Tuesday 31 December 2019

Review of 2019

It's fun to look back over the year and what I've achieved and what you as my readers have enjoyed.  I've looked through the statistics for the year and pulled some photos from the posts that have had the most page views.

I completed the quilt for my brother Alex for Christmas 2018 but wasn't able to deliver it to him until early of 2019 

The table topper made using a charm pack.

I love taking part in blog hops they are such fun and I get lots of inspiration from them. My new Christmas quilt which I showed you on the Virtual Christmas cookie hop. Mmm there was such a lot of tasty recipes on that hop, no wonder I've put on weight.

I made a table topper for the witchy scream hop.

I've also written about our walks and I get lots of comments about the photos. It's difficult to chose pictures from the walks as there are so many. The war of the worlds in Woking

London at night,

Vintage cars on the London to Brighton car rally

or the beach at Blackpool.

Thank you for reading my blog. I'm looking forward to lots of quilty and sewing fun in 2020 mixed in with visits, walks and recipes.

I'm linking this post with Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs  Pop over and see what everyone has posted.


Basting, cutting and planning.

The final day of 2019 and we had plans to meet up with Katy and visit a gallery or go for a walk. In order to fit in a little me time and to re baste the Christmas quilt I got up early, cleared the dinning table of its runner and flower arrangement and set to work. I basted this quilt before Christmas but found I had a large wrinkle in the back. There wasn't time to sort it out before Christmas so I put it away. Since then I've been planning on getting it done and John was going to help me but there was always something else going on or things to do. This morning saw that quilt basted to within an inch of its life and no wrinkles in sight. Now I will be able to start my quilting. I want to get this finished in January and I can't come up with any reason why I can't fit it in.  Picasso thought he was helping and really didn't like it when I put him out of the room and firmly shut the door. With his help I'd have had even bigger wrinkles than I had before.

Once the basting was done and dusted I decided to attack my scrap boxes. I have 3 boxes and they are all stuffed full with one of them having a pile on top as well.

I set up the ironing board by the table so I didn't have to keep walking to the kitchen. I spent quite a time ironing and cutting. There were also a few big pieces of fabric which I just ironed and folded. I've no idea how long I was trying to tame the scraps but by the end I had several piles ready to go into the appropriate boxes and drawers.

It's just a shame that I don't appear to have made much of a dent in the scrap boxes. Having done some laundry today I have ironing to do tomorrow. Whilst doing that I'll iron some more scraps and spend a little time cutting them up. Over time I should be able to get them sorted and ready for use in future projects. Whilst sorting the scraps I found some blue fabric which will work well in my project for the Winter Blues blog hop that is taking place at the end of January.

A few months back Richard asked me if I'd make him another quilt. I'd made him a Star Trek quilt a few years back and it gets a lot of use, he even takes it on holiday when we go, using it in the back of the car so Scamp settles and often as a picnic blanket when we are out and about.

I asked Richard to come up with the design he wanted. I guessed it would probably be based on a computer game or something similar. The new quilt he wants has the flower from the Mario games on it. I spent some time this evening working out how much fabric I needed of each colour. The quilt will finish at 80 by 80 inches.This size I can manage quite well on my machine and on the table I use. John and I have an over night adventure booked for the end of this week and it will involve a visit to a quilt shop where I'm hoping to be able to get the fabric I need so I can get started on the quilt.

John and I have also been doing some planning. Lucy started it all by deciding to complete 30 things before she's 30. Her idea is to start on her 29th birthday in April and complete the challenges before she turns 30. We decided we'd try to complete 70  things before we're 70. John will be 68 in March and I was 66 earlier in December.  We both have our own lists but there will be a lot of things that will be on both of our lists. I obviously have more time to complete my list but having had cancer back in 2017 I know life can throw curved balls when you least expect it. This isn't a bucket list as I've always believed if you want to do something that you should just get on with it. I've never put things off until the children are older or until I retire but it is giving us the opportunity to really think about what we would like to do. 

Yesterday evening I spent some time working on Earlene, one of the bag ladies. This is how far I'd got when I last worked on her.

I hope to have her finished tonight or tomorrow. We aren't going partying to celebrate the New Year. I'm cooking a Chinese meal and we'll watch some television. Tomorrow we plan on going for a walk but I've also factored in some sewing time. I'm going to try and achieve a minimum of 15 minutes sewing each day. I'll let you know how I get on.


