31 December 2012

Happy New Year Everyone

I'm usually very good at thinking myself not ill - I haven't got time to be ill is my usual cry.  But this time, despite using all my will power, I had to succumb this morning and took a trip to the emergency dentist at Brelcav hospital.  One hour later a very scary lady had drilled a hole in my tooth and drained all the gunge out, and very surprisingly it appears to be much better.  Even so, I can't be bothered to sort through photos and write a "this was my year" post.  There are so many around, you won't miss mine!

But I will leave you with a photo that I forgot to post last time - my Christmas present from my husband, bless him!

Please excuse the scutty dog walking clothes

It is possibly the best thing he could give me, and it makes me smile every time  I look at it.  After 35 years, he knows me so well!  Apparently he had it in the warehouse at the factory before Christmas, and I walked past it several times without seeing it!

I will leave you all with best wishes for 2013.  Hope the New Years Eve party goes well.  I shall be snuggling in front of the fire with my painkillers!

Happy New Year

29 December 2012

Back to reality

It's nice to see everyone emerging from the Christmas festivities again, some intact, others a little grotty around the edges due to the Chrismtas lurgy.  Funny how it always comes when we relax after all that activity.  We were largely lurgy free, although I now have a problem with toothache, or some sort of infection, which will probably end  up as a trip to A & E, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can manage without!

We had a lovely Christmas staying with my husbands family in the UK, just arriving back last night.  The weather was pretty horrible, but we had a lovely, if very wet walk around Foremark reservoir on Christmas morning,

 with a welcome stop for coffee and mince pies half way round of coarse.

I didn't take many photos, but you have to see Bridget's tree, as it looked magnificent with the pressies under it.

We didn't have a car to get around, but I did manage to catch up with my brother and SIL, and old friends Carol and Clive came over to see us with their children, who I haven't seen for years and who are now all grown up, and where did the time go?

Bridget and I managed to get over to a Loughborough on Monday morning to do a little fabric shopping, before everything closed.  She is now set up with cutting board, ruler, rotary cutter and basting pins.  She has to make a quilt for a colleague who is expecting a baby in March, and after a lot of consideration and changing of minds, we decided to keep it simple, and bought a charm back of Bungle jungle and some dotty fabric for the sashing.

I don't seem to be able to turn this photo around.  I didn't think that the monkey looked right, but several of her friends on Facebook thought it was OK, so the monkey stays and the quilt is already named "Keep the Monkey"! I think there will be a few phone calls and Skype calls during the quilt making process! Well I hope there will be.

I also managed to pick up some fabric to make some much needed new table mats

Although I probably haven't got enough.  Hey ho.

So we're off now to get the dogs from the kennels.  They are going to be uncontrollably excited and very probably smelly.  I think a long walk will be required, followed by a log fire and a film!   That's after I've done all the washing of course.

23 December 2012

Santa's been busy

Can you tell what it is yet?

Did you guess right?

It's not perfect positioning, but it's the only possible place.  And I'm not complaining.  Thanks you so much Santa!

I'm signing off now for the Christmas period.  I will be reading and hopefully commenting, but my dear old Dell laptop has turned up it's toes and I think this will be the last time.  It's 7 years old, and has done sterling service, but each time it costs more to repair it, and we decided it would be better to get a new one.  I'm not sure when, but in the meantime I can still follow you on my ipod but it's nigh on impossible to write posts on it.

So I wish you all a very happy happy Christmas, whatever you are up to.  We will be with family, and I can't wait, provided today's  threatened snow storm doesn't put paid to it!

Take care

Why am I worrying though, the world is ending today isn't it.  So here's a  message from one of my all-time favourites

20 December 2012

Secret Santa

We ladies in the Stitch Tease bee have done a Secret Santa this year, and whilst everyone else had their swaps ages, mine was a little bit late getting here.  But they do say good things come in late packages (well they do now) and finally I received my package from Santa, who is really Danny for the purposes of this excercise.

I have a lovely loop with an Arizona cactus on, decorated by hand for Christmas.  The cactus has tiny lights sewn onto it.  It's just so cute and is already hanging in the kitchen

Thanks Danny! And thank you for all the other goodies that I forgot to photograph!

My secret partnter was Katy, who requested
1. Mini bunting
2. An ornament I can hang on my living room door (as I have no tree!)
3. Mug-rug sized mini I can hang up

So I thought I'd combine the bunting with ornaments as she doesn't have a tree.

I can't find the photo I took anywhere, so I'm going to have to steal Katy's


I also entered a Christmas Tree Ornament swap over at Christine Lowry Designs.  My first ornament came all the way from Oz. It looks beautiful on my tree, and even gordon was impressed by it, which is pretty impressive as he doesn't get over-excited by Christmas!

Santa has actually been quite busy recently, but I have to sort out the photos, so maybe I can show you tomorrow!

17 December 2012

Lucky, lucky, lucky

I don't know about you, but I always feel I'm more unlucky than most when it comes down to giveaways. I just never seem to win. I'm not bitter, it's just a fact of life. But this week seems to be my lucky week.
I recently took part in the travellin pic stitch blog hop run by Katy and Laura.  If you haven't already seen it, here's my block. There were prizes for the three blocks voted the best in their region, and no, before you ask, I didn't win that. Oh no,  I was amongst much more talented company on this one.  But I did win the random draw, and look what I won.

Woo hoo! And I was just about to splash out on some colours other than white and cream. Thank you so much ladies and of course aurifil who was one of the sponsors of the blog hop.

Not satisfied with one win, I was catching up on a bit of blog reading when I was sitting at the airport waiting for Gordon the other night, and , rather embarrassingly, I let out another woo hoo, when I saw that I was the winner of Lucy's recent giveaway.

