Saturday, 31 May 2014

The New Toy

Thursday Penny and I attended a workshop with Sue and Annette in Bedford. It is always a most enjoyable day meeting friends, chatting, eating biscuits, and Oh! yes doing some sewing.

Sue brought along a Serger [sometimes called an overlocker in UK] she no longer wanted for me to buy, so I had a practise in the hall, but felt I needed to be alone to really concentrate on how it all worked.  I am so looking forward to getting to grips with the machine, a Babylock Prestige 750DS.

One or two of the ladies wanted to learn to crochet so Annette was giving them a lesson. I had not touched a crochet hook since about 1965, so decided to see if I could still do it. Thanks for getting me going again Annette.
Annette teaching Maria to crochet

Sue's sewing group

There were lots of things to make or people were working on their own projects. Needless to say having spent so much time with the Serger and the crocheting I did little else.

Friday I decided to give myself a headache and see what I could do with the new toy. In complete frustration I signed up for a Craftsy course on Beginning Serging. The course is normally £32 but there was an offer on for £12.50 so that was a lucky break.  I have downloaded all the literature and watched the first lesson to learn what all the knobs and levers do. Two Paracetamol later I thought I better get the evening meal ready as we had friends coming over.
The New Toy

My neighbour Judith heard I was practising crochet and about the new toy so she brought me a Serger book to read and another crochet pattern. I have just completed the design, far from perfect but i am pleased I got around the hexagon called the African Flower Block.
My first crochet since 1965
If anyone owns the same serger / overlocker as me please will they get in touch.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Swap block Winter lap quilt and cushion

Late last year I was in a swap with a group and the theme was Winter [ must say it feels like it here at the moment it is so cold and raining!] The blocks have just been lying here doing nothing other than calling themselves another UFO !

I set to and made TWELVE of them into a lapquilt and TWO into a matching cushion. I still have one to use.
I think they will make a nice Christmas gift for someone, and I am pleased to have them used.
Thanks to everyone that sent me a block

Machine Embroidery

A couple of days ago I bought a machine embroidery design from emblibrary to make a Stained glass window picture of Spring. I had seen the picture worked and liked it so much I had to have it!
First came the selection of threads.
The pattern uses Madeira and my embroidery machine shows Brothers Colours but I only use Marathon threads, so it took me quite a while to convert the colour numbers. 

Each block, there are nine of them, takes about 90 to 120 minutes to sew out in a 5 x 9 inch hoop
Here are the first four

I like to use one long piece of fabric, backed with cushion soft and tear away.
I find this saves too much wasted material.
Here are the next three being sewn out.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Eastnor Castle Land Rover Show Photos

Waiting for the off

View of the Showground in the distance

The first water splash

Not too muddy YET!

Up and down

My camera with the guy behind us
hope he gives me it back!

Into the water

Out the other side

Yet more water

Twists and turns

Tilt to the right

Water came in the doors

Why didn't I wear my wellies IN the car

Rock n Roll
Muddy and Watermarked at the end

Water in CJ's new spot light

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Eastnor Castle Day Two

An early start saw us making our way back to Eastnor Castle Show grounds to join in another day of madness.
At 9am the car was scrutinised by the Land Rover Marshall's and we joined the convoy for the advanced adventure group, no scenic ride for us :-)

LR Simon headed the group and LR Paul took up the back position. There were eleven of us in the group, all Land  rovers except for the Mitsubishi in front of us.

We were handed walky talkies so we could all keep in contact with each other and hear Simon's advice when needed.

After about a mile on a reasonable track we then headed for the real fun, deep water ( it came in the doors) bends and turns, some very dramatic when I felt sure we would tip over! Steep hills and hair raising drops. We even passed a broken tree caused by Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame.

At a half way point I handed my camera to the guy behind us to get some rear view shots of the car.

The car now looks well and truly dirty with tide marks on the doors from the deep water.

A quick stop for a bite to eat in Tewksbury and we arrived home late afternoon pleased with a great fun weekend.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Eastnor Castle

Well it is official.... We are completely mad!
We delayed leaving home early this morning as it was pouring with rain, but by 11am it did not look like it would ever stop, so we set off for Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, almost in Wales.
It rained cats and dogs all the way and when we arrived the Land Rover show was a sea of mud.
I put my Wellies on and raincoat and we trekked around the stands, everyone looked fed up and very wet, many people camp or caravan at the show. I doubt the traders were doing much trade.

While Chris bought yet another gadget for his LR, I wandered along and bought two pairs of pink gardening gloves at £1 each.  He then went off to see a friend and I trudged back through the ankle deep mud to the car.

