Friday, 31 July 2009

July Roundup

Friday, 31 July 2009
Stitching Goals
1. Work on Happy Haunting - frogged a large section that I'd been putting off doing, re-stitched and got lots more done
2. Work on Snapperbets - nope
5. Work on Lizzie*Kate ABC Lessons - started and then re-started on a nicer fabric.
6. Work on Wild Ones Alphabet - nope

Stitching New Starts:
Lizzie*Kate ABC Lessons
Lizzie*Kate - Merry Christmas by the Letter

Books Read
Names My Sisters Call Me - Megan Crane
The Monsters of Templeton - Lauren Groff

Quilting Goals
1. Get caught up with the Baby Jane blocks - nope but I did get several more done
2. Work on the flannel quilt blocks - nope
3. Make a bag - yep - two!
4. Organise my sewing projects - kinda (I'm doing a big stash reorganisation)

Other Sewing
Baby quilt

New Stash Arrivals
Lizzie*Kate - Merry Christmas By the Letter - MERRYCH
SamSarah - I is for Icecream
Picture This Plus FOTM
Baby Jane BOM month 4

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A Sunny Day

Tuesday, 28 July 2009
The weather heard my moaning and has, at the time of writing this, cheered up again. Although according to the forecasters it's not going to last.

Still, I got lots of sleep last night and am refreshed and back to having a sunny outlook on life. I got stuck into some serious quilting last night as I decided on the drive home to make a small quilt for Lia's Key Worker at nursery who is having a baby. Only thing is that she finishes on Friday. And Lia doesn't go to nursery on a Friday so the quilt has to be ready by Thursday. Yes I do mean this week!

She doesn't know what flavour she's having so it had to be a pretty neutral one and I remembered I had a lot of left over Winnie the Pooh fabric from when I made my nephew a quilt - cue half an hour of digging through my stash and comparing fabrics to make sure I had enough for what I wanted to do and then an evening of measuring, cutting and sewing. Quilt top is completed so tonight I will layer and quilt - only round the block quilting - and hopefully get the first two sides of binding on.

So I'm happy because I should get it done in plenty of time (well with a day to spare but given I only had three days to do it that's good time management) and also because I used up a lot of fabric from my stash that I had no idea what I would use it for.

DH put together an extension for our wardrobe at the weekend. Only another corner unit to end it off but he moved all of his clothes there and freed up some space in the rest of it so I now have more stash space. *grin*. This is not a reason to buy more stash, this is a reason to store my fabric in a better way and also to be ruthless about culling what I know I'm not going to use. I've already identified around 30 pieces of hand dyed cross stitch fabric that I will never stitch on and two kits I know I won't ever get round to doing and that was only clearing two small boxes out!

I'm trying to organise my fabric better - Christmas, Halloween and batiks all sorted into piles and then the rest by colour so I'm not constantly digging around for stuff or missing bits. I have very little fabric I don't like but the few pieces I do have I'm going to put to one side to practice machine quilting on. I did a course on free motion quilting a while back but haven't really done anything since (it took me quite a while to get the table for my machine for a start). I also want to try some patterns - I'm bored with just in the ditch quilting around blocks!

So, my stash de-clutter has started and I'm going to start listing things on eBay soon - if nothing else anything I sell will pay for a couple of Baby Jane BOM installments.

I'm also still working on the Big House Clean Up. My idea is to get it all done before we go away in three weeks and then when I am working less I can devote an hour each day to cleaning, one room a day so the house will be much tidier and we don't have to spend time doing it at the weekends.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Monday Morning Blues...

Monday, 27 July 2009
It's raining and cold yet again here. It's July for god's sake, surely it's not too much to ask that we have some consistently decent sunny weather for a few weeks a year?

DH has been sick for a week now - a hacking cough and catarrh - and Lia has been coughing and snuffling for weeks on and off. I spent most of yesterday with a dodgy stomach and still don't feel 100% today (although that could be due to the lack of sleep as Lia woke us at 5am as she had a nosebleed).

We're seriously discussing moving to Greece! We're off out there in three and a half weeks and we're going to look at jobs, property, etc, etc. I'm not saying we're going to be heading out there but when the weather is like this and we're all in desperate need of some vitamin D then a move gets more and more enticing.

However, once I've spent a few days in 45 degree heat I'll probably swear I'm never moving there ever as I'll expire in the heat LOL.

I seem to have spent the last four months constantly on the phone shouting at people about terrible customer service. The battle of Lia's bed has been a tough one and was only resolved when I wrote to the Managing Director - a four page tirade at their appalling customer service - although I have to say I'm not sure if it was the letter that cracked it as I have never had one response from the company in all the months since I ordered the bed (April 13th to be precise). I tried polite, angry, ranting, crying, threatening, begging their customer services for over 25 calls and several emails before the letter to the MD and not once did they contact me when they said they would, acknowledge any emails or the letter.

