Sunday 31 December 2023

Sewing plans for 2024

Yesterday was a planning day.  I am taking part in the White rabbit blog hop later in January and I needed to get the design finalised and spend time cutting some fabric. Once that was organised I prepped another new project. This involves small log cabin blocks. There were quite a few 1 inch strip to cut.

This will make an 18 x 14 inch cushion. There are 12 small log cabin blocks on the front and then a border.  To make the small blocks the pattern uses this gridded Vlieseline which I hadn't come across before. I think it will prove useful in making a small quilt for my doll's house . It looks easy to use to make the blocks and I like trying new things so this should be fun. 

I also did a  bit of reorganising in my sewing cupboard and found the indigo quilt I started a while back. It had got hidden behind my overlocker (serger). I don't appear to have taken a photo of it so I can't show it to you. I wonder if I could be more organised in 2024, not losing items and getting projects finished? It sounds very doable but being really organised takes a lot of time. I thought I might make a plan to work on some of the projects in rotation. At the moment I have several quilts I am working on or want to start and other stitching projects. 

1. Grandmothers Garden. This is all hand stitched and is now also quite heavy. It would be great to finish this in 2024. It will therefore be my aim to make good progress but not necessarily finish.

2. Red manor House Quilt.  I have most of the blocks for the next round cut but need to stitch them together. I would like to progress this project over the year, completing the next two rounds if possible.

3. Indigo Quilt. I love the colours of the fabric and how the shapes work together. I have started this small quilt but haven't got very far and I haven't taken a photo of it yet. I want to progress this quilt.

4. Double wedding ring. I have always wanted to make a ring quilt and this is going to be the year that I start it. I may or may not use this pattern. Decisions, decisions.

5. Dinosaur quilt. I have the fabric all cut and carefully labelled for each block. I want to start this quilt this year. This is a lot more organised than I've been before. 

6 I want to make at least 1 but preferably 2 donation quilts. This year I didn't make a donation quilt but did meet a lady from quilts for care leavers at The Festival of Quilts and we had a long conversation. I have had care leavers join my course and they can feel lost and in need of a hug. The charity donates quilts to people who are leaving care. 

7. I want to start the stitching on this table cloth. It reminds me of my younger self when visitors would come with their knitting or stitching and afternoon tea and cake would be served. The big hotels in London serve afternoon tea with little sandwiches, scones and cream and cake but it is expensive so I'd rather enjoy the experience at home with family, especially in the summer when we can sit in the garden.

8. Crocheted squares. During covid I crocheted a lot of squares and now I need to join them all together to create a blanket. I might need to make some more squares as I'm not sure how big the blanket will be. I have more squares than shown in the photo.

9. Cat cross stitch. I started this quite a while ago and want to get it finished. I used to really enjoy cross stitch but these days I prefer other forms of embroidery.

10. Sashiko. Last year or it could have been 2021 I was given this collection of items to do some sashiko embroidery. I did start a small piece but was busy doing other things. I'd like to  try this out as it would look great incorporated into a quilt.

I decided a good way to get organised was to play along with the Chookshed Stitchers 2024 challenge. Each month the number of the project to be worked on will be released. Now I have one decision less to make each month!

Finally I know many of you have already welcomed 2024. In London UK we still have 3 and half hours to go. Wherever you are in the world I'm wishing you a Happy New Year.

Friday 29 December 2023

Easing gently to the end of the year

I enjoy the lull between Christmas and New Year. I have a chance to do some planning for next year, to check out how far my various projects have progressed and to track down patterns or fabric that have become lost in my sewing storage system. Earlier in the year I went to the Stitch Festival with my friend Michelle and I bought a pattern to make a sewing machine shaped pin cushion. Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time looking for it and I finally found it.

I spent some time copying the pattern and preparing the base. I also found a fat quarter I might use.

or I may use this one. Life is all about decisions.

Whilst I made my decision about the fabric I cut the fabric for the binding on the hexi quilt and soon had it stitched to the front. Later in the evening I started hand stitching the binding to the back. I think I should be able to get this finished before the end of the year.

I was given a freestyle embroidery kit for Christmas to make a very pretty tablecloth. I found a project folder for it and checked that all the threads were there. I would love to make a start on this but need to finish another embroidery project first.

