Thursday, 24 December 2015

Cat assisted review process

So I thought Id do some faffing about with a layout ... and Harvey insisted on helping ...

You love me really don't you Mum .....?

So far so good ...... : )

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Quity 365

I have started another stitchy thing - have I completed any of the others yet?
Well no - but - well you know how it is,
the scrap fabric bag(s) seems to grow fuller and fuller!.
Having done further sorting out I have put quite a lot in the scrap bags so the need to use some is upon me again.
I decided I needed more access to my fabrics, you know, when you see it you realise its just what you want to use right?
But can you remember all you have if its tucked away in boxes ... well I cant.
I have a curtained off alcove in my now through front and back room and have set up tables with book shelves on them so a lot of the fabrics could be stacked in there.
There is a similar walk in area in my bedroom too - also stacked with stash.
No matter how many times I de-stash, someone seems to refill it!

Anyway I have made some more floral scrap 1.25 hexis for my scrappy cover and now
have begun some 7" square blocks for the Quilty 365.
The link to get involved is here -
I'm pretty sure Audrey is using 4.5" blocks but I have opted to use 7" ones and my circles are about 4" across and not very precisely cut if I'm honest.

The idea is to make a block a day, selecting colours that match your mood that day but like many others I am making a few blocks at a time.
The placing could be much as above, but Debbie at has suggested staggering the vertical lines of blocks so that to square up the final cover,
you can use some half blocks and thus, half circles.
I quite like that idea, especially since I doubt I will ever manage to piece the blocks so
well that corners all meet as they should!
I am making this one up - and I won't be making it as large as the 365-one-a-day blocks -
in a cream/brown colourways, in fact that yellow circle already looks out of place to me.
But I want to make another couple of covers in brighter colourways later, this is my tester piece to use in my front room, since it matches my colour scheme.

Right off to start block 3 of Hocuspocusville : )

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Days will get longer - yeahhh

Well the Winter Solstice has passed, so slowly the days will begin to stretch out and the darker hours should get shorter.
Bring it on!
Though that's wishing your life away isn't it lol hmmm

Pulled out my Christmas fabric hexis again this year but they had become all tangled up and it was almost worse than untangling fairy lights!
So this year they are danglies, rather than tree garlanded. And they will be wound round something when they go back in storage!

Nipped into town today to pick up a gift and passed a homeless man asking for change.
So after I had picked up the item,  I dashed into a store and bought a small French stick packed with pork and gravy, a carton of chips and a hot chololate drink and went to give it to him.
And wouldn't you know - he'd moved on!

Wandered around looking for him but in the end took the food to my daughter who works nearby there and hoped she'd eat it for her lunch!
LOL So much for my pay it forward for today!

I donated again this year to the Soi Dog Foundation, which I follow on Facebook. They recue dogs and cats from the Thailand Meat Trade - I know, doesn't bear thinking about does it.

The founder is an English woman who started the charity after going to live in Thailand and was so appalled that they ate dogs and treated them so disgustingly.

Remarkably in trying to trap a particular dog she waded through waters and contracted a very nasty contagion and had to have her lower legs amputated.
But it didn't dilute her resolve to rescue the animals, remarkable eh?
Not for her the Oscar Pistorious fancy prosthetics, she has unstable and uncomfortable equipment especially in that heat and yet is as determined as ever to save as many animals as she can.

The thing is, did you know that if you have unused frequent flyer miles, you can donate them to the Soi Dog Foundation and they are used to pay for volunteers who travel with the animals that are homed and have to travel overseas!
Adopted animals can travel by cargo to their new countries but if they  have a human volunteer take them on board as carry on baggage, then together with a personal handover to the new owners at the arrival airport, it makes the animals journey far less stressful.

Having loaded aircraft holds myself as an Air Load Master, (though then always bags, freight or sadly, deceased soldiers,) I know too well how scary a journey in a forward hold can be.
So should you have spare air miles, or know anyone who doesn't use theirs, please spread the word.
And if you are travelling to that side of the world on certain airlines, please consider being a volunteer attendant traveller too perhaps!
No more pictures today, will do some photography over the next few days and post some catch ups after Christmas.

I wish you all a very, Merry Christmas,
however and to whomever you celebrate,
please have a peaceful and calming time.


Saturday, 5 December 2015

Hocuspocusville block 4

Okay maybe I should have ironed it first .....

but if I got the ironing board out I would feel obliged to iron the clothes sat in a pile on the chair over there as well ....
hmm that was my thought process and a sure you follow the logic!

I was going to write xmas cards but someone has put the address book in a safe place ...
there's a down side to not having anyone else to blame ...
Was it you Max?
Was it you Hilly?
Or you Harvey?
 3 pairs of eyes look at me - like as if they care!

