Thursday, 31 January 2008

January Roundup and February Goals

Thursday, 31 January 2008
January Roundup

Stitching Finishes:

Newton's Law - Keep Calm
Brightneedle - Eliza Jane's Needlekeep
The Stitching Shed - Santa Cushion
Simply Heritage - Ginny
Just Nan - Secret Snowdrift

Stitching New Starts:

Brightneedle - Eliza Jane's Needlekeep (January Small Start, also finished)
Stitchin'Spiration - Lost in a Blackwork Maze (GFJ Start)

Current Stitching WIP List

1. Stitchy Kitty - Snowman Trio
2. Stitchin'Spirations - Getting Lost in a Blackwork Maze
3. Bothy Threads - Row of Christmas Fairies
4. Dimensions - Sleigh Ride
5. Ink Circles - Cirque de Cercles
6. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
7. Be Attitudes Afghan
8. Santa's Journey Afghan
9. The Cat's Whiskers - Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag
10. The Cat's Whiskers - Grandma's Thread Minder
11. Bent Creek - The Big Zipper
12. Bent Creek - Red Threads
13. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven's Above
14. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds*
15. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan*
16. Brightneedle - Garden Party
17. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet*
18. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4
19. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill
20. Millhouse Designs - Charlie is Born
21. Dracolair - Dawn Awakening*
22. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series
23. Long Dog - St Germain
24. Noah's Sub*
25. Just Nan - Four Wishes
26. Stitchin'Spirations - Lost in a Blackwork Maze
27. Rosewood Manor - Red Threads Redwork

Books Read

Secret of the Sirens
The Gorgon's Gaze
Mines of the Minotaur
The Chimera's Curse
The Diamond of Drury Lane
Cat Among the Pigeons
Den of Theives
Cat O' Nine Tails

All of the above by Julia Golding (yes I did get a bit carried away with her novels but I blame Amazon Marketplace sellers who list books for 1p...)

February Stitching Goals

1. Make significant progress on Cirque des Cercles
2. Make significan progress on Sleigh Ride
3. In honour of 'Finish it February' properly finish as many of my 9 outstanding projects (listed below) as possible
4. Start and finish my Monthly Small Start

Projects Requiring Finishing

Redwork Bourse
Redwork Pinkeep
Eliza Jane's Needlekeep
Alyssum Scissor Pocket
Spring Fever Tuffet
Christmas Cushion
Bird's of a Feather Accessories - Needlebook, Scissor Pocket and Fob

New Projects

Bent Creek - First Moon Colony (Monthly Small Start)
The Trilogy - Spring Line Up (Five Finishes Start)

February Quilting Goals

Finish first Jungle Quilt
Make progress on second Jungle Quilt
Finish secret gift quilt (all will be revealed later)
Make two squares for the Monkey Buttons Star Quilt

I'll also be attending the next quilting course on the 21st to learn the Log Cabin technique

Whew, that's some list!

I'm pleased I've managed my first five finishes - it'll be harder going from now on as there's less small projects involved but if I keep my 'monthly start' projects small then that should help keep the numbers up - I'm hoping that for most of them I can start and finish them in the same month.

Monday, 28 January 2008

The pictures that aren't in the last post...

Monday, 28 January 2008
Here's my finished Newton's Law project

Here's my Snowman WIP after some attention

Here's the first two squares from the first Jungle Quilt:

And because she demanded to have her picture taken while I had the camera out, here's some of Lia (with Neh-Naw and Gung-Gah)

A Busy Weekend

Well the reward for my boast about Lia's potty training was a phone call from her nursery at 2pm last Thursday to say she'd had an extremely nasty bout of diarrhea and could I come take her home. Oh and by the way we just threw her trousers away because they were pretty much ruined...

She's fine though, other than the obvious sign she didn't show any other symptoms so I think it was more than likely something she ate. Still we used pullups over the weekend just to be on the safe side.

The big news of today though is last night was her first dry night! She bounded out of bed this morning shouting 'need a wee' and raced to the bathroom rather than her usual using the nappy and then saying she needed to go. Oh and we've now got her using the toilet rather than the potty which is great - no need to drag a potty around with us when we go visiting.

We had quite a productive weekend - several runs to the tip with rubbish, cleaning up and getting some more work done in the house. I'm hoping for some good weather at weekends so I can get out in the garden and do some clearing. Lia's birthday is a Sunday this year so we're going to have a 'BBQ open day' for friends and family so people can come when they like, leave when they like and bring offerings to be frazzled by DH. This means I've got till June to get the garden in good shape for kids to be playing.

Crafting wise I've been having fun too - I finished my Newton WIP last night and have made a bit of progress on my Redwork and Snowman WIPs. I've also done the first two squares of my Jungle Quilts. I've done the cutting for three quilts and now it's the sewing. I've had news of more babies this week so I'm now planning five quilts! It's fantastic fabric for kids though - bright, cheerful and non-gender-specific so I'm going to stick with my original design plan because it's a quick and simple one. I need to complete one quilt in four weeks, the next two by the end of April (to take to Greece) and then the final two by the end of July (we have two sets of friends due with their first babies two weeks apart).

