Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Rats and Sheep

This is going tobe a short blog as I'm stealing time from cleaning the house before the Christmas onslaughter of family and friends, which I am actually looking forward to. No photos I'm afraid I'll post them next time.

Rats - this is Mum's problem, her flat backs onto a beck and there are rats living along the bankside. Unfortunately for Mum they have found their way into her flat and attached her christmas presents. She got up yesterday to find wrapping paper torn up and scattered around her living room. It appears that rats like chocolate!! they ate the whole box. I managed to get the pest controller out and he dealt with the pests. It appeared they were coming in through the holes in her wall where a gas boiler had been installed. The holes are now no more and hopefully Mum won't be troubled with them any more.

As for sheep - have you every been trapped in a car with two men discussing why sheep appear to stand straight even on a hillside. The theories ranged from strategic holes in the ground to hydraulic legs to spring loaded wellies. Are all men like this when they get together or is it just my luck to have creative conversationalists?

Keith and I are off to Spain on Sunday for the New Year so this might be my last blog of 2008. In case it is I wish everyone a really great festive season and a very creative 2009/.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Last of the Challenges

This is the final block of the 100 Stitches challenge on Stitchinfingers group. Actually its a couple of days short of the 100 but some of the seam treatments had more than one border on the ten blocks there are well over 100 stitches and I don't particularly like the last couple of days treatment. Next step, but not until after the new year, is to make them into a wallhanging. I'll post a photo when its completed.

Its been a busy but quiet week, not a lot of sewing, lots of nursing as number two son and dh have both come down with the dreaded lurgy. My neck is stiff and my throat sore so I guess I'm going to be next.
So far I've made ten fsl ornaments I've had the designs quite some time and believe they are from Embroidery Library - 3D ornaments. Most have gone to their new home but four are left, these will leave me tomorrow when we do a 'card delivery run'. In case you can't tell they are two baubles, one bell and a small snowman. The ones that got away before I took a piccy are stars and angels. One of the angles was for Keith who wanted a blue one to match his car, its dangling from his driving mirror. Not entirely sure that's not a health and safety issue but he won't have it moved.
I've not entered into many swaps for this month as I wanted some time to do some sewing for myself and I've started making a new cushion cover using Laurel Burch holiday designs. I made one some time ago for an exhibition held by our local quilters guild at Belsay Hall. That one also had Laurel Burch designs "fantastic felines". I need to replace it as its looking a bit worse for wear now.
Not yet finished my Christmas shopping but hope to get it done this weekend. One thing I have done is enrol on a 5 day workshop with Pat Archibald called "Creative Journey". Its a course looking at colour, mood, atmosphere and symbolism relating to landscape. Its not until May but I'm looking forward to it already. The course is run from the Studio of Quiltworks where incidentally you can also buy Elmer's glue.
I'm off to bed now with a hot drink and some paracetamol can't possibly be ill for Christmas.

Monday, 15 December 2008

More whitework

I will be rejoicing when the postman finally delivers my glasses which I left behind in the hotel when we went to Lincoln last weekend. Boy do I miss them. At the moment I'm 'making do' with my driving glasses and my close work glasses but my eyes are aching so not a lot of sewing has been going on. At last I managed to get some photos of my December journal page for the Contemporary Quilt group challenge. December's theme is based on the Andy Williams song "White Christmas" in particularly the line "tree tops glisten and children listen". I made the base the same way as I made the cards shown in the last post this time the thread I used to quilt was a multicoloured metallic one. Top picture is a detail of the JP.
This is the whole journal page, velvet pontsettia ribbon, fsl lace trees, beads, snowflake brads and glitter on the tree tops. This is the last one I've now completed the 2008 challenge and each one is based on a colour in a song.
We decided to update our old tv and bought a flat screen HD one that fits on the wall. You would not believe the amount of upheaval it caused or the number of spiders I had to evict. All the furniture had to be moved (hence the finding of the cobwebs, spiders, bits of last years xmas decorations - you get the picture) so that we could all see the tv from its new position on the wall. I'm worn out!!! and the whole thing is a bit overwhelming at the moment it looks so big but I'm sure I'll get used to it. We did have to throw some stuff out and the room does look larger so perhaps I'll go and watch it for a bit.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Catching my breatheat last

