Friday, 15 November 2013

Up to the middle of November

Well, I cannot believe how time is passing so quickly.  I had decided that I would have enough time to get everything ready if I had bought all the presents by the end of September, wrapped by the end of October and cards done by the 15th November.  I am nearly there but it is a close run thing.

The best thing about this time has been making my Christmas presents and then having time to make myself a handbag I have had material and pattern for, for over a year.  Well you know about throwing spanners in the work's  don't you?  I think someone found the largest monkey wrench they could and dropped it right in the gears.  What I have found to do in this "spare time" I had remains a mystery but I have kept busy all the time and my handbag?  Oh That remains in the projects bag untouched.  I WILL get it done before the end of the year (perhaps I had better not say which one, just in case).

I have enjoyed being able to do a little hand sewing though.  I belong to the Small Quilt Group on Yahoo.  If you haven't seen it, go have a look.  They are such a marvellous group of ladies.  Anyway, each month our leader, Kathy Tracy, sets us a small quilt challenge to make.  I love these but have fallen sadly behing over the last two years.  Some have been started others have fallen on the "to do" pile and others area name on the list.  Anyway, for November. Kathy, with a nudge from Bonnie in Jounaux (not sure about the spelling there) decided that we should have a finish UFO (unfinished projects) session.  I have actually managed to finish two projects.
My first completed object was the October challenge to make a maple leaf block.  Oh what fun this little block s to make.  I only had to quilt it and put the binding on so it didn't take that long really. I decided to machine quilt this.  It is so pretty (personal opinion only) I shall use it on the telephone

The second project to be finished was Grandma's Flower Garden.  The design layout was chosen after my 4 year old grandson had being playing with them and we were learning the colours.  He just picked them all up and threw them in the air.  The result was quite pleasing.  Then came my biggest shock.  I threaded my quilting needle, set my block up ready to quilt and started.  I couldn't do it!  Those familiar movements with the needle and two hands just didn't happen.  I was devastated.  My very favourite part of making a quilt and I could no longer make those stitches.  I have to admit to having a good cry through pure frustration.  A good nights' sleep helped a little because I decided all was not lost.  I just had to find another way of quilting and hope that one day I could do it properly again.  I found some sashiko thread and using a tapestry needle I did larger than normal stab stitches.  These represent the pathways around the flower beds.

My one regret is that my Grandmothers garden never did look like this,  it was a small patch of  hard ground out the back door where she grew a few potatoes and the odd buttercup and dandelion.  But I would have loved her to have a garden like this, she a lovely Grandma, known as Nain, which Welsh for Grandma.

Well, enough for memories, must  go and have coffee, I hear the cups chinking, and then to work, packing.
Will speak to you soon.
Please forgive any spelling mistakes, my computer is dyslexic this morning.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Finished items

During the middle stages of my enforced resting I felt like sewing and began finishing small projects.
The first was my needle case.  This was a gift from Karin Hellaby on my trip up the Norwegian coast to see the Northern Lights.
Finished at last and being used.

The second item to be finished were the two quilts I promised my Grandsons.  They saw a black, white and red Log Cabin I was making and said they would like one but with blue centres.  I thought I had enough scraps left to complete the quilts but ran out so ended up buying new fabric and starting from scratch.  The end result was worth it thoug.  They love them and use them every day.

Finished at last.

I am now going to start Christmas presents.  I need to be so organised this year as we are going to Madeira from the end of November until Christmas Eve.
Bronwen Beardshaw  Sorry ladies I could not manage that picture any longer.  I will try for another one.

Little Things please little minds.

20 days to go.

Monday 4th November.

Today started off pretty much as normal.  DH went swimming, then collected a parcel for me from the post office and went and did the shopping.  I hate food shopping, in fact I hate shopping full stop!  There is one exception of course, yes - fabric for quilting.  However, I do well out of DH doing the shopping because he only brings the things I have put on the list.  If I go, I tend to overfill my trolley with "ooooh that looks nice" goodies.  This means I usually have a bit left at the end of the month.

