Wednesday 29 February 2012

Catching Up

You would think that after being on the go for the past few weeks that my first day alone again would be a quiet one. Would it, heck! I went from the school run to the train station and wished my best friend a safe trip home. I wasn't too sad because we had such a terrific visit and we are already conspiring about the next one. From there it was off to do a full grocery shop.

Oh, and for those of you in the UK who use Colour Catchers - they are half price at Tesco right now!

Home to put away the foraged food. Hang the laundry - because there is always laundry, isn't there! Then off to lunch with my friend - online and off - Jane. Lovely to see her again but by the time I left her it was straight to the school run. Once at the school I remembered that today was the day the caterers that have been contracted to provide school lunches were doing a display and tasting. Not only that, it was second term Parent Teacher meetings time.

So I just got in. At 5:30pm. I am a  little boggled at how that happened. I should have made the girls eat as much as they could of what the caterer had on hand and then I wouldn't have to bother with dinner. But I wasn't that smart.

And I have so much to tell you. Honestly, go make a cup of tea if you can be bothered to read it all. First up, thank you for all the kind comments about my poorly machine. Here is the update on that.

Mr Sewing Machine Shop Man rang me while I was putting away the groceries. He told me he had been a very perplexed man. The part (shown yesterday) that had dropped out of my machine was a sewing machine part. But he had been flummoxed trying to figure out where it came from in my Bernina. By lucky happenstance someone brought in the same model for servicing while he tried to figure out what on earth was going on with mine. He put them side by side. Yes, the part is still a sewing machine part but not from my machine.

There was a part in my machine that didn't belong there and it dropped out because it dropped out. I am not sure I understand the how or why it was in there. I did buy a second hand machine, but the upshot is that my machine is not missing any parts. Good. Very, very good! Mr Very Nice Sewing Machine Shop Man is going to give my machine a de-fluff, oil and general once over and I can have it back tomorrow. All for far less money than I thought I would have to fork out. Woohoo!

Now, I shall try to keep the next part brief before your tea goes cold. But there has been some terrific post around here lately.

First up, the ever lovely Helen sent me some fat little Christmas Robins,
and a sweet bit of love birds.
She got them from others and shared them with me for my
For the Love of Birdies quilt.
Thank you, Helen.
Ceri, is our Miss March in Brit Bee.
She has asked for paper pieced food and kitchen inspired blocks.
My mind goes in all sorts of happy directions thinking of food,
but I am not sure if that was what she intended.

Fiona sent me my Fugly winnings.
And two more birdies.
Thank you, Fiona.
And I like that bottom right one, and the bottom left so shall ignore all
comments made by Hadley regarding these. Ha!

And here is my last swap of HR fabrics.
I have a Sleeping Beauty now. Yea!
And frogs, dogs and scraps for my Favourite Fabrics quilt too.
Thank you, Cecellia!

Now we have to go way back to December when I won a prize from
Di which was sponsored by Dana.
Dana and I were both knee deep in Christmas prep so agreed to do
the prize choosing in the new year.
I got swamped with new stuff and delayed further
for which Dana was incredibly patient.
And now I have some of her incredible home made soaps and body scrub.
Emily has already asked for the lemongrass and sage one.
I told her no - I am willing to share but not give her the whole bar.
Was that too mean?
Thank you Di and Dana!

And if you are tempted by these lovely products then
here is Dana's business card.
All the details are on it but you can hop on over to here or here to make it easier.
Dana is multi-talented as she does some amazing quilting as well as make soap.
Wow! You made it to the end. Thank you. I think it is late enough now that you have earned yourself a glass of wine. I'm off to cook dinner before there is a rebellion here.


Tuesday 28 February 2012

Some Things Make Your Heart Drop to Your Stomach

Today is my last day with my best friend. We have had a good time, and been out to lunch. But I am not posting about that today. Or about how miserable I will be tomorrow. What made my heart drop to my stomach today was when I got my machine out to try and do ten minutes of sewing before we went out. And while I was stitching this fell out of my machine.

It literally fell out of my machine and fell on the piece of fabric I was sewing. Not good. So not good!

My machine now resides at the repair shop. Thank goodness there is one in Banbury. The man said it would most likely take until the end of next week. Then he saw my face. He said he would try to look at it tomorrow, order the necessary parts and have it back to me as soon as possible. That could still be next week, couldn't it?!

I am about to miss several deadlines. I hate that.


Monday 27 February 2012

I Need to Run Away More Often!

