Friday, 19 May 2017

BSK day

A day spent at BSK [Bedford Sewing & Knitting] was really nice. Once I had decided what I wanted to machine embroider it was quite a relaxing day.
This is the sample bag that I intend to work on
 Hooped up Tear Away, then Cushion soft and a layer of calico.
Loaded the pattern into the machine, it is in three parts.
Chose six different black and white fabrics and a reel of Red Marathon thread.

Joining section one to two.
Using just the one colour saved some brain power! I usually find it difficult to decide on thread colours. Eventually I had to make two "crazy patchwork pieces of fabric" which will form the back and the front of the bag.
Completed the crazy patchwork and now have to find time to make them into a bag, watch this space!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Cooking, washing, sewing

What a busy day I am having. Up at 5.45 am I put in a load of washing and started cooking!
Three containers of Spaghetti Bolognaise, and Two Cottage pie meals plus two loads of washing all before 9am!

Chris arrived home from his night shift at Harrod's where he is working for two weeks and looking very tired went straight to bed. Meanwhile the Hedge man arrived to cut the long hedge, what a noise! hope Chris had his ear plugs in.

A very shaggy looking hedge in need of a hair cut!

The Berberis is looking top heavy so the plan is to cut it lower and try to improve it.
While all this was going on I retreated to my Happy Room to work on my latest Row by Row.
Sewed out a Home Sweet Home sign on my embroidery machine and attached it to the owl's hole in the tree. Heat n Bonded the rest of the owls to the branch and started buttonhole stitching them in place.


Needing a breath of fresh air I walked to the pillar box to post a couple of letters, also need the steps!
Decided I have put on too much weight lately so re-joined Nutracheck to make myself loose a few lbs, it worked well for me last time, plus they had an offer of 6 months for £29.99, wonder how much I can loose in six months?

Monday, 15 May 2017

Tu Whit Tu WHO?

Guess who is lurking under my sewing machine?


Another Row by Row started, this time the pattern is from Charlottesville Virginia USA.
I love owls and this panel has four of them.
I will soon have enough to fit around one side of my Happy Room wall in a long banner.
I'm still "thinking" about how I will finish the panels and how I will actually hang them!

Some time ago there was a display of mini quilts at the NEC quilt show and they each had a loop and button to link them together, I think this might be the way to go.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

It's RED

Collected my new car yesterday, a VW Golf automatic in Red.


Due to ongoing knee problems I was finding it harder and harder to drive my manual shift Polo, and having been driving for over 50 years and always owning my own car I could not bear the thought of not being able to drive. A visit to a showroom last week and we saw the perfect car, in the perfect colour! Going out for lunch today to get used to all the important controls [ CD player, Aircon, heater etc etc...]. Loved driving it home from the dealer.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Row by Row #4

The Milton Keynes quilt shop Threads and Patches, in 2016 designed a Row by Row of London.

I bought the kit in June 2016 and have just managed to make it before it's first birthday as a UFO, actually it's not a UFO as I hadn't even opened the packet until a couple of days ago!

While Chris is still working nights in Harrods I enjoyed myself in my Happy Room sewing undisturbed while he slept.

The panel shows Nelson's feet standing on his column with a pigeon nesting on it in the fore ground.
St Paul's Cathedral, The Gherkin, Big Ben, The London Eye and Tower Bridge in shadow to the right.
As usual I did not follow the instructions ! Nelson's column was suppose to be patchworked into the sky fabric, but I did not like the joins so made up the column base, machine embroidered the lettering and then Heat-n-Bonded it onto the sky, finishing it with buttonhole stitch on the sewing machine the same as the rest of the panel. 

I now need to complete Row by Row #3.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A trip around the garden

Chris is working nights at Harrods in London for 8 sessions to help out his old employer with some IT work.
It is a bit of a shock to the system for both of us, him with a lack of sleep and me creeping about in the day keeping as quiet as possible.

Today the sun is shining and I thought I would take a look around my garden.. want to join me?
An experiment with growing First Early potatoes in an old dustbin with the bottom cut out!

I had a couple of chitted potatoes left over so stuck them in a large empty plant pot
no idea when I can eat them, the packet said June so I will have a feel then!

Colourful pansies with some of my Acers in the background

My favourite Rhododendron, just love how the flowers look dark red
until the sun reaches them and they start to turn pick.


