Friday, June 30, 2006

Nothing's ever wasted - and look what Santa brought me a little late :o)

Well the 'm' came in useful for Jamie Carragher - as Tonya said it would - thank goodness it wasn't an 'x' - you don't get to use many of those - except of course for Xabi Alonso but that would have to be a capital letter :o)

The other picture shows my new extension table - a very overdue joint Christmas and Birthday present from December and April - well the money from that paid a good proportion of it anyway.

It arrived by courier this afternoon so of course I had to have a play and chose Jamie to christen it :o)

It's taking a little getting used to but I'm sure will be invaluable especially when I come to quilt that ostrich.

Let's start at the very beginning - it's a very good place to start....

Well after those pleas how could I refuse - close ups here we come. In the words of Julie Andrews - let's start at the very beginning............

I belong to a yahoo group called BQL - stands for British Quilters List, I think, although the membership is by no means exclusively British - anyway it was suggested that we might like to participate in an on-line challenge to make a quilt like a round robin but with a difference - The Ostrich Challenge.

This bird wouldn't fly as the quilt top wouldn't leave your possession - hence the Ostrich title. You would do all the work on it yourself and you had the option for one month only of your own choosing to stick your head in the sand opting out of doing that month's instructions if you were pushed for time or really didn't want to tackle that particular month.

I'm up for this I thought - go for it!

The first month - March 05 if I remember correctly - was to work your initial block. Of course that is always the most difficult thing - deciding what to do - no specific criteria, a few suggestions but up to you!

As with anyone faced with a blank canvas, deciding what to put on it is always the hardest part.

I'd always wanted to make a special quilt for our big 6ft wide bed. Never had the inspiration so it had never got off the ground - a bit of an ostrich of an idea itself really - so this seemed the prime opportunity to make something for us specially.

Being a bit of a whizz at celtic knotwork, a few months earlier it had fallen to me to show the rest of the local group I was a member of in Gloucester how to do it. In a box somewhere kicking around the house was my 'here's one I made earlier' and in just the right colours to match my bedding - I think I thought I'd make a wall hanging with it at some stage. The home made bias tubing is hand appliqued onto the background with contrast fabric inset behind it - our theme for the year was 'Hearts'

So I decided that this little orphan - ok at 18" square, not so little - would be my starting point.

I suppose with a starting block of those dimensions my own particular ostrich was never going to be neat and petite. The finished size of the object was entirely up to its creator, some people made neat little wallhangings, others made humungous great objects like mine.

Also how you put the rounds together was entirely up to the individual. Some people made dinky little individual blocks and assembled them at the end. Others made a row quilt adding to it each month and then you got the ones like me who made theirs medallion style and just kept going round and round and round and round :o)

We were told that we'd be given a new set of instructions each month on the 1st. So when the 1st of April dawned bright and early my heart dropped when I read 'Nine Patch or Log Cabin'. You may have already gathered I hate piecing especially if I have to match points, but the object of all this was for it to be a challenge and for me accurate piecing really is just that!

I did think I would do a round of nine patches all around the edge but after piecing about half a dozen I'd more than had enough so decided to applique them to a background - the old 'A' word creeping back in there again - you'll find it does at every opportunity with me :o) Bit of a chicken (more bird puns - groan) but I liked them that way - so there :o)

It was also suggested that it may be aesthetically pleasing to put a narrow border between each month in a matching fabric so I took them at their word and did that, some months more than one - you'll see as we go along this space for May.............

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I really have to do something with this - gulp!

You may remember those funny little grey and cream quarter square triangles I was so proud of the other day - and the brown butterflies I'd appliqued a while ago. They are part of this years internet challenge I'm involved in where you do a round robin without actually passing on the piece of work - namely you work on your own each month but to a prescribed set of instructions. We called it an 'Ostrich' challenge as it is a bird like a round robin but as it never leaves you it doesn't fly - and you do have the option to 'put your head in the sand' for one round only and not participate if you so desire. Everyone was expected to post a photo each month to show their progress before they received the next month's instructions

The picture shows my completed top from the same challenge last year. The real challenge is to sandwich and quilt it - mainly the sandwiching because finding somewhere large enough to spread it out will be the major challenge as it is about 90" square.

Added to this it is our group's quilt show on the 5th and 6th August and I have sort of promised it will be completed in time - if not there will be a big hole in one area of the show

Therefore I ought to stop faffing about with letters and bullseyes and concentrate on working on this.

The centre celtic knotwork was a sample for a demo at my old quilt group in Gloucester before we moved - you could use anything you liked for the centre so I went with that. The rest of the rounds are all as instructed but interpreted in our own way - nine patch or log cabin - curves - flying geese or other birds - applique - stripes - hst's - and finally friendship stars.

As I've always wanted to make a quilt for our bedroom but had never been able to come up with any ideas I used this challenge for that purpose and the colours of navy, lilac, lavender and crushed raspberries match my bedding

It would be nice to take my time and quilt it all to match the patterns but I just don't do that sort of quilting, particularly not to a deadline so IF and it's a big IF I do get it sandwiched it will be quilted at random all over

It's difficult to see but there is loads of applique all over it, even in the rounds you'd think there wouldn't be - but I am an applique kind of girl and I loved stitching all those circles on it

Maybe tomorrow I'll dig out some of the work-in-progress photos I took along the way so you can see it in greater detail

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Oops - this is what happens when you get too cocky!

Okay - so I thought with a spare few minutes I'd start another name - you know, in between clearing breakfast and chivvying kids. Merrily stitching away - thought 'Brilliant' - done Sammy - half a name completed - Wicked!

Until ........... Oops - checked out my list to see how to spell the surname and found that this particular Sammy is really Sami - oh bother!

Nothing at all against foreign footballers playing for Liverpool or any other team for that matter - the moral of the story is 'Duh.....check the spelling' :o)

Still nothing lost, a little reverse stitching and the 'Y' went into the surname. The other 'M' will probably go into Jamie Carragher.

Three down, eleven to go :o)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Two down - twelve to go

Well Daddy offered to take the two younger ones to their swimming lesson last night as he had to pop over to the other side of town for something so decided to kill two birds with the one stone

I had every intention of knocking some chores on the head - weekend away, washing pile - you get my drift and then I was seduced by this footballing Spaniard :o)

Okay, okay - before the censors pull the 'X' certificate out of their pockets it was only the promise of stitching a certain Senor Morientes' name for DS's quilt that actually lured me away from more boring things.

Once I started I couldn't stop and by the time the three of them returned from the pool I was just about to start on that final 'S'

Fernando's is the longest name I have to do so it's all downhill from here :o)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Phew - good to stop and take stock :o)

Whew - thank goodness the world has stopped revolving at a million miles an hour - now I can catch my breath.

