Thursday, 25 February 2010


Thursday, 25 February 2010
My reading mojo appears to be back with a vengence!

As long as I can remember reading has been a big part of my life - I was quite a solitary kid and regularly read a book a day - and that didn't change much all the way up until Lia's arrival. Obviously my reading levels dipped at this point as I was a little preoccupied but I've never not had at least one book on the go.

This last couple of weeks I've been seriously tired in the evenings - work plus being a Mum plus not much sleep pretty much wipes out my reserve energy stocks and stitching and quilting tend to just get put to oneside, especially on weekday evenings. However, I have been picking up books again and getting through them at something like my old speed - two or three evenings can see off a novel.

As previously mentioned reducing my stockpile of unread books is on my to do list for this year (my buying books mojo never stopped despite my reading mojo taking a dive LOL) so that was my motivation to push myself into reading more. Of course I only have approx six weeks before there'll be another reason to be preoccupied but for now I'm making the most of it.

My current reading is 'The Truth about Melody Browne' by Lisa Jewell and I highly recommend it. I don't think I've read anything from this author before but I'll certainly seek out other things she's written as this is a cracking good read and I should finish it today (I started it two evenings ago).

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Has anyone seen the foot pedal for my sewing machine?

Sunday, 21 February 2010
I know it's in the house somewhere. Or at least I am sure it's in the house somewhere LOL.

I want to have the machine serviced and the guy I spoke to made a point of mentioning I should bring the foot pedal in with the machine. Well I don't use the foot pedal at all and I have absolutely no idea where it might be. I know I saw it not so long ago but can I remember where?

Hopefully it'll turn up in my general tidy up of the house that is now underway. We've pretty much finished the baby's room now (just the blind to put up) and all of his stuff is in there instead of being scattered around everywhere. I have washed, dryed and ironed all the clothes, sheets, blankets, bibs, etc I have and they are all sorted and put away. We've been so lucky that I actually have excess clothes and have put aside a big bag full for a friend who is having boy/girl twins a few weeks after I'm due.

I ran through my inventory of baby stuff and there is now absolutely nothing I need. Seriously. With what we've been given, what we had stored and the odd thing that we've gone and bought the only thing that I don't have in the house right now is powdered baby milk (I intend to breast and bottle feed combined just as I did with Lia).

I am officially ready to have a baby LOL.

So now all of that stuff is safely packed away in his room I can start clearing up the piles of mess that have appeared around the house and you never know, I might even find that foot pedal...

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Tail Feathers

Thursday, 18 February 2010
Last June I signed up for the Buttonberry BOM for the Cinderberry Stitches Tail Feathers Quilt. I got my first months package, made up the block and started the stitchery and then it all fell apart a bit as I got pregnant!

The best laid plans and all that...

Anyway, I decided that it would be sensible to get as much of the actual block making bit of the quilt done before the baby arrives as I might then have some kind of chance of getting the stitcheries done.

It's a pretty intensive quilt top, there's definitely no way I'd do it if it wasn't a BOM as the fabric strips are all 1.5 inches wide and as well as the main parts of the blocks there are 376 one inch squares and 24 log cabin blocks each with 13 pieces! There's enough cutting as it is but if I had to cut the strips as well...

At the point I was inspired to get on I had the first seven parts of the BOM (there's 10 in all) so I put together the seven centre blocks including the appliqued birds and stitchery transfers, I cut all the mini squares and I put together the first 12 of the log cabin blocks. I now have part 8 but haven't put it together yet as I'm waiting for part 9 to arrive so I have enough fabric to make the second half of the log cabins. I'll then also put together the last two middle blocks. I'm presuming month 10 will be the final four appliqued birds in the corners of the border but they'll just have to wait till I have the time and inclination to get them done - the package should arrive around the same time as I'm in hospital giving birth LOL.

So here's the blocks I've put together so far:

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Log Cabins

Wednesday, 17 February 2010
A couple of weeks ago I had a burst of energy and got a bunch of quilting done.

A friend mentioned an eBay seller who had some lovely batik log cabin kits and I ordered one which resulted in:


There are actually 16 blocks in all which I am putting together into four cushion covers, I just haven't sewn the last 8 together yet. The kits are extremely well cut and presented so I just had to buy another couple once I'd done these, the next ones being blue and purple. They arrived this week so I may just get them put together before the imminent arrival...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

17 working days...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010
And counting!

Yep, that really is all I have left at work, two full days this week and then three more weeks to the finishing line. I can't believe it has come round so quickly but, to be honest, I'm really feeling the tiredness now so I'm glad it has.

I've also got problems with a guy at work who has major issues with me because I'm pregnant. He has major issues full stop and has, over the last couple of years, upset, angered and generally pissed off every single person in our office with his attitude and behaviour. Granted, he has several personal issues but he treats people appallingly, ie he talks to people like they are a piece of crap, and then uses his problems as a get out clause for behaving that way.

