Monday, January 26, 2009

Woohoo the painting's finished!!!

We spent a good proportion of Saturday painting and got to within spitting distance of that wonderful light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Then, bless his little cotton socks, while I was driving Sarah the 85 miles to Plymouth and back again for her Regional trials, Nigel went back in on his own and completed the job.
What a hero!
On top of that, to cap the day nicely, Sarah has been selected for Regional again this year - despite her broken thumb earlier in the season.
She is one happy girl now getting ever so slightly nervous about England Colleges trials this weekend over in Northampton.
The other girls from the college will go up for the two day session early on Friday morning.
Unfortunately Sarah has a totally unmissable chemistry practical exam scheduled for 1.30pm on Friday afternoon. So good old Daddy is taking half a day holiday on Friday to take her up straight after the exam. She has been assured that only participating in one of the two days won't disadvantage her in the selection process. Another £50 on petrol though - can't even begin to think what our carbon footprint must be like.
I've managed a little more applique for the garden quilt.
I started the hollyhocks and got as far as two tall straight stalks - they're now sitting patiently for me to look at a few hollyhock pictures and decide how large the leaves and flowers have to be plus how to place them - work still in planning that one.
However I managed a couple of toadstools
An apple and a pear - coincidentally the symbols for the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, two English counties we just happen to have close links with.
And three flitting butterflies
Just a handful of blocks to add to the pot - or should that be potting shed :o)
Tonight I'm playing with some sunflowers and then I really ought to return to those hollyhocks but there's a watering can in my head just calling my name.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Three very different applique pieces

I've been fitting bits of applique in this week between everything else
Nigel has been over to the flat a couple of times but without me - tonight I drew the taxi service straw as Nick had football training.
I've worked four full days this week too - year end is creeping up on us and we have the added delight of nurturing in a new accounts package County wide - whichever clown decided to schedule that around year end really ought to be shot - the person's probably on 5 times my salary too!
But back to stitching..................
I promised to show the finished baby quilt top
and here it is - a little on the pale and delicate side but pretty for a little girl - I already have a blue one finished for the alternative eventuality.
Then completely different - an African style design for a block for the birthday swap - reverse applique this time - the black fabric is behind the orange. The blue borders are authentic fabric from South Africa just to complete the ensemble. I haven't done any reverse applique for quite a while - I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it.
And last but not least the hollyhocks had to move over for the quick fix of a row of apples - still for the garden quilt but an easy speedy contribution - the hollyhocks may well be next although there may be a design for some tulips germinating in my brain - if you'll pardon the pun :o)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm fitting it in somehow :o)

This picture belies the fact that I have actually completed the top for the baby quilt - this numpty forgot to take a shot of the finished top before downloading the contents of the camera
As my old boss used to say "Planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance." Never a truer word.
So this sneak preview only gives you the flavour of the quilt - you'll have to imagine the borders complete with further flower applique that I'll show you next time
Speaking of flowers our regular supply teacher at work has been having a torrid time recently.
After complaining to her landlords about an infestation of tiny little black invasive bugs, they gave her notice to quit. Obviously took exception to the Environmental Health Officer's report. Nice people!
The poor lady has been stuck between a rock and a hard place looking for somewhere else to live without the security of a permanent job. I won't go into the reasons for this employment situation but it's unavoidable at present and she's been frantic with worry.
Anyway to cut a long story short she's finally found a new place to move into probably during February half-term (lots of house moving going on then) but is very upset at all the plants she will have to leave behind in the garden at her old place.
So I thought a garden themed lap quilt would cheer her up
Here's a row of daffodils to make a start
I foresee lots of different flower and garden associated blocks separated by floral fabrics
Right, I'm off to see if I can design some hollyhocks...............