I really should run away from home more often. I had a great time! (Ooops! Helen just read that opening sentence and is less than impressed.)

I would also like to be able to show you tons of photos from my weekend escape, but I was having too much fun to remember that I had a camera. I did take some photos in York. Sorry to everyone who suggested that I go to the Quilting Museum there. We didn't. Francine is not a quilter. We wandered, peeked in the minster, wandered more, ate. I love walking around York and at this time of year the numbers of tourists was decidedly low so it was easy to just meander about.

The markets were flourishing in the lovely weather.

If you have never been to York,
it is one of the prettiest of English cities with
so many medieval buildings intact.

I love the mellow colour of the stone used to build York Minster.

The minster is in a constant battle to maintain or replace
the stonework while keeping the integral character of the building.
You can just see new carvings in the bottom right of this photo.

This ceiling  is new,
replaced after a huge fire in 1984.

Not a bad spot for a resting place.

York Minster is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe in my opinion.
And that's it for photos. Because we moved on to Newcastle. Had a lovely evening with my mum and stepdad, being spoiled. (I was starting to see the benefits of not having the girls with me.) And then Saturday we were on the go all day. The weekend market in Tynemouth Station.

Photo nicked borrowed from here -
Then it was fish & chips in Tynemouth followed by time in town. Which led to a night out in the Bigg Market. Yeah right! We were in the Bigg Market but by the looks of things I had on far too many clothes to be out in the clubs. Just the fact that I was wearing a jacket was enough to mark me out as 'too old'. We did have a fabulous dinner out in a Greek restaurant though. Flirting harmlessly with Greek waiters is a great way to keep me amused as well.

Sunday we strolled the length of Long Sands Beach in Tynemouth, sat and enjoyed a morning coffee in the beach cafe and then went home where my mum served up a cooked breakfast/brunch. Heaven! Then I had to drive home again. 

You may wonder how himself and the girls fared together. They did great. And on Sunday the three of them hiked to the top of Kinderscout in the Peak District. They were happy but knackered when they returned. Himself was so thrilled that they had both done the walk so well and I was happy that they weren't climbing the walls waiting for me to come home.

All is well in our household. This is good!


Saturday 25 February 2012

Less is Not More

The girls finished making the cake/creation they have been conspiring over with Francine since the weekend. They made the sugar art to decorate. Next they painted them. And then Francine did the icing bit, because she knows how to layer the butter-cream with the fondant on top to make a perfectly smooth cake - which only happens in this house when she is here. Otherwise, it is tasty but non-professional cakes from me.

Today (actually Thursday as I wrote this in advance) they got to decorate the cake. It is two tiers, the lower tier containing chocolate cake and the upper tier vanilla. My girls did not make all that sugar art not to use it. They plastered the cake with decorations. It's brilliant!

The beginning.

The ending.

Not sure what that is supposed to be!

I love that little white flower.

Ladybugs parading up the garden path.

Dragonfly in sunglasses?
Bumble bee on a flower.
I love this golden dragonfly.

Trees, flowers, dragonfly and more.

A touch of ribbon and some roses.

Not a spare inch left bare.
It doesn't look like this any more. We've started the eating part now. It's very good. Though I do peal off the fondant and the flowers and just dive into the cake bit. There is a limit to how much sugar one wants to eat. Well for me at least. The girls have other opinions.


Friday 24 February 2012


I am driving north with my best friend. Running away for the weekend. Woohoo! Helen asked who was going to take care of them if I was going away. I reminded her she had two parents. I fully expect to find them all traumatised, but happy upon my return. (Fingers crossed.)

We are headed for here -


Hoping to stop off here on the way -

Petergate York

I'll tell you about it upon our return.


Thursday 23 February 2012

Play Time

What have I been up to with my best friend these past few days, now that I have wrestled her away from the girls? I have been having fun. I have also been forgetting to take photos. Apparently I can talk and sew, but I can't talk and take pictures. Here's a bit of what we have seen.

On Tuesday we went off to Stratford and had a walk, lunch and a wander. We sucked in the atmosphere, admired the buildings and enjoyed ourselves.

We played at tourist.
Well Francine did, I of course looked like a local!
And listened to the nice man exclaim about
'All the bloody people with cameras!'
Lots of lovely architecture.

Including where we ate our lunch.
Though I failed on the food photography thing. Sorry.
This was a small bit of what we ate but the only thing that looks remotely edible.
We even got our retail therapy in historic buildings.
Yesterday we drove down to Milton Keynes for further retail therapy but I can't tell you what we bought because my father and brother read this blog. We did have fun though. And a nice lunch. (Emily is really annoyed that we went without her as it is her favourite restaurant of all time, I think.) And my food photos were slightly better here.