I am not unsympathetic to his problems but he certainly isn't the only one with issues and none of the rest of us feel the need to bring ours into the work place. Certainly none of us use them as an excuse for our behaviour.

Anyway, one of his problems is that he and his wife cannot have kids of their own. They do have an adopted son but this guys whole attitude is that this isn't good enough and it's not the same as having his own. In itself I find this offensive as he truly behaves like his son doesn't count in the same way as a 'real' child would. I have friends and family who have adopted children and not one of them would dream of having this attitude, equally I have childless friends who have not managed to adopt who would kill to be in the position he is in.

So, to cut a long story a little bit short, this guy cannot cope with sitting in an office with me because I am pregnant. He sent me an email telling me this and stating that it was like 'being stabbed in the guts' when I was around. To be fair, I didn't need the email as he'd made it abundantly clear that he has a problem with me - he puts his headphones on when I walk in the room, he doesn't acknowledge me speaking, he lets doors slam in my face, that kind of thing - but to have it written down in that way was really upsetting.

Thankfully my boss thought so too and he has been ordered to attend counselling and is currently only working part time hours. His attacks on me are the end of a long line of official complaints but thankfully because he did this part of it in writing (most of his previous encounters with me and other staff have been verbal) it is easier for the boss to make this an official process.

DH is, as you can imagine, a little stressed out about me being here with him and some of the other staff are also concerned that he is unhinged enough to actually harm me. Obviously I try not to think about this too much and I honestly don't think it would come to him being a physical threat to me but it is extremely uncomfortable being around him. I work in a large open plan office though and there are 20 guys around all of whom would welcome the chance to throw themselves between me and him so hopefully the next three and a half weeks will pass without incident and then I don't have to worry about him for nine months.

Another not good thing is that DH's cousin died in his sleep on Friday night. He was only 30 and, as far as everyone knew, was fit and healthy. The autopsy showed it was a massive stroke which, if one can take comfort from things, is a good thing because it means there is nothing that anyone could have done to save him. As you can imagine the whole family is devastated - he was the baby of his generation and he and DH were extremely close growing up. I never had the chance to meet him although I have met his parents and grandparents - we had hoped to catch up with him last summer but our trip to Greece was aborted due to my pregnancy.

Poor DH, I've never seen him this upset and it's awful not being able to make it better for him - it's good that he has the baby to focus on but nothing is really going to be able to fix this pain.

On the good things front we're finally making progress on the baby's room and doing that is keeping DH occupied. It's practically empty (just one chest of drawers left in there we don't have any room for anywhere else) and painting has begun. Carpet is being fitted friday afternoon so all other decorating has to be done by then but we are currently on schedule to be done so I'm not too worried. Yet. I am relying on DH getting his finger out when I'm not there to nag though (he's home doing child care for half term whilst I'm at work cos I have no holiday left).

Monday, 15 February 2010

A bit of a makeover...

Monday, 15 February 2010
So what do you think?

I thought it was time for a change and, in honour of the expected arrival I thought I'd move to a more 'boy' coloured theme for a while.

My only issue is that in changing it I have somehow lost my links to the blogs that I read. And of course I didn't have them backed up anywhere! Oh well, I guess it's an excuse to go read lots of blogs!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Another Hobby?

Friday, 12 February 2010
When we moved house my sister gave us a piano and that piano has sat in our house for two years waiting to be tuned. Yes, I am a disgrace!

However, in the spirit of getting lots of things done before the baby comes and we have no spare money for things I decided to get it sorted and, as of yesterday, the piano is now tuned and ready to go.

When I was a kid I had piano lessons for a while and then my Dad bought a Yamaha organ (go figure!) so I switched to having organ lessons and continued those for several years. Don't get me wrong, I'm no great musician but I could play well enough to entertain myself and, occasionally, others.

I can't sing a note and am unable to play by ear but give me the music for something and I can pick my way through it. I remember a family friend who would always play when he came round and he couldn't read a note of music but could play anything he'd heard and I was so envious of him but he envied me because I could play something I didn't know if you just gave me the music. Just goes to show nobody is ever happy LOL.

Anyway, it must be at least 15 years since I played anything more than Chopsticks on a piano but last night I impressed myself by picking up the sheet music for Fur Elise and, after a few run throughs, being able to play it! Okay, it's not the most challenging piece but it's a recognisable tune and I played it.

Of course I'm now obsessed with continuing to play and get back into the swing of it and am keen to get out and get some sheet music. All that's been going round in my head since yesterday is the theme from The Piano which I absolutely adore so that is my goal, to learn to play that piece. In my head I now have time - only four more weeks of work and then nine months of maternity leave - but I'm not sure that it's a realistic goal given the production of a baby very soon LOL.

