Monday 28 October 2013

Self discipline ...

... that's what I haven't got.  You remember my intention to prepare all the applique flowers before I actually start making my version of Lovely Lynn's Heartfire design?  Well, sorry.  I just couldn't resist, and this is what I did this afternoon.
Obviously, these are blocks with fussy cut centres, and aren't they just lovely?  The pattern is great and so the blocks just went together like a dream.  I think I love this pattern.

Thursday 24 October 2013

When I'm in the kitchen ...

I'm a very tidy cook.  Look
This is what my worktop looks like when I'm making soup.  See how tidy everything is NOT!! I just hope my Very Special Visitors appreciate what I've been going through to prepare for their visit this weekend.

Meanwhile, I've just popped over to visit Lovely Lynn, here and she's just made me green with envy.  You remember I told you that I was planning to make her Heartfire pattern, using Midwinter Red fabrics I bought when I was with her?  Well, being clever (haha) I thought it would be fun to applique a flower in the centre of the blocks but, since I am new to this, it is taking me for.e.ver to prepare my flowers.  Meanwhile Lynn has already got at least three-quarters of her blocks finished from the look of it, and they are just gorgeous. Here's a photo I've just stolen from Lynn's blog, without her permission.
I hope she doesn't mind, but if you want to see more of her blocks, you'll have to go over to her place.  Go ahead, I'll wait while you pop over there.  See why I am jealous?  I can't wait to start mine.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Look ...

... what I've been doing today.
Thanks to Lovely Lynn's lesson that I mentioned a couple of days ago, I now know how to prepare applique, so I've decided to add some flowers to my Heartfire blocks as I make them.  So far, I've prepared the 3 shapes you can see in the picture.  Before that, I did 2 others in some scrap fabrics, but I'm not showing you those!  If I add the flowers to all the blocks I will need 39 I think, and these 3 took me several hours, so it might be some while before I have done them all.  They're not perfect I know, but not too bad for my first attempts.  Hopefully I'll get quicker too?

Saturday 19 October 2013

Well, Lynn asked for it ...

Lynn's comment on my previous post, which said "I wish you could post laughter!", followed by an email from Nancy saying "something tells me if you can find clipart that does backflips to post that you can also figure out how to post laughter!" seemed to me to be a challenge.

So here it is... laughter

and just in case that didn't set you laughing, you could always try this instead

Friday 18 October 2013

Shopping, winning and lessons

I have realised that I didn't show you what I bought while I was on holiday, so here we are.
I bought a complete FQ bundle of Midwinter Reds and I also got some additional yardage in the same line.  I knew immediately I saw it what I was going to do with this.  I am going to use Lynn's Heartfire pattern, which I have loved for a long time.

I also bought these 2 FQ's which I need for the borders for my Country Charmer quilt.

When I got home, I had a squishy envelope waiting for me.  At our last Christmas QAL, Happy Hazel had a quiz for us, and I was the clever-clogs (Hazel's word, not mine) who won.  The envelope contained this lovely bundle of FQs.
The colours are not too good in the photo, but they are lovely pinky-orangy grey colours.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but I'll think of something.  Thanks so much Hazel.

Now for the "lessons" referred to in the title of this post.  While we were staying at the cabin, Lynn "volunteered" to teach Nancy and I how to applique.  The afternoon was absolutely hilarious (and I hold Mr Joe entirely responsible for the laughter) and after Lynn showed us how to make a beautiful pumpkin, it was our turn.

Now I'm not saying who got glue in places where glue shouldn't be, and nor am I saying who might have tried to swap her slightly lopsided pumpkin for the teacher's when she wasn't looking, but I will say it was Nancy's fault that I tried to do the swap and I will also say that we had loads of fun and laughter.

Meanwhile, my Ladies in Waiting sat waiting very patiently for their dinner.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Christmas QAL , Sunday

... so, what did I finally decide to do you are all wondering?

Nothing has to be my answer.  This has been a totally indecisive and therefore unproductive weekend.  I could not decide what to do and therefore did none of the things I might have done.

I had a very bad night last night, where I slept for an hour, then was up until about 6 am.  I felt sleepy by then, so went back to bed, slept for an hour and then was woken up by a very VERY loud burglar alarm.  It was ours and the noise making bit is on the wall right outside our (open) bedroom window.  We had a power cut, which had tripped the alarm and then we had to wait until it turned itself off after 20 minutes, by which time I was very wide awake again.

This is my excuse for the indecisiveness today, so I have spent a lot of time reading a new quilting magazine, Mr & Mrs Nomad came visiting with the dog, Archie, and now, when I've finished this post it'll be time to go next door and visit my father.

Before I go, I'd like to wish all my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving and I would like to thank Jolly Jo for being our hostess again this month.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Christmas QAL - post 2

Decisions, decisions.

Here are my friends, trying to help me decide what to do this weekend.

Shall I start on "Let It Snow" which is a pattern I've wanted to make for a few years now or should I try my Skinny Snowmen? I found both of these quilt patterns while I was on holiday last week.  

The other pattern is Heartfire, by Lovely Lynn, my hostess for the past couple of weeks. I even have all the fabrics ready and waiting for this.  Or should I work on a secret which has been waiting for me to find just the right red fabric, which I managed to do while I was in the US.

I have dinner in the slow cooker and I have managed to keep up the alcohol tradition as this time it's chicken in a Sicilian sauce with red wine.  I've had a lovely visit from Mrs Nomad, who I haven't seen since I got home.  The washing is almost finished and the house is clean and tidy, so i'm going to make a coffee and try to make a decision  ....

Oops ...

