Wednesday, 31 December 2008

2008 Roundup

Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Number of WIPs on 01/01/08 - 27

Number of WIPS on 31/12/08 - 28

Number of new Stitching Starts in 2008 - 28

Number of Stitching Finishes in 2008 - 27

Number of Books read in 2008 - 65

Number of quilts finished in 2008 - 12

So I failed in my bid to reduce my wip list. Not only that I checked back to January and I only finished 3 projects from my wips, all my other finishes this year have been new starts.

So for 2009 I must do better and hopefully my rotation will give me time on new projects as well as allowing me to focus on getting current WIPs completed. If I stick to it I could have as many as 10 projects gone from my WIP list by the end of 2009. If I'm honest, I'd be happy with 5.

I also almost managed 100 blog posts this year - more than double last year - so I shall continue to try and increase the number of posts in 2009 so I can break the three figure barrier.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

December Roundup

Tuesday, 30 December 2008
December Stitching Goals
1. Work on Sleigh Ride - yes
2. Work on Snowman Trio - yes
3. Complete and make up the Just Nan tins - completed but not made up
4. Complete the Sue Hawkins Thread Keeper - yes

Stitching New Starts:
Just Nan - Jingle tin and biscornu

Stitching Finishes:
Sue Hawkins Thread Keeper
Just Nan - Jingle Tin Topper
Just Nan - Biscornu

Books Read
Magyk - Angie Sage
Christmas Mystery - Jostein Gaardner

December Quilting Goals
1. Finish Christmas Quilt - yes
2. Finish baby quilt - yes
3. Finish Heart to Heart quilts - yes
4. Finish Christmas Panel - yes
5. Quilt bargello - quilted and finished
6. Make up Jungle quilt top - no
7. Sew some more of the flannel quilt blocks - yes

Other Quilting
Baby girl quilt - finished and gifted

Current Stitching WIP List

1. Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
2. Bothy Threads - Row of Christmas Fairies
3. Margaret Sherry - Santa's Journey Afghan
4. Stitchy Kitty - Snowman Trio

5. Shepherd's Bush - Happy Haunting
6. Glendon Place - Murky Manor
7. Just Nan - Scream House

8. Brightneedle - Garden Party
9. Millhouse Designs - Charlie is Born
10. The Trilogy - Spring Lineup
11. CCN - Joyful Summer

12. Tournicoton - Coeur de Brodeuse
13. The Cat's Whiskers - Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag
14. The Cat's Whiskers - Grandma's Thread Minder

15. Just Nan - Four Wishes
16. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
17. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series

18. Shepherd's Bush - Be Attitudes Afghan
19. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet
20. Ink Circles - Cirque de Cercles
21. Stitchin'Spirations - Getting Lost in a Blackwork Maze
22. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven's Above
23. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds
24. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan
25. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4
26. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill
27. Stoney Creek - Noah's Sub
28. Dracolair - Dawn Awakening

Monday, 29 December 2008

Totally Spoiled

Monday, 29 December 2008
So it's back down to earth with a bump today as I'm back at work and Lia is back at nursery. DH is at home however (the git) and I imagine he'll spend most of the day playing Guitar Hero...

Christmas was a good one, my Sis and BIL are fantastic hosts and we had a lovely few days staying with them. Mum did okay, she even came to the Carol concert with us on Christmas Eve which she'd said she wouldn't attend. It's a lovely one, outside in Canterbury Town Centre, and the Archbishop of Canterbury attends every year. It certainly set up the Christmas mood.

Lia was totally spoiled. I can't believe how many toys she got - admittedly she got a lot of them from us but I didn't figure in just how many she'd get from other people too. On the whole she was really well behaved and her excitement levels weren't too bad. She did go to sleep on Christmas Eve under the covers though as she didn't want Santa to come in and scare her.

We were back home on Saturday (nightmare drive, it usually takes 1hr 45 mins and it took over 4!) so have had a bit of time to relax but I could have done with a bit more. I did intend to sort Lia's room out yesterday and clear out some old toys so there's room for the new ones but that didn't happen so I'll do it next weekend - this means that most of her gifts are still in bags in our bedroom.

