Sunday, 28 July 2013

Green Sunday

What a lazy day today!  In the peace of the morning I started another little flannel for Ben.  It is so easy to get sucked into the 'let's get some money out of your pocket into ours' and one of my bugbears is the baby-wipe.  I do use things like that for times  when you can't get to water, the car for instance, but I feel the same for chemical wipes as I do for chemical air fresheners - what is the point of immersing ourselves in chemicals when you can have fresh air or fresh water? And as Sandra pointed out, we use baby-wipes to remove paint...

So some 100% cotton 4 ply and a 3.5mm crochet hook does the trick.  I know it looks like half a dishcloth but I finished it before breakfast and Ben tested in this afternoon -  he seemed pleased with it.  It's covered in baby gloop now so I'll take a picture of the finished thing when it's washed. I think I'll make one for my friend with some of my leftover linen yarn.  

Apart from the roses I have been making the linen yarn, it has been used for something else which I couldn't publish until now:

It was a birthday present for someone very special.

I added a rose to the dress later

I bought the pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits (you can get it on Ravelry too). I added a bit of frill to the knickers but I couldn't get the shape the same as the pattern.  She is not plump enough round her tummy!

It rained very heavily last night which cleared the air so I decided to put the oven on. I roasted some peanuts to make some peanut butter and then made a vanilla and strawberry cake which we munched whilst watching the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ben came over while John and Steph did some work on the house, but he was glad to see them back.

I settled down to finish my little garden block which I started at 'the Hill' yesterday.  I love the simplicity of these little blocks.

The weather got much better over the course of the day so we had some watermelon to quench our thirst. 

Then I decided to go all healthy and have a bit of a green Sunday:

It may not to be everyone's taste but I LOVE it - it makes me feel great too. Tomorrow I might have Red Monday because I have some lovely strawberries. I might even have Orange Tuesday too.  A rainbow week awaits!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A little bit of love - it's all you need

There's tired and there's beyond tired.  When Alison and I went to our Saturday morning session 'on the Hill' I felt beyond tired. Work had been building towards the usual end of term crescendo and, as we are moving into Phase 1 of our newly refurbished school in September, we had to pack.  I have been sharing a tiny office with another (very nice) lady but it has been like Piccadilly Circus for the past year.  I suppose it could have been worse, we could have been packing the day before when the heat sucked every bit of energy from our weary bodies. On Friday there was at least a breeze, but trying to pack up your office when you still have loads of end of term stuff to finish..... 

I had a really good night's sleep so my body was recovered but my mind was a blank.  Ben came round whilst John and Steph did a few runs to the tip so Alison and I were a bit late setting out.  The house is really coming on now. The plasterer has finished, so they only have the windows, the bathroom and the kitchen to fit.  It may sound like a lot but that is the exciting stuff.

The Crafts House was bursting at the seams.  Now I'm a bit claustrophobic - not break into a sweat and panic claustrophobic - but I'm not keen on being enclosed.  Lovely Sandra steered me outside to her forecourt, brought me coffee and biscuits and a few supplies. I started cutting letters out to make one of her amazing designs. It starts as a simple block of wood. I painted a base of buttermilk paint, but not too thick, so that you could still see the grain of the wood.  Then I stuck some letters and hearts on and stamped some lettering.

By the time we left the Hill I could feel the fog lifting.  Thank you so much Sandra - you are so intuitive.

This is the finished block which is for Steph who has been away for four days with Ben for her sister's 18th birthday. I don't know who missed who the most, but it's the first time the three of them have been apart since Ben was born.

I decided I would join the Doodle-a-Day whilst the summer holidays are on.  I know I'm still at work but, as I've always argued, the job is much easier when there are no pupils!  I don't want to get everything but the kitchen sink out to do these so I'm going to give it a go with my Inktense Pencils and a couple of pens.

The little box was a present from Sandra with little journaling goodies in it, the little egg cup was from Anne at Marmalade and Catmint for our Autumn swap last year. Actually the Inktense pencils were a present from Alison so the only thing in this picture that I actually bought myself is the paintbrush.

This morning I went into the garden at my favourite time of the day.  I fed and watered the hens, then went to weed and water the leeks and onions. The carrots are starting to grow now and so is the Rainbow Chard, some of the lettuces are past their best but I haven't sown for succession so it's back to the supermarket. Heyho. It is so peaceful in the early morning.  A little bit more fog lifted. This then, is today's Doodle:

Watering the leeks and listening to bees - I need to practice with the watercolour pens though!