Polygala myrtifolia a gift from my family for Mothers day in March
A member of the pea family it has put on a lot of growth in a month.

Pansies, self seeded from last year.

Please do not mow the daisies, I love them in the lawn.

A late cowslip in the shade of a Japanese statue

Monday, 8 May 2017

Row by Row #3

I have made a start on my next Row by Row design. The pattern and kit was sent to me by my friend in Belgium.

I was surprised to find the fabric had been torn not cut into pieces which meant having to cut off the rough edges to get a smooth edge to the fabric.

It is slowly taking shape. I spent quite a lot of time working out how to make the panel, as there are no instructions just a picture and plan. Having decided to heat-n-Bond most of the applique I now need to attach the pieces and will use a blanket stitch on my sewing machine to sew them down.
Making a start. The finished panel will be 36 x 9 inches.


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Gaydon Motor Museum

Saturday we visited the British Motor Museum at Gaydon for their Land Rover show.
We were asked to park in the show area with rows of other Land Rovers which was great as it is a long walk from the car park with dodgy knees!
The English weather was playing tricks again and after a lovely warm sunny Friday, Saturday was cold and windy with spots of rain in the air.
A bacon and egg sandwich with a hot chocolate soon warmed us up and we toured the museum, which is free entry on show days. A walk around the traders selling things Chris liked but I had no idea what they were and then watching a few events in the arena.
So many Land Rovers to look at from tiny to huge, some with guns on the top medical ambulances and fire engines.
My favorite were the mini Land Rovers especially the one driven by a girl of about 8 or 9 years towing a mini caravan with two very small children inside.
A mock up garage, part of the display in the Motor Museum

H10 CJG looking smart in the line of Land Rovers

Every shape and size

Serious Land Rovers

Lego version of a Mini

Mini Land Rover setting off for the arena
driven by a 8 or 9 year old with two small children in the caravan

Saturday, 6 May 2017

A garden visitor

The bird feeders in my back garden  attract many Starlings, Blue Tits, Sparrows and even the blackbird has had a go at hanging on and feeding. Recently I hung one in the front garden, where we face quite a busy road, and sometimes Blue Tits will hang on and feed but recently a Jay has taken to calling to feed, I cannot remember seeing one here before as they are known to be shy birds that like the countryside and keep close to cover. What a treat.
Took this picture from my Happy Room through the window.

Friday, 5 May 2017

May IAM meeting

What a great day we had yesterday at the IAM meeting in my Happy Room.
All eight members arrived and after the aches and pains and general medical problems we all have were discussed our conversation turned to funerals and 'green' burials!  Yes we are a craft group but all being retired I guess these thoughts need an airing occasionally.  I must say there was a lot of laughter went along with the subject!

A hot or cold drink, no two people seem to drink the same thing, we settled down to sewing, knitting, crochet, English piecing, cutting out applique etc etc..
The sun was out and I think it lifted all our spirits after the past few cold miserable days.

The morning flew by and after eating our packed lunches and sharing the two lovely Roulades Maureen had brought we had show and tell, always a favorite part of the day for me.

Shirley was busy working on the latest Attic 24 crochet pattern,
very pretty colours.

Penny showed her long round cushion completed after our little workshop.
I too showed my cushion.

Penny had also completed her cushion with lots of buttons 

Jenny had been busy with wax and a hot iron
 to produce very pretty Encaustic art pictures.

Dorn's silk Sandie Lush cushion [click on link to take you to her site]

Ann had used fleece to make a cuddly Linus blanket
The day went far too quickly and having discussed a trip out for our July meeting every one went home smiling.

Monday, 1 May 2017

May Day visit to Lamport Hall show

Lamport Hall has a very chequered past. Build in Tudor times it has been home to a blind book collector, 17th century grand tourist, eccentric Victorian, Hollywood Actor and home to the Isham family for over four centuries.

Due to two world wars and the ravages of time Lamport Hall has undergone many changes, some of which are a family home, flats, country club, Records office and an Italian prisoner of war camp.

Sir Gyles Isham died in 1976, in his will he bequeathed the estate to the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust, which was set up to carry on the lengthy restoration work needed after dry rot and general neglect was found.

The hall and grounds are now a centre of culture and education.

