Sunday, 9 May 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

I have enjoyed slow stitching this weekend but before I tell you about that let's rewind and I tell you what else has happened.

On Saturday Lucy was running her first race, a 10K run on a common not far from us. She was very nervous as the last time she took part in a race it was at sports day for her final year at junior school and the race was an egg and spoon race, Her memory of that race is not a good one as she was disqualified by the teacher in charge, who was also her class teacher, for cheating. Parents and children all pointed out she hadn't cheated but the teacher wouldn't change their mind. Needless to say that teacher didn't get a present at the end of the year and I more than supported her decision. She set off for the race venue on her own as she wanted to settle her nerves. We were to meet her later, at the end. She completed the race and had a good time, not one of the fastest competitors but well within the time allowed. After the race she verbalised her worries which included, do I get on with warming up on my own or do they do a group one and will I be able to socially distance at the start? She found the race well organised and very supportive. She was also very pleased with her performance especially since it was a wet and cold morning. We took her out to lunch to celebrate which was fun (but cold since it was outside). Her medal is very pretty.

For the rest of the day I was busy with stitching and cutting. I completely finished the oven gloves for Katy including the loop to hang them up. I was going to finish them for last weekend but Katy cancelled her walk with us so there was no rush. Both gloves have a red side and a white side. I love this cat fabric.

I cut the fabric for the frog embroideries, well the ones I hadn't cut and started to draw them out. I also cut more of the fabric I need for my Born to be wild project. Sorry but I can't show you this until next week.

I carried on working on the May block for the Pride and Prejudice quilt. I'm very pleased with how far I got and I think I should finish this piece this evening whilst watching television.

Slow stitching for the rest of the week will be the remaining two blocks for this quilt. They stitch up very quickly and I'd love to be up to date. That would leave me free to do some stitching on the frog embroideries.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. I must pop over a see what everyone is up to this week.

I'm hoping the weather gets a little warmer soon as I want to spend more time outdoors. We've been doing a lot of work in the garden and it's looking good but it's too cold to sit outside for very long.  I would love to sit and stitch in the garden to the gentle buzz of bees. On that note I must get back to my stitching.

Take care


Friday, 7 May 2021

May One Monthly Goal

Last month I totally missed my goal for the month but I've been told that if you don't succeed at something all you need to do is try again. So that's what I'm doing but I'm adding to the goal.

Last month my goal was to complete the April block for the Pride and Prejudice stitch along I'm doing with Sherry but I only put a few stitches into the block. Add to that I've still got the March block to finish. So having failed at finishing just one block my goal for this month is to complete the blocks for March, April and May. I'm feeling really positive this month so I think this is possible. I've already made a good start on the April block. I've done a little more stitching since I took the photo yesterday.

It's back in it's hoop and all ready for me to start stitching later this evening. Last night I stitched whilst watching the latest episode of the Great British Sewing Bee. It was international week and was great fun to watch. 

Here is a picture of the completed quilt.

I need to complete the block on the top right corner and the two on the left of the next row down. I don't think I will use the block as they are here, but there is a long way to go before I'm putting together the quilt top.

This weekend I don't have a lot of sewing time available. Lucy is running her first race tomorrow. It is 10K so she shouldn't be too taxed by it, but this is the first time she has taken part in a formal race. It will be good practice because she's booked to run a half marathon in September. We can't go and support her because supporters have been asked not to attend but we are going out to lunch as a family after the event. It should be good fun.  On Sunday we are going walking with Katy and Olly. 

Although sewing time will be limited I will make sure I have time to do some. I'd love to finish one of the cushion covers or the bag. It will all depend on how I feel at the time.

I'm linking this post with Patty from Elm Street Quilts for her May OMG link up

Take care


Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Exercise and sewing.