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We watched President Obama's inauguration at teatime here in the UK - I made my kids sit and watch history being made.
A normally incredibly composed man stumbled over his oath showing an endearing human side to his usually polished exterior
But the most moving part for me was explaining the significance of all this to my children
As a 1960 baby I can only slightly remember the notable events of the 1960s
But I am still overawed at how far things have come in 40+ years
Long may that progress continue
A truly momentous day

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oops - spot the deliberate mistake

In between being busy painting countless walls and balancing monthly reconciliations at work (Month 8 balanced first time - yeah!!! Month 9 a WIP - mmmm) I have managed to start constructing the baby quilt centre.
For some reason though I only made enough 6" blocks for a 5 x 5 design - no idea why, I really wanted a 5 x 7 layout so I have 4 more flower blocks and 6 more QST's in the pipeline.

No stitching today though as both football and rugby were cancelled because of the torrential rain and high winds last night which had waterlogged the pitches. Not a good idea taking the girls or boys swimming!

So we left Nick and Lou to their own devices with friends and Sarah came along with Nigel and I to paint, paint, paint.

The flat comprises of lounge, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and large hallway.

The gloss is all in pretty good condition so as time is of the essence we decided not to touch that up so it's been emulsion, emulsion, emulsion

We've made such great progress this weekend that we now only have a final coat on the kitchen walls with once round their edges, plus once round the bottom edge of both lounge and bedroom and a final coat plus edges in the hallway left to do. It's so much easier painting an empty property with no furniture to move or carpets to protect.
Great strides - it's all starting to come together. Mind you I can't half feel my shoulders!
Sarah was a total brick today spending all day laid on the floor doing the first coat round the bottom of the lounge and bedroom - a job I hate as I'm such an ungainly lump that getting on and off the floor is a noisy and cumbersome operation - Nigel laughs at me grunting about down there - she just made the job so easy by comparison.

As for the baby quilt - well all was going great guns until..............
I realised the 'deliberate' mistake

The bottom left hand QST is orientated incorrectly - oh poooooooo!!!!!!

Guess that means some reverse stitching - oh how I hate unpicking :o(

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Total glee!!!!!

Last Sunday Sarah and I spent a chilly windy afternoon near Plymouth in Devon watching her team mates trial for the Regional squad. Because of her thumb Sarah will trial on 25th at the first Regional training session. She should be assured a place as she's an existing member of the accelerated talent group but we're not counting our chickens yet.
The wonderful outcome of the afternoon was that 6 of the 8 girls from our club at her age group who trialled have been selected - this is a huge step up from last year when 3 were selected and Sarah was the only one to go with the final squad to the National Championships in Lichfield.
As you can imagine, for a girl who lives, eats and breathes rugby, all this standing on the sidelines, keeping a smile on her face and cheering on her team mates has proved a huge personal challenge and character building exercise for her.
But last night Sarah got the chance to get back on the pitch for her first training session in 7 weeks
I wish I could have captured on film the enormous Cheshire Cat grin on her face as, covered in mud, she walked through the door with her father last night after training
I guess this picture gives you a little flavour
The mucky little pup!!!
As for sewing - very slow on that front as we've been wielding paintbrushes in any spare time we've had endeavouring to get my parents' flat ready for their move in about 5 weeks time - progress is slow but sure - we WILL be finished in time.
I have managed to sneak in a few QST blocks to join the appliqued flowers for the baby quilt - but precious little else
Right off to work and then the Salt Mines (or should that read Paint Mines?)

Friday, January 09, 2009

A bit of a wash up

In the post before last I showed you the Spring Fling Round Robin 2 quilt I received from this swap.

Looking at the SFRR2 blog it occurred to me that, because we weren't allowed to show anything other than a hint of what we'd added each time in case the final recipient managed to guess which quilt was hers, I hadn't shared with you the works in progress

So here we are:

The SFRR2 consisted of four rounds: a centre, two borders amd finally the quilting & binding

These are my contributions pictured in the finished quilts:

My centre which I thought was a little Delft like - it's just the white area with the applique.

