Friday, 29 February 2008

February Roundup and March Goals

Friday, 29 February 2008
February Roundup

February Stitching Goals

1. Make significant progress on Cirque des Cercles - done
2. Make significant progress on Sleigh Ride - nope but I shall pick this up in March
3. In honour of 'Finish it February' properly finish as many of my 9 outstanding projects as possible - two finished and the bits and bobs needed for the other finishes have been purchased (some ribbon and felt)
4. Start and finish my Monthly Small Start - yes

Stitching Finishes:

First Moon Colony - Bent Creek
Sue Hawkins Bookmarker
Santa Cushion - The Stitching Shed (made up)
Spring Fever Tuffet - The Cat's Whiskers (made up)

Stitching New Starts:

First Moon Colony - Bent Creek (February Small Start, also finished)
Spring Lineup - The Trilogy (five finishes start)
Sue Hawkins Bookmarker (a gift, also finished)

Other WIPs that had some attention

Red Threads - Bent Creek

Books Read

The Accidental - Ali Smith
Ottoline Goes to School - Chris Riddell
Teacher, Teacher - Jack Sheffield
Black Heart of Jamaica - Julia Golding
Going Home - Harriet Evans

February Quilting Goals

Finish first Jungle Quilt - almost, just the binding left
Make progress on second Jungle Quilt - I've actually cut all the pieces for the other five quilts
Finish secret gift quilt - done and gifted
Make two squares for the Monkey Buttons Star Quilt - nope but I will definitely do them in March.

March Stitching Goals

1. Have at least one finish (probably the Redwork)
2. Work on Sleigh Ride
3. Work on Cirque des Cercles
4. Start and finish my Monthly Small Start (Coeur de Brodeuse - Tournicoton)
5. 'Finish' an item from the list below
6. Work on Red Threads
7. Work on Grandma's Thread Minder

Projects Requiring Finishing

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

March Quilting Goals

Finish second Jungle Quilt
Start third Jungle Quilt
Make two squares for the Monkey Buttons Star Quilt
Finish one of my current WIPs
Make up the Log Cabin Squares from my last class

I'll also be attending the next quilting course on the 15th to learn the curves technique

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
28. Spring Lineup - The Trilogy

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

She Loves to Sing

Wednesday, 27 February 2008
For months, and yes, I do mean months, Lia has been singing a particular song that goes 'A dinga danga rob'. That's it. 'A dinga danga rob'. Ad infinitum.

She has quite a repertoire of songs, most of which I have no problem identifying and helping her out with (she's not that fantastic at getting the words right but I guess that's to be expected LOL) but the 'a dinga danga rob' song was beyond even my powers of deduction.

I'd just about given up on ever finding out what the song was (I was hardly going to go to her nursery and ask them to tell me what 'A dinga danga rob' was) when yesterday she finally added a second line - 'with a flippy floppy hat'!

How dumb am I that I never equated 'A dinga danga rob' to 'A dingle dangle scarecrow'?

I've no idea how the 'rob' part got into her little head but she is now singing the whole song complete with her version of the first line and no amount of persuading will get her to say scarecrow.

This is now included in her daily repertoire which I get in the car twice a day. The others are:
  • Old MacDonald (who every time has a cow, duck, horse, goat, pig, dog and kangaroo in that order)
  • Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar (I'm not sure I approve of her learning alternative versions of things because I have no idea how to assist if she forgets a word)
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (much safer ground for Mummy)
  • If You're Happy and You Know It (have you ever tried to stamp your feet whilst driving? Even worse she's now added 'shake your bum' to the things you have to do)
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas (no amount of persuasion will convince her to stop with the festive numbers)
  • A Whale in a Manger (yes really, that's what she sings and it's too fantastic a line for me to correct her)
  • When Santa Got Stuck up the Chimney (because she loves the 'achoo' bit)
It's a bit too early to tell if she's inherited my lack of singing talent. Actually my families lack of singing talent.

My poor father endured years of torturous car journeys when my Mum, Brother and I would sing to pass the time. The phrase 'can't carry a tune in a bucket' describes the three of us but what we lacked in tunefulness we made up in our ability to always remember the words. My Dad on the other hand had a decent singing voice but never joined in because he was useless at remembering the words.

I should add that these journeys were usually around 8 hours long as we were heading from the south of England all the way up to Scotland to visit my Mother's family. My chronic travel sickness meant my Mother had to invent ways to keep me occupied for the journey - I Spy wears a bit thin after a while - and so singing it was. Generally it was old Music Hall Songs such as 'Burlington Bertie' and 'I'm Henry the Eighth I Am' and I'm currently thinking if I can teach Lia a couple that'll confuse the heck out of the girls at nursery!