I had left my sewing machine on the dining table all week so I decided to finish Steph's little box.

Using the blocks as a template for the wadding and lining

Sewing the sides

Lining and box - wrong sides together and turn the tops inwards

Stitch round the top and then sew a line of stitches 1/16th" away from edges 

I saw this design at the quilt show at Sandown but there was no pattern available. I don't think it is quite the same as the one I saw. I think it had a self covered button somewhere.  I trimmed this one with ric-rac and a lovely little button from my "modest" collection (mmm, believe that if you can). I'm going to make one with my french fabric which is sitting on the table quivering with anticipation. I have some lovely plans for this fabric which I'll share as they come to fruition.

After lunch and a little snooze I got out the crochet roses and finished off the curtain tie back.

The table I use is one of those folding jobs - £8.99 from Aldi. I'm just thinking I might paint it although I will have to seal the top first.

The tie-back in situ - I suppose I better get on with the other one now!

The housework was done in small snatches in between the crafting.  We had crispy pan fried salmon with new potatoes and broccoli for tea and Will has just given me an ice lolly - bliss.

So now I'm chilled out and ready for what life throws at me.  I'm looking forward to the more leisurely pace of work during the summer break because I will be working at home for some of the time.  I'll have a week off in the middle though and plan to do some serious pattern writing.  For the moment I'm going to look in the fridge for something fizzy.  

Thank you Sandra for the TLC on Saturday - a little bit of love works wonders.

I hope the week ahead is a good one for everyone.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Roses, roses

This weekend has a bit of a rose theme. A few weeks ago I bought a little tin pot.  
As I'm enjoying building up a few pieces of shabby chic I decided to paint this little pot.  First I washed it in vinegar, then (at the Crafts House for our Saturday morning fix) I painted it with sealer and then some Deco Art Light Buttermilk paint.

A quick coat of spray on sealer helps to set the base coat.  Next I added some leaves with a watered down soft green colour. 

I used a soft mauve and rubbed some colour on to the roses. Full strength colour helps to highlight the petals.  Finally I added some shading in the ever-useful Raw Sienna.  I put a little disk of fabric at the bottom and gave it a final sealing coat.  

Now the paintbrushes have a more attractive home than an old glass.

I had seen a pattern to crochet some roses, so my linen yarn, with its soft sheen seemed the perfect choice. I hate my yarns bobbing about the floor when I'm knitting or crocheting so I use a cup to hold them. Yesterday my hands alighted on this sundae dish and when I put the yarn in - hey presto! A calorie free ice-cream sundae.
First I made 48 chain stitches then crocheted increasingly large petals along the chain with double crochet and treble crochet stitches.

When this is done you roll from the small end, stitching as you go.
There will be about twenty roses of various sizes on a crochet 'rope' and these will become curtain tie backs (eventually).

Our end of year play was on so I schlepped across to Makro to buy some essential junk sweeties and then hot-footed it down the A19 to set out my stall.  The play was fab (Our Day Out, by Willy Russell).  I was back home, via the local Indian takeaway - bad, bad girl - by half nine and Saturday was done.

Today has been the usual lovely round of washing and ironing.  Earlier Ben came in to test my pot was chip-proof.  It isn't. 
(Please note we now have two teeth).
John shared my curry leftovers, Steph sat in a bowl of soup, as you do, and now at nearly 7pm, I'm sitting contemplating the tea.  Something simple because I'm just about to have a severe bout of lethargy.  

Steph chose some squares from a little pack I bought at the Quilt Show and I am going to make a little 'box' for her to put in some doo-dads and geegaws. The fabric is called Lario, by 3 Sisters.
Every window and door in the house is open to let some air through.  It hasn't been 33 degrees again but it feels like it.  No quilting at the moment, but I'm itching to get on with the crochet roses.

Tomorrow it's Monday, again...... oh that relentless passage of time! Until next week then, wishing you peace and happiness.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Recovering from a long week - and phew what a scorcher!

