Saturday, 30 May 2020

Let there be Light

I struggle with the lighting where my embroidery machine lives, and I hate to move it. A bit of research and I found strip lighting for a sewing machine, well I guess you could use it for other things too.
Amazon Prime to the rescue, they delivered it the day after I purchased it, Two for less than £10.
The blue tape peels off and the light is then stuck to the inside of the machine. 
Before

After.

It does not show too well in the photos but it has made a huge difference to being able to see where to line up the 
Machine embroidery letters I am working on for a baby quilt.

Some times its the little things in life that make all the difference.




Friday, 29 May 2020

I’m on a roll!!

Yesterday I needed to make bread and decided instead of two loaves I would use half the dough and make rolls.
No two are the same size or shape... I would not win The Bake Off, but they turned out reasonable well, and we had two of the smaller ones each for tea.
Today we will have Hot Dogs with the rest of them for lunch.

My plan to fill an empty wall space with mini quilts is jogging along.
The one with the boats on was made on a residential workshop in Leicestershire many years ago.
The very small one is the only one I have not made, it was bought in an Amish shop in Ohio.
The quilt just above Teddy who was also hand made by me [on a Belgian workshop] is made with half inch 9 patch squares and fussy cut animal prints.
I don’t remember when or where I made the centre mini quilt.
Ocean Scene and the flower block are this months makes, see previous blog posts.

Now I am eagerly awaiting for a book to arrive from the USA published by Laundry Basket Quilts. I think it has patterns for about 30 mini quilts... that should fill the wall if I make them all.

One of my IAM group sent me a picture of bluebells she had picked in her garden to cheer me up in this pandemic ‘stay at home’ time, I liked it so much I am using it as a screen saver... thanks Maureen. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Day 75

Day 75 of staying home, so time to celebrate, we are still well, have enough food and keeping busy.

OK I wish things could be different and we could pop to the shops when we need something, wander around Supermarkets food shopping, instead of having everything choosen from a picture on a screen and delivered to our front door step.  Most of all I wish we could see the family and our friends, attend workshops and meetings, plus of course be able to go to Church and on holiday.

KFC has just started offering a delivery only service, so I ordered a take away which was promptly delivered and went down a treat. This is the first time I can actually remember ordering a take away, we would normally just drive and collect our food.  It was so easy I may do it again next week.

A large KFC bag of chicken and chips left on the doorstep, no physical contact, thank you.


Monday, 25 May 2020

Ocean Scene

Longing to see the sea, and unable to use my sewing machine for long, I looked for an embroidery machine project as this does not involve using a pedal and causing me pain in my side.
I found the perfect pattern on Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery, Ocean Scene hanger/runner.

As I am working on filling a space on my wall with miniature quilts I decided to work on the smallest size 5x7 hoop.  There are five panels to sew out using the appliqué method before stitching the fancy stitches... all this is done in the hoop. Luckily I have lots of blue fabric in my stash and it was fun choosing the colours. When all five panels are sewn out 75170 !!! Stitches in total, it is a small job to sew them together on my ordinary machine, and I am getting better at using my left foot on the pedal.

The first hooping panel, four more to go.

Next to the pond I can dream it is the beach and the waves are pounding on the shore.

Like most of us I have been feeling a bit down with day 74 of staying home and no end in sight, so a change of craft is a good tonic.

I really enjoyed sewing this design and may do another. I am thinking it would look good with a golden sunset, what do you think?

I love to hear from you and All comments are read by me before they appear on the blog.


Friday, 22 May 2020

The Ups and Downs of a day

As mention in my last post, the sewing machining really caused me so much pain which got worse as the day went on. However with my left foot I managed to make a small quilt for my ‘tiny’ collection. 
I also made a couple of loaves.

The rest of the day was spent either sitting by the pond or just listening to Stephen Fry’ Mythos reading on an audiobook.
Think this is a Wagtail, I really need to learn the names of the birds in my garden.

Two, there were four before I took the photo, frogs having a party.



A Blackbird drinking from the bird bath.