My advice to any of you reading this is do not buy anything, let alone a £500 bed, from the Great Little Trading Company as their customer service is non-existent. Throughout my whole crap experience dealing with them I have felt nothing but that they think if they just do nothing I'll give up and go away. They didn't know me that well...

Anyway, the correct colour of bed is being delivered this thursday and then I can completely ignore their existence other than to continue to warn everyone about shopping with them.

We also had to have our French Doors re-fitted due to the inital fitters doing a really bad job. That was DH's battle and has only just been sorted (the doors were originally fitted at the beginning of May).

Then there's the saga of my Mum's house sale which I'll admit, hasn't really involved any effort from us, but it was the longest, most hideous house sale agreement in the history of property and, after just over a year, it fell through at the beginning of June. However, we now have a new agent, a new buyer and a confident attitude so all fingers are crossed here that it is resolved in the next month.

So, it's moan, moan, moan here right now.

However, I'm sure that Tuesday will bring a more positive attitude from me so I can live up to my name and not scare away all of my readers...

I will, if nothing else, try and get some piccies posted as I got five Baby Jane blocks done at the weekend.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Getting Organised

Wednesday, 22 July 2009
As you've no doubt gathered our lives are going to change quite a bit in seven weeks time when Lia starts school. My working hours will drop from 7.5 hrs a day to 4.5 hrs a day and the whole family routine will change. For a start the alarm clock will go off a whole hour later LOL.

Anyway, the big change involves an overhaul of the routine we've lived with for four years - Lia will need to get used to five days at school rather than four at nursery, I'll have to get used to finishing work mid afternoon (although that's not going to be a difficult one!) and there'll be more activities at the weekends - ballet as a permanent fixture and Greek School three sundays a month.

We'll also be a teeny bit worse off - most of the drop in my wages is not as bad as it could be as we'll be losing the nursery bill every month but it will mean we need to manage our finances a bit better - household management will need to be included in the weekly routine just because we're pretty bad at keeping track of outgoings.

I'm also in a tidying up and organising mood as is DH which is good. I have started by tidying up this blog a bit - updating it with Lia's pic and removing all the blogs I read that haven't been updated for more than two months (I still have them all bookmarked though and check regularly to see if their authors are back blogging). I'm also going to include info on the books I'm reading and projects I'm working on in the side bars to keep me on track.

I should at this point confess that my rotation has been abandoned - you may have noticed that it has gone from my sidebar. I really enjoyed the rotation and at the beginning it really worked for me - I was motoring through things but then I signed up for the Baby Jane BOM, got more into quilting and ran out of time to do everything I wanted. I'm not quitting altogether, I will stil try and work on one WIP a month and also swap between one christmas and one halloween project a month but until I know how life is going to work out after September the strict rotation is no more.

I've also just signed up to Library Thing, or rather rediscovered the membership I set up months and months ago. I am going to catalogue all the books I have to read so I actually have a list to shame myself with LOL.

We're also compiling a list of jobs that need doing round the house that we have the materials for but just haven't gotten round to - painting the garage, boarding the loft, etc - and I'm hoping that we will be a bit more pro-active at getting stuff done rather than vegging out all the time!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Time Flies...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Seems like only yesterday this:

Was this:

Monday, 20 July 2009

I'm back

Monday, 20 July 2009
A good time was had by all - the weather could have been a little kinder but we still had lots of fun and, more importantly, there were no fallings out!

My in-laws are now safely back in Greece - they really enjoyed the cooler weather (it was 42 degrees when they left and 39 when they went back so rain was a relief) and loved seeing Lia. They will get to see her again when we go out there in five weeks time and we've also booked them as childcare for the February half term next year (I'm already working on holiday cover!)

I don't have any holiday snaps to show you as yet - I didn't have a camera so am at the mercy of those who did uploading their pictures. But I do have pictures of my holiday stash purchases from the quilting shop at the farm.

As well as the money I had saved up a lovely friend contacted Jo (shop owner) to organise a belated birthday gift of vouchers to spend so I got to go a bit mad!

So here's my birthday present purchases:

The blue fabrics are for the book bag I'm going to make for Lia, the christmas ones are for my (future) christmas Baby Jane and the rest are just because I liked them!

I also got a bit more pink fabric - there's another baby girl addition to the family due in October and I'd hate to run out! (please note the sarcasm)

I also got some girlie blue fabrics as Lia's school colour is royal blue and, whilst there aren't any rules about colour of bags, I thought I'd try and keep a little bit in their colour scheme:

I'm making a flannel quilt for Lia (you probably know that I keep adding it to my monthly goals to get it finished LOL) and I needed backing so I got four metres of this:

My Mum has been making comments about getting me to make her a bag so I told her to pick some fabrics. She'd originally said she liked one of the patterns I'd already made but she saw a bag in the shop that she preferred so I ended up having to buy the pattern for that one too. As MIL was with us I offered her a bag as well and not only did she choose the same pattern she chose the same fabrics as Mum. Spooky how similar their tastes are! Anyway, here are their fabric choices:

And here are the patterns for the two bags - the one for the Mums on the left and Lia's book bag on the right (sorry they're so dark!)

