Thursday, 19 September 2013

Mid month review

Time for a mid month review of what I've been upto. I had planned on posting this last week but I got busy and never managed to post it.
I've been out a couple more times geocaching but the darker nights are drawing in now up here and it's been cold so I suspect we'll not be heading out to do much more geocaching this year unless we get a really nice autumn day when I'm off work.

A wander at about 7.30pm gave us this wonderful looking sunset over St Mary's lighthouse. Pity we live on the east coast so don't get really good sunsets.

I also got some really exciting things in the post this past fortnight!

A box of goodies and some post from Australia!
Here's what I got from Australia! Dasha who blogs over at Patching Pixies read about my charm hexagon quilt and very kindly sent me a load of squares over from her stash to turn into hexagons! I am so grateful for them and they will keep me busy for a while.

The box contained some new Guide uniform just in time for the start of the new year of Guides over here. I've lost weight so I decided to treat myself to some new uniform that fits a bit better. I'm lucky that it turned up on the Tuesday right before Guides started!

The friend I helped with the giant green quilt gave me my reward for helping out too. It's a jelly roll of glamping fabric. Just what every Guide leader needs. This fabric will be to make something for me!

Pretty fabric and it's all mine!
Wedding quilt number 2 is coming on nicely. Not as fast as I'd like but I'm making progress. All the rows have been sewn together so I just need to get the long white strips sorted to join them up. That giant gap is where the pictures will go once I have them sorted.

It's been ironed since this photo. I promise!
I have managed to get some more hexagons made even though I've not managed to get any photos of them. I promise them next time.

In other news for those who have regularly read my blog I've had more disturbing spider experiences. But fear not this time it's me that came out on top. In August my sister and I came across a very large (by UK standards) spider in our hallway. Neither of us are big spider fans so by the time we'd argued over who had to get it with the hoover it was on the move. I chased it into our dining room (or my sewing room as I like to think of it) and lost it in there because it was so fast.
Fast forward to last week when I was sat minding my own business and putting together some strips fro the wedding quilt. My sister walked in, looked at the wall behind me and ran out the room screaming. Apparently the spider had taken up residence behind me to watch me sew. This time I wasted no time in getting the hoover and sucking him up. No more need to worry every time I go to sew about spider attacks now. Phew.

Tomorrow (or Friday for those of you in different time zones so who are already there!) we're taking th dog for her checks at the vets so she can start her chemo. Hope all goes well and my sister doesn't faint when the vet takes blood from the dog. 

...and finally
Apparently Christmas is coming. I know this because in the first week of September I walked into our local ASDA supermarket and was greeted with this selection in the bakery. I've also seen a chocolate advent calander in a shop today.
This is what ruins Christmas for me. In my head it should not even be considered until December. We should at least be allowed to enjoy autumn and bonfire night first!

Mince pie or Christmas pudding anyone?
P.s.. for a change this post actually shows no fabric that I have bought. My bank account is very happy with me at the minute!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

August... gone in a flash!

Well I had a couple of update posts planned for August but it turned into such a busy month that I never got a chance to post anything.
At work I had a month of 1.30pm to 10pm shifts so that rather messed with my days a bit. I've never been a morning person and I always panic about being late to work so I spend most the mornings not doing much and waiting until it was time to go to work. That's not to say I didn't get much done.

The giant green quilt was quilted and finished off to be bound by my friend before she handed it to the lucky couple who were expecting it.

I literally had to empty most the furniture out of our rather large living room so that I could baste it. It's just huge! (Excuse the stuff on the sofas. This was done just before we went on holiday so things were all over the place)

And here it is folded a bit so that my friend could get an idea what size box to buy for it. I think she gave up on boxes in the end and just wrapped it in paper.
I've been informed that it was very much appreciated and loved by it's recipients. Now I need to get going on the quilt for my friend's wedding!

We also squeezed a weekend in the lake district into this month. We go over every year on this weekend and explore the lakes as a way to remember our mum. She loved it over there and we spent a lot of time climbing hills and mountains and wandering around lakes.

This time we went for a weekend instead of a day and it was much more relaxed (well except for some very narrow country roads)

And it was also wet. Not such a surprise in the lake district though. I did manage to forget my walking boots so had to buy some new ones when we were over there but they came in very handy on the muddy ground.

Would you believe this is the main road to one of the lakes? Just random sheep wandering along. I love it over there. So peaceful and relaxing compared to being back at home. I could happily live there with all those beautiful views. If only I could make this quilt thing pay the bills.

Skip forward a week and I was off to York races for a hen weekend. It was lovely to catch up with my friend's I've not seen for ages but it was a scary reminder of how close the wedding is and how much I still need to get done on that quilt.

