Sunday, 25 March 2012

More daylight, less sleep, it must be Spring

Well here we are at last - that magic weekend when the long days really seem to start.  I have various methods to kid myself that I'm not losing sleep, none of which really work but the payback is what I'm doing now.  In my garden in the bright afternoon sun, the bbq almost alight.  I've just had a refreshing cup of tea and iced the emergency back up cake for tomorrow night.

Raspberry and Vanilla Cake

Date Bread
The date bread was supposed to be tea bread but when I went into the pantry there was only a little bit of dried fruit and lots of dates.  I'd already made the tea so I thought I would give it a try.  I'll have to slice it tonight when it's cool to see if it looks like it should or if the dates have disappeared into a sticky toffee pudding.

The bbq has just caught alight and of course the wind has changed so that I have just had an eyeful of smoke.  Hey ho.

Beautiful Steph has just arrived back from a weekend away with her Mam and family to celebrate her Mam's 40th Birthday.  My next door neighbour is sitting in his garden watching Newcastle play football (3-0 to Newcastle).  The hens up the road are crowing away and there's lots of birds singing. There's rather a large mess in the kitchen though and I have the ironing to do later but for now everything is good.

Yesterday at The Crafts House Sandra took my hand and steered me back on to the path of colour righteousness.  I didn't feel as though my journal backgrounds were turning out the way I wanted them.  I'm trying to break out of my boundaries but I'm obviously not ready for that yet.  I'm trying to achieve the wild look but my boundaries are calling me back.  I think that's why I love patchwork so much, it's like maths - logical.  That doesn't mean you can't see the beauty just because there's logic.  Keats said Sir Isaac Newton had spoilt the beauty of the rainbow when he showed how the light splits into it's component colours - no I say, it just makes it even more beautiful.   "Go back to your pallet" Sandra said.

What good advice!   Soft muted tones - lush.  Maybe I'll break out another day.  I had a happy time yesterday afternoon doing my logo for Strawberry Patches.

I scanned it in and then I had a little play in Photoshop this morning (well over two hours and still couldn't get the background hidden.  John came down and did it in less than five minutes - watch and learn Brendie).  I did manage to get the text on though.....  Now I just need get my blog header sorted.

Sandra had some water colour blocks (Derwent Inktense) and I had a little play with them - much more my style than spray inks!

Roll on pay day that's what I say.

Well, I'm going to light the beer lamp.  Happy crafting everyone.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's Day

I had my quiet time rather early this morning whilst watching the Australian F1. It was worth getting up for - three brits in the top ten and two on the podium.  Whilst watching that I  finished the prep for my Sawtooth Block at the next Mavis and Gladys class.  I'm making two at the same time - one to demo the construction and one to show the finished block.  Luckily Alison makes a demo block too so that people can see different colourways and the finished effects.  It also helps them to see the block as it should be and not with my sometimes strange placements.  The blocks look fine when I'm making them but sometimes a mischievous fairy flips some of the units round when I'm not looking.

....and then did a few more rows on my crinkly jumper but I don't think I'm going to have enough yarn.  The body is knitted in one so it may be that it looks as though it's using more but there will be enough in the end.  

Next I sorted out some fabrics for the Mystery Quilt so that I could see what I'm doing instead of diving into my stash and pulling stuff out willy-nilly.  I love the jewel colours I have chosen for this.

Note to the ladies who are doing the Mystery Quilt that there is no clue in the fabrics!

A delicious breakfast of a hot cross bun and fresh coffee and then John and I went into the garden to dig.  I have always encouraged my children not to buy Mother's Day presents, especially not the sort that has a sudden price jump before the day, like cut flowers. However, the Turkish Delight from Will is not covered by this clause.  This year's present from John was the hard slog in the garden (helped by the hens who gobble up the worms -  mmm juicy worms).

The white one is Maddy and she lays beautiful pale cream eggs.  The speckled one is Miss Freckle and the black and gold one is Sam Sparrow.  They both lay dark brown eggs.  The one with the red shirt is John.

