Friday, 25 March 2016

Happy Easter!

I am writing this with doors and windows open as it is a lovely sunny day and quite warm.  However it will not last as the Gulf Stream coming over the Atlantic has moved and rain is forecast!  This will all happen over the weekend when I have all the family here for lunch on Easter Sunday and an Easter egg hunt is planned for the children.
Little baskets for the Easter egg hunt!  Bought I am afraid.
Having done my mammoth shop early this morning I am now baking a cake and making other goodies for the day.  I have a new cookery book and I am using three recipes from it and there are others I would like to make in the future.  Usually I cook for one, so cooking for nine is a bit of a leap for me and guesses have to be made on quantities.

I did pop into the garden earlier just to see if anything is out.  Lots of tulips breaking the surface but not a lot of colour at the moment -

a couple of daffodils,

the Rosemary which attracts bees at this time of the year and luckily, for me, this -
grown in a tub as it is so invasive
my garden mint for the mint sauce with the roast lamb.  Even the Aubrietia in the background of this photo isn't out yet.

I have been working on this project for Easter as I am hoping he will bring back memories for my sons -
Humpty Dumpty
I found the pattern when I was clearing out a drawer and it came from a 1971 Family Circle magazine and, originally made for my eldest son, Humpty disappeared a long time ago.  I love his face as he "falls off the wall"!

Lots happening next week so the blog catch up may not be until next weekend, so until then have a lovely holiday weekend.

Saturday, 19 March 2016


I have been up for hours this morning as I write my blog.  Why?  Well today I was going to do the Crazy Hats walk at Wicksteed Park and had to meet up with the rest of my group before 9.30am.  Then I picked up my envelope of information and re-read it and realised it is tomorrow!!  Oh no, another early morning and all my own fault, because it is on my calendar for tomorrow and I have had it fixed in my pea brain for today!!

Anyway chores have been done and so after writing this I can disappear into the studio and finish off a project I would like to get sewn before Easter weekend.

It has been a particularly busy week as I have had to tidy the garden up after winter even though I found it quite cold.  Cleaned out the pond -

which had fallen apples bobbing in it, from next door's tree.  I also brought up some old leaves off the bottom and this pile will now go on the compost heap, BUT look closer at the pond; it has now got a green slime with an oily film on the top.  I have no idea what to do so any help would be appreciated!!!

I have this lovely Hellebore but wish it's head didn't hang down as it is so pretty

This week has been the big reveal of the Christmas 2015 Challenge for Higham Piecemakers.  We were given a fat quarter of fabric (mine was white) and a clock mechanism and have it finished by 14 March.

What to do?  I usually come up with ideas fairly quickly, but this time my 'little grey cells' would not engage.  Then suddenly at my smocking class in January I saw a quilt hanging on the wall at Poppy Patch in readiness for the Helen Spence workshop on 5 April and so, with apologies to Helen, this gave me an idea -

I set my block into a circle of fabric and machined the Roman numerals.  Why did I use these - well they are all straight lines and I could do them quickly!!

I had already decided to have it framed professionally and what a wonderful job they made of it -

I love it and it keeps good time, so that is a bonus.
Do look at the Higham Piecemakers blog to see all the clocks; they are all beautiful and original and I feel proud to belong to such a creative group!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Crashes and squares

I have had a bad week, computer wise.  I spend quite a lot of time on my computer writing my blog, catching up with friends, downloading and editing photos and I am Secretary of two groups, so when it 'goes down' or doesn't work it makes me want to throw it out of the window!!  I struggled on thinking that every day it would revert to normal, but no such luck.

Luckily I have a brilliant nephew who advised me what to do, so yesterday I spent nearly all day sorting it out and it is now working properly, thank goodness. and I am happy again!

In between these techy issues I have been working on various projects in my Studio.  But first I must show you this

that I bought at Textiles in Focus Show that I blogged about here, but what am I going to make with it?  I have absolutely no idea why I bought it, but I will wait until something comes to mind.  Any ideas??

However the main project has been my Harmony Squares Blanket from Attic 24

that I started a month ago.  126 granny squares have to be made and from the very start I realised that I had to be organised. 
The last square still needs 8 more to make the set!!
Fourteen different coloured squares have to be made nine times so I decided to work through each one nine times and when each set was finished it was put into a plastic bag and I wrote it's letter on it - oh and I darned in each of the 'ends' as I finished each coloured round as this was the most tedious part of the whole process.
Nearly finished

I have kept all the bags in the new basket that I bought -

 So now to join them all together!!  I will be starting this today, so concentration is required.

