Friday, 29 January 2010

Method in my Matness

It must be well over a year since I finished this bath mat and it has looked a bit odd paired with a pale blue toilet mat. But now the matching one is finished and here they are, an almost-matching set, being put to good use. When they get a bit grubby I just throw them in the washing machine. Mary at Sewing as Therapy is hoping to make a similar mat for her kitchen and Monica at Quilt While You're Ahead is interested in how they're made.

The method I used for cutting up the t-shirts is the one used here by Laughing Purple Goldfish Designs (after cutting off the hem and across under the arms) although the t-shirts obviously do need to be joined so I used the method explained here at Craftstylish. I cut the strips one and a half inches wide but I think I would try a bit narrower next time as they are quite chunky. It helps if the t-shirts are all similar weights too. All the t-shirts belonged to the family except an orange one that I bought from a charity shop for £1.99 so that there was a bit of orange in both mats to coordinate a little.
Counting up from this picture I can see that about 12 t-shirts were used here so you need quite a lot!
I just added a little extra photo here for anyone not interested in mats crocheted out of t-shirts.
That would be most of you then!! This wholemeal loaf was made with the addition of the Bread Improver from Lakeland and is certainly lighter with a more even 'holeyness' than usual.
My OH is back from his week in France tomorrow evening. I thought I'd get so much done while he was away. One thing I did manage was to watch a couple of DVD's, that he wouldn't be interested in, while doing some hand sewing and quilting. Last night I watched Last of the Mohicans which I love most of all for the music, and the night before it was Meet Me in St. Louis. The opening scenes in this are so sweet and the whole film is just so 'twee'.
I also chose some fabrics for a new project for the home. I've come to the conclusion that my current favourite parts of making something are deciding what to make and picking fabrics. I don't know why that is except that maybe the finished results are not what I had in my head at the start!! Anyway, I've got a WONDERFUL idea so lets see what comes of it this time.
Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 25 January 2010

Look At What They Gave Me!!

Our Ladies Group meeting for January, last week, was our annual dinner held at the local golf club and also happened to be my last meeting as leader. Thirty-one of us (the highest turnout so far I think!) tucked into a delicious meal and enjoyed a welcome catch-up. At the end of the evening I was given this fantastic clock, to go in my shed, as a thank you gift. I didn't expect anything quite so lovely...........they made a very good choice! I understand that 4 ladies went together to choose it from the local garden centre and in order to make a decision, took the clocks they liked the look of and held them up against the wall of a shed at the centre to see the effect.
They also gave me this sweet little mug set to enjoy a hot cuppa while I'm out there too.
I think some friends have higher expectations than I do of what's going to be happening in the 'shed' and refer to it as a studio.The jute rug I ordered from Natural Collection to go in front of the woodburner came last week too so things are coming together. Thank you to the commenters who showed an interest in the T-shirt crochet project. It's almost finished but I had to search the charity shops on the weekend for an orange T-shirt so that the colours matched the bath mat I made a while ago and, consequently, it's not quite finished. While T-shirt hunting I found this lovely hexagon drawstring bag and couldn't resist it. I'd love to know how it came to be in a charity shop after all the hard work put into making it. The hexagons are hand sewn and it's lined with a lovely stripey fabric. It's been added to my stash to get a makeover as I think it will get more use as a shopper.
Until next time, bye for now.
Teresa x

Monday, 18 January 2010

Cakes and Crochet

Due to the fact that I had only wholemeal bread flour I decided against making a loaf last weekend in case it ended up like cardboard. I like to mix a little white flour in to make it a bit lighter. I'm also waiting for some 'Bread Improver' to be delivered from Lakeland so I'll make the next loaf when it arrives. It's listed in all the recipes in my bread-maker manual but I didn't know where to get it from until recently.
So, wanting to make use of the machine, I made ginger cake in it instead! The recipe stated to bake for 1hr 10mins but I can't programme my simple machine to do anything but an hour so I took the plunge and went ahead.

Apart from sinking in the middle, it turned out really well.

I couldn't resist a slice with an afternoon cup of tea.

And here's a preview of a little chunky something I started on Sunday. It's made of cast-off T-shirts cut into strips and crocheted. It should grow quite quickly (the sort of project I like); look at the size of the hook!! More on this next time.........
Bye for now
Teresa x

Friday, 15 January 2010

Snow and Show

I want to start off today by stating the obvious; which is 'that it's great to get comments' on my blog posts. Many bloggers before me have known this for a long time but I didn't realise how great it was until it started happening to me!! Therefore, I want to thank all you lovely ladies who've been commenting and say that I appreciate every one. Anyone who is just lurking is also very welcome, and maybe one day you will introduce yourself.

A couple of people have said they love the snow pictures and want to see more so here are a few I took on Wednesday (another snow day off work). This is my 'shed' in the garden.