Sunday 29 December 2019

Post Christmas catch up and slow stitching

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas break however you spent it. Ours was very quiet and peaceful. I made the decision to par Christmas down a little and so we put up the tree, but with less ornaments than usual, and the little wooden crib scene we have. In addition I bought some flowers and Lucy got some beautiful boughs of berries and leaves. which have scented the main room. Kathryn and Olly spent Christmas with friends and so it was just the 4 of us. The day was very calm and we all did what we wanted coming together for breakfast and dinner. Lucy and Richard spent the day doing a 1000 piece jigsaw and John and I read and chatted and cooked the dinner together. Scamp and Picasso snoozed most of the day but came to life whenever food was on offer.

Prior to Christmas I had planned to sandwich my new Christmas quilt but it just didn't work out that way. I can't remember what got in the way of my sewing day but something did. No problem as I can fit another day in since I'm not back at work until 7th January. Yesterday I pin basted the quilt but I am going to redo it later as I had a large wrinkle in the back. Not sure how that happened as I thought I was being so careful.

I finished my second elf slipper  and these will be with their new owner by tomorrow evening. I have the bells to sew on having managed to find where I had put them. Please remember these were a joke present and the recipient has already had their Christmas gift.

Over the last few days I've been knitting a scarf. Years ago I knitted my younger brother a very long multicoloured scarf in garter stitch. He has been using it ever since but earlier this winter he lost it and hasn't been able to find it anywhere. He asked me if I could knit him another one. Being the very obliging sister that I am I said yes. It helps that I have a lot of bits of double knitting yarn that really need to be used up so they aren't taking up storage space. All of the yarn that I will be using is left over from knitting cardigans or jumpers for friends or their children. This is easy knitting and therefore great to do whilst watching TV. I'm not sure how long it needs to be but the scarf my brother lost was about 7 foot long and styled on the one worn by the Dr in the Dr Who series. My brother was a great fan of the series.

This week I will also be trying my hand at Sashiko embroidery. John bought me an interesting book on it plus fabric, thread and needles. I still have some reading to do about the technique but I will be having a go soon. This will be the first new technique or craft I'll try in 2020.Are any of you interested in trying something new next year and if so what will it be?

I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Happy and peaceful Christmas. This pretty nativity scene was on display at Midsomer Quilting Christmas 2015. I love the quilt covering the baby.


Tuesday 17 December 2019

Planning a new project.

Yesterday and today have both been work days which have left very little time for any sewing but tomorrow is a nothing but sewing day. Well that's the plan, I'll let you know how that pans out tomorrow. It's now late evening and it's the first time I've had time to myself since getting up this morning at 6. I'm tired and if I pick up any stitching now I'll probably make mistakes and have to take it out so I decided to start planning a couple of baby quilts I need for early in the new year. The two sets of parents already know they are expecting girls. Then I started to think of the quilt projects I'm already working on and I realised I had one quilt top finished.

I finished this top in September and at the time my son suggested I add some more blocks to it to make it a cuddle quilt for the cooler evening. I wasn't totally sold on the idea as I liked it as a baby quilt so I put it away until I made up my mind what to do.The pattern is by Connie Kresin Campbell from Freemotion by the River

The couple that this quilt will go to are friends of John and he has asked if I would add a narrow border. I have some fabrics available so tomorrow I'll make a choice and also look for backing fabric, hopefully from my stash. I can then get the quilt sandwich made and give some thought about how to quilt it.

So that left me one quilt design to come up with.  I then remembered that I had made quite a few miniature 9 patch blocks and so went hunting for a picture.

I like these blocks and I think it would make a good baby quilt but I'm not totally sure so I'll need to sleep on it. Either way I need to get this quilt finished. so tomorrow I'll pull out my one and a half inch squares and see how many 9 patches I can get made,

Plan for Wednesday 1. sandwich Christmas quilt, 
                                 2. Add borders and sandwich butterfly quilt.
                                 3. Make at least 25 mini 9 patch blocks, 
                                 4 Work out how I want to quilt the Christmas quilt.

I love a good list and that should keep me going for a while.  Now I'm off to get some sleep. John is leaving early tomorrow and if I get up early as well I'll have more sewing time.