Chris was suddenly busy with controlling people going out doing Welfare Checks and I did not see him until Ten O’clock, usually the evening are fairly quiet for the 4x4 rescue service.

Surprise early evening Richard turned up with Eleanor, they walked down the side of the house and we sat in the garden 6ft apart. It is the first time I have seen either of my granddaughters for 3 months, I so wanted to give her a hug, but could not because of staying safe. They were only here about 1/2 an hour but I had happy tears when they left, it so cheered me up.
Richard and Eleanor 6ft away.

The evening Clapping for the NHS and other much needed workers ended my evening at 8pm, before watching TV and bed.

Thank you for the comments I much appreciate.
Please note they are all read before appearing on my blog.






Thursday, 21 May 2020

Thursday

Clapping Day so must be Thursday, the days roll by in a blur.

Decided to do some machining this morning on a miniature quilt I want to make, but the pain in my side is just too bad when I use my machine, so tried to use my left foot on the pedal instead..  it is so difficult and frustrating using the wrong foot!  Guess I just need to keep hand sewing.

The Flags came out yesterday and they are a picture.

Such a delicate flower.

Talking of ponds we had a visitor yesterday a snake ! Half scared me to death. We think it is a grass snake about 15 inches long. Tried to catch it but was not successful, so guess it’s still in the garden. I hope it decides it would prefer to live somewhere else. Needless to say I did not have my camera with me as it swam across the pond.



Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Labyrinth Quilt

The last couple of days I have spent some time in the New Summer House sewing down the binding on my Labyrinth quilt. This is not my favourite job but I prefer the hand finish to a machine finish.

The weather has been wonderful and as long as I have a shady place to sit, either near the pond watching the fish and newts plus the hundreds of tadpoles, or sitting in the Summer House I am happy.  Chris is the sunbather and likes nothing more than lying in full sun listening to music on his head phones.

I took my supplies and a drink to the summer house and worked on my quilt listening to an audiotape from our local library, they have a free service and I have enjoyed a number of books. I am listening to Stephen Fry’s book Mythos read by Stephen himself. I find his voice so nice to listen to, and have always loved the stories of Greek Mythology. I really admire the work that must have gone into writing this book.


The backing of the Labyrinth quilt, made from fabric found in my cupboard! 
Still a lot of decorating to do in the Summer House, but it will have to wait until we can venture out again safely.
The carpet from the old summer house almost fits and will do for now.



Difficult to get a good photo, so I hung it on my washing line.
The Long arm quilting design is also called Labyrinth, thank you Janie.

Considering I only started this quilt at the start of Lockdown and had to wait for the fabric ‘Dimples’ to arrive and then after sewing it together arrange for my son to take it to the longarm quilter and someone else to pick it up... it probably is one of the quickest quilts I have ever made.

I now want to work on miniature quilts, no more large ones!


Sunday, 17 May 2020

Bread

Another successful bread making session. I use a slightly adapted recipe called Amish White Bread. I cut the sugar content in half and the first loaves i made were too sweet for us. I now have the recipe exacted as we like it, so I even went as far as to laminate the page.

After the yeast has started bubbling I place it and the flour in my Kenwood mixer, which must be 40 plus years old bought second hand from a friend, who is in fact on her second or third mixer since she sold it to me.  Next it is left on the windowsill in the sun for less than an hour to rise, looks like something from Quatermast, remember that programme ? I always watched from behind the sofa !!

I then knock it back by hand and put it in two tins, leave half an hour and then into the oven for exactly 30 mins with two large ice cubes in the bottom for steam.
Bingo two perfect loaves, one to eat now and one to freeze.
.

Sliced ready for tea time. I need to perfect my slicing as every slice comes out a different size even though I use an electric knife.
I usually get Chris to slice the whole loaf and then it’s stored in the Bread Bag.

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Saturday, 16 May 2020

Early morning walk

8.30am and time for a walk to the post box, important to remember friends birthdays, even if I am running out of birthday cards!
While putting on my trainers I admired my tulips, every week I can get a food delivery I order a bunch of their cheapest flowers, the past three weeks it has been tulips for £2.50 from Sainsbury or Tesco [cannot remember which], previously it was daffodils. Each week the tulips have been a different colour, love these dark purple bunch that arrived 4 days ago.

