Friday, August 29, 2008

The bag's done too :o)

The house is back to normal - the boy has returned and his waspy younger sister was picking fights with him from the minute he returned. I think this may have been due to jealousy on her part as his hosts had taken him to a football match on the Tuesday evening and to London to visit the Science Museum for the day on Wednesday.
This was very kind of them but a far cry from the local swimming baths and a video and pizza at home that he did when he came to us last year. We might have to be a bit more imaginative when he comes to us again next year.
Sadly our youngest seems to have been dealt a larger envy gene than her siblings and it makes for a not very pleasant attitude at times. Still she has to learn that you can't have everything in life and apart from an overdose of the untidiness gene it seems to be her only fault.
Apart from meeting Nigel a couple of junctions up the motorway to relieve him of our son - he'd collected him on the return from a visit to a supplier up in Birmingham and couldn't really spare the time to divert via Taunton on the return leg - I had a very productive day yesterday.
I made the bag for Linda's swap - completely from start to finish
All done!
Amazing what a little bit of ric-rac and a few buttons can do to that humble bit of stitchery
I've based it on a bag I made for myself just after I started blogging, which in turn, I think, was from a bag that Dawn had featured.
The base shape is an oval pyrex casserole dish from my kitchen.
The body of this bag is taller than mine - but probably will be just right for carrying an A4 folder or some quilting books
I hope the recipient likes it - I'm rather sad to let it go.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another finish (almost)

It's been a quieter few days in our house so far this week

The reason for this is we're one man down - Nick has been up in Gloucester, since Monday evening, staying with his best friend from when we lived there.

I commented at the tea table on Monday how much more harmonious the house is when we're down to four rather than the full compliment of five. This is so even if it's Daddy who's away.

The kids did make me smile when they added their observation that this isn't the case when it's me who's missing. Obviously I must be the calming influence in the house, and the subsequent conclusion to deduce from all this is that I obviously can only cope with refereeing three others. Four seems to be beyond my capabilities.

However, with Nick back later today, no doubt normal chaos will be resumed then!

Sarah and Nigel were out at Rugby training last night which left Louise and I free to have a girlie night in.

We sat together on the sofa and watched a video

I think Louise was a little surprised at my choice

'Goodnight Mister Tom' with the excellent John Thaw in the title role

A wonderful childrens' story that's good enough for adults too :o)

Whilst watching I managed to hand stitch the binding down on my Miniature Booty Churn Dash

It just needs a label and a hanging sleeve to get it ready for the post.

Referring back to the Citrus Stars quilt from my last post Louise has taken a fancy to this pattern idea and requested a quilt of stars for herself

However being an 11year old, fashion conscious chick who seems to have a fascination with all things fluorescent in colour she wasn't going to be fobbed off with anything pretty or girly.

Nope - this one will be BRIGHT PINK!!! and BRIGHT TURQUOISE!!! teamed with black and white

Yesterday while we were out and about we picked up some black and white fabrics from the very limited selection on offer in our neck of the woods, they're a bit blah! but I guess they'll look ok once in situ - oh how I wish we had a decent quilt shop in the vicinity :o( Sadly DH won't let me open one, even if I had the money (which I don't!)

This is the starter selection on her initial sweep through the fabrics loitering with intent in the sewing room. No doubt an expedition into the loft will yield further pink and turquoise pieces

However she knows she's still a little way down the priority list as I have a bag to make for my contribution to the Bag Swap organised by Linda

I found this little stitchery I'd worked on some time ago and intend to incorporate it following a colour scheme of sand and blue

Making a good start on that is the job for today

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quilted to within an inch of its life

I've had my nose to the stitching grindstone this bank holiday weekend

Well to be honest although it's not rained too much the weather really hasn't been that great so what's a girl to do but stitch

I'm acutely aware that my Miniature Booty quilt needs to be in the post by the end of August so I've been busy on that - almost completing the quilting

This is what I mean by being quilted to within an inch of its life

It does make it quite stiff being this heavily machine quilted but as it's meant to be a wall hanging or a table topper I think that won't matter too much

Just got a little more of the cream microstippling to do on the churndashes and it'll be ready to bind in a nice blue check

Nice to get another one on the finished list

However before I sat down to quilt this I remembered I'd intended to make a baby quilt for one of the teachers at work who will finish to go on maternity leave a couple of weeks into the new term.

