31 October 2012

And so, the end is near...

Well actually the end is here!   Finally the 31st October is here, and whilst I don't care to wish my life away, boy, am I glad!   I've actually succeeded (again, I made it last year too) in posting every day for the month.  This gives you an idea of my personality - a control freak really.  If I start out to do something, I HAVE to see it through to the end!  Sad really, probably the cause of a lot of self imposed stress in my little life!

The stats:

I have posted for 31 days straight

16 sewing related (well vaguely)
1 fabric related
1 cat related
1 FQ Retreat related
2 dog resuce related
2 garden related
1 handbag related
1 Christmas related
2 weather related
4  random posts to fill the space!
and todays round up.

I was hoping to be able to go out on a high, revealing the Mouthy Stitches tote that I had received but unfortunately it's not here yet.  (I'm beginning to suspect the post lady!)

But I did recieve a couple of parcels today, one of which was a total surprise and a bit of a billy bonus.

I'd ordered some boxes off the internet to try to control my fabric stash.  I'm not the tidiest person in the world, so I need all the help I can get.

So guess what I'm up to this evening.  The iron and ironing board are out, and I'm sorting through everything, tidying, straightening  and settling everything in it's new home.  The before and after

And the billy bargain?   We orderered some metal strips to protect the corners in the factory from women armed with fork lift trucks, and a few safety signs, and this came as a free gift

I'm very impressed.  Also, I'm impressed with the girls in the factory whose first reaction was " a sewing box for Di"  thus ensuring I got it before himself got his hands on it for his workshop!

So I reach the end of a very loooong month!  I may make an appearance tomorrow for Fresh Sewing Day, but otherwise I think I'll have a bit of a break. Thank you all for following me patiently for the month, and if you're a new visitor, I do hope you'll call again!   Thanks also to Sarah - we set up a mutual support group early on, and she has inspired me to carry on.  I hope I inspired her a bit too!  And lastly thanks to Kat at I saw you dancing who organised the whole damned shooting match.

30 October 2012

Stitch Teaser

At last I've finished my next block for the Stitch Tease Mystery Bee.   OK, so I'm late, by two weeks, but luckily in this bee it doesn't matter too much.  The time scale for each blosck is 6 weeks, and whilst some take longer, some are a bit easier.   I probably bit off a bit more than I could chew with this one, but I'm fairly happy with the result.

I think you know by now that I can't show the strip in all it's glory, as it has to remain a secret for the recipient until something like February 2013.  I've just spent a good half an hour trying to disguise the strip so that you can't really see it!

There you go, you're none the wiser now are you!

I did post some pictures a couple of weeks ago of WIP, so lets see them again shall we, just to make it a bit more exciting!

So next up is Susans blocks - wonky stars.  I'm not so good at doing wonky so this should be yet another challenge.  Thats one of the great things about bees.  They push you to do things you wouldn't normally do for yourself.

And I'm pleased to say, that I only have one more post in the Blogtoberfest.  REALLY pleased!   I've been waiting for mail to arrive since last week, so that I have something exciting to blog about!  C'mon Mrs Postlady, where is my mouthy stitches bag?

29 October 2012

Sunday sewing

Did I ever tell you I'm allergic to bad weather?  It's true.  Much as I'd love to, I'm totally unable to go out on anything but short dogs walks in the cold, wind and rain.  I have to stay in the warm, and just to pass the time, I sew!

So as the forecast for the weekend was diabolical, I prepared myself to get some blocks done for the Mod Pod Quilt Along.  Demons needed to be faced and conquered.  I'm talking curves here.  I'd managed the first block and it was OK, but I was determined to beat the damned things.

This is how it panned out

I laid out 3 blocks on Thursday night, and rolled them in tea towels to keep them in place.

9:00 I started sewing the curves

9:15 I was almost in tears of frustration.  The first 5 curves were absolutely awful.

I wanted to screw them up, stamp on them and then burn them! Do you get like that sometimes? There's so much to remember - steer the top to the left, the bottom to the right, keep the 1/4 inch seam, don't pull!  Clearly my mind couldn't cope with everything. It was at this point I started mentally writing the giveaway for the whole damned quilt.     But instead I calmed down, unpicked them, and started again.

9:45 I had sewn another 6 and only had to unpick one, and that was because I sewed one piece rights side to wrong side!

10:00 All 12 curves sewn for the first blockwith only one more unpick, for a little pleat.

And so on until I'd sewn all the curves for the 3 blocks.   And actually they didn't look too bad in the end.

Over the weekend I pieced all three blocks.  To be honest, they're not brilliant.  They've got more ripples than I've seen anywhere in one place for a long time!  But experience of ripples, which I have had a lot of, tells me that they should all disappear when it's quilted and washed.  And there are some very dodgy thin seams there.

But the good news is that now there are 4 blocks together, I think it's looking pretty good.

  The green stands out against the blue much better than I thought it would.   It's not as defined as it would have been if I'd used plain green, but I'd rather have the patterned fabrics.