Oh, and if you're wondering yes that is a horse made of vegetables (random!). It's the first time I've been to the races and my horse picking approach of putting a bet on horses with the best name did win me a whole 9 GBP (yes, I've yet to work out how to get the pound sign to work on my keyboard)

As for the hexagons... They are coming along nicely. At this rate I'll have a quilt by next winter. My problem is I want no 2 hexagons to be the same so soon I'll have to dig into the scraps to find hexagon sized scraps then I'll have to hunt eBay for scraps I think. I can't bear to cut random pieces out of all my stash fat quarters.

It's also been a rather sad week this week for us. We took our Uncle's dog to the vets in the middle of the month to have a lump removed from her leg. The results came back on Friday and it turns out the lump was cancerous so she's now going to have chemotherapy. Poor dog doesn't know what's doing on. We're having to wait for the insurance company to open on Monday before we can call to find out if they'll cover her. I hope they do or it'll be very expensive. Good job she has insurance.

Looking slightly confused after her operation

You'll also notice that for a change there is no photo of new fabric. Yes, I've been really good this month although this Petite Street fabric bundle from Plush addict is rather calling my name at the minute...
I do admit to buying a small amount of fabric but it's not that exciting, just plain coloured fabrics that will be useful stash builders.
What I am looking forward to this month is getting my payment for quilting the giant green quilt. My friend is very generously buying me a glamping jelly roll. the rest of the family aren't impressed that my fabric collection is growing again but never mind..

The other thing I've been doing this month, and the thing that seems to have been taking most my mornings, is geocaching. I'm fairly certain I've explained geocaching in previous posts but for those not in the know it's basically like a giant treasure hunt where you use a GPS to find a 'cache' that other people have hidden. Lots of them are boxes with log books and room for swaps of toys for children but some are very sneaky. I've seen some in shapes of rocks, some that are holes drilled into sticks so just a log can fit, some inside toys and hidden under trees and lots of other types.
This month there has been a challenge on the geocaching website to get a cache every day of the month so I've been heading out with my sister every morning before work to do that. Thank goodness that month is over.

This month 2 of my friends have also announced their engagement within days of each other. typical huh? I gained the task of organising the gifts from our friends which is like a military operations of getting 2 brides 2 different bunches of flowers and gifts and making sure I talk about the right things to the right people all whilst packing for holiday and having the green quilt to finish. I managed it somehow and both loved their gifts and flowers.
One of them has even asked me to be her bridesmaid in Cyprus when she gets married in a couple of years. 1st time I've been a bridesmaid so I'm excited. Pity I'm also terrified of flying. Something that we'll have to work on I think. The other had announced her wedding is in April next year. She better not want a quilt...

So, onto plans for September...
I love September. It's nearly Autumn (fall for you Americans) and I am finally justified in digging out my boots and wearing cosy jumpers with my jeans. I love all the colours and the crisp feeling in the air. It will be a busy month again though. We're back at Guides and I need to get the quilt made before the wedding in October.
So my list to get done this month:
1) Work out how to print photos onto fabric for the wedding quilt
2) Finish the wedding quilt (or at least just have binding to do)
3) Make a few autumnal cushions to try out some funky free motion quilting
4) Get some more hexagons made. I at least want to finish off the paper hexagons I have cut out
5) Make a start on that grey and multicoloured quilt for me
6) If feeling brave attempt to make the weekender bag so that I have something funky to take to the wedding.

At least I'm working slightly more normal hours of 9.30am - 6pm so I can eat with everyone else again and I can sew after work when I don't have the stress of needing to be somewhere at a certain time.

I hope you all had great summers and have slightly more relaxing Septembers planned.

Oh and linking up with Lily's quilts fresh sewing day and small blog meet so hello to anyone from there! I promise I don't normally post such huge posts.

Lily's Quilts
Lily's Quilts

Sunday, 4 August 2013

August already!

It's August already! I can't believe it. So I'm joining up with Lily's quilts fresh sewing day and small blog meet up. I could do with a few more friends out in sewing land and I love looking at all the amazing things you all make.

Lily's Quilts Lily's Quilts

July seems to have flown over and I'm not totally certain that I got much done. I suspect that this is down to the new job and me getting used to the whole 9-5 thing after working odd shifts in my last job. I even seemed to have missed the nice weather we've had in the UK because by the time I get out of work and home our garden is just at the wrong angle for sun.

The 1 thing I've made myself - a pincushion of summersville fabric.

