28 June 2012

Kona summer tumblers

So many people are joining in with the challenge issued by Cindy at Fluffy Sheep Quilting 
to come up with the perfect colour pallet from the kona solids she offers in her shop.  And who's going to turn down the chance to win 2 metres of the aforementioned Kona Solids?  Not me.

So my inspiration, rather uninspiringly, was a set of plastic tumblers I bought (fromTesco) for use in the garden in the summer, when we have children and unruly adults over.

1. School bus  2.Turquoise  3.Canary 4. Magenta  5.Bright pink  6. Lime   7.Red  8.  Jade Green

There are only six colours, so I had to improvise a bit.   Anyway, I love doing these mosaics - it's just having time to play with them so you get a bit better at it, then remembering what to do next time you use it!

So this is my summer tumbler collection - I think it could be the new black.


27 June 2012

Gullible or what.....?

I have somewhat of a reputation in our household for being gullible.   The latest sting was perpertrated by my dear husband abley assisted by our 2nd in command (2IC) at work. 

Our new factory is fitted with lots of gadgets and gismoes that we didn't have at the old factory - a snazzy intruder alarm, intruder lights, a speaker system, roller shutter doors, self opening doors.  This may be standard for some people, but to us, it's the bees knees.  So when my husband said the other night that we had some fantastic new voice activated technology, I wanted to know what it was.   But I had to wait till we were at work.

My husband knows when to pick his moment.  If I have time to think, I'm usually suspicious, but catch me when I'm in a hurry with a million things going through my head, and I'm a walkover.  So as 2IC and I go out thisafternoon to sort out our change of address with the local council offices, he calls us over for a demo of the new  voice activated technology.

We have 2 roller shutter doors into the warehouse.  Outside each is a light with a motion sensor on it.  "You see the little dome beneath the light?  Well that's a microphone and if you say "Open" and the security code for the intruder alarm, the roller shutter door will open.  And low and behold, it did.  And if you say "close" plus the number it will close.  And guess what it did.    Well, you can imagine, I was seriously impressed with this.  I made him do it again, and happily went of to the council office with 2IC, who also seemed suitably impressed. 

Fast forward to this evening, as we were prepping dinner, and my husband showed me a small zapper.  "What's that?" I ask.  "It's the zapper for the roller shutter doors"  comes the reply.

Pregnant pause.... If you listen carefully, you can hear the penny dropping.

"You are going to die.  And we'll be needing a new production manager, because he's going to die too!"

It's not hard to see why I have such a reputation!

24 June 2012

Normal service

should be resumed tomorrow.  We have completed the move into the new factory.  Everything is more or less in situ, and hopefully everything will work tomorrow (except the hot water and heating which will be a week or so more).  This weekend has been all about recharging the batteries.

Yesterday we relaxed with a dog walk, our production manager, peter and his family came over for a barbie and fun in the pool, and we then walked into town to partake in a few scoops at one of the wine cellars. 

Today I am tidying, washing and doing a bit of gardening (although it is a bit hot) whilst Gordon and his nephew have taken the dogs for a walk.  Today we will have a last swim with Tim and take him back to the airport .  

Tomorrow I will get back to normal life.  A day off, some sewing, blogging, swimming and maybe line dancing in the evening.  

We are both walking around like Mr and Mrs  Smug of Smug Hall!

18 June 2012

We're in............

They said it would take 6 men with two lorries, 3 x 10 hour days.  But they were wrong.  We did it in 1 day x 10 hours!  Woooooo hooooooo!   We're all moved.  Completely and utterly kna***red but done!   Thanks to good preparation and lots of hard work from our team, complemented by Gordon's nephew Tim.

First lorry leaving at 07.06

Last lorry leaving at  16.43

First lorry leaving at 

I didn't do much at all - in fact all I managed to do was lose mine and Tim's passport in a car park in Breclav!   Thank you to the very nice lady who found it and kindly phoned us to let us know she had it.

So all we have to do know is put everything in it's place, set up the girls work benches, connect everything and make sure it works, set up the canteen, build 11 double lockers, and clean the old factory.  Easy day tomorrow then.  And as we are 2 days ahead of schedule, I think we can probably book Thursday and Friday off.  What do you think?

17 June 2012



Sorry there haven't been any postings in the last few days, after promising to do one every day.   But life does get in the way sometimes, and I should have known it would this week.  Way back in March I posted that we had just signed a contract for our business to move to a new factory, which was being renovated to our spec.  There was an awful lot of work to get it ready for the 1st of June as promised, and we have had regularly progress meetings with the builder and project manager, and there have been days when we really doubted it would happen, but at last the time has come.  WE ARE MOVING!!!!!