I made some xmas tree dangly snowmen faces again this year but knitted their hats this time.
I had fashioned very simple patterns myself for the hats but actually there's a wealth of weeny free knitted hat patterns online you could use.

You know those Innocent Smoothie drinks?
Well there's a fund of free knitted hat patterns online you could use, it might have saved me a bit of time if Id thought of looking at them first!

I have used white powder puffs (seconds shapes I picked up at Scrapstore) and beneath the hats are some very weird misshapes believe me.
The smiles are grape 'branches', bead-y eyes and felt carrot noses.
I have used invisible thread to hang them but made it quite short so with a pin on the back, they can be used as a broach/pin instead if you like.

I could go get the xmas decs out of the loft now I suppose, but it's as windy as it might be in Hades ....  not ideal sound effects for climbing stair ladders ... and if the huge winds blow the roof off, clearly I'd be at great risk.

Hmm time for a G&T and to get the next Hocus block fabric ready to trace the pattern onto!
That's an added cost too - a light box!

: )

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

December Already? some embroidery is planned and a rude branch!

Well how did December arrive so quickly?
It creeps up on you have you noticed?
I made a few things for the Green Fair but it was a very poor turn out, which was unusual, normally its well attended and I sell a reasonable amount.
I covered the cost of the stall and then some but managed to spend that on some hand mades from another stall lol ( xmas gifts)

Okay, not 'another' cat picture I hear you say-  but this is an amazingly special cat picture!

Hilly cat has been with me since I rescued her 10+ years ago.
She had 3 kittens with her and yet she was only around 6 to 8 months old herself.
2 kittens had already died and the remaining one didn't survive despite my best efforts.  Hilly was and always has been terribly nervous but not feral.
I always suspected she had been left behind when folks moved or been kicked out whilst pregnant.
A kindly old chap provided  shelter for her when she wandered into his garden but wouldn't let him touch her.
He fed her for afew weeks before contacting us and I went for her.
She wasn't too hard to catch, no trap needed, just some cagey manoeuvres and food lure.
Well tonight for the first time EVER, she climbed onto my knee and snuggled down.
And after an hour or so of my not daring to move ... and my really needing a pee! - she climbed back on my lap when I got back!
It's taken all these years going at her pace and this reward is much better than a lotto win for me.
Okay daft I may be, but its a blessing none the less.

I succumbed and sent off to the USA for a patchwork and embroidery pattern and it has arrived!
Its cost more than I anticipated but even so, worth every penny.
Its Hocuspocusville by Meg Hawkey and from Crabapple Hill Studio.

There's an assortment of pictures there to give you an idea what the design is like.

The pattern and postage was £39 and then the bloody UK Customs hit me for £7.75 AND Royal Mail charged me £8 handling fee!
Why should they charge me handling when they are already paid wages to deliver the damned mail anyway?
So annoying lol

I saw the pattern on Barbara's blog, she's been making it bit by bit and showing her stages as she stitched them.(

I fell for the witchy humorous embroidery designs and have now started it.  Am all but finished block 4 so will post it shortly.
Here's the pattern printed on my fabric before stitching, not sure if you can make out the sign post which says
                                                                       small dog
                                                                       call Dorothy

I should point out this isn't a transfer pattern its a light box and micron pen draw onto the fabric pattern.
So I had to buy the A3 light box and 2 pens too LOL
( There goes my winter fuel allowance and I have only bought half the fabrics needed so far too -)
In between the rain and wind storms of late I did some garden tidying and lopped some errant branches off next doors curly wurly branched tree.
One longer branch needed to be cut into pieces to fit in the recycling bin and lo and behold, one piece caught my eye.
Here's its front and back
or back and front
- weird or what !!



Sunday, 8 November 2015

Life gets in the way and then your brain funks out : )

Its been a while - sorry, brain in funk which made it hard to blog but I havn't been idle!

A fabulous fun day with the grandkids, although blummin exhausting lol

Have been making some Dream Trees for the upcoming Green Fair this month, concentrating on smaller ones this year, all recycled materials but some of the threads used are modern.
Here's a few.

Also knitted up and felted some Head Huggers and made some fingerless gloves as well, but haven't taken pics I realise of them.
Quite a few of these in the mornings recently,
they look so magical with the dew on them don't they and are 
worth enlarging.  



Made a hickory dickory dock activity at work, where the mouse can be pulled up and down by a child.
The idea came to me as I used up the last of the Velcro on a large 20 mt roll, the centre of the roll had a plastic insert that the Velcro wrapped round.
So I was left with 2 large circles of card with the plastic 'hole' centre trapped between so I cut each card circle down to give me the shape below.
Then stuck mount board to it to stiffen up the structure but before closing it all in, I threaded some tape through so it would glide over the plastic insert and could be pulled up and down later.