Over the later part of 2020 John and I decided to lose some weight. We were successful and I lost a stone which I've kept off since then. Christmas and a lockdown have happened but I haven't gained the weight back so now it's time to lose a little more weight. A stone would be fabulous. We have been careful with our diet but have also enjoyed very tasty food and in addition I've pushed up the exercise. Many years ago, when a teenager, I used to do yoga and I really enjoyed it since I felt it gave me more energy. As an adult I've given the excuse of lack of time but is that a real excuse when flexibility and core strength are essential as we age? Anyway I restarted yoga on New Years day. It wasn't a resolution and I haven't done it every day but I have tried to do at least half an hour several times a week. I can already feel that I am more flexible and I have much better balance. I can even do some of the crazy one legged poses without falling over! If you're looking for some gentle exercise then yoga is really good and there are a lot of videos on YouTube to help you. Take time to choose ones suitable for your age, health and ability and then enjoy. In addition to yoga John and I have also pushed up the distance we are walking. We have tried to walk 4 to 5 miles most days but now we are hoping to walk a minimum of 5 miles every day. Trying to fit everything into the hours available in a day takes good time management which is always a problem, and not something I'm good at, but hopefully in a few weeks time I'll be lighter and fitter and have more energy.

Last evening I sat down to do some stitching. I decided to work on the block for May and whilst enjoying one of the new episodes of Midsommer Murders that I'd missed, I made a good start on the block. I'll probably do some work on it this evening.

A little while back I cut the fabric for a couple of cushion covers. These will be very bright and cheerful cushions.

After work I set up my machine and set about putting the front of the cover together. There are 4 appliqued bowls on each cover and I needed to trace out the patterns for the bowls onto the paper side of bondaweb. There are three pieces per bowl. When I put the bowls together I ironed them onto greaseproof paper as I don't have a Teflon pressing sheet. It worked very well but I've added a Teflon pressing mat to my wish list. By the time I'd finished I'd completed both cushion fronts. The blue version,

and the orange version.

I've already stitched the backs of the covers together Tomorrow I'll applique the bowls onto the backing and quilt the cushion fronts. I don't think I'll have time to finish them completely.

I'm trying to finish projects that I'd started and that have stalled so I pulled out this bag. There was a mistake in the pattern. Fortunately I received an email with the correction before I cut the fabric but I put it back in the cupboard. It's funny how a mistake, even when it's corrected, can put you off something.

I quilted the front and back of the bag and then stitched the front to the back. The bag has a pocket and a lining which I'll work on tomorrow or Friday. 

I need to spend some time finishing off my project for the Born to be wild Blog hop that takes place a little later this month.

It feels good to have done some sewing this evening I'm hoping to finish at least one of the cushion covers tomorrow but I have promised to do some mending for my daughter so that will be done first.

Take care


Monday, 3 May 2021

Flags and other things.

Today was the early May bank holiday and as is traditional for a bank holiday in England, it has been cold, windy and this evening it has started to rain. Fortunately today was a staying at home day, with some sewing and gardening on the agenda.

First I wanted to sew the oven gloves together and attach the binding. I managed to sew both gloves together and get the binding fully attached on one. I still need to sew the back of the binding down on the second glove.

I had been asked to sew some webbing to the bottom of a couple of flags. Well the Union Flag and the Girl Guide flag. The flags will be on top of a building several stories high and needed some extra support. This was just straight sewing and didn't take too long to complete.

Yesterday evening we had dealt with some of the plants we bought yesterday but we still needed to plant out some others. We have a new wooden planter that we decided to use for a herb garden. It looks good all planted up and herbs fresh from the garden will be great. We still have jobs to do in the garden but I'm working for the next three days, as is John, so it will have to wait until the weekend.

I need to take the photos of our walk on Saturday off my camera but I've misplaced my card reader so it will have to wait till I can remember where I put it. It was so easy with my old computer as it had an SD card reader but my new one doesn't. For now I'm going to do some stitching on the Pride and Prejudice block. Hopefully I'll finish it before bed time.

Take care



Slow Sunday Stitching.

 May already! This year is really rushing by. Yesterday I had an appointment in the morning and then was going to sew for the rest of the day but my appointment was cancelled and so John and I decided to go walking instead. We wanted to go and visit our favourite bluebell woods. They were resplendent with flowers and after our walk we stopped at the nearby garden centre. They have a cafĂ© that does delicious food and we both enjoyed a prawn and avocado salad sat outside in the sun. We then went shopping for plants. I wanted some tomato starts and some bedding plants for the hanging baskets and pots. We had fun choosing our plants and when we got home we needed to get them planted in the garden. By the time we'd finished that it was time to think about dinner and so no sewing got done. I'll share some pictures of the walk tomorrow.

Today, after I'd completed my yoga practice we headed out to the local cemetery for a walk. We haven't walked here for two weeks so a lot had changed. The trees were all in full leaf and there were a lot of flowers. Whilst walking we saw a pair of fox cubs. They were very shy and it was quite difficult to get a picture but John managed to get a photo of the bigger of the two cubs.

