Sunday, 30 June 2013

FAL Q2

As life has been interesting of late I fully expected to not have done well for the second quarter of the Finish-a-Long. I didn't care - much - because life happens. I've made stuff, mostly not on the list. I've had lots of fun living my life, and sewing. So I didn't finish what I predicted. So what.

Well, imagine my surprise to check out what I predicted I would finish only to find that in actual fact I managed three items on said list. I'm not even going to tell you what I failed at. They will reappear soon enough on another list, in another blog post, I am sure. Meanwhile, I will sit here quietly pleased with myself. I am easily pleased, and this is no bad thing. It means I manage to make myself smile more often than expected.

So what did I finish, you ask? Thank you for your interest. Here is what I managed to complete.

1. Siblings Together Quilt


2. Four FMF placemats for my mum, which I handed over as I finished stitching each one and promptly forgot to take the finished photos of, but they were done - honest!


3. One epp experiment in less colour cushion, given to the lovely Ange. 


There you have it. Three finishes. I am going to reward myself with a Baileys, or something. Imagine what I might accomplish next quarter. Probably not anything on the list, but what the hell. It's fun trying.

Susan

Saturday, 29 June 2013

FQ Retreat Name Tag

Three weeks from now I, and many others, will be at the FQ Retreat in London. It occurred to me yesterday that my secret partner in the name tag swap would probably like to have hers before she arrived. Best that I get on and make it then!

In my rummaging around recently I had found an old name tag that himself had had for something or another. I put it aside at the time, thinking it might be useful. It was. It had a clip and a pin on the back which would be good for my partner to choose how she wished to wear it, and the pin allowed me to add a lanyard too - without any hassle at all. I like that.


Other than me pilfering items from the junk drawer the back isn't very exciting. I am quite happy with the front too though. I went with a scrappy, curvy theme. And did some embroidery. Then I went into my selvage scraps and made the lanyard from two of them.


I hope that my partner is happy with what I made for her. It is officially with the post office now, and on its way.

Meanwhile, I have continued the house de-cluttering. I am roping in others this weekend. Both girls are under strict instructions not to come out of their rooms this afternoon until their rooms are a good deal less horrific. I am controlling every instinct I have to go up there and 'supervise' and I am just letting them get on with it. It's killing me.

And a quick mention of my dad, who took me out for a lovely lunch the other day, which we followed with a walk by the canal. I IG'd the photo of him and many expressed surprise that he was 80 this year. I hope he reads this blog post because he would love to learn how young so many thought he was. He'll be chuffed to bits.


Thanks for a great day out, Dad!

Susan

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Still Alive Here

Just popping in to say hello. Life is ticking along here. It's been a busy old time filled with all sorts. You know, the usual, sorting out spaces that needed it ages ago, doing some necessary work for our company, keeping a child from tipping over the edge as she faces a big change in schools, losing two stone in weight and inventing a recipe for calorie free chocolate cake. Ya, I wish! Obviously spending too much time by myself has not been good for my own sanity as I drift into the realms of fantasy.

Today I rewarded myself with some sewing time. Not sewing I should be doing, but starting a whole new project. It's been in my brain for a while, and since I have been doing lots of house re-organising some of my fabric got tidied as well. I had a lot of LV charm squares. I knew this already, but handling them made me want to finally go ahead with this idea of mine. So today I did.


I'm really pleased with the way the Sketch stands out against the LV fabrics. I've a bit more to add to it so it gets to an acceptable size but it was a good days work.

Here and there I have been getting a bit more done on my hand quilting projects. And excitingly, himself has been working on my sewing desk. It is going to be so gorgeous. I am really happy with the American Ash I chose for it to be made from. I love the tactile nature of beautiful timber, and that smell when it has been freshly cut. This is going to be the best gift I have ever been given!


And proof that I really have been tackling unsightly chores. I even cleaned that window, and encountered the biggest freaking spider I have in years in the process. No wonder I avoid these tasks!


I'm still busy, but getting more things under control. Helping my child back to a happy confident mindset was the most important thing. No one warns you about this stuff when you have kids! I think I spent most of my childhood (and adulthood for that matter) away with the fairies so change didn't bother me near so much as it does some others.

I'm not back to daily blogging, but I am back more regularly. I missed you all. Missed chatting about what's going on here. Though I am still crap at replying to emails these days. Perfection is not going to be achieved any time soon!

Susan

Friday, 14 June 2013

Balls

Life is always interesting, but sometimes I feel like I have more balls in the air than I can juggle properly. Seriously, with real balls I can't properly juggle two. I lack coordination totally. But in life, everything going on and general busyness, I am keeping all the balls in the air but do not think that I am giving any of them my proper attention.

So I am going to drop a few balls temporarily. One of those balls is this blog of mine that I love so much. I may stop by occasionally but I am going to make a concerted effort to not post for the next couple of weeks for the most part.