Monday 16 December 2019

A winner and Finishing the Suffolk coastal Path

I said I would announce the winner of my birthday give away today. In order to do this I needed to draw a comment number. Normally I use a random number generator but today I had some paper that had been cut up in order for our guide unit to do a vote. As always the girls had made far too many slips. Anyway I quickly wrote out the numbers and got John to pick one. And the winner is........

I follow you through Google! I love the grunge ... it's so fun! Very nice of you to do a giveaway in honor of your birthday! Realistically, I'd want something quilty for my birthday. Idealistically, I'd love for my son and his family to move back to Alabama! :)

I have sent an email to Denise.

I will be having another give away or is it gift away in January.

This weekend Lucy, John and I travelled to Suffolk to finish our walk along the coastal path. We started back in April at Lowestoft and yesterday we finished the last section. The path is 57 miles but you end up walking more as there are links to get you to the nearest public transport and also we took some diversions to see places of interest. John did a quick bit of maths and confidently stated we had walked about 70 to 75 miles. We have done this by completing two walks over a weekend and usually one weekend a month. This time we only walked on Sunday and the weather was beautiful. It was sunny and quite warm, although I kept my coat on all day. On our last walk we finished at Bawdsey Quay. If we had been walking earlier in the year we would have been able to get the ferry across the river but we missed it by a month. This was the view across the river from Bawdsey.

Yesterday we started from Felixstowe ferry slipway on the opposite bank.

On this side of the river there were a lot of small yacht. There were a few out on the river but not many. 

We walked along the river bank until it became the sea wall. The light made all the colours amazing. We were looking across the Deben to Bawdsey Manor 

We watched this small boat head out along the channel and into the open sea.

We passed a martello tower, there had been another one nearer Felixstowe ferry. This one was situated in the middle of a golf links that run alongside the coast.

and looking over the golf course we could see farms in the distance.

Further along we stopped by these ponds on the beach to have a cup of coffee. John took the opportunity to do some bird watching. On the nearest stretch of water there was a Black Necked Grebe. As we moved on several other bird watchers arrived to see the bird. News does travel fast! Unfortunately I couldn't get a good picture as I didn't have the right lens with me.

Further on we came across some beach huts. To say there are a lot of beach huts in Felixstowe would be an under statement. In places they stood three deep. The bank had been strengthened to help prevent erosion. 

We came across several sea fishermen. The beach was mainly shingle but there were patches of sand. Thank goodness there was a sea wall as walking on shingle is so tiring,

We walked along the coast and then through the town itself. Looking back to see the way we had come.

In the distance one of the big container ships is leaving the Port of Felixstowe.

As we walked to the far end of the town, the cranes from the port came into view.

We stopped to have a look at the war memorial. There were a lot of poppy wreathes from  Remembrance day but unfortunately they were being blown around by the wind.

Looking back we found our shadow selves had turned up to enjoy the walk.

We were heading to Languard Point, a nature reserve and also the end of the path. Here you also get a great view of the docks.

You can get very close but even so the photo really doesn't give a feeling of the size of this container vessel. Lucy and I stood and watched several containers being loaded. They looked small from the distance but they helped get the scale of the ship.

Having done a happy dance to celebrate completing the coastal path we turned our heads towards Trimley station where we'd parked the car for the day. We still had about 3 miles to walk to get back to the car. We followed the road for a fair way and it took us past the docks. They seemed to go on forever. When we turned into a wood to take a short cut to the car we still hadn't got to the end of the docks. It was starting to get dark and as we reached the top of a small hill I looked back to see the docks illuminated against the sky.

Back at the car we changed out of our walking boots and had some coffee before heading for home. The journey back was uneventful and fairly quick.

We will be going back to Suffolk in January as there are a couple of other walks we want to do. In March or April the three of us will be starting the Norfolk coastal path which is 84 miles.

I'm in work tomorrow but on Wednesday I have a day off and it is going to be a sewing day. I'm getting excited to make a start on the quilting of my Christmas quilt.


Sunday 15 December 2019

Slow stitching Sunday


It's Sunday again and time to think about the slow stitching completed this week. Over this week I have been working on prepping white hexies for my Grandmothers garden quilt. On this round I need 36 flowers. I have already completed 14 and so need another 22. Each of the flowers has a hexie in the middle which in this row is the colour and 6 hexies going round the centre. These are all white. so to complete this round I need to make 22 x 6 white hexies which is 132 in total. Since last weekend I managed to prep 29 so I still have 103 to make. We were away overnight last night and I didn't take my hexies with me as I thought I wouldn't have any spare time. I will continue working on them this week.

