Sunday, 17 February 2013

Signs of spring?

Well it is still pretty quiet here as I am not allowed back to work yet so life could be considered  a bit on the dull side. My lovely Emily came home for a few days to check up on her old Mum and make sure I was behaving and it was wonderful to have her home. We watched films and chilled together which we don't get to do very much anymore with us both so busy and it was sad to wave her away again so quickly, back to her markets and her photography work. Hopefully it won't be to long before we can head down to her in Northumberland and see how her and her Jonny are progressing with their new home renovations, but in the meantime I will stalk her on FB like any good parent. An added joy was a visit from 7 of the Scottish family contingent yesterday in advance of Pepper-Ann's enagagement party which her Dad and I are having to miss . They filled the house with laughter and daftness that only they can bring. Oh and the odd flapjack or too...
The other great news though from QD land is the onset of spring, which has lifted my heart. That and an afternoon spent in my favourite way, listening to Johnny Walker's "Sounds of the Seventies" on Radio 2. Now before all you young 'uns give me up as an old codger you should really check this programme out as it is a gem, full of wonderful music and brilliantly interesting interviews from all sorts through out the music industry in its hey day. Today's was a special commemorating 35 years since the issue of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and oh my goodness, was it a cracker.  For fear of giving too much away, this album holds a special place in my life as it forms part of that soundtrack from our uni days that most of us have. I am sure I have rattled on about this before though so wont bore you too much, just give it a whirl. You wont regret it.  In the meantime checkout this class track from Sutherland Brothers and Quiver- bit different to Rumours but oh my word- it takes me back...
After the sudden snow on Wednesday last week the garden is trying to sort itself out and little green shoots are forcing their way through the muddy soil and welcoming us to the warmer days. My garden has taken an absolute hammering with all the rain since last year and is needing a fair amount of tlc to get it back in order but it will have to wait a while until are all back to normal. I think everything has survived this year as we didn't suffer the severe frosts of the past couple of winters, but I do have my doubts about the pots of delphiniums as they are totally water logged so may well have rotted away to nothing. But fingers crossed.
I tried to do a bit of stitching today but still am feelings bit " bleurk" to coin a phrase, so it was not very productive. I had missed getting to the shops for a valentines card for the beloved JB so I thought I would make him one ready for his return from offshore later this week. Everyone say ahh.
Apart from that I made a small pouch to send with a swap as a little gift and thank you from this side of the pond, and of course I had to enclose the obligatory Tunnochs Wafer, that is the taste sensation of Scotland. Sadly no plain chocolate ones this time as they seem to have disappeared from sale at Mr Sainsbury's these day which is really annoying.
Anyway hope you too are having the loveliness that is the first sign of spring down your way and I look forward to you popping by again soon. Bye for now...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Where did that come from?

Woke this morning to a bit of a shock. Being out of normal routine at home, I didn't watch the news and weather last night so the sight of 2 inches, (and growing) falling into the garden took me completely by surprise. It's taken out the Sky signal so I cannot do that normal sick day thing of watching "Homes under the hammer" or "Cash in the attic" ( I know tragic eh..) so instead I have been watching the poor birds sheltering from the cold. The have been flooding back and forward from the wood next to the house and my word, do they look unhappy. One poor old boy of a robin is so puffed up he looks like a great dollop of Christmas pudding sitting out there on the branch, frozen stiff. They have had me glued and beat a bit of Philip and Hollywillybooby any day.
 ( If you watch carefully you will see a sneaky little grey squirrel make a guest appearance at the back too)


Sunday, 10 February 2013

Let's go low volume ( ...ish)

After all the bright and sunny colours encountered through the Modern Quilting Stash Bee, I felt the need to try a  bit of low volume backgrounds for a change and whilst I am not a pale and subtle type, I am hopeful this will turn out OK once I have finished with it. If you're not a quilting aficionado "Low Volume" means subtle type fabrics and colours that do not leap out at you and smack you in the eye, either in colour or pattern. They can be very effective to set something else off or be used to give a lovely gentle look to a  quilt for a particular place. You may need to bear with me for a bit though on this one before it looks at all interesting on the blog.
I found the fabrics lurking in my stash and after  a bit of googling found they came from back in 2008 and are called "Cats in Paris" . To be perfectly honest, this makes me cringe a bit for I cannot imagine what made me buy them, as whilst I have been a  very happy cat parent in the past, I am not a great cartoon motif type. Nor am I that much of a pastel cutesy type girl either ( unless there may be a moose involved?) so that is why they have probably sat in the stash for over 4 years. A couple of the matching fabrics though are really lovely, especially the spot and the small star and I must have had some kind of plan back then, but heaven knows. Anyway, as a low volume I think they are working pretty well. The piecing is 2 1/2 inch squares and ended up with a finished size of around 48" x 38" ( I know weird size- sorry).
The plan to "funk it up a bit" is drawn from a pattern in the most recent edition of "Fat Quarterly", but I want to keep that under my hat for the moment. My big task though is to find a strong contrasting colour to add on top off the pale pinks, greens and beiges ( yuch, cant believe I even used that word). I have had the Kona colour chart out and what I really want is a dark dark chocolate colour and the best I think is going to be no. 1136, Espresso, but I am still a bit torn. As you will see there is actually a dark contrasting fabric which I do like but I only have a fat quarter which is not enough and despite more googling I cannot find anymore. Given it is a 2008 fabric I am not at  all surprised though. The contrast is nearly a black but the Kona blacks look a  bit too dense so I think the dark chocolate will be best , especially with the pale and delicate pink. So that's me now off to order me a yard or so. A tiny bit of me says to hunt for a tiny print but I have a feeling that could take me for ever and I really want to crack on with this as it will, for a first, involve circles. That's all I am saying for now - 'cos as you may recall I don't do circles!