The funny thing is that 36 years ago my Sister bought the piano whilst she was pregnant with her first child (I should probably say that, due to my father marrying twice, there is 24 years age difference between me and my Sis, or rather my half-Sis to be accurate) with the idea that she'd have plenty of time to play it. I don't ever remember her playing it that much but me, my Bro and my two nieces did all learn to play on it so it wasn't a wasted investment.

Still, even if I don't have much time, Lia is showing an interest in it so hopefully the next generation will learn to enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, 5 February 2010

An update on Lia

Friday, 5 February 2010
It occurs to me that I've not mentioned Lia that much lately and if I don't boast about her achievements while she's still an only child she's likely to get even more overlooked in a few weeks LOL.

She's settled into school fantastically well and is still really enthusiastic about going which is great. She's got a 'best' friend plus a small group of good friends and has at least one play date a week at the moment (while I still have the energy to cope!) Last weekend we got her a scooter as it's the current craze and all the girls we walk home with have them. I'm not normally an indulgent parent but she was really good for the first three weeks of term and never once asked for one even though she was the only one that didn't have one.

Her school subscribes to a national maths website called Mathletics. It's not part of the curriculum, it's purely for her to do at home as additional tuition option, and it is based on the curriculum and features short exercises and tests that she gets points for completing. And we all know that Points mean Prizes!1000 points or more in a week gains her a bronze certificate that she gets given in assembly at school. Five bronze certificates get her a silver certificate and four silvers gains a gold medal. You can only gain one bronze a week so it's at least 20 weeks of consistent work to gain the medal.

We currently have four bronze certificates and she's determined to get a medal (even if she's not exactly sure what a medal is LOL). I've got a display book that I'm keeping her certificates in - as well as her maths ones she's got ones for attendance, good work and a 'star of the week' for her class. At this rate I'm going to need a much bigger book! She loves getting the certificates though so I can't complain - they really motivate her to concentrate and learn.

As for reading, again she's doing really well. She's in the higher group for reading which is encouraging and she can pretty much read the books she is bringing home to practice on. Most days she reads at least one book to us, more likely two, at bedtime and it's amazing to see her progress just since Christmas.

Thankfully, getting Lia to do all of this isn't a struggle - she absolutely loves doing it so I don't feel like a pushy parent. In fact sometimes I feel like a bad Mum as I just don't have the energy to help her as much as I should LOL.

She's growing up fast and I'm really enjoying watching her. I'm so pleased that she's settled into school and has her own things to focus on, hopefully it will make her more comfortable in her world when the baby arrives.

Oh and her current best achievement as far as she's concerned? She can finally whistle! Okay it's a bit of a windy whistle still but she is constantly practising in order to get better...

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Stitching for Me!

Thursday, 4 February 2010
Well Spooky Spots is now officially my second finish of 2010. Of course I don't have a picture yet but I will take one soon.

I've never been a particularly organised stitcher - to begin with I just stitched whatever I fancied, mainly finishing things before starting something else, but then, as my stash expanded rapidly so did my WIP list until I ended up with over 40 WIPs, some with literally no more than 30 - 40 stitches in.

So, at the beginning of last year I wrote myself an extremely strict rotation that was designed to reduce my WIP list dramatically and, for the first six months, it was working perfectly. Then I got pregnant. To be fair, I didn't increase my WIP list in the second half of the year but I didn't reduce it much either.

I now have a little over eight weeks before baby arrives so I am determined to just stitch on exactly what I want in 2010, new project or WIP, whatever I fancy with the only rule that anything new has to be completed so my WIP list doesn't grow. Given I have already finished one WIP from my list this year I'm pretty much guaranteed to end the year with less WIPs than I start with as long as I'm careful.

Why am I wittering on about this? Basically as justification for picking up the new Just Nan Winter Hearts Humbug as a new start last night rather than going through my WIP pile...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

I am stitching!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Here's my finished Michael Powell Mini Snowy Chapel:

And here's my Shepherd's Bush Spooky Spots WIP (almost a finish now, I've made a lot of progress since I took this pic!)

Both of these were kits in my stash - the Michael Powell was started last year so is officially a WIP off my list and the Spooky Spots is a new start this year - I'm only allowed new starts this year if they are also going to be finishes too which means small projects only. I'm also mainly going to pick up small kits in my stash so I don't have to worry about any floss or fabric I don't have. See, all in the name of stash reduction!

I've also finished my second book of the year too. But I also caved in and used my christmas book token (what can I say, it was burning a hole in my pocket LOL) so three more books arrived in the house (I just can't resist a 3 for 2 offer).

Also, I had a lovely stash parcel arrive today - everything included was either a commitment or some stash additions for projects I already have but it a relatively large parcel so I'm not yet feeling that virtuous with my clearing out. It included the first Just Nan Humbug, SamSarah Alphabet Baubles N and O, a part of The Big Round Zipper, a cut of 20ct linen and a button pack for Shepherd's Bush Halloween Night and several skeins of weeks and gast.

It was a lovely thing to receive on a dull and gray Tuesday morning!

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