Anyway, while DH was away I was doing the washing and other sundry "housework" sorry, sorry I know that is a swear word to all of us but sadly I do not have a fairy who comes in the night and does these things.  The door bell saved me and my new serger machine arrived.  Yippee I thought, I can run up a couple of skirts this afternoon.  OOOppppssss.  Didn't realise you needed a Phd to use of these "easy to use" brutes.  The afternoon and the evening was spent ingesting the whole book.  Never mind, there are still 20 days to go until we reach Madeira.

This is the small jetty by our hotel.  You can see the baby fish growing up in the water.  It is also the entry point to the sea for those brave enough to enter. DH also goes scuba diving from here.

The main harbour where the big cruise ships are moored.  From our balcony, we can sit and watch the ships as they come over the horizon and sail across and into port.  Then we watch them go out again.  Madeira needs the tourism to survive and the cruise liners bring plenty of currency into the area. Funchal is the main shipping port in the area and around Christmas there are numerous liners in.  New Year's Eve is the big one.  There can be as many as 20 liners standing off shore to see the fantastic fire-work display put on by Madeira.  One of the ones I would like to see.

Taken from the cable car this view shows the red roofed houses, a popular site in Madeira.

Another view from the cable car showing again the red roofed houses.  The municipality specify that the roofs be red so it does not look like a hotch potch from above. They also subsidise the tenants.        The sea really is this colour.

Finally a view from our balcony looking to the left, towards the main harbour.  The pink bit you can see is the hotel next door.

If you look to the right, we are next door to the famous Reids hotel.  This is where Winston Churchill had a suite, kept only for him, for when he was on the island painting.  His hobby and relaxation was to paint, I think, in oils. I will find a photo.  We had an English tea there.  It cost £30 (don't know the $) per person. We had a pot of tea, three small sandwiches and two small cakes!  We went home and had a meal.

I hope these photos have given you a small insight into where I am going.  I will photograph the Christmas set up for this year and let you see some of these when we return.
For now I will wish you a goodnight and God Bless.  I have to be up early tomorrow as DH goes to work, but that means a play day!!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Sunday 3rd November

21 Days to Go

I cannot believe that just having the boys for one night and a morning can be so wearing.  I feel totally cream-crackered.  DH has spent the morning at the swimming pool and I have been on the computer again.  Really must spend less time on the computer and more doing things.  Lets face it, three weeks today and I will be on my way to Madeira and everything needs to be finished by then.
This afternoon I decided to start quilting my Maple leaf block.  Oh dear.  My hiccup in June means my hands don't work the way they used to and I find I am unable to hand quilt the same.  Booo Hoooo.  Now what am I going to do?  Well I will try other methods of course, but I can see me resorting to machine quilting if it doesn't work out.  That will be tragic but I suppose better than no quilting at all.
I will leave in the stitches I have already done to see if there is any improvement over time.
Nothing much to say with it being the weekend so I will wish you all a good night and god bless.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Saturday 2nd November

Good Morning Ladies

Well we had a very quiet night with the children.  After a few games of picture dominoes my little one, Hayden (aged 4) asked to go to bed at 8pm.  Big half brother  went as well and they watched a film on his lap top.  Peace!  I got to read some of my book.
After breakfast we went to see Peters mother and took the boys with us.Sadly it rained all the time we were there so they couldn't pick the fallen apples.  On the way home we dropped them off with Mum and Dad. I took the pudding I had cooked for her and at least she seemed to appreciate the fact I had made it especially for her.  She may have been crowned with it otherwise!
After lunch, I bought my Christmas present to me.  I have bought a Brother Serger.  I have a small one but it is more like a toy.  As I have 4 sets of curtains to make in the new year, I wanted something a bit more beefy. Looking forward to that coming.  I also finished my first UFO of the month.  Sorry I can't show it to you now as it is my Secret Santa and that wouldn't be fair.
I am now going to go and read my book, nothing spectacular but all right before an early night ready to start with a vengeance tomorrow.
Interesting thought though.  Why does spending large amounts of money give you the need for more chocolate?
I shall see what the weather brings. It may be an indoor day or an outdoor day.
Until then
Goodnight, God Bless and Sleep Tight.