At last I'm beginning to catch my breath again. We seem to have been in a whirlwind of official documentation following Keith's redundancy and his decision to take early retirement. The trip to Lincoln gave us some breathing time and we came back ready to start again. Lincoln was beautiful the sun seemed to highlight the cathedral and we got marvellous views from whichever way we to walk. The downside was it was bitterly cold, cold enough to nip the tops off my ears. To crown everything I left my glasses in the hotel and didn't realise until we were almost in Lincoln. Luckily the hotel found them and said they'd send them on, so far though there's no sign of them. I must ring the hotel tomorrow to find out whether they have actually sent them. In the meantime my middle and long vision is being dealt with by my driving glasses and reading by my close work glasses. I've gone mad with white, I made a very large background piece and was determined to use it all. So far I've made several fabric postcards from the fabric - the pontsettia bordern ones are for the private swap group.
I also made an arch, my December arch for Gabriela. This is the last one in the year long challenge on the TextileChallenge site I've really enjoyed this challenge and shall miss making arches but I'm sure I'll enjoy next years just as much.
The background is a layered one consisting of wadding, layers of threads, silver gilt flakes topped with crystal organza. The whole thing was then randomly fme'd. I made some free standing lace bells from an Embroidery Library design and stitched these individually onto a ribbon. Finally I added brads, buttons and glitter.

These three designs were made in the same manner as those above but I've added sequins and beads to the background. The cards are for family and friends - I've still got quite a lot to finish but hope to get them in the post before the weekend.
I've finished my December Journal Page for the Contemporary Quilt subgroup of the Quilters Guild - guess what colour it is? Correct 'White' but I haven't photographed it yet as the light has been so bad. Unlike the arch and the cards I cannot put the JP on the scanner as its too big. I hope to get one soon and when I do I'll post a photo.
My Secret Santa present is almost ready, this again is for the TextileChallenge group but I can't say too much about this at the moment.
I've almost finished the 100 Stitches challenge, we're up to Day 97 on the challenge and I'm only two days behind. I'm not doing quite so well with the TAST challenge but I will get there.
I haven't seen my Mum for a week and I feel I've neglected her a bit. This is mainly due to Keith's news knocking the stuffing out of us and our weekend away. She's okay about it but still at her age and at this time of the year she feels a bit down without company. Jan my mil is fine since her op last month she's been painfree and is quite happy walking up and down the halls of her home smiling and singing. She even seems to remember we're family now and then.
It's getting late now and my eyes are getting tired using these glasses so I'll shut up for a while.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Mixed blessings

No photos again I'm afraid the light isn't good enough to take any tonight. I've managed to get my December Journal Page finished and a set of four postcards for private swap. These have taken my mind off the news that Keith has been made redundant.

He it was a bit of a shock even though he half expected it. His firm is not doing too well at present with a large downturn in orders due to the credit crunch. They have been making people redundant for a while now, mainly last in first out. Keith has mixed feelings about it, he isn't too unhappy as he's been considering taking early retirement but he'll miss his colleagues. It is a bit of a mixed blessing - now he'll have more time to finish the cupboard he's been making me for eons.

Anyway we're off to Lincoln tomorrow for the weekend, we're going to the Christmas Market there so I'll post photos when I get back.

Monday, 1 December 2008

100 Stitches again

I got really bored trying to scan in each day's seam treatment and gave up I think somewhere around the half way mark. The following two blocks contain the seam treatments from Day 72 up to Day 89 plus a few extra. I've started block 10 and have gone far as Day 92 and will put in another couple of stitches once I've finished this blog as its almost curfew time. Block 8 completed, last time I showed this block it still has a few rounds to go.
Block 9 I think I'll have around 12 blocks done when the challenge is completed, which should be before Christmas. When I've finished the challenge I'm going to back each piece with iron-on vilene stabiliser and make a wallhanging with some of the blocks.

I made this Christmas coasters because I wanted something fun and quick to make. As these are commercial designs I could just pop the appropriate fabric under the needle and enjoy seeing them come to life. Keith's already bagged the Santa so mine is the snowman.
Keith can now drive and that's official yehhhhh!!! He still can't bend and twist much and he still has sciatic type pain, which he's been told may take some time to ease. However he feels as though he's on the mend because he can start doing normal jobs again. I admit to feeling a little ambiguous about his return to driving, although I've always preferred to be driven I have to admit to actually beginning to enjoy it again.