Thursday 31 December 2020

December one monthly goal

As we run down time on 2020 I am back stitching the outline of scrolls on my millennium  sampler. I've finished the scrolls at the bottom of the center but need to do the ones at the top. I'd planned in a lot of hand stitching this week but didn't allow for my arm and wrist getting very achy. Cross stitch is a very repetitive activity and too much makes my arm ache. Never mind this will be completed in the next couple of days . However I have successfully completed my December monthly goal. The goal was to complete the borders, cornerstones and the spitfire block. These, plus filling in the odd missed stitches are all finished.

Here are the scrolls I'll be outlining tomorrow.  Sorry the photo is upside down but blogger thinks this is the best view.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for the last OMG link party of 2020.  I'm really pleased to see it will be running in 2021. Thanks Patty.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year


Tuesday 29 December 2020

My stitching resolutions.


Welcome to the last blog hop of 2020. Thank you Carla for organising the hop and it's such a great idea. This theme really made me stop and think about my stitching and what I wanted to do in 2021. I have several resolutions for the coming year.

First up is a quit I've wanted to make for a while. I want to make a double wedding ring quilt and in fact I started one back in 2018 but didn't get very far with it. I have now gone off the fabric I chose so want to start again.  Here's a picture of a beautiful quilt I saw in 2019. It's very traditional with a white, cream or ivory background, matching the bride's dress. My tastes have moved on and I want to make a double wedding ring quilt but with an updated twist. I have just the right pattern and I'll share it with you in the new year.

I won't be able to start this for a while due to covid 19. I will need to get some fabric and I don't want to buy online as sometimes the colours don't always look as they do in person. I'll save the fabric hunt until we can go away overnight again and I will be able to visit my favourite quilt shop.

Next I want to use up more of my scraps. I love making scrappy quilts and I even used some scraps when making the blocks for the Austen Family Album quilt. I will be starting a scrappy quilt on Friday as I need a baby quilt. One of my students and his wife are expecting a baby at the end of January. They didn't want to know the sex of the baby so I need to use unisex colours and patterns.  I'll spend some time tomorrow deciding on the pattern.

I also love hand stitching and have several embroideries I'm working on. I've nearly completed my millennium sampler. I now just have some outlining to do on it. I'll post photo of the completed sampler on the 31st. I was given the sampler as a Christmas present for Christmas 1999. I started stitching it early in 2000. This is my oldest UFO and I'm so happy to have it finished.

I have some stitching to replace the sampler. I am going to be stitching some Regency red work designs inspired by pride and Prejudice by Nancy A Bekofske.  Sherry, a quilting friend of mine in America suggested we could stitch the patterns as a stitch along. One pattern a month starting in January.

We are planning on starting the stitch along in January and I'm really looking forward to starting these patterns. If you want to join us just leave a comment. The pattern is available at Etsy so just click HERE

My final resolution is to be kinder to my sewing machine and clean it more regularly. During the UK wide lockdown earlier this year I forgot to remove the fluff that accumulates especially after you've quilted something.  It took me ages to get the machine running smoothly again.

Here are the other blogs taking part today. 

I have lots of other plans including improving my free motion quilting, and designing some stitching patterns. The quilting blogging community is very supportive and reading your blogs and the comments you leave on mine has helped me through this last year. I'm looking forward to getting support and inspiration as we head into 2021. Short term the pandemic situation isn't going to improve but the quilts we make, the embroideries we stitch, the cosy knitted and crocheted items we make will brighten all our lives.