I have also been working on the elf slippers and these are both knitted up but needed stitching together. I have made a start on the first one. 

The toe had to be stitched very tightly to make it curl up. I still have to add the bell to the toe. The second one will be finished tomorrow and I can get them wrapped. The slippers are a joke present for Olly, Kathryn's partner. I hope he enjoys the joke.

I have some time left this evening so I'll try to stitch up the second slipper. If not it will be finished tomorrow evening. Now I just need to remember where I put the bells I have for this project.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday stitching  Go and check out the projects being worked on this week, it's always fun.


Saturday 14 December 2019

A visit to Avebury.

Last weekend as you know was my birthday and we went away. I told you about our trip to Midsomer quilting and showed you some of the mini quilts but what I didn't show you were two of London.

The two quilts were by Stephanie Crawford. The first one  "And then three come along at once . . ."  was selected for the SAQA exhibition ‘Made in Europe’ that, in 2017, travelled to various venues in the US. 

The second one, also by Stephanie is titled 'Protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice '

Both quilts were amazing. If you want to see more of her work go to her website HERE

On the Sunday we visited Avebury Rings. Avebury is one of the main ceremonial sites of Neolithic Britain and is also one of the largest.  It was built and changed from about 2850 BC until about 2200 BC. When we arrived it was cold and windy but we decided we would walk around the whole site. Unlike Stonehenge there is more than one circle and many of the stones are smaller. 

It is made with a steep sided ditch around it. You can see the bank in the picture above  and we walked round the path on the top of the bank.

Also unlike Stonehenge you can walk among the stones, touch them and lean on them to have your photo taken. 

Leading from the rings there is a stone avenue that goes towards a long barrow at West Kennett. We took a walk along it. Many of the stones have been moved and concrete markers placed to show where they should be.

I enjoyed seeing shapes in the stones. This one I thought looked like a dog 's head and his paw coming down.

This one I thought was like a large stone person kneeling in front of the tree.

We had a good walk around the stones finishing just as it started to rain. We enjoyed a cup of tea and a cake in the cafe and I also visited the shop where I found some little gits for Christmas stockings. After that we decided to head for home whilst it was still light. As we left the area I spotted a conical shaped hill and we realised it was part of the neolithic earthworks so we had to stop and find out more.

The hill is Silbury hill and you can find more information about it HERE There have been three excavations of the hill but all failed to find burials, however they caused holes to appear in the hill because they weren't properly filled in afterwards. Because of that and erosion you are no longer able to walk up the hill. It would have been impossible due to the amount of rain that had fallen and made a moat around it.

Leaving the hill behind we drove back to London. We ignored the motorway and enjoyed the journey through the villages along the A4. 

Before I go just a quick reminder that there is a give away to celebrate my birthday. You'll find it HERE


Wednesday 11 December 2019

Work in Progress.

It's Wednesday and for the first time this week I had time to get my Christmas quilt out of the project box and think about making the quilt sandwich. When I went shopping the other day I bought the backing fabric and I already have the wadding,  or is it batting? When visiting MidsomBirthday Giveawayer Quilting at the weekend I got some gold coloured thread for the quilting. It's gold coloured rather than metallic as I really haven't got the patience to use metallic thread for quilting  on this quilt. 

Having got everything out I decided I would add a narrow boarder to the quilt using the backing fabric. I'm pleased I did as I like the effect and it does give a better finish to the front. I am really hoping to get this quilt finished before Christmas but I'm not going to push myself. Next year will be fine if I run out of time.

Last night I was knitting the second elf slipper. I'm finishing the final decreasing to make the long toe and then I'll stitch them both together and add the bells. Hopefully they will be finished tonight.

I also took time out to make my Christmas cake. Normally this would already have been made but I'm running a little late this year. Anyway I got it all mixed this morning and then kept checking it during the 3 hour cooking time. It looks good and next week I'll decorate it.

I'm having a birthday give away so if you haven't yet taken part follow this link Birthday Giveaway Good Luck. The give away will close on Monday 16th December.