The Beginning of November The 1st.

Well this month has started off really well.  I have received some blocks from my quilting friends in smallquilttalk and they are just beautiful.  Quilters' are just the nicest of people. 

Just some of the blocks received.
I keep looking  through them and see something different every time.  I think I have received blocks blocks rom at least 6 countries, but that was an initial first count.
Some more of the blocks.  Aren't they just awesome?  I am going to have to find a very special setting for these.  They really are "A Gift of Love".  Thanks you all who were involved.

Today is my DiL birthday and my DS is taking her out for a birthday dinner.  The two boys are having a "sleep over" at Grandma and Granddads tonight.  This means they will run us round the house and finally fall into bed exhausted.  Still it is only rarely I have them and I love them to bits.  So I will bid you all Goodnight and sleep well for now.

Last week of October

Well nothing paticularly happened during the week.  The only downer was my mother in law decided she wanted a Christmas pudding after all.  I had done all my puddings and cooked them but had enough ingredients left for a spare. (Ummmhhh I wonder why that was?)  I made one and cooked it.  I have spent a lot of time this week sorting out for Christmas.
However, the internet group Smallquilt talk I belong to has a monthly challenge, and October's challenge is to make a Maple leaf block, and turn one or more into something nice.  Mapleleaf is one of my favourite blocks and I used to make them quite quickly.  Well, that was before I slowed down.  It took me four days to make four blocks and then it was the 31st October.  End of the challenge.  BUT ...... Novembers challenge is to finish a UFO. sooo .. my first UFO is my maple leaf block, cunning huh?

My Maple leaf blocks  The red around the outside is being auditioned for a binding.  Still not sure.

A closer picture showing the maple leaves a little clearer.  Quite pleased with myself and this has been made all from scraps.  However the dint in the scrap box is not noticable.

And finally showing the corner.  Still not sure about the binding fabric.  Will have to think.  For now I will make a template for a quilting pattern and start work.  This could take some time.

Well, that's the end of my really exciting week.  Hope for better next week.  The start of November.  That is truly scary.
Goodnight, and God bless to you all.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Christmas Things.

Friday 25th October 2013
Well I am on my way to being organised in time (fingers crossed).  I have made the mincemeat for the mince pies, made and steamed 6 Christmas puddings and have all but one gift that still hasn't arrived from the catalogue people.  What did we do when we didn't have the internet to shop with?  I can remember fraught days of Christmas shopping when the children were still at school, rushing home and hiding what I had bought and hoping No. 1 son didn't find them before I had time to wrap them.  Lists in those days seemed long enough to use as wrapping paper but somehow the money stayed unelasticated so disappointment was always on the cards somewhere.
These days the lists come from the 5 Grandchildren but the money remains the same.  Anyway.  Now I can say to their parents. "You get it for them and I will give you the money" or, "Where will I find that on the internet".  Yes I think Christmas has caught up with the times.  Just think how much time we must save Father Christmas.
Last Christmas No.1 son left some Whiskey and a mince pie for Santa and a Carrot for the reindeer.  Fetching the vegetables in to help Daddy, Hayden (aged 3) turned round and said  "The cheek of it.  The reindeer took one bite of the carrot and put it back in the veg basket."
I decided this year to make only one or two Christmas presents. Here they are.  Hope you like them.
This is a shopping bag that folds up

This is the bag folded

This shows the inside of the bag.

My friend has a bright red Fiat Panda car that is fondly called Kung Foo Panda.  Looking on Keepsake Quiltings site one day I found this fabric in the sale.  The rest is history as they say.

