Thursday 30 January 2020

January one monthly goal finished

The end of January already and time to review my monthly goal. January seems to have flown by but that's probably because I've been busy at work and my weekends have been busy as well. I feel as if I've had no time to work on my own projects but the reality is that I've had quite a lot of sewing time. I had hoped to have found time to stitch everyday of the month but unfortunately that didn't happen. I've missed 7 days so far over the month and I'm planning on doing some hand stitching tonight once I've finished this post and tomorrow is a day off so stitching is in the plan.

Back to my monthly goal for January, which was to quilt my Christmas quilt. I finished this with lots of time to spare and also machine stitched the binding on. It would have been good to get the binding fully stitched down but I wanted to complete my hand stitching project first and so the binding will be hand stitched during February.

The quilt is in the ditch on the blocks with a meander around the stars. The sashing has a vine with heart shaped leaves.

This is such a bright and cheerful quilt. I'm really looking forward to using it next Christmas. The pattern is called Scrappy Friends from Phoebe Moon designs. The pattern originally was for a quilt of 6 blocks finishing at 53 x 73 inches. I added another column to the quilt to make it into a square.

I cut the fabrics for this quilt in early 2018 but then put it away to finish other things. Having pulled this UFO out towards the end of last year I very pleased to be at the final stages of the project.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm street Quilts for the January OMG Link Party Thanks you Patty for this link up party as it really does help me finish my projects.


Sunday 26 January 2020

Sunday Stitching

I've had my perfect Sunday, a little reading, lots of sewing and some hand stitching. With a very tasty beef casserole for dinner what else could a girl ask for.

Today I finished the quilting on my Christmas quilt. This took me most of the day and I was very happy when it was all done. Next I made sure all the ends were stitched in and finally I added the binding. I decided to use the same green as the stars for the binding. The starting point of this quilt was the gift of Christmas fat quarters from Olly in 2017. I added some fabric I already had and added the solid green as the accent colour.

I kept the quilting very simple, mainly because I need a lot more practice at free motion quilting to be able to do anything difficult. The blocks are quilted in the ditch, there is a small meander around the stars and leaves on the sashing.

This evening I'm working on Mr Rabbit's garden. I did a little stitching on it last night. Here's my starting point for this evening.

This stitchery is slowly getting finished and it's so relaxing to work on. As if I hadn't got enough stitching projects I succumbed and bought the little trees patterns by Mary Corbet from Needle 'n thread. These are such fun little stitching projects and I can't wait to get started but I'm going to finish up all my bag ladies first.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone's been working on.  


Thursday 23 January 2020

Winter Blues Blog Hop

This week is the week of the Winter Blues Blog Hop and today I'm very pleased to welcome you to my blog. 

It's been very cold these last few days in London and I've had to scrape ice from my car before I could drive to work. We also had fog which made driving miserable but I'm feeling really happy as there has been such a lot of beautiful quilt candy to see each day. Many thanks to Carla for organising the hop. 

As soon as I read about the hop I knew just what I wanted to make. I'd had a pattern for a mini quilt for some time but I'd never got round to making it. This is the pattern by Rose Johnston who can be found at Threadbare Creations.

This mini finishes at 16 and half inches, perfect for my table. I had all the fabric I needed for the top and a piece of solid fabric for the back . Up to that point all was going smoothly. Having decided the placement of the colours I started to cut the patches. I usually cut as I go along but because this is a mini I cut all the pieces first. When I started to piece them together I found that I had misread a couple of the cutting instructions. I re-cut new pieces and carried on. The middle of the quilt was a little fiddly to put together because the pieces are quite small but after that it went together well. It wasn't long before I had a finished top.

Having got this far I found I needed wadding. I thought I had a small piece left that would be perfect for this mini but I couldn't find it in my cupboard. I had a day off on Monday so walked up to my local quilt shop but they had sold out and weren't expecting a delivery until today (Friday). Never mind Carla had said it didn't have to be finished. Then as I was writing this on Thursday evening at 23:00 I remembered where I'd put the wadding. Unfortunately I need to sleep so it will get finished this weekend.

I don't often make quilts that only use two colours but having made this mini I have a hankering to make one and blue and white seems the perfect colours to use.