I'll post some pics of the squares and the stitching later - it was too late last night to take any as I was waiting till Newton was done (I just had all that nasty backstitching to complete).

I'm also pleased that I've managed to read several books this month. I used to read two or three books a week pre Lia but for obvious reasons (not least my increase in hobbies) that dropped to about one a month if I was lucky. I'm trying to get at least 30 mins a day as I have a huge pile of 'too read' books that I want to work my way through.

I'm on another course for work tomorrow and Wednesday so Thursday I'll be posting my first monthly roundup of achievements plus my Feb goals. I intend to only focus on two WIPs next month - Sleigh Ride and Cirque des Cercles. Kathy's comment re CdeC reminded me why I always said I'd not join SALs because I'm so easily distracted LOL. Seriously though, I joined the Snowbird SAL to encourage me to get on with CdeC so I am determined to get back on with this one. Sleigh Ride is the same, I absolutely love this one stitched up so I want to get on with it - I'd like to have both these finished and framed by the end of the year.

Thursday, 24 January 2008


Thursday, 24 January 2008
We've had three dry days.

What's that I hear you ask?

Potty training.

There have been no accidents for three whole days now.

Obviously now I'm posting this there'll be wee everywhere but I don't care, three days in a row is fantastic. She's not quite there with number twos but she does generally ask for a nappy if she needs to poo which is better than the alternative.

We're still on nappies at nighttimes but she's better at waking up in the morning and heading straight to the potty so I'm hoping we're well on the way to being totally toilet trained.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

And yet more stitching

Wednesday, 16 January 2008
I did this piece as my monthly small start:

It's Eliza Jane's Needlekeep from Brightneedle. I used the only piece of 32ct fabric I had that was vaguely close to the charted fabric - it's a hand-dyed opalescent but I don't know where from as I rescued it from a friend who hates opal fabric.

Obviously I now have to finish it properly. I think I'm going to try and have a 'finishing weekend' every month so I get one or two pieces done at a time.

Here's another couple of WIPs. My GFJ start from Stitchin'Spirations - Lost in a Blackwork Maze (I'm still considering the colours)

And here's one of the three snowmen from Stitching Kitty - I started him just before Christmas and I'm going to work on him a bit - alternating with my Newton's Law WIP

Monday, 14 January 2008

Sleep Deprivation...

Monday, 14 January 2008
Lia seems determined to remind us what it's like to have a new baby in the house - probably to deter us from doing just that LOL.

She was running a fever Friday night having spent most of the day on the couch doing very little so the lethargy and sickness led to a pretty rough night.

Then on Saturday afternoon she had a bad nosebleed. We're not sure if she knocked her nose (DH thinks she did but he didn't see it happen) but whatever she did it bled A LOT. Saturday night she was a bit disturbed and she woke at 5am and got up at 6am. We take it in turns to sleep in at the weekends and Sunday morning DH had to get up with her.

He tried to get a nap early in the afternoon but she had another nosebleed and I had to yell him to come down because it was really bad and I needed a second pair of hands. A couple of hours later she had a third bleed.

Finally, at 5am this morning we were woken by her going 'Mummy, nose' and discovered her looking like she'd done several rounds in the boxing ring - pjs were soaked in blood, it was all over Neh-Naw, the bed, the floor, her hands and face, everywhere.

It took us 45 mins to stem the flow and we decided to take her to Casualty just to be on the safe side. The good news is it is nothing sinister, the doctor could see where the bleed was, and we got advice as to how to stop it in future and he said that if it bled for more than 15 mins we should take her back in.

So here I am at home using up my last days unbooked leave (my holiday resets at the end of March) with Lia who's pretty well as normal except for looking rather strange as she has a wedge of cotton taped across the bottom of her nose. Poor DH - I dropped him at the train station to go to work at 7am and if he's not asleep at his desk right now it'll be a miracle.

As you'll gather not much got done this weekend although I did get a coat of paint on the walls of the spare room with the idea that it'll be finished and livable by the end of next weekend (and I can finally unpack my books). I also managed a bit of stitching and a teeny tiny bit of quilting. Plans to get on with my next quilt project have been abandoned for now as I didn't get started and I know that my jungle fabric will arrive this week (I got a shipping notice at the end of last week) so I'll get straight on with them this weekend so there's no pressure to rush and get them finished later on.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Please be patient...

Thursday, 10 January 2008
I'm playing with my template (in case you hadn't noticed).

I'm not sure how long it will take or what it will look like when I'm done but I'll try not to do anything too radical...

