Saturday, 26 December 2009

Happy Christmas snowmates

This Christmas has been memorable because of the amount of snow we've had. It is beginning to go now but I thought we weren't going to get to Walworth Castle for our Christmas lunch but we did. We went out on Christmas eve for a meal with friends and I thought they would need to roll me home I was so full. Christmas day meal though was with the family and we thoroughly enjoyed that too. I must have put on pounds - good job the sales are on so I can go and buy some trousers that fit round the waist!! Christ and Cindy sent me these two cards based on the poem theme, not quite a poem but close enough and very seasonal.

I hope santa was kind to everyone and you got lots of lovely gifts. I must have been very good this year I not only got a watch, pandora bracelet and a new ipod but lots of lovely books and a couple of games for my DS so lots to keep me amused in the days to come.
I had every intension of give the house a good clean but we seem to have had so many people popping in and out over the last few days I decided it wasn't worth the trouble. I'd much rather have the company.
Keith and I both missed our Mum's this year but we wished them a happy Christmas at midnight on Christmas Eve,
Three (well more like two and a half) sleeps before we leave for Austria. Still not sure what I'm taking but I always have this problem and in the end I just throw in whatever I can get it. It always works out that I've taken far too much.
Yesterday was the last of the Advent Swaps, not had time to take photos of the last two the light has been so bad and its very difficult to scan an empty tin.
It struck me tonight that I should have done some snow dyeing so tomorrow if there is enough clean snow left I might just give it a go, if I can remember how.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

More advent swaps

The Advent Swap is coming to a close now, only two days and it will be Christmas Day and four days after that Keith and I will be on our way to Austria for New Year. Not sure what 2010 will bring but we both look forward to a fresh start, 2009 has been a difficult year for our family.
In the meantime I want to catch up with the Advent Swaps: Day19 brought emery boards with a picture of a ballet dancer on the front. It was difficult to make out what the picture was at first, we thought it was mountains!! on turning them sideways though the true picture emerged. I'm always short of emery boards so they'll come in handy.
Day 20 is a magnetic fridge notebook and pen, my old one is getting a bit bare so this also is a timely gift.

Day 21 brought this lovely coaster and mug warmer. I need to adjust the mug warmer a bit as our mugs are slightly shallower than the warmer.

Day 22 and a new diary for 2010, this one is useful as it also has an address book and spare note pad.

Today's gift is a small metal handbag picture frame with a photo of Iris Joy. It's lovely to put a face to the lady I've been swapping with.
I had a hour to pass this afternoon between finishing the ironing and rewashing the kitchen floor (Buster has feet that hold the mud!!). I decided to do a bit of clearing out of some of my stuff and came across these quilted blocks I did years ago. They are machine embroidery blocks done when I first bought my Brother Galaxie several years ago. I had completely forgot them but decided to sew some together to make a cushion. Unfortunately only four were the same size so I'll need to put my thinking cap on to finish the cushion.

These are two more blocks but they are sewn in a different colour and slightly heavier thread than those above so wouldn't look right together.

I suppose I could always turn them into coasters.
We're going out to dinner tomorrow night with friends and family. My brother and his wife were due to go to New York for Christmas but their flight from Newcastle airport was cancelled at the last minute. Their tour company did try very hard to get them to Heathrow in time for their flight but without avail. They are very disappointed but at least they will get the total amount of their tour back so that at least is something. Just hope we don't have similar problems next week.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Matty's present

My grandson Matthew and his girlfriend called this evening to leave me a present. His picture is below:
They'd been making a snowman for Matty's young brothers and decided to leave me a minature one as well - he's about 9" high and cute. We've had quite a bit of snow over the last 24 hours and just as Keith had shovelled it off the path we are expecting more so I guess we might loose Mr Snowman if it gets too high but at least he won't melt.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Poorly paws is now pesky paws!!

Have you ever tried taking a dog for a walk in the rain and snow when he does not want to go? He suddenly developed a limp, sad look, shivered and ran for home!! When we got back (all of ten minutes later) he jumped around the house with a look on his face that very clearly said "fooled yer!!". He's been full of beans all day but absolutely refuses to go outside for any longer than it takes to relieve himself. Our poorly paws has become a pesky paws as he's got so much energy he's plagueing us to death.