My first round - more applique plus some triangles and a little butterfly

My second round - a saw-tooth star in the corner to echo its predecessors and some celtic knotwork applique. I rather enjoyed working on this as an off-set border which gave me lots more width to play with and fit in the knotwork.

Finally, one you've seen already - the piece I got to quilt and bind - this one was quilted to within an inch of its life

And last but not least the quilt I received after all the hard work and love and attention of four other stitchers.

Monday, January 05, 2009

But not just pink...........

I've been acutely aware over Christmas that I was behind with my Birthday Blocks - especially naughty as I received mine in and around August - I actually did only receive nine of my promised eleven but that's no excuse for not fulfilling my obligations.
You might remember the crazy hexagon I made before Christmas in the British summer colours of sand and aqua.
Well I then had to make a New York Beauty for Margaret which should have gone out to her during November - the spikes which look like pink in this photo are in fact red so a sort of pink free zone here.
and a yellow and blue block for Terri which was a December block posted out a few days late. - no pink here either
I'm definitely not a fan of curved piecing.
The applique blue and yellow block was like falling off a log for me except I tacked a circle around the circumference of a plate to use for the guideline for my placement. This was fine until I realised that eventually, once I'd got a good amount of the pieces done, the applique would sit outside the 12" block size. A quick lesson of unstitching and re-positioning required!
The NYB was a pig - I don't do accurate curves at all, strange when I used to do a lot of dressmaking with set-in sleevesm but I've obviously lost that knack down the years - in the end after wrestling with the centre quadrant for some time I resorted to appliqueing the outer curve onto the background - cheating - but the end result turned out okay.
I do have another NYB block to do for a later month - I think I can categorically state here and now that the block I've still to do will be the very last NYB block I ever tackle :o(
Pink will have to return to the stitching table though. I have a selection of pink and green QST blocks to do to go with the pink flowers for the baby quilt.
So not out of the Pink clutches yet it seems.

There's a bit of a pink theme going on here

If you hop over to Lynda's blog you could be forgiven for thinking that there's a great deal of pink in the air
I feel a tendency towards this colour lately at Chez Bebbs
Pink's not a colour I generally gravitate towards but quilting has a funny way of pushing you in directions you least expect
First of all there was the SFRR2 quilt I finished off for Margaret
You could say there was a distinct hint of pink in this
Then one of the teachers where I work commissioned me to make a couple of placemats for a Christmas present for her mother whose kitchen is green and pink

Once they were finished I received my SFRR2 quilt which also has a definite leaning towards the pink part of the spectrum - even DD2's PJs are pink!
And finally one of Sarah's rugby team-mates from last year is expecting a baby in March. She is only 17 and sadly, although her rugby career was very promising, young love diverted her off course and much to her parents' disappointment she has given up college and her sport to set up home with her boyfriend of a similar age. They now await that great step into parenthood this spring with precious little money and the less than ideal domestic arrangements of living with his grandmother.
All babies need a quilt. I already have a 'blue' themed cot quilt completed so I thought I'd hedge my bets and make a pink one too so I have something suitable for the baby's arrival. Sorry the colour's not that good on this picture.
With rugby still in mind last summer Sarah took her Level One Rugby Coaching qualification and her Rugby Referee qualification.
Because playing the game is her first love she has not yet had the opportunity to actually referee a proper game.
Until yesterday that is............
Her thumb is healing beautifully, the pot came off on December 19th and she is almost back to full usage - she will be back to full contact rugby before the end of the month, probably another 3 weeks or so.
But yesterday as she couldn't play she reffed a triangular fixture between the Taunton Fillies U15s and their Exeter and Plymouth counterparts - she was very nervous but actually once she got into it she thoroughly enjoyed the experience even though she still says she'd prefer to be actually playing
I have it on good authority that PINK is THE colour for all the best dressed referees this season - well at least their shorts and socks although I'm not sure I can see this catching on for the Guinness Premiership :o)))