No amount of quizzing her would glean any colour clues - all she could say was 'Oh just do something with your scraps'

Anyway I fancied something clean and fresh and citrussy - I think green and yellow always work for a new baby

I even added little stars in the overall quilting pattern.............

.............because a starry little number is the quick and easy design I settled on

It just needs a label on the back and it's done!

Finally my own Miniature Booty arrived from Jeanette - a lovely quilt, my favourite mini swap quilt so far - but then each one has held that place in my affections when I've received it. I love the combination of the deep purple and the teal

We have a fair amount of wall space in the stairwell in this house which will be perfect for hanging lots of my swap mini quilts - it gets very little natural light so they won't be likely to fade. However at present the artificial lighting isn't great either but yesterday Nigel bought a set of spotlights to boost up the lighting on the landing - once fitted they will give my new quilt wall a great display capacity. What a hero!
Right back to that cream stippling - I must be a glutton for punishment!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't you just love English summers?

Well as you can imagine with the glorious weather (not!) that we've been 'enjoying' in the UK this summer our holiday was somewhat mixed

However amongst the sleepless nights hoping and praying that the trailer tent, complete with us in it wouldn't be washed or blown away (or both!) we did fit in some fun :o)

Some beach time - where did this turtle spring from?

Studland beach is National Trust - I guess this is why all the beach huts were somewhat restrained in colour - shame really, the brightly coloured ones you usually associate with the English seaside are much more fun - however at £14 per day to hire on top of the £8 parking fee we thought these were a bit steep and decided against it

The ice-cream boat came round playing the 'Blue Peter' theme tune - very apt, but also very expensive - sign of a captive audience I guess!

And we even managed to catch a military display with a Chinook helicopter picking up a boat from the water, carrying it round in a circle and then placing it gently back again - very impressive

Quite a bit of canoeing - mainly in the evenings - we even managed to get Nigel's 7 yr old nephew to have a ride in the middle luggage hold of the double canoe with Louise and then the other two paddling

He enjoyed it so much that he wanted to have a go at paddling himself

Here he is with Nigel holding a safety rope at the front of the boat and Sarah giving useful intruction - he did very well and came out feeling about 10 foot tall - another convert!

Louise and Nick thought that swimming after 8'o'clock at night was a good idea too - here's Lou about to take the plunge - they did have wetsuits on thank goodness!

Plenty of trains to keep his Lordship happy!

Some museum visits on the wet days - how many different variations on the theme of a tank can you dream up? To be honest I was glad I'd taken my book with me this particular day - but the others enjoyed it

However if you look carefully at the poster in the background (of a mocked up wartime kitchen) you'll find the instructions for making a pair of slippers from a felt hat - maybe I should have taken more notice of this - who knows where we all may have to economise if the credit crunch pinches any more :o) The kids took this photo for me because it had a sewing machine in it - to be honest it's the nearest I got to fabric or stitching anything all holiday :o(

We visited Poole on one of the wet days - some very pretty areas in the old town

And managed to spot a slightly larger boat or two for me (only kidding - that'll have to be when we win the lottery but if it's good enough for James Bond it's good enough for me!) at least I'd be able to fit my behind into this one - unlike the canoes :o)

There were lots of children (big and small) fishing for crabs from the harbour edge - my kids begged me to let them have a go. However quaysides are my one seriously terrifying major fear and I was 'mean mummy' that day and refused. Nigel joked about our kids being the only kids in the world crab fishing with life jackets on but watching these children so near the edge almost made me physically sick

However some of the people were successful and my three didn't hold it against me for too long

We did manage a few sunny days in and amongst the rain and wind

Lulworth Cove with its pretty chocolate box cottages was a must

We even managed a whole family shot - thanks to a very kind family for whom I returned the favour - I know we were standing on a bit of a slope but I'm in serious danger of becoming the shortest in the house in the not too distant future!