I was also given this mini cross stitch reindeer kit. I have switched out the fabric as the piece that came in the box was very thick and too small for the pattern. Fortunately I had a left over piece from a previous project that was the perfect size. It will make a cute Christmas card for next year.

John had identified that we had run out of bread so in between sorting the binding I made some rye bread. I haven't made any rye bread for a few months so once it was baked and out of the bread tin I cut myself a slice. Mmmm, delicious.

We had arranged to visit John's sister in the afternoon so I could meet her new puppy. The little cutie is a Havanese and 5 months old. By this point she had tired herself out so needed a snuggle next to mom.

On our way home we stopped and feed older daughter's cats, Penny and Rothko. They are home alone while their family are away for a few day. They were pleased to see us and enjoyed a little fussing. Having checked that they had enough food and water we gave them one last cuddle before heading home.

During the evening I got on with the binding whilst we watched Hinterland. I'm half way round the quilt.

Take care


Wednesday 27 December 2023

Best of 2023

It's that time of year when we look back over the year as it draws to a close. The year overall has been good. John and I have been away for a lot of fun weekends, some of which I haven't blogged about. We spent time with our family and had fun experiences with our grandson. The down side has been work, since it has been very busy and has seriously got in the way of my hobbies. I needed this holiday to wind down and recalibrate ready for the new year so that work stays where it should be, in working hours!

Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs has been running her 'Best of' for the last 9 years. I decide to take the opportunity to look back and see how 2023 panned out.

I've had some finishes over the year which is always fun. On Halloween I finished stitching the binding on my second oldest project, the bag ladies. These were started in 2017 and finally finished this year. I love these ladies and can identify with all of them

I took part on several blog hops but my favourite is always the Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange organised by Carol from Just let me Quilt. It's provides a chance to show some quilty delights and also share a recipe. This year I shared a little Christmas stitchery that I finished earlier in the year.

John and I visited the Threads through creation. exhibition at Bath Abbey and then revisited the exhibition when it moved to Portsmouth Cathedral. There are three posts with pictures of the quilts. My favourite quilt is this one.

I was also lucky enough to visit the NEC for the Festival of Quilts in August. John and I had a great day out and really enjoyed seeing all the amazing quilts. There are 4 posts with pictures of the quilts. Go HERE for the last post with quilt photos and then click on older posts to see the three others. There was such a variety of quilts so everyone's taste was catered for. It is difficult to choose a favourite because depending on the day and my mood I like different quilts. Today I really like this one, as it makes me think of the Yorkshire moors.

In March I made a play mat for my grandson. He was given a tin with the characters for the three little pigs story but the mat for it was an A4 piece of paper. I made a new quilt mat for him and it is a firm favourite when story telling.

It's fun to look back at the year. Although I haven't done as much sewing or blogging as I would like, it has been a busy year.  I hope 2024 will be as much fun.

Take care


Sunday 24 December 2023

Feeling better and ready for Christams

I am still slowly getting better from the cold and chest infection. I've also had a beautiful bruise on my forehead which is now a yellowy green and my eye is still several shades of purple from fainting and banging my head. Reminder to self, in future make sure you faint onto something soft rather than a hard floor! The run up to Christmas Eve has been busy and tiring but fun at the same time. The shopping is all done, all presents wrapped and the house all cleaned. Time to relax and enjoy.

I have managed to do some sewing over the last few days. I slotted it in between various jobs. The main sewing was to finish the dinosaur back pack for grandson. I'm very pleased with the result. He's very into dinosaurs at the moment so he should like it. I just need to trim some ends.

I also made the dinosaur toy that came as part of the pattern.

I spent a little time making the baby doll for the dolls house. This pattern is very small and I wasn't sure I would be able to complete it. I have the adult and child dolls to complete but they are all cut out. The baby took a lot of fiddling as it is so tiny and I learnt a lot making it. I'm viewing this as a prototype and I have fabric over to make another one in the future. As a first attempt I'm very pleased with it but the report card says, could do better!

I made several mistakes in adding the stitches to make the chin, ears and hands which is why I know I will make another in the future.