The pile of bullseye quadrants was cut up on Friday night - once the house had settled down after the whirling dervish of a departure by DH and the two youngest. I should have enough to do the centre of the top and some of the outer border - we'll see, I haven't had a full count up yet - just kept cutting and stitching - over the next few days I should be able to pull them together and see how far I've got

Saturday dawned bright and early (thank goodness, I hadn't slept too well worrying that I wouldn't hear the alarm and we'd be late) We slung everything in the car and headed off up to Clevedon, just below Bristol to meet up with one of Sarah's team-mates and her dad who was kindly taking us with them to Worcester. The lift was much appreciated as having the responsibility of driving 130 of the days miles taken from me made the day do-able. We will return the favour and take Catherine with us on the second date in July as her younger sister is playing the lead in 'Annie' and understandably both of her parents want to watch her. It's always good to be able to return a favour - after all that's what makes the world go round :o)

Sarah had a terrific day training rugby - they worked them exceptionally hard - she's still aching today but playing/drilling with that level of coach and among a group of that standard of girls was a real privilege. Plus she thoroughly enjoyed meeting and chewing the fat with girls from other regions - in fact I think she enjoyed that as much as anything.

The weather was glorious, sunny and warm, almost too much so but the coaches were terrific and there was a copious quantity of sports water for them to take on board at every opportunity so save them from getting dehydrated. You could actually see the improvement in the girls and their handling skills as the day went on. An excellent opportunity and a real honour to be able to participate.

After a very pleasant journey chatting to good company all the way back to Clevedon we collected our car and headed off down to the campsite in Devon. Luckily late Saturday afternoon is generally reasonably quiet on what are usually very busy motorways in the UK. We have an excellent road system over here - just an ever increasing number of cars filling it up :o(

We made excellent time and arrived at the campsite just as the barbecue was starting up - so with a welcome cup of tea in one hand and an equally welcome bottle of beer in the other I sat down and was waited on hand and foot with a lovely lamb and mint burger for starters.

The party was made up of some of Nick's football team and their families making a total of around thirty adults and children. Fortunately some of the boys had older and younger siblings so there were mates for both our girls too.

The campsite is set in the upper reaches of the River Dart which joins the sea about 15 - 20 miles south at Dartmouth. The river winds it's way through a beautiful wooded valley and is in the grounds of an old mansion so a lot of the garden area is filled with rhododendron and specimen trees. The areas of the grounds near to the river have man-made lakes which are shallow and have assault courses and a pirate ship for the kids to play on - Brilliant! A real adventure playground where the kids could go off within reason and explore and play to their hearts content. The picture shows the lovely woodland riverside view

Only one down note - the kids played the dads in the afternoon in a game of football which seemed to be dragging on at stalemate into valuable drinking time - the rules were amended to 'golden goal' - first to score wins! This was fine until DH scored the decider - much to the disgust of DS who wouldn't speak to him for the next hour! Such competitiveness!

Much barbecued food was consumed, more than a little beer and wine washed it down and we all sat round enjoying a bit of a sing-song and lots of chit-chat before heading off to bed just before midnight

Sunday was a gorgeous day - we had to vacate our pitches by around 11am but were quite at liberty to park up in the car park and enjoy the site for as long as we wanted before heading back up the motorway for home - thankfully relatively clear again.

We went on the weekend slighly knowing only one of the families - however they were such a friendly bunch that by the end of the weekend we felt totally accepted and all ended up going back to the house of one of the boys to watch England beat Ecuador to go into the quarter finals of the World Cup - a lovely way to round off a super time

Of course the down side of it all was the fact that the children had had less sleep than they should have and were subsequently very scratchy and very difficult to raise for school this morning - like waking the dead!!!

I simply went back to work (thankfully at one school only now) for a rest!

Friday, June 23, 2006

First name completed - I've been sussed!

Well my husband has now discovered my deepest darkest secret ....................................

I will take any opportunity to put just one more stitch into something

He could not believe this morning when we had a spare ten minutes before setting off for school that I actually sat down at the sewing machine and stitched! Admittedly in his opinion I should have been emptying the dishwasher - but hey, why have three slaves (oops sorry, children) and not use them. Anyway we're teaching them the meaning of responsibility by making them help out round the house. Plus there's got to be some payback for a 'one off Liverpool FA Cup winners quilt' hasn't there?

So Harry Kewell is now immortalised in red and white fabric :o)

The photo only shows his first name as a size comparison against the title letters - but he is finished - honestly! It's just that DH took the camera away to camp with them before I managed to get the last couple of 'l's on the end.

I felt quite bereft when the three of them set off leaving DD1 and I here at the house - mind you he has just phoned me to tell me he's not even made it to Wellington (eight miles away) half an hour later as there is a blockage on the motorway so everyone is travelling on the alternative trunk road instead. Normally the journey would only take about an hour in total - oh dear :o(

Hopefully things won't be as busy tomorrow. Unfortunately for him he does have the younger 'Are we anywhere near there yet?' two in the car with him. I think he will be sorely in need of a cold beer when he gets there. Purely in the interests of lubrication while putting up the tent you understand!

So that's one name down - thirteen to go :o)

I could actually get cheesed off with these letters quite quickly - I have a very low boredom threshold which is why I seldom tend to make single block repetitive quilts. However alternating a bit of Liverpool lettering and a bit of blue bullseye blocking is making both move steadily along without me completely losing interest

Having seen these two offerings taking shape DD2 has now decided she wants a new quilt too - fair enough. So after browsing through a few magazines she's decided on 'something with colourful squares'

I can feel a scrappy liberated log cabin/courthouse steps in pinks, blues and lilacs coming on.

This liberated piecing is such fun - who needs to match points anyway?

Way to go Oz!

Put this one up in honour of Lily on Cascade as the Socceroos drew with Croatia last night to go through with Brazil from their group to the last 16 for the first time ever in the World Cup

Also for DS as Harry Kewell pictured here in total elation is a Liverpool player (one on the 'to do' list for the letters)

Lots of blue bullseye blocks done over the last couple of days but not assembled onto the main piece so not much to show picture wise.

Won't have much time for stitching from tomorrow morning as it's the ninety miles an hour weekend this weekend but may take some hexagons to cover to pass the time :o) whilst watching DD1 rugby train tomorrow

Last day today of the double life (two schools per day) at work - thank goodness - I'm more exhausted than I thought I'd be - I will be by Sunday!

Should be back in time to drop asleep on the couch in front of the England v Ecuador match - as if !!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Where did you get that hat?