It's been a long hard week - normal for the time of year anyway but we are having major refurbishments at school so there's a lot of extra comings and goings because of that.  At the moment we are waiting for a new telephone number but for some reason the various companies involved in making this happen are not speaking to each other.  I have a load of signs and re-branding stuff to sort out but everything will have to wait for the new number. Wasn't it easier when you had one company for phones, one for gas and one for electricity?  Hey ho.  

We had our Summer Fair yesterday which went really well but the heat was energy sapping.  When I got home yesterday evening I had a cold drink and could only doze until it was time for bed.

This morning I woke up recovered enough to make a little batch of bread. Mmm.....

Don't colours look different in daylight and lamplight?

Some buns for Will's bacon butties - 

And a sunflower and pumpkin seed loaf for tea.

I got the ironing all done before it got really hot and then, because we had a surfeit of eggs I made some frittata for lunch which I served with the only fresh green thing in the house - some lettuce from the garden. 

(Note to self - go shopping before you get a vitamin deficiency).

A plate of raspberries and nectarines finished the lunch off nicely.

Unfortunately I ate a packet of Doritos and some chocolate whilst I was watching the German Grand Prix but I am going to have a storming week next week (probably).

Sadly I can't show any pictures of my crafting today because it is a surprise for someone who may read this blog.

I did however get quite a bit done last weekend.  The girls did some more blocks for the Quilts for Comfort. It's called a square in a square and is a lovely simple block.  I just handed them my bag of thirties fabric and told them to pick the colours they wanted.

Sunglasses will have to be supplied I think!

Ben came over to help with the laundry

And then we tested how hard we could hit the saucepans before we made ourselves cry.

When all was quiet I got the strippy quilt out to sandwich it together.  Drinks cartons make good weights.

This will have to wait until the weather is a bit cooler though, but I'm patient. It's the process not the product.  I'll thoroughly enjoy quilting this when the time comes.

Now I'm going to sit back with a cold drink and read one of my birthday presents:

What a thoughtful present, thank you Sandra - it is so interesting, I love the folklore attached to bees and beekeeping.  So, with the temperature dropping to a more pleasant level, the rhythmic thump of John's trainers in the washing machine and the wafting of BBQs from various points around the neighbourhood, I will finish my weekend on a gentle note.  I hope your week ahead is a happy one.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Fabric overdose and other delights

How quickly does time pass?  Sometimes I feel like I get loads done and sometimes I just sit and stare into space.  The weekend of 15th June was Ben's Naming Day.  A lovely get-together with the family but not much in the way of pics at the moment.  I'll get some from my brother who had brought his camera.  I couldn't find mine but it turned up in my knitting basket (where else would you keep a camera?)  I took this one with my phone - John's best friend was toasting Ben who decided he would like to try his drink! You can't tell from the picture but Ben wouldn't let go of the bottle.

He was charming all day, scooting around in his little walker, visiting all his guests.

I gave him his memory box. Now all he has to do is fill it. I only put the finishing touches to it that morning!  The little bunny is called Bunny Ben and he  has a lot of adventures to share.  The stars on the box are part of the constellation of Libra (roughly drawn though).  My interest is in astronomy not astrology and I can hardly wait to do some stargazing with Ben.  Will, John and I spent happy hours watching shooting stars and learning about our fascinating universe when they were little.

Next day we went to the Cafe Rouge for Father's Day brunch.  

Waiting to order - I think I'll have some mush.

Last week I went to Surrey to stay with my lovely friend Karin. We went to Sandown for the quilt show and then on to her sister's house for birthday cake. We finished the day off with curry made by her husband.  On Sunday we went to visit her 92 year old mummy, Onie (short for Leonie).

What a weekend in the bosom of her lovely family.  I've known them since I was seven and they are everything you could possibly wish for.  Honest, funny, generous and loving.  Quite noisy too!  Well there are six siblings all vying to be heard.  Karin has a gorgeous garden - full of colour.

Oh did I mention I got a few pieces of fabric?

This weekend's activities will have to wait for the next post because it's nearly my bedtime. I usually read for about twenty minutes each night.  I have a queue of books at the moment, which is, of course, better than having nothing in waiting!  I'm reading a book called Catnip - very amusing.  I also listen to audio books - Winds of War by Herman Wouk is the book of choice there. Next time I have pictures of some gorgeous birthday presents, some quilting for Quilts for Comfort, and an update on the strippy quilt.