She has one more gift to get - a dollshouse - I'd actually think about not bothering with it apart from the fact that several people bought her furniture to go in it LOL. Plus I know she'll love it.

I'm consoling myself with the fact that she won't be so spoilt with toys for her birthday as we're going to decorate her bedroom and change it from a babyish theme of jungle animals to a little girl's room and this will include new carpet, curtains, bed, etc so we'll get people to give contributions to that rather than buy her more toys.

As for me, I too was spoiled, I got my Behind the Gate full kit, a Mamma Mia DVD and some lovely earrings from DH (from Magpie Nest - check out the link if you like silver jewellery). I also got MASH Season 3 DVD, some great fabric, some Lizzie*Kate Flip-its (three of the Christmas ones and one of the general series) and three more of the SamSarah Baubles Charts with linen and buttons.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and that you were all spoiled too.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Quilts with legs...

Tuesday, 23 December 2008
As promised, here's piccies of the finished quilts (all clickable for larger versions)

Baby Boy quilt for my nephew

Little girl quilt for my great niece

And yet another quilt for Lia

I did manage to get the two sides of binding done yesterday so I could sew on the final two strips last night. I probably would have had a HD if I hadn't spent a couple of hours on the phone with a friend (much better use of time than sewing on binding!)

I also got a lot of the packing done - I didn't have to do quite as much as I thought as DH is home today so I left him with a list...

I possibly won't get a chance to post again before Christmas so Merry Christmas to you all and I hope you have a wonderful Festive Season however you celebrate.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Quilting Update

Monday, 22 December 2008
Well my fingers are suffering from multiple stab wounds and my wrist is a bit sore but I've made fantastic progress on achieving my quilting goals.

At the last update on the 14th I had:

1 completed quilt
1 completed quilt bar two sides of binding
2 with wadding and backing cut ready to layer
2 with wadding cut and backing needing sewing before layering

As of last night I now have:

4 completed quilts
1 with two sides of binding to be sewn on
1 with four sides of binding to be sewn on

Even I am stunned by how much I got done in the last week. I have the quilt that needs four sides of binding on with me at work today with the idea that I can get one side done in my lunch break and then hopefully the second one tonight so I can sew on the last two strips.

We're off to my family tomorrow evening so I can take the last two quilts with me and hopefully get them done while I'm away. I have to do a lot of packing tonight otherwise I think I'd finish another one, possibly both.

So to finish my quilting goals for the month I just need to:

1. Complete the binding on the last two quilts
2. Complete the Christmas panel (which will also come away with me for Christmas)
3. Sew together the Jungle Quilt top
4. Sew some more of the flannel blocks (although I have done some so technically this goal is complete, I'd just like to get them all done)

I shall also take Sleigh Ride with me over Christmas and the Jingle Biscornu as I'm getting stitching withdrawals!

We're back on Saturday morning so I'm hoping that next weekend I can get the Jungle and Flannel quilting bits done and then I'm set to start the New Year with some new projects with a clear conscience.

We had a lovely weekend - Friday we saw Santa and Lia, although very shy, seemed to enjoy it (although if you ask her she'll say the huge icecream she had was the best part of her day). We then had friends over on Saturday and Sunday and I cooked a Christmas lunch yesterday so now we're really starting to feel Christmassy.

Poor Lia had a nosebleed at 1am this morning so I'm a bit fuzzy headed today. She is at nursery but I've told them to call me if she has another and I'll be more than happy to leave work and take her home!

Oh and yes, there will be photos, I just finished too late last night to get any taken...

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Wednesday, 17 December 2008
I'm stuck in my job and I'm not enjoying it. There, I've said it so I can't ignore it any more.

I started this job seven years ago and it was great, lots of diversity, great people, plenty of projects etc. Then I had a baby, took six months off, and came back to a different place. I've thought about this a lot lately and my return from maternity really did mark the beginning of the end, almost like some people were just waiting for me to pop out number two.

Sure there have been organisational shakeups and other external factors but the truth is that I just never got back to a decent workload. I'll admit that at the beginning that was great - Lia was five months old when I returned to work and dealing with her and a job meant that if the job was a bit slack then it was easier to cope some days.