I couldn't resist this one - It's Royal Ascot this week - a horse racing festival at a course near London which is renowned for the great and the good parading in preposterous headwear! - not into horse racing personally, each to their own, but came across this picture on the BBC News website and felt compelled to share - can you just imagine spending all day with that on your head - maybe I'm in the wrong job - I ought to be designing frivolous quilted headgear - how the other half live eh? :o)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Titles all done!

Titles done - now onto the names of the players, all eleven of them plus the three substitutes making fourteen. Counting up that makes 172 more letters in total - gulp. You might guessed by now that I'm a bit of a number freak!

Right with the match standing at One - Nil at half time, I'm off back to watch the second half against Sweden - hope Michael Owen's not too seriously hurt :o(

Spot the deliberate mistake - you have to laugh!

Ten points to the first one to spot which letter this should have been out of the word 'WINNERS' - what a muppet!

Don't you just love reverse stitching - not!

That'll teach me for paying too much attention to the Germany v Ecuador match and too little attention to my stitching :o)

Just need to beat Sweden tonight or at least draw and we'll get Ecuador in the next round rather than the home team Germany :o)

Nearly drove to the wrong school this morning - oh I must concentrate - roll on next week when I only have one to think about at once :o)

Busy weekend coming up this weekend - when is it not?

We should all have been going into Devon with the trailer tent to an adventure park with loads of zip slides and clambering structures etc with all the families of DS's football crowd

I say should as DD1 has been selected from her rugby region for the Personal Development Academy programme - a real honour - only 110 girls across England are selected.

This involves two single day training sessions with top rank coaches up at Worcester - 110 miles in the opposite direction! Of course the first of these two is on Saturday - typical!

Fortunately one of her regional friends who lives about 30 miles nearer to it than us has suggested we travel together and leave our car at their house so we will go up Saturday morning with them, returning later in the day and then Sarah and I will continue down into Devon in the evening hopefully to join the big camp just in time to join in with the barbecue

Obviously this is such a good opportunity for her that we can't miss it but of course it means that DH and the two younger ones will go down on their own after school on Friday and he will have to put up the trailer tent on his own - hope the other Dads are a friendly helpful bunch as we don't know any of them that well. Still at least DD1 and I will be able to help put it down again on Sunday. Don't you wish sometimes that you could cut yourself into two

So as you can imagine we're praying for a fine weekend with minimal traffic on the motorways :o)

By Sunday night I shall be just about fit to drop!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Progress, hills and ducklings - life is never dull!

Lily from Australia (goes under the blog name of Cascade) made me smile when she commented on my last posting about how hot could it be in the UK?

I have to say that probably compared with the southern states of the US or Australia not really that hot but the thought of dragging the kids after four solid hours of hot shopping up the hill you can see in the picture at 2pm in the afternoon in the height of the British summer i.e. 28/29 degrees C and fairly humid was not appealing - cries of 'It's too hot Mum, can we go home and watch the football Mum?' were echoing in our ears so discretion being the better part of valour we hightailed it off home instead - we'll save the Tor for a cooler Spring or Autumn day I think.

I have a mega complex week work wise this week. I am juggling two separate schools, spending some part of each of Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at both schools and then Wednesday at one of them too - not much time to slip in some swimming there then, although we were there when they opened the doors at 6am today - have we taken leave of our senses I can hear you cry!

I'm having to think long and hard before I answer the telephone so I say the correct school name (or don't say any school name at all on the home phone!) - and also trying very hard to remember which bit of post I've opened where as well - just the ticket to fry your brain eh?

So it was lovely to come home this afternoon and just sneak out an odd half hour to arrange and stitch a few more quadrants onto Sarah's bullseye (still want to call it bulldog - no idea why) quilt top. I'm really pleased with how it's coming together now and the overall wavy line effect

This afternoon at work I had to smile - I felt a little like Dr Doolittle. The school is in a very rural area and one of the classroom assistants had brought in her sister's orphan duckling for the children to meet. The little thing was as tame as you like and followed her about like Mary's Little Lamb. The children all came into the hall in groups and sat down in a big circle on the floor. The duck was then allowed to wander freely in the middle of the circle to go and 'talk' to them all. As you can imagine this was just delightful and I'm sure will stick in those childrens memories long after they leave school and go out into the big bad world of work in years to come. Glad I didn't have to wipe up the whoopsies but fortunately it was a vinyl floor and not carpet.

Once all the classes had met the duckling whose name I never actually discovered - we were never formally introduced you understand - he was put back into a travelling cage and left in the head's empty office. Well he really didn't like this at all being all alone and cried pitifully to such an extent that the lady who'd brought him in asked if she could put him in my office for a little company. Honestly - the things you have to do!

So I duckling-sat for the afternoon.

At one point though I had to move a box on the office floor and revealed a huge spider (ok we're talking by UK standards here so probably not the sort you'd get in Oz or anything but big enough to make me shudder!) who then proceeded to try and manhandle her huge eggsack to safety.

Now usually with spiders of those proportions my reaction is to stamp first and ask questions later, but I felt so sorry for her trying so valiantly to save her babies to be that I felt a rescue was in order.

No matter how much empathy I may feel for an arachnid mum-to-be I just couldn't bring myself to pick her up in my hands so out came the old glass and piece of paper trick.

Of course just as I had the family safely off the office floor I realised that due to security I had to press a switch above head level (out of childrens reach you understand) to open the door to the great outdoors in order to liberate her.

So I juggled the glass and paper arrangement in one hand hoping above hope that the paper wouldn't bend and let her out and up my sleeve (involuntary shudder here as I write this) and pressed the button to be faced with my saviour - a delivery man bringing some books who pulled open the door for me.

He looked at my burden with some distaste (obviously not a spider fan either) and commented ' My that's a big spider you've got there!'

I just couldn't resist - my retort just had to be ..............

'If you think the spider's big you should see the size of my duckling!!!' Ta Da!!!!!

Never a dull moment in a school office - bet they don't get excitement like that in dull County Hall jobs

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Perfect end to a lovely weekend

Wow - what a whirlwind weekend! The swimming went by the wayside after Friday night (mind you not for long as DD1 and I have a 6am swim scheduled in for the morning!) Gulp!

Yesterday was a big shopping day - my husband works as Transport Manager for Clarks Shoes and as an employee has a generous amount of discount on a certain number of shoes each year (33.3% which is not to be sneezed at as shoes are expensive over here)

This year's discount card runs out at the end of July so we decided that as I desperately needed summer sandals and trainers and DD2 has just about exhausted her school shoes - they're within milliseconds of collapse - she's worn them that much to death!

So off to the Clarks Shopping Village at Street (about 20 minutes from here and right next to DH's work) This is an outlet village with lots of other goodies as well as shoes but Clarks have their largest seconds shop there so not only do you get them at 'seconds prices' but we get the discount on top too.