We have one night booked at The Days Inn as it was all we could get, but the room is nice and clean and does not seem too noisy.  After a quick cuppa we visited the local Morrison's for some excellent fish and chips.

Tomorrow we return to the show ground to go off roading, I dread to think what state we will be in with all the mud everywhere.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The cooking day

At 8.30am yesterday I had a home delivery from Waitrose. They had some really good deals on and I took advantage of them buying amongst other things 6 packs of mince and three chickens for £28.
I set to work and using items from my store cupboard made packs of meals for two for the freezer.
It was very hot in my little kitchen with the microwave and oven going full blast but I tired to use as much of the free solar panel electricity as I could.
12.30pm almost dead on my feet, I had SEVEN spaghetti sauce meals, TWO cottage pie meals, SIX chicken meals for the freezer plus a cooked chicken to last us the next couple of days for dinners and sandwiches.
After a quick lunch ( chicken sandwich!) I decided to put my feet up for half an hour, two hours later I woke up! So much for my idea of having a sewing afternoon.

The evening was spent at Hamtune quilters where we were entertained by Rosalind and her stories of fabric in East Africa. It was a wonderful evening and most informative.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Christmas Lap quilt and cushionSeven machine Embroidery

At last I have sewn the binding onto the lap quilt and buttons onto the cushion that I made from seven UFO Christmas machine embroidery blocks. I used the quilt-as-you-go method to join the blocks and put piping around the cushion. I think this will make a nice Christmas gift for someone.
Seven machine embroidery blocks
made into a lap quilt and cushion

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Week 1 prepping challenge

Having decided to take part in Patchwork Times challenge of being prepared this is a summery of my first week.  On Monday I forgot the challenge and went shopping [ see previous post] but the rest of the week I have not spent a penny on buying food, even though we have run out of eggs and bananas!
The challenge has really made me think about what we eat and buy.
I am now looking forward to Judy's next week challenge.

I have decided to only blog about this once a week, so have moved the following blog post..

I have been re-stocking my food [cans] storage that got very depleted when I was recovering from my knee surgery and did not want to think about food shopping. Sometimes its not a major zombie attack we need to be ready for, illness can strike anyone and make shopping difficult.

Most of my preparing is in the form of cans of food. I would like to try bottling[canning] my own food but I need to research how to do it and wait until I can afford the equipment.

To keep my cans rotating I use an Excel sheet with the item and dates of the tins [ see photo] attached to my fridge. I only buy things we will use. Each tin that comes into the house is marked on the lid with the date in BIG letters so it is easy to read.

List of canned foods in my cupboard

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Chair

Nine or ten years ago I made Abigail a little chair. Using foam blocks I used PVA glue to stick them together and covered the whole thing with some cheap curtain fabric.
Four years later Eleanor came along and the pair of them have used that chair on every visit to see Grandma, usually throwing it downstairs rather than carrying it and generally standing on it and playing with it.
I am amazed it lasted more than a couple of months.
Earlier this week I had a blitz cleaning session upstairs and thought I would get rid of some of the things the girls no longer play with [one puzzle went out!] and the sight of the tatty chair made me think of getting rid of it, but Grandad said "you cannot do that!" so today I recovered it in Batik cloth my DIL brought back from China, I wonder if the girls will still like it?
Tatty and dirty in baby fabric

Original foam still stuck together after 10 years!

The "new" look

Machine Embroidery Day

Up early to make a packed lunch and then off to pick up my friend Penny for a trip to Bedford and BSK.
Once a month this day is always special and we have such fun using the embroidery machines and learning new ideas and patterns.
There are six machines set up in the workroom attached to the store and factory unit, where the same group of six of us have been meeting for a few years to work on BOM's or to make other items.
We completed the BOM in the morning and spent the afternoon making applique owls.
In the workroom

Block #8 BOM

ME applique owl

Morning Glory made as I had a little time left

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Prepping Challenge May week 1

Judy Laquidara  of Patchwork Times gave us all a challenge to start preparing for when times are not as good as they are now.

The May Challenge:  Monday, May 12, through Saturday, May 17

Eat all your meals, snacks . . everything you consume (including drinks) from your home.  It can be canned food, frozen food, from your garden – whatever you can find without going to the grocery store.
 The challenge started on Monday and I completely forgot. So the day started with me using a £5 off £40 shop at Morrisons, I add up what I am spending as I go around the store, and in fact spent £40.69 to get my £5 off. Most of the items were for my freezer and will not be used this week.

I am really looking forward to this challenge and hope to learn more about food storage etc.