But now I'm bored. Totally and utterly. The project that was supposedly going to 'save my job' is still being worked on (an external contractor is doing the initial work and they've missed their deadline) so I'm at work with nothing to do. So I am bored. Really really bored.

Part of me wants to start looking for a new job but the truth is that the reasons for staying here are much more compelling than for going:

1. In the current economic climate it's much better to be at risk of redundancy from a job you have 7 years service in than one you have a few months service in

2. Lia's already stressy about going to nursery ('it's too young for me mummy!)' to move her now would be such a hassle only to have to do it again in a few months when she starts school

3. Maternity benefits, as in if I get pregnant then I'll get some if I stay where I am

4. We need two good salaries as we might have to subsidise Mum for a bit if her house sale doesn't go through after probate is sorted

5. We're still paying off the credit card and will be for most of 2009 as well

Weigh those issues up next to boredom and sticking with this job seems best for now. Unfortunately.

The problem is of course that boredom at work leads to lethargy at home and I have very little motivation to get out and do anything. You may think that's a strange comment given how I'm motoring through my quilting and stitching but it's actually doing something physical that I have a problem with and, whilst I haven't put any weight on, I feel like a lump that just sits around.

So I am determined to get out of this slump and spend 2009 working towards something better for me. The lack of work at work is also causing a slump in my skills being up to date so I intend to use the time I have with nothing to do to work on retraining my brain in preparation for getting a new job. In January Lia is going to start dancing lessons and I intend for us to go swimming as a family once a week as well. Come her birthday she'll get a bicycle so hopefully in the summer we can go out on our bikes - sure she's only small but I'm not exactly fit so she'll probably beat me!

I also want to get the garden into a state where she can play in it so that's more physical work in the spring. All of these things will hopefully kick start me into getting a bit more active. We have a Wii fit and I really enjoyed using it when we first got it but that's been gathering dust for a while so I shall dig it out again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed and I'm well aware that I have much to be thankful for - I have a great husband, a fantastic daughter and we have two good wages so can afford treats, holidays, etc but I just feel like I'm stuck someplace I don't want to be right now.

I've even come to the conclusion that I'd like to go down to part time hours and be home more with Lia but for now that's out of the question. DH's job is fine - it's a small company and they're doing well - but one never knows how things will go and we'd be hard pushed to live on just my full salary if anything did happen to his job. Plus I need to know my Mum is financially secure as well.

So I'll look at 2009 as the year to get moving, body and brain, and hopefully by the end of the year the recession will be heading towards an end, my Mum will be sorted, and we can look at our options.

Anyway, on to some less depressing things!

I've finished quilt number two and quilted number three so just have the binding to do on that one. Quilt four is going to be pinned tonight and hopefully I'll have three and four completed by the weekend.

We're off to see Santa in London this Friday which I am most excited about. Then on Saturday a friend is coming over and staying till Sunday when I'm going to do an early Christmas dinner for us and another couple. I'm still not really feeling festive but I'm sure I will be after the weekend. I'm working Monday and Tuesday but we'll be heading over to my family Tuesday night and I can't wait, if nothing else just because I get to cuddle Finlay again LOL.

Finishing quilt number three will mean that I've completed my Christmas gift shopping / making so it's just an evening of wrapping and we'll be all ready.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Lia's Christmas Message

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Sunday, 14 December 2008

December Goals Update

Sunday, 14 December 2008
First a couple of pictures:

And here's a close up of the blocks - the dragonfly fabric is also the backing fabric:

This quilt wasn't actually included in my December Goals but it was 'commissioned' by a workmate for a baby girl (her partner's granddaughter) who arrived in the world at the beginning of this month. Because I used fabric from my stash she paid me with six metres of wadding which helps me with the rest of my quilting goals as I now have more than enough to finish my other quilts.

If you're mad enough to read my 'goals' posts (if you ignore them and who can blame you, they're long!) you may remember I had ambitious quilting plans for December.