The garden gate outlined in snow! The road is behind it so you can see why I didn't get to work. Only 4x4's managed the hill!!
A snowman built on the garden wall by my son. He added a bit more detail after this but it began to snow heavily so I went back inside to the warm. He also removed the lump on the side of the head! By the morning it was leaning back against the wall of the house. By this morning it was just a pair of trousers on the wall and a head on the road!!!
I had a comment from
Knot Garden the other day about my hexagons being 'smooth and evenly joined'. So I'd just like to add a little tip here to explain how this might be. You may already do this, but I press each separate hex before starting to sew together. This gives them a sharper edge and flattens them out so the middle isn't bunched up. I have to confess though that I didn't press the dark blue hexes in my haste to get going with it.
Knot Garden showed a lovely fair-isle hot water bottle cover she was knitting on her blog and it reminded me about this one that I knitted last year. Despite the freezing temperatures we've only used it once this year so far. I may be making more use of it when my OH goes skiing in a couple of weeks!
I mentioned in my last post that I had no idea what my quilt-as-you-go quilt is going to look like so, when I was sorting out what still had to be done with the blocks, I thought I'd lay them out to get some idea of what the overall effect will be. Here are many of them laid out on the bed. They won't be in this arrangement but I'm quite pleased with the effect. One thing I'm not sure of yet is whether to use a light or dark sashing between the blocks. This is what it will look like with a light colour because the wadding is showing around the edges.
It looks like it's going to be a wet weekend ahead here in the UK but much milder. There's not too much planned as yet except for a meal out to celebrate a friend's birthday on Saturday evening. Hope you have a good one!
Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 11 January 2010

Lovely Stitching Time!!

Getting the housework out of the way last week on the 2 unexpected 'snow days' off, has meant that I was able to get a little more stitching than usual done on the weekend. It's nowhere near as much as some people seem to get done in blogland (I don't know how they do it!) but it's quite a lot for me. I finished these 2 blocks for my quilt-as-you-go quilt. You may remember that I'm trying to do 2 versions of each design that we are given at the monthly quilting club. This design is a variation on the 'drunkard's path'. They'll now be added to the pile that is waiting to be quilted. I had no specific plan for the quilt that will result from these blocks so it's anybody's guess as to what it will turn out like. I've tried to keep to the same sort of colours but, as I'm trying to only use thrifted fabric, it hasn't been easy. I may have to buy some new for sashings and backing but I'm not sure yet.

I recently had a session to prepare more hexagons for my handstitched quilt. I wanted to add the dark blue border to see what the overall effect would be. I have plenty prepared now so I can pick it up any time I have a spare moment. This is also a random see-what-it turns-out-like method. I think it's exciting to muddle along and then be pleasantly surprised at the result. If you have no great expectations you won't be disappointed!

Now that I have a quilting hoop I can get on with quilting the blocks that are already prepared, when I have a spare half hour or more. I also need to go back over the ones that are quilted and add more if I don't think it's enough. I was a complete beginner when I started these and, now that I have more idea of what I'm doing, I need to take another look at them.

I'm happy now that I have a couple of tasks I can pick up when I feel like it (which is most of the time!). If I have any bigger chunks of time available I want to try and use some of my stash for any one of the ideas occupying my head. It would be good to start and finish a project all in one session. I can't remember having ever done that!
Bye for now
Teresa x

Friday, 8 January 2010

Are You Sick of Snow Yet?

I may as well join the bandwagon and show the latest snow dump in my lane since it's the reason for me being off work today and Wednesday and resulted in a couple of the photos in this post.

Most of the snow has fallen off this tree now but it looked quite dramatic for a while.
This is the skin care set I won in an online competition and said a few posts ago that I would show. When it turned up in the post I'd forgotton about it so it was like having an extra surprise Christmas present!
Talking of which, here are some of my actual presents. A Country Living tea set that a friend bought for me to go in my 'shed', a lovely After the Rain toiletry set and a pair of pyjamas that I am going to save for when I go away for my singing weekend in March.

I used some of the bonus time off work to do some baking. I had a couple of bananas that were too ripe to eat so made a cake with them. I've made banana cake before but not been very happy with it so I went searching my son's cook books and found a recipe in this one which turned out lovely and tasty. I enjoyed a slice spread with butter for an afternoon snack with peppermint tea in my new pot/cup.

While the cake was baking I whipped up a quick batch of Breakfast Bars for my OH and DS's lunch boxes. Here they are on my new spotty cake stand.

The time off work also meant I was able to do some cleaning, decluttering and ironing and will now leave me more time at the weekend to DO SOME STITCHING!!!! Hopefully, there'll be something to show after this weekend.
Singing lesson and quilting day were both cancelled this week because of the weather so I've not really had a chance to get back into a normal routine following the Christmas break yet. We now have only 3 singing lessons left before our concert at the end of January which is slightly worrying, especially considering the mess I made of my last performance in December.
I haven't mentioned how I did before because I cringe every time I think about it. I was soooooooooo nervous I could hear my voice shaking and you'd think I would remember to breathe after 46 years!!! So, as you can imagine, I have mixed feelings about the next time!
Bye for now.
Teresa x

Friday, 1 January 2010

A Winter's Walk

I hope everyone had fun New Year celebrations and that 2010 will be a good year for you. My brother and his family left this evening to go home to Germany. We had great times together and 15 of us met up at my parents' house to see them off. One cold day during the days between Christmas and New Year my OH and I stirred ourselves and wrapped up to take a much needed walk around our locality. We've done no exercise over the holidays and have strayed far from any healthy eating. But we've no regrets and will get back on the straight and narrow quite soon. We headed out from home and up the hill (above).
Sunset across the fields.

A plaque on the public footpath gate. It says 'A Healthy Heart'. I didn't know this was here until this day.

Photo taken facing away from the plaque.

The local parish church.

OH noticed something strange about the flag pole rope as we looked. It must have come adrift and, in the wind, became attached to the wall in the corner. It may be clearer if you enlarge the photo by clicking on it. The white dot over the tower is the moon.
Just past the graveyard is the Old School (the cream building) where I started my education as an infant. It's also where my aunt went to school. It's now used as a hall by the community.

It's getting darker here. This is the main village street with the old coaching inn to the left.
It's back to work on Monday and normal routine will be resumed.
Bye for now.
Teresa x