Saturday, 27 August 2016

Off to sunny Spain

Can you hear me singing this song from 1974 ?

Oh this year i'm off to Sunny Spain Y Viva Espana I'm taking the Costa Brava 'plane Y Viva Espana If you'd like to chat a matador, in some cool cabana And meet senoritas by the score, Espana por favor

Maybe not hearing me singing is a good thing, but its time to get excited as we leave in a few hours for our drive through France to Spain for our holiday.

The only thing I have ready is my hands and feet !

Friday, 26 August 2016

Three and a half days with the girls

Monday the girls arrived to spend three and a half days with us. We had lots of plans and started by going out for lunch at the local Toby Inn, always a favorite as they have a nice carvery.

Since last year all odds and end of coins have gone into a large Teddy, this is becoming something of a tradition, and today was the day we emptied it and took the coins to the bank. It is so heavy we had to get Chris to carry  it downstairs and then it was put into smaller bags.

After lunch it was fun time at the bank, first getting the machine stuck and then filling it so full we had to get it emptied. They had half of the proceeds £40+ each.
Emptying Teddy and bagging up the coins.
Tuesday we loaded the car with sewing machines and craft work and spent the day in Bedford on a Sue's workshop / sit-n-sew day. Eleanor decided she would like to make a bag and enjoyed her time on my little Singer Sewing machine, in fact enjoyed it so much she made two bags.
Great concentration for an 8 year old

Look what I made!

Abigail worked on her crochet project, managing to work a row of star stitch, not an easy task, and a number of other rows.
Working on a crochet sampler much to the amazement of the ladies on the workshop
Excellent workmanship
Wednesday An absolute 'Must Do' trip to Woburn Safari Park. We seem to have a regular routine every summer of going and the girls both like to sit in the front of my car so we take cushions for them to squash into the one seat while we drive around the safari park! It was a really hot day and many of the animals were sleeping or hiding in the shade, but we still managed to see them all. After a picnic lunch the girls spent half an hour in the play barn while I had a much needed sit down.
Feeding the birds

Once scared, now wants them all over her!

In the small animal enclosure

Whizzing down the slide together

Eleanor, always the dare devil, sliding down the largest slide.

Tigers playing in the sun
Thursday we started the day with a game and then off to Emmaus Village to see what bargains we could find. Both girls bought yet another cuddly teddy for £1 each and a ring also £1, plus Eleanor found a case for her phone for 50p. I bought a new oven glove and bag both £1 each. So not a very expensive day but great fun. We then traveled to Carlton Country Park for yet another picnic and fun on the workout machines, plus a walk around the lake eating ice creams.
Early morning games

Keep Fit at Carlton Country Park

One of the many wood carvings

Picnic lunch

The calm of the lake

As always it is such a delight having the girls come to stay and today is really quiet without them.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fabric painting picture

SweetPea machine embroidery designs have some wonderful patterns to sew into pictures that are then coloured in using water colour pencils.

One I could not resist was a nine panel picture of balls of wool, cotton reels and pin cushions etc.. 
I have backed it with a hanging sleeve and intend taking it on holiday to while away the hours with my set of Derwent water colour pencils.

Each square measures six by six inches.

An interesting bag pattern

Yesterday I decided to make a new handbag for my holiday, with only a week to go and having the granddaughters for the week I really should have been doing something else... hey ho!

Janelle MacKay designed the Butterfly Sling Purse that I thought would be ideal for holding passport and credit cards etc.  Two days ago I ordered zip by the yard, magnetic clasps and and swivel clasps on EBay and they all arrived yesterday so I was ready to go.

Wow what a lot of pieces to make such a little bag. Outside fabric, lining fabric, fusible fleece and interlining plus clear vinyl and all the hardware.

Inside are pockets for 12 credit cards, I decided six pockets were enough for a holiday purse. I also changed the handle as I like a fixed across the body handle.

This is going to be such a handy holiday bag and even though I was sewing into the evening I managed to complete it. I love love love it.
Such a smart little purse/bag

Room for six credit cards a passport and odds and ends

Opens out to two concealed pockets, one with zip and one open plus a vinyl window for and ID card.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Monday blues

Monday blues... started with both of us visiting the hospital, actually different hospitals to make life more complicated.
I was first at the Three Shires where I had my knee x-rayed again and as suspected I now have a date for another new knee in October, as soon as we get back from our next holiday.  Chris then went to The General hospital for his six monthly check up and all is OK and he was soon home.

The news about my knee put me in a real funk all day but I did managed to complete four table mats that I had started last week.