Today an Art and Craft Fair was held and although the weather was very changeable [sunshine and showers] we made a visit.
The vast stables are a great venue for all the different stalls, everything from leather work, to jam!

The grand entrance

Spinner using dog hair to produce a fine wool

The Lamport church

Daffodils have gone over and the blue bells make a wonderful sight.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The last day of April

 A third of the year has almost gone, it's May day tomorrow. Hope the weather starts to improve, although the sun is shining it is very cold.

My sewing knitting and crochet MoJo have returned and I seem to be spending a lot of time in my Happy Room. I think the fact I have started to have a major sort out has helped. Less "stuff" means I can find things and have room to work.  Still a long way to go to get where I am really happy with it.

Off to church this morning to praise the Lord.
Image result for photo of Church of latter day saints northampton

Happy Planner time

Having bought a Happy Planner in February I have so enjoyed my time working on it. In fact an hour or so planning my weekly stickers and deciding on a layout and I forget everything else and it lifts my spirits.
The Daisy week in May plan before I write in it.
I have been asked a number of times what I use my planner for, so here are a few of the things I like to plan and journal:
Meal planing, I try to plan a whole weeks main meals, and often swap the days around to suit.
Scripture reading, 15 minutes a day to improve my knowledge
Steps, minimum of 2000 a day, writing it down means I make sure I achieve at least this number daily.
Birthdays and anniversaries.
Sewing, knitting and crochet goals,
Boring things like washing, cleaning, shopping etc...
Dentist, doctor and other appointments.
Holidays, I always try and find a holiday theme sticker set for these.
Etc etc..

It is amazing how much more I get done and the great sense of achievement when I complete a task. However if something does not get done one week there is always the next page.

There are lots of people producing sticker sheets for free, so a pack of 50 sticker sheets from Amazon for £3.50 means I am not spending very much on my new hobby.

This layout was printed from mylifeplanner.com 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Two Row by Row completed

Yesterday was full of ups and downs. We started with Chris having an MRI in preparation for his Gall bladder removal. I dropped him off at the hospital and went to pick up my latest Pfaff 7570 from the sewing machine shop. I bought it on Ebay for £350 and spent £120.08 ( guess the 8pence is important!) having it serviced and cleaned up.
Back home for Chris to recover from his 'nil by mouth' and we set off for the Garden Centre for me to collect a package, needless to say I bought plants, eight geraniums for my hanging baskets.
Our plan was then off to Costco to stock up on meat, the journey was horrendous, firstly the Motorway was closed so we tried to avoid the roads near to it, only to drive at 1 mph behind a vintage Steam Roller with no where to pass.
Two jacket potatoes, one cheese and the other curry, plus drinks for £4 gave us the energy to shop.
Back home the meat had to be vacuum packed and labelled before we could have a much needed cuppa.

This saga brings me to today... I am going nowhere and just want to be home to sew.
I did make time to plant my geraniums, white ones this year as I normally have red ones and felt like a change. A short walk for a breath of fresh air and the rest of the day sewing... bliss.
Two Row by Row 2016 completed
The top one is from Fabric HQ, Stoke Mandeville
Bottom one from Quilters Dream, Picket Piece, Andover.

I just love my sheep.

Friday, 28 April 2017

A friends day

Having met up with a friend, Annie, I had not seen in years we arranged a get together to sit and sew. Her sister in law Beryl, who I have known for the best part of 40 years, was also able to join us together with Helen another friend.
It was such a fun day, with lots of catching up on news and lots of laughter.
My Happy Room was prepared for their arrival but then I just did not get around to taking a photo until they were leaving!

Looking forward to a sewing day
Beryl worked on a crochet poppy but with all the chatter kept having to go into reverse! Helen worked on a cushion front hand sewing pretty appliqué, while Annie machined 2 inch squares together for the start of a King size quilt.
I managed to progress on my Andover Row by Row.

Beryl, Annie and Helen

A great day I hope we can arrange to repeat.