And Durdle Door was as spectacular as ever too - there were several young lads jumping off the outside of the arch from about half way up - rather them than me

Here's a close up of a beautiful dragonfly we spotted on a fence when playing a 6 hole mini-putting match at the Model Village in Wimborne - I'm happy to announce that Mother was victorious! Sadly that's about the limit of my own personal sporting prowess!

We also managed to catch up with Nigel's godmother who lives in Bournemouth - a photo of us all here along with Nigel's dad in the back garden of their holiday cottage, they weren't roughing it camping like us - his mum was in charge of the camera for this shot

From the almost 900 photos (yes you did read that correctly!) we took with our camera and this figure doesn't include the 200+ Sarah took with hers (mainly the kids using ours I hasten to add) probably at least 150-200 were of monkeys at Monkey World - Nick had the David Bailey hat on that day - at least that's the beauty of digital cameras you can just keep snapping away

I certainly won't bore you with many of them

But my favourites were a toss up between the Madagascan Ring Tailed Lemurs

These four girls taking in the sun were in a separate enclosure from the rest of their peers as they'd been given ASBO's (Anti-Social-Behaviour-Orders) and separated out for causing trouble in their species group - I had to smile with my imagination running riot about them picking fights at closing time outside the club on a Saturday night :o) Strains of the theme tune from 'Animal Magic' are ringing in my ears and probably the ears of all those of you of a similar age to myself who grew up in England watching this enchanting tv programme - why don't they make television programmes like that anymore?

Or the Orangutans - I could've stood and watched these chaps all day - so sweet! But what a 'bad-hair-day!'

The countryside on the Purbecks is very picturesque - lots of heathland and wildlife galore

We spotted these roe deer minding their own business, blissfully unaware of us as they chomped away at the grass in a field in the middle of the afternoon

Living as we do in the aptly named West Country it's a long time since we've holidayed anywhere near a beach which doesn't actually face west. Watching the sun go down over the sea is one of our must-do things we usually include in each holiday, often with a barbecue and a beer or two (well for the adults at least)

Because of Swanage facing east I've had to forego any artistic sunset shots - I was just too bone idle to get up early enough to catch a sunrise (well it was my holiday) so you'll just have to make do with a moonlit shot over the bay instead :o)

Having done absolutely no stitching at all during the holidays - I did manage to read four books though - I came home to some lovely stitchy post

Here's my summer Four Seasons quilt from Alison

And the first of my birthday blocks from Helen - I have another ten blocks on this theme to come, how exciting!

And I've managed a little stitching before and after the holidays

A sneak peak at my Spring Fling 2 centre sent out before we left

And on my return I've beavered away to complete the round one allotted to me

Next task - to quilt my Miniature Booty quilt ready for posting by the end of the month - no rest for the wicked!

Tomorrow is GCSE results day here in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - Sarah is on tenter hooks and very irritable with it - keep your fingers crossed for the morning. I'm sure she will get the results she hopes for but boy has she been difficult to live with this past few days!

The morning will tell the true story!


Have been into school this morning for the results

Sarah had got 5 As (Food Technology, PE, RE, French and Additional Science) and 9 Bs including the Maths she took last year (Maths, Statistics, English Language, English Literature, ICT, Basic Science - the other half of the dual award - plus Physics, Chemistry and Biology which she took as additional subjects in her own time)

She and we are absolutely delighted and she can't wait to start 6th Form College the week after next!

And just for the record she's back to my lovely, good-humoured, smiley, bouncy daughter - thank you God!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

See you in a fortnight or so...............

Tomorrow morning we'll head off with our trailer tent for almost two weeks holiday to Swanage in Dorset.

The beauty of living at the start of the West Country is we can be at most seaside locations within a couple of hours or so and many of them without having to touch a motorway

I've not been to Swanage before although I have visited quite a bit of the surrounding area in the dim and distant past

I understand it's a family orientated place with safe sandy beaches

Nigel is delighted that a preserved steam railway runs directly behind the campsite

The kids are getting excited about doing a bit of sea kayaking

And as for me...........................

well park me up in one of these with a bit of handstitching or a good book and I'll keep myself occupied for ever :o)

See you all in two weeks then.........................