Monday, 25 April 2011

A Time for Enjoying the Sunshine!

 I've been following my own advise to make the most of the good weather so over the last few days OH and I have enjoyed a long walk, a BBQ and a bike ride.  Do you see the little black dots over the hedge in the photo above? DD told us about these large 'flies' that she had come across on her dog walks. When we went on our walk, they were everywhere!!

 They were slow compared to normal flies so were easy to catch but didn't stay put for long enough to photograph when OH opened his hand.
 This was the best of a bad lot but captures it quite well.  Have you seen them in your part of the UK?  It's like that mystery of the cobweby patches in the hedges last year!

 This pic (above) is the result of leaving OH with my camera when I popped into a field for a moment (as you do in emergencies) - a weed!!
 I managed to capture this butterfly but the orange tipped ones were too quick and active even though there were lots more of them. And I had to capture this clump of my favourite forget-me-nots.

 We spent a few hours today out on the bike ride stopping at a hotel for lunch.......

 .....and some liquid refreshment.  When we continued our ride, one of our group said something had happened to his bike while we were at lunch, making it wobbly!!! Can't think what he meant - mine was OK!

 I've still got 7 days left to make the most of, which will possibly include another bike ride, another BBQ and a Royal Wedding celebration.  I will also try to fit in some shed organising and stitching.  A small cloud on the horizon took the form of a deep scratch on my new car where the bike rack came loose and rubbed down to the metal as we were driving home :-(

(Hello to any new and recent followers or visitors - you're very welcome and I'd love to hear from you sometime.)

Bye for now
Teresa x

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Back on Track!

So many times in previous years I've failed to make the most of a welcome spell of lovely sunny weather thinking that there'll be plenty more to come in the summer.  Well, I've finally learned my lesson and will make the most of any opportunity that comes my way, no matter how dirty my house is or whether there's anything to eat in the kitchen!!  For the last few years, our summers seem to have come early and not taking advantage of them has resulted in missing out altogether.


.....this is what we did, this weekend, and last.  Loaded up the bikes and took off for a cycle with friends (six of us last week and 8 on Sunday).  Last week, we took our usual route along the old railway line by the river from Monmouth to Symonds Yat.  This week, we rode along the canal path from Abergavenny to Crickhowell (a much longer route that required 2 pub stops as opposed to the usual 1!).

 People were out in droves - walking dogs, pushing children, cycling like us or narrow boating. 

 Being the slowest cyclist (and therefore last) I had the advantage that I could photograph the others while moving along, but it was a disadvantage when groups of walkers had just managed to reform after the others had scattered them, then I came along!!  It was a fun afternoon out and I'm sure if we do it more often there'll be no more saddle soreness (despite wearing gel pants)!

Stitchy news in brief - (because this is all there is, due to taking advantage of the good weather - you can't have everything!!)

I'm right up-to-date with my Tag Square Bee blocks now with this latest offering for Jen in rainbow colours.  I had a real struggle finding all the colours and I'm not sure that this fits the brief entirley because the fabrics aren't modern enough. I've a feeling that another member of the Bee wants rainbow colours, but I'll worry about that when the time comes. I have yet to recieve my March and April blocks though so I'm looking forward to that.

Bye for now
Teresa x

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Blue and Bargains!

My Tag Square Bee blue and white block for March is done and sent off.  As I said to Ali of Very Berry Handmade, when I commented on her lastest post, blue is not a colour I have much affinity with in general.  But one of my favourite flowers is/are forget-me-nots and I'd love to make a whole quilt using blue and white.  There's something about the combination that is so fresh and clean looking.  My block for April is to be 'rainbow' coloured so I'll be able to get rid off  use up some of the brighter scraps I have in my supply.

