Monday, 14 August 2017

Just a quick one

I seem to have been running around like a headless chicken making things but have nothing really to show. Another block for the Quilt-as-you-go. I'm two blocks behind on the ladies at the class, I've done the patterns but not the block!
I think this block would make a lovely all-over design but you'd need a coloured chart to work from. This is next week's design. I just realised I can screenshot directly from my Affinity Designer programme. Well I never!
Loving the rainbow effect - yes I know there are eight shades in the block....
Hilary was asking about a workshop for a Christmas Box - this is an old one I dug out and will update   the fabrics.  The box is a 6" cube and I'm going to make a 4" cube with some stitchery on the front face too.  I did the little designs this morning and will prepare the materials this afternoon and evening. I've got so many things spinning round in my head but my hands just won't keep up with them.

I re-made the Ferro Rocher cake as cupcakes this week but they didn't translate so well, a bit dry.  I'm not sure whether I cooked them too long or the size just didn't work. The looked pretty although you will have to take my word for that - I forget to take a picture again!

So this is my short post this week.  It seems only five minutes since I drove home from work and I am just about to go and prepare some things for lunch tomorrow. A little smoked mackerel and beetroot salad with horseradish dressing. Yum, but I'll have to get some chewing gum to freshen the breath.  I don't want to breath that on the clients!







Monday, 31 July 2017

More Quilt as You Go

This nine, or sixteen block quilt (depends on the level of boredom which is creeping in and the amount of background fabric I have left) is coming on slowly. I made a pattern for the ladies but haven't made that block myself yet. In fact I'm a little behind now in comparison - how does that work? This is called the Diamond Star and is much simpler than it looks.
This is one of  blocks from the class last Thursday.  The light wasn't good and my phone is quite old so you can't see the beautiful rich purple background.
This lady's first quilt was soft browns and creams - 
This is Marilyn pinning her creation together ready to quilt. Just as a matter of interest the quilt below is made with exactly the same block but every other block has been rotated. They don't look like the same block at all do they?
She started off the present quilt with purples and is thoroughly enjoying branching out into bright colours, much to the disgust of her daughter-in-law!  You don't have to make quilts that match your decor all the time do you?  Colours make your heart sing. The purple one is singing loud and confident! I'll get a photo of the completed thing.

I've got another block on the go at the moment but I've done something  for the second time with this quilt - I've made a 9" block instead of a 12" block. I'll add another border.....
Perhaps I will get round to the Diamond Star too. I should really shouldn't I.

What about the crochet blanket?????

I tried a couple of different borders but ended up with a really simple one.  I wanted to have a slightly lacy edge but it looked naff in white or ecru.
I wanted something in keeping with the rest of the blanket, but not just stripes.  I ended up with a little cluster of shells on the final row which fits in nicely with the shape of the Maybelle Flower. Thankfully I had enough yarn.
 


I love the vintage look but at 30" x 36" it isn't a practical size for anything except a pram blanket and I just don't think it would stand up to the rigours of frequent washing.
 
There is quite a lot of the coloured yarn left now so I'm going to make some little discs from these and turn them into squares later.  I've ordered some Bergere de France Coton Fifty which is a close equivalent (also much cheaper than importing the original yarn from Sweden). If I just use this yarn for the border rows then it should work out ok.
I like the discs better than the square design even though it's quite like the maybelle flower (smaller though) and will just keep going until I run of of yarn.  This little thing should fit my 15 minutes per day goal. It's easy to get out, doesn't take any time to set up or put away and each little circle takes less than ten minutes. I got the pattern from Sue Pinner's book, 'Granny Squares' which has fabulously clear instructions. I found the Maybelle Blanket quite messy to do with the pattern instructing you to skip stitches quite a lot. Sometimes when I came to the bit where you had to skip a stitch it looked better and fitted better if I didn't skip the stitch.  I love the end result though.

The cakes from my 'bakery' this week were Tiramisu Cupcakes. Seen here at Hilary's because I forgot to take a picture at home.
Mocha cakes with marscapone topping flavoured with Calvados (the only spirit I had!).  I have had to make extra cakes recently because I take some to work as well. Will had four put aside to take down to Alex's this week but he forgot to pack them in the car.  Martyr that I am I managed to eat them before they went stale. The things you do for your kids.