Love the way the triangles make an 'S' swirl
On a more cheery note I received a mug rug from a swap I had taken part in. I love the pretty colours and Barb, also known as the Quilt Dragon, also included three FQs of the same fabric. I love taking part in these machine embroidery swaps. It is so exciting to get a gift from the USA and Barb lives in New Jersey.

Love it QD, thank you.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

3rd workshop of the week

Wow this has been a busy week, having attended workshops on Monday and Tuesday and then away in the Cotswolds Wednesday and Thursday, I completed the week with a workshop at Coleman's Rushden with Trish.
A friend from church came with me to Coleman's as she is eager to learn sewing and quilting. It was a really busy workshop but I managed to complete my bag. The fabric is a new range and I really love it, pity I cannot remember the name of it!
The bag, based on a Debbie Shore pattern, has open pockets inside and also a concealed pocket with a zip.
On arriving back in Northampton I had another Spanish lesson, followed by assisting my teacher to open an Ebay / Paypal account and start selling things.
By the time I got home I was very tired but Chris had organised dinner so a feet-up evening was called for.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Green Laning in the Cotswolds Part Two

Having arranged an early breakfast we dined in seats rescued from a Church, they still have the shelf at the back for your hymn book!
Waiting for our 'Full English' breakfast
We love signs like this it always means we are in for some fun.

Approaching the first Ford, as there was a walk way I got out to take photos.

Not too deep!

Well it has cleaned the wheels!

Approaching another Ford, I'm staying in the car it's too muddy to get out.

Half way across the stream I ask Chris to stop so I can take a photo of this pretty bridge,
 hope we can get going again the water is lapping around the wheels.
 It was a wonderful day and the Cotswolds were at their best, sun shining, fields with ripe wheat and barley being harvested. The hedgerows in full leaf and lots of birds and butterflies about.

Green Laning in the Cotswolds Part One

Chris had planed a day "green laning" in the Cotswolds a couple of hours away from where we lived, so I suggested finding a B&B at the start of the route to save the 2+ hour journey early in the morning. In fact the start of the route was outside the Neeld Arms and as they cater for guests we booked in for one night.

The route
The Neeld Arms Inn, Grittleton is a 17th century, stone country inn set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the ancient and unspoiled village of Grittleton.

Close by are the picturesque places of Chippenham, Chipping Sodbury and Malmesbury.  The County of Wiltshire is situated at the gateway to the West Country, much of the County is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Few Counties in England can equal Wiltshire's ancient monuments and burial grounds, a unique feature of its mystical landscape.

The quaint Inn

We had just arrived

An evening stroll before the sun set.

Monthly workshop - Triangles

Four of us got together for our now regular monthly workshop.
I had seen a mat made with isosceles triangles and spent some time perfecting how to make one. Drawing the 60 degree angles was my starting point, but it just would not fit into a "S" bend. I then realised if you cut 1/4 inch off where the triangle on the turn meets the others BINGO a nice fit.  I made a few samples in different sizes as a trial.
Pauline concentrating on cutting a straight line

Christine working out her stripes

Penny at the cutting mat

Some of the finished "S" bend triangle mats.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Bedford Workshop

Another day was arranged by Sue for a workshop in Bedford at a  church room. These days are always most enjoyable. Six of us had signed up to make a Carpet Bag with Penny being our teacher, while the rest of the group did their own thing.
I chose a fairly thick fabric but wish I had gone for upholstery fabric as I think it would have looked better, still there is always next time.  The closure is a large metal sprung frame, what fun we had trying to put the little bolts in to secure it, strangely no-one had a pair of pliers in their sewing kit!

It was a lovely day meeting up with the regulars that always attend.
Christine going "Scotish" with her tartan bag

Heads down in concentration

View from Penny's [ teacher] table, showing her finished bag.

My finished bag, photographed when I got home outside enjoying the sunny weather.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Spanish and the Diet

Where does the time go? and how often do we say this?
Last Thursday was our monthly IAM meeting, where six of us enjoyed the day chatting and crafting. In fact we enjoyed the day so much I forgot to take any photos!
Ann was not in a crafty mood but when I mentioned I needed an eight inch knitted square for a charity blanket at church she offered to knit it for me. I must say I have never seen a knitted square started with just two stitches and then one stitch added at the start of each row until the sides measure 8" and then decreased one stitch each row until back to the end.. brilliant such a nice square, thanks Ann.
Pauline had used a photo of her son and his future wife to make a cushion as an small added wedding gift. Such a great idea.
Jenny, Dorn  and Clare were all working on different projects. I sewed up the holes of the table mats I had just finished making.
Six table mats with machine embroidery butterflies to match my crockery

Friday we met up with Pauline and Brian at the local Harvester to enjoy a steak or ribs plus a drink for £10 each meal. Luckily I had two vouchers and the men had steak and Pauline and I had the ribs... yummy and great company.
As soon as we got back home Chris took off in the Land Rover for York where he was attending a weekend course on all things Land Rover. Sounds like he had fun winching !