Take care and stay safe


Monday 28 December 2020

A quiet and relaxing Christmas

I hope your Christmas was as enjoyable as ours was. It was calm, no arguments and everyone coming together throughout the day but also spending time doing their own thing. Lucy and Richard spent a lot of time together as they had decided to get one of the Lego models down, take it apart and rebuild as a different vehicle. It took them a long time to separate the bricks and sort them ready for the re-build. With just over 4000 bricks I'm not surprised the activity kept them occupied over the whole holiday period not just Christmas day. John and I cooked Christmas dinner together and it was a very traditional meal with turkey, roast potatoes, sprouts (yummy) creamed leeks, roast parsnips and carrots and sage and onion stuffing. We had a mixture for starters as we couldn't make up our minds what we wanted so there was roast camembert with cranberries in filo pastry, mushroom pate, and prawn cocktail. Lucy is vegetarian and so had a tart instead of the turkey. Much later in the evening we enjoyed a cheese board and port. Katy phoned but otherwise there was no interaction with anyone outside the house. We also had a few drinks along the way. Bucks Fizz with breakfast, mulled wine when we opened presents and wine with dinner. I'd meant to make some Irish coffees after dinner but everyone opted for a cup of tea. 

I'd put my sewing machine away for a couple of days and today I set it up to finish off the Austen Family Album quilt. I didn't sleep well last night and was tired so I made a couple of silly mistakes at the beginning that I had to unpick. After a couple of cups of tea my brain started to function better and soon I had the top finished. This is a big quilt and finishes at 96 inches square. 

I put a narrow border of the fabric I used for the cornerstones and then a wide 6 inch border of the green fabric. I will start the quilting on this quilt in January.

Over Christmas I've been doing hand stitching and the borders, cornerstones and missed stitches are all completed on the millennium sampler. Tonight I will finish off the spitfire. That will then leave some back stitching to do. This will be finished this year. I will be celebrating it's completion with some bubbly. I'm not posting a photo until it's all finished.

I had some quilting goodies for Christmas. Since we are effectively in lock down John got me a quilting jigsaw puzzle . I love that over the year we have put together several jigsaw puzzles whilst shops, museums, art galleries etc are closed and we've been unable to travel to complete parts of the coastal path.

John also bought me a book on making landscape quilts. I've wanted this for a little while. I want to finish a couple of other projects before I start a landscape quilt but the book is very interesting to read and gives a lot of instructions and hints and tips. In addition there were useful sewing items, thread, new pins and new rotary cutter blades. I'd given everyone instructions that I didn't need any more fabric!

Richard also gave me sewing items which I will share in a future post and Lucy gave me a new 24inch long ruler. The non slip on this one actually works and made cutting the borders for the quilt a pleasure.

On Wednesday 30th December Carla from Creatin' in the Sticks is hosting a blog hop. Here are the blogs taking part. 

I need to go and cook dinner and then I can get back to my hand stitching. 

Take care


Friday 25 December 2020

Happy Christmas

 Wishing everyone a very happy  and peaceful Christmas.

We will be enjoying a quiet family day with lots of cuddles with Picasso and Scamp.

Take care and stay safe. Hugs

Lyndsey xx

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Tree ornaments, wrapping and stitching

Yesterday I had some household chores to do, laundry and a kitchen floor to clean. The ironing took a while, mostly because I put a film on and sometimes you just have to give the film your full attention. Today was going to be wall to wall sewing but I didn't feel the sewing vibes when I got up. Scamp had eaten something that upset his stomach and so he was whiney in the night. At one I point I got up and went downstairs to sit in the living room with him. This morning I decided that I needed to take Scamp for a walk before I did anything else. John came with us and we walked around the common. This is a 4 and a half mile walk. At the start Scamp didn't want to walk but as we headed up the hill towards the common he caught on to our destination. His tail started to wag and he started to walk along happily. One thing I have learnt about Scamp is if he whiney a walk helps to sort him out. The common was fairly quiet since it was early and so I was able to let him off his lead. We haven't walked here since June as it was just too crowded and there was no social distancing at all. Today was a comfortable walk with most people being considerate to others.. We put our masks on as we left home and took them off when we got back.

As we walked along the road I was aware of people's Christmas trees in their windows and many of them looked very planned and themed. Our collection of ornaments has grown over the years and each holds a memory. This one was bought when we visited Chatsworth House with my parents. The children were quite young at the time. There are two like this

Lucy and Richard like them and Lucy spent time stroking them when we bought them as they are covered in velvet. Katy hates them because she dislikes the feel of velvet. The globe ornament was bought on a mommy and Katy shopping trip one year. She really liked it and added bonus it was in the post Christmas sale.

