Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Teething Troubles at Work!

I expected the portacabins to be cold so wrapped up warm accordingly.
I expected the roads to be icy with the cold and snow so drove carefully.
I expected to be further from any shops so made sure I didn't forget to bring lunch.
I expected to be further from a garage selling cheaper fuel so filled up in advance.

I didn't expect it to be quite SO cold!!
I didn't expect the water pipes to freeze leaving us using water from the drinking bottles to fill the kettle and pour down the loo to flush it!!
And I didn't expect the frozen pipes to burst when thawing out, flooding water into the corridor and resulting in having to share the 'men's facilities in a separate cabin outside - Brrrrr!!!
Add to that poor mobile coverage, a dodgy land line system and a view out onto a blank wall and, well, you can't blame me for hoping today would be a 'snow day'!

Well, I managed to get there despite a bit of slipping and sliding, the toilet is fixed and I'm ensconced in my little office with the heater on high so things are looking up (and if the weather is anything to go by, I might yet get a snow day this week) :-)

Stitchy News

 I absolutely love this block that I received from Anna from Finland for the Tag Square Bee for November. 
 Look at the lovely fabrics.  I particularly like the big white flowers on the green background and the brown with butterflies. 
 The coasters have now been trimmed down during a few spare moments over the weekend.  Making things in batches seems to be the way to go with small items.
Here's a glimpse of a corner of my Christmas Bell Pull hanging I started at my quilting group last meeting.  The next meeting is on Saturday when we are supposed to take it in to show, so as I've only got the binding to sew down, I should get it done.   I know what I'll be doing if I do get a snow day :-)

Bye for now
Teresa x

Friday, 26 November 2010

Not a Tutorial!

After a comment from Ali of Very Berry Handmade about my coasters a little while ago,  I'm slipping in a quick additional post this week to explain how I put it together. It's not really a tutorial as such but you can skip this post if you've already guessed how it's done!

So here goes, this is what I did: (the text goes with the photo beneath it)

Cut a piece each of wadding and backing 4" square......

Laid the wadding on top of the wrong side of the backing, selected a few fabric scrap strips that complemented eachother and laid one strip along the left edge........
Next, I laid a second strip, right sides together, on top of the first strip, lining up the right edge..........
Then I sewed through all layers a (roughly) 1/4" seam.............
...folded open the second strip and finger pressed it open (you can pin it at this stage to keep it in place if you wish).
I kept adding strips until the wadding was covered completely........

....then turned the whole thing over and trimmed off the overhang to the 4".
Finally, I added binding but, as there are lots of tutorials online for doing that and people have different method preferences, I'm not going to show the process.  (The truth is I'm not sure I've really cracked the binding process yet and wouldn't want to open myself up to ridicule!!!)
The most observant of you will have noticed that this finished coaster is not the same one but the original one I made.  I haven't put the binding on the other one yet as I find it the most scary part! 
Here's a back view in case you're wondering what it looks like.

I've done all the strip piecing for 8 more since  taking these photos - now I've just got to trim them and tackle the binding. :-(

I'd like to know which method you prefer?  The traditional double fold or folding the binding in half and attaching it double? And as for the corners, I try something different every time and haven't found my "favourite" way yet!!  One thing I'm pleased to have got the hang of is joining the ends of the binding even though I know I didn't do it on this (it was just too small and fiddly).

I hope this makes sense (it did to me) but if not just ask and I'll try to explain better and edit later if necessary.

Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 22 November 2010

Probably the Most Boring Photo in the World!

How would you like to look out on this view Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.15pm??  This is the outlook from my new office.  A dirty, yellow-ish shed wall.  It's certainly not very inspiring or cheerful but is more than a little overwhelming and claustrophobia inducing!  One consolation is that the days seem to pass a little quicker since we moved here.

But let's put that out of our minds and look as something a bit more interesting.  My OH and I joined a couple of friends on a Sunday afternoon bike ride.  Despite the cold and grey day there were lots of people along this popular foot/cycle path.  

The last time we cycled here was during better weather when we wore far fewer layers of clothing.  We don't go cycling very often and never usually in the cold weather so I was unused cycling while wearing a woolly had, gloves and jacket.  I think the walking boots were a mistake too as they made finding the correct position on the pedals a bit tricky!  I confess I came off twice due to my lack of skill with the gears.  Not exactly over-the-handlebar jobs but sedately falling sideways into the mud!

 The carrot at the end of the ride was a nice mug of hot chocolate.  Sorry, you've just got dirty mugs here but my need was greater than yours! During the ride back my OH, not wanting me to fall off again, gallantly jumped off his bike and  pushed me up the last hill while running and pushing his own bike too!

This was all very different from the last time we went in the summer. For one thing, I was fitter than I am now!  It was also nice weather and we were less encumbered with clothing.

 Bikes were parked by the river and a different kind of drink was required.  Looks like I couldn't wait then either! :-)

Another confession - I'm a bit saddle sore today! (Note to self: Must ride my bike more often!!)

Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 15 November 2010

Moving and Shaking!

First today I'm going to tell you about the moving, which has to do with my day job.  We are moving offices and have a removal company in to move everything about 30 miles away.  Here are most of my crates ready packed.  I packed about 35 crates, and that was just my stuff!  We had 300 crates and used about 250 of them!! We're moving to a site where we were at previously, about 2 years ago and, depending on how things pan out, may be there for a few months and then will either have to move again or the job will end! It's the nature of the business, but it doesn't worry me which ever way it goes!

