Monday, December 24, 2007

A winter wonderland

A jolly good job I didn't buy those thermal long johns - the weather here has warmed up as predicted - milder but very foggy yesterday when we travelled up to Yate, north of Bristol to have lunch with my niece and exchange presents

However the subject of my latest stitching project is less than warm

I've been merrily creating away - working on my Winter Four Seasons quilt
The recipient asked for winter rather than Christmas and nothing cutesie like snowmen

So I dug out once of my favourite pieces of fabrics which depicts a snowy landscape to use as the focus fabric and here is the result.

The stitchery round the white band is the first couple of lines of a poem I found on the internet which just sums up winter I feel

It says:

Snowflakes dance like white fairies of old,
Each one a treasure to behold

The top is finished and once we return from Christmas with the in-laws I shall sandwich and machine quilt it ready for its long journey

I doubt I shall be back on here again before tomorrow morning - so that just leaves me the chance to wish everyone out there a happy peaceful Christmas and may Santa bring you all you deserve :o)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Now the pressure's off I can enjoy the small finishes

I know it's nothing like the temperatures people in Scandinavia and North America suffer but boy is it cold here at the moment.
It's turned decidedly nippy in our neck of the woods. We have a flock of redwings foraging on the berries in our back garden so this is a sure sign that it's taken a turn for the cold!
Maybe it's because we seldom get really cold weather and so aren't used to it that we feel it so much. Possibly our English houses are less effectively insulated and heated than our Scandinavian counterparts. Perhaps our clothes aren't as warm and snuggly as they might be.
But I'm really struggling with the perpetual cramped sensation of feeling tensed up against the cold. Time to buy some thermal knickers and vests I reckon.
Of course the offshoot of such a purchase is bound to be a sudden change to distinctly milder temperatures again :o)
Here's the little bear wall hanging I completed last night for my colleague and friend Trish with whom I share the admin responsibility for the school.
A simple finish, but effective - hope she likes it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

There comes a point when you just have to.......

bow out gracefully and admit defeat.

I managed to get everything finished and gift wrapped for the departure of the 'Northern Express' on Sunday teatime bar one item.

I just couldn't get a finish on Spencer's stocking. Too much time spent bag-packing in a local supermarket all Saturday to raise funds for the girl's rugby team - we made £750 (that's over $1500) and then down at the club watching her play an awesome game on Sunday - she scored 4 tries and 7 conversions and got 'Man of the Match' Go Sarah!!!

Mind you they had no idea at all that I was intending to make him one so it won't be any major disappointment

However I did finish off those little stitchery hearts I showed you a little while ago

And here we are a Christmas garland for my sister.

For some time we've been down the 'only buy for each other's kids' road on the Christmas present trail but she's had such a tough year and is now starting to come out of the end of the dark tunnel that I thought I'd make a little something with the fabrics she sent to me. Hope she likes it.

Then yesterday it was my day off and I knew I was going to have to hit the town running to do the bulk of the rest of my Christmas shopping for the kids.

All the best plans go to waste when something else crops up don't they?

I bumped into a friend when dropping off Louise with whom things have been a bit cool of late - she is good friends with the mother who tore a strip off me about her own daughter a while ago - I've no idea if this had any bearing on the perceived change in our relationship but I offered her a lift back from school and she offered me a cup of tea.
I felt it would be counter-productive to refuse and stayed for an hour or so. It was a good decision - the cooling had been in my imagination, probably a result of two very busy people playing ships that cross in the night so to speak. The hour missed in town yielded far better results.
Of course as a result of this my entire day off was then spent in Taunton shopping and not behind the sewing machine as I also needed to be
So I've come to the decision that Nigel's nephew and two nieces will receive their quillows for their birthdays in the Spring and Summer as I really don't feel like rushing around chasing the Christmas Eve deadline in and amongst everything else that needs to get done this next week and thus spoiling the run up to Christmas with my own children by being 'Grumpy Busy Mummy behind the Sewing Machine'.
I've had that persona on for the past few weeks and quite honestly they (including Daddy) deserve a break :o)
Finally a super bit of news - Sarah has had her letter to tell her she's been put forward for trials for Regional to represent South West South in U18s Ladies Rugby in January - Woo-hoo!!!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Woo Hoo it's a wrap!

Just a very quick post as I'm working 9 - 3 today to make up for having yesterday off to sew.
Here it is Spencer's I Spy quilt completed - I sat up til 12.50 am last night to finish the binding which is a very late hour for a person who likes her bed as much as I do.
I made up a little verse for the label on the back:
I Spy with my little eye………
Something beginning with ‘S’ .

Is it a slippery snake that wiggles?
Or maybe a snail moving slowly away?
Or could it be a tasty sizzling sausage?
No……… .
It’s Spencer and he’s ready to play

To Spencer for your very first Christmas

Enjoy snuggling under this quilt, playing I spy
and picking out the colours with Mummy and Daddy

Lots of love
Auntie Anne, Uncle Nigel, Sarah, Nick and Lulu
Christmas 2007
I do hope he has fun with it.
So only a heart garland and a Christmas stocking to get done for Sunday teatime - a good job too as we're out for my office do tonight, down at the local supermarket doing a fundraising bag pack for the girls' rugby team for virtually all tomorrow and then rugby on Sunday afternoon as usual - hardly time to draw breath really - guess I'll just have to squeeze in the last bits for the 'Northern Express' on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
Then three quillows to complete next week - mind you one of which isn't completely pieced yet - I guess I still have my work cut out.
I shall be glad when it gets to Christmas Day to stop for a rest - thank goodness my MIL is cooking the meal!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More progress...........

