Saturday 20 December 2014

Give yourself a Christmas present ...


Craftsy's Best of 2014 Sale
(sponsored post)

Get the gift you really want during Craftsy's Best of 2014 Sale happening now through Christmas! Treat yourself while ALL our classes are $19.99 or less, so you can make your best projects in 2015. Shop now to stock up and save.

Once you enroll you'll own your Craftsy classes forever, so you can watch them at your pace in the comfort of your home, anytime. Hurry, offer expires 12/25/14 at 11:59 PM MT. 

Thursday 18 December 2014

A Fair Division of labour ...

... as I was listening to the radio the other day, there was a comment about the different jobs that men and women do at Christmas.  It struck a chord.


buy the presents
wrap the presents;

buy the food
cook the food;

buy the cards
write the cards;

buy/find the decorations
put up the decorations, etc, etc.

Buy the batteries!

That sort of struck a chord with me.  Mr Fixit's comment when I told him? "Yep, that seems fair enough.  I've bought the batteries by the way."

Sunday 14 December 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like .....


This morning we decided that Christmas was coming, whether we wanted it to or not, so Mr Fixit and I got the trees out and got decorating.  That really means, he checked the lights and then found something else to do in his workshop while I got decorating.  Being somewhat minimalist in my tastes, it really didn't take too long.  There are two more trees, one in the dining room and one in the hall, but they are more "sculptural" so they don't get decorated, just plugged in.  We've just been out in the wind and rain and strung lights over 3 bushes and round my father's porch, and that's it. Christmas sorted.  Apart from wrapping that is.  All the cards are done and sent, the food's all ordered, so now Christmas can happen.

Yesterday was my quilt group's Christmas party ( you can pop over and read all about it here if you like.  I'll wait.) and we all had fun making key fobs

This was mine, and I've just noticed that the ribbon is sewn on all wonky! I'm sure it was straight, so I reckon one of the Christmas elves popped in overnight and did that.

 It was also the Grand Handing Out of the name badges, and here are some of them.  I love how different they all are.

Monday 8 December 2014

This and that ...

OK, what IS she doing now?

Our dining room chairs had cream fabric seat covers which can not be removed for washing.  That was perhaps not my cleverest idea with very young grandchildren around who sat at them to eat, paint, play with PlayDoh, sprinkle glitter all over cards they'd made, etc.

As you can imagine, they have become marked over the years and they'd got to the point where I either needed to replace the chairs or buy a new dining room suite. That's when I had the brainwave. Why not take the chairs apart and recover them?  Mr Fixit was quite impressed, as I think he'd resigned himself to the idea of me going out spending money on a suite.  So, fabric ordered online, staple gun and staples also purchased, and we were ready to go. Then, I discovered that my wrists are not very strong, so I could not remove the staples holding the original covers and nor could I use the staple gun - clever huh? Anyway, they're all done now, and look pretty good really.

I also treated myself to this the other day

It is wonderful.  I just chop up veg and stuff, add it to the pot with stock, turn it on, come back about 20 - 30 mins later and I have yummy soup.  I can even sautee the veg in the pot if I want to, and have the choise of having smooth or chunky soups.  All in one pot.  How clever is that?

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Spot the deliberate mistake ...

... so, remember, last week Scrappy and I were meeting up to make name-badges for other members of Yorkshire Modern Quilters?  Well, by the end of the day there were about seven rejects in the bin (4 from me and 3 from Scrappy) and we had nothing completed, so we got together again today. Scrappy finished hers (no pictures, cos the name of the recipient is a secret) and here's a mock-up of the name badge I decided to make.
Can you spot the deliberate mistake? I made the badge, added the lanyard, etc and was proudly admiring it when all of a sudden Scrappy started laughing and then quietly asked me if I thought I should add the name to it!


By the way, she didn't think I'd post about this.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

UPDATE: Craftsy are at it again


Update: Now, they're having a Black Friday Sale too, with all classes at less than $20 (approx £12.70 to us in the UK).  The wonderful thing about their classes is there is no shipping to pay, no import taxes to pay, no Royal Mail handling fees to pay, the classes are all downloadable instantly and are yours for ever. I have taken several of their classes and can not recommend them highly enough. This sale is on now, and lasts until 11.59 pm MT on Monday 1 December.

This time, they're having a Pre-Black Friday Sale. 