A cushion cover for No1 son's computer chair.
My eldest son used to run a pub and when I saw this one fat quarter of fabric on ebay I had to have it for him.  His birthday is on 23rd December so we are careful to make two days of celebration.  My birthday is on the 16th and when I was a little girl in the '50's I used to share my fathers' birtherday on July 2nd because all my relations bought me one present for birthday and Christmas.  Money was even more unelasticated then!
Oven gloves and pot pinchers.
Again it was the fabric that brought about the idea for these.  Peter's sister lives in Scotland and they keep hens.  The fabric fitted with them perfectly.
Well, time is marching on and I have a few things left to do before I huddle under the bedclothes and hopefully sleep through the wind and rain.  Perhaps it will be sunny tomorrow.  Another day nearer finding our Secret Santa partner.
Goodnight All, sleep tight.God Bless.

How can a catflap turn into a new radiator and towel rail

..if you would like to know - read on....

During my time spent in hospital recently my DH decided to do the odd job stacked up and waiting.  A bit like UFO's really but on a larger scale.
The chosen project was to remove the cat flap from the conservatory door and replace it with the original panel.  (By the way we no longer have a cat so no cruelty involved).  Having completed this successfully DS suggested he could cut the grass to help. Great until they went to plug in the lawnmower.  No catflap, therefore no access to the conservatory for a plug.
No problem says DH - I'll put a wall plug outside.  Been meaning to do that for ages.
External wall plug purchased and fitted to wall.  Next question - Where do I take the supply from?  Ah, there is a supply runs along the breakfast room wall.  Move all the kitchen dresser, table and chairs and chisell out a long run of about 6 feet to accommodate wire.  Plaster up wall. Line of new plaster about four feet up the wall.
Dad says DS you can't leave it like that Mum will go spare when she sees it!  UMM that is true.  I'll paint the kitchen whilst everything is in a mess.
Colour before redecoration
'Phone call - They need my bed says I can you fetch me now please?
So I arrived home feeling groggy to see this MESS.  I used all the strength I had to ask what was going on and then went to bed.
New radiator, towel rail and colour.
xt morning DH took me to the local DIY shop and we bought paint.  Now all the wall looks like just dried plaster, which should have been cream.  "It's no good doing the rest of the place until you have put a new radiator in.  That one we have doesn't warm the kitchen. (We have tested it for 19 years now so are very sure).  Good Idea says DH.  A radiator 3 times the size of the original arrives.  "It seems a shame to cover the top of that up with towels etc., but never mind" says I.  Next day a towel rail arrives and is duly fitted above new radiator, the wall is decorated and the remainder of the kitchen awaits further attention.  And that my friends is how a catflap turns into a new radiator and towel rail.!!! Easy isn't it?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Tuesday 22nd October 2013.

Following a two month enforced break due to illness I am hopefully now back with a new blog and a new chance at life again.  What have I been doing all this time?  Well resting and reading magazines and thinking.  This involved designing about 12 quilts in my head and now I have the EQ7 update, I am hoping to learn how to put them onto the screen to save them for later.  I have also finished off a couple of projects and made some Chriswtmas presents.  I will deal with thee later (I hope) and add some photos. 
Today I am steaming the last two Christmas Puddings and then I have only to wrap Presents and write cards and then pack for going to Madeira.  My deadline in 21st of November - er not long now then.

Monday 21st October, 2013

What have I been doing over the last two months?  A lot of sitting and resting, which means lots of thinking too.  I have designed at least a dozen quilts in my head.  I had Electric Quilter 7 bought for me and I am now hoping to learn to use it.  You never know, those designs may become a reality on paper.  I have also finished off two projects which had been started and are now finished.  I have listed my achievements later, complete with photos.  At least that is what is intended to happen!
Today I am steaming the last two Christmas puddings and that will be another job finished.  I have nearly finished all my shopping and the net thing to do is wrap presents and write cards.  My deadline is 21st November as we leave on the 25th for our holiday in Madeira. I will soon start packing and then trying to decide what to take with me in the way of crafty things to do on hols.  If there is any room left I will think about clothes.  As DH has just finished decorating the lounge, it i now my job to put everything bqck where