Now you need to hop over to the other people who are showcasing their creations today. I can't wait to see what's on show. 

Friday, January 24th


Sunday 19 January 2020

Slow Sunday stitching.

This week I've been working on Rabbit's Garden. I had hoped to complete it this weekend but I haven't. We were walking in Suffolk this weekend which meant I had limited sewing time. I did managed to do at least half an hour stitching last night but I was tired from the day's activity so went to bed early. This is how far I've got with the stitching to date.

The missing carrot on the bottom row is supposed to be replaced by a carrot button but I decided I didn't want to use one so I'll stitch a carrot there instead.

Tomorrow I'm at home. Scamp is booked to have his teeth cleaned by the vet and as he's a dog this involves him having a anaesthetic. He hasn't had them done before but he will be 12 in February and so this is a good time to do it. The vet will be able to check his teeth and deal with any problems and he shouldn't need it doing again. Whilst he is being treated I shall be doing some stitching to keep my nerves calm.

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


Thursday 16 January 2020

A stitch here and there.

2020 is turning out to be a good sewing year for me. So far I have managed at least 15 minutes sewing, knitting or embroidery every day. Most days I've been able to spend much longer. I started work on Mr Rabbit's garden and I am really enjoying stitching it. 

I've done quite a lot more work on the embroidery since I took this picture and I may even finish it this week. We are away over the weekend walking in Suffolk so how much gets done depends on how tired I am from the walks.

The reason I'm managing to fit in the stitching is due to a change in mind set. Although I feel tired when I get home from work I know that doing some form of sewing and particularly hand work will help me wind down and relax. Most of last year I was spending time in the evening doing some more work such as marking or preparation and then would not be able to settle to sleep and would wake up the next day feeling tired. When I returned to work after the Christmas break I decided that there would be no more working in the evenings unless there was a major emergency. Work really does need to fit into the working day and if it doesn't then I need to take some action to make sure it does.

I started quilting on the Christmas quilt and so far I've complete 4 of the blocks. I've kept it simple, quilting in the ditch on the patched parts of the block and a meander on the background round the stars. On the sashing between the blocks I'm doing a trail of leaves. The thread is a gold colour. I have two full days at home next week so I expect to have it finished by the end of next week.

Now I need to catch up on reading the posts from my favourite blogs as I feel as if I missed visiting my friends for a cup of coffee and a chat. It's not just the quilting and stitching that's addictive it's also following interesting and inspiring blogs. Next week will be a fun week in blog land as the Winter Blues blog hop will be running. I can't wait to see what folks have made.


Sunday 12 January 2020

Slowly hand stitching.

I love Sundays as it's family time and a chance to chill out and relax, the quiet before the rush of the next week at work. Today has been a lovely Sunday. John and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before we headed into central London for a walk. We wanted to complete the Jubilee walkway. This is a route that takes in major London landmarks. It was set up to celebrate the Queen's silver jubilee in 1977 and is 15 miles in length. We've covered some of this route when completing other London walks but we wanted to fill in the gaps. The day was cool but the wind made it feel quite cold. Our walk started at London bridge. Some of the London high rise buildings are interesting if odd shapes. This one looks like an old style Nokia phone.

We walked along the river and past HMS Belfast, a World War 2 Town class light cruiser. Belfast was saved from scrap and is now permanently moored on the river as a museum

The docks and warehouses along the river are now being used as social spaces and restaurants and shops.

Walking over Tower Bridge I got this different view of the Shard. I'm still not sure whether I find this building attractive or a nightmare. You can't get a picture of the whole building, only where it rises above its surroundings

Somewhere on the route we walked past this building. I don't know if it is anything special but I liked its crazy over the top decor.

We passed Guild Hall which is a municipal building in the City of LondonThe building has been used as a town hall for several hundred years, and is still the ceremonial and administrative centre of the City of London and its Corporation

We passed St Pancreas station. This is the hotel in front of the station. It has been refurbished recently.

This is looking at the other end of the building, its huge.

Once home I was going to do some more quilting on my Christmas quilt but I was feeling a little tired and in need of a rest so I sat and read instead. Over the day I've walked over 12 miles so a chill out before settling to do some slow stitching was much needed. As I told you I finished Earlene and I'm pleased with the result. 