Lucy has a friend who has given her interesting tree ornaments. One year it was a unicorn.

and last year it was a pink flamingo.

We may not theme our tree but there is usually someone in the family who themes their wrapping. This year it's Lucy, and she's made great use of brown craft paper and garden string.

I'm very interested in what is in the top box since it says mum on it. That's from Richard who is making use of Lucy's left over paper. She bought some wax and a seal to finish off her presents.

Don't expect the big boxes to have big presents in them as the family also enjoys putting a small present inside a very large box.

Having got back home after our walk Scamp and I needed a nap before lunch. By the time I got to my sewing, time was moving on. I sewed the last two rows together and was ready to add them to the first four. At this point I found I hadn't added the sashing row to the bottom of the 4 rows I'd completed earlier.  I decided to finish this tomorrow. If I have time I'll also add the borders. So rather than one almost completed quilt top I have two pieces neatly folded waiting to be finished.

Having tidied up my sewing I went to the kitchen. I planned to make to a loaf of Jamaican hard dough bread. This was my second attempt. On the first attempt the crumb wasn't dense enough but it tasted perfect. This time round was much better but I forgot to glaze the crust with egg white. Maybe the third time will be perfect.

This evening I've done a little slow stitching but I am feeling tired so I'm off to bed. I'm looking forward to getting my quilt top finished tomorrow. I also need to wrap some little stocking presents and double check we have everything we need for the next few days meals.

Take care


Monday 21 December 2020

Slowly stitching over the week.

On Wednesday I was working from home and not meeting with students. When I got up I followed my normal work day routine but then I realised that all my appointments were in the afternoon and one would go on into the evening. I stopped myself logging into the work portal to check my emails and decided to break with my normal routine. I played with fabric, a little cutting, a little stitching and a little sorting. I logged into work after lunch and worked through to evening. It made me realise that I let myself get caught up with routine and a break out is needed every so often.

On Thursday I had to have my yearly mammogram  or the 'big squeeze' as Barbara from Cat Patches calls it. I have an appointment in early January when I'll get the results but I think it was OK as the person doing it didn't look intently at the screen, look perplexed or repeat any of the procedure. The whole appointment run to time and it took me half an hour from leaving home to getting back. It does help that the hospital is a 7 minute walk away. Because teaching is online until after Christmas I was able to give the students a slightly extended coffee break while I went for the appointment.

On Friday I needed to catch up on some household chore and I wanted to wrap the Christmas presents. I got the remaining sashing cut so I was ready to start stitching the rest of the rows. At the same time I cut some more pieces for the bears paw quilt. By the time I'd done that my right arm was causing me pain so I packed up for the day. On Saturday I was late starting because just as I had everything set up the doorbell went and it was Katy and Olly dropping off a chocolate and orange tart for Lucy. They stood outside while we chatted for several minutes. Katy had also asked if I had a baby/young child quilt she could have to give to a friend's daughter.  She was in luck because I haven't managed to meet up with the lady who collects and then delivers the donated quilts to their recipients. I gave her this one.

Her friend's daughter has delayed global development and loves colours so hopefully will like it. Now I need to make another quilt for the donation box. Once Katy and Olly had left I finally got on with sewing blocks together. I completed two rows when my phone bleeped with a notification. Britain's PM had called a conference. As always it started late and then it was to tell us that London was basically back in lockdown from midnight because of a new variant of covid 19. The government are calling it tier 4, as if that makes a difference. We spent a long time discussing the news and how it affected us as a family in the short term. Our conversation went on for some time and so I didn't get back to my sewing. Today I finished the fourth row and got them all stitched together.

I still have two more rows to add or should that be two columns to be add since the quilt  is on its side.  This is one big quilt. I'll finish the last two rows tomorrow.

I've been slowly working on the border of the millennium sampler this week. Still a little bit more to do but I'm now on holiday, Christmas is organised, so let the stitching begin. 

