Monday, 30 June 2008

A lovely time was had by all...

Monday, 30 June 2008
After the hectic madness of our Greek trip a week in Devon was just the relaxing break we all needed. We stayed at Villavin Farm Cottages and I highly recommend them (even more so if you're a quilter as Jo has a quilt shop just next door to the cottages LOL).

It's not a huge farm - their main business is the cottages and the quilting shop - but they have a couple of Shetland Ponies and 12 sheep that Lia fed twice a day. She also got to help feed the chickens while I was choosing fabrics in the shop.

The farm is in Holsworthy and is close to lots of lovely places to visit - the closest town to it is Bude, a 15 min drive, which has fantastic sandy beaches and we also went to Clovelly, Appledore, Boascastle, Tintagel, Bideford and Torquay. Oh and a fantastic place called The Big Sheep which has bottle feeding lambs, sheep racing, sheep sheering, horse whispering, sheepdog trials and a great indoor play area - it's probably a bit boring for older kids but for Lia's age it was great.

Here's a few pics

Lia having just put back the sword in the stone ;)

Lia breaking the sound barrier to get to the sheep and feed them

The sheep being fed

Lia sitting in a wall in Boscastle

DH up a rock at Clovelly

Lia looking at DH up a rock at Clovelly

Daddy's girl

As well as getting out and about we spent a good amount of time at the cottages as there is a play barn and an outside play area so Lia had plenty to do. DH took his kite and spent several hours perfecting his skills and I had my stitching and Wimbledon on the TV!

I managed a finish while we were away - Bent Creek's The Red Thread. I stitched their original snapper series when it came out (the one that has 'January Snows', 'February Glows' etc) but haven't done anything with it because it's such an odd shape. Now my fininshing skills are better I'm thinking to do the both of them as cushions.

Here's some pics - it's 33 inches long by 4.5 inches high (hence the problem of how to finish it).

Friday, 20 June 2008

Finally, some pictures!

Friday, 20 June 2008
DH has been hiding his camera's memory card for the last few days but I finally managed to get some pics of my WIPs and finishes.

Here's a couple of reindeer that I made from a kit DH got me for Christmas (with some prompting from me of course LOL). They are called Simply Pooped Out and Jingle Your Own Darn Bells

It's kind of a tradition for those of us who have the weekend GTG to have something to stitch as a reminder - this year it was a sampler with the poem composed by me and the design by Kate from Sparklies:

Here's one of the Heart to Heart 2 quilt tops I was talking about in my previous post - I finished putting it together today

And here's a couple of WIPs - The Big Zipper from Bent Creek

And Happy Haunting from Shepherds Bush

We're off to Devon tomorrow so hopefully I'll get a bit of time to stitch while we're away.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Fabric mountain

Monday, 16 June 2008
I have been priding myself that even though quilting has become a big part of my crafting time I haven't gone overboard with my fabric purchases but now I'm going to have to admit I'm kidding myself. I now officially have more fabric than storage space.

Don't get me wrong, it's still not piles and piles of the stuff, but it's spread from one large box to include a whole shelf in the wardrobe too which is not good. I should say that around 85% of it is for identified projects which is some comfort at least but I have been washing and ironing the purchases I made during my weekend away and it definitely didn't look as much folded neatly in carrier bags LOL.

What I have discovered though is that I have a large amount of gorgeous red, orange and yellow fabrics (no surprise there to anyone that knows me) and I need to find a quilt design to do them justice. I'm thinking double bed size (gulp!) and nothing too formal because I have differing quantities of the fabrics and my mission is to not buy any more fabric until I've completed all the projects I have fabric for.

I love the Stargazey quilt style so I might go for something like that but I also saw a sunburst quilt a few years ago that was totally amazing (it as at a small village show and I wasn't quilting so didn't ask any questions about the design) so I might keep looking around for options. I am going to the NEC quilt show in August so maybe I'll find inspiration there. In the meantime I shall keep going with the other projects I have planned.