The offshoot of the trip was new shorts and swimmers for DD1, England football shirts for DS and DD2, school shoes for DD2, trainers for DS and eight pairs of various sandals plus a pair of trainers for me - yes sorry girls you read that correctly - nine in total - gulp! Imelda Marcos would be proud of me. At least we've used up this years discount allocation.

However there is some justification here as I have horrid short fat feet which I find impossible to find shoes for normally - so the joy of finding one pair that fit and I liked, never mind all the others, was enough to make DH overlook the extravagance - in his words 'usually we have half an hours sulk as we come out of the shops empty handed' so he paid up with a smile (albeit slightly strained) and I have enough sandals to last me a month of Sundays!

We were going to do something touristy with the rest of the day - probably taking the kiddiwinks to Glastonbury to climb the Tor - which is a big hill with a tower on the top and is the legendary home of King Arthur and the Round Table - but it was just way too hot and we decided to come home and barbie for tea with our luscious local farm shop sausages and lamb and mint burgers.

As I think is the case in lots of other parts of the world - today in the UK is Fathers Day - so DH had a lay-in until about nine, cup of tea in bed to accompany the present and card opening ceremony and then we four took him out for the day. I did speak to my Dad as well but at 200 miles away it was too far for us to get together so I had to be satisfied with the phone instead.

As I've said before DH loves old forms of transport including trains, buses and trams, so we headed off to the East Devon Coast to Seaton Tramway which is about 30 miles from home - the novelty of living this close to the coast for the first time in my life is going to take some considerable time to wear off.

It was a surprise right up to the last few minutes when he sussed out where we were heading for because of the road signs. We rode the trams up and back down the line alongside the River Axe and then picnicked next to the line on our return.

A couple of hours on the beach at Exmouth and a meal at a lovely Carvery pub rounded off the afternoon before we headed off home.

Once back home at about 7pm we could hear the unusual event that was taking place in the town centre about 2 miles away from us. No other than THE Elton John was playing a concert at the Somerset County Cricket ground in the centre of Taunton. So we all decided to get out our bikes and ride along into town on the canal tow path to listen for free - BRILLIANT! As gorgeous as the kids were when they were tinies it is wonderful now that they're old enough to be able to do things like this all together.

The photos are a sunset taken from the back garden tonight - hence the post heading - and DH posing in front of one of the trams we rode on wearing his loudest pairs of shorts because he knows they wind up DD1 a treat. Not much stitching done but a lovely time had by all :o) and tomorrow's always another day!

Friday, June 16, 2006

More letters and a real challenge

Today has been hot and very humid here in Taunton, I 'worked' this morning at a little primary school I'm doing holiday cover for. The worked is in inverted commas as it was so quiet that I spent the best part of the morning ringing for information and applying for several vacancies which have just cropped up in the area - so we'll see!

I fully intended to swim this afternoon but after leaving work I had to call into a school on the way home to collect an application pack. The existing secretary, who the successful applicant would be working alongside, kept me waiting for half an hour pratting around sorting out the paperwork to such an extent that I might have reservations if the job were offered to me - funny, but you sometimes just get that feeling - we'll see, I have to apply as I can't afford not to investigate it further, but it did make me feel a bit suspicious. School offices particularly in primary schools generally have maybe two or three staff at most so any working relationship can be stretched to the limit if things don't go swimmingly (pardon the pun)

Anyway as a result of this delay my solo swim went out of the window so that didn't endear her to me either. I did go along with the kids straight from school and managed another 14 lengths - I may keep a tally of all this and tot it up as I go along just to see how long it takes me to say swim the Atlantic :o) I think I'm up to 110 lengths so far which at 33 metres is...................... a jolly long way - too tired to work it out now :o) (Actually it's over three and a half kms in just a week - blimey!)

I've done a little stitching tonight - part way along the next line of 'FA Cup Winners' and it looks as though the 2006 will have to go down onto a third line - I stopped tonight as I would be tackling the 'w' next and if I remember that's a fairly complicated arrangement so not one to do when you're tired. I also feel as though I may be starting with a summer cold - hope not - but my head is a little cotton-wool like so best not to spoil things by pushing it at this time of night.

I'm not going to attach these lines at present as I may put them down the bottom of the quilt yet. I am going to find out the words to a song that Liverpool fans always sing at matches - 'You'll never walk alone' - as I think it would be rather fitting to quilt that all over the quilt in my writing quilting. I'm sure I'll find it somewhere on the net.

At a risk of you super duper piecers out there thinking I'm completely mad I thought I'd show off my real achievement tonight - those highly complex and very difficult 4" quarter square triangle blocks in grey and cream - WOW!!!!!

Seriously though folks, Tonya's letters have been like a breath of fresh air to me because an accurate piecer I am not. These little grey and cream blocks were pure torture to me - I only had to make eight for the next stage of an on line challenge I'm doing (remember the butterflies) and I hated every minute of it - challenge is just the right word. Still they're done now and I can retreat back into my comfort zone of applique and liberated piecing :o) Actually I think I'll retreat to bed right now with a hot lemon and whisky and see if I can head off this cold at the start. Goodnight all - weekend tomorrow - yippee!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Two - Nil !!!

Just 'enjoyed' a couple of 'footie' hours - I say that reservedly as the first three quarters of the match was highly boring and very dull.

As usual I struggle to just sit and watch TV so I ploughed away on another football front at the same time and stitched the first row of Nick's football quilt while turning around from the sewing machine to catch the pertinent bits of the action.

Of course the best bit was that both goals (in the final 5 minutes - talk about leaving it to the last minutes - were scored by Liverpool lads - Up The Reds!!! Sadly my little boy got so bored with the uneventful first half that he went out to play his own game of football in the playing field behind the half. He'll be sick he missed the two goals - but no doubt as usual UK TV will repeat it all ad nauseum!

My next line on the quilt will have 'F.A. Cup Champions 2006' and then I plan to do all the names of the squad :o) Really enjoyed doing this and starting to get the hang of it now.

Up the reds!

Just had time last night (in and among swimming with the kids - only managed 16 lengths as I had to share supervision with DD1 = and the usual chores) to stitch up a few more bullseye base blocks and cut them into four ready for arranging and assembling.

However just before it was time for bed the creative juices crept up on me with the red fabric. I actually ended up washing it twice with one of those colour catchers. The first one came out quite red, the second time it was only very vaguely pink - so I think I've cracked that. I'm glad I did wash it twice though. Pink letters on a football quilt wouldn't have been particularly masculine.