I also have the cornerstone at the bottom to complete.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Katy's quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching

Take care,


Tuesday 15 December 2020

Stitching blocks together

After the relaxing weekend, the last two days have been slightly manic as I want to clear my email inbox and to do list before I finish work on Thursday evening. I'm then on holiday until 4th January. I did really well and so awarded myself some sewing time this evening after I finished work.  When I visited Midsommer Quilting on Saturday I purchased some fabric for the sashing, cornerstones and borders of the Austen Family Album quilt.  John and I decided that green would be a good colour for this. The patterned fabric is for the cornerstones and a stop border and the dark green for the sashing and main border. I can't decide if the photo is slightly out of focus or if it's my eyesight.

I cut all the cornerstones and enough sashing for row 1.  It took a little while to stitch the blocks together but I'm pleased with the result.

This is going to be a large quilt. There are 6 blocks across and the blocks are 12 inches square. There are also 6 rows. The quilt will be 96 inches square when finished. I'm hoping to get row 2 put together tomorrow evening. I might even be able to complete the top before Christmas.

On the way home on Sunday we stopped at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. This was a fascinating visit. It follows the history of how the Navy came to have planes and the development of boats to carry, launch and land planes. It had some of the original planes.

The information board explained that the aircraft wings were usually covered with fabric such as linen which was painted with dope, a special paint, that seals the fabric.

My older brother used to make model aircrafts from balsa wood and they were covered with tissue that was then painted with dope. At the time I never dreamed that the original planes were made in a similar way. I was also surprised to find that planes were often made so their wings could fold and so fit in the hangers.

There were several helicopters on display. This one is a Westland Dragonfly from 1949.

We spent about 3 hours at the museum but there was still a lot left to see. On the flight deck there was Concorde. This isn't part of the Navy but the plane is so large that it couldn't fit in other museums. It's on loan from the Science museum. Unfortunately it was too large to get it all in the photo. This museum is good value for money as we can use the tickets again during the next year.

From midnight tonight London has gone into the UK tier 3 because of the increase of covid 19 cases. We were lucky to be able to enjoy our weekend away as we won't be able to do that again until London moves back into tier 2. Come on folks, stop breaking the rules and we'll all be able to enjoy seeing family and friends in the future. Do you really need to meet up in large groups and ignore social distancing? 

Two more working days to go and then lots of sewing time. I have a few things to finalise for Christmas but that shouldn't take too long. It will be the four of us over Christmas and we will meet up with Katy and Olly for a walk in Richmond Park. Even though meeting up with family is allowed in doors over the holiday period we aren't going to. We will follow the rules of Tier 3 and have a celebration dinner all together once the number of cases have dropped. That will probably be well into next year as the weather warms up again. 

Take care


Sunday 13 December 2020

A trip away

On Friday John and I had a few errands to do before we set off on our weekend away. Once packed and ready to leave we first stopped at work as I needed to drop some books and files into the office. I've had them at home since March but in October we started teaching face to face and can also go into the office to pick up things we need for our working from home days. If I'm teaching I go into work otherwise I work from home. It didn't take long to drop the bits off and say hello to staff who were in. Next we stopped to get the drivers side front bulb replaced on the car. This blew a day or two ago but I hadn't had time to change it. John and I had a cup of coffee will the garage changed the bulb and the one on the number plate which had also blown. Finally we set the sat nav for our first stop which was Glastonbury. We had visited the town in the summer because we wanted to climb up to Glastonbury Tor. On that occasion the town was heaving with visitors and so we changed our plans. With a low temperature and a cold wind blowing we knew we would be able to climb the Tor this time. The journey was uneventful except for the drizzle every so often. We had no problem parking and as we walked through the town to the Tor it was quiet.

Glastonbury Tor is a hill near Glastonbury in Somerset UK. On the top is St Michael's Tower which is a listed building. The Tor is mentioned in Celtic mythology and in particular, stories linked to King Arthur. The Tor has many mystical and spiritual links  and Glastonbury has a lot of shop selling crystals, runes and other linked goods. We weren't interested in browsing the shops, our aim was to climb the Tor.

The Tor rises by 518 feet from the plain and can be seen for miles around. We walked up the steep side along a good path that snaked around the hill and also had a lot of steps. I lost count of the number of steps near the top but by then I gone up 171 steps.  As we left the top I took a photo of St Michael's Tower.