I covered the whole thing in felt, but used a plastic lid for a clock face, which I stitched to the front felt piece before assembling the felt covering.
Added two felt mice at each end of the tape and Evie has flight tested it for me whilst singing hickory dickory dock lol

Also making fastenings waistcoats like there's going to be a shortage!

The managers asked me to cost them after the East Riding of Yorkshire Education Authority were interested in buying one or two of them off us.
We being Kingston Upon Hull Education authority.
So I gave them a figure of £40, which is not that bad for a special needs item that can be washed, looks good, proven practically as useful and will last through several children's use.
However once our Admin got a hold of the costing, they added all manner of other things, heating, lighting well okay yes but..............
apparently also % costings on my pension, national insurance and all manner of other bloody silly things which knocked up the cost to £78 a waistcoat!

Crazy and I told them so.
Not surprisingly, in this climate of Council cut backs our peri teachers thought that neither price would be accepted but they do want to be able to supply and sell the waistcoats.
Not that we are allowed to make any profit from them because 
That's not allowed .....
So now they are sourcing childrens waistcoats online, ready made up with button fronts and expect me to customise them lol
So an approximately £10 waistcoat, with a silk back panel, will need to have buttons taken off and an open ended zip inserted.
Then the shaped fronts will need to be levelled off with pockets in some way and they think this will cut down the cost..........I bet I spend more time refashioning them than making the bespoke ones up from scratch!

But I said - fine go ahead order some, but don't blame me if they aren't as good, as nice or as long lasting.
Watch this space lol

OH, couldn't resist this king sized bed quilt cover and pillow cases in a  charity shop last week, for £8.
Lots of possibilities for this lovely soft cotton fabric I think and
the backing is cream with 3" daisy like flower shapes, equally as nice as the front. A lot of fabric for the price of 1 mt!

Monday, 28 September 2015

I set the alarm and go up at 3am this morning and sat out back in the darkness watching the end of lunar eclipse.
It was delightful out there and pleasant, not at all cold.
I stayed out till the moon was half way full and should have
stayed longer but I needed a pee lol
It had a rosy look but I wished my eyesight was still 20/20
or Id had a telescope.  
I'm going to do my very best to stay alive and sane enough
to watch the next one!
It's done : )
And even more surprising is that when my daughter saw it she asked if I'd made it, Yes says I - hmm, says she, well could she have it!
Yes, says I with a smile .....
though you could have knocked me over with a feather!
Here's my 2yr old grandaughter, one of 5 little bridesmaids
looking bored at only the dressing stage, well before the wedding at the brides house lol
By we got to the church, she'd bent her wand almost into a right angle and the headband was on and off so many times,
I thought it would break lol
She really did look lovely though but I'm not sure
she smiled in any of the photos!

And here she is at mine after a busy morning playing,
 with Harvey keeping her safe and stop her falling off!
And yet another waistcoat for work
You know, I've seen Farmers Wife Sampler Quilt blocks
on so many blogs that I follow and couldn't really see what
the passion was about them,
then I realised they were only 6" square!
So I thought I would send for the book for our stitchy club library
and it arrived today.
Well, what a charming book!
I'm hooked lol I'm keeping it for myself.
I hadn't realised the premise behind the quilt design.
In 1922 The Farmers Wife Magazine for farmers wives,
ran a competition and they asked readers this question.
"If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in light of
your own experience, want her to marry a farmer?"
The editors were overwhelmed  by the response,
they had over 7000 replies and 94% of farm wives stated that,
yes, they would want their daughters to marry farmers.
Well Laurie Aaron Hird gathered 111 of the letters and
devised small sampler blocks to accompany the letters.
The letters are charming and so interesting to read
so yes, I have fallen under the spell.
The book comes with a cd which has the templates on
so you can print them off yourself.
I also sent for the book
Little Quilts by Sarah Fielke and Amy Lobsiger
for the stitchy club library....
guess what?
I'm going to have to keep that one too!
My excuse is that the little mini quilts are a perfect size for
practising ( learning ) to machine quilt on.
I can totally recommend each book although I am going
to be living on eggy bread and home grown chopped tomatoes
for afew weeks now.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Stitchy Club meet and my scrappy quilt is almost done

Some of my extra cut down blocks make pretty good table mats!
I have used vintage bias binding that I had picked up somewhere or other on these two.
I picked this fabric below up at a charity shop, its actually a commercial pack with backing fabric and quilt front fabric too, with instructions on how to make a lap quilt. Moda too!
 The fabric front is printed  with half inch hexi flowers and it seems you were to hand stitch around the flowers themselves.
The cost was worth it for the backing fabric alone, so this is what I have used as strips tween the cut down blocks .