As you can see from the picture I made a start on the lettering with the first four letters of Liverpool. Amazingly I've managed to get them all a similar size which while not essential would be quite nice if only for the main word. DS spotted it this morning on my cutting bench and grinned from ear to ear. In favour there then. DD2 seems none the worse for wear after her brush with the 'scissors of doom' yesterday so we've all survived that little trauma - thank goodness!

Only working 'til 1 pm today so I'm off to - guess where - yes you got it, the swimming pool again - getting addictive this now :o) Right better round them all up for school!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

'Never work with children or animals'

Oh dear - major disaster struck this morning!

Picture the scene -

8.10am - twenty minutes until we leave the house.

DH left for work almost an hour before so blissfully unaware of scenario about to unfold - typical! DD1 left for school 10 minutes before, DS has breakfasted, dressed, done his and his little sister's lunchboxes. Mum goes up to wake DD2 alias Noddy or Sleepy Noggin! for the usual procedure of half asleep guided journey through dressing, washing, breakfast, hair brushing and shepherding out of the door to school.

Gentle shake of child in top bunk - has to be roused gently this one - Mum has the procedures off to a fine art (usually).

Mum goes into other room to put on work clothes when a wail filters through from DD2's bedroom - 'Mummy, there's something sticky in my hair - I don't know what it is, I have no idea how it got there!'

Mum smells rat - or rather on closer inspection smells the faint aroma of mint - deduction: chewing gum in end of plait!!! aaarrghhhhh!

Drastic action has to be taken due to the lateness of the hour and the stubborn sticking properties of aforesaid chewing gum.

Mum has to chop off the bottom 5 inches of the plait - daughter distraut, mother not far behind her with a close eye on the clock as time is ticking away rapidly and school and work beckon menacingly.

Daughter is totally inconsolable, Mum ends up almost late for work as she has to go into school to explain reason for child's hysteria to less than sympathetic teacher. Hair (aka DD2's pride and joy) now only reaches waist rather than bottom.

Final net result - chewing gum banned especially from bedrooms until final notice! - especially as it had been purloined from elder sister's bedroom without her knowledge!

Somebody please enlighten me - Whatever possesses us to go into parenthood? Nobody, I repeat nobody tells you this at ante-natal classes :o) Boy is it just a good job we can look at these situations and see the funny side - although don't think DD2 will find it remotely amusing for some considerable time

(Photos show culprit and decapitated plait end along with the new look shorter plait)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Just feeling a little smug :o)

I made a very impressive discovery tonight when I took DD1 for her swimming lesson - I had assumed that the pool I've been swimming in for the past four days was a 25yd pool - common assumption - many of them are in the UK.

However when I was waiting at the end of the lesson for her to get changed I was casually reading the bumph on the noticeboards - as you do.

Amazingly the pool is in actual fact 33metres long!

So - to save you all the working out - this means that over the past four days I've swum a grand total of 27,090 inches more than I thought I had - now how impressive is that.

That works out at 752.5 yards which is almost half a mile. No wonder I feel soooo knackered!!! Over the past four days I've actually swum 23.3333 kms - almost the English Channel - I'll have to go and have a lie down just thinking about that one!

Thought I'd post a pic from the internet of a swimmer to be topical - sadly I couldn't find any of them with a good enough six-pack according to my daughter - plenty of naked women swimming (Google - what are you on?) but no men - what does that say about the internet? :o)

Right I'd better go and get my beauty sleep - goodnight all.

The RED!!! has arrived

Right - I will apologise to those of you who are sick to the back teeth already of the World Cup and the 'F' word - FOOTBALL!

I mentioned a little while on a comment on Fiona's blog that I'd ordered some red fabric from the States to make DS Nick a Liverpool FC quilt - his favourite football team. They won the English FA Cup last month much to his delight and so my intention is to make him an FA Cup quilt in Tonya's letters with the names of the whole squad made in the club colours of bright red, white and possibly a little bit of yellow.

I'm not big on washing fabric before I start working on it - I'll give the stock excuse that I like the feel of unwashed fabric but really it's bone-idleness and plain impatience to cut straight into it. However as this is so RED!!!!!! I think a quick wash with a colour catcher in the washing machine would be a pretty good idea - especially as it'll be with white letters and I'm sure he won't want them all to turn pink in the first wash - not very macho!

I had to go to the Post Office sorting office to collect this parcel as I was out when they tried to deliver it and it was too large to go through the letterbox - so the kids had to come with me and of course they were curious about the contents so I had to tell him what it was for - well that'll be the biggest motivator as he'll nag the pants off me until it's done :o(

Went swimming yet again today - straight after work before collecting the kids - determined to make the most of this membership. I managed 24 lengths today, 4 of which were back crawl - really good for me - that's 4 days on the trot and I can feel a tangible improvement already - must be doing me good and I'm getting to the stage now that I can swim without having to put every effort of concentration into it so I can let my mind wander onto other things too which makes it feel like real relaxation.

Oh and I cut out 4 more blue bullseye blocks in a spare 5 minutes before I set off for work this morning - might even get them stitched this evening between ferrying the kids here and there and feeding all the brutes :o) DH is at a School Governors meeting this teatime so I'm on sole taxi duty

Monday, June 12, 2006

All about me

Thought I'd put a picture of me up instead of a quilt so you can all see what this mad English woman looks like that you've been reading all this verbal diarrhoea from. This a photo of my little sister and I at our baby brother's wedding (I'm the one with the red top) - she's the pretty brunette (VBG) It was taken September '04 and sadly I have gained about 30lbs since then :o( - still I'll keep on with the swimming

I caught this ABC of me on Calico Cat's blog and it looked fun to do and made me think a little more closely about how others perceive me - have a go if you wish to be tagged - don't bother if you can't be bothered :o)

Accent – Good old Yorkshire ‘Eeh bye ‘eck, with a little of whoever I’m talking to or spending time with thrown in as I very quickly pick up other peoples twang

Booze – Partial to Cointreau but only very very long and well watered down with lemonade and only very occasionally as I was seriously ill with pancreatitis about three years ago so treat my pancreas with more than a bit of respect

Chore I hate – Scrubbing the bath – it’s all that stretching plays havoc with my sciatica and as fast as you clean it some rotter comes along and dirties it again – eh? must be something to do with all that rugby!

Dog/cat - neither – don’t you think three kids are enough animals for any one house? – but seriously me and the kids would love a cat – dad just won’t give in and it has to be a unanimous decision

Essential electronics - Computer, digital camera, pre-set oven timer

Favorite perfume – Diorella by Christian Dior or Cristalle by Chanel – both very lemony scents – my favourite type of smell

Gold/silver – probably gold – expensive tastes although I do have quite a bit of silver.