So that's 4 blocks down and only 7 more to go (I hink it's 7 anyway).  I really ought to keep going now, whilst I'm in the groove/  But there's lots of other things to do, so I think this one is going to have to wait. 

28 October 2012

Bank Holiday Sunday

Known affectionately as The independant  Czechoslovak State Day.  But it's a Sunday, so no day off work, unfortunately.

Here's what life was like in this non-typical czech household today

I woke up to this

Porridge for breakfast - Golden syrup or honey?

Sewing, with freshly painted nails


Home made bread (which looks a strange colour)

And chicken and mushroom pie for teas, made by Gordon (not me of course!)

Hope you had a good weekend

27 October 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side

It's time for everyone to showcase their favourite quilt once again, in the Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amys Creative side. A lot of bloggers seem to have been prepared for this, but not me!  Nevertheless, I have a quilt I would like to enter.  Much as I love my Supernova quilt, this is a straight copy of the original, including the fabrics, so I didn't feel I should enter that one.  SO instead I chose my Pheonix quilt, which I made for my great niece, Vivienne, on her arrival into this big bad world in April this year. 

I had previously started to make the Farmers wife quilt, but my heart wasn't in it and realistically, I was never going to finish it. So I put the fabrics together to make this quilt.  Hence Pheonix, from the ashes of The Farmers Wife.

I used Camille Roskelleys pattern Sweet Pea, from her Simplify book.   It went together really easily and I love all those bright colours jumbled up together.   I can't remember the name of the fabric I backed it with, but I thought it picked out the colours in the front so well, and it is a nice fun pattern

I was determined to try something different with the FMQ this time, more than just the standard stipping that I usually do, so I doodled a nice flowery pattern which I think complements the girliness of the quilt.

The flowers showed up well on the white , but were a little lost on the busy colours of the main pattern.  But as one of my readers said, Vivienne will be able to find the flowers her great auntie hid for her!  What a nice thought

And finally, another first for me, I did a scalloped edge using biais binding

I know that this quilt is loved and well used, and let's face it, that's what it's all about!

The details of the quilt are as follows

Quilt Measurements:  I'm not sure now but I think it ended up around 50" x 50"
Special Techniques used:  First time I FMQ'd flowers.  Scalloped edge with biais binding
Quilted by   Me!!
Best category: Favourite Home Machine Quilted Quilt, Favourite Baby Quilt

There are some really great prizes, so why not have a go at entering.  What have you got to lose?  And go and have a look at some of the other fantastic quilts that have been entered already.  And a big thanks to Amy for organising it again.


I'm number 271 on the link.  Gulp!

26 October 2012

Friday Night at the movies

A late post today as we've just got in from a Friday night out.  Very rare for us.  We've been to t' big city to see this


on it's first night in the Czech Republic, no less.  Gordon is a huge Bond fan, me not so much, but I have to admit it was very good.  Textbook James Bond, pure escapism, totally unbelievable, lots of women and quite humerous parts.   Provided you're not looking for something deep and meaningful, you should enjoy it!

But haven't cinemas come on since the days of Rank screen advertising with the name of the local chinese takeaway super-imposed over the film.  And the seats.  Well they were so comfortable, I nearly dozed off! I so enjoyed it, I want to go back.  Have you got any recommendations of films to see?

The cinema in Brno is very conveniently situated in the middle of a shopping centre, so we had time for a bit of a shop.  I have a question for all you gels in the UK. Have you been into M & S this autumn?  Is it me, or is the stuff in there dire?  There are clothes in there that my late mother and MIL wouldn't have been seen dead in!   Old fashioned, dull, tasteless and just plain awful.  The mens clothes aren't too bad, but the ladies?  Even the Per Una seems to have totally lost the plot.   Or maybe they just send the horrible stuff over here?  Gordon came away with two shirts and a pair of trousers.  I came away with a pack of Christmas Cards.  I think that says it all!

I feel better for a bit of a rant.  It's way past my bedtime, so I'm off now with my cocoa.  


25 October 2012

First day of winter

I know it's not the official first day of winter, but we've just had our winter tyres fitted today, and to me, that's the signal for winter to arrive.  An low and behold, snow is forecast for the weekend!   It's a bit early, even in these parts, so I don't suppose it will amount to much.   One of the national  habits  we have adopted since living here is getting the garden tidy and put to bed for the winter, and readying ourselves and the house for the onslaught - logs chopped and stacked, chimney swept, the snow blower serviced and ready for action.

And out in the garden, the flowers I grew for cutting, are still flowering their little hearts out.  I keep saying, this is the last bunch, but I think these really, really are the last.

I do like to have fresh flowers on my hall table so I guess next week, I'll be back to buying them. 

24 October 2012

WIP Wednesday


What little time I have spent on quilting this week, in between gardening, work and rescuing dogs, I have concentrated on two projects

Terraced Garden

I have actually pieced the back and got onto quilting this old friend.  I pieced the back in large blocks with Kona Coal sashing to reflect the front (and because it was the only way to make the fabric go around!)

Then I chose a simple wavy stitich for the quilting.