... I almost forgot.  It is Christmas QAL weekend, and this month Jolly Jo is our hostess.

I'll be there, just as soon as I've put dinner in here

and found my trusty little Christmas friends out to keep me company

Wednesday 9 October 2013

I'm home ...

... Well it took me 27 hours to get home and then I needed a further day to start to recover from the jet-lag which is why I haven't even told you about my last day with Lovely Lynn and Mr Joe yet.

Saturday was what I think of as an All-American day.  We started by going to watch one of Lynn's grandsons playing football, (which is soccer to you lot in the US)

Then we went to see one of her grand-daughters cheer-leading at a football match (sort of like rugby to me)

 The day was finished off with a true American barbecue with smoked ribs and proper baked beans, neither of which I have tried before. The ribs were smoked by one of Lynn's sons and the beans prepared by her daughter and they were both absolutely delicious

We finished the meal with some special cupcakes

The evening was then completed by Lynn's grand-daughters giving me a very special present.  They drew the picture themselves and wrote special messages to me on it.  This is going to be framed and hung somewhere special.

All too soon it was Sunday morning and we were off to the airport so I could get on a plane and fly home. All I will say about our goodbyes is that maybe some paper hankies were needed at this point!

I have never had such a wonderful holiday, Lynn and Mr Joe were just wonderful hosts who made me feel very welcome.  We did so much together in 12 days, and hardly stopped laughing the whole time.    I do have to add though that Mr Joe is a real mischief maker who kept telling everyone it was my fault and that I started it when we were accused of anything like laughing too much!

Saturday 5 October 2013

Yesterday, today and tomorrow ...

... Yesterday was a great day.  We went to San Francisco for the day and did loads of the touristy things that were on my bucket list.

First we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, then we parked and walked back across it.  It was very windy but very warm and there was no smog, it was unusually clear.  The views were amazing.
You can see how windy it was just from looking at our hair.  The third person in this photo is Gail, Lynn's sister, who has joined us for the weekend.
After a great lunch, where I had a traditional San Francisco meal of clam chowder in a sourdough bread soup bowl, we drove down the wibbley-wobbley road called Lombard Street.  That was quite a white-knuckle ride driving down there, I don't think I've ever seen such a steep, narrow, twisty road before!
Next thing on the agenda was a ride on a cable car.  That too was great fun on the steep hills they have in San Francisco.  I couldn't believe that people really are allowed to ride on the outside of the cars - not something you'd ever find me doing, I'm far too much of a coward, but Gail did as it's something she'd always wanted to do.
Then we visited a chocolate shop, where we could see chocolate being made.  All I can say is that it's a good thing that I couldn't really take chocolate home with me otherwise I could have bought out the shop.  It smelled delicious in there.
By now, it was getting late, and we hadn't eaten for hours and hours and hours (well, at least 3 hours), so walked back through Fishermans Wharf to a great restaurant which was crowded, noisy and served the most delicious fish I have ever eaten. Here we are, like the 3 wise monkeys, waiting for our table.

Today we are having a real all-American day.  We are going to see one of Lynn and Joe's grandsons in a soccer game and then one of their granddaughters in a cheerleading group at a football game and this evening we are having a barbecue, where one of their sons will be making smoked ribs and their daughter is making baked beans, neither of which I have ever eaten before.
Tomorrow, the adventure comes to an end and I have to go home, but, thanks to Lynn and Joe, I will be going home with some wonderful memories of the places I've seen and the things we've done.  I will also be going home feeling that I have left some very special friends in San Francisco.

Friday 4 October 2013

A scary drive ...

.. that was well worth it when we arrived at beautiful Lake Tahoe.  Since we couldn't go to Yosemite, on Wednesday we visited this beautiful area instead.  The drive at times was quite frightening with some twisty roads and sheer drops (on my side), and I'm very proud to say that I didn't scream once.  I'm not saying I didn't have to close my eyes and hold my breath a few times though.but the scenery was spectacular.

Once again, I forgot my hat, but this time Nancy had the answer!
The aspen trees along the way were changing colour to a wonderful bright yellow and there were some maples and Virginia creeper turning red. 
The lake was huge, and if you didn't know otherwise, you would have thought you were looking at the sea.  It was so blue, but windy, so there were lots of whitecaps too.

Of course, we managed to visit a quilt shop along the way, and what a great shop it was.
Their displays were just wonderful, and look, doesn't this quilt look familiar?  Yes, it's Lynn's Country Charmer

Sadly, at the end of the day we had to say goodbye to Nancy and Wayne as they went off to spend time with their daughter in Sacramento and we returned to the cabin.
Yesterday we left the cabin and the mountains, and visited Columbia, which is a preserved Western gold rush type town.  I think Lynn and I may have a long wait for the stagecoach,
and we may have visited another quilt shop (Bearly Quilting) on the way, where, after meeting another bear,
 I was soooo excited to see my book on sale
and I was asked to autograph a copy for the owner Nancy
Today we're off to San Francisco so I can cross the bridge, ride on a cable car and generally be a gawking tourist for the day.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

A walk on the wild side ...

...  This morning, your intrepid explorer set off in the company of my wonderful hosts Lynn and Mr Joe and Nancie-Ann and her husband (they of the royal goats fame) on a walk through the tall trees, including some giant redwoods.  I was a little worried about meeting bears, snakes, etc, and sure enough, I did.

We walked through lots of these
just look at how tall they are.  Look too at the gorgeous colour of the trunks on these redwoods when the sun shines on them
We also literally walked through some of them, look
and I saw wild animals like squirrels, and this snake
and I saw these, although I'm not sure what they are
and finally, yes, I saw BEARS and I've lived to tell the tale

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