Hometown – born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England but spent my formative years in Ilkley on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales so that’s really where I consider home

Insomnia – only very, very occasionally – so I get up and hand stitch until I feel drowsy

Job title – temporary school secretary – would love to be permanent – any offers? :o)

Kid(s)- three wonderful monsters

Living arrangements – four bed detached UK estate house which means smallish rooms and tiny garden with very close neighbours – land is at a real premium here

Most admirable trait – Can usually see the positive side of most things

Number of countries visited – 14 – but most of those are in Europe which is a quick hop across the water from here so not so impressive

Overnight hospital stays – three kids by caesarean and lots of run of the mill operations – nothing particularly exciting but I guess I’ve had my money’s worth out of the National Health Service

Phobias – really, really don’t like unfenced edges like harbours – give me the shudders and doubly so if the kids go near them

Quote – Always look on the bright side of life :o)

Religion – Christian – Methodist but don’t go as often as I’d like – fitting it in amongst the kids commitments along with not really finding a new church down here that lights my fire are the feeble excuses as I do miss it - sadly DH can take or leave organised religion with the emphasis on leave so we don't have total family commitment which also makes it harder

Siblings – As eldest of three I have a younger sister by 3.5 years and a younger baby brother by 9 years.

Time you usually wake – 7am with the alarm, 8 – 8.30am if left to my own devices

Unusual talent – I can touch the end of my nose with my tongue – totally useless but unusual nevertheless....

Vegetable I refuse to eat – raw onion – just can’t stand it and peppers which make me vomit literally! Yeeuuchhh!

Worst habit – my kids would say repeating myself – erm that would be repeating myself – oh and yes I do tend to repeat myself

X-rays – several on arthriticky joints.

Yummy foods I make – I think I’m a reasonable cook – my kids and DH always come back for more and I make a wicked Cinnamon and Whisky Cake.

Zodiac – Taurus the bull – tendency towards stubbornness – maybe this should be the answer to the worst habit question :o)

All a bit of fun and a good time waster when I should be cooking 'bangers and mash' for tea - that's English (and very probably Yorkshire) for farm shop scrummy sausages and mashed/creamed potatoes with garden peas because they're easy and all the kids will eat them

See! - I do make quilts in other colours too :o)

We had the most awesome thunderstorm at about 4.15 this morning - I thought the roof was coming in it felt that close - you know the old kids trick of counting between the flash and the clap to see how many miles away it is - well I didn't count to many I can tell you.

A bit unfortunate as I hadn't gone to bed until almost midnight and was due up for swimming with DD1 at 5.45am - still we made it and I managed 20 lengths today, all breast stroke except one back crawl which was a real killer :o( but I did it and am duly proud.

After work today I've been round to the leisure centre and taken out family membership for me and the kids - no point doing it for DH as it's not cost effective for the few times he'll use it, we'll just pay his swim fee separately. But for the rest of us it doesn't take many visits to make on it especially as the two younger ones are already having lessons which will now be included in the membership fee - it'll probably make us get off our butts a bit more and will be great for the summer break to quell the "I'm bored!!!" cries.

This is a quilt I made around the same time as the blue lap quilts but this one was for my nan who sadly passed away about two or three months after receiving it (no connection there I hope :o) ) but I like to think it kept her frail 84 year old legs warm in her wheelchair during the last winter of her life. It's in her favourite colours with dogs all over it - the one thing she loved above most others. A quick and easy pattern of square in a square where you match the existing block with a square of the same size, slit the square diagonally and press the four triangles out - you chop off all the points each time but it's ever so quick and easy to do. This was the first one I stitched onto fleece and in answer to someones query it didn't seem to stretch at all, in fact I used less safety pins as there was little slipping about because the cotton top kinda stuck to the fleece when I sandwiched them. My mum (her daughter) has it now - that's as it should be as she's the eldest of Nan's nine children so it's only right it came back to her.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

More blue quilts

You will all think I must be going through a 'blue phase' at present because here are two more blue and white quilts.

I made these in the winter before last for my parents. They lived up in West Cumbria and were hit by severe power cuts because of flooding in Carlisle, about 40 miles away, where their main feed for the electricity national grid came from.

I found it very scary that they could be without power for days on end and were ending up going to bed to keep warm - in this day and age!

So, as I had a surfeit of blue fabric, I set to and made them each a lap quilt in it just in case it happened again - of course the law of sod denotes that it hasn't but hey the thought was there.

One of the main fabrics is a 'delft pottery' type print which came from an unlikely source. DH works for Clarks shoes - a famous shoe manufacturer here in the UK - one of the warehouses that distribute their goods around the London area also distribute Ralph Lauren goods. After problems with either smoke damage or flooding at one of their distribution centres they had a lot of very classy bedding going very very cheap - all of it 100% cotton. Bless him - DH, always being one with an eye for a bargain, brought me a couple of large boxes full of this home for the princely sum of about £10 total.

Some of it has been pressed into use around the house but the vast majority was for the continental market so was all odd shapes and sizes but ideal to cannibalise for quilting fabric. Probably you hand quilters out there are cringing as I write because the thread count in all the fabric is very high and pretty unsuitable for hand stitching but as I only machine quilt it matters not a jot to me :o) Treasure!!!

Actually these two quilts aren't really true quilts as they are only quilt tops stitched onto polar fleece throws which makes them quite light weight but lovely and warm and snuggly. You can see from the close up that they were quilted big and bold with vines of leaves in this case and lots and lots of doodled circles on the other.

Simple patterns and simple quilting made two quick and easy guardians against any more chilly spells. DH just happened to be travelling up there on business the following week so got to deliver them pronto too :o)

On the blue bullseye quilt I've stitched about twice as much again as you saw in the previous post and DD1 was heard to exclaim 'Ooh mum, I DO like that pattern' so it's already claimed which is nice as the rest of the house usually comment in a vague manner just to keep the 'old dear at the sewing machine' happy so a reaction like this is a real plus. The pattern in total with borders etc will take a total of 65 bullseyes before they're cut up so I've a bit to go yet but as she's already claimed it that will give me the impetus to keep going with it even if I get bored part way through - which is usually the case with me when I stitch repetitive blocks

Right time for me to go to bed as DD1 has decided we should go for an early morning swim at 6 in the morning when the pool first opens before DH goes off the work at 7.15 - after another swim this morning and an 8mile round trip bike ride yesterday afternoon this fitness lark will either kill or cure me - probably the first of the two :o(

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Eureka! - got it to take them this time :o)

Photos to go with the last post - aaaaarghh!!!!!!