Saturday I "moved " into my Happy Room to spend the day sewing, but first I had the second Spanish lesson won at the Church auction last week, Me gusta mi Professor Peter.
I also helped a friend learn how to use a rotary cutter, ruler and do some sewing, all without any blood being spilt! In the evening I dusted off the knitting needles and also knitted an eight inch square, my first knitting in 50 years!

What has all this to do with the title of this post? Well I decided with four weeks left before our five weeks in France and Spain to a] try and learn some Spanish and b] loose six lbs in weight.
Not sure how the Spanish will go at 71 years old my brain is already full but I'm trying to squeeze a few words in. On the diet front I have managed to loose 3lbs in the first ten days so there is hope there.
Adios until the next post.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Fabric basket

Noodlehead, one of my favorite blogs showed a basket made of fabric that took my fancy, so I forgot what I came in my Happy Room to do and quickly sorted out fabric for the outside and inside plus a strip for the edging. Thank goodness I have lots of fabric in my stash to choose from.  I did not have the required interfacing so used Bosal foam to give it a crisp look.
It was not easy using the foam interlining, the fusible recommended by Noodlehead would have been easier, but I managed it and love the finished basket. I may have to make more of these baskets.
Already in use for my latest crochet project

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

New arrivals

Our garden is undergoing a 'make over'. Some of the wooden items, like an archway and what was once a trellis for growing plants up have rotted at the base and been removed. The border at the back of the enclosed garden is very overgrown and I have difficulty managing it, it will be emptied and the back fence that is a bit wobbly will be fixed and if all goes to plan a new raised bed will be installed.

The pond is very overgrown, I think the hot weather has made the Elodea Crispa [oxygenating plant] and lilies go mad. Trying not to disturb the frogs, newts, fish, and other wildlife  I cleared out buckets full, which is great for the compost heap and the fish have room to move about.

We lost a few fish to the heron some time ago so a trip to the garden centre to acquire a few new fish was called for. I am quite happy with common goldfish [ husband calls them Heron food!] so ten additions to the pond costing £11.50 came home with us.
Add caption

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Clearing the clutter

Three large bags and a box of "clutter" went to Emmaus this morning. Clothes, curtains, scarves, books, and all sorts of odds and ends have been accumalating in the the spare room so today was the day they had to go. Funny how a car load of things seems to make no difference to the space left in the house, guess we need to keep de-cluttering.

Emmaus at Carlton near Turvey, Bedfordshire is a great place for recycling unwanted items. Homeless people are housed and given jobs within the community. In December 2015 Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall opened the newly refurbished Iola Newman building. This building has a number of 'shops' selling recycled clothes, bedding, furniture, cycles, childrens toys, in fact you name it and they sell it. The companions and volunteers do the work of serving in the shops and are trained in testing the electrical equipment and recycling in general. There is also a Bistro where you can buy a drink and wonderful cake made on the premises or even enjoy a fully cooked dinner.

The newly refurbished building
It is hard not to come away with more than we took for recycling, but on this occasion all I spent was 50p on a dress making pattern.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Mini Mania Challenge July

Boy am I late starting the Mini Mania Challenge for July! Here we are with one day to go.
The challenge this month is Seminole, and I started the month not getting my head around the challenge. Having found my Simply Seminole book by Dorothy Hanisko I decided on just two of the patterns, Flip-Flop and Telegraph Poles.
Love this book

Why the choice of these two patterns?

 My husband used to work for the GPO which became BT and while doing his apprenticeship had to climb a telegraph pole and used to fascinate me [ well I was newly in love] with telegraph pole information. How deep they are in the ground, the safety aspects etc etc...
Two rows of telegraph poles
Layout for Flip Flop

My second choice Flip-Flop was due to the fact when I was in Jersey on holiday [many years ago] I went out to buy a pair of flip-flops to wear on the beach, but on the way to the shop I picked up two hitch hikers [ we live in different days now] and to cut a long story short I ended up marrying one of them. Chris and I have now been married 44 years.
Made with one day to spare!