Quick UFO fixes

A couple of the UFO's I counted in my 44 to finish were fairly quick to complete this morning. Nine bookmarks and a Postcard all needing only the outside stitching.

I have had a busy morning preparing meals for the next couple of days, Spaghetti Bolognaise and a cottage pie, plus washing and hanging out two loads. It is such a nice day that we have plenty of free electricity [ Solar panels] so I did not want to miss the "free" opportunity.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Another UFO bites the dust

Having made 6 of a set of 9 blocks into place mats [ see previous post] I managed to find the ME design and make another 3 blocks. Funny how one job leads to another! I have now made the 6 blocks into coasters lined with heat resistant wadding.
Coasters to match my table mats
Today I was up early and had my EM going full pelt by 6.30am! I signed up for a Summer swap and need to make 10 blocks 9 1/2 inch square using a design that means summer to me.
Having looked through masses of patterns I decided on a French cottage with geraniums in pots. We will be travelling across France this summer to Spain in our old Land Rover.
Whenever I join these swaps it always takes me ages to decide on a design and then another age to decide on the thread colours. I am pleased to have made the decision on this one, as each pattern takes quite a long time to sew out.
swap blocks of a French cottage
I now have a question for you all....
What can I make / do with these ten ME'd blocks they are only 4 1/2 inch square. I do not need any more bags or cushions and cannot think what I can use them for.
please leave me a message with any ideas you have

Friday, 9 May 2014

Nine orphan blocks

One of the UFO pictures is of 9 machine embroidery blocks that I felt could only be made into a cushion or bag, neither of which I need, so what to do with them?
I then had a 'light bulb' moment and thought maybe I could use some new table mats, I have lots of the heat resistant wadding and an idea was born.

At the same time as this idea came to me I had been shown a different way of attaching a binding without any hand sewing, so I would practise this new [to me] method on my table mats.

Binding Method: Cut strips of white fabric 1 3/4 inch wide, and red fabric 1 1/2 inch wide. Join them into a long strip and press the 1/4 inch seam towards the red fabric. Fold in half and press.
Attach the binding to the back of the place mats bring to the front and machine where the white meets the red... brilliant it worked a treat.

To make the mats more versatile I used Christmas fabric on the backs. I still have three blocks and may make another three and turn them into coasters if I can find the EM pattern I used.
Six place mats finished

Reverse ready for Christmas!

Original orphan blocks

Binding method

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Video of the road trip

For some reason I cannot get the other videos to work on my blog!

A day in the life of a Land Rover

After a nice restful day yesterday, which was spent with my friend Penny sewing, today could not have been more different.
We set off from home about 9am to have a day of Off Roading on the Byways of Northamptonshire, starting near Thrapston.
I Usually open and close a mass of gates so thought I would photograph them all, but we did not pass through many so I added in a photo of Fotheringhay Church, the whole village is most impressive and well know for it's castle. 
Fotheringhay Castle  was probably founded around 1100 by Simon de Senlis, Earl of Northampton. In 1113, possession passed to Prince David of Scotland when he married Simon's widow. The castle then descended with the Scottish princes until the early 13th century when it was confiscated by King John of England.
Later Henry III took it under his control; Fotheringhay remained in royal hands until the reign of Edward II.
It was a favoured residence of the Dukes of York, and King Richard III was born here in 1452.
It was also the final place of imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was tried and executed in the castle in 1587.
One stretch of Byway is really rough so I attempted to video it [ in three parts!] it was like going to the Chiropractor for the roughest of treatments! Plus some parts were so narrow the car added to its scratched look.
All in all a great fun day even though I'm all shook up.
Really difficult to open!

Chris opened this one

Chains and hooks

Fotherinhay Church

A very wide gate

Scratched paintwork

This was too difficult for me to close

The last gate

Monday, 5 May 2014

Chris up the ladder

Yesterday [ I seem to always be starting my blog with those words! ] was a nice sunny day so Chris decided to clean the gutters, sofits and front cladding boards on the house, a long over due job.
This is a big job and hard on the legs climbing the ladder so many times to reach everything. Each time he reached to clean he seemed to get soaked but did not seem  to mind.
I spent the morning organising a Murder Mystery for a Relief Society Church meeting next month.
A quick sandwich lunch and I went off to Church, our church has so many members we have to split into two groups and this year is our turn for the afternoon meeting.
Chris continued with the cleaning so when I arrived home the house looked like new again, well done Chris.

Biopsy, bruises and a block finish

Thursday I went into hospital at 10.30 for my lung biopsy, the staff could not have been nicer and put me at ease. The procedure meant lying...