Yo! Sushi
Got to love a place where the food comes to you.

Watching the options go by.
Duck sushi.

Spicy chicken salad.

I know, some people hate raw fish.
I don't, I like lots of different ones.

But not all the food is raw.
You can order lovely dishes, like this squid.

Yakisoba noodles.

Dumplings - one of my favourite things.
In fact, as you can see I ate one before I remembered to take a photo.

Just waiting for the waitress to come and add up what we had,
each dish colour coded to a price.
Now the sun is shining, the chores are done and we are off for a walk. Hope that you are having a fab day and that the sun is shining where you are too.


Wednesday 22 February 2012


I am not as happy with my Mouthy Stitches swap pouch as I was with the FTLOS swap cushion cover yesterday. Very unhappy, actually. Not a good feeling, I have to say, seeing as it is postal time. Haven't decided what to do yet.

On first inspection it doesn't look too bad.

One zip end is pretty good. But the other one is the dog's dinner.

I wanted this pouch to be useful for my partner's hand sewing projects. So I made two pockets inside to hold a mini needle book and pin cushion.

I'll admit I am happy with this bit. And I like the white spotty lining that would allow my partner to see what was in the interior more easily. Over all you would think the pouch was okay.

But it isn't. It isn't just that botched zip end. It isn't just because I have decided I hate the proportions. It is that when I went to press the pouch after sewing the first inner and outer pieces to the zip something came off the iron. Something that wasn't there when I used it earlier. Something that did not come from ironing quilters cotton, or the shirts for himself. Something that the girls deny all knowledge of. I am not pleased!

I got some of the crud off but how on earth do I get the rest off? And do I have enough time to make another, seeing as how I am swanning off to Milton Keynes momentarily to shop, not spend the say sewing?

Oh yes, and apparently Blogger no longer supports my browser - Internet Explorrer 9. That is why I can't post as I usually would and have had to resort to the old system. Well fine! It says I have to have Chrome. What are the differences? I have heard some people comment that they weren't thrilled with Chrome. My IT man is not home. Hell, my brain is going to explode. I'm going shopping!


Tuesday 21 February 2012


I can talk and sew at the same time. If that isn't talent, then what is? I have finished hand quilting my cushion top for FTLOS swap while talking non-stop to my friend. I am rather pleased with how it is looking. I originally planned on doing concentric circles with the various coloured threads to match the bright colours used in the pattern. I started. Then I changed my mind - as a girl can do!

I thought that the coloured threads were detracting from the pattern, from the neutrals standing out. So I ripped out those stitches. And started again.

I think that two neutral coloured threads on the neutral areas and then the bright colours on the bright enhances the design and this makes me much happier. Happy is good.

I would write more today but I am frustrated - with Blogger. Mine isn't working. I have had to switch back to the old editor to even manage a post. And most of the buttons don't work on it, nor psell check (so forgive me), or just about anything else. Just another day where Blogger does something that makes things that worked perfectly yesterday not work today. I know it isn't just me. I have found other people posting on the Blogger forum about it. Has anything happened to your ability to post or edit on your blog?


Monday 20 February 2012

A Lesson In Sharing

I had to share my best friend over the weekend. Can you believe it?! It took all the self control I contained not to stomp my feet and shout, 'She's here to see me, me, me! My friend!' But I managed, because I tossed the girls unceremoniously into school again today and 'my time' started. And will continue into next weekend as I am running away from home for a couple of nights to extend the girlie time as much as possible. My girls are not impressed that they aren't invited. I feel no guilt what-so-ever.

Over the weekend they got time with their 'Auntie' Francine doing something that they get to do each time she visits. Learning more about cake decorating. Because she makes cakes professionally and each time she comes over they take on a project together - to produce a magnificent cake covered with as many things as they can possibly make. This is not a less is more situation.

This is the face of a happy child.
I love it!
Deep concentration,
and quiet.
I love that too!
They have produced more than enough sugar craft for several cakes. But that's okay because these things keep fine once they have dried out. Here is a look at a small portion of what they have been making.

Many of these flowers and dragonflies are still to be painted. They can spend hours doing it. Isn't it great?!! And the cake is going to be chocolate. Woohoo! Life is looking pretty good around here. As long as they remember to keep those sugar coated hands off my fabric all will stay happy too.