Back home I pulled out my slow stitching. I haven't done any for the last week and have a lot of catching up to do. I'm doing a stitch along with Sherry but haven't fully kept up. I have completed the block for January but the one's for February, March and April are in varying stages of completion. Here's the January block.

The February block is very close to being finished and this I am planning on working on today. I probably won't finish this evening but it will be completed tomorrow. This is where I've got to.

As you can see I need to finish the stitching on Elizabeth. The stitching is stem stitch and it is very quick to do. If not tonight I'll finish it in the morning. I also drew out the next block.

I can't decide whether to work on this block and then go back and finish the March and April blocks or to get up to date before starting this block.  Tomorrow I also plan on drawing out a couple of the blocks from this pattern.

I bought some fabric for the embroidered blocks ages ago and I want to cut it ready for the blocks and draw them out so that the fabric doesn't get used for anything else. My machine is already set up ready for some sewing action tomorrow.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up

Take care


Thursday, 29 April 2021

Trying to finish something

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Here we are, the last day of the month and I've been struggling to complete any sewing for the last few days. I've also not had chance to read many of the blogs I follow. The reason is that I had my second covid 19 vaccination last Saturday and my brain is feeling really tired, my arm hurts and by the end of the day I have a headache. On the plus side I have had both vaccinations and hopefully they will work and help keep me safe from infections when we start teaching face to face in early May. Because my students all work in healthcare most of them are also full vaccinated and they are all looking forward to meeting up again rather than carrying on learning on line.  

Since my last post nothing has really moved forward. I still have to finish off the oven gloves for my daughter. They are still at the same stage they were last week and I was hoping to give them to her tomorrow

I'd cut the fabric for two cushion covers and they are still waiting for me to start work on them.

I did manage to quilt one of the blocks on the Austen Family Quilt last Saturday morning before I had my vaccination. That evening John and I meet up with a couple of friends at our local pub for a drink and dinner. Fortunately the weather was warm since we were sitting outside. It was lovely to see our friends, since the last time we met up was September.

Last Thursday John and I visited the wetland centre at Barnes for a gentle stroll and bird watching.  The birds were all preparing nests or getting cosy with their mate. The drake mallards head was iridescent with a green or purple sheen depending on the angle you looked at them. There were a lot of black headed gulls flying around but their heads look chocolate brown in the picture.

The wetlands is involved in research and breeding programmes. This Eider duck is part of their programme.

There were huge clumps of marsh marigolds. They are so pretty and really brightened up the day.

We spotted this terrapin swimming along. He was probably someone's pet and had been released into the pond. The pond on the local common had several which they caught and moved elsewhere as they were eating the duck eggs.

This white faced duck was also enjoying the weather. I love his light blue beak. I also like the ripples and reflections in this picture. 

There were some adorable Coot chicks with their little red heads.

On Friday I joined Lucy and John on a walk. We drove to the start and then completed a circular route that was 7 miles. We did go wrong once on the route and had to retrace our steps but when we got back to the car my Fitbit was registering an additional 2 miles! We parked in the car park at Bexley Heath station and set off along the road to Danson Park. The park has a large boating lake and on the hill is Danson House, a Georgian mansion. Here we stopped for a coffee and sandwich as it was lunchtime.

On the way to the park we passed the gate into the grounds of the Red house. The Red House was the home of William Morris of the Arts and Crafts movement. John and I want to visit the house later in the year. I took a picture of the blue plaque on the wall at the gate.

The walk took us through parks and woody areas.

These frolicking metal cows were fun.

The last part of the walk was through a bluebell wood. 

Tomorrow, I'm out in the morning but once home, I intend to spend the rest of the day sewing. I've already set my sewing machine up and arranged the pieces I want to work on, ready next to it. I am hoping to get caught up on several of my projects during in May.

Take care


Thursday, 22 April 2021

In the kitchen.

 Welcome to day 4 of the 'in the kitchen' blog hop.  Thank you to Carla from Creatin' in the sticks for organising the hop. I had several possibilities for my project. I need to make a blind for the small window in the kitchen. The room has a large bay window and a while ago I made curtains for that window. However this isn't a priority at the moment so the blind will have to wait a little longer. My second choice was a new oven glove. My old ones have a burn hole in them from where John forgot our ceramic hob was on ......oops. You can see the burn in the photo below.