Monday, 25 February 2008


Monday, 25 February 2008
Last year passed in a bit of a blur for us as a large chunk of it was taken up with the whole process of moving house which took from early May till late August and by the time we'd caught our breath it was time to start planning Christmas!

This meant that we missed seeing a lot of our friends as more often than not it was impossible to co-ordinate our limited free time. We are determined to make up for that this year and so the weekend just gone we had friends to stay and the one before we stayed with friends.

The first weekend when we were away was fantastic fun - it was three couples plus Lia and two baby bumps as both of the other couples are expecting their first babies in July. A great time was had by all, especially Lia who was spoiled by everyone.

This weekend we had my best friend, her husband and their two children to stay with us and yesterday we were joined by another family of four which meant I catered for 11 (the most I've ever cooked for before was 6). Again a lovely time was had by all and the kids aged from 10 months to 8 years and they all managed to play together with no upsets.

It was a bit of a mad weekend - our house is large but two families living in it means it's heading towards mayhem - and I'm thoroughly exhausted today but I'd forgotten just how wonderful it is to be surrounded by friends whose love and affection inspires and warms.

We had a long discussion about our garden (it is the current topic of choice given the amount of work it requires) as I'd arranged for a professional to come round and give us a quote for some work. Anyway S, the husband, said he'd be more than happy to help and they could come and stay two or three times specifically so he and DH could go out in the garden.

The next thing I know DH and S are out there for three hours chopping down trees, cutting away all the brambles, pulling down old fencing and suddenly we can now see the whole length of the garden! We also have a huge amount of fuel for a second bonfire next weekend. E, my best mate, was also out there with a bin bag picking up the rubbish that has accumulated (we live next to a school and coke cans and crisp packets are regularly thrown over the fence) and all I was doing was making lunch and checking on their baby.

Thanks to their work we're now a bit further on and I was able to have a much saner conversation with the gardener. His recommendation is to kill off the current 'lawn' (read moss, weeds, shoots, tree stumps, brambles and bare earth), rotivate it all and then re-turf. It's basically what we figured we needed to do given the state of it all and at least once it's done we'll have a good, flat, lawn that Lia can run around on.

We'll be leaving two large chunks lawn free though, one patch around 4 metres by 12 metres where I want a veggie bed and a small greenhouse and the end patch - 9 metres by 13 metres - where we'll build up a wildlife pond and garden, a tranquil area if you like. Both of those projects will take more time (because they'll require more money LOL) but if we can clear everything and get it set up then we can look at the next stages next year.

We'll have plenty of other things to keep us busy - garage and fences need painting, the five small beds around the patio need clearing and planting and we're also planning on putting some fruit trees in so once the inital clearance has been done we can maybe put those in if we can afford to.

All the planting around the patio is going to be as aromatic as possible. There'll be a small herb bed and I'm hoping to get some jasmine to train along the fence on one side. I love lavender so there'll be a couple of lavender bushes in the beds at the end of the patio. I'm not sure what else I'll be including - there's not a lot of space and I'm not looking at bedding plants or anything that requires a lot of attention. My idea is that the garden isn't high maintenance, energy will be spent on the veggies mainly, with mowing and a bit of clearing and tidying the only other regular tasks. I have a lot of hobbies and not enough spare time!

In other news my parents have moved house. They have downsized from a four bedroom house to a two bedroom ground floor flat. It's strange because for 31 years my mother lived in the same place (12 years in one house and then 19 in a house next door) so the only homes I remember have always been 'Up Iffin' (the name of the lane the houses are on). My sister still lives in one of the two houses so I will still go up there but if she ever decides to move I'll only ever see the houses if I go to take a peek because they're up a driveway set back from the road.

Still, given my parents are in their mid 70s the new flat is a good idea, it's on a bus route and they can walk to town which is a big improvement from being a mile up a tiny country lane. It's also an odd feeling because they're a stone's throw from where my favourite Auntie lived while I was growing up. She died a few years ago and I've not spent much time in that part of town since so when I visited my parents last week I was wandering around reliving childhood memories.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Valentine's Stash

Thursday, 14 February 2008
I chose my Valentine's present from DH - I'm much happier with stash than him spending money on rip-off priced chocolates and flowers.

I got the Blackbird Designs' Beneath the Sunlit Sky Kit and Tournicoton's Coeur de Brodeuse plus linen. I think the Coeur will be next months small start and I'm so tempted to get on with Sunlit Sky but I will stick to my goals and pencil it in as the next new start when I've completed five more finishes.