I'm getting a certain amount of rippling on the back, but that should dissappear when it's washed (she says hopefully).  The centre is almost finished then I need something around the border. Something simple, but not sure what yet.

The other project I've been working on is a secret block for the Stitch Tease Bee, so by definition I can show you much.  But I do want to tease a bit so

There's so much going on in this, stretching my skills to the extreme, and admittedly taking longer than I imagined!  I'm late already, but in this bee, there's no huge pressure to get things done on time.

No progress
Sheerwater tunic
Mod pod quilt (but I'm planning on getting something done this weekend!)
Envy Quilt

Must start
A jelly roll quilt for my friend Rose

Committed to in the last week
Christmas decoration swap

Hop over to Freshly Pieced to see what else is going on.

23 October 2012

Thimbles 2

Do you remember this post from a couple of weeks ago, with my musings on thimbles.  Well it turned out that I'm not the only one that has problems.  One or two or you have found a thimble that is OK, but most people seem to have the same problem.  They don't fit properly, stop you sewing normally and slow you down.   The best of the bunch seemed to me to be a soft leather one that Sarah recommended.  So I sent off for one

Here it is in use

I'd say it's about 50% of the way to being the perfect thimble.  It is really soft, and it 's the first thimble I've found that fits well over the end of the finger, but it still doesn't allow me to bend that first finger joint so I end up sewing with a straight finger, which is not a natural postition for me, and so makes sewing very awkward.   I'm very tempted to chop off the first 1/2 inch so that it finishes before the joint, so allowing my finger to bend.  It was quite expensive, so I don't want to ruin it completely, but there again if I don't use it, it was a waste anyway.  I think I need to get Gordon and his engineer brain onto it!

At the same time I bought a few other little bits and bobs (I hate the word notions, I don't know why!)

The black gold needles were a great buy.  They are so wonderfully smooth, and make hand stitching so much easier.  But they have tiny, tiny eyes, so it's lucky I bought a needle threader at the same time. Although with my eyesight, I can only just see to get the threader through the eye!   Which, incidentally, I have already sat on and mangled!.    The little pair of snips I bought in the hope that I can get them on a plane so I can sew.  They ere only 1.35 so it's no great loss of they get confiscated.

I'm very pleased to say, I'm on day 23 of 31 in the Blogtoberfest.  Just 8 more things to think of to write about!

22 October 2012

So long, farewell

Auf Wiedersehen, goodbyeeee!

And good riddance!

We put some of these posters around town this afternoon,

and 30 minutes later we got a phone call from Roger's owners.  They only live about 1/2 km away, and despite looking like a tramp, he had only escaped that morning.  Oh, and his real name is Rexi.

So he's gone and life here returns to normal.   Liska is top dog again and can stop worrying about guarding the master, our other dog Lucy can stop worrying about being raped,  and the two cats can come back home again!  The experiment into 3 dog ownership is over and we have proved what a bad idea it is!   Even so, I'm happy that we did our best for little Rog, and he's back home.

Thanks for all your concerns and offers of a new home for either Roger or Liska!

21 October 2012

Guest post

Hi readers, Liska here.  We have a small crisis here at home, which no-one else seems to appreciate, so I"m appealing to all you out there to help me

Just in case you don't know who I am,

This is me.   Normally TOP DOG in this house, with responsiblity for gurading the master.   This morning we went for a walk through town, and on the way back, we were  followed home by this

Yes, I know what you're thinking, me on a bad hair day, but it's not me.  I don't know who it is, but he seems to think he can walk in here and make himself comfortable.   He is the dirtiest, smelliest dog I've ever seen.  He looks like he's been living on the streets for two or three weeks.

I understand mum went off with him into town to try to find the owner, but unfortunately she came back with him!

Then there was a gret debate about what to do with him.  Apparently they are so soft, they can't bear the thought of sending him to the police dog pound, so the plan is to take some photographs of him, and post them in the shops around town, in the hope of finding his owners.  First he needed a bath, and a trim to get rid of all those pugs.   He still looks like a tramp to me but........

I have to say, I am NOT very happy.  I keep trying to bite his head off just to let him know who's boss.  Mum keeps telling me not to worry, every this is alright.  NO IT'S NOT!!!!!Can't these stupid humans see this?  

And worst thing of all - the last straw - they've given him a name!!   They've called him Roger (The Lodger, because he's not staying!)

So if things don't turn out well here, I need to know if I can come and live with you?  I'm a very well behaved dog, and don't eat much.  Pretty Please

20 October 2012

Turned out nice again....

I was awake at stupid o'clock this morning, so I made a cuppa and headed to the spare room to catch up on blogs.  Looking out of the window, there was a layer of mist lying in the valley at the bottom of the hill

It's still dark, admittedly, but you can just make out a layer of mist below the horizon.  I carried on taking a photo every 10 or 15 mintues, and as the sun came up, the mist got thicker

But then an hour later it had all gone!

And it's been a beautiful day. I went shopping, done some gardening and managed to squeeze in about 30 mintues sewing.   And the day's not over yet!

Hope you've had a nice day too.