In my stash I had the fabric with the pretty apron pattern on it and I thought it was perfect. I also had the insul bright in my stash as I'd been meaning to make new oven gloves for ages. I used the old gloves as a pattern. I prefer the long oven gloves with the pocket at each end rather than two separate gloves. I set about cutting my fabric. For each part I needed a front and a back piece of fabric, I piece of insul bright and a piece of wadding. For the long side I used the apron fabric for the front and back but on the pocket pieces I used some left over Christmas fabric as it wouldn't be seen. This was so I had some of the apron fabric to use in a scrappy quilt. It's too pretty to use in an area where it won't be seen.

Next job was to layer each part, Fabric insul bright, wadding and backing fabric. The insul bright can be used either side up according to the instructions. Once pinned in place I marked my quilting lines with my Frixon pen. It didn't take long to complete the quilting. I attached the binding to the cuff of the pockets and then stitched the pockets on to the back or is it the front of the gloves. I had a choice of fabrics for the binding and finally settled on orange. It was tricky attaching the binding, especially around the curves, as all those layers made it quite thick but eventually it was done. My stitches where I've stitched the binding down by hand aren't very neat but my fingers were sore from stitching down the binding on the baby quilt.

These will stop my fingers getting burnt when taking things out of the oven.

A while back I had agreed to make oven gloves for Katy and I had the perfect fabric to use. It was perfect because of the cats. Katy prefers individual gloves so that's what I'm making. I haven't finished them but then I only decided to start making them on Tuesday evening and I was working yesterday. Here is the progress to date.

One side of the gloves is the red fabric and the other is the beige. The lining for each glove is the pink check fabric. Tomorrow I'll stitch down the binding on the wrist band and stitch the gloves together. I'll be using more of the black fabric as the binding.

Now you need to visit the other blogs taking part today. Here is today's schedule.

Thursday, April 22nd

I can't wait until tomorrow evening when I can sit down and work my way though all the posts. I'm excited to see what everyone made. 

Take care



Monday, 19 April 2021

Work in Progress.

The last week has whizzed by but it has been fun. There hasn't been a lot of actual sewing going on but I have set up a couple of new projects. I spent some time cutting fabric. One project you will see on Thursday but I can show you the fabric for the other project.

The fabric and the pattern for the cushions came in my subscription box. I'd been planning on making them for some time but I needed to get the various baby quilts finished first. This week I also made a start on the quilting of the Austen Family Album Quilt but didn't even manage to finish quilting one block. 

This week has been a busy time for family activities. Tuesday was Katy's birthday. We had planned to go over and visit her but instead she came to us. Meet ups can currently only happen outside and Tuesday was rather chilly so we enjoyed a hot drink whilst she opened her presents and we chatted. She didn't stay long because of the weather but we spent quite a bit of time messaging for the rest of the evening.

Today was Lucy's birthday but yesterday we had an afternoon tea in the garden at Katy's. Katy and Olly made the sandwiches and sausage rolls and I made little cakes and scones. There was tea and coffee or bubbly. I stuck with tea as I was driving. Yesterday afternoon was very warm and we spent several hours chatting and enjoying the sun. Afternoon tea meant that no one needed to be off doing the cooking while the rest of us were enjoying ourselves.

Katy's kitten joined in with the fun but he was very difficult to catch on camera. Rothko will be a year old at the beginning of June. At one point he jumped on the table to try and get his nose in the milk.

A little later he spent 5 minutes lying quietly in Katy's arms before he started to wriggle.

He spent ages chasing shadows and dust before finally settling down on the grass and finally falling asleep.

Today Lucy opened her presents and she received two deliveries of beautiful spring flowers. John and I took some time out for ourselves and went for a long walk. We went to the Wandle Meadow nature park first and at the point the river Wandle and the Graveney meet we spent some time watching two grey wagtails and a wren.

We then walked to Wimbledon cemetery. We drive past this everyday when going into work but had never explored it before. The flowering trees were beautiful.

I also loved this prickly looking tree. It is still very much alive and all the twigs had a blush of green from the new leaves.]

There were a lot of birds around but I couldn't get any photos without a longer lens. 

Tomorrow the 'In the Kitchen' blog hop kicks off. Here's the schedule for the week. 

Take care.