I did all the cutting and a large chunk of the sewing for three quilts this weekend. I intend to get at least one top put together before the weekend but would like to get all three done. They're little girl quilts this time using Cheri Strole's Heart to Heart II fabrics for Moda. I bought a fat quater bundle and there was just enough to get the three quilt tops from it - one for Lia, one for my godson's sister and one for the sister of a Jungle Quilt recipient whose birthday is next month. The fabric is gorgeous - even nicer than the pictures you can find online and it's girlie without being too pink and fluffy.

I will take pics this week of my current WIPs both quilting and stitching. June is kind of a lost month for us as we've been so busy and this weekend we're off to Devon for a weeks holiday just the three of us. This will be the first time we've had a proper holiday as a family (if you don't count three days in Brussels last May) and I'm hoping the Great British Weather is good to us!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Oh the irony...

Thursday, 12 June 2008
My DH isn't that bothered by sport and generally, if there is anything he wants to see, it's not shown on TV because it's Greek events. This means I'm not a football, cricket, rugby, motor racing, fly fishing or anything else widow and I don't have to put up with missing out on what I want to watch because he 'needs' his sport fix.

However right now, when 99.9% of English guys are not watching the football because England aren't involved my husband is glued to every bloody match because Greece are the defending champions.

When's this silly competition going to be over?

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Aching ribs

Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Well I don't know about the rest of you but I had a terrific weekend - my ribs have only just stopped aching from the laughing and we're already planning next years!

The place we stay is fantastic for us because as well as being clean, comfy and cosy, it has places indoors and outdoors that we can all fit together - a lovely enclosed courtyard and a conference room - which means that if the weather is not great (like on Saturday) we can all be inside and when it is great (like on Sunday) we can all be outside and we're not split up into smaller groups.

I was going to say that I can't remember the last time I laughed as much but I can, it was the same place and time last year. At one point I seriously thought I might die and someone had to rescue the large bowl of strawberries I was carrying as I was in danger of falling onto the floor.

I also spent far too much money on fabrics as my road-trip-mate and I managed to visit three quilting shops, one of them twice. In my defence she spent more money than me but really that doesn't take away from the fact that I spent more than I should have.

So now I'm officially on the Stash Wagon for both quilting and stitching until I've made a significant dent in the stash I have. At the moment this will be a year long trip on the wagon with a review and probable extension next June. The exceptions are:

1. The last Bent Creek Big Zipper kits whenever they are released
2. Any cotton required for quilting projects
3. The one or two more fabrics I need to locate for the baby quilt to be gifted to my impending niece/nephew
4. Budgeted amounts for the NEC and Ally Pally shows
5. Limited amounts of floss for Stitching projects (if I need too much I'll stitch something else)

I also have some things to sell on ebay and any money I get for those will be channeled into buying wadding and backing for my current quilt projects.

Yes this is to do with the guilt that I feel but also I have so many fantastic projects in my stash that I should be getting on with I don't need to add any more. I have two more quilting classes booked and that will be the end of them until June next year too as I need some time to practice what I've already learnt.

So quilting wise I'll be focusing on making quilt tops only and saving up for backing and wadding to do the actual quilting in the winter (exceptions being the last two Jungle quilts that have to be gifted).

Stitching wise I want to focus on Sleigh Ride, Cirque de Cercles, Happy Haunting and Red Thread with the idea that I'd like to get them all finished before the end of this year. I can fit small projects around those as and when I need a break.

In other news we never did get hold of the gardener so we're slowly but surely getting on with the work ourselves. We now have a spanking new petrol lawn mower (so lovely and shiny that it's a shame to use it LOL) which means we can keep the savannah to a minimum and we're starting to clear the junk out of the garden to. Painting the fence and the side of the garage will brighten up the whole garden so is hopefully one of the next jobs that will get done.

DH ripped out the manky old water feature on the patio - when I say water feature, it was a plastic bucket covered with a wheelbarrow full of shingle - and has replaced it with the one we had at our old house which fits perfectly and can be powered from the garage without the wiring being intrusive.

I got a voucher for 1000 tesco clubcard points if I spent £50 or more at Tesco Direct this month (stay with me, this is relevant) so I had a nosey around their site to see if there was anything we could use. Basically 1000 points equates to £10 in vouchers to use in store but if you swap that £10 of store vouchers for clubcard vouchers they are worth four times the value so we can get £40 of things such as restaurant vouchers and day out vouchers.