I'll still be sewing, and blog reading - though I have cut back on commenting to save time of late. I'll be here, just quieter than normal. No big worries going on, don't let your imagination run wild. Nothing bad at all. I just need to focus on some other stuff for a bit.

Before you know it I will be back. You may not even notice I've been gone. You too are busy after all. You might be cheering right now, looking forward to a break from my chatter. Whatever you are doing, enjoy it.

If you are on Instagram you might see me around. I can be found at @canadianabroad there.

I will leave you with a progress photo of the hand stitching on the Walk in the Woods baby quilt. I am doing free form stitching in wavy lines. It's adding lots of texture and I love it, though it is rather different in terms of quilting.


I'll be back before you know it.

Susan

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A New Love

Just in case I don't have enough obsessions to do with sewing in my life yet, I have a added a new one today.

You know those handy dandy sample packs of Aurifil that have appear everywhere - in the goodie bags at sewing summits and retreats (like the one below), and as prizes in many a fab giveaway? Well, I have received several and I love them. Only I never used some of the threads. The thicker ones.



Today I changed that, and I am so glad I did. I started doing some hand quilting with the Aurifil Cotton 12w. What can I say? I. Love. It!

I know I am a perle girl through and through, and that won't change, but every project has different requirements and there is a place for all different threads in our lives. Hand quilting with the 12w is an absolutely joy. It pulls through the layers so smoothly, does not twist or tangle at all, and looks great. But it still has the impact that perle cotton does.


If you live in the UK Eternal Maker and New Threads both stock it. Just in case you are curious.

And if you are curious about what I am doing with my HR Fan Club quilt top -  you probably aren't but I am telling you anyway - I've folded it and put it away. Just for the time being, because I decided that the only thing that should back a HR quilt is more HR. So I have pre-ordered some Briar Rose yardage for the backing and binding. That should arrive some time in July . I would rather wait and get it right than just put any old thing on the back of this quilt.


I might have had more to show you today if I hadn't been such a numpty. Helen finishes school earlier on a Wednesday. Therefore I have a bit of time in the car waiting for Emily to finish when we arrive at her school. But it is difficult to work on your hand quilting if you remembered everything but the needle!

Susan

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

And The Next Project to Progress Will Be...


... My Walk in the Woods epp.

I am on a mission to move lots of my WIPs forward. I also want a smaller hand sewing project. I am hand quilting my Stitch Tease quilt but that is massive and heavy, and does not fall into the portable project category.

So today I got my epp star and hand appliqu├ęd it to the background fabric - Kona white. I had to spend the afternoon sat watching the multi school sports day. This involves a number of primary schools, using the secondary school playing fields. Three hours to sit and watch, well nothing really, because they take the kids into far off corners to do the various activities and the parents are not encouraged to follow.

With that in mind, I parked in a convenient place on the edge of the field and never left the car. Could. Not. Be. Bothered. Bad attitude, I know, but if I wanted to stand in the middle of a field doing nothing I would have. I did not want to.

Instead I sat and quietly stitched.


This is going to be another hand quilted quilt. Maybe I will get it basted tonight. Maybe.

Susan

Monday, 10 June 2013

Finally, Something I Can Show You!


I am happy to announce that I got the binding sewn on the quilt I have been finishing and you will see no more of it until it has done a lengthy postal journey, to distant lands, and been received by the intended person. Then I will show you all. Promise. For now, this is a good bye and a hope that the postal services of the world do their bit and have it arrive quickly.


And with that project done I returned to one very special to me. My HR Fan Club quilt, as I like to think of it. I worked out the last of the piecing and got to the cutting and putting it together today. I now only have the borders to add to three sides and the top is done.


Then I will have to decide on backing and binding. Eeeeek! The quilt top measures approximately 50" x 62" (or it will when I get those borders on) so it will be a nice lap size for a short arse like me. And it will make me smile every time I use it. Needless to say, this will be my quilt, only my quilt, and all other household members will be under threat of death if they use it.

I think that is perfectly reasonable.

Susan

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Life

It was strange, because I felt like lately I have been blogging a bit about nothing, just life and little things. Today I went about the usual routine, laundry, grocery shopping, dance class for Em, etc. And everything was as per normal. Except for a few minutes ago when I sat down at this here computer to do today's blog post. Weirdly I had a huge number of hits on the blog. Maybe not huge for some people, but for me an inordinate amount.

I am not complaining mind. I just could not understand why. A quick look showed me that most of them came from Facebook. Further investigation turned up that those lovely people at Aurifil had picked up on my use of an empty Aurifil spool. Well, thank you very much. That put a smile on my face, not that I was grumpy before or anything.

