Thursday, 31 March 2011

Plants, Paper, Patchwork!

It was my brithday a couple of days ago.  My daughter invited us for a meal and gave me the gorgeous tulips (the colours are much more striking than I've managed to capture here) and my son gave me the Hebe which will go in the garden to replace one we lost in the harsh winter frosts.  I'm also booked in for an Indian Head Massage next week, courtesy of my OH.  I find it so relaxing, having my hair washed at the salon but it never lasts long enough so I'm hoping this will compensate and relax me for at least a few days!

 I was browsing Etsy a while back, looking for some prints to hang in my 'shed' and came across these adorable 'paper cuts'! Little Miss Muffet was perfect with the spider theme.
However, I'm not sure what this one is meant to be!  I actually ordered Rumplestiltskin - the spinning theme was also appropriate - but this one came instead.  It looks like an old man with a stick and a long beard so I'm a bit confused.  They didn't cost very much and took so long to come that I'm going to keep it now anyway.

This is the first bit of stitching I've done for nearly a month and I'm thankful to discover that I haven't lost my enthusiasm for it. I'd just got out of the habit of doing a little bit here and a little bit there. I had tidied up a lot of my things before going on holiday and I found it an effort to get it out again. I've got a good break from work coming up and I'm determined to get the rest of my stash/equipment/materials moved into' The Thread Shed' in the garden. It might be an effort to get out there to stitch until it becomes a habit but having it all in one place will be easier and the better weather will also help until I get into a routine.

This is my February block for the Tag Square Bee (in the background is the start of the March block). I held off from joining any bees until I thought I could devote enough time to it, so I'm disappointed to have got behind like this. The recipient of this block wanted it to be black, white and yellow and I've been trying to acquire some black (to no avail). So this is the block that was sent off yesterday and now I need to get hold of some white fabric to add to the blue for the March block. And as it's April tomorrow, I'd better find out what the next recipient wants!!

Tonight, a friend has invited me as a guest, to go with her to a Book a Cook social at the house of a member of a business network group she belongs to. I won't know anyone except her, but hopefully it will be fun and I'll meet some nice, new people!

Edited to add: - I meant to say before, and was reminded while reading Rhonda's blog, Down to Earth, that I  think my eco-friendly ways are beginning to rub off on the family (or at least make them think).  OH and DS each bought me body lotion for my birthday too and made an effort to get natural products, and DD pointed out that the tulips were grown in the UK and not flown half way round the world!!

Bye for now
Teresa x

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Bra....vo! One for the ladies! (not that any men read this, as far as I know)

(The theme of this week's photos is mainly the 'exciting' things I got up to last weekend and are nothing whatsoever to do with this post!  Sadly I have no new stitchy news.  I seem to have no energy or motivation for it since I got back from holiday - my mind still whirrs with ideas but I can't persuade my body to carry them through.)

I'm sure you all know that a woman's bra size can vary greatly over her lifetime.  Puberty to the menopause and everything in between (pregnancy and childbirth being the main culprits) can have an effect.

(Vacuuming with The Bee - a cleaner I bought partly to enter a competition (I needed it anyway) and won a pressure washer!)
 It's challenging enough to get a bra that fits at the best of times without having to review the situation every few years.  The fact that sizes vary between brands doesn't help either! I've also found that the formula often quoted for calculating bra size to be far wide of the mark (you know the one - measure underneath, measure over the top, add or subtract a set number then calculate the cup size from the difference).  
(Washing out in the sun to dry for the first time this year.  The flat airer fell over twice that day - grrrr!)
And what if you're not exactly....ahem....symmetrical! The problems then increase to inlcude making decisions such as, "Do I go larger and get a chicken fillet to even things up?" or "Do I go smaller and risk overspill?" (Not that I have this problem you understand)

(I don't very often do my own ironing these days but my 'lady' is a bit unreliable lately and I still haven't caught up from the holday.  My sister offered to do this weeks basket :-)
Considering all this, why then, a couple of weeks ago, did I buy on impulse (something I rarely, if ever, do these days), a bra from a supermarket for £8 without so much as trying it on? 

(A close-up of the braid I bought in Italy.)
 'The Bra' was a size that I consider myself to be (not calculated as above) and, joy of joys, was the most perfect fitting bra that I have ever bought!! It was as if it was tailor-made just for me!  It has good support without being 'matronly' and  is pretty without being 'skimpy', if you know what I mean! 
(A beret style hat I crocheted to wear in Italy.  I did wear it quite a bit but have decided it needs a few modifications)

I'm sure I'm not the only woman whose day was 'made' by such a simple thing!!

