Monday, July 28, 2008

Just starting to chill

Having been off work since last Wednesday teatime I'm finally starting to unwind.
Not that life is quiet here - with three teenagers (well almost as Nick won't be 13 until November and Lou is still 11 but is currently acting like a total Kevin!) there's always lots to do.
When they were little they needed supervision - for example Nick and Lou at the ages of 30 months and 16 months respectively managed to get hold of a bottle of typists correction fluid and within minutes, when I was in the kitchen making tea, had painted each other, several toys and, worst of all, my beautiful leather sofa! Thankfully Nigel was a real hero - he rushed home from work and somehow managed to get it all off with thinners I think
Nowadays they need much less supervision but lots of ferrying around - Nick has just done three days of a five day cricket school at the Somerset County ground in town and needs taking there and back each day - the girls have haircuts booked for this afternoon - it's general catch up time for things like dental appointments etc and we go away on Sunday for almost two weeks so I really should get rid of that ironing pile too.
I guess it won't be that long until they're all driving themselves and I'll spend my time worrying and waiting for them to get home safe instead - nobody tells you about all this at ante-natal classes.
This Saturday we had a gathering of Nick's football team and all the boys' families. The parents of one of the boys had arranged a pig roast in their field - they live in a wonderful house on the Somerset levels with lots of garden.
I offered to take a pasta salad and a pudding
I'll spare you the picture of the pasta salad - no matter how delicious it might have been there's little visual stimulation from a bowl of pasta and accompaniments liberally lathered in a mayo and yoghurt combination - always looks ever so slightly regurgitated to me as much as I love it
However I thought I'd share this incredibly easy dessert
All you need is some whipped cream, some sherry and some Ginger Nuts - for those not familiar with these they are very hard and crunchy ginger biscuits
The method is simplicity itself
Crush one biscuit and put aside for later
Spread a layer of cream in the bottom of the dish
Dip one of the biscuits in the sherry on both sides and stand it up in the cream at one end of the dish
Follow with as many other dipped biscuits as you need sandwiching each of them with the whipped cream as you go along
Once you've filled your dish spread more cream liberally all over the top and down the sides
Finally sprinkle the top with that crushed biscuit you saved at the start - as one who has often come to the end and used all the biscuits up I now make sure I crush my initial biscuit before I start :o)
Try to make this a few hours in advance as the biscuits soften and the flavours combine well over a little time
A very simple and delicious pudding which met with lots of oohs and aahs on consumption and great incredulity on subsequently being informed just how easy it was to make!
Yesterday I did manage to get some sewing in.
I spent a good part of the afternoon making a oval shaped cover for the central locker on Nigel's double canoe - the fabric is waterproof and slightly stretchy which initially seemed like it would be a total pig to sew but once I changed to the walking foot it made short work of the job - I didn't get a photo but I still have another to make as he has two of these canoes so once I've done that I'll share it with you
And then onto nicer stitching...
I cut the binding for the summer quilt
Machined it all round the edge
And finally hand stitched it down to give the finished result
A quick label this morning and it'll be in the post later today!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm powfagged.............

.............I'm powfagged, I'm jiggered, I'm tired!
When I was a teenager my parents had a tape of a folk music group called the Fivepenny Piece. This was the first line of one of their songs. I've hunted on YouTube for a recording of it but can only find some of their other songs so short of inviting you all round for a rendition and a coffee I can't actually share the musical version with you.
However this is exactly how I feel now that we've broken up for the summer break - totally drained and exhausted.
Never mind - at least I don't have to go back to work until the 9th of September, a few days after the kids - hopefully this will give me the chance to recharge my batteries
I've been doing a little stitching but not my usual output - I feel very much like I'm not firing on all cylinders at the moment, hopefully a few more days chilling might rectify that

This is the completed top for my secret partner in the Miniature Booty Swap - I shall quilt it and then bind it in a blue plaid - it will be just a tad oversize, I had it planned to be spot on and then realised that all those greens together looked very drab and some skinny sashing was just what the quilt needed - hopefully my partner won't mind too much it is only a teeny bit over the top size guideline

And here is my Summer offering for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap - quilted and ready for the binding - I found my piece of the green I used for the stalks this morning, in and amongst the melee that is my sewing area, and I will endeavour to get the binding cut and on, possibly tonight, as it needs posting before the end of the month