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Tidy up last years post

In 2016 I decided to try and keep a record of everything I made, but it is time to make a new start, well it is almost the end of April! My side bar will now have things I have made in 2017. I seem to have been very busy last year until October when a new knee stopped my sewing and machine embroidering. I wonder how many things I will add this year.
Christmas flying geese bag...   2 ME Watermill cushions
Large fairy quilt... SweetPea design purse in hoop
Debbie Shore red/black bag... ME ABC with sheep quilt
Jelly Roll lap quilt... Joseph's Coat pink table runner
3 Half a zip bags... Red courthouse steps Linus quilt
Black & Red 'D' phone bag... ME sewing kit
Red Crazy patchwork handbag... Green Joseph's coat cushion
2 oven mitts for swap... Sophie's Universe crochet
Dolphin window pelmet... Cream/black nine patch cushion
Japanese large bag... Chicken oven pad
Mini Mania cathedral square... Owls in a circle mat
60 degree triangle table mat... Mini Mania stars in 3 colours
Fold n Stitch wreath... Dresden plate clock
Noodlehead bag... A Esterhuizen Mandala crochet
Dog panel quilt for Linus... Dutch girl bag
Row by Row panel 1... Faux leather handbag
Cuppa mugrug for swap... 6 butterfly table mats
Mini Mania Seminole top... Fabric basket
6 crochet hook/pencil holders... Debbie Shore bow bag
4 animal print table mats... 2 made in one piece bags [ yellows]
Butterfly Sling purse navy... 4 Seahorse Mugrugs
Present for grandaughter... Christmas lap quilt
2 Oven mitts... 6 Christmas stockings... 12 Christmas angels

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Row by Row

My comment about a Ha Ha at Lyvenden seems to have caused a stir. It is very familiar to anyone that visits old houses in Britain. 

ha-ha is a recessed landscape design element that creates a vertical barrier while preserving an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond. The design includes a turfed incline which slopes downward to a sharply vertical face, typically a masonry retaining wall.

The ha-ha at Lyvenden is grass on both sides and almost invisible until you try to walk across the lawns. I wonder how many people fell into it when leaving the house after a few drinks!

Back to the topic of my blog post...

Last year I took part in the search for Row by Row patterns, only six shops in England took part. I managed to collect some from overseas and  had great plans to make a wall hanging using some of them. I actually only completed one, so having regained my sewing mojo I intend to make some more. A few friends and I are getting together to work on some of them which should help to keep me motivated.


The pattern I intend to make first this year is from Quilters Dream in Andover Hampshire.


Wow, wow, wow there are a lot of very tiny pieces, but they are all cut out and some heat-n-bonded to my background ready for machining tomorrow. Needless to say I didn't think about the direction of the pattern and probably, unless I told you, you would not know when the banner is completed that I have reversed everything.

Part of the banner ready for machining, all those tiny sheep feet!

My trusty 17 year old Pfaff is back from it's service and new bobbin winding clutch.
I love using this machine for applique.
2017 Row by Row starts in June so I better get my skates on if I am to complete last years.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Lyveden New Bield

Looking for somewhere to go for a walk we decided on a visit to Lyvenden New Bield. Owned by the National Trust this property is only about 25 miles from home, but we had never found the time to visit it before. The morning started off sunny but cool, by the time we got to Lyvenden the sharp wind was bitingly cold on this very exposed site. Needless to say we did not stay as long as we had planed.
A very bumpy rough track leads to the entrance.

It is such an impressive sight surrounded by a Ha Ha.
Sir Thomas Tresham created the garden and lodge between 1595 and his death in 1605. It was planned as a pleasure garden and secret place of worship for Treshams persecuted Catholic faith.

Richly decorated with religious symbols of Christ's Passion and Crucifixion.
Although looking like a ruin it is in fact just an unfinished building site, 
due to lack of money and heavy death duties there was no money to pay the workers, so they just 'downed tools' and walked away.

A quick trip to the loo and I found this on the door.

A swallow fly out of her nest as I closed the door 

Inside one of the main ground floor rooms.

The views in every direction are amazing

Yes that's me sneaking into the kitchen


A deep Ha Ha surrounds the building.

The gardens contain interesting snail mounts [Chris took the photo from the top of one of them]
There is also a moat and maze cut into the grass.

The walk to the maze.
The stone for this splendid building was quarried from the local village of Pilton. This is definitely a place to re-visit in the warmer weather.

A Little warmth was now called for and we visited the Harvester Restaurant at Kettering for lunch using a 50% off voucher, making a great end to out day out.