Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Feeling Chipper Again

I'm sitting here drinking my morning coffee and feeling so grateful that I'm back to my normal self. Ready for the world and all it has in store for me. I can't believe January is nearly over already though. The spring quilt is coming on nicely.  It took a while for it to develop in my head but it's there now.

This is a quarter of it done with some more blocks at the cutting stage. More vines and flowers to add too - a gentle evening job I think.

This is a screen shot of the first eight blocks.  I'll be getting down to cutting some more later. I get up far earlier than I need to but I love to spend quiet time making instructions after I've showered and had breakfast and before I leave for work.

Later in the day......

Having more energy has made me feel more energised if that makes sense. The fridge was a bit of a disgrace so I had a big sort and clean - not too much in the way of unrecognisable I'm pleased to say. There were some vegetables a bit past their best so I made some soup, Sweet potato, red peppers, onion, carrots and chilli - quite sweet but the chilli gives it a nice warm kick - two bowls for our tea and a pot to take to work tomorrow.

I'd planned some lasagne and chicken fajitas so I set that all away too.

I use chicken thighs which are much juicer than breast meat - cut into strips they cook really fast.
What better thing in life is there than golden bubbling cheese? With the left over bolognese mixture I added spinach and some pasta for some more 'Will Boxes'.  He can heat the chicken and put them in some wraps for his lunch.
A little sprinkle of parmesan only adds a few calories but makes all the difference. Oh and whilst the oven was on,  I roasted a joint of lamb I bought last night.
I'm not that keen on lamb but Will loves it so I thought I'd slice it up so that he can use it for sandwiches or I can make the Sunday Lunch without having loads of pans to wash. I'll make some gravy with the juices and then there will be just the vegetables to cook fresh.

So now, just after 4pm I'm just having a cup of tea and then I'll get going with some lemon curd which I need for the little viennese whirls I'm going to make for the class tomorrow.  Then I think I will settle down with some sewing. The ironing may or may not get done.

It has suddenly gone very dark - I'll just go and check to see if the sheets are dry yet.  Its been a marvellous drying day today - bright sunshine and very windy. Double pegs required!

Phew it's a bit nippy out there! They weren't quite dry but there's no warmth out there now - the sun is just dipping behind the trees.

The weather has been strange this past week with all sorts - snow, wind, rain and bright sunny - even 'warm' days all the the space of a week. Some of the sunsets have been spectacular - this is over the course of twenty minutes one evening

Light is a wonderful thing!

John has been poorly and finally had to give in and take a day off work this week.  He's been nursing a virus for more than a week but I got a call on Sunday to ask if I'd have Max who had kept him up for hours on Saturday night. I collected him and we helped Will feed the hens and kick a ball around the garden. Max is a terrible sleeper and they often   nearly always have broken nights - not good for their own health as bodies repair and renew during the night. I said I would have him every Saturday night until they get a bit pulled round.  John works far too hard and I think he is beginning to realise that it can't be sustained.

Max is two and a half and is in the process of being diagnosed for autism. I don't think they have any doubts, they are just working out the level. He is charming, loving and extremely hard work. We just need to share it out more! Of course the work comes with plenty of cuddles.
 He's got lovely wavy blond hair and I hate it when he has just been cut!
He's playing tickle tickle with Will, who grabs his hand and he goes into peals of laughter. He doesn't have as many melt-downs as he used to have - long may that continue, especially when Steph takes him out to the park and he doesn't want to come home! He goes to nursery three mornings a week and Steph takes him to a little group another morning.  He could easily sit in his own little world for hours but I think the social contact has helped him a lot. He doesn't make much eye-contact but when he does it is such a joyful moment.

So I better get going or the lemon curd will be courtesy of Sainsbury's and I'll have a big pile of unused lemons.....

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Lost weeks

I felt a bit duff on New Year's Day - just put it down to the to and fro of the Christmas season. But Oh boy was I wrong. The Flu - first time since I was a teenager and that was some decades ago! I felt so poorly I could have literally given up the ghost.  Here we are three weeks into the New Year and I feel as weak as a kitten. Still coughing but so much better. So much better.  It has given me a real fright.  I've always had good health and could shake off minor ailments without a thought. Not that I really suffered with anything apart from the odd dicky tummy or runny nose. Now I realise how lucky I have been with my health.  Not that I didn't appreciate it before but I don't want to feel like that again - ever!

I've picked up things listlessly and put them down again. A couple of rows of crochet. A few stitches on the quilt. But now I am ready to face the world and want to catch up with what I've missed. Although I am still lacking in energy, I want to get going and put the beginning of 2018 into the bin. Consequently I have very little to tell you since the last post. But onward and upward Biggles!