An awful photo that gives an idea of what the wedding quilt I'm working on looks like. The big gap is for pictures I'm waiting for. There is a lot of white fabric sashing too that isn't on this photo.

But onto this month and I'm away for a couple of weekends so I thought I'd best get started on something I can do when I'm away. I've decided to make a hexagon charm quilt and I've cut out 170 1" hexagons and bought some mini charm packs to get me started.

I also happened upon the perfect box in our local supermarket to keep everything all organised and neat.

Here it is all opened up. The top holds my finished hexagons and the bottom 2 compartments are ideal sized to hold my fabric, pins, hexagons, scissors and thread.

...and here is a better look at the fabric that's in there. I have some noteworthy and some random ones I found on eBay. Ideally I'd have every hexagon in different fabric but I don't think I'll manage that easily so I'm ticking to mini charm packs at the minute.

I've also been naughty and bought some fabric this month. I fully blame my sister for pointing out this fabric and it's amazing autumn looks in the shop.

I couldn't resist buying the full set of these enchanted forest fabrics when I spotted them. They are just so pretty and the small animals on them are adorable.

And these were some random ones I bought at the same time. Well, you can't have too many random fabrics right?

Just a better picture of the texture of the blue fabric.
And that leads me onto the main quilt in my life at the minute. The giant green quilt. It wasn't made by me - it was made by a friend but I'm quilting this beast for her. It's just a little over king size! Luckily she wants straight line quilting in the ditch because I have no idea how I'd do anything else with it.

At the minute I have it basted (after re-arranging all the furniture in my living room) and have managed to get the lines done from top to bottom. It needs to be done by the end of this week before I go away because the wedding it is for is next week and she needs to bind it. Nothing like a tight deadline!

Once this quilt is done I can focus my attention back onto the quilt I making for my friend wedding. I best get a move on with that as it's in October and another 2 friends have just got engaged this week! I hope they don't all want quilts.

I hope this month doesn't fly over like last month and I get to enjoy it a bit more. I hope you had a more relaxing July than I did.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Memories lost and made

It's been a busy and sad week for me this week. I think I'll start with the busy and try to pretend that the sad doesn't exist until the end.

At work I've now had mock certification week and I passed that. I'm currently in the middle of certification week. This is after 2 weeks of classroom training and 1 week of practical training. Who knew that working in a call centre required quite so much learning and faffing around? The air con isn't brilliant and the UK has chosen this time to have the nicest weather we've seen for years! Typically I'm stuck inside sweating and staring longingly out the window. I'm making the most of this by sitting on the grass outside at lunch time to enjoy my lunch.
The bag. grey and owls!
Unfortunately for me now that we are out of our training room and onto the call floor we aren't allowed our bags with us and as we don't have a locker yet we are expected to just put our stuff on top of the lockers. Obviously I'm not too happy leaving my expensive Kipling bag there with mu car keys, my purse and my phone. There isn't too much I can do about the car keys and phone but I've switched purses so I only being a small amount of money to work and I went out today and bought a new bag to use.
I think it's rather distinctive and cool :) Even better, it's oilcloth so when our normal weather returns it'll also be waterproof.

One of the Guide leaders, my friend Viki, has been making a quilt for her friend's wedding this summer. She finally finished the quilt top and has passed it onto me to be quilted. This quilt is a monster!
Before I made her remove some squares it measured a massive 123x132 inches! It's now a slightly more reasonable 111x101 inches. I still will struggle to get it laid out to get it basted.

giant quilt enjoying the sun in my garden
Certain things about this quilt will irritate me too when I'm quilting it. Mostly that the fabric isn't all going the right way. It's a pet hate I'm afraid. She's done a very good job for her first quilt but just seeing the wonky fabric makes me want to cry...

wonky turtles and rabbits :(

But because I'd gained this giant quilt a little bit of retail therapy was needed. Well I had to buy some batting didn't I? So I also bought myself a bag pattern...

The weekender bag
... and a tiny square of green fabric with baking/kitchen prints that was on offer.

Green fabric and it's pink friend
But I didn't realise when I ordered that how much white thread I had left and just how many pins I'd need to baste this monster! So a trip to Hobbycraft was needed. As any Brits know that's a dangerous place for crafty people to go. I think I did very well leaving with what I did! I bought the thread and some pink and white fabric that was just adorable... and a scrap book.

It's actually called a smash book and it comes with a pen that has a 'glue' stick at the other end. I say 'glue' because it's quite possibly the least sticky substance I've come across.