This last week has been spent checking the building, checking we have everything, checking the plan for moving, starting to pack, starting to build the flat-pack furniture.  On Friday we moved all the office stuff and have spent the weekend building furniture and finding a home for everything, and doinga  final clean down.  Then at 6 o'clock tomorrow morning, the removal men are coming to move the rest.   They say it will take 3 days, but I doubt that - I'm hoping we are done in two.  The weather forecast is for fine sunny weather thank goodness after the storms last week.(which actually helped test the roof for leaks, and there were a few!)  then we just have to get everthing in it's place and working ready for the girls to come back to work on Monday 25th.

I was very excited about the FQ retreat, but I have to admit that this is even more exciting!  

13 June 2012

New name needed

I wanted to write a post today about the terrible thunder storm we had last night, which flooded out some of our neighbours and frightened the living **** out of me driving home in it.  But sadly none of the pictures we took last night came out , and this morning you wouldn't know there had been a problem.   But it was scarey.  We live on a hill, so no problem for us, but the vineyards are planted in vertical rows so the rain just washes straight down them, and into the valley, causing flash floods


You can see the hillside in the background, going down into the valley.  The little road at the bottom was like a river in flood.  Last spring we spent a lot of money terracing our veggie plot, and re-inforcing the bottom wall.   Last night proved it was money well spent - without it, our garden would have joined the floods at the bottom!

But we survive to tell the tale, and show the progress on my stained quilt

3 'A' blocks

5 'B' blocks rather badly photographed!

I did have doubts about the sashing, but now I'm sure I chose the right one.  Thanks to Sarahs tip about stacking and chain sewing, the blocks went together easily with only one or two minor mistakes on my behalf.  My biggest mistake was not clearing everything away when cutting some more pieces for my Snowball blocks, and slicing through one of the end blocks on the A block.  Ooops!  

Anyway - as it's starting to take on it's own personality now,  I need a name for it.  Any ideas?


12 June 2012


I think i might have mentioned that, at the thing that happened last weekend that I'm trying not to mention again, I took the English paper piecing class with Tacha Brauer.  I wouldn't have thought I'd got the pacience for it, but I really loved it.   It was so relaxing, both from the point of view of the stitching, but also being able to chat whilst doing it, and breaking off to look at someone else's work, without losing concentration.  

I chose to do the snowball, only because I couldn't face cutting all the 200 or so bits for either of the other two patterns!  I also thought I could then do more, to eventually build up to a full quilt.  

So here's snowball number one

I'm rather proud of that!   The big question is should I carry on with this or have a go at the rose star pattern?


11 June 2012

Czech for beginners

When we were at the FQ retreat last week (yes, that again, but this isn't about the retreat!) I was impressed by the perfect English spoken by several ladies from Germany, Holland and Denmark.  I know you all learn English at school, and probably watch English TV.  But we english learn french and maybe german at school, then promptly forget all about it when we leave.  Why not?  Everyone else speaks English don't they?   I am doubly admiring of them because I am struggling to learn Czech - not a language for the faint hearted.  Many people (well a few) asked me what it was like learning Czech so here it is in a nutshell.

The alphabet is more or less the same as ours with the addition of a few letter wearing hats

ě pronounced like y in yes
č                     like ch in check
ň                    like the first n in onion
š                    Like sh in shirt
ž                    Like si in illusion
ř                    Like nothing else I know!  A cross between the french rolling r and the z wearing it's hat        all   combined somewhere at the back of you throat.

also ch is a letter.  It sounds like the ch in loch and comes betwee h and i which is very confusing when you are looking something up in a dictionary.

If anything has any other accent on top (like the french acute accent) it makes it long.

And the stress in every word is always on the first syllable.

So there you go, you can now pronounce czech.  Unlike English, if a letter is there you pronounce it.   It does get a bit difficult with a word like zmrzlina (ice cream)  where there are 5 consonants together, but it was explained that the r is pretending to be a vowel.  And you can do it with "breaking your tongue" as my friend says!

However the grammar is a nightmare.  Czech children spend half of their school life learning czech grammar rules, unlike the English.  I don't really remember learning much grammar at school.  Do you know what a gerund is?  Or how to conjugate a verb?   The average czech child does!  This makes it quite hard to learn czech.