So I've been working on the first block of our new Spring Quilt as You Go. This is called Grape Basket.
The quilt will be four blocks of four separated by appliquéd vines and leaves. I'm still undecided about whether to use pastel spring colours or raid my stash of richer colours.  I know I have enough of the richer colours (ha! slight understatement) but I think I have enough of the spring colours too. Actually come to think of it I have another plan for the richer colours, so there - that's the decision made.

Another block added today - Hole in the Barn Door. So this is the basis of the new quilt.  With the turquoise sashing. I'm not doing Quilt as you Go for this although it's designed to be done that way as the ladies requested.  I personally don't like the back of QAYG designs or the drape with its tendency  to fall into the component squares and shapes. Obviously it's a bit more difficult to handle, especially if you don't use a hoop to quilt.

We had chocolate caramel core cupcakes at the class this week. Very sweet!
Will has been cooking too - in batches which go in the freezer.
I've got some broth and some Boeuf Bourguignon on the go at the moment.  Will is  at Alex's (and has been to Alex's Dad's house in Southampton this weekend.)  They are back in Lancashire but he has to make the trip over the A66 tonight and it has been snowing here this afternoon for about an hour (maybe an inch or so) but seems to have stopped. I'll be keeping an eye on the travel sites to make sure his route is open.

John and Steph went out for a meal last night so I was baby-sitting.  They are so good that it is never a chore. Ben was happily playing on the iPad and Max was running round in circles when I got there.  I get loads of cuddles because they are so affectionate. We all went up to bed at the same time (although I wasn't staying) Max wasn't sleepy but Ben went straight off.  Daddy and Mammy got back at 10pm and Daddy carried him back to his own bed. Bad planning there as I had a bagful of crochet which was not touched,  but then I can crochet when they're all grown can't I? I left him cuddling Max down.  They weren't very impressed with the restaurant but appreciated the time out.

So now I am going to appliqué the leaves and stems and maybe prepare a few little flowers.  There's not much ironing to do, for which I'm grateful!  I'll put the hens to bed for the night as soon as it is dark and then cuddle down with some crochet in front of the fire.  The satellite signal is going a bit haywire so I'm glad I've got stuff recorded.  Until next time - much love to you all.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Kicking back - looking forward

I had a lovely day on Saturday quilting at the Sit and Sew at High Street Quilting.  I took my first UFO which will be going as a Quilts for Comfort Quilt.  Love this quilt design. But then I love rainbow things.
We had a quick tour of the new shop - a bit of a wreck at the moment but sooo much potential. It's very exciting.  There are some 'before' pictures on the link above.  Hilary thinks she should be in sometime in February.

I have completed six of the ten rows of the hourglass quilt and hoped to get a bit more done yesterday but Ben came for New Year's Eve and New Year's Night as his Mammy is poorly.  Max has a chest infection and his Daddy is busy making sure they are both ok. Ben is playing with Will at the moment.   We were going for a walk to the local woods yesterday to do some bug hunting as the weather was bright, cold and sunny, but I think the lure of Will's computer was more appealing. We made pizza last night - Cheetzo flavour (Chorizo)
I've been busy sorting out a design for a Spring Quilt as You Go for my Thursday night quilt class
I start off compiling the main size of the quilt and then work on individual parts of the design.  Then I go on to drawing out the different elements and making initial measurements and fabric requirements.  The pattern is written last and if I haven't already made the quilt I try to keep one step ahead of the class to test for errors!  This will have 15 blocks separated by panels of flower and leaf vines.  The class will quilt each block and each vine panel separately and then join them all together at the end.  It's a long task for them so I'll need to intersperse a few other projects.  I have a bag and wall hanging in mind at the moment.  I'm not sure whether to do different pieced blocks (they are just coloured on the diagram at the moment) or a mixture of pieced and appliquéd blocks or a single design. - Might leave it up to them, but as I am making it myself as well I'll have to sort something out!  I think the design will change a few times before it reaches the class.

I'll have to pace myself to make sure I do some UFO work too. So little time! It's very frustrating because I never really feel like sewing after a long day at work but I can't afford not to work.  Apart from running out of backing fabric and wadding I've got enough fabric to last a hundred years or so. Not to mention wool and craft paint...... Trouble is I'm still in Christmas design mode - it's not the same when you do things out of season.

However it's New Year's Day and I'm looking forward to all the lovely things 2018 has to offer.  I wish you all a good year.