Monday, 30 December 2013

Last bits for 2013

 As I mentioned in my last post we are having our downstairs cloakroom revamped and I had planned how I wanted the tiles to sit and was very happy doing the tiling myself, but the plumber said he would tile before he fitted the loo and hand basin as it would be easier and did seem to make sense....... but he didn't quite follow my lines and ended up making it much more difficult to add the mosaics as I had planned.  Give him his due he did try but Mr. D soon realised that trying to chip away at bits of each glass mosaic was not working well and asked him to stop (good thinking that man).  I then spent a bit of time deciding how I wanted to make good the mistake and got down to adding the mosaics. The mosaics are on the wall, but it’s not truly what I wanted - still it’s the best I could do without taking all the tiles off and starting again which was NOT going to happen.  I then started on a paint job...... I wanted something a bit different, so painted horizontal stripes......   
Tilling completed but not finished the grouting
and a different view
Can't believe I have lived with it like this for so long
All that ugly pipework gone
So much neater
 Mr. D thinks the stripes make it look like an " ice cream" parlour, so I have suggested that in the summer he opens the window and tries to set up a new business.

That was my last finish for 2013, but I can show you a couple of things that were kept under wraps until my friends had opened them on Christmas day...

Remember this?
Turned into these.....
Two pincushions
and those blocks that I loved making turned into these.......

Don't seem to have a photo of this one finished....

and a little extra for someone..
A wallet for hexagon projects

and last but never least I thought I would show you these.....

Very Happy Teenagers

Such a cutie, but baby is best....
See you in the New Year x x x x

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas is coming

My thumb has taken a bit of time to heal, so not much making has been going on in my house.  I did manage to get to the last meetings of our crochet and smocking group.  The smocking ladies have been coming for a while, so I set them a challenge of making a smocked snowman and most of them have a beautiful snowman to hang on their tree.  Unfortunately some of the ladies forgot to bring their's for a photo shoot, so I only have three to show you, but don't they look good?

8 snowmen were made, but only these 3 came for a photo
On Saturday I went to my local quilt shop, not to sew, but to try something different.  Glenny,s was showing us all how to arrange just a few flowers and some greenery into a table decoration for Christmas. We started by making an Angel using a dry seed head from a poppy for the head, a pine cone for her body and skeleton leaves for her wings then sprayed her gold, we then twisted gold or silver wire around some red stick things (can't remember the name of them) then started with the greenery. I am not very good at arranging flowers, just plonk them into a vase and hope for the best, that's me, but I (and the other ladies) had a  lot of fun and took home our creations......
Not bad
We had a trip to Birmingham's German Christmas market, it's beginning to be a bit of a tradition of ours and one of my favourite stalls/displays is this one....

It sells German beer, Gluwein, and hot chocolate.  I had the hot chocolate with Amaretto..... very warming

I have been given a few Christmas gifts, and they are sitting waiting for the big day, BUT there is one that is quite intriguing....what do you think it could be???????  Not really sure you should tell otherwise it will spoil my surprise.

A walking cane perhaps!!!!!!
Not many sleeps now before the man in Red calls so, just in case I don't get around to writing again I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. x x

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Mixed bag and only Wednesday....

What sort of week have you had?  For me there have been plenty of ups and downs and its only Wednesday..
It started on Sunday with a quick make..... I seem to have lost my glasses cases so within a couple of hours I had two new cases ready to go........

Smart fabric don't you think?

One Smart, one for fun

Mixed bag on Monday when the plumber that was supposed to start renovations on our downstairs cloakroom had to postpone his start until Tuesday....boo hoo!  BUT, the weather was pleasant so out came the bikes.  I had a great ride around Pitsford lakes ...Mr D battled, and finished feeling a bit worn out --poor thing, but I had a great time.  Once home, and as the plumber hadn't arrived I took the opportunity to remove paint etc. and smooth out the walls in the cloakroom.  I worked all afternoon, and was really pleased with the results.  Down then Ups..
Tuesday dawned and  Lee the plumber arrived ready to start. Now I won't say I am fussy, but I do know what I want and need to know if I am asking the impossible, so after a 10 minute chat (that lasted 30 mins) I had to rush off to see my crochet ladies for the last time before Christmas.  I should have stopped on the way for mince pies as it was our last meet, but I was running late so no time for goodies from me (luckily Glennys brought a box of Quality Street for us to share...Hooray for Glennys!).  Would you believe in the rush to get out of the house after my chat with Lee I even forgot to take my glasses....... I have never before forgotten glasses....idiot!  Tuesday evenings I go out so we always have 'Spag bol' (pasta need for my exercises) and I was busy grating Parmasan cheese with a micro plane grater when my hand slipped and I grated my thumb!!!.  When I feel pain and know I am likely to spot blood I grab the area and try to cover it as quickly as possible with a plaster.....whew! managed that, but after only a couple of minuets I could spy blood seeping, so, if I wanted to go to my water aerobics I needed to waterproof it further--out came the "gaffa tape".  That worked really well (only a little blood leak), but when I got home I knew I had to get the whole thing off and redress before bed.  This redressing did not go smoothly.....firstly the stupid plasters would not come out of the sterile pack easily, Mr D was trying to help but that was not going well, and I  ended up laying on the floor with my legs above my head to stop me passing out.  I did eventually get a plaster on the wound, colour eventually came back to my cheeks  and I was able to stand up without wobbling.  I needed my bed!!!
Wednesday was a cooking day, and cook I did, with difficulty.  You just don't know how much you use your thumbs until the day comes when you can't use them.  I also had to redress my stupid thumb so that was playing on my mind a bit, I prepared the plasters ( now not so sterile) got the cotton wool ready to clean around the wound with sterile liquid and prepared my mind..... I did it and felt very proud of myself and think it will last until at least tomorrow.