From the top of the Tor you could see quite a distance and the sheep in the fields looked tiny.

By the time we got back to the car it was dark and so we headed to our hotel. We had time to relax and do some reading before dinner.

Saturday we visited Midsomer Quilting, my favourite quilting shop before we headed off to WWT Steart Marshes, a new to us bird watching area. The centre was opened in February 2014 and this was the first chance we'd had to visit. The weather on Saturday was perfect for walking and birdwatching. It was sunny and dry but the wind was a lazy wind and preferred to try and blow through you than blow round you. Out of the wind it was lovely.

We walked all round the reserve and spent some time in the hides watching the geese and waders. The hedges and trees were alive with small birds in varying shades of brown. The good news is that in the colder weather you can actually see the little birds since there are no leaves on the trees. We also walked along the river a little way to watch the birds on the mud flats. I only had my small camera with me so I didn't get any pictures of the birds. What I did find was this bird on a fence at one of the hides.

and in the distance a deer also made from willow. It took me a couple of moments to realise it wasn't real 

Our shadow selves had come with us and also enjoyed some bird watching. I like bird watching but at times there is just too much standing around for me. Usually I take a book along with me but I forgot this time.

We had a fun day but by the end we were getting rather cold. We drove back to the hotel as it got dark. A hot bath soon revived our spirits, aided by several cups of tea and I enjoyed a little slow stitching before dinner. Over the weekend I've done some work on the millennium sampler.  This is where I'd got to before we went away. I was going to take a new photo but I need to recharge my camera first so I'll do that tomorrow.

Today, Sunday we travelled home via the Fleet Air Arm Museum. This was a really good visit and I'll tell you about it tomorrow, plus what I bought at the quilt shop. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's quilts for her Slow Sunday stitching.

Take care


Wednesday 9 December 2020

A busy few days

The first part of this week has been busy, not with work but but with Christmas preparations and my birthday. When working from home I use our dinning room and as a result the corner where our Christmas tree stands had been used as a storage area for my work books and folders. I needed to go through them and decide what I needed to keep at home until after Christmas and what could be returned to the office. I am teaching on line this week and next and the first week back after New Year. Once the area was clear I was able to put the tree up. All the items for the office are sat in the boot of my car.

Tuesday was my birthday. I had students online but we finished about 3 p.m. so John and I went to our local pub for a late lunch. We had a table by the log fire and the food was delicious. Later in the evening we had a family dinner and a lemon drizzle birthday cake. We had a zoom link up with Katy and her kitten Rothko. It was a fun way to spend the evening. Richard had ordered flowers to be delivered. I'm busy wrapping parcels on the table so couldn't get a great photo but the flowers are beautiful.

This week I have been doing mending, boring but needs doing. I also worked on some hexies for my Grandmothers garden quilt on Sunday evening. I had planned to work on the millennium sampler but I just didn't feel like it. Today however was different. I was in an online work meeting for 3 hours and once I'd dealt with my part in the proceedings I pulled out the cross stitch. I had to stay in the meeting so that it was quorate but I couldn't do any work as I needed to listen to what was happening and make an occasional contribution. I got quite a lot of stitching done. I love online meetings where you have your video off and mic muted. The bottom border is moving along nicely as a result of my morning's stitching.

Tomorrow I am teaching online and then I need to pack as John and I are away for the weekend and will be leaving early on Friday morning. A visit to my favourite quilt shop is on the agenda and I have birthday money to spend. We have plans to do some walking, some exploring, relaxing and just enjoying a change of scenery. I'll drop the books and folders into the office on the way past. The drive is always fun as it gives us a chance to just be the two of us. It's great having Lucy and Richard living with us but sometimes its nice to just be a couple.

Now I need to calculate the fabric I need to finish the Austen Family Album quilt. I wonder if I can finish it before the end of the year? 