Well I'm off to make some Macaroni Cheese for tea.  I've got some stewing beef in the fridge so I might put a casserole in the oven at the same time. I have to make sure I put the extra in the freezer for later before Will polishes it all off in one sitting. I always feel better coming home from work knowing there is something ready for dinner, so it's a disappointment when Will has scoffed it all before I get there! Until next time.  xx

Thursday, 27 July 2017

A little obsessed

I had lost a bit of my crafting mojo recently and it has come as a surprise that I have been spending every spare moment doing this little blanket from Annette at My Rose Valley.
I'm really not sure what I'm going to do with it yet.  Ostensibly it's a pram blanket but there are no recipients on the horizon. It's taken so long to do (not to say quite expensive to buy) that I'm not sure I want it to get the inevitable wear and tear of children's bedding.  However, this is where I am now.

I tried two different colours for the joining but thought it would be better to go with the ecru so my mistakes were less evident!

The thirty squares are together.
I thought this little braided join looked rather more delicate than joining the squares directly together, although if you look too closely there are heaps of bodges to get the squares to match.  I've done a treble crochet edge to straighten things up and am ready for the border.  Again I'm going to stray from the original and will be choosing from this book,



maybe these borders, but I'm a bit nervous about this because I only have a finite amount of yarn.  But then, what's the worst that could happen? I would just have to unpick if I ran out I suppose.

On the patchwork front there is another block waiting for the quilt as you go.
This is called 'Folded Corners' - sometimes I can see it straight away and sometimes I have to look a bit harder.

I've been researching a few different blocks to do for this just to stop us all from doing the 'usual' things.  I am attracted to the windmill variations I've found.  I've got so many projects rolling round in my head, but at the moment I'm not feeling the love. I really, really must take stock of what needs finishing off. And tidy my stuff, oh Lordy, I must tidy my stuff.  I think when I'm better ordered I will feel like taking up my needle again. Having a bad back for a few weeks took the energy out of me.  I'm pleased to say that I'm feeling much better now although still have a slight problem in the neck region which is affecting the strength in my right arm. It's a bit like having a rubber band at the elbow joint, a very strange sensation.

On the baking front we had a slightly lighter cheesecake this week, made with ricotta instead of mascarpone. It was pleasant but a bit fragile in comparison.

John Steph and the boys are on their way back from Portugal today. I've missed them, especially last weekend when Will was away too. Very quiet!  He's off to Southampton tomorrow with Alex to visit her father who has recently returned from two years in the Caribbean on a yacht.  They gave up/put on hold their jobs, sold their house, flew over to Florida and bought the boat.  The two children were 'home -schooled' - what a classroom, what an adventure!  Makes me feel very staid.

So back to my mess filled life. This weekend I'll really do some tidying.......maybe.......

Monday, 17 July 2017

Playing hooky

There have been a few more late nights at work than I would have liked this week so I decided that I would have a serious rest day yesterday.  Minimum housework, maximum chill. I was reading a blog I like,  (Sue Pinner) and she was talking about unfinished projects.  Just let me hang my head in shame, I have soooo many. One of which is a lovely baby blanket from My Rose Valley.  I have had the yarn for ages and did quite a few squares but it sort of got put on the to-do pile....

Anyhoo, I laid out the things I needed (took about an hour to find the crochet hook)
The idea was that I got everything to a state where I could just pick up and do 15 minutes a day as Sue suggested.

I decided to mark up the little packet of squares I bought a couple of weeks ago just in case I didn't feel like the crochet.
 I particularly love the little pink rose on a cream background.
So now I am ready to start my 15 minutes for the day. It is 11.30am. At 3.30pm I got up off my rather numb bottom to make some Sunday Dinner (we eat that in the evening).   Roast Chicken etc.  I decided to make some cauliflower cheese for the following day, whilst the oven was on.
 Cooked cheese - be still my beating heart (in more ways than one).
We had a little spoonful on our dinner plates too.

And then I sat back down again.  A quick phone call to my friend ("don't tell me who won the Men's Tennis Final" I said, I have it taped for tomorrow - "oh it was great" she said, "Roger Federer won" - heyho.... back to the crochet)

The trouble is I can't do something for just 15 minutes. Once I pick it up I can't put it down until I'm either too stiff to sit or falling asleep.

Upshot is, the time is now 6.30pm on Monday night and I'm crocheted out.
I did take a break today. To do the patchwork squares.  I got a bit peckish halfway through but, since I haven't been shopping I decided to make some drop scones from my trusty Be-Ro cookbook.