Those of you that are quilt makers of experience would fall about laughing at my efforts,
but its within finishing now, so at least it will be able to shield my legs from the onslaught of winter weather very soon lol And it will be fine for Evie to use to lay on the floor on.
Professional at quitting I am clearly not!
I'm quilting it piece by piece, even the strips, probably the most backwards way on method but that way I haven't had to wrestle the quilt through and around my sewing machine lol
And now the backing is on, I have hand stitched the back and front together too, so its a mish mash of machine and hand stitched quilting LOL

I had bought some commercial binding but actually when got ready to stitch it on, I realised that it wouldn't look right, so have cut my own binding using 4 different fabrics, so the binding too will have a scrappy look.
Cant get stuck in to it just yet though, grandchild duties loom ahead for this weekend - do hope Evie will go easy on me!

Last Saturday was our EYES stitchy club meeting and we had a talk about costumes from the world of Jane Austin. Julia Soames had made the dresses and gave the talk to us.
I suspect I have been spoilt by seeing 'The History Wardrobe' talks, so although Julias dresses are beautifully made, the talk didn't captivate me as much.
Although to be fair, this was my first meeting as club librarian, so perhaps I wasn't paying the same amount of attention!
Incidentally Jean has a post about The History Wardrobes recent local talk about Fairytale Dresses, so nip over and see her explanation of what she saw.
Meanwhile he's a few pics of Juilas dresses....


and heres some of the members work put on display............many are so, so skilled.

and one member had made several bags from upholstery fabrics that had been for sale on the sales table. This box was cleverly pieced together I thought.
 All her bags had pieces zig zag stitched together and looked super.

The upholstery fabrics cost £2 on the sales table and are the kind of thing that hangs on a hanger, with one large piece of fabric then 20+ smaller sized pieces in complimenting colours?
Well out of that one bulk cheap buy, 7 bags had emerged!
Wish I had caught the ladies name but her bags were really superb.

Oh and this 'matching' activity was todays make at work, along with colour and flavour name cards.
All the time I was making them I fancied an ice cream too!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Hull's Freedom Festival and the scrappy blocks are taking shape

I am posting a mix of pics this post so bear with me please!
Hull has an annual Freedom Festival and this year I popped in to see what was on one day and got caught, well volunteered : ) to take part in this surreal little show.
The taxidermied creature on the top, is apparently an 'Albino Arctic Duck Billed Platypuss' - yes go figure! - and the scenario is as follows...
The two guys, using no words and exaggerated facial expressions, select 5 folks to take part in the show.
That involves wearing a number round your neck and placing headphones on your ears and listening to a voice.
Now your not sure if the crowd around you can hear what you hear, they can't, but your told  eventually to walk forward, place your eyes on the eye holes and then watch and listen.
So your leant at an odd angle if your tall like me, not that good for the back that and music and poetry is played, whilst an apparent 'egg' enlarges before your very eyes, with a flickering light to give it a vintage edge..
The 'egg' eventually explodes, because its a balloon and then extravagant  orchestral music applauds the birth of an automated chick - of mechanical sorts lol
Bizarre but fun and te metal work on the cabinet is magnificent and the stuffed 'mythical' creature was delightfully cute ............

Coincidentally, Lynne whom I sit alongside at work was there too and had been picked ahead of myself.


Another act keeping Queen Victoria company ...
All manner of events and acts took place over 2 days and there were a number of music groups, choirs set up to play each evening.
Its in the spirit of freedom for all and many activities for children take place each day.

I had my pal over from Australia (thankfully she did like the cushion Id made her lol) 
and I took her into the cities Holy Trinity Church to see the knitted version of the
Wilmslow Homer painting several of us had been involved in making last year.
I still think its such a clever idea to create a knitted version of a painting and volunteers from all walks of life were involved in the process, needless to say it wasn't my idea!

It was made, along with a great deal of yarn bomb knitted articles to celebrate a theatre production that was travelling down the East coast commemorating the Trawler men and 'fisher women' whose economic lives, revolved around the silver herrings.
I had made the faces and some of the sea and sky, though the lass on the right came out with far more naff than the other two lol she looks a real sarcastic lass!

I still like this barrel of herring  and the dedications to lost trawlermen that are also to be found in the church.
Saw these little guys on a collectibles stall in the market as we wandered round, well loved by the looks of them.

An interim pic of some of the cut up scrappy blocks ...