And now you know why I have no photos to accompany this post ;-)

Bye for now
Teresa x

(Disclaimer - I have never, ever made use of a chicken fillet.  Anyway, what are they?  Never heard of 'em!!)

Bye for now
Teresa x

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Italy - March 2011

The Italian Alps in all their snowy glory.  This is where OH and  I and 9 friends headed last week for a skiing holiday.  I''ve mentioned before that I don't ski but I'd never been to Italy so decided to go with them this time.

My sister (who also doesn't ski) and I spent our time walking, looking around the town, reading and drinking hot chocolate or vin brulee (mulled wine).  We were struck by the ingenuity of this tree trunk made into a stand for heathers outside a gift shop.

We couldn't resist buying a bread roll from this vending machine, put in the doorway of the local bakery when it was closed.  There wasn't much in the way of English translation to help us so, as we were in the middle of working out what to do, a local lady came up and showed us that we had to place the bag under the shoot and told us which button to press. We shared the roll which, although was nice and fresh was, disappointingly, very salty.

On one of our walks we came across this road sign and had to take a picture to show the rest of our party.  Various explanations for its meaning included 'No Trumpet Blowing' and 'Don't Make a Noise to Cause an Avalanche' but we concluded that the most likely meaning was 'No Car Horn Tooting'.

Most days were full of beautiful sunshine which was good for us and the skiers!

This was one of the nicer mulled wines we sampled sitting outside a bar that became our 'local' for the week.  On one occasion my sister and I went separate ways (me to buy gifts and her to find a chair lift that had eluded our map reading skills).  After a few hours I stopped at this bar and ordered a hot chocolate with cream (yum) and was sitting waiting for it when my sister walked in.  I called her but she didn't see me and went straight in to the ladies.  I watched the door for her coming to sit outside but somehow missed her because the next thing I knew she was texting me from a table around the corner saying she was drinking hot wine and asking what I was doing.  Great minds think alike!!!

These are the bits and pieces I picked up that day.  A pack of biscuits for each of the kids.  Some stone-ground dark chocolate for my parents and a few bits for myself (a fridge magnet, a metal hook for my shed and some wide, alpine themed braid).

A couple of the Six Nations Rugby matches were on while we were away so, there we were, watching Italy beat France and Wales beat Ireland (woo hoo!) in an Irish bar in Italy!

I'd like to say things are back to normal now but I'm still playing catch-up at work and at home! 

I had a few comments about the green fabric in my last post making me realise how remiss I'd been not to mention it.  It's the first piece I've used from a lovely pile of fabrics from New Zealand that I won in a giveaway run by Lis of Online Quilting.

Bye for now
Teresa x

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

What's been happening around here since we last met!

Here it is, my new-to-me car, as promised (I nearly put 'she' instead of 'it' but I'm not one for giving personalities or names to inanimate objects!).  It's quite...well....Blue!!  It actually looks shinier and slighty blue/green in real life.  It'll do for me for a while (no heated seats Leslie but that's not where I feel the cold!).


My Scrap Swap parcel arrived yesterday from Sally exactly on deadline as arranged by Ali of Very Berry Handmade. A great selection of scraps here, many of which I've not seen before.  I'm sure they'll come in very useful.  Thank you Ali and Sally!


The look of the little bags I've been making recently all depend on the zip.  My starting point when making these has to be whatever zip I have in my stock that's a suitable colour, length and type.  In this case a dark green one.  Next comes the fabric to go with it.  Finally, the size and design of the bag depends on the length of the zip and the size of the pieces of fabric available.  This process is obviously governed by the used materials I'm able to get hold of, but suits me fine in that quite a few of the decisions are out of my hands.  Therefore, procrastinating is kept to a minimum and precious time is saved!   This is a birthday gift for one of my sisters and will be filled with a couple of pampering goodies. See, I remembered my label (only the 2nd time) and didn't sew it in upside-down like the last time!


Two tiers of tasty treats here; My usual batch of muffins on the top and a double batch of Oaty Ginger Cookies from a recipe from Ali's blog (see Ali's link above).  The muffin recipies always make exactly 12.  Don't know what happened this time but only just managed to scrape 11 out of it (I know what you're thinking, but no, I didn't succumb to temptation before taking the pic)!


And finally......I know it's 1st March today and not April but I had to check twice before I sent the email requested by my boss via his assistant.  I was concerned that I was being taken for a fool.  He wanted me to ask everyone in the office to save the the 'dots' from hole-punches and collect them together for him to use as confetti at a family wedding next year!!!

Do you see why I had reservations?

Bye for now
Teresa x