I have the pleasure of a bonus day off work today.

Twice this week I've needed to work overtime to cover my colleague's absence and decided to take time off in lieu instead of claiming the pay so I now have all day to play.
It's a good job too as I still have lots of stitching to do and a large proportion of the items have to be completed by Sunday teatime so Nigel can head off up the road to take them to their destinations.
This coupled with the prospect of a very busy weekend for the girls rugby team means I was starting to descend into the counter-productive 'Ever Decreasing Circle Panic Hell Hole'. However I always work better under pressure and to short deadlines (she says trying to convince herself)
Anyway I have been crawling about on my knees this morning sandwiching Spencer's I Spy quilt. The knees have started to protest loudly and painfully so I'm having a ten minute break to show you some of my progress before I go back and pin the other half.
I don't know where I'd be without my pinning tool - my fingers would be objecting as much as my knees.
I also finished stitching the binding on my brother's table runner this morning - that's a finish! Yippee!!!
I would have loved to quilt this a little more sympathetically to the pattern but unfortunately needs must and I'm sure they won't mind - they don't actually have a choice really. Maybe after Christmas I might make one for us and spend some serious time quilting it in a more delicate fashion.
And finally here's my boss's Christmas cat wall hanging is also done.
So there is some progress - I'd love to get the I spy quilt quilted and bound today - I'm afraid it's only getting the large meander treatment - but it will be serviceable and relatively indestructible.
I'm sure I felt I'd started all this work in good time for Christmas this year - after all I was stitching I Spy blocks in early November - maybe I should make a start in January for next years collection :o)
Ok - knee break over - gotta go sew again!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy, Busy, Busy...........................

Well I feel like I've not had time to visit the bathroom never mind chat to all my blogging friends this past week.
Lots and lots of stitching done though. My fingers are almost down to the bone :o)
A little bit of a play with a bondawebbed snowflake (throwing around ideas for my Winter Four Seasons quilt here and tried an idea I'd seen on Kate's blog) this one measures about 3" across
Sarah's D of E blocks are going on a pace
This is the gorgeous paper pieced block, Rolling Star, she made from Quilters Cache
For some unknown reason her quilting buddy Megan has taken umbrage with Sarah about something Sarah supposedly said at school so they are not speaking at all, there's also a great deal of mixing from another girl who is jealous of Megan's friendship with Sarah - so who knows if she will arrive tonight to carry on with her quilt - to be honest I'm way too busy and too weary with all the Christmas preparations to pander to teenage tantrums - we'll see.
However Sarah has definitely caught the bug - and I quote from this weekend......
"Mum, you know my quilt? Can I do 12 blocks instead of 9 and make it into a proper single bed sized quilt?"
Well of course you can imagine my delight as I confirmed that this would be absolutely fine.
She's also made an Ohio Star this weekend - going great guns - 8 blocks down, 4 to go.
As for me I've been stitching away disappearing up some imaginary and unmentionable orifice desperately trying to get things finished for Christmas presents. Nigel will be up country at the start of next week so I have a delivery service waiting for me to complete a few things - no pressure there then! I just have to get them completed by late Sunday afternoon in and amongst rugby etc!!!
Mind you I am getting there - I have completed the top for Spencer's I spy quilt - now the dreaded sandwiching - forgot to take a photo so you'll have to see that later in the week. It will only get the large meander treatment, but for a play quilt that's all it really needs and at least that is quick.
I just have a little applique to finish on my brother's table runner and that can be quilted and done.
I've stitched these little things for my boss (who loves cats) and Trish my lovely colleague - they need completing before the end of next week to take into work.
I'm merrily stitching a Father Christmas in red-work to go on a stocking for Spencer - after all a little boy on his very first Christmas does need a stocking to hang up.
The three quillows are sort of on the back burner as we will go up to my PILs in Worcester for Christmas dinner so I can finish those off at the last minute.
And finally all three embroidered baskets are done - two for Yorkshire, one for Worcester - woohoo!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Finally a Christmas finish - well almost......

After working on what seems like dozens of different projects but not getting anywhere near completion on any of them I've finally come to the end of the first of them.
Well I'm telling a little white lie - I'm halfway through stitching down the binding on the Secret Santa present for my work colleague.
A few people have asked me if it's a purchased pattern or if I've made it up myself.
Well I confess it's entirely my own design. If anyone would like a copy of the pattern I'll happily post them a photocopy in exchange for say a yard of nice fabric of your choice - any takers?
Drop me an email if you're interested. I'm also thinking of working a set of four similar designs but based on the four seasons so watch this space on that, but not until after Christmas.
To complete this particular one I'd convinced myself that I should do a plain border but then Dawn suggested a thin inner border and then broken dishes around so that's what I decided to run with - it finishes up at around 16" square.
The red inner border is slightly wider than I would have liked but I had to do it this depth to get the maths to work out.
I'm delighted with it! (and hope she will be too)
As for home matters the weather here is wet and windy - foul enough for Nick's football to be cancelled which means the lucky boy and his younger sister get to accompany Daddy and I to Sarah's County rugby fixture in neighbouring Devon - rugby players are far less wimpy and cancel fixtures only for earthquakes and tsunamis!!! - which you don't get many of here in the South West of England :o)
I guess it's going to be a very soggy afternoon!