It’s quite nice out this morning, the extremely cold wind seems to have died down a bit, and even though its uphill I make it to the post box. Asthma and being unfit and overweight make going up even the smallest incline a struggle. We walk around the estate admiring other peoples gardens.
Audrey your birthday card is on its way.

Back home I water my new plants that were delivered yesterday, they will make a nice display under the ugly Laurel tree, which we do not want to remove as it fills in the edge of the garden and stops people walking all over it.  Maybe when we get back to normal I will have another plan for it.
Geraniums, pelargoniums and Petunias that will hopefully cover the space in flowers and brighten up a dull area.

Now its time for a hot chocolate.

Love to hear your comments, all are read by me before posting to the blog to stop scammers.







Friday, 15 May 2020

Butterflies and days

Last Saturday was Sunday and yesterday was Wednesday but today is Friday !! Am I loosing it or have I got lockdown fever ?
Here we are half way through May and still no end to the Covid 19 in sight.

Most of the time I enjoy being at home and working on my crafts and the garden, but sometimes it all becomes too much, but I think it is the same for everyone.  A new area of garden was cleared and dug over by Chris and I would love to just get in my car and go buy plants but I cannot. A little research on Market Place and someone local is selling just what I want, she will deliver them today and I’ll leave the money in an envelope for her... no actual contact.

My son took my Labyrinth quilt to the longarmer [is that a word?] as he drives near her home on his way home from work, and yesterday one of the guys delivering food parcels with the 4x4 rescue service was near enough to be able to pick it up for me.  I have the binding cut ready so now the two just need to get together and then it will be another finish.

To continue decorating the new Summer House I am thinking of attaching butterflies to the walls, and made a couple of samples on my embroidery machine to see what I think. What do you think?
Two are 3D and one was a free bonus ME pattern I received this week.
It has been years since I made the 3D butterflies, and was a real struggle remembering how to make them. Luckily I could look through old blog posts and see I made a quilt for one of the girls and attached  a selection of 3D butterflies.

Keep safe, stay in everyone and keep well.
If you have time to leave me a comment I would love to hear from you.


Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Day 62 of Stay at home

The weeks and days roll by in a blur, if it was not for the food deliveries there would be nothing on the calender.
I really got out of sync last week, and for probably the first time I did a load of washing on Sunday, thinking it was Saturday. I never wash on Sunday the Lords day! I hope He will forgive me.
Most days I can stay upbeat but sometimes it is hard to see an end to this virus and normality returning.

Today started out well, with an early morning walk around the cemetery, it is nice that people say ‘good morning’ where once no one spoke.

The company refunding us on the RV hire from our cancelled Route 66 trip have said the refund is going in the bank today. It seems to have taken an age, but so nice to know we are getting it, now if the insurance and British Airways [I am going through the complaint procedure with them] will do the same we will be really happy bunnies.

Progress is being made on my La Passion 1/2 inch hexagon quilt.
In the background small 1 1/2 inch squares are having freezer paper ironed on to them.
Next box contains shapes ready to tack into shape.
The other box contains plain squares cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces ready for the freezer paper treatment
My Fiskars cutter is in action cutting the hexies  from the freezer paper strips.
It’s all go at the moment in the Happy Room.

We like to eat our main meal midday, while the Solar panels give us free electricity, and to be honest it gets the cooking over and done with !
We have fallen into the routine of having a game of UpWord after the meal. This game has not seen the light of day for years but we both enjoy it.


You can tell how old it is by the Midland Bank, which no longer exists, £20 Bronze cloth money bag that holds the UpWord tiles.

Stay safe everyone and if you find the time I love reading the comments, which are all read by me before posting on the blog.




Saturday, 9 May 2020

Bunting for the Summer House

The last piece of the bunting has been sewn out on my embroidery machine, I now need to back them and attach a ribbon string.
I have so enjoyed making them and it has certainly taken my mind off the worries of the Covid 19. 