I've also been working on the scarf I'm knitting for my brother. I'll sew in all the ends when I've finished the knitting.

I needed to pick another hand stitching project to work on. I have another bag lady, Constance, to complete. This is how far I've got.

I also want to finish Rabbit's Garden so I can frame it to give to friends whose baby girl is due in February. As I want to gift this next month, this is the stitching I'm going to work on next. 

I'm linking this post with Kathy for her Slow Sunday Stitching. Do go and visit to see what everyone has been working on this week. Meanwhile I'm settling down with my stitching and I'm going to watch the new Vera.


Saturday 11 January 2020

Sewing and sunsets

This week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoster. On Monday I had my annual mammogram. Quite apart from the fact that it's a painful experience due to the pressure the plates exert, the technician doing it made a comment about it looking 'tight'. No explanation of what she meant and whether her observation was something I should be worried about. Being me I did worry about her comment until I had my check up yesterday when I was assured that the result was clear and all my blood results were completely normal. My worry managed to push my blood pressure up very high and that made me feel really unwell. Fortunately once I'd been assured everything was good I started feeling much better. Unfortunately worry turns me into a grumpy old woman and I think I've grouched at several of my work colleagues this week. Maybe I'll get some nice biscuits for Monday coffee break.

Today was my day off and Scamp had a grooming appointment. When we parked the car to drop him off I found that one of the rear tyres had gone down during the journey. As soon as Scamp was safely at the groomer we took the car to the nearest tyre place. I needed two new tyres and the third one was leaking round the seal so that had to be sorted as well.My bank account is now quite a bit lighter. There were other annoying issues over the week, Lucy not being well and needing to cancel guides. forgetting my ID swipe card two days running and having to cover a day of interviews. 

This afternoon having got home with a very neat and beautifully trimmed Scamp I was able to get the Christmas quilt out ready to start the quilting. I wound several bobbins and then I was ready to begin. I put the quilt under the needle just as the doorbell went. When I got back Picasso had scrunched up the quilt and was refusing to move. I moved him to another chair five times but in the end I had to leave him where he was.

This was the best picture I could get of him. Later in the evening  I was able to do some quilting. I managed to complete one of the 9 blocks. It feels really good to have started the quilting.

When we were in Norfolk last weekend I got some good sunset pictures and thought I would share them with you.

Tomorrow I have quite a lot of time for sewing and I'm hoping to get much if not all of the quilting done.


Monday 6 January 2020

One Monthly Goal for January

It's the start of the month and therefore time for one monthly goal but this isn't just the start of the month it's the start of a new year and also a new decade. There is something magical about a new year, a chance to reset, restart or set new goals with the possibility of achieving them this year. I don't make new year resolutions but I do plan goals. Last year I achieved 2 of my 4 goals I posted on my blog. These were my goals last year:,

1. To eat a healthy diet most of the time.
Over the year we mostly cooked from scratch and I maintained my weight until the end of November. The Christmas parties and drinks took their toll on the waistline.

2. Exercise more
I wanted to walk 2000 miles last year but only managed 1500. I did go swimming weekly until September but since then I haven't gone.

3 Read more
I'd planned to read a book a month and over achieved on this one having read 18

4. Quilting

I didn't achieve any of this goal.Of the 3 UFO's I was hoping to get to flimsy stage, only 1 was worked on and still has a long way to go.

For the first monthly goal of the year I want to quilt my Christmas quilt. I got this top basted before the end of the year but haven't yet started the quilting. I have some ideas of how I want to quilt it but need to practice the design.

If I have the time I'd also like to bind this quilt and then it can go away with the Christmas decorations.

I've finished Earlene but need to take a photo, which I 'll do tomorrow. That means I now need to choose another hand stitching project to work on this month. At the moment I can't make up my mind, do I fancy doing cross stitch, one of the bag ladies or free style embroidery. Decisions, decisions.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for the January One Monthly Goal Link up Do go and check out the goals people have set themselves.