These were:

1. Finish Christmas Quilt
2. Finish baby quilt
3. Finish Heart to Heart quilts
4. Finish Christmas Panel
5. Quilt bargello
6. Make up Jungle quilt top
7. Sew some more of the flannel quilt blocks

So, at the 1st December the 6 quilt tops I wanted finished this month were in the following state:

3 finished
1 needing three layers of border attached
1 cut but not sewn
1 not even planned

Today, roughly the middle of the month, I have:

1 completed quilt (the one not even planned)
1 completed quilt bar two sides of binding (the one that was just cut)
2 with wadding and backing cut ready to layer
2 with wadding cut and backing needing sewing before layering

I've done about 3/4 of the quilting and binding for the A-Z Christmas panel I want to finish (goal 4). Also, I've sewn together 10 more flannel quilt blocks (goal 7).

The only thing I haven't made any progress with is the sewing together of the last jungle quilt top but you never know, I'm doing well.

I've also managed a bit of stitching and have completed the Jingle tin topper and done a bit more of Sleigh Ride. I haven't stitched much though as evenings have been spent hand quilting or sewing binding. No doubt there'll be more quilts to show off before the weekend though.

Finally, if you've made it this far here's a treat for you, Lia has a fancy dress party next week and I have a friend who just started working at the Disney Store (and gets a great discount) so here's a Christmas Fairy just for you all:

Thursday, 11 December 2008

My 2009 Rotation

Thursday, 11 December 2008
So, since I mentioned it, I'd better post it (more incentive to stick with it for a start). The main idea is that I achieve the following:

1. Reduce my WIP list
2. Stitch some new things so I don't get bored
3. Focus of some of my larger WIPs

Project 1 will be either a Christmas or Halloween WIP, Project 2 is a small WIP, Project 3 is my monthly autoship SamSarah Bauble, Project 4 is a Lizzie*Kate Boo Club SAL, Project 5 is Bent Creek's Snapperbets and Project 6 is another large WIP from the pile.

So, I stitch one week each on projects 1 & 2, projects 3 & 4 & 6 get as long as they need and project 5 is given what is left of my stitching time that month. Just Nan tins are squeezed in as they arrive!

1. Happy Haunting
2. Joyful Summer
3. Alphabet Baubles A
4. Lizzie*Kate - Spooky
5. Grandma's Thread Minder
6. Snapperbet A&B

1. Sleigh Ride
2. Charlie is Born
3. Alphabet Baubles B
4. Lizzie*Kate - Treats
5. Cirque des Cercles
6. Snapperbet J&R

1. Scream House
2. Coeur de Brodeuse
3. Alphabet Baubles C
4. Lizzie*Kate - Black Cat
5. Grandma's Thread Minder
6. Snapperbet S&K

1. Sleigh Ride
2. Garden Party
3. Alphabet Baubles D
4. Lizzie*Kate - Spiders
5. Cirque des Cercles
6. Snapperbet C&D

1. Scream House
2. Spring Lineup
3. Alphabet Baubles E
4. Lizzie*Kate - Eek
5. Grandma's Thread Minder
6. Snapperbet L&T

1. Sleigh Ride
2. Tempest
3. Alphabet Baubles F
4. Lizzie*Kate - Creepy
5. Cirque des Cercles
6. Snapperbet U&V

1. Murky Manor
2. Four Wishes
3. Alphabet Baubles G
4. Lizzie*Kate - Pumpkin
5. Grandma's Thread Minder
6. Snapperbet M&E

1. Sleigh Ride
2. Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag
3. Alphabet Baubles H
4. Lizzie*Kate - Fright
5. Cirque des Cercles
6. Snapperbet F&N

1. Murky Manor
2. Snowman Trio
3. Alphabet Baubles I
4. Lizzie*Kate - Brew
5. Grandma's Thread Minder
6. Snapperbet W&X

1. Sleigh Ride
2. Row of Christmas Fairies
3. Alphabet Baubles J
4. Lizzie*Kate - Monster
5. Cirque des Cercles
6. Snapperbet G&O

1. Murky Manor
2. Handmade Houses 4
3. Alphabet Baubles K
4. Lizzie*Kate - Ghost
5. Grandma's Thread Minder
6. Snapperbet H&I

1. Sleigh Ride
2. Cottage Garden 2
3. Alphabet Baubles L
4. Lizzie*Kate - Halloween
5. Cirque des Cercles
6. Snapperbet P&Q&Y&Z

When the larger projects are completed I intend to swap in the following WIPs to take their place:

Heirloom Christmas
Wild Ones Alphabet
Noah's Sub
Be Attitudes Afghan

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Getting Organised

Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Well the weekend was more fun than I could ever convey in a blog post. There were nine of us at the GTG and we spent most of the day hysterical with laughter. Plenty of food was eaten and cups of tea drunk and very little actual stitching was achieved.