No idea why that didn't work last time - the photos just didn't show - another hands in the air computer phobe moment

More 'handwriting' on a quilt

Nothing new to show you from the past 24 hours or so - had a very flat day yesterday - heard the placement at my current school won't continue after the summer break - I'd kind of hoped it might lead to something permanent but I can see it from the schools point of view - doesn't help me much in the search for something permanent though. Thus I didn't feel very productive.

I was so cheesed off and hot and tired I laid on our bed at about 8pm and slept until around 10. Of course this meant that I couldn't get to sleep when we eventually went to bed - typical! So after listening to DH snoozing blissfully away next to me for a good half an hour while I was wide awake I decided to come downstairs and I sat until 2.30am stitching hexagons onto my sofa throw. May well prove a pain by teatime today though - it's a bit of a vicious circle - insomnia.

When I'm worked up about something or feeling flat I find that the mindless stitching of something as easy as hexagons over paper is excellent therapy - you can tug away at that thread to your hearts content and stab the needle through the card with the only risk being a stabbed finger or a snapped length of thread - nothing much to spoil there. Hence in those two and a half hours I vented quite a lot of my frustration and got quite a few hexagons fixed on too :o) whilst slowly tiring myself out enough to go back to bed and sleep.

DD1 as I have mentioned before is a very sporty type, all the kids are, but she just lives, eats and breathes it. She's A1 clever too but does really adore sport. The head of PE who also happens to be her head of house was looking for volunteers for the school inter-house swimming gala. Of course big mouth who used to swim regularly at aged around 9 and 10 said 'Put me down for anything anyone else doesn't want to do' - she's had a reasonable stab at most things with fair success. Of course she's landed herself with all the butterfly races!

This morning saw mum, dad and DD1 at the swimming baths just after 9am - the two younger ones are away on cub and school camp (the house is wonderfully quiet) to see if she can even remember how to do butterfly stroke - big mouth!

It gave her a bit if a shock - she's not as fit as sh'e like to think she is - but the swimming gala is about 4 weeks away so with some regular sessions she should get back on track sufficiently to not disgrace herself or let her house down!

I can't remember the last time I went swimming - I'm not a natural swimmer or remotely fit for that matter so 10 x 25m lengths of breast stroke this morning was a real achievement for me. I only do breast stroke as I can't bear to put my face in the water - a real chicken. So for the next few weeks I'll endeavour to go with her sometimes rather than just act as taxi service - it'll do me good too :o) and may start up a bit of a fitness habit for me 'cos I certainly need to do something - the weight is piling on and as sure as quilting is good for the psychological wellbeing it doesn't contribute much to fitness and physical wellbeing :o(

I'm not showing my hexagons until I've completed them - I'm onto the next to last border (about five eighths of the way round) so it'll come quite soon - but I've put up a shot and a close up of a quilt I made for DH's cousin's baby a couple of years ago. This was one of my first attempts at writing and I wrote the nursery rhyme 'One, two, three, four, five; Once I caught a fish alive' all around the border and waves across the middle of the quilt.

Someone mentioned in a comment about the idea of stitching the recipients name somewhere in the border when they make a quilt as a present. I've also heard mentioned the idea of initialling and dating the quilt in FMQ just in case it gets stolen or mislaid as a form of ID - I do it if I can remember for my own quilts.

On my brother's wedding quilt I wrote their names and the date of their wedding in various places

Might get some more bullseyes done today but it looks like its set for another hot and sunny one so the three of us may go out on the cycles too - it's a real luxury to have some time with the big one on her own o) - this fitness lark will either kill or cure me (VBG)

Friday, June 09, 2006

The blue bullseyes beckon

Just a quickie as the shower beckons ( this blogging is addictive) - here is the start of the blue bullseye quilt I was toying with - the box of jumble also pictured is my 'alterations pile' with several new blue shirts that need turning from long sleeved to short - so tempting to just chop them up and include them in this quilt - I so love shirting plaids! - Don't think DH would appreciate that although he has been waiting for these altering since last summer - obviously they (or he) hasn't shouted loud enough to be heard over the quilting fabric :o)

Right got to go or else I'll be both smelly and late for work - not a good impression to make even on a temporary placement!

Free motion quilting - a la Bebbs

Some of you asked in the comments whether I quilted on a longarm machine. Well the answer is sadly no - I'd love one, but quite apart from the snowball in hell's chance of getting something like that past the capital expenditure committee I'd have nowhere to put it - don't think it would appreciate our English rain in the garden :o(

As you can see from the photos I just use a common or garden bernina 1090.

I've had my machine since Christmas 1991 - I had some spare cash floating around and decided to replace my old New Home machine dating back to 1972 that I'd inherited from my mum - this was one of those with the cams that you could insert into the top of the machineto do different stitches - state of the art at the time I suppose. Mum had only used it about five times before going back to her hand machine because she never could get over her fear of how fast it went - bless her, her brain just could not get the hang of "less pressure on the pedal, less speed! - and so she'd press and close her eyes and let go of the fabric simultaneously - SCARY! - obviously I don't get my addiction to stitching from her.

I went into the shop intending to buy one of the 1200 series which at the time was THE top dog with an alphabet and several buttonholes etc but I think the guy must've had some of this one he needed to clear so persuaded me that this was the machine for me. At the beginning I did regret not getting the other one but now as I only use the straight stitch, the zig-zag occasionally and very rarely the pseudo 'overlocker' stitch when mending shouts so loud I can hear it over the quilting material :o) I don't regret my decision

For FMQ I use a straight stitch plate and the foot 29 that I've photographed. These were both good investments - the machine came with a darning foot but the ring was tiny (about a quarter inch) and you couldn't see that well - this is much bigger (almost an inch) and suits me fine. I then lower the feed dogs, set the stitch length to zero, make full use of the 'needle up/down' facility and away I go scribbling away to my hearts content.

My 1090 really doesn't owe me anything - it's stitched wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, curtains, office suits, baby clothes, etc etc etc not to mention quilts and more quilts. However it did blot its copy book once right in the middle of making my brothers wedding quilt (the green and lilac celtic knotwork effort in one of my very first posts - sorry haven't got the hang of putting links in yet - you'll just have to search back to have a nosey if you like)

It completely died on me and cost over £200 to fix - I ended up borrowing a spare machine from an on line quilting friend who lived about an hour away (quilters are such lovely people) to finish the job.

I vowed I'd never be put in that position again so purchased a recon 1005 that would take all the same feet just in case. Maybe the threat was enough because it has behaved ever since but you never know!

I also purchased a little 1950's featherweight 221 - ostensibly for taking to workshops - as Berninas are sooo heavy, but as we don't have many workshops round here (Shame!) and finances are too limited to justify a residential it hasn't started to earn its keep yet.