I've won 4 fat quarters of School Days by American Jane Patterns for Moda. Aren't they  gorgeous?  And what did I have to do for this one?  Reveal a fashion disaster from my school days!  I am going to try and find a photo of me wearing the purple plastic maxi trench coat, just for a laugh!

So now all I have to do is wait for them to battle their way through the Christmas post! And keep your fingers crossed that there is a third time lucky. Please

16 December 2012

The post that should have been

I had yesterday planned.  Gordon was returning from a trip to Blighty yesterday evening, so I went off late afternoon and fitted in a little shopping.  The plan was to pick him up from Brno airport at 8:00, home to the curry that was festering in the slow cooker, then a blog post before bed.  Best laid plans, and all that.  Due to fog, his flight was diverted to Bratislava and he was bussed back to Brno, ETA 11:00.  So I had a 3 hour wait (thanks goodness for Tesco 24 hour shopping!) and we got home at midnight.  No blog post.

So what was I going to tell you?

Well, I was a little concerned yesterday, that I was coming down with something.   I spent the morning baking.  Yes, me!  And truthfully everything was a success

Mince Pies

There were 18 but, well, you have to test them don't you?

Mince-meat turnovers made from the leftover pastry.  As tough as old boots, but lovely with some custard!

I cannot explain why, but this year, I have felt the need to make mince pies, and further more, ones that are edible.  This was my third lot of pastry, and this stuff is light and flaky.  Perfect.  The first batch needed a road drill, and the second batch wasn't much better.  I think the secret was slightly less moisture and a small inch of salt.

Spiced Banana and Oat Cookies

I used this recipe.

What else?  Oh yes, I finished my Japanese block cushion


 I used the same fabrics for a narrow sashing and the border, and the backing was something I bought locally.  I quilted the front with chevrons , grouped together in twos and threes.  I'm really pleased with this and will use this book again to make a few cushions for myself (some day!) It's off to it's new home today.

I spent Friday trying to write a tutorial, and by 8 at night I was about ready to scream.  It just wouldn't work right, and I ended up throwing it in a cupboard.  I've had another look at it this morning, and with a fresh pair of eyes (and brain) it all worked perfectly!  I can't show you anything yet though.  Sorry!

And finally, the most important thing yesterday, was that it would have been my mum's birthday.  Happy Birthday mum - I still miss you lots


Mum was always nicely turned out - unlike me who lives in jeans and forgets to put on makeup or brush her hair! OK, granted I was nicely turned out here, but that was the days when I used to wear suits!

Ok then, you've had enough for one post!  I have got some really good news, but that can wait for another day.  Have a nice rest-of-the-weekend.  


12 December 2012

WIP Wednesday

I'm making my last few presents for Christmas.   We're going to friends for lunch on Sunday, and I'd like to make them a cushion (pillow).  I bought this book ages ago

On the face of it, it's full of very dull, boring blocks, but I think there are loads in here that would be really pretty, given a modern makeover. I've already used one for my zippy puch in the Mouthy Stitches swap


This time I'm using Izutsu kuzushi

It was a challenge because it's full of part-sewn seam.  I like using this technique - all of a sudden, what looks like a complete mess, turns into something like the picture!

Here's my effort

It's not perfect - the final part sewn seam was quite tricky and some of the seams are a bit skew-wiffy, but it's not bad for a first effort, and once it's quilted, I don't think you'll  hope you won't notice.  But I won't be trying to straight line quilt around the strips, that's for sure!

Linking up to WIP wednesday over at Freshly Pieced

11 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This was the view from our office window this morning.  I find it hard to drag myself away and do some work!

Not only is the snow making me feel very Christmassy, but also, we have had two Christmas Dinners in the last two days.  On Sunday we invited some Czech friends over for their first ever English Christmas Dinner, and they loved it, even the bread sauce, which personally I think is devils food.  The Christmas Pudding went in double quick time! Here's the table all set up ready

Last night Malcolm, an English guy living over here, came round and helped mop up some of the leftovers.  We've had cold meat and pickles for tea tonight, and there's still enough left for the rest of the week!

The table looks good, but personally, I'd rather see it like this!

 I'll be restoring this to it's former glory tomorrow!

And just to really get into the Christmas spirit, here's a couple of Christmas trees. 

At work:

and at home

Two for the price of one.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

10 December 2012

Shearwater kaftan

Going back into the mists of time, I started making this tunic.

 Shearwater Kaftan - Sewing pattern by Make it Perfect

It's called the Sheerwater Kaftan from Make it Perfect.

I fully intended to make it for a weeks holiday we had in Egypt last November, but it didn't happen.   It's taken me the full twelve months but at last it's finished, and came on holiday this year instead.  Here we are just making our way to a hard day by the pool

It was a nice easy pattern to make, but to be honest I made it a bit small and it was very tight across the top of my arms.  And the opening at the front flops down very lazily!  If I make it again (unlikely but you  never know)I would hand stitch the hems around the bottom and the sleeves, rather than top stitching it at the pattern suggest.  The voile fabric is lovely to wear though.  And it's another finish for this quarters FAL.

Talking of the holiday, I obly have about 700 photos to show you!  No need to panic - I'm not going to show you them all! Just few photo mosaics.  We were in The Gambia

A birdwatchers paradise, and we got to see baboons, and a croc.

Beautiful flowers

The fish market - the highlight of the holiday

Out and about
We had a lovely relaxing time, and had great fun with our friends.  It has set us up ready for winter, which is just as well as the snow is falling fast right now.

06 December 2012

Ho Ho Ho

Please do not go any further if you

a)  Have a house that currently looks like Santa's grotto


b)  Are easily offended by bad language.

You were warned