I'm not going to write a lot, cos I'm sure a lot of you are busy with Thanksgiving preparations, etc, but you can visit them, here and enjoy B I G savings on classes, yarn, fabric and kits! Shop now because you won’t want to miss this incredible sale! You'll have to be quick though as the sale prices are only valid until 11.59 pm MT tomorrow (Thursday).

If it's not too crowded, you just might spot me there .................
(sponsored post)

Monday 24 November 2014

Nearly there now ...

... this is what I've been doing while the conservatory has been out of action

and while I've been doing that, the conservatory has been redecorated, and we've moved some of the furniture back now

There's another cupboard coming on Friday, and, hopefully, the new blinds will be fitted in a couple of weeks.  Once the blinds are in I can start filling the cupboards, and then ... I will be able to sew again.  

Meanwhile, I am off to my friend Scrappy's for the day tomorrow and we're making name badges. The Yorkshire Modern Quilters Group we belong to are having a Christmas party next month, and everyone is making a name badge for another member, sort of a Secret Santa thing.  Anyone got any bright ideas for designs?  I haven't. 

On Saturday is the next meeting of the same group, and we're off to that too.  I'm so looking forward to getting back in the groove as I haven't touched any sewing since I got home from the quilt retreat last month.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Before, during and almost after ...

The trouble with a conservatory is that they have a glass roof.  The trouble with that is that the roof is not insulated.  The trouble with that is that it can be very hot in there during the summer, and very cold during the winter.  The trouble with that is that I sew in the conservatory, and some days I would need to wear a bikini (not a pretty sight) and other days I would need my hat coat and gloves. So we decided to have a new, insulated ceiling put it to help (hopefully) solve the problem.

So here are the before the guys arrived photos

when our dining room looked like this

A few hours later, the conservatory looked like this

and when they left a few days later, it looked like this

Next stage is to get ourselves painted, which should happen the week after next.

Then, perhaps, I can get back to sewing!

Saturday 8 November 2014

Craftsy are doing it again ...

... doing what again? I hear you ask.  Having another fun sale is the answer. (By the way, I have to tell you that this is a sponsored post.)


This one they've called the "Shop to Unlock" sale, You can get up to 50% off online classes for a limited time only, but, what's more, if you purchase a class during the flash sale, you will unlock a second set of classes on sale. For users that purchase, you will receive a subsequent email with a link "unlocking" the next set of classes.  

So, does paper piecing perplex you?  Freemotion feathers fill you with fear? The thought of curves curb your enthusiasm? Want to make quick quilted gifts for Christmas (sshh, only whisper that word)? Well there's courses to help you with all these problems and many others to expand your quilting horizons.

Woohoo, I'm off shopping at Craftsy's Shop to Unlock Sale and all you have to do is click on the link to join me there but hurry, this offer expires on Sunday 9 Nov 23.59 MT.

Friday 31 October 2014

Scary ....

... I went to the Hairdresser this morning for my regular feather-fluffing session, and wow, my hairdresser has changed in the 5 weeks since I last went!

Happy Halloween everybody

Monday 27 October 2014

and the winner is ....

Oh hang on, just let me explain first how I chose the winner of this e-book.  The review was posted on this blog, and also on Yorkshire Modern Quilt Group's blog, here.  All the comments on my own blog are numbered, but those on YMQG's are not (yes, I know I said I would get that sorted, but I forgot!).  So all I did was allocate numbers to the comments on there running straight on from those on here.  That gave a total of 64 for Mr to chose from, and the number he chose was comment number 53

and number 53 is Pauline, who said
Congratulations Pauline and thanks to everyone who entered.  Don't forget to keep an eye on both blogs as there will be another giveaway soon.

Sunday 26 October 2014

and now the party's over ...

... and just in case you were worried about how quiet I was, the reason was the internet connection at the hotel.  As I said in my last post, it was was broken, then it was fixed and we could all get online for the day.  I don't know what happened, but overnight I lost access again and could not re-connect until I got home, although other people were able to.  I could connect via my phone, but there was no way I was going to write blog posts using the phone.

Anyway, now we're safely home again, after a great 5 days.