Finally today the quilt I received for the Another Little Quilt Swap from Lisa-Jo in Colorado - the postcard she sent with it was of such awesome mountain scenery that I've put Colorado on my 'Must visit' list - sometime whenever :o)
I love this lilac triangle quilt - so unlike anything I'd do myself - you all know my aversion to triangles!
I should have also taken a picture of the pincushion I received from Lynda's swap - I'll save that one for next time, I've signed up for her bag and bucket swap too - a definite glutton for punishment!
I started last night to do a little bit of the applique for my centre of the next Spring Fling round robin - I'd like it to turn out a little like Dutch Delft Ware - I'll share a sneak peak of that with you next time :o)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just grabbing a few minutes........ let you know that, although I've been chasing my tail at an alarming rate of knots, I have managed a teeny weeny little bit of creativity amongst the mayhem that is chez bebbs at this particular portion of my life.
I've been making little churn dash blocks for the miniature booty swap quilt - they will all be set on the slant like the completed one in the middle pinned very unceremoniously to the lovely mini-quilt that Suzie sent me (sorry Suzie, I'm sure when you put in all those hours of dedicated hard work you didn't anticipate it being used as a design board) - but I really needed to pin them up out of the way so I didn't lose them as they're only 4.5" square and the pile underneath them in the photo is at least 18" tall, which is what happens to my sewing area when I don't sew regularly but people still keep dumping things there!
I've also got my summer Four Seasons effort quilted - photo to follow - and hope in and among today's family commitments to get the bindng made and machined on ready to take it to my quilting group tomorrow morning.
I'm afraid I still have so much to do at work before we break up on Wednesday (of course some lucky people finished last Friday, but it wasn't to be for me) that I shall have to go straight into work after quilting on my day off. However no matter what stuff still needs to be done I refuse to miss the final quilting session for the summer - how else will I hope to maintain my sanity this week?
Nick has had 'Activities week' at school this past week - a pretty standard thing across the board at most English senior schools - a week of doing lots of different and often fun things
He had plumped for 'Craft activities' on the Wednesday and Friday - best of a bad list of choices in his opinion I feel, but we don't need to go into that. The offshoot of it was he came home on Wednesday with a decorated t-shirt - usual stuff, lots of writing in fabric pens about his favourite football team etc. However he did let slip that he could have tie-dyed this particular t-shirt. So always with an eye for the main chance I sent him into school on the Friday with a largish strip of white sheeting and told him if he got the chance to have a go at dyeing it for me.
Here are his results - not bad eh? I'm loathe to cut them down too much, especially the 'snail trail' effect ones, so I'm thinking up some sort of quilt to use them in without cutting them up too far.
Maybe my boy has hidden talents in the craft department after all :o) - but don't hold your breath, this afternoon it's back to lively outdoor things again with the Scouts raft race - thank goodness it's warm and sunny here today!

Friday, July 11, 2008

I am still here........ honest.......

Sorry guys - so busy with work and trying to get everything finished before the end of term that I haven't even had time to download the photos from the camera from the weekend's trip - my parents' golden wedding and our visit on the way home to Karol-Ann's house

Can't do a post without a photo so here are a couple I took from our trip up north this time last year
The river Wharfe flowing through the woods at Bolton Abbey
And a sheep wandering over to us on the top of Embsay moor to see if we had anything interesting to eat
Normal service will be resumed soon - just as soon as I can extricate myself from under this pressing pile of paperwork!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

All done and dusted

Strange expression that........

'all done and dusted'

It's one I use all the time, I suppose my mum must say it too - I'll have to ask her this weekend.

I presume it comes from someone completing the housework - all done and dusted.

Not much time for dusting here over the past few days. When I've not been playing taxi driver for Nick's cricket and collecting Sarah from the station after visiting a friend near Bristol I've been stitching.
Et voila - a finish:
The triangles were a pig to do - don't you just hate quilting in the ditch - don't look too closely my lines are a tad wobbly. But it was fun doing the feathers and the petals on the flowers
And finally a green checked shirting for the binding completes the job.
It seems a while since I finished something which didn't have hearts on it! :o)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You have to eat the yuck to get the yum!

Thinking of childhood memories, especially mealtimes, a friend of mine always quoted her own mother from her childhood mealtimes.......

"You have to eat the yuck to get the yum!'

Of course roughly translated this means you have to clear your plate of the savoury course - including those brussel sprouts you've surreptitiously hidden under some leftover mashed potato - before you can have your pudding.

That's what my own little corner of the world feels like at the moment.

Not from a home point of view - but work is 'pants' at present so patchwork and quilting is balancing the equation somewhat.

However this morning as the kids left the house at 8.05am and I don't have to be at work until 9.30 I thought I'd grab a bit of yum before I tackled today's particular brand of yuck

I got the four plaid blocks together with sawtooth sashings over the weekend - lots of sitting in front of the tv watching Glastonbury gave me a home run on the hand applique

Then yesterday I put the borders on and appliqued the corner blocks in front of the tv last night

After nearly crucifying myself scrabbling about on the lounge floor this morning to get it sandwiched I thought tha,t after I'd put in some 'in the ditch' stabilising lines, I'd indulge myself with a free form feather down at least one border before I head off to the mad house! One border down, three to go - then to decide what to do in the middle - watch this space.........................