Friday, 31 January 2014

G Towels

I want to celebrate and your just the right people to do it with... I have just used my EM for the first time since the op, and I even experimented. I hooped up some mesh [ no idea what it is!] then laid a hand towel on top, choose an outline design from my machine and sewed a piece of fabric on, cut away the excess [applique] then choose another design and did a fancy stitch around the outside and finally choose my initial 'G' and let my machine do its magic. One G is in the middle and one in the corner to see which I like the best. I am so pleased

Happy Room Progress

Stage One of the sorting the Happy Room. Chris cut down two long IKEA CD cabinets, one to act as an upright near the TV and the other to make into a shelf to connect to the two CD  cabinets I already have loaded with books. I used the curtain track to hang some of my swap fabric postcards. Hung a quilt painting I bought in the USA many years ago and put up the notice board Penny bought me for Christmas. The 'cups' behind the Embroidery Machine will be used for things relating to the EM, at the moment some have threads in and tweezers etc. there are also hangers for scissors.
The multiple thread holder I bought for the EM I do not use, so think it will be going on EBay, but I have a lot more room sorting to do before I have time for that.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Two in the Happy Room!

Land Rover seats
Seats taking shape
Chris bought kits to replace the foam and covers on the Land Rover seats, so I kindly allowed him to come into my Happy Room to work on them as it is so cold in the garage, plus there is hardly room to swing a cat in the garage!  I guess I also had an alternative motive as I want him to do some alterations for me. 
The old covers and foams were removed and he found the bases that had weld joints needed re-welding, so that will happen this evening. He worked on the backs and head rests and they look really smart now, and I'm sure will give us a much more comfortable ride.

Removing the design wall

Starting the transformation
As Chris has to wait to complete his LR seats he started on my alterations and removed the design wall, which was just used as a junk notice board and was usually covered with a hanging quilt so of no real use.
Next he build an IKEA CD cupboard and cut down the size to match the height of the two I already have on the left of the picture. One of my favorite and most handy items is a set of cup type containers on a metal rod, so we purchased two more sets and they look really smart and will be SO useful. These were placed on the new free area.  Watch this space for the next installment!

A trip around my Happy Room

I feel I must be getting better as I am now in a "lets change everything" mood. Funny how sitting around you see things differently than when you are leading your normal hustle and bustle life.
Time for some changes in my Happy Room, so these are before photos taken a couple of days ago.
Looking from the door

Embroidery machine and computer table

The far corner

Just inside the door

The side windows

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Framer v IKEA

Just before Christmas I sent my Amish sampler to the framers having laced the fabric to foam board. I was please with the result but the cost was high about £120.
Yesterday I visited IKEA at Milton Keynes and bought a ready made frame for my latest Happiness Sampler. I cut foam board [ cheap from Hobbycraft ] to the size of the frame and carefully pinned along all four sizes, using the warp and weft threads to keep it straight. Put it into the frame and hey presto I think it looks good and only cost me £5 for the frame.
Pins along sides
Pins into foamboard every inch

What do you all think?

Amish Sampler
Happiness sampler

Monday, 27 January 2014

Kimono progress

I cannot believe we are nearly at the end of January, I am sure this is a sign of getting older.
Since my last blog post we went for dinner with friends and an evening playing cards, which was most enjoyable.
Sunday I went to Church put only stayed for the Sacrament Meeting as sitting too long is giving me a problem with my knee.
Today my Fiat Punto has gone in for its MOT, Chris thinks it will need some work but I'm hoping for a pass as we have had enough expense lately.
On the knee front, I am really trying to up my exercises and get more mobile but it feels like a long struggle.

On a happier note I have worked on my Kimono and really like the way it is turning out. Each 12 x 12 thread block takes between 2 and 15 different colours of threads... that's a LOT of thread changes, so far I have not had to buy a single thing for this project.

Chris has just arrived home from the MOT garage and YIPPEE  the car passed with nothing needed doing.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Rain, rain and more rain

Surprise, surprise it's raining again! We have had so much rain it is just getting boring, but at least here in the middle of England we have missed the worst of the bad weather. Coastal regions and low lying areas have terrible floods and days of electrical cuts.