Yesterday we met up with Katy, Olly and grandson for a walk at Kew Gardens. It was a perfect day for a walk, cool but dry and not too much wind. Grandson was very interested in visiting the lake and seeing the ducks. He talks none stop and is interested in everything. When we got to the lake he spent a little time dropping pebbles into the water from the bridge and then chatted to the ducks and geese. He was also fascinated by the fox that sat and watched the proceedings.

We walked past Kew Palace which was the summer home of King George III in the 18th century

Many trees had shed their leaves but this one was still clothed in  beautiful orange leaves.

Grandson was very impressed with the number of geese but he told them they were naughty for being on the garden. These are Greylag geese.

In the evening I did some stitching on my Poppies on Goodwins Lane piece. I shall be working on this later and I will try to finish it over the Christmas break.

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

This year we are having two Christmas meals. This evening we will have our 'at home' Christmas meal and tomorrow we are going to Katy and Olly's for dinner with them. It will be fun to be with them and our grandson. He is excited about Christmas and loves the decorated trees and lights.

I'm going to spend some time quilting the hexi quilt. Once I've worked out the timetable for cooking dinner the rest of the day is my time. I'd love to get this quilt finished this year of possible.

Take care



Wednesday 13 December 2023

Panic and soothing sewing.

Thank you everyone for your best wishes to get better quickly. John and I, are both feeling better. Younger daughter is now unwell but slowly recovering. 

On Tuesday morning I decided to check a regular monthly order I have for cheese. This is special cheese not just cheddar or whatever for cooking. As a family we love cheese and we look forward to the cheese delivery. I couldn't remember if it was this coming weekend or just before Christmas that it would be delivered. So I went into my account and ended up just staring at the screen. The cheese was to be delivered this week but where was my Christmas turkey order? I did my order back in early November and I also ordered some beef as we had visitors coming later in the week.  The order for Christmas wasn't showing, in fact all that was showing was an order for garlic. Panic set in very quickly and as soon as the phone lines opened I was frantically ringing in. The staff were very helpful and soon my order was back on the system but we never worked out what had happened to it. I had received an email a little while back asking if I had been trying to change my password, but I hadn't so no further action was needed, but it's possible that may have caused part of the problem. Anyway my panic at the thought that we may not have had Christmas dinner if I hadn't checked my account was averted. Not a stress I like in the morning this close to Christmas.

Having sorted that problem out I decided to stroke and pet some fabric whilst calming my nerves and deciding what I needed and wanted to work on. The fabric petting was soothing and I decided to make a start on the dinosaur back pack for our grandson. I started by cutting all the pieces out and then made the front of the backpack. I also stitched the cords.

The zip opens the dinosaur's mouth. I trimmed the ends of the zip ready for sewing the side seams.

I then spent some time working out I wanted to do with the back. I like the spots but I want the dinosaur to have standing up spines so I'm going to cut the back lengthwise in half and insert some stuffed spines. That should make it more fun for a small boy. I will need to get some toy stuffing before I can make that part.

The whole panel has these borders and I know I will be able to use them in a future quilt.

I packed up my sewing as I need to pull some fabrics to use to make the spines. I know I'll find something suitable in my collection of fat quarters.

I spent the rest of the afternoon sorting my craft books and patterns. There were several books that I hadn't used in years and no longer wanted. These will go to the charity shop tomorrow. I do have a new book that I ordered and arrived today. I now have lots of small embroidery projects I can complete for my doll's house.

I'm going into work tomorrow so I won't have any time for sewing but I hope to finish the dinosaur bag on Friday.

Take care


Monday 11 December 2023

A weekend away and being unwell.

The two items in the title are not linked apart from they happened in the same period. On Friday John and I set off to Bath to stay at our favourite hotel. The drive there was good with no problems and we arrived in the light. At this time of year we try to leave home early so the last part of the drive is completed in the light. I find the glare from headlight very tiring on the eyes these days. We decided we wouldn't visit anywhere on the way, but we would enjoy the scenery and a chance to spend time together. This trip was to celebrate my 70th birthday and I'd already enjoyed opening presents and cards. Once there we settled into our room and planned what we would do on Saturday. I knew we would be visiting Midsommer quilting and I wanted to get some wadding and more curved pins. I couldn't resist this piece of fabric in the reduced box.

Otherwise my purchases were small with some fat quarters and a kit to make a dinosaur back pack. I've been racking my brains for something to make for grandson and this was perfect. I also bought some wadding.

