Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas Postcard Swap

I've waited until all the cards had been received before posting pictures.  This is the annual Christmas swap with BQLPC I sent my cards out without photographing them, durr.

From Alice and Sue

From Miriam and Diana

From  Jane and Jacquie

 Two from Pauline I think this may have been in error but I like them both.
From Pascale a strippy tree and from Janet a candle

Finally two lovely patchwork trees from Jan and Rosemary
I still haven't photographed the knitting bits and bobs but will do that before I send them off to the recipients. 
I unearthed the table topper I started making earlier this year and am just finishing off the binding.  Not before time either as Keith managed to get candle wax on the one we are using at the moment.  He is doing well though still gets tired easily, which I believe is very common for someone with his complaint.  He is really looking forward to Christmas and having all the family around him so we are all going to try and make it a very happy one for him.
Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and a happy, healthy, creative 2014.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Not blogged recently as not much to tell.  I've been kept extra busy making all the family Christmas cards, with his lordship's help - he sticks the stars on the trees.  Flynn is 18 months old now and a big help.  I was making quiches for our Plus4 Christmas lunch on Monday and putting baking beans in the quiches to bake them blind and he very helpfully brought his yoghurt covered raisins to add to the baking beans.  He has a bright cheeks and a runny nose as his molars are just coming through - warning he loves to bite if you put your fingers in his mouth.

Playing with Mum and Dad everything looks better from this angle.
Christmas lunch with the Plus4's was great fun and we each made a small present for one another.  This photo is a bit blurry, not sure why except perhaps I had my finger in the way.  I made the birds from Maggie Grey's pattern in Stitch magazine and Jenny made clowns.  We also got plants and covered coat hangers, can't have too many of those.  As there are only five of us it wasn't too much an effort to make a small gift for everyone.  I really enjoyed the day as it took my mind off other things. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Postcard swaps

Here is what I've been up to in between everything else.  It has kept me sane and in contact with people. 
Applique cards from Jacquie and Miriam

Mine for the three other ladies in the swap.

The next swap is Upcycling I would call it recycling but not sure what the difference is.
Top left is from Jacquie using old lace and created motifs from the paper she used to transfer the dye onto the lace.  Next is Alice who has found a novel way to use up lampshade fringing. And finally Irene who also has used old lace but I love the stitching in the middle of this one.

 These three are my answer to Upcycling/recycling.  Old transfer dyed shirt fabric, old knicker lace and beer cans with a bit of machine embroidery.  Can't miss out the embroidery.
This is from a new group I joined a few weeks back, mainly because the only swap one to one.  The group is Postcard Pizzazz and this card is from Pam Crawford.  The swap was Turquoise and Fuchsia but unfortunately I forgot to photograph/scan mine before I sent it.

Finally also for Pizzazz is my take on squares and triangles.

Monday, 25 November 2013

After the sunshine comes the storm

Today wasn't just a downpour it felt like being hit by a tidal wave.  Keith's scan results showed improvement in the lung tumours, the kidney tumour is static but the liver tumours have proved resistant to the aggressive chemotherapy and have actually grown.  The liver cancer is progressing quite rapidly and we've been told to just enjoy what time Keith has left.  This could be as much as 12 months but is more likely to be in the low months number.  

I feel swamped by the news but Keith is philosophical and determined he's going to make it to next Christmas so lets hope he's right.
This is Keith's answer to the news.

We were certain it would be better news, especially as Keith had enjoyed going to his woodturning group.

He was making a mushroom box, which is still in the boot of the car!!

He also managed to enjoy the Woodturning Show at Harrogate Show Grounds yesterday.  He went with our elder son Marc whilst Alix and I took in the Knitting & Stitching show.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Weekend report

After Keith had got the news about his cancer our sons put their heads together and decided to book a weekend cottage for the six of us.  We were to have the holiday at the end of Keith's cycle of chemotherapy.  For a while I thought we wouldn't make it, he was so ill, but we did and despite having not driven for years I took the plunge and drove us across country to Southerness on the coast of the Solway Firth.  It was a lovely bungalow the family had rented with a large living/dining area and four double bedrooms with all the necessaries.  It was a minute walk from the beach and only a five minute walk to the local pub.

Keith on his own for once, usually all the seating was occupied and the normal family 'discussions' taking place.