See you soon...

Saturday, 9 February 2013

And I made it over the line

According to Mr Ashcroft the drugs don't work ( sorry class tune- couldn't resist) but if  2 days ago you had suggested that I would have spent this afternoon sewing and completing my swap I would have laughed you out of the room. So something has definitely been working here. I had pre-empted my delay in posting the Pretty Little Pouch Swap by its deadline by contacting the swap Mama with details of my medical hiccough, but there was a little man nagging in the back of my head this afternoon saying I couldn't let my partner down. So onwards and upwards and all that and hurrah, I got it finished.

All the trickier parts had been completed and I just needed to get the zip in and finish off. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out but the proof will be in the pudding for my partner when it arrives with her. As a little add on I made her as a wallet in the same pirate fabric, but it wasn't until later that I realised I have made the opening for a left handed person. What a spoon am I..... Unless of course I am psychic and she is left handed?  Hmmmm? Anyway apologies if you are not. Maybe you have a left  handed friend who has a penchant for pirates? The pattern was one I found over at the mad Narcoleptic in the Cupboard 's blog.

Its a great pattern, even if you can't tell your left from the right.

If you are interested the back of the pouch itself, it was made using a pirate map Emily drew for me which I then printed out on the inkjet printer using the fabric that fits through and it came out a treat. I have used this  a few times now and think its great fun. In my addled state though I did forget to add a Quilty  Doings tag to the make which is a real shame.
Now I am on a roll so I have made one of the February blocks for the Modern Quilting Stash Bee for the lovely Linda in Napa. She is after fuschia themed colours and the block is called "You are here". I am pleased with this too but am a wee bit concerned its a bit too pink for Linda, so I will make sure block 2 will have a bit more purple in it.
After all this activity I am absolutely shattered but its a far better type of shattered than 2 days ago. It's great to be back in the saddle again....

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Who'd have thought...

leftovers turned into a comfy cushion for my den
Who would have thought that just about the time I get my lovely machine back from the magic repair man in Edinburgh  that it would be me that breaks rather than the machine?The beloved JB came back from offshore and kindly picked up my treasure for me and I was in a hurry to get going but with family commitments I didn't really have a chance to " have a good go" as they say. I did manage a dabble with some left over half square triangles which turned into the cushion above for my den, as well as the beginnings of my pouch for the Pretty Little Pouch Swap.
Pretty Little Pouch Swap Round 6
But ho hum, within hours of starting I had what I would consider an " oh bum" moment when a good old dose of the rheumatoid's kicked in, in my hands. Not content to strike my left hand for a day, it came back with avengance two days later resulting in a 2 a.m. blizzard run to A and E, a large needle in my rump and being signed off sick for 4 days. Having now come round from the belt of drugs inflicted on my body I am starting to get a little bored and frustrated as I love a) my job and b) my stitching and at present I can do neither. So I have taken to fabric shopping which is as you all know is a very dangerous business. A few little bundles have been ordered but the most exciting purchase has been from Emily's new range on Spoonflower, called "To the Beach".I know it's a little early to be thinking of such things as the summer, but in my book it's never to early to buy fabric for a sunshine project. Emily is new to Spoonflower, but her design eye, used in her great landscape photographery I think stands her in good stead here. I hope you can pop by and have a look. I have ordered a medley of five in orange and blue and plan to add a little Kona solid in there once they arrive. You will of course get to see what turns out as quickly as possible, as you know how I love to share at the drop of a hat.
Anyway, that's me away to my bed know, as I have the current attention span of a Knat with all this medication floating around my brain.  I hope normal service will be resumed shortly. Till then, keep smiling and thanks for popping byx