here are 30 of us 45 years later! I'm 5th from the left on the top row in the photo above. Don't you just love the old style nurses uniforms. I'm the one on the left with the blue jumper and very little hair in the photo below. My hair is growing quite quickly and now I've finished treatment I really must get back to losing weight and toning the tummy!

Miranda was taking the photos so here is one of her. 

The day was great fun and we plan to meet in 5 years time to celebrate 50 years. By then I think we will all have decided to stop working. The day was a great success and the food was delicious and there was plenty of wine. Thank goodness for the London underground which meant I didn't have to drive so I could enjoy a drink.


Monday 2 October 2017

Working on those WIP's

bag lady linky partyNo matter how hard I try there always seems to be a lot of WIP's lurking around the house. When I say lurking I really do mean they lurk.  The dictionary says;

gerund or present participle: lurking
be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something.

This is exactly what my WIP's do. Last evening John was putting some laundry away in the airing cupboard when he pulled out a plastic bag with fabric in it and asked 'what's this doing here?' I'd put it on the top shelf out of the way as I had nowhere else to put it.  My WIP's end up lurking around the house because I have no dedicated sewing area or storage area. This problem was in the process of being resolved back in April, when unexpectedly my youngest daughter moved home and my sewing room / guest room plan had to be dropped for the time being. Don't get me wrong I love having her at home as she is great company and I'm happy to forgo the sewing room but keeping track of my projects is very difficult at times as they are scattered around the house, in different cupboards, where ever there is room for them. The bag John had found contained some fleece fabric and several small quilt tops for prem babies, plus some needing borders added, that the Brownies had made last term. I had meant to stitch the fleece backing to the tops so we could give them to the local special care baby unit this term. So first I added borders to those that needed them.

I had this fabulous stripy fabric that made a perfect  border.

When I started cutting the fleece fabric I found I only had enough for 4 mini quilts. I'll have to buy some more this week. I'm not working on Wednesday so hopefully I'll get to attach the backing then.

Earlier this year when I was going through my wardrobe I discovered this skirt crushed right at the back. The skirt was a present a few years ago and I have only worn it a few times. The main problem is that it is too long for my taste.

The skirt has a front zip and side pockets but it is a dull colour.

Having hung at the back of the wardrobe for ages it is full of creases but when freshly ironed it looks nice and crisp. My plan is to cut off several inches from the length so that it sits just above the knee and then to dye it. I currently have some black and some bright green dye either of which would do the job nicely but I might go for a totally different colour. So having measured for the length I wanted I cut the excess fabric off and pinned and then stitched the new hem. I machine stitched the hem to match the other top stitching on the skirt. Now all I have to do is dye the skirt.

On the hand stitching front I haven't made any progress since early last week so Mathilda is unfinished this month.

I can now finish stitching her coat as I've finally found the blue thread I was using. October is month 10 of the year and the bag lady for October is Abigail. I'm looking forward to making a start on stitching her. 

Today when I got in from work I had my sewing box waiting for me. I love receiving this every month. The 5 fat quarters are by Lewis and Irene. They are so cute, I particularly like the leaf fabric and the hedgehog fabric.

There is a very cute pattern to make place mats in this months box. I have some wadding off cuts which are the perfect size for the mats. Before I start that I must finish one of my other projects. I promised myself I wouldn't start anything new until I do. The good news is that Lucy handed in her Master's dissertation this evening so I can now set up my sewing machine on the dinning table without worrying that I'm getting in her way. 

I'm linking this post with Barbara at Cat Patches for the  bag lady link party  Tomorrow I'll tell you about my set reunion from starting my nurse training a long time ago and my discovery of another 'lurking' WIP