The main really really bad thing about czech, is the not only do we have to contend with fact that nouns are masculine, feminine and neuter, singlular or plural (not unlike german) but also there are seven different cases.  Depending on how you are using the noun in the sentence, it has a different ending. Sestra (sister), could be


depending on whether it is singlular or plural and what it is doing in the sentence.  I kid you not.

So when you are doing whatever you do on a Wednesday morning at 8.30 CET, think of me at my czech lesson trying to get my head around that!   Needless to say I'm not much further forward than I was 7 years ago when I started!

So that's the end of your czech lesson for today.  Beware, others may follow.

10 June 2012

New thoughts

It's been a whilse since I posted.  To be honest, the thought of spending and hour putting together an interesting post with lots of photos, has left me feeling exhausted. I just don't have the right mind set at the moment so I thought I'd try a different angle.  Split everything up in small bites, and post a short, to the point post every day.  So here goes.

Since getting back from London I have been able to clear the decks (took a while, but I got there) and get on with some of my older projects.  Firstly I finished the star blocks for the Supernova quilt for my friend

A while ago, when I only had 7 blocks, I asked which colours I should use for the last two.  Much as I wanted to make another pink one, I had to agree with the majority and made another grey and orange.  The result is stunning I think.  I cannot progress any further now, as I need more info from the recipient - does she want it draping over the edge, over the pillows (I may have to do another row of blocks in which case I ge to make another pink one!)

So last night I dragged out the stained quilt.  I had ordered charcoal for the sashing but was underwhelmed by it, so I called in a FQ of orange, which I was sure would be the one, and a soft green, just in case.   Here they are laid out

Nope, not enough contrast

Ooh er, too much contrast.  It overpowers the fabrics.  And I so wanted this to be the one!

Reluctantly I have to admit that this works the best.  It puts the fabrics centre stage.  I can spark it up with the binding

So that's what I'll be doing today.  Also, when Gordon gets back with the dogs, we are going to give the kitchen a long over due clean.  Well, it does have to be done every now and then!  And besidesit's pouring with rain, so I'm not going to get on the garden.

Have a nice Sunday


06 June 2012

Didn't we have a luverly time....

the day we went to London. 

I'm a bit behind the rest of the world posting about the Fat Quarter Retreat in London. Apologies for that, but life just got in the way.  I hope you're not too bored and can spare 5 minutes to read this

I had a fantastic time at the retreat - You have probably read all the other posts, so you know the general brilliance of it, and that if it's humanly possible, you should go next year

The best bits

  • Meeting all the people I have spent the last 18months stalking talking to on t'interweb
  •  Meeting lots of new people that I'd never come across before
Christine and Emily

Kerry centre stage

Susan - what me?

Cindy - in a quandry over how to quilt her masterpiece

  • Meeting 50 % of the Stitch Tease Bee.  (please can I have a copy of the photo)
  • The whole damned shebang was sooooo well organised - thanks to the team for that, I know it wasn't an easy job, although I think it was probably offset to a degree by the fun you all had
  • Learning some new skills (although it would've helped if I could've just stopped chatting).  The classes were great and I was thrilled to meet all those celebrities!
  • Discovering how sociable hand sewing is, as opposed to machine stitching (And I learned that you can take a needle and a small pair of scissors on a plane nowadays)
  • Being in a great swap group, which by chance was very baggy (the gifts, not the ladies).  Thank you everyone.

  • The goodie bag which was full of wonderful things including a FQ of Oakshot cotton and some Aurifil - both of which I wanted to get my donnies on.
  • Meeting Helen.  I just knew that we would get on well, and it was like we'd known each other for years!  Thanks for looking after this lost soul around London.  All was well until we took a wrong turn from BP House on Sunday and didn't notice for 10 minutes because we were so busy talking! In the pouring rain.  And when we nearly didn't get of the train at our station because we were so busy talking!  I'm sure someone took a photo of us, but I've no idea who.  Can anyone help?  In the meantime, a picture of the lady herself, complete with werewolf eyes!
  • Our meal out on Saturday - thanks Susan for inviting us, it was a real hoot.

  • Our meal out on Sunday with the hangers-on who didn't want to go home
  • The British Design exhibition at the V & A museum.  worth visiting if you get the chance!
  • Getting home and thinking I didn't meet so-and-so, or didn't have time to talk much to various and assorted people
  • Annabella not coming - sorry to have missed you. I hope you are recovering well now.
  • Not winning a SINGLE prize in the raffle  (Have I mentioned this before?)
  • Coming home.  Well I am glad to be home, but ....................
Sorry the photos are few and far between - I was too busy, erm, yes you guessed, talking! Here's to next year!