Friday, 8 May 2020

VE Day

My small contribution to VE Day

Churchill waving to the crowds as the treaty between Germany and Britain is signed, bringing an end to WW2.


Thursday, 7 May 2020

May IAM in lockdown

Today should have been our IAM craft group meeting, where eight of us get together to sew, knit, crochet, make lace etc.etc..  Always a fun day full of chat and laughs.  This May IAM day is a lot different as we are all of a certain age and in lockdown unable to meet up.

Everyone takes it in turn to bring a nice dessert, so I have made a lemon drizzle cake and will have a piece with my lunch.

My project for the day is to make a banner for my new Summer House on my embroidery machine.
I started yesterday and now my Happy Room looks like a craft bomb has hit it... threads everywhere, fabric busy in the Brother embroidery machine and general mayhem everywhere.
I am making them in a long row, to save fabric, and they will be cut into banner shape and backed before attaching to a long bias binding strip.
Four triangles ready for cutting out and backing.

Some of my embroidery threads, yes I have lots more in the cupboards!

I think teddy sitting on his chair is wondering what all the noise is about. 
Banner number six being sewn out.


Wednesday, 6 May 2020

The new Summer House

The new Summer House fitters arrived yesterday and quickly went to work.
Other than leaving them a drink on the garden table we had no contact, as we are still self isolating.
Busy busy they soon had the panels sorted.
Just look at that lovely blue sky.
In no time at all they were finished and hardly any damage to my plants.
Chris set too later in the day and put Sadolin on the side panels, he had already painted the back and around the windows, where it would be difficult to paint once erected. He still has the front to paint and then inside.

Time to research blinds for the windows, flooring and a colour scheme. I already had a new [to me] leather chair.
My new chair for the Summer House, bought on Marketplace for £20 and delivered to my front door.
I took it in cleaned it with antibacterial wipes and washed my hands. I love it and such a bargain.






Tuesday, 5 May 2020

The Labyrinth

My Labyrinth top is finished, and as it measures 84 x 84 inches I have decided to have it long arm quilted.

A search of my stash and I have found enough [surprise surprise !] fabric for the backing, not sure I have enough wadding, so hopefully the longarmer [is that a word?] has some for sale.

It is really difficult to get a good photo as today although lovely and bright and sunny is very windy, plus Chris’s arms are not long enough! Maybe I can get a better photo when it has been quilted.



Standing on the new summer house base but not tall enough.

Arms not wide enough.

This is such a different colour for me, I rarely use yellow in anything, what do you think?
Please leave a comment, I love to hear from you.


Saturday, 2 May 2020

Opening a bakery!

Opps I think I made a bit of a mistake. 
I could not get bread flour anywhere, so thought Amazon might be the answer and ordered a bag, it arrived yesterday all 16 kilos of it! I could hardly lift it. Maybe I was confused by the metric weight, now we have left the EU can we go back to lbs and ounces please?

Another item delivered was a labelling machine, I cannot wait to give all my Happy Room containers nice labels and do away with the sticky notes that curl at the edges.
Some of the extra coloured label cartridges were broken but Amazon refunded me the whole set overnight.





Friday, 1 May 2020

May 1st

We continue to find things to do while staying home, and in the past week I had a delivery of plug plants. Of course they arrived on the wettest day this week, so a lot of the planting was done in the kitchen!
72 tiny plug plants needing some tender loving care. The parcel had been in the post for 5 days so I am amazed there are only two casualties.
I gave them a good soak before planting them in small flower pots and putting them in my new mini greenhouse.
I am expecting great things and a garden full of colour !

My mini greenhouse is now bursting at the seams, with runner beans, courgette, ginger and my new flower plants.

Another project was to use 25 copper leaves made for me years ago by a friend. I strung them on garden twine and hung them on two black metal shepherds hooks. As I only have two of these hooks they are in pairs and tinkle in the wind. When I next place an Amazon order I’ll get two more.
I am hoping they will be a deterrent to the heron that likes to dine on my fish occasionally, plus they look so nice glistening in the sunshine.
My planters would normally be full of colour by now, but it has been impossible to buy plants until recently.




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...