As I have been recovering  from my op I have been happy not to go out, but today I am returning to Poppy Patch at Gt Doddington for a sit n sew day. Decided not to even attempt taking a sewing machine, will work on my Kimono sampler. Chris has been called into work this evening so he will take me and Penny will bring me home. I really have to start driving again soon, may go for a practise to see how I get on.

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Sewing Machine

Since my knee replacement six weeks ago I have set myself little targets each day to try and get back to normal [ whatever that is!].

Today was the big day... I decided to try using my sewing machine for the first time. I had no idea how much we use our knee when sewing, guess its something we just take for granted. My Brother sewing machine can be used with either a button [which I just do not get on with] or a foot pedal.
THE block!

I gathered all the things I would need to make a foundation pieced log cabin block dragged a chair to the machine and started sewing. I like to use a knee lift but found this impossible at the moment [ guess that will be a challenge for another day!]

I managed to make the block and feel like I've just won the lottery!
Not sure I will be able to make too many of them today as it is not easy but at least its a start.

With a bit of luck this using my right leg, with its new knee, on the sewing machine will be good practise for driving my automatic car again soon.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Kimono progress

Kimono sampler
I have been working on my Kimono embroidery sampler most days and thought you might like to see the progress I have made.

I am really enjoying this sampler as there are so many different stitches and colours of DMC threads used to make it. Thank goodness I have two complete sets of DMC embroidery threads. I should have sewn the dark blue inner lines before I started, but as usual did not read the instruction properly! so had to add them after starting the work. The lines were made with six strands of DMC blue laid across the work and sewn down with four stands in tent stitch, so really stand out. The majority of the rest of the sampler is worked with four strands.


Yesterday Penny took me to BSK Bedford for the first monthly meeting of the year, as I am still not able to drive.
I was excited to be going but also nervous as to if I could cope as I still have trouble walking / sitting / standing etc. BUT it was a great day and everyone helped when I needed it.
12 1/2 inch square BOM #2
We have started a new ME [machine embroidery] BOM [block of the month] project and I took along threads to match my lounge curtains.
Due to a problem with block one we started with block two which had five hoopings. We were all finished early but pleased with the different colours the six of us had chosen.
I chose to work on white craft cotton fabric and used Marathon threads 1340 green, 1265 pale turquoise, 1040 lt pink and 1036 dark pink.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014


Yesterday Sister Devie and Brother Richard Mills from Denver Colorado came for a visit.
They were missionaries soon after I first joined the Church of Latter Day Saints and it was lovely to see them again.
Chris managed to cook us a lovely lunch of chicken in rice and mushroom soup, one of my favourites plus a cottage pie, so there would be a choice. Both went down very well.

Richard had had knee surgery last year so we discussed the physio we had received and our progress. I am still not walking too well, but trying very hard with the exercises, I so want to be driving and sewing again.. both of which require my right leg!

As a slight change in my sitting sewing cross stitch samplers I decided to make a Hexie wallet from free instructions I found on the www. It requires two seven patch hexies and I completed one so far.
If you would like to make one here's the link..

Saturday, 11 January 2014

First IAM of the year

Thursday was IAM at my house. Seven of us met to work on craft projects. Ann was missing as she was having a knee replacement the same day. I think we are all getting old and needing bits of bodies replaced!

For some reason my camera did not take all the photos I thought it was taking so instead of having photos of all of us and our show and tell, I only have three photos. Could do better as my teacher always said! Clare does not appear in a photo and she had the most beautiful Japanese fabric quilt for show and tell.
Jenny Dorn and Shirley

Dorn's Christmas wreath

Maureen holding Penny's hand sewn quilt.
We had to finish the meeting early as I had a Physio appointment and boy was she brutal, making me do lunges and bend my knee until I could bend it no more. I am still wearing the hideous compression stockings but hope they will say I can leave them off next week when I see the Specialist again. Originally I left hospital with one white and one blue, but the nurse at our Doctors practice took pity on me and gave me a presciption for two beige pairs.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


The Nova Kimono won as my next embroidery project.
Goodness knows when I bought this pattern, probably ten to fifteen years ago and it was still in its wrappers.

The Nova Kimono by Hummingbird House is based on designs by Genny Morrow and involved buying her book of stitches and the canvas ready printed with the outline of the kimono.