 Next, I'm going to show you my November block for the Tag Square Bee. This block is for Julianna from Poland who asked for energetic purples, oranges and reds.  I hope this is 'entergetic' enough - these are not colours I have in abundance.  I just need to finish the signature block to go with it then I can get it in the post.
 Finally for today, the 'shaking' is in reference to the Children in Need charity event I took part in over the weekend.  The idea was to perform a song from a movie of our choice.  We had to learn the song (not look at the karaoke screen), dress up and perform it.  My DD chose to do Waterloo as featured in Muriel's Wedding and needed a partner so asked me to do it with her.  Performing in public is not something she's normally that keen to do so I agreed as she was so enthusiastic, even though it clashed with BIL's 50th birthday party. It wasn't about winning or losing but about taking part and doing it for the children (but I can still hardly believe we came SECOND!!! )
We've raised about £130 between us so far in sponsorship but are hoping to get more!  Seeing as I couldn't take photos myself and my OH took only videos, all I can show at the moment is what I wore.  My DD wore the same thing but in pink with a blonde wig.  We also added huge platform boots for good measure.  How we didn't do ourselves an injury I don't know!! We had to do a quick rethink of a couple of our planned moves when we realised that the microphones weren't cordless, but all went well and we had a fun  night.  If I can get hold of any (decent) photos of the performance, I'll post them another time. 

We went on to the 50th birthday party at about 10pm and had a few hours of dancing and singing there too.  It was like having 2 nights out in one and I thoroughly enjoyed both!!

Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 8 November 2010

One Thing at a Time!

My decision to concentrate on one project at a time has paid off!  I've finished the scrappy, embroidered wall-hanging that has been on-the-go for a while.  I originally started this because I wanted to do some single-colour embroidery and use up some small scraps at the same time.  I like how it's turned out. :-)
As I've mentioned before, the embroidery transfers came from a 1965 women's magazine.  Most of the fabric and embroidery thread is 2nd hand/thrifted except the border and binding. I haven't measured it but, to give you a rough idea of scale, I'd guess it's about 18" x 10".
I remembered at the last minute to sew one of my labels into the binding.
I also embroiderd a little spider near one back corner (I know it looks like a beetle but it's my first one and hopefully I will improve!).  I think longer legs and a smaller body the next time.  I plan to put a spider somewhere on all my projects (if I remember) as an indication that they came from 'The Thread Shed' and, as we all know, there are lots of spiders in every shed!
I know you won't believe it but that wasn't the only stitching that was done this weekend!  It was the November meeting of my quilting club and the project of the month was a Christmas wall hanging.  There were a couple to choose from and I chose the smallest design which will be like a bell-pull when finished.  This is it so far with the gold iron-on binding stitched into place for double security.  I've cut it out and pinned it together with wadding and backing since then so it's now ready to quilt.
And double gasp - that's not all!!!  I've had in mind to make coasters (or mug rugs as I've seen them called in blogland) as Christmas presents and I finally got around to trying one out.  It came together quite quickly and is another great way to use up scraps.
I'm happy to have got so much done but I'm afraid I've made quite a lot more mess as a result!! 

Next weekend I'm taking part in a local sponsored event to raise money for Children in Need.  (I can't believe the things I get myself into sometimes!!!! :-)  More news next time - and maybe photos (unless I'm too emarrassed to show them).

Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 1 November 2010

I Blame the Recipe!!

You may remember a few months ago I showed this photo of my Yorkshire Puddings.  Oh, I was so proud of them.  They were the best I'd managed to produce for quite some time. Despite the lure of Aunt Bessie's, I had refused to admit defeat and kept trying, occasionally tweeking the method and blaming the oven but, for some reason, never questioning the recipe, which was actually a pancake batter recipe but said it could be used for Yorkshire Pudding and Toad in the Hole too (Incidentally, I had successfully made TitH with this recipe!)

 Last Sunday I was in a hurry to get dinner and my DS happened to be around as he wasn't busy cooking Sunday Dinner for other people at the local hotel as usual.  He made the mistake of asking me how long dinner would be so I pounced on the opportunity and said it would be quicker if he made the Yorkshires!  These requests don't always work so I was surprised when he leapt into action.  No recipe, no instructions, nothing - he just kept adding a bit of this and a bit of that until it 'looked' right!  Just look at the result!!!! Perfect, light, HUGE, tasty Yorkshires.  Forget Aunt Bessie, these were much better, next time I use DS's recipe!!


You Shall Go To The Ball!!

I've been crafting for a long time without really realising I was hooked and keep being reminded of things I've made over the years.  This is one that popped up recently.  DD has been sorting out a few bits and pieces for me to put on ebay for her and this little Barbie-sized ball-gown was one of the items.  I think she's been reluctant to let it go because 1. I made it and 2. It's so beautiful, but she hasn't had a Barbie for such a long time it seems pointless to keep it any longer.  I remember making the dress but not all the tiny buds and leaves around the bottom!!  It must be at 15-20 years old and is still in perfect condition!  I know what DD's done though - she's put the responsibility of letting it go to me and now I'm the one who's reluctant.  But go it must!!

Bye for now
Teresa x