The shop had an exhibitions of 12 inch quilts. They do this every year and most of them are auctioned to raise money for the local hospice. The theme this year was past times or pastimes. There were a lot of quilts so I picked some of my favourites to photograph.

The title of this one was Making hay whilst the sun shines

Red sky at night shepherd's delight.

This one was Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

This one by De is titled Field of dreams and I would love to win this one in the auction.


I also liked these boxing mad march hares. Back in the spring when out on a country walk John and I saw two hares boxing. It was a spectacular sight.

Another favourite, Don't judge a book by the cover. That saying is so true, the cover of some books often leads you to believe it will be interesting but the cover is the most  part of the book.

It's all water under the bridge by Leslie Irving was another interesting quilt with lots to look at.

Finally a second quilt titled Red sky at night shepherd's delight.

Having finished stroking fabric and chatting at the quilt shop we drove to Slimbridge to do some bird watching. There was a lot to see and the day wasn't as cold as it might have been. We visited several of the hides including my favourite which has large glass windows and heating. It got dark very quickly as we drove back to the hotel and the wind decided to get quite strong and gusty. I was relived to park the car and go inside.

The wind got stronger overnight and the rain wasn't showing any sign of giving up so we jettisoned our idea of a walk and drove home early. Unfortunately the drive became a little tortuous as the quickest route, the M4 had a major accident so we headed across country to the M3 but that had planned closures nearer into London. Not a problem we got home safely.

All was fine until about 1:30 a.m. when I woke up feeling very unwell. I think I had eaten something that didn't agree with me or that I have an allergy to, when we stopped for lunch. You don't need the whole story but it did involve vomiting. I was also feeling faint so I sat myself on the bathroom floor which has ceramic tiles. They were nice and cold and I felt a bit better but unfortunately I must have fainted as I have a large lump on my forehead where I hit the floor. I had taken my phone with me when I left the bedroom so I called John and he came and rescued me and helped me back to bed. I haven't been to work today and spent most of the time in bed but I am feeling slightly better. I will take tomorrow off as well to make sure I am fully fit especially as I drive to work.

I had planned to do some sewing this evening but that has been scrapped. Maybe later in the week I'll get to that.

For now I'm going to bed and I'm hoping I will feel much better in the morning.

Take care


Wednesday 6 December 2023

Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange 2023


It's that time of year again when we share a Christmas recipe and maybe some quilty goodies. I love Christmas and enjoy the special family time. This year my grandson is very excited by all the Christmas trees. He will be 19 months and I know he will be joining in with all the fun. Thank you Carol for organising this blog hop, it really does get the Christmas season started with a wow.

I have made my Christmas cake but it will need decorating nearer the time. I'm thinking penguins and polar bears on the top this year. The tree will go up after this weekend once I've celebrated my birthday. I have reached the age of 70 and had to get my driving licence renewed. Thank goodness it arrived in time since we are going away for the weekend. As well as the tree the rest of the decorations will be put out next week. Earlier this year I finished a new Christmas stitchery and I can't wait to use it.

I'm also looking forward to getting my Christmas quilt out. I won the jelly roll when I took part in a quilt along several years ago and I love the fabrics.

My other Christmas quilt is already gracing my daughter's bed.

As well as making the rich fruit cake for Christmas we also like stollen and last weekend I made one. 

Stollen is a German bread, where it is known as Christsollen. It's made with dried fruit, candied peel, cherries apricots and is delicious. This stollen did not last long. I'll bake another nearer Christmas but I don't want to put on any extra weight over the holiday period so I want to be a little careful. My recipe was from Delia Smith's Christmas recipe book and you can find her recipe HERE The stollen is usually glazed or has icing sugar sprinkled over it but I like it without.

I also made a batch of mince pies or are they tarts? Half of them disappeared very quickly!

When my parents were alive we'd spend Christmas with them. Late on Christmas eve mom and I would bake a batch of mince pies to have with our coffee. While cooking we would often have a drink such as gin and tonic or wine and we would end the evening giggling a lot.

Now you need to visit the other blogs so here is the full list.

The Pinterest page for this hop can be found HERE.

  Thank you for visiting today and I'm looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Take care