MIL also really loved a panel so I bought it for her to do as a gift (there'll be a lot of hand quilting so it won't be gifted this year). Here's the top half of the panel (it's very large, I couldn't get it all in one shot!)

And finally I got a gypsy gripper which is the pink thing in this picture - it suctions on to the ruler so you get a good grip, your fingers are out of the way of the rotary cutter and you get a nice even pressure. I love it, it makes cutting so much easier.

So quite a haul!

I now have five bags to make in the next month - the two for the Mums, Lia's book bag and PE bag and a bag for a friend at work who is leaving. The work friend wanted to pay for the bag but I bartered instead - she is fantastic at icing cakes so is going to give me a lesson. I've always wanted to learn how to ice cakes properly - every time I've tried it looks like I've buried several mice underneath the icing - so I'm happy for the swap.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Off on our Hols!

Friday, 10 July 2009
We're off for a weeks holiday tomorrow with most of my family - my Mother, Mother-in-Law, Father-in-Law, Sister, Brother-in-Law, Niece, Nephew-in-Law (if that's the right label LOL) and Great Niece!

We're taking over three farm cottages at Villavin Farm in Devon. DH, Lia and I had a lovely week there last year so we're going back (and no, my enjoyment was in no way enhanced by the fact there is a quilting shop on the farm too, of course it isn't...)

Hopefully the weather will be kind to us as there are lovely beaches nearby but just spending time together will be fun, it's the first family holiday we've had since I was a kid and Lia is so excited about having her little cousin there to play with as they get on like a house on fire.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

School (yet again)

Thursday, 9 July 2009
So yesterday was our 'trial' school day. A two hour session in the morning with lots of the other kids who will be starting in September and then a parents session in the late afternoon to meet the Head and Deputy Head, buy uniform, etc.

Lia absolutely loved it. She did jigsaws, counting, painting, plasticine, sticking, jumping, climbing, hopscotch and much much more. She also got friendly with lots of the other children which is good, including several that live nice and close to us and I made friends with their Mums which is also good.

All in all it was a very positive start - I had to drag Lia out of there when it was time to leave, she didn't want to go. The teachers were fantastic and there were a couple of parents there who have kids in the school telling us how well they settled in. All very friendly and welcoming. The Head Teacher is very open and friendly with a great sense of humour which pleases me as I still remember my first Head with real affection and I'd love for Lia to have that. My Mum still sees Mr Davies and he always askes after my brother and I although that could mean we were unforgettable in a bad way as much as a good way LOL.

So we're now all looking forward to September. Lia only has five weeks left at nursery as we're on holiday next week and then we're off to Greece for ten days at the end of August. She's so excited about starting school - long may it last!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Some sewing finishes

Saturday, 4 July 2009
I made this little guy on Wednesday - he's very simple to make and I intend to make some bigger ones for door stops. DH has bagsied this one for a paper weight at the office

I've been wanting to make another bag for a while and I picked this pattern because again it doesn't have a zip or anything too complicated. I'm really pleased with it as it was a really quick project - I started it last night and finished it this afternoon, about four hours work in all. Oh and it's not wonky - the flap is held down with velcro and I didn't realise it was attached slightly to one side.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A Name is a Name...

Thursday, 2 July 2009
Again I'm guilty of assuming people know what I'm talking about LOL.

A Naming Ceremony is a non-religious baptism so the equivalent of a Civil Wedding or, as it was known in our family a Pagan Christening. My Bro and his wife aren't religious but wanted to do something to celebrate Finn's arrival - plus my brother said it was about time we had a family gathering that wasn't for a funeral...

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

July Goals

Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Stitching Goals
1. Work on Happy Haunting - a big push to finish this (I've ordered the Jill Rensel mat for framing)
2. Work on Snapperbets
5. Work on Lizzie*Kate ABC Lessons
6. Work on Wild Ones Alphabet

Quilting Goals
1. Get caught up with the Baby Jane blocks
2. Work on the flannel quilt blocks
3. Make a bag
4. Organise my sewing projects

Current Stitching WIP List
1. Teresa Wentzler - Tempest
2. Bent Creek - Snapperbets

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

7. Shepherd's Bush - Happy Haunting
8. Glendon Place - Murky Manor
9. Tournicoton - Coeur de Brodeuse
10. The Cat's Whiskers - Birds of a Feather Dilly Bag

11. Just Nan - Four Wishes
12. Michael Powell - Cottage Garden 2
13. Bent Creek - Snapperville Series
14. Ink Circles - Cirque de Cercles
15. Michael Powell - Handmade Houses 4

16. Stoney Creek - Noah's Sub
17. DMC - Wild Ones Alphabet
18. Teresa Wentzler - Tradewinds
19. Dracolair - Dawn Awakening

20. Midsummer Night Designs - Heaven Above
21. Shepherd's Bush - Be Attitudes Afghan
22. Dragon Dreams - Dragon Virtues Afghan
23. Bothy Threads - Cut Thru Fairy Hill

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