Sunday, 23 February 2014

Every one should have a Janet

Half term didn't quite pan out how I expected - when do they ever!  It's been a productive week though. I had to go in to work on Monday but Tuesday was mine.  Roots done, a quick visit to the farm shop a drive round cos I got lost but hey ho.  Thursday was mine too - up at 4am to go to Oxford. I got the days mixed up and thought we were going on Wednesday.  In fact we went down and back in one day.  I got to visit a lovely little quilt shop just south of Oxford City in a village called Wallingford.
It was full of lovely things but I was very reserved and came away with some homespun - more of that later as I have plans for that.  I went into Oxford after that but I have to say that I much prefer my lovely Durham as a city. I had a look round the Ashmolean, bought some grub from the Farmer's Market and mooched round but I preferred Wallingford. It was full independent shops, even a little department store which reminded me of 'Are you Being Served?' No multi nationals in sight! The rivers were all in full spate many had burst their banks and the water lying in the fields and roadsides was jaw-dropping.  I think we got off lightly in Durham. There were roadworks on and off all the way up the M1 and we got back to our little corner of the North East by 10pm.

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and this morning I was busy at home with work stuff but took a break this afternoon to meet my friend Janet to watch a rugby match -Northampton against Newcastle Falcons. It was a breath of fresh air, physically (maybe a bit too windy!) and mentally. Everyone should have a Janet - she is a rough diamond, with a big emphasis on the diamond.  She makes inappropriate comments about the physique of the players, she makes noises that ladies shouldn't make, she's loud and funny - on school trips everyone wants to be in her group because it is a laugh a minute. She's honest, generous and will always help you out even when she's run off her feet. I hope everyone has a Janet in their lives somewhere.

Not much to report this week except I finished knitting the bunny I have been working on - just need to sew it up!
I have cracked the problem picking up stitches on the tiny little ballet shoes. I use my mini needles (actually 'pins' for sewing up jumpers) to hold the stitches and a tiny double ended needle to sort the right ones to pick up. Love knitting. Love sewing and gardening and painting too.  Oh and baking and my lovely chicks and the snowdrops and smiley friends and my beautiful family. I know I have to get up and go to work tomorrow but it's been a good week and I'm ready to hit the ground running.

I've uploaded June from Picture the Year - just click on the link on the right hand side. Good sewing everyone.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Big Chill - and it's not cold

So it's half term and I have the whole week booked. Think again - maybe not the whole week, maybe three days, Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday. Ok I'll go with that even though someone else's bad planning means I can't get a whole week. (I'll try not to be too bitter). I'm not going to let it spoil the time I do have and this weekend has been a full chill.  Ben stayed on Friday night.  I thought it was so John and Steph could have an intimate Valentine meal but I think they just wanted a good night's sleep! What's happened to romance eh?

Saturday on the 'Hill' was great although we didn't get a good chance for a chinwag with Sandra.  I made some little hearts last week.
This is what they looked like when I left the shop and I did quite a bit of work on them but they didn't turn out quite how I expected and I am going to re-do them at the shop.  I have sanded them down and will hopefully finish them this coming week.  Sandra had a fabulous vintage style block in the shop last week with hearts and beautiful words on.  David cut some for us and this is the start:
I'm really excited to do this one which is destined for Steph but I may have to make another for me.  It's covered with torn up pages from a book and will be decorated with little vintage froo-froos and lovely words.  The hearts have butterfly paper on and I am going to cut out one of the butterflies and emboss it with clear powder.

I always try to find different flavours for cakes and biscuits.  When I asked Will what flavour he would like last weekend he said - plain with jam in the middle.  We (I) quite often forget that simple is good too.  I only had two eggs so it wasn't very big but it didn't last that long - this is about ten minutes after I spread the jam over.
Lovely and light, moist and straightforward.  The hens have started laying a bit better this week so I decided to make some creme caramel. The bought eggs aren't a patch on our lovely ladies' offering - look at the colour of these yolks:

One for John and Steph and one for Will and I.  Ours is gone. Slipped down a treat.

Enough of the stomach.  I have done a lot of quilting today and not much else. The first strip is completed and the second is well on its way.  I'm revising the timescale for this because the pattern on the flowery strips is really zipping along.  Hopefully it will be finished before the hot weather - spring and autumn are perfect times for full size quilts.  The light is good (it's been brilliant sunshine all day) but it's still cool enough to snuggle under.
I always amazed at the difference the quilting makes to plain fabric - it's magic isn't it? Sorry about the colour on this - it is actually off-white but the light was fading when I took the photo.

Update on the fluffy chooks - how big they are now.  I think they are close to full grown - look at the mohican on the grey one!
Ben and John popped up for a couple of hours so I got to have a good squeeze twice this weekend.  This is Ben trying to sneak upstairs to see Will - he's still too young for stairs on his own (Ben that is).
Caught re-handed!

I've uploaded May from 'Picture the Year' and hope to get most of the rest of the patterns printed out so that Alison can test them.  Also on my list are two little quilts for 'Quilts for Comfort' which are nearly pieced and some work on a new pattern. Squeak. I love new patterns.

Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Whizz-by Weekend

As usual the weekend has flown by.  It has been good though.  Alison and I went painting on 'the hill' and I finished the little flower pot I was making. I decorated most of it at Sandra's:
Normally I would shade each colour with its darker cousin but I decided to do all the petals with Light Avocado.
I don't have that many crochet hooks and they look a little bit lost but I do love the little pot.

Sandra had some lovely new paint colours - oh my, they are so gorgeous!
The second from the left is called Persimmon.  Its Spanish translation is Caqui which means something else in this little corner of England - ie my grandson has done a big persimmon in his nappy. How childish am I- but I couldn't help but laugh!

When I was making the little wall hanging last week I couldn't find my calico  I knew I was getting low so I decided to visit Ikea for some more. Ikea on a Saturday afternoon - what was I thinking? It took me 15 minutes to find a parking spot and I really don't mind walking from a distance. Even those spots were full.  Undeterred I battled through the crowds and got my calico, managing to leave the store with that and only one other thing!
These lovely little tea towels are 55% linen and 45% cotton with a cross stitch rose decoration.  They only cost £4 for the pair and will make lovely little guest towels.  Well, ok, actually Brendie towels because I use them for my face and they go so well with my shabby chic theme.

Will was at Croft with his petrol-head friends so I had a quiet evening at home. Today John, Steph and Ben came over with the ingredients for a Spaghetti Carbonara (one of his specialities).  We scoffed that for lunch then John and I had a mango and banana smoothie for pud.
It was lush and two of my five a day - how bad can that be?  Frozen banana, a £1 really ripe mango, some milk and a little squeeze of honey. I was so full  I decided to make some soup instead of Sunday roast tonight.
So simple but absolutely delicious.

I have uploaded April for those of you who are stitching the 'Picture the Year' quilt - there is a button at the side of the blog which will take you there.

And now, so soon, it's Sunday night - I didn't have the most pleasant week at work but this whizz-by weekend has made up for all that, seeing my lovely friends, painting, spending time with my family, eating lovely food and very soon I will add a little quilting to that list. Oh and I found the other piece of calico this afternoon - strangely enough in the basket where I keep the calico.