Update - okay so some of the 'corners' are in the wrong place but I need to edit some more images to stretch them as I expanded the main column widths. I hope to get round to it this weekend (and to putting a picture title bar in so that vivid red goes (which I like but even I need sunglasses for LOL)

Also I'll be changing text colours on links and titles etc. It's just that I'm at work and have to stop tinkering and get on with a report!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Fantastic Fabrics

Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Okay so my school sewing teacher is probably spinning in her grave right now. In the three years I did sewing at school (it was a girl's Grammar School, we had no choice) I never received more than 20% in exam results and here I am, owner of a whizzy sewing machine, drooling over fabrics and getting excited about planning quilt designs.

Still, if we'd been able to make quilts using funky fabrics rather than blouses that were so old fashioned our mothers wouldn't wear them, maybe I would have been a bit more enthusiastic in her classroom...

Whilst picking fabrics for my next quilting class (which is the Log Cabin technique and I'm doing mine in black, blue and gold!) I happened upon a totally funky Jungle Fabric that I bought a couple of metres of just because I couldn't resist, my idea was to do something for Lia with it but I had no idea what. Then when I returned home I spoke to DH about making a couple of quilts to take to Greece, one for our Nephew who will have just turned one and one for the baby boy of a friend of ours who will be about 7 months old.

I don't want to do some boring baby blue quilts that will get ignored once the boys are big enough to think they're not babies any more so I thought I'd see if there was anything that matched my couple of metres of jungle fabric. Luckily for me it turns out that it's a Moda collection called Silly Safari so I've now got 12 metres of fabric winging its way to me from the US.

Here's a selection from the 40 different fabrics in the collection:

The first one is the one that originally caught my eye and will be the backing fabric for the quilts. The others are the range of designs in the collection and all come in four or five colourways. I've picked 17 half metres from the collection - the UK is so expensive that a half metre from the US costs the equivalent price as a Fat Quarter in the UK and the postage is about the same - and so should have enough that I can make a third quilt for my Godson.

The two I'm making for Greece will be 44"x64" and I've drawn out the pattern - nothing fancy, just squares and rectangles - quite similar to the quilt in a tin project. The 15 centre blocks will have a centre square with offset rectangles around them then there'll be a two inch border round those and then there'll be a border 5" wide made from 5" x 2" strips.

That probably doesn't make much sense but I'll be sure and post pictures when I'm getting on with the projects.

Sometime this week I hope to start my next quilting project - Star Sampler from Monkey Butons. Here's the pic from their site:

I shall be doing it in blues, purples and silver as I have a large stock of Fat Q's in these colours and this design is quite random. I've read the instructions (three times) and I'm pretty sure I can make all of the blocks - there's a couple that use paper piecing but only very simple blocks.

There's nothing like being ambitious...

Monday, 7 January 2008

Another finish

Monday, 7 January 2008
I'm definitely on a roll...

Sunday, 6 January 2008

More finishes

Sunday, 6 January 2008
So another WIP bites the dust - here's Secret Snowdrift from The Trilogy

Also it was my latest quilting class yesterday and we learned a technique to make quick quilt tops - we started and completed a top in a day and here's mine:

And finally here's the quilt top I completed last weekend, the Moda Quilt in a Tin:

I'm also very close to finishing another WIP - I'm making the most of my enthusiasm to get lots done.

Currently the three of us are a bit under the weather, we're all coming down with a nasty cold - much sneezing and nose blowing has been happening today - so we haven't been particularly productive but we need to get the Christmas decorations down tonight so I'm trying to summon up some energy.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Thursday, 3 January 2008
Okay so I'm a bit late but it's been a busy few days (and I've been back at work). I hope 2008 is a fantastic year for all of you and that Health, Wealth and Happiness flows in abundance.

Oh and a certain reader should be reassured that her message got through and I'll be making sure I post here more regularly this year :)

We had a wonderful New Year with friends and 2008 is starting with a big change in the Family V household as DH starts a new job on the 7th after almost 7 years at his old one. It was time for a change as he hasn't been happy for quite some time but as you can imagine he's a little nervous about his first day.

We've also got a few celebrations to look forward to this year as my Niece is getting married in August and my Sister and BIL celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary in September. There's a queue of babies on their way as well - six that I'm currently aware of - and my Godson's little sister will have her Naming Ceremony early in the year too.

Holiday wise we've just booked flights to Greece for the end of April so we'll have the Orthodox Easter in Athens followed by my SIL's Church wedding. We've also booked a holiday cottage in North Devon for the end of June which will be just the three of us. We have an invite to go to DH's cousin's wedding in October in North Greece but we're not committing to that just yet. Oh and we've heard good news from our American Cousins as there's an engagement there - I'd love to finally get over to meet them on their home ground (we've met them in England and in Greece but never the US) so fingers crossed that when a wedding date is set we're able to accept the invite.

So 2008 is going to be a busy one. I'm off on my next quilting course this saturday and have three more booked for this year plus there's the Stitchers Weekend GTG again in early June which will be fantastic.

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