My pink stash book
At this point I should explain my sad news that I mentioned earlier. Last weekend my external hard drive died and I now can't access it. It contained all the things from my old computers, my iTunes library and even more importantly than that (although loosing my music is irritating) it also contained the pictures that I have left of my mum from when she was alive. I'm absolutely gutted I don't have them backed up somewhere. I'm just hoping that some of the memory cards I have hanging around my room have some pictures on.

This set me off on in a mood of wondering what if.... what if my computer dies again... what if something happens to me? will people have anything to remember me by? .. What if I get old and forget things? How will I remember what I've done.

So when I saw this book I thought what a good idea it was and bought one. I'm working my way through putting bits and bobs I've collected in there as a nice place to keep my memories together. No more relying on the computer for me!

The first page is dedicated to my mum. I found a couple of photos and I'm hoping to find another one to fill the gap. I've put some tickets in for events I've been too, mementoes and autograph books from Guide camps I attended, things from when I was at university and pictures of animals I've owned/looked after and I'm still going. I'll have this book full soon!

In other sad news Guides is done for summer now. We had a BBQ at the beach and our 2 oldest girls gained their Baden Powell awards and have now left our Guide unit. On the opposite end one of our new Guides made her promise! She's the last one to make that version of the promise as the new version takes effect from September.

I guess life is like that... just have to keep moving on. Or in my case at the minute just keep staring at the monster quilt and hope it quilts itself!

Hope you've all had better weeks than I have.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Full time work. How do you fit it in?

I'm now 2 weeks into the new job and still adjusting to this working 40 hours a week thing. It's a big difference to what I was doing in my last job where I was contracted to 32 hours over 4 days but was lucky if I worked 20 recently.
I feel like I've not done any sewing for ages and I just wander past the room and stare at my sewing machine wishing I could be using it.

I bought my bike that I'll use to cycle to work if
a) the weather ever improves. I'm insanely jealous of those of you who get nice warm summers with that funny yellow thing in the sky. Sadly this whole concept appears to be lost on the weather we are having in the North east of England.
Shiny new bike. Not the most expensive ever but it does the job
b)I actually plucked up the courage to go cycle my bike! I haven't owned a bike for well over 10 years and it was very obvious to the guy in the shop when I bought it that this was the case. I need to go out and practise but I have no one to go with which I think is what is putting me off. That and my sister panicking at the concept of me cycling anywhere because I haven't got a helmet yet.

Amazingly we ended up picking the bike up in my fiesta and we managed to fit in in 1 piece. I was impressed and my dad was rather astounded! It's amazing what you can fit in a Fiesta.

Can you fit a bike in a fiesta? Yes you can!
I mentioned in my last blog (I think?) that it was a friend's birthday last weekend and we were meant to be heading to her's for a nice girly catch up. Sadly this didn't happen because she ended up back in hospital due to this mystery illness that the doctors are baffled by. So far she's lost 2 stone since Christmas and she is not someone who needs to loose any weight! I wish mine would go that fast. They've done lots of tests and have ruled things out but she's still a medical mystery... So on Saturday I went for a trip to visit her in hospital instead and took some cupcakes that my sister had made.

Butter beer cupcakes based on harry Potter ones. they tasted fab!
Quilting wise I've not got much done. I spent ages with my ill fiend working on a layout for the wedding quilt (this was the weekend before she was in hospital). It looks good and we spend ages balancing colours and different values and scales of prints. I got home and 2 days later looked at next to my computer and it's dawned don me we have the layout wrong. We should actually have 2 rows on 1 side of it not just 1. I think it'll work if I just shuffle the row over but I'm now going to have to take over our floor again to see. Oops

See that single row on the right? Should be 2 rows there now 1. Oops

I did a bit more fabric shopping (Pay day and sales = bad) This rather fab (and upside down. I'm sorry I have no idea how to make it right) how to build a fire fabric is going to be cut in 2. I'm keeping half and giving the other half to a friend for her birthday. She'll love it.
Upside down how to make a campfire fabric

The other ones are just rather fab fabric prints. Apparently my dad was home when these arrived and just groaned at the idea of more fabric arriving. Id best not spot anything else pretty this month!


More prettiness
I did manage to sneak in making that cathedral window pin cushion that I've been talking about making for ages but that's about it.

now do I want to put pins in this or just admire it?

In the next few weeks I'm expecting a quilt to quilt for a friend. She's making it for her friend's wedding and has asked me to quilt in on my machine because it's bigger and I have a walking foot which makes straight line quilting so much easier. In return I'm getting fabric. Oops

So that leads me to the question in the title. How on earth do you all fit in sewing around working and having a life? I feel like I get home at 5.30-6pm and by the time I've cooked and eaten I have no time left for much else. Any tips?