At least it stopped bleeding

I can't sew, can't crochet, can't knit, so what can I do.......sit quietly, well I can try.   After a spot of lunch the postman called and delivered a parcel that had been damaged before arriving in this country, but who was it from......there was no note or letter with it, but I do have clues.

Clue 1:   Sent from America
Clue 2: return address Webfabric'
Clue 3: My cyber friend Dee works at Web fabrics'

Want to see the goodies the good fairy brought me.......

Just look at this lot..
So this unexpected parcel arrived just when I needed a  pick me up after a very up and down few days.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Getting a little festive

Let me show you my next flower stem from the wonderful glorious Amaryllis.  This will be its final stem for this year, but if you look closely you will see that four of the buds are blooming, and there seems to be 2 more that will follow in about a week...... can you believe it, this bulb has had 3 stems, the first two stems gave me 4 buds on each, and this last one looks like it will give me 6 flower heads.  I don't think I have had a flower that has given me so many surprises and pleasure for the grand total of around £3.00.  In total this bulb will have produced 14 flower heads.......can anyone beat that?

The last two stems 

Can you see the two extra buds?

Christmas has come to my house...... Yep! we dragged out the deco's and decorated the lounge.  We don't spend Christmas at home, but never want to get to the point of not being bothered to hang a few bits and pieces.   I  have made lots of bits over the years, so the tree is decorated with smocked bells, baubles, mini wreaths, crackers and sprinkled with dripping flower heads taken from a bridal headdress.  There are groups of Angels, some bought, some machine embroidered by a very good friend who used her fantastic embroidery machine to make 'lace like' Angels, some 'Hardanger' Angels, some made with bobbin lace and some Tin ones.  Many of the other decorations have been collected with friends, given by friends, and all have their own memories of when where and who bought them...... Just love Christmas and everything it brings with it.
Lots of memories on this tree

This is what greets you as you walk into the room

The Hardanger Angels sit by the T.V. and on the other side hanging from a silver tree are the machine lace ones,

You can see one of the new cushions

This is the view of the room from the sewing/office room

The 1/4 tree in the corner....such a good space saving idea
Not much sewing going on, but do have one thing to show you.  I have wanted some place mats for ages, so this week was the week to get down to making them.  I had one of those pre cut 'Candy Squares' and although I love pre-cuts, I never really know what to do with them, so adding them to place mats seems a good idea.  I use one pack, then added a couple of extras from my 'stash'.   After I had made the first half dozen I realised I could play with a 'Charm pack' in a very similar way, so someone might be getting some placemats as an extra for Christmas!

This was the Candy Squares 
and these are probably going to be wrapped as an extra Christmas gift.

These were made from the Charm pack

To finish the weekend, we had a beautiful sunset....

Will it be a 'red at night - shepherds delight' day tomorrow?????

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Samplers and Sampling

Most evenings this week I have spent with needle in hand trying to keep my eyes accustomed to the 'even weave' sampler that I bought in Vancouver last year.  I love samplers, simply because each row is different from the row previous, but at the final part of this sampler is a large block of Hardanger.  I know (from past experience) Hardanger  needs lots of concentration and counting.  I completed the Kloister blocks and started on the detail with 4 sided stitch only to find that my Kloisters were ONE stitch out so it threw everything out......Grrrrr!!  Now I could have played around and managed, but I would always have known that it was wrong, so unpicking began.......

Just decided to cut it all out.  Rubbish photo
Unpicking the Kloister blocks was not so bad, but if you can see there are some blocks that have been worked with 4 sided stitch and that took a few hours to get that out.........but, out it came.  

Second attempt...

Nearly finished

added the beads 

It was worth unpicking it

and finally finished
Just needs framing now.

Other than my sampler I have added yet another Minion Hat to the ever growing pack.......this one is for a new born, so I want a photo of the baby (once it arrives) wearing it and I will post the the picture, if the new Mum and Dad allow.  I also followed the instructions and made this cute little 'bits box'.   I think you could make a few of these in different sizes for different rooms in the house.

Bit of 'time out' on Saturday and new recipe's to try.  First I saw Mary Berry's 'Special Mincemeat', and as I had all the ingredients in the cupboard thought I would have a go.  Would you believe this is the very first time I have made mincemeat and could not believe how easy it was.  This was the result of slaving over the hot stove for a good 5 minutes.  
Actually this jar filled and is going to sit for a few months (give the Brandy chance to do its stuff), but the remainder (about another half a jar) just has to be put into some pies......so 

Six seem to have gone missing already.....
and I have also tried out Mary's 'Mincemeat and Apple Caramel'.  It looks a bit burnt, but that's poor lighting....honest!!  Will be great with cream or custard.

Sponge on the bottom, mince then topped with apple
Next flower stem on my Amaryllis is out ..... beautiful.

Photos just don't do it justice.
I think the next time I get a photo of my Amaryllis the first flowers will probably be past their best, so they may be gone......but there will be the THIRD, yes, third stem bursting forth.