Our days went rather like this:

Eat, walk, eat, sew. Repeat. I think the hotel proprietors were worried in case we felt hungry.  The food was all superb and everything was home-made by a great chef.  The walking was essential as a weight-limitation exercise, but I'm not sure it worked in my case.  We were on the coast so the walks were along the seafront and as it was really outside the holiday season, it was all fairly quiet. Of course the walks may have included visits to the local quilt shop by some people.

Here we are, just a few hours into our five days, aren't we looking neat and tidy?  That soon changed I can assure you, but no, there are no photos of the same areas later in the week.
As you can see, there were some very talented people making some wonderful quilts.

Of all the projects I took with me, several of them did not even make it out of their bags, but I did finish one quilt top, made some test blocks for some ideas I have for the future, and prepared the pieces for the blocks for another quilt.

By the end of the week, some people went home with completed projects, as you can see.

Scrappy decided to lay some blocks out on a bed, to see what they would like in a quilt.  I felt she needed a glamorous assistant to show them off, but she didn't.  Guess who won that battle?

It was a great week, thank you so much QuiltHaze for organising it.  Now, what date is the next one?

Monday 20 October 2014

we're here ...

Firstly, I apologise for the 24 hour silence from me.  There has been a problem at the hotel with the internet, but that got sorted out this evening.

Do you think we've got enough "stuff?  Well, just in case, we've also got things on the back seat of the car, and my machine had to travel on the floor behind my seat, poor big Brother.

Anyway, we arrived safely, despite the best efforts of a couple of motor bikes on our way.  By the time we had taken our bags into the sewing room, and our clothes to our rooms, (yes we did just about find room in the car for a change of clothes and our toothbrushes) it was time for afternoon tea and home made cakes.  Then there was time for a little sewing before dinner. The dinner was superb, and the hotel proprietors definitely think that we all need feeding up if the dinner was anything to go by.  A little more sewing after dinner and it was time for an early night.

Breakfast was a 3-course meal again.  After that Scrappy and I went for a brisk walk along the seafront into the town and wandered around town for a little while.  Believe me, we needed to walk off the breakfast, but guess what?  When we got back, we found that morning coffee and home made biscuits were laid out waiting for us.  We did fit in a little more sewing, before lunch, followed by sewing, afternoon tea, a walk, sewing, dinner, sewing and then the internet was back, so here I am.

So that was yesterday, and today. Tomorrow I'll try and show you what we've been working on.

Sunday 19 October 2014

Ready to go ...

In a couple of hours I'm off on a five day quilt retreat.  Do you think I've got enough "stuff" to work on?
I've got three machine projects, (all throw size quilts, only one of which has been started so far), one hand applique table topper and a  load of experimental things to play with.  I've never been on a retreat before so I am very excited, but really don't know how much I should take with me.  I must remember to pack a toothbrush and change of clothes somewhere too. And I'll need my camera, and my Kindle, my phone and my laptop, oh yes, and all the chargers, some sachets of my favourite hot chocolate for when I'm awake in the middle of the night, and I've just remembered I need to take some Steam-a-Seam and some freezer paper.  Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed that Mr Fixit and my father stay fit and well while I'm gone so I don't need to come home early. 

Assuming the hotel has wifi, I'll be back soon to tell you what I've been up to.

By the way, don't forget my giveaway, here

Friday 17 October 2014

Remember these?  A few weeks ago I was making 200 9-patches, each measuring 3 1/2" for a swap being organised by Barb over at Fun With Barb.

Well, this week I received my swapsies back, and they are gorgeous.  I really want to start playing with them, and I even know what I am going to do with them.  All I need now is the time!

Thursday 16 October 2014

Giveaway ....

(This book is published by Martingale Publications, and all the photography shown is by Brent Kane.)

Simply Modern Christmas by Cindy Lammon, has some great patterns which will allow you to dress your house for Christmas.  It includes 14 projects ranging from bed quilts and wall hangings, to Christmas Stockings and a table runner and a tree skirt. 

Although most of the patterns are shown in traditional Christmas colours, ie red and green, I think they would all work in other colours for other times of the year.  Imagine this one, for example, 

 made up with that  special fabric you can't bear to cut up, and this one, with its many pieces, would make a fantastic I-spy quilt for children.

As I would expect from any book published by Martingale, the instructions are very clear and each pattern has many diagrams. I also enjoyed the photography in this book.  Each quilt is shown in a styled shot (I love the Christmas tree they used on the front cover too) and as a full-face shot so you can see exactly what you are getting into before you start. 