This month's challenge for the private group was to create a postcard based on a favourite childhood poem. I searched long and hard for this one as I had so many of them. The Night Mail by WHAuden with its trainlike meter, Alfred Noyes "The Highwayman" who came riding up to the old inn door or Walter dela Mare's "The Listeners" that scared me when I tried to learn it in bed in the dark. But in the end I decided on Lewis Carroll's "Father William" because as a child it made me laugh.
Jennifer fell in love with her poem when visiting the National Garden Museum. It's "My Garden Gate" by anon (C1875). I admit I'd not heard of this one but Jennifer sent me a copy of the poem and it's very relevant today. The garden gate is seen as shutting all the bewildering politics of life out and keeping the peace within.
Doreen's poem was another one I'd not heard but think I would have loved if I'd heard it as a child. Memories of Childhood (don't know who wrote it must look it up) paints a picture of neighbours gathering to chat and taking it in turn to make the tea and bring out the biscuits.
It's snowing hard here and just to prove me wrong Sy andJulie have just brought in a very wet but happy dog covered in the stuff!!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Poorly paws and pressies

I've been very remiss this week in showing the advent swap goodies I've received but we are going to blame it on the dog. But here they are, there are several bags, shopping, hot wheat and lavender bag (although I had to throw the lavender away as it made me sneeze and cough). I'm fine with the flowers in the garden but dried it becomes an irritant. Still Joy wasn't to know that and I do love the smell. I also recieved a lovely little scissor angel which has already had some use;a glass ornament and I think a stoneware vase.

The postman also brought me three stars, one of which was meant for another person so I shall have to part with it. It will go to Maureen who is its rightful owner tomorrow.

The stars are part of the 'star' swap on MixedMedia-atc group and they are really more beautiful in 'the flesh' than in the photo.

A couple of friends are having a hard time with stress at the moment so I decided to make them a 'Dammit Doll' each. I made one of these when I was working and it got a lot of use. They are very easy to use, lots of examples on the web. I just used a cookie cutter for the basic shape, sewed a sad face on them and a few strands of hair, stuffed them and they are ready to whack when you feel the need to shout 'dammit!!!' Try making one they are fun and effective.

On Sunday we went to Castle Howard, one of the UK's grand houses. The house was all dressed up for Christmas and they were wood fires burning in all the rooms. The atmosphere was wonderful, warm, welcoming and beautiful.
There were several trees throughout the house, all decorated by the Howard family.

Someof the baubles looked good enough to eat. What helped to make it festive was the music, in several rooms small ensembles of musicians were playing carols or Christmas music. The music ranged from jazz to choral to brass. We came home tired but happy and beginning to actually feel as though Christmas is upon us.
Now for the poorly paws bit - Buster has been in the wars. First his arthritic hind quarters have been playing him up due to the cold weather. We had no sooner got medication from the vet for this when he split one of his nails and it had to be removed. We had one very cross, very sore pooch for a few days but he's well on the mend now and beginning to enjoy his romps in the woods again.
New of the errant sewing machine. Bernina finally agreed the machine was faulty and gave me a new one. So far everything seems okay, although I did get an error message shortly after beginning to show but when checking it was my own fault. I was using the BSR and forgot to reduce the foot pressure. I must admit quilting is easy with the BSR but I find lettering a pain and its much easier just to digitise the text than use the, what I feel, is a rather cumbersom way of adding lettering to whatever you are sewing. But there is probably an easier way to do it.
I don't really have much time at the moment to play with it as it gets closer to the big day. Still trying to chase the dust bunnies out of the house but feel sorry for them as its so cold outside.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Advent days 4 to 7

Day 4 of the Advent swap brought a teaspoon with a picture of a Galah bird and a boomerang. Day five a pencil box and a magnetic bookmark with an Australian flowering gum picture. Not really sewing related but certainly representative of the country of my swapper and I shall treasure them.
Days 6 and 7 presents were a hankerchief envelope and a 'gypsy' pencil case. Rather an unusual shape. The sewing on both articles is very skillful and I'm looking forward to opening tomorrow's surprise.
The last of the November "Wish you were here" cards arrived this morning from Cindy. Cindy spends part of her year in Seattle and the fabric she's used on the card is very picturesque. It
Shows various well known beauty sites and tourist attractions and the blackwork centre design of a Seattle.
I've not done a lot of sewing this week as I've been trying to get my cards in the post and do the last bits of Christmas shopping. I'm earlier than usual this time, mainly due to not having my main machine.
Now for the ongoing saga of my Bernina 830 (8 series). As a mentioned in a previous post it has gone back to Bogods in Cardif for the third time for repair. I got a phone call from Alan on Friday. I must say Alan has been very forthcoming and kept me up to date with what's happening. On Friday Alan had cracked my problem and was going to sew for a bit longer then service the machine and reset the counter. After that the 830 would be coming home. He rang today to tell me that half an hour after we spoke the machine broke down again. This time the machine is being replaced but he's decided to open the packages and test them before sending them to me. So third time lucky!!! I hope.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Advent swap goodies

My partner in the Advent Swap is Iris Joy Fechner of Australia and its obvious from Day one that she is a skilled quilter. My Day 1 gift is a bag with a large front pocket made from charm squares produced by Paperbark Woman have a look at her site. I love the aboriginal design fabrics the ones in this bag have lovely names such as 'Bush Onion' Bush Tucker, Freshwater Lifecycle and Honey ant.

Day two is a shoe bag which I will put into use when we go to Salzburg just after Christmas.Close up of the stitching on the shoe bag.In the meantime I've been using up some of my jelly roll strips to make book covers. I made six stars for the star swap on Surface Design when I should only have made two. Ah well I have a couple free if anyone wants one.