Marc and Sy decided to make themselves a snack.
Keith found a jigsaw and over the weekend everyone took part in putting pieces into it.  It's years since we did a family jigsaw and we all thoroughly enjoyed doing it.

Keith's working on the second jigsaw we found, I think he's got the bug and was talking about finding some we had stored away.
The coast where we were was rocky but there was sand at one end and the Southerness Lighthouse at the other end of the beach.  The main path along the top of the beach was made up of crushed seashells.  Buster had a whale of a time and had more walks along the beach between the six of us than he's had for the past year....

Did someone say walkies?
We had a lovely family break but on Monday it was time to go home again.  It was quite foggy when we woke but by the time we left it was clearing and quite sunny by the time we got to Dumfries.  Unfortunately the rest of the journey from Dumfries to Penrith was a mixture of fog, heavy rain, fast lorries with the odd spot of sun in between.  We stopped on the way back at a large Edwardian house for morning tea, which was served from a silver teapot on a silver tray complete with lace tray cloth.  It was beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed the break.  But now its time for catching up on the washing, ironing and dealing with household matters.  
Keith has really enjoyed his weekend and being with his boys and being able to have a pint with them has brought him lots of pleasure.   A weekend of happy memories to be treasured.

Friday, 1 November 2013

No I haven't forgotten you

Life has just been a bit tough lately and even tougher for the big guy - although he isn't so big now he's lost over 4 stone in weight since he started chemo.  But the good news is today he had his last cycle and he gets his comparison scans etc on the 15th November so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Good news is I have a new baby grand nephew, my niece gave birth to a bouncing baby boy last week.  They have called him Angus John, a brother for Charlotte Grace who I understand is a bit of a handful.  At the moment they are in Boston as her husband is doing research into micro surgery but are due back in the UK early in 2014.  We are all looking forward to photos.

I have done nothing at all but am feeling much more inclined to sew and knit now that Keith is finally beginning to feel a bit better so hopefully I'll have something to show next post.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Machine Stitches Swap

It's been a difficult few days, first Keith's blood count dropped to dangerous levels and he developed a sepsis rash.  He's recovered now but I was unable to do much while he was ill.  Then I got a really nasty bug on my PC and it had to be fully recovered but we are all better now.

In the meantime I've received two cards from the Machine Stitches swap, one from Alice and one from Miriam.

I finally finished my cards and these will be in the post on Monday.
My first effort was combining stitches in my embroidery unit but I gave up after the first one because of the amount of spare fabric needed to hoop it into the machine.   I wasted most of it so I decided just to use the stitches on the machine itself.

Can't seem to get a larger image, Blogger turns the photo blue but doesn't offer the other sizes. Pity as it did do it for the other photos.  Anyone else have this problem?
Anyway my second effort using the machine stitches available on my 830 sewn onto felt.  Then I sewed similar strips using white felt and black thread.  The idea was that I would sew them onto a backing in alternate colours but that didn't happen.
With the left over white felt I made interwoven cards.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

September Doll Quilt

Quilt for Francine, we decided not to go with the theme of "quilt within a quilt" but to do our own thing. Francine likes bright colours and negative spaces, just hopes she likes my "Flight Path".

Detail of Flight Path

Final two cards from the "Use it Up - Spare Cards" swap.  Love both of these Jacquie's card is the top one and is left over from a Red swap.  Janet's card is the blue one and it reminds me of a painter but the name eludes me.  I'll probably remember it at 3am....

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Use it Up swap

The theme this September for the BQLPC swap was "Use it Up - Spare Cards".  Great I though I have a few spares this should be easy.  But you know how it is, you get attached to them and I couldn't decide which ones I wanted to send.  In the end I went with the 'use it up' option and created the bottom card.  I have had to post a photo of it unbound as I posted them before I remembered I hadn't scanned them.  
The top card is from Alice and I think she has trapped scrim or something similar between plastic.  It is quite thin so could be cling film.  It is very effective.   The card below is from Jan and she has used up her scraps.  I had some spares done along similar lines but decided to keep them, now I'm pleased as it is always nice to get something different from those you have sent.
Good news at last on the Keith front.  He saw his oncologist on Monday and had a new chest xray which shows that the chemotherapy is working.  His tumour in the lung has definitely shrunk and his consultant is very pleased with the result.  Two more chemo sessions, next one on Thursday, then a fresh set of xrays and scans before they make a decision on any future treatment.  We know its inoperable and can't be cured but at least its going in the right direction.  In addition they have got Keith's pain under control and he is feeling a lot better.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Yesterday I broke the car!!!