I would love to have a go on the new Janome 6600 as I've heard such wonderful reports of it and the extra throat size would be very useful for large quilts - that wedding quilt measured 108" square and was something akin to wrestling with a blue whale trying to keep that in order whilst quilting it.

I used to always be a bit of a bernina snob and I still say the series/time that mine came from take some beating but I'm sure the quality and sturdiness isn't the same in the modern ones and lots of other manufacturers can give them a serious run for their money

If you're a bit of a FMQ virgin I'd say just get two ugly FQ's, slap them together with some wadding between and just scribble all over - a good one is to practice signing your name - after all it's something you do every day and don't even have to think what comes next - keep going 'til you've filled the whole space and then change thread colour and start over again - once you've done this several times you'll be able to draw a comparison between your first and later colours and see how you've improved already - just doodle and go for it!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Alphabet quilted and ready for binding

Once I'd finished the bullseye top I was on a roll - in between the housework that is - so I sandwiched and quilted my alphabet 'a la Tonya'

I virtually always machine quilt - as I have arthritis in my fingers I find hand quilting pretty difficult and probably it isn't quick enough for me - you've probably guessed by now I'm a 'let's get on with it' kinda girl :o)

Whenever I do a quilt I tend to start at the edge and work my way into the middle and then come back out again - this reduces the need to finish off ends (anything for an easy life) However this time I got a little braver and started in the middle sometimes - steady now!

As it was an alphabet design I've quilted alphabets on it which you can see if you look closely - don't look that closely though or you'll see just how uneven my stitch length is - I'll never win any prizes with the quilt police :o( - do I care - not much!

I also decided to quilt the line from the children's rhyme "Now I know my ABC, won't you come and play with me?" near the bottom

Then I filled in all the rest of the space just meandering about with curves, curls and zig-zags.

Just ready for a lilac binding and a label to finish the job :o)

Oh and nearly forgot - I'm toying with an idea for another bullseye (why do I always want to call them bulldogs? .......) quilt in dark and light blues. I'm going to have a go using the quadrants a bit like drunkards path blocks in a different arrangement to the circles - stitched three complete squares before bedtime last night (DH was in a much better mood so he kindly brought down all my blue boxes from the loft) and hope to play again this evening - Watch this space :o)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Borders on - Scrappy Bullseye top complete

There we go - top complete - I'm delighted, what fun. Easy to do, fast to finish what more can a scrap qulter want :o) Right better get back to the housework

A sunny garden and the complexities of blogging!?!?

You know - I am a bit of a technophobe - I'm quite happy to stick new pictures and lots of verbal diarrhoea that people may or may not find interesting onto my blog - but that really is as far as it goes. I just don't get it when things either don't happen how I expect or I come across a situation, computerwise, where I don't understand what to do. Out comes the 'Oh my word!!!' hands in the air reaction and I give up and go and do something that I can touch - like fabric! :o)

I do so like things that are tangible

I started trying to upload a couple of photos last night of a little snuggly I made for Lulu my youngest - would it let me - naaaah!

So I saved the draft and went to bed - slept on it, the computer might play ball in the morning.

Lo and behold it did and I posted - to then lose the post?? - couldn't find anything after my completed bullseye picture.

Totally confused went to stroke fabric to get some semblance of normality back into my life and then realised it (we're on first name terms here you know) had stuck it in before the bullseyes - duh! non comprendez!!!!

In retrospect I suppose because I'd saved the draft before I posted the bullseyes it then stuck the completed post in in that position ????

Anyway for those of you who don't usually scroll back but want to see Lulu's snuggly - it's tough - you'll just have to scroll down - don't blame me - it's the bleeeeep computer!!! :o)

This morning in Taunton it is a glorious English summer day, sun shining, wall to wall blue sky, bees buzzing - and all's right with the world. Extra nice, I have a day off - my current placement is only for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday each week.

Without wishing to sound greedy it would have been nicer to have Monday off as then I could go to my morning quilt group but hey beggars can't be choosers.

The next couple of weeks will be a touch more frenetic as I am at another school (one I've been to before) on holiday cover for those days but will do Wednesdays for my present school as they are desperate (must be!) so no days off for a couple of weeks :o( However then it's back to status quo up to the start of the six week summer break on the 26th July - yippee!!

Had a quick perambulate around the estate this morning - that took all of four and a half minutes - English gardens, particularly with modern houses, are rather small - but I did take a few shots to share.

The poppy is not true to colour - it is just the brightest red you can imagine - nature comes up with, and combines, colours far more 'in your face' than even we quilters would dare, and gets away with it every time.

The foxglove has two mates along side it that are the usual deep pink/mauve colour but I really like this peachier one.

The aliums have grown much to my surprise as I've never tried them before and got my dad to plant them in pots last autumn when the 'wrinklies' were down the last time to give him something he could manage and still be able to feel useful - the flowers are like little stars twinkling away there and make me smile each time I see them.

The jungle in the fourth photo doesn't make me smile anything like as much - it's the product of birds dropping seeds when they've been gorging on the feeders. A friend told me that the garden seeds that don't sell go into making up wild bird feed the following year - so I thought I'd let them grow and see what cropped up. Mmm bad decision!

With the exception of a few very healthy looking sunflowers, which are a bonus, a forest of weeds is all that I've got! - why can't birds have a little tidier table manners - so that lot will have to come out - another job taking up valuable quilting time.

My DH has a very grumpy head on him at present - he thinks I spent an inordinate amount of time "bloody sewing!!!" - that is a direct quote. So the stitching today will have to be in and amongst other more boring things around the house - can't see the problem myself but there you go:o) I shall spend some of it on obvious clutter spots so at least it looks like I've made an impact, but I would like to try and get the borders onto my bullseye quilt - we'll see, right I'm off to tidy the kitchen :o(

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Here we go - bullseye blocks complete and stitched together in 5 rows of 6

This has been such fun to do and so quick.

I've made the odd error where I've two quadrants adjacent with the same fabric following on the same ring/background - but on the whole I'm very pleased with it.

I have far more blues than any other colour in my stash - two boxes each of both dark and light blue, 4 in all - these are removal company 'books cartons' that measure about 16" x 18" x 22" so that's a reasonable amount of blue to have amassed. The red bullseye on KC Quilter's blog gave me the idea of doing a single colour one so I may well go with the blues alternating light and dark from ring to ring and quadrant to quadrant - have thought about cutting diagonally but not sure I can be bothered with all those bias edges - we'll see :o)

Not sure what to do about the border for this one - DD1 suggested some rusty red with white daisies on which is the same fabric as one of the navy blues in the blocks - may go with that even though there is none actually in any block - then the navy counterpart for the binding - again we'll see.

Thanks yet again to everyone for their encouragement - it is fun to share :o)