 Glistening with butter, just need a cup of builders tea, and back to the patchwork squares.
 All pieced and ready to quilt.  Just a little thing - 14" x 12" but so pretty.
In celebration of Wimbledon I made strawberry and cream cupcakes this week.  I pureed and sieved half a dozen strawberries and mixed it into the cake batter.  I keep a tablespoon back for the buttercream and added some fresh cream to that too.
So, after a weekend of playing hooky I better get some ironing done tonight just to stop me feeling too guilty. It's going to be a long day tomorrow - I think we have patients in from 9am until 9pm. Glad we don't do that every day. 9pm is my bedtime.


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

More Sampler Blocks

Every morning I get up, probably an hour earlier than I need to, and eagerly power up the iPad to read my favourite blogs. Alas some of my favourites have gone off air, most notably My Rose Valley, which is very sad. If no-one has posted since I last switch on I'm so disappointed and yet I am not making my own contribution which is really bad of me. Not that I have any aspirations for thousands of followers by any means, but if people do read my blog and wait for the next instalment then I know how annoying it is when there are long gaps.  Mid year resolution - blog more!

I've been working on the black and bright Quilt as You Go.  Finishing the Dresden Plate:

I like to cut away the fabric underneath to make for easier quilting,

Love the spiral in the middle.

Another one, although this went slightly wrong.  I made a nine inch block and had to improvise to make it the right size.

I made a Card Trick Block, but lent the finished article to one of the ladies at the class so that will have to wait for another day.
The Tumbling Blocks is a design I love but I wanted a more lime green fabric for this.  It looked lime green in the stash but looks very yellow next to the other fabrics.
I've decided to to a nine block quilt which will come out about 48" square.  I was going to make a sixteen block but, well frankly, I can't be bothered.

My friend and I celebrated birthdays in June and we caught up at the end of the month.  We went to the Sandown Quilt Show which, sadly,  is a much reduced show from the ones we first went to.  I think everyone concentrates on Birmingham in August.  I did but some little bits - notably three tiny packs for £10.  This is the first.

I absolutely lovely the 42 shades of grey. This is destined to become a little mat for the sofa arm.  I marked each piece and sewed them by hand. It was very therapeutic, if not very time-efficient.

I've not been too hot over the past month (well thermally I have been too hot though).  I had a trapped nerve which is just calming down now. I couldn't walk, stand, sit or lie - i.e. I couldn't exist, without shooting pains all down my leg and hideous joint pain in my knee. That and the feeling that my leg was a rubber band and I didn't know when it was going to give way.  After some intensive treatment from my lovely son I am on the mend and have got my mojo back.  It was very depressing and at my age made me worry that I was going downhill without the prospect of getting back to normal (yeah well my normal!).

But here I am - ibuprofen and cod liver oil imbued - and raring to go - until next time.... go safely.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Dresden delights

I'm sitting here kicking myself because I haven't taken pictures of some of the really lovely things I've done this weekend.

I ran a Durham Quilting workshop at High Street Quilting on Saturday morning. Bumped into someone I hadn't seen for years . Went to Max's second birthday BBQ on Saturday afternoon - no pictures - silly me. So you won't be able to see the lovely things that the ladies produced between the first class and last Saturday. Or the smiley (sun-pinked) faces of everyone at the party. Lovely food, good company, a glass of beer on a sunny afternoon - oh that last bit doesn't work for me....

So to the pictures I have taken.  For our Quilt as You Go I decided to do a Dresden Plate block:
I chose 20 different fabrics but could have gone for fewer. But I reckon if I have so many different fabrics in my stash, why stick to a few!
I did the cop-out design! No curves to make. I do prefer the curved version but it's very time consuming.
A break in the middle for a jam tart from the corner shop - yummy pastry - half biscuit, half pastry, soft and slightly almondy and gooey jam.  I couldn't make one like that. I love strong tea! Good tea requires perfect timing, not just for how long you leave it to brew, but for how long you leave it to cool.  I like to wait until I can take big gulps without burning my mouth.  There's a very small window to achieve the perfect temperature.

Back to the dresden plate:
It's always difficult to choose the centre circle when you have so many different fabrics but, if in doubt, go for purple!
Pinned on to the black background suddenly makes the colours zing.  An unfinished dresden plate with bright colours on a cream background shows just how much black adds to the drama.
I must finish this one - it's only a couple of hours away - the background is going to be cross-hatched.

Sometimes I wish I were brave enough to put all my unfinished quilts and projects into one cupboard and work my way through them systematically. Actually I'm not sure that one cupboard would be big enough.

We've got British Gas roadworks outside the house at the moment (is it me or are the roadworks taking over the entire transport system?).  They managed to cut the electricity off and when it came back on the boiler wouldn't fire up.  It turns out my fan was shorting out.  Oo err - what a thing to happen at my time of life.