And to expand on the use of that empty Aurifil spool, Quiltalicious sent me an email telling me she puts an old CD on the spool before winding on her binding to keep it slipping off the bottom. I knew I couldn't be the first person doing this spool thing and how fabulous that people have ideas to make it work even better. I am sure that those children's music CDs I had to listen to time and again in the car when the girls were tiny can finally have a purpose other than drive me to the brink of insanity!

Other reasons to smile today - I am trying out Vanessa's recipe that she posted the other day. Seriously, her photos will have you salivating immediately. Several of us neighbours in the middle of England are getting together for a BBQ tonight and this will be my dessert contribution. I halved the recipe and made 24 cookies. It is taking every ounce of my self-control to not eat one of them before we go next door later on.


Chicken wings are pre-cooked ready for the grill. A salad is made. The crisps (potato chips) are bought. Beer is chilling. I hope you all have a good night too.

Susan

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Finish Line is in Sight

Do you remember the great big roll of scrappy binding I made a little while ago? The one I wound onto an empty Aurifil bobbin?


Well, it came time to use it today and I had this idea to whack that spool onto the doohickey where you put the thread when winding bobbins. And then I just slowly unwound the binding as I stitched it to the quilt. Worked a treat. I am sure this is not an original idea, but it was new to me, and I will most definitely do it again. It kept everything so much less tangled and disorganised than normal.


Now I just have a whole lot of this to do.


The light is at the end of the tunnel. Woohoo!

Susan

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Signing My Name

For once I am actually remembering to make a label and put my name on something that I have made. This might be a first. So I sat and stitched myself up today.


Now just need to do the date, I think.

Susan

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Where Would You Rather Be?

At your machine quilting circles 1.5" apart, going round and round and round?


Or eating an ice lolly and discovering that the totally crap playground tucked behind the houses around the corner has just been transformed into something rather good?


I think you can guess what I went for.


And who went with me.

Susan

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Missing Whimsy

A little while ago I did bee blocks for Rhonda in the Modern Stitching Bee. I haven't posted them yet. For two reasons. One - we all know I am totally crap at posting stuff. No excuses, just a fact. But much more importantly was point number two, which was I always knew that one of the blocks was not good enough.


It was the block on the right I wasn't happy with. The centre was supposed to reflect us, which Pips and a HR gnome do with me but at the time I just could not think what else to add. For some reason today how to enhance it was no longer a mystery. It needed some whimsy, so whimsy I added. In the form of flowers, grass, birds and bunting. I do hope Rhonda likes it now. (Not that she ever said she didn't like it before. That was me who didn't like it.)


Since I had my hand stitching head on, I finished another hoop for the retreat Sample Swap too. Two down. Feeling good about this.


Susan

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Tomorrow...


... I will clean (maybe).

Today, I went and watched the horse trials with the girls.


Tomorrow, I will read a huge backlog of blogs and reply to 3 million and one emails.

Today, I lay on the trampoline with the girls and watched the clouds. (Really, I did.)


Tomorrow, the girls will be back in school. I will sew again. Get back into routine again.

Today, we bbq'd our dinner. Ate summery foods.


Tomorrow will come soon enough. Today was sunny, and relaxed, and fun. I did do some grown up stuff but, really, the important stuff is all listed here.

Susan

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Pudding Anyone

Here in the UK dessert is often known as pudding. Which the Canadian in me finds sort of funny because when I was growing up pudding generally meant Jello Instant Chocolate pudding - which I do not think I have ever seen over here. 

Either way, dessert or pudding, I had four extra egg yolks in my fridge and was loath to throw them out as usually ends up happening so I purposefully went looking for a recipe yesterday in which I could use them. I landed upon this one and pinned it, then I made it. 

Easy peasy, no cooking, five minute dessert. Really - you hate cooking? - try making this.

It got the seal of approval here in our house last night. So I am passing the recipe on to you. Here is what it looked like when I had made it.


First up, limes are limes in the UK. You don't get different kinds of limes and you certainly don't get Key Lime limes. I used four lovely juicy bog standard limes to get the half cup of juice required in this recipe. Next up, you don't tend to get Graham Crackers either. I made the pie crust with Gingernut biscuits and melted butter and it worked a treat. Thirdly, I bought a tin of condensed milk and used it. It was not the exact dimensions that were stated in the recipe. It did not seem to spoil anything at all. 

The pie is super creamy and tangy. We cut into it last night even though it had only been chilling for about six hours. The recipe does recommend over night and I would say that the pie looks slightly firmer now, but as it was so good last night I wouldn't say that not chilling it so long is a game breaker. 

Make your crust, press it in the tin. Whisk the other ingredients together and pour them in the crust. Stick it in the fridge. Try and stop anyone else in the house from sticking their finger in the pie before it is time to eat it. (Good luck with that!)

Enjoy!

Susan