Not a bad deal really as long as one doesn't spend money to save money. Anyway, we bought a 240 litre water butt and some solar lights for the garden for a total of £59. The lights were 50% off so we actually got £70 of lighting for half price plus £40 of vouchers so I feel happy we got a good deal. We do have a water butt that was already in the garden but it is really old, clogged full of ick and has no lid to it. Oh and is about half the size of the new one. The best feature of the new one is that it comes with a lockable lid so is child safe.

Fingers crossed the weather is okay this weekend so we can get a bit more done out there. Now we've cleared some Lia can run around and play while we're working which helps. After this weekend we're on holiday for the next two so it'd be nice to get a bit more done before we go away. At least DH is a bit more motivated than I thought he'd be - he did quite a bit last weekend when I was away so I don't feel like I'm cracking the whip all the time.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The secret that's not a secret...

Thursday, 5 June 2008
Okay now I'm sure all those who should have been told personally have been I can post my exciting news.

I'm going to be an Auntie again! This time it's my Bro and his wife who are expecting and the baby is due at the beginning of November.

It's a big shock for the family as the two of them always said no kids but somewhere along the line they changed their mind and decided to let nature make the decision for them. I'm so pleased as it means Lia will have another cousin and also because I think the pair of them will make terrific parents.

Obviously it'll be a big change for them, for a start my brother is the grumpiest person alive when sleep deprived and my SIL keeps the house spotless so the addition of someone who will keep them awake and make a mess everywhere for the next 18-30 years will be interesting but as I told them, the total amazing terrificness of being a parent does make up for that minor inconvenience LOL.

Anyway apologies to those who already knew and have been thinking my secret was something more exciting but that's the news from this end.

I'm off for a long weekend away without DH and Lia tomorrow. It's being called a 'Stitching Retreat' and 'Stitchy-con' by some but it really should be called 'an excuse for 16 mad crafters to ditch family and responsibilities and spend the weekend laughing so hard it hurts to breathe'. We went last year and it was fantastic so here's hoping this year is just as good.

Whatever you're doing this weekend I hope you have as much fun as I do.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008


Tuesday, 3 June 2008
For those of you who don't know a Googlewhack is a google search query consisting of two words, that returns a single result.

This isn't a new thing, a British comedian did a book and TV show on the concept about five years ago but today, whilst being bored at work, I was playing around on google looking for results for friends and family names and I discovered that Lia is a googlewhack!!! Not only that if you use there's no returns at all (the .com one is a link to her Auntie's facebook account)

Okay we have a Greek surname, and a very uncommon one at that, and Lia is a shortened version of her first name but I'm still surprised there's nothing else out there.

I'm sorry as most of you now won't be able to check as I'm not going to post her full name on my blog so you'll have to trust me on this one...

Monday, 2 June 2008

Happy Birthday Lia!

Monday, 2 June 2008
When did my baby get to be three?

Yesterday was the big day and we arranged a BBQ for friends and family - how wonderful it is to have a nice big patio and garden as we comfortably fitted 15 adults and 7 children.

The weather was okay in as much as it was warm enough to sit out and it didn't rain but it did look like it was going to most of the day. The sun peeped out enough for Lia to get very pale strap marks (I did put suncream on but I obviously should have topped her up more often).

As I've mentioned before we're going to get her a wooden playhouse for the garden but because the clearing of the garden is going to take a lot longer than we thought the playhouse won't be bought until next year. She did get lots of little pressies too - books, games, a cuddly monkey, a hobby horse and a space hopper from Mummy and Daddy.

Here's some pics of the birthday girl.

The last day of being 2:

A birthday pose pre the day in the garden

Her new frog pool/ball pit:

Being silly in the frog:

The Space Hopper:

Checking out the birthday jelly

A birthday pose (slightly grubby as it was the end of a long days playing in the garden)

As you can see from the pics she's inherited her mother's habit of bare feet. Daddy isn't so keen but I've delegated him the job of keeping her shoes on (if it's warm and safe I see no point in getting stressed about it) and he obviously couldn't be bothered yesterday.

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