We had a new garage door fitted on Monday and today I managed to get the car hung up on it.  Don't ask me how, I don't know.  Keith normally backs the car out of the garage but today he was extra tired and due for chemo so I said I'd do it.   I thought I was reversing straight but obviously I wasn't and we have a slight drop out of the garage onto the path.  It was at this point I came to grief.  I must have turned the wheel as the car dropped and managed to jam the car up against the garage door.  Now as I mentioned it is a new garage door, the old one being over 40 years old gave up the ghost.  This one though is just slightly narrower than the old one and I badly misjudge how far away I was from the frame.  The new door sliding mechanism sticks out about 1cm and I managed to get that 1cm piece lodged between the join where the front bumper and the wing joins.  Keith at that point decided he'd better unjam the car but in doing so managed to rip a piece out of the wing, ouch.....

Today I will be ringing round body shops to find someone who can repair it as our poor car has a bent bumper and a large hole in its wing.   Photos to follow, I daren't have another go at getting it out of the garage Sy will do that tomorrow, hopefully.  Who knows it might have to live there forever....

In the meantime I've been using my Big Shot to cut out hexagons in fabric and paper for my next doll quilt swap, the theme of which is "A quilt within a quilt".  You'll have to wait to see what I come up with.  Hmm wonder if I could make enough to cover the hole in the car wing..

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Colours of Summer

These are the Colour of Summer swap cards I've received so far.  Each very different and better in the flesh than in the photo.

From Helen

From Jan

From Miriam

From Pauline
It's been a bit hectic around here for the past couple of weeks.  We thought Keith was going to sail through his first session of chemotherapy as he was so well for a couple of days.  However the poor love has been really quite ill and we've had two emergency visits to hospital plus several GP call outs.  He has now finished the second week of chemo and has a week off before his second session starts all over again.   Naturally he is a bit apprehensive but today for the first time in two weeks he has actually had breakfast and has wandered out to his shed to look at his woodturning.  So perhaps he might have a few days of feeling well.   He has to get the second session out of the way before they will repeat his scans etc to see if the treatment is working.  After all he has been through recently I am keeping everything crossed that it has.

Sunday, 18 August 2013


I've actually done a bit of sewing.  I joined the Doll Quilt challenge as I thought this was something I could do by hand while waiting for Keith to complete his chemotherapy.  It has been very therapeutic and relaxing, which is just what I need at the moment as my asthma has been a bit of a beggar.

I've also finished a set of postcards for the BQLPC Colours of Summer swap.

 The challenge was to create a doll quilt any size from 12" square to 30" square, mine is 16.5" square.  August theme was "up to the nines" and was to include any form of 9 patch.  Mine is fairly basic and I had decided to use up some of my bigger scraps.  When I finished it reminded me of the orient so I hand quilted lines, not very good ones I'm afraid as when I was quilting it the light wasn't always the best but its on its way to my partner now.
The Colours of Summer set me a challenge, I did have any notion of what I would do until I saw a picture of a pear made up of fruit slices.  I always think this time of the year is very fruitful so picked a few fabrics and made my own fruit slices.

A quick Keith update, not sure whether I said before but the cancer has spread from his lungs to his lymph nodes, liver and kidneys so surgery and radiotherapy aren't appropriate.  Although if the chemo doesn't work they might tackle one of two of the smaller tumours with radiotherapy.  He had his first chemo session on Thursday and so far has sailed through it with little more than a bit of tiredness, much less than that after his stroke.   He has the second week of chemo (1st session) next Thursday then has the next week off before starting the second session.   He's lucky in that he has no symptoms and is taking everything in his stride and has a positive attitude so we are all hoping for the best.

Monday, 5 August 2013

I have done some work

Not much but at least its a start.  I found some templates I had bought and forgotten about and remembered that I wanted to try colouring in the templates and sewing round the images.  They are about 6" each and I've used them to keep me sane in the evenings.  Here are two of them which I think I will use as a pocket on a tote.


Flower border

This is a piece I started some time ago and keep adding a stitch when the mood takes me.  I might make this into a book cover.

I've now got all my Indian Spice postcards to show you.

From the top the cards are from Lesley and Pauline who favoured the Indian Elephant and Marian and Jan who went for the colour of Indian spices.