On Monday and Wednesday next week is the BIG REVEAL for the Higham Piecemakers Christmas 2015 Challenge so watch that space.  Mine is finished, but I have to admit I was severely lacking in creative juices and it took me ages to decide what to make, but I am pleased with the outcome.

My own Mini Mania March number challenge that I set is progressing quicker than I thought it would and here is a sneaky peek -
This square is still a 'work in progress'
I have also started another project that dates back to 1971, but more about this in a later blog, if I can work it out!!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Where was I going?

A few weeks ago my eldest son phoned and said I must keep Saturday 5 March free for my Mother's Day treat with the whole family.  Anyway it was weeks ahead and so I updated the calendar and forgot about it.

However at the beginning of this week I began to have further thoughts.  It had to be central for both my sons to meet up so that probably meant London;  I was told to be in Cambridge for an early lunch before we set off; I had established that normal clothes should be worn, in layers as it could be hot, so that meant we weren't going  to be doing anything particularly active, so maybe we were going to a circus!! 

As usual I turned on my radio first thing in the morning and heard the sports news and it was then that I guessed what we were going  to be doing - The UCI 2016 Track Cycling World Championships - that were being held at the Olympic Velodrome!! 

If you follow me regularly we went there in October so this was an obvious choice.  Last time we were able to spend time in the centre of the track but not this time -

Sir Bradley Wiggins - looking pensive but not racing at this session
Cyclists were warming up
celebrities were being interviewed -

Hugh Dennis for Sport Relief

and finally the racing started -
Callum Skinner - unfortunately knocked out in the quarter finals

but appeared cheerful whilst cooling down

Jason Kenny in the sprint
where he eventually won the Gold medal last night!
Then it was the Omnium 'Flying Lap' and it was time for Mark Cavendish to take to the track
He was flying
and the cheering rose to a crescendo!  Mind you, this happened when any 'Brit' took to the track.
Cav on his way to warm down
 Then finally it was time for the Women's Omnium 'Pursuit' -
There goes Laura Trott

Go Laura ....
 and finished 2nd overall.  At the time of writing the final will be held at the afternoon session today.

My whole day was finished off with us all having a meal together.  A great day out for a Mother's day treat and thank you to the family.  Love you all.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Pineapples and DIY!!

If you are a regular follower of this blog you will know that I am a member of a 'Mini Mania' group and the challenge for February was Pineapple Log Cabin and we could use the template from here.  I decided to try making a bigger block which I hoped would finish at 4" (10cms) but as usual things did not go quite my way!!!

 The paper pattern at the top is for 3" squares (7.5cms) so you can imagine how large my squares were going to be, but I pressed on using up scraps.  I decided to piece over paper using the 3" squares and my sample packs that I was given by Oakshotts when I visited them and started this quilt a couple of years ago.
Quite pleased with this little 'Mini'
 The finished large blocks beside the baby!!

 Here is the finished February Mini -

I am not especially proud of this as I think it is quite messy but I have had some really nice comments from the group so thank you to them.

Well that was February and I had volunteered to set the challenge for March so check here to see what devilish idea I had had!!

I hope that this photo (which was difficult) gives them some ideas.  It is a cushion made many years ago as part of a course I was doing, made for a man, using the number 8, Markal pen and quilted with metallic thread.

I have been doing a few little DIY (Do-it-Yourself) jobs in my Studio over the weekend and I really needed to sort out my pinboard.  I was lucky enough to acquire a sheet of thick polystyrene about a metre square but it needed to be mounted on the wall. 

How to do this??  In the end I went here and for £1 bought an offcut of MDF which I glued on the back, using special polystyrene glue.  So far so good but this was now quite a heavy board so onto the internet to see how to hang it.  I bought some J-hooks and have just finished mounting the board -

 and pinning up my 'Minis' made so far -

I will not tell you how many holes I tried to drill to put up the hooks; suffice to say that I was just about to drill through the plaster for one hole when I glanced down and realised that I was about to make a hole above an electric wall plug!!!!!!!!!!  Aarrgh - stop woman before you electrocute yourself.  I have only just finished shaking!

As you can appreciate I am not much of a handyman but the worst mistake I ever made was just before I had carpet laid on the landing.  I decided the floorboards needed tightening up so I screwed them down and 18 months later the ceiling in the kitchen came down because I had made a small hole in a water pipe that gradually dripped, dripped etc.....  I leave the rest to your imagination.