It was just the tonic I needed and I want to thank all of those who attended for a completely silly day. Poor Lia may take longer to recover though - she spent a lot of the time telling us off for being 'too noisy'!

One of the things I mentioned to them all is that I've devised a strict stitching rotation for myself in 2009 and yes, this was one of the things that caused the most hilarity given they all know how bad I am at sticking to this kind of thing. However they should also all know that the more they tease me the more stubborn I'll get about sticking to it.

The thing is though I've completely failed to reduce my WIP list in 2008 - in fact unless a miracle happens this festive season I'll end the year with one more WIP than I started with. I've had lots of finishes (28) but most of those (25) were new starts rather than existing WIPs. I've never had a problem with the value of stash I have but I am starting to have a problem with the volume - I have so many projects, all of which I still love and intend to stitch so I need to work on reducing what I have.

This is also true of quilting and scrapbooking and whilst they aren't included in my rotation plan they are included in my general hopes for 2009. I want to get four scrapbooks finished and I want to use my quilting skills to make smaller items such as bags, table runners, etc as there's a limit to the amount of space we have to put large quilts.

I hadn't intended to post my rotation plan on this blog but I probably will now I've written about it. I do reserve the right to edit it though but only when a project is finished and I have to swap another project in. I will also take pictures of each piece before and after they're worked on so I can monitor my yearly progress.

So 2009 will be the year of stash consumption. Honestly it is. And if I stick to my plan I could have as many as 10 projects off my WIP list, progress on around 7 more, several quilting projects and four scrapbooks to show for it. Not to mention a warm fuzzy glow from being so good and reducing my stash.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Comments and stuff

Tuesday, 2 December 2008
I love getting comments (who doesn't) but I'm really bad at acknowledging them which isn't good.

So I just wanted to say thank you for all your recent comments, the kind thoughts are much appreciated and the nice comments about my projects are most generous and always make me smile.

Lisa - I have seen the Christmas Countdown design (linked to enable those who might not have seen it) and it's on my wish list. Luckily I don't love it as much as Behind the Gate so I'm not tempted to do anything rash.

I should confess though that I have made one more stash purchase, the Just Nan Jingle Tin. I didn't pre-order these so have had to wait until the one ONS in the UK who stocks them gets them delivered - consequently I've had to wait almost a month longer than if I'd ordered them from the US. Oh well, it's not like I didn't have anything to keep me busy!

They should be delivered tomorrow and I plan to start them right away so I can try and achieve my goal of getting them all made up by the end of the year. I've done all the stitching on the first three tins so I should have time.

I've not made the same mistake with next years tins, I've signed up for an autoship so I don't have to stalk the internet daily LOL.

I've been cracking on with my quilting. The baby quilt top is now all sewn up (sorry no pic, I finished late last night) and I've made progress on my christmas wall hanging panel too. I'm hoping to get two or three quilts layered and pinned in the next couple of days and one quilted so I can start sewing the dreaded binding on. That's my least favourite part because I always think about how much stitching I could get done in the time it takes.

The good news is that I should have both Christmas gift quilts finished by next week. I'm actually being really ambitious and have set my quilting goals this month as finishing four quilts, quilting but not necessarily binding a fifth, finishing my wall hanging panel and putting together a sixth quilt top!

Nothing like setting oneself a challenge...

I'm having a stitching GTG at mine this Saturday. There should be around nine of us getting together and a couple of people are staying over so I'm sure much chat and laughter and very little actual stitching will be on the cards. As such, I apologise in advance to any readers who are in the Berkshire area of the UK, if you hear a lot of women laughing so hard they can't breathe that'll be us...

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