Oh and I can highly recommend Violarium as an ONS. No affiliation but the chart arrived in the UK from Finland 24 hours after the order was placed, the service was fantastic, the pack includes a full translation from the French and the shipping cost was just 2 euros!

Monday, 11 February 2008

A Productive Weekend

Monday, 11 February 2008
Well I don't know what it was like where you were this weekend but the weather was absolutely glorious where I was which encouraged a very productive time.

Quilting wise I finished the gift quilt I was making, put together the centre of the first jungle quilt, did the quilting for one of my finished tops and sewed the binding on two of its sides. I definitely need more practice re the actual quilting bit - I've decided that sewing straight lines is incredibly boring and I go way too fast trying to get it done. Still, practice makes perfect and I'll work on making myself take time because I'll only end up spoiling the work I've already done.

Stitching has also been going well, I've made good progress on my Small Start for Feb - First Moon Colony - Cirque des Cercles has had some attention and last night I properly finished two projects, The Stitching Shed's Santa cushion and The Cat's Whiskers' Spring Fever Biscournu. I also made headway in finishing The Cat's Whiskers' Alyssum Scissor Pocket.

I'm thinking to work on Sleigh Ride a bit this week. We're away visiting friends next weekend and the one after we have friends visiting us so I don't think I'll get much stitching done for the rest of this month as I have to finish the Jungle Quilt in the next couple of weeks too.

I don't have any pics of the above because I spent yesterday in the garden and it was too dark to take good photos by the time I remembered so I'll take some pics this week and post them.

I had a Stitchers GTG at mine on Saturday. A couple of my friends run online stores so we filled my house with their stock and had a great time rummaging through it all. Kate from Sparklies was one of them and she was kind enough to bring me some dye to do a piece of fabric. I bought a metre of white/silver metallic off her last year with the idea of dyeing it at some point and when I got given Row of Christmas Fairies for Christmas I decided that I needed that particular fabric dyed a paleish blue (and I needed it NOW! LOL)

Kate ran a dyeing class last June when a bunch of us stitchers went away together for the weekend so I was confident enough to go ahead with the dyeing (and her great instructions helped too) and the fabric has come out just as I wanted. I've got half a metre left which I intend to dye during her class at this years GTG as I want it the same blue but with a hint of purple so I need a bit of guidance. I have so many christmas/snow designs that I'm sure I'll get through the fabric in no time!

As I mentioned we spent a large part of yesterday in the garden starting to clear up a bit. We finally had the bonfire we'd been putting off since October. Okay it's not that environmentally friendly but we had so much to get rid of it really was the only way. Since moving in we've taken around 150 large bags of garden waste to the tip and we had more than all of that to burn yesterday. Plus we have about as much again (if not more) to cut down and remove so the bonfire has at least given us the chance to clear the backlog.

I had a chat with DH about my plans for the garden. He's not really a gardener, okay, he's not at all a gardener, so he's happy to let me decide what I want to do and then help me when he has to. I want to plant a couple of fruit trees as we've taken several trees out (because they're in the wrong places and not particularly nice) so I want to put some back and I figured fruit trees are a good plan. I'm also hoping to put some fruit bushes in as well so I'll be doing lots of research into what my options are. At the moment I'm thinking Pear, Plum and Cherry Trees but that could change.

I'm also going to have two vegetable beds and a small greenhouse. Obviously this is not something that will happen this year but we can at least plan it out and get started. We've decided to fence off the last quarter of the garden (the bit that still needs clearing that DH refers to as 'The Secret Garden') and leave that till last as it's going to take a lot of work to get it sorted. There's the remains of a pond, a million blackberry brambles, trees, shrubs and a lot of bricks embedded in the soil.

See, I told you it was a productive weekend!

One final cheerful note, I was spoiled with Stash this weekend. I was gifted with a couple of Fat Quarters and two lovely charts, I bought (shhhhh, don't tell) a few charts on Saturday because they were reduced and I'm awaiting some stash in the post which I ordered for DH to give me for Valentines (much more rewarding than flowers and choc). Oh and Bent Creek finally released the last of their Red Thread charts and the next part of The Big Zipper so those are included in the packages winging their way to me (my enforced Wagon ride included those as 'allowed' purchases)

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Who does she look like?

Tuesday, 5 February 2008
I've put together a calendar for my parents as part of their christmas present for the last couple of years - the first year was pics of Lia but for the second one I thought it would be fun to include pics of the whole family as kids.

Anyway, I ended up scanning lots of old family photos including some of me and my brother which, I think you will agree, prove three important points:

1. We grew up in the 70s and my Mum had bad taste in clothes
2. My brother remains unchanged by the passing of time (except maybe getting taller)
3. Without doubt Lia looks like her Mummy!

Pic of Lia


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