Sunday 5 January 2020

Norwich and some slow sewing

Yesterday was the second day of our short adventure and was spent mostly around Norwich. We have both visited the city before but spent very little time there. On Friday evening we spent time after dinner walking round the city centre and down by the river. I love walking around places at night as it changes the whole feel of the place. The city centre still had all the Christmas lights up and many of the younger adults were meeting up with friends before heading to the clubs. Sometimes I wish I had their energy but I wouldn't like to turn the clock back. I love where I'm at with my life and feel comfortable with myself. Our children are all grown up and are happy and John and I are enjoying having time for us.

We both woke up refreshed and ready for the day. We decided against a full breakfast at the hotel and opted for a coffee and croissant from one of the many coffee shops. A good decision since I've put weight on over Christmas! Our first visit was to the castle and museum.

Norwich Castle is a Norman royal castle, founded by William the Conqueror between 1066 and 1075. The castle itself has been used for many things including a prison and the inside was gutted following that period of it's history. There are plans to return the castle to it's original glory which I will be watching with interest.

The outside was repeatedly repaired, most recently in 1835–9 by Antony Salvin, with James Watson as mason using Bath stone.  During the renovation, the keep was completely refaced based faithfully on the original ornamentation.  This explains why the outside looks so perfect. The original archway into the castle is still there.

The museum links to the castle and we had fun looking at the exhibits. A lot of the items on view were related to the locality. I liked this giant teapot.

The information label below tells you about the pot.

One of the many reasons for visiting Norwich this weekend was to visit the Lines of Sight exhibition which is about W C Sebald's East Anglia.  The exhibition was inspired by Sebald's book The Rings of Saturn (1995) which charts a meandering route around the geography and history of East Anglia. The information states "It brings together a diverse selection of celebrated artworks, curious objects, archive material and the author’s own, unseen, photographs, to tell the story behind the creation of one of East Anglia’s most famous literary masterpieces. " John has read the book and was born in Suffolk and wanted to visit the exhibition. Having spent time in the exhibition I will be reading the book in the near future. 

There was so much to see in the museum that we spent a lot of time there. Before moving on to the Cathedral we enjoyed soup and bread for lunch in the cafe. You can't go site seeing on an empty stomach.

It proved almost impossible to get a good picture of the cathedral. This was the gateway into cathedral close.

Once inside the close I was able to get this photo.

As you can see there are buildings in this way and we were unable to get round to the other side to try and get a better view. This wasn't a problem as the inside more than made up for the lack of a good shot of the outside. As we walked in this beautiful font was in front of us. Very simple but very beautiful

The inside of the cathedral was very light and airy. This is looking down the nave.

The vaulted ceiling was amazing.

The beautiful stained glass window at the West end of the cathedral.

There were also these three very modern stained glass windows.

On our walk round we came across the cathedral cat, Budge. He wandered into the 2018 Good Friday service and stayed. He likes to take part in the cathedral events and has his own Twitter feed.  As soon as he realised I was taking his photo he made a beeline for the office areas.

The choir had a lot of dark wood and heavy carving.

Attached to the cathedral were the cloisters. In the middle of the grass quadrangle there is a labyrinth but it was closed as the ground was very wet from all the rain.

Looking along one of the cloisters.

We enjoyed our visit and afterwards we spent a little time walking around the city before we returned to our car and headed out to Buckenham Marshes, an RSPB site about 8 miles outside Norwich. We were aiming to get there to see the rooks gather before going to their roost.  I'll tell you about that another day.

For hand stitching this week I have added the binding to one of my projects for the Winter Blues blog hop. This is a small project so the binding went on quite quickly. I'll show you the project during the hop. I've also continued knitting the multicoloured scarf for my brother and it's now about 2 foot 6 inches long. Still a way to go. Finally I was working on Earlene. I had hoped to finish her completely the other night but something got in the way.  However there is very little to do, her shoes, one lot of fabric in her tote, a few bit in the other tote and the patches on her coat.

Since January 1st I restarted my challenge of stitching every day and so far I've managed it. In fact I've done more than 15 minutes. I'm not sure how easy it will be when I get back to work on Tuesday. Tomorrow I have my yearly mammogram which I hope will be clear. I have an annual leave day tomorrow and will be spending a lot of it sewing.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching. Do go and see what everyone has been working on. I hope you are feeling better Kathy. It's not a good way to start the new year but your post is very upbeat and inspiring.