All ready for planting

We thought we had harvested all the artichokes but there's always some left -

We're having bbq chicken tonight and salad so I'll make some artichoke matchsticks in vinaigrette but I'm a bit sick of soup.  Maybe some mash although it does have some unpleasant side-effects.....

Beautiful Steph has just arrived back from visiting a friend in London.  She brought some plants and doughnuts with her.  Lovely!  

Today is a day when I remember my lovely Mummy who was everything you could ask for and more. This evening I'll be raising a glass of wine to her and all Mothers on our Special Day.  It's quarter to six and still bright and sunny although quite nippy.  It's been a good Mother's day.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

More Secret Gardens

Well the new season of F1 is upon us and I was up for the 6am start of qualifying.  I'm normally up for work then so there is no problem with the time!  What I can't understand is why I find it so interesting - lots of blokes driving round in circles, too much money and pollution, sooo noisy. But I love to watch it, whereas if you turned the football on and made me sit down I would be asleep straight away (or trying to go to sleep at least). Anyhoo.....

Four secret garden blocks

Check out the gold fabric!  Kathy Schmitz Holly Jolly Snowmen.  I was going to stick to pink centres but then I found this beautiful gold fabric lurking in my stash, so I decided to make each block different.  I love the jewel colours so much.  I haven't been as accurate as I should be in the centres because these will have buttons on. (That's my excuse anyway)

Then I started on the instructions for the Ohio Star.  Thought I'd just check for variations in my Quilt Bible and discovered the block is actually called a Sawtooth Star.  I've been calling it Ohio for years.  So next month's Mavis and Gladys block is the Sawtooth Star now.

I'm off to the Crafts House in a little while for my weekly fix. A bit of journalling I think and maybe a little more work on my BAKE letters for the kitchen.  Later I'm going to make some cake pops and watch the last games of the Six Nations Rugby.  

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Stitchin' Sunday

Have had a lovely quiet day today after two hectic weeks at work. Late nights, early mornings - non stop (sound of violins in the background)  I'm a proper seasonal old bird. I wake up with the sun and nod off in the winter evenings. And my circadian rhythms are telling me that Spring is here at last - that and the daffodils.  I had only sewn a sample for this month's Mystery Quilt so here is my 'Secret Garden' square from our Mystery Quilt in it's near finished state, only the button to add.  Follow the link for a construction sequence.

Then I cast on for a new cardigan. I've been looking around for some crinkly wool for ages. I found Raffaella from Sirdar at Ring-a-Rosie a couple of weeks ago. Lots of gorgeous Fifties colours. It's knitted on circular needles (boo hoo) because it's all in one piece to the armpits! I've adapted the pattern because it had lots of bobbles and I really don't need to add extra width to my hips!  It takes ages just to knit one row.

We have beef stew and dumplings on the menu tonight (note connection with hips) but it's been so warm and sunny today we should have had a barbie.

The hens have been out in the veggie patch today clearing some of the weeds and we'll be in there next weekend weather permitting. They have gone off laying over the winter months, sometimes we were only getting half a dozen a week but they are looking rather glossy and fresh after their rest.  My thoughts are now turning to seed packets and how to connect the water barrel back up so the water doesn't disappear down the side. I'm just debating whether to move the blueberries into the main part of the garden.  They are in pots outside the back door.  I don't know whether our soil is acid enough though.  We never get enough to make a pudding because I just pick the ripe ones every time I go past.

Journals and Roses

I can't believe I haven't blogged for so long. Actually perhaps I can - so busy at work, lots of late nights. Alison and I went journaling at Sandra's and have been again for another session this week.   I have done some pages but have only the pics of samples yet (see below).  Doing these backgrounds is like a journey without a map - sometimes a bit daunting and you never know where it is going to take you, but ultimately exciting.  Like a Mystery Tour.

Then of course, there is the crochet rose that goes with the Solomon's Knot Scarf I made from Baby Alpaca (can you just picture a cold baby alpaca shivering on some hillside? - Cruel Brendie).  

I wore it to work but it's so lacy it gets caught in my i.d. badge.  I think I'll make some more to decorate gifts though.