The paperback book contains diagrams for 18 rows by 22 rows of stitches worked in 12 x 12 squares.
Luckily I have all the DMC threads ready in order in my newly sorted boxes.
The book of stitches

The Kimono pattern

Making a start

Saturday, 4 January 2014

What to start UFO v New project?

Awaiting blocking

I managed to finish the free cross stitch design I started late last year and also a UFO in the past couple of days.
Still available at ,

The UFO is a small cross stitch that needed very little work. I completed it and then mounted it on fibre board lining up one side with pins into the board and then moving around the other three sides pining every inch. Next I laced the back together and removed the pins, as soon as I am able to move around more freely I will cover the back and put a hanging loop on. The design is by Derwent water designs, called Pinetree Bay.

Pinetree Bay

My problem now is what to do next? I have a box of UFO's but mostly they are on Aida fabric and I really prefer even weave linen, funny how we change our likes, once upon a time I hated even weave!
I have a sampler Kimono that I bought many years ago and is still in its wrapper, if I decide to work on this it will mean taking threads out of my very organised DMC boxes... yes I know that is what they are for but! Ho hum must make a desision as I need to keep my hands busy and forget about my painful knee.

If your working on something I might like, especially if its a free design please let me know.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

DMC thread day

This afternoon I have to go for my third session of physio, so thought I would sort out my DMC embroidery threads as I seem to be in a cross stitch mood this morning.

Chris offered to help and we spread the boxes out on the dining room table One and a half hours later there are four boxes with all the DMC numbers in and 5 or 6 boxes of spares... wow I had no idea I had so many!

While I was teaching lacemaking I went most summers to the USA to teach and would search out the best places to buy these threads and would never pay more than 5 for a dollar, and sometimes if I was lucky get 8 for a dollar. I remember the girls at the tills would have to put each one through separately and the bills would be as long as toilet rolls!

What an investment 5 or 8 for a dollar [ a dollar was about 45 pence ] and now the DMC threads sell for 68p EACH in England.
DMC embroidery thread
Have you made an "investment" in threads, fabric or craft materials?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy Healthy New Year 2014

Looking back on 2013 we had a wonderful year.

February saw Chris taking early retirement, which meant we have spent more time together which is always nice. He was kept very busy during the summer months working on his old Land Rover.
A week was spent in Yorkshire while Chris helped the garage replace the chassis on his Land Rover and I shopped!

Many days were spent travelling the Byways when Chris took on the role of Green Lane Rep for Northamptonshire. Some were quite hairy but all were quiet and peaceful away from the hustle and bustle of normal roads.

Holidays were spent in Wales off roading, a few weekends away at the coast and three weeks in Spain.

I have been busy with my craft hobbies, enjoying a monthly Machine Embroidery course. Regular visits to Poppy Patch for 'sit n sew' and the evening meetings at Hamtune Quilters. A few Saturdays were spent at Quilt Days including one at Bedford where I taught a workshop.
The IAM group of eight that meet monthly in my Happy Room have been very inspiring, as we all tend to enjoy many crafts and happily share them with each other.

Our Granddaughters came to stay a few times and as they both like craft work we had some wonderful times making things, plus visits to the Safari Park and meals out. Richard and Jacq both have good jobs and lead busy lives.

December saw me in hospital having a total knee replacement, which I am still recovering from, but hope for a pain free 2014.

Looking forward to 2014.

We have holiday plans for Scotland for Easter and Spain later in the year.

I would like to make some changes in my Happy Room, more shelving and to get more organised.. who knows what is lurking in the cupboards and drawers?
My Embroidery Designs on the computer definitely need a make over as they are in a real muddle.

Sewing projects I want to complete or start !
Black and white log cabin / lonestar quilt started in 2013
USA states star quilt started about 10 years ago
Bird blocks also started years ago.
New curtains with machine embroidered edges [using the continuous frame for the first time]
Christmas gifts throughout the year rather than at the last minute.
A number of cross stitch projects half finished

I could go on and on.....

Finally I would like to thank the bloggers that leave me comments I hope to hear from you more this year as I have made it easier to comment.

The Rocket and the Cancer Sampler

A friend from Church sent me a message that a Lego Rocket Technic was for sale on Market Place and he thought Chris should have it. The guy ...