My favourite project?  This Christmas Tree skirt, which I might just have to make before I put my tree up this year.

Now, I think I may have mentioned a giveaway in the title of this post?  Well, Martingale Publications are offering an e-book version of this book to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what colours you use to decorate for Christmas.

The giveaway small print:
1.     This giveaway is open to everybody, wherever you live, BUT please remember to make sure I can contact you if you are the winner.
2.     If you are a no-reply person, you will not be entered unless you leave an email address in your comment as I will not be able to get in touch with you.  (Note, if you are a Google+ person, you will be no-reply).
3.     This giveaway will also be available on the Yorkshire Modern Quilters' blog.
4.     The giveaway will close next Saturday, 25 October.
5.     The winner will be selected using Mr Random Generator.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Calling Sharon T ...

Update: due to changes in EU taxation laws, I am no longer selling my patterns on Craftsy, or on my blog.  However, some of them are available for sale on Payhip.

Hey-elp as Penelope Pitstop used to say.  Does anyone know Sharon T?

Sharon has just asked me, via a comment on my blog, how she can buy a copy of the pattern for Tubix, but unfortunately she is a no-reply blogger so I can't reply directly.  If anyone knows her, please would you pass this information on to her, or if you see it this post yourself Sharon, here is the answer.

I will be uploading this pattern to my pattern store on Craftsy tomorrow, so you can buy it then, or you can buy it directly from me, I will put a new page on the blog tomorrow it can be purchased then.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

You couldn't make this up ...

... My father has decided to apply for a Blue Badge which would then allow any car he is travelling in to park in designated disabled parking places.  He is now over 90, with a dodgy heart and has difficulty in walking more than about 20 yards without needing to stop and rest.  In order to get this badge, he has to attend an assessment.  With me so far?

OK, so he makes an appointment for this assessment, which will be in mid-November (good job this isn't urgent then isn't it?).  When the confirmation letter arrives, it also tells him that the assessment centre is moving from it's current location to a place right, slap bang in the middle of the Big Scary City.  (You know, where I don't drive if I can possibly help it cos it's big and busy and scary, and they keep changing the one way system so I get lost.) Helpfully they also include directions on how to get there.  They read something like this, with my comments in italics:
  1. if you are coming by car, please note there is no on-road parking nearby, however there is a multi-story car-park fairly near. (remember this is in the city centre and the chances of there being any spaces at all is so remote that it's not even worth trying)
  2. if you are coming by bus, the bus station is a 10-minute walk away (what?)
  3. if you are coming by train, the railway station is a 20-minute walk away (whaaaattt???)
We decided that getting there is actually the assessment - if you arrive at their office, you are reasonably fit and don't need a Blue Badge.  We had to laugh really at how well thought out this plan of moving into the City centre was.

It's almost as good as an assessment centre my sister had to attend a few years ago.  She is in a wheelchair, and my father had taken her to the appointment.  When they got there, the entrance to the building was via some steps.  No ramp or anything.  Dad had to ask a couple of strong-looking guys to get her up those steps.  Another well thought-out plan. Ain't bureaucracy grand?

Tuesday 23 September 2014

What I've been up to ...

... Last Saturday was a meeting of the Yorkshire Modern Quilt Group that I belong to.  We had a great demo from one of the members about how to do porthole applique.  I had a go and thought it was great.  I can see more of this sort of thing in my future.

The other thing that has been taking up my time for the past week is this.

Yes, I've started knitting again.  I haven't done any for years, but recently have had the urge to play with my knitting needles.  Of course, being me, I couldn't possibly start with an easy project could I? No, that's far too sensible.  Instead I chose a pattern with a 40-row repeat on it!  The trouble is that it's a very lacy pattern with lots of knitting stitches together, creating extra stitches, passing them around the room, standing on my head whilst doing it, etc.  I can tell you that when it went wrong it was easier to undo it all and start again than just trying to undo one row, so the first few rows were knitted more than once, twice, or even three times. My problem is that I was knitting in the evening, with the TV on, and was therefore being distracted. I think I've cracked it now though.  I've found that it's much easier to follow this pattern by using the chart that was provided rather than following the "words".  I've never used a chart before, so I'm feeling a bit proud of myself, and am up to row 30. Tonight I'll do some more so wish me luck.
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