Take care


Sunday 6 December 2020

Relaxing with slow stitching

Today has been a little manic. First I spent quite a while in the kitchen. I made a batch of rice crispy cakes to  satisfy the needs of Richard and Lucy and also to finish up the box of rice crispies. Next I made a loaf using 50:50 white bread flour and wholemeal. This gives a denser loaf than all white flour and we all enjoy it. Whilst it had its first rise I cut the Christmas cake, first in half and then one of the halves again. By the time the bread was read for it second knead I'd covered the three pieces in marzipan. I set the cakes aside and will add the icing tomorrow. I'm going to use fondant icing which will be fairly quick to do. I need to decide how I'm going to decorate them.

Having finished in the kitchen for a while I headed upstairs. I wanted to go through my yarn stash. I've used up yarn by crocheting granny squares which I'm now joining together but I've still got a lot left. Much of the yarn came from my mother in law when she died. Her daughter doesn't really knit so I was the obvious recipient. There was a lot of yarn even after I'd given some away and used some more to teach the guides to knit. I sorted it back into double knitting, aran and 4 ply with each going into a separate container. I kept the yarn I wanted to work with and that's now in my knitting bag. The containers will be put back up into the loft until I need some more yarn. Since my mother in law died the only yarn I've had to buy has been for the couple of baby blankets I knitted for colleagues. There isn't enough of any yarn to make a big item but more than enough for baby or children's wear or doll's clothes

I still have the tree to sort out so not sure how long I'll have for slow stitching but I will definitely make time for some. I'm working on the bottom border of the millennium sampler and this is my December one monthly goal. I want to finish the last border, the final cornerstone and the spitfire. That's my goal for the month.

I'd also dearly love to finish the outlining on the scroll work but I'm not sure that's doable. There are also one or two single stitches to be added. It would be fabulous to have this all finished since it is 20 years in January since I started it and it's my oldest UFO.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching and with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for her December one monthly goal  I've still got a few blogs to visit from the Virtual Cookie blog hop so I will intersperse my cross stitch with blog reading.

Take care


Saturday 5 December 2020

A day out.

Today we went on an outing. We had planned to visit the Imperial War museum earlier in the year but never managed to fit it in between lockdowns and other activities. We wanted to visit one of the exhibitions that was on, Refugees. This exhibition explores displacement, which is the main consequence of conflict and explores their journey to rebuild their lives elsewhere. We hadn't visited the museum for some time and hadn't seen the artwork that covers the floor and stairs with full sized aerial bombs and missiles. It is a repeating pattern of 50 missiles.

The installation is by Ai Weiwei. He is a contemporary Chinese artist and activist who has been openly critical of the Chinese Government for it record of human rights and democracy.

The exhibition was extremely interesting and it really did make me realise how lucky I am. It is well worth visiting. There were two carpets that caught my imagination so I took photos for you to see. The label in the second photo, which is slightly blurry, tells you about the carpet. 

The second carpet was beautifully made but a more disturbing pattern.

We spent about 3 hours at the museum. We visited the shop before we left and I bought a couple of Christmas presents. We stopped at a café for coffee and Danish pastries on the way back to the station. Whilst we had been in the museum the weather had become much colder so I was very pleased when we got back home.

This afternoon we moved some furniture around so that I will be able to put our Christmas tree up tomorrow. We had planned to do this on December 1st and have a video link up with our older daughter, but quite often things don't go as planned. Anyway, tomorrow John will get the tree and decorations down from the loft and we will start to enjoy the Christmas season. I still have to work for two more weeks, all online, but then I have two weeks holiday. Yipee!

Although I'm trying to get my millennium sampler finished, today I decided to do a little work on the Christmas tree cross stitch. It's just nice to work on something different. Tomorrow I'll be back trying to finish the sampler.

Plans for Sunday are to decide my one monthly goal for December and to ice the Christmas cake. Really it's ice three Christmas cakes as the cake will be cut so that we have half and my brother Alex has a quarter and Katy has a quarter. I also need to bake some bread. There will be time to do some sewing. This week has been busy so I've had very little time to get the machine out. What time I've had has been spent planning some new projects.

I've just got time to put a few more stitches in the cross stitching before bedtime.

Take care