Following the lead of my DD, and since he's almost finished his college course, my DS has decided to start his own business: Gardening! We bought him a strimmer and hedge-cutter to start him off, then he got himself a second-hand mower.  He already has a chainsaw because he needed one for his course.  To solve the problem of transporting the equipment to his jobs, DS got a tow-hitch put on his car and we got him a second-hand, almost new trailer from Ebay.  After putting up 1 poster in the village Post Office and taking a few flyers around our locality, he's already completed 2 jobs that will be regulars and has another 4 in his diary. By the way - he's still working a day a week for another contract landscaper and doing part-time chefing at the local hotel.  One thing he's not afraid of is hard work!!

 DS's first job with the trailer was for me.  I found an Ikea cupboard in an antique/junk shop that is perfect for storing my supplies in my shed, so he was able to collect it for me.

 See!! It's a perfect fit and it doesn't stick out into the room more than 13" so doesn't overwhelm it. It has shelves the whole height, a couple of which you can just see, which is ideal for stacking fabrics etc.  Hopefully, I will get in there over the Easter holidays and sort it out.

My paper-cuts made it into the shed too and Pam P was correct in her comment when she suggested Rip Van Winkle for the green one.  I emailed the seller to satisfy my curiousity!
I came across this piece of farmyard fabric in a charity shop on the same trip into town as when I got the cupboard.  It's quite a large piece and cost only £1. 
Whoever owned it had cut out a few of the animals around the edge and then got rid of it.  DS, his girlfriend and I worked out which animals had been used by looking at the pattern repeat. A set of 3 little pigs and a couple of chickens we think!  I can't think off-hand what I would use it for but couldn't leave it there! 

On another crafty note, I gave a few woollen jumpers a hot wash to felt them over the weekend.  Most of them worked out fine but 2 of the jumpers shrunk to about a quarter of the original size and are as stiff as boards.  I don't know what to do with these either!!

Bye for now
Teresa x

Monday, 4 April 2011

April Antics (or What I've Been up to the Last Few Days)!

Spring has definitely sprung.  All the countryside has come to life (plants and animals) which also means it's the beginning of 'road-kill' season.  Yes, my route to work is strewn with the bodies of little birds and animals that had no concept of what a road is, never mind the Green Cross Code!  Last week I was following a van that hit a large bird. Luckily, I didn't hit it too because it was knocked onto the verge in a flurry of feathers. 

Yesterday, however, I was to claim my own victim in the cycle of life.  A female pheasant sauntered delicately across the road from the far side and right  in front of my car as if I weren't there.  I attempted to avoid the collision by slowing down and willing the bird to speed up (it didn't) but, as I glanced in my mirror and saw 2 cars following me, I couldn't brake too drastically.  I actually didn't feel a thing but I'm afraid to say the pheasant probably did because I saw the same tell-tale flurry of feathers in my rear-view mirror! :-(

Now onto more pleasant things!!  On Saturday morning, before going on to my quilting club, I called in at a Coffee Morning and Craft sale in the village with my mother.  We spent a pleasant hour browsing the stalls, buying homemade cakes and raffle tickets, drinking coffee and chatting.  When I got home later, I found out I'd won this wonderful food hamper!

The goodies kept coming the next day too with it being Mothering Sunday.  I received these lovely cards and presents from my 2 wonderful offspring.

Do you see the card with the buttons stuck on it?  The first thing I said on receiving this (well, the second after 'thank you') was 'I can use these buttons when I make something'.  My son and his girlfriend looked at each other and laughed because they'd said to eachother that I would say just that!

I'm up-to-date with my Bee Blocks now with this blue and white one finished.  The colours are not as muted as they appear here.  I'm wondering if it would have looked better photographed on top of something brighter.  I must experiment more with this sort of thing!

The Book a Cook evening I mentioned last time was great fun but not what I was expecting.  I thought it was a going to be a group of ladies enjoying a chat with a chef brought in to do all the work.  Instead, it was at the home of the Cook and was in fact a demonstration of cooking various dishes which we got to eat afterwards!! 

Before I go I must tell you about my Indian Head Massage experience.  (It was actually on my way there that I murdered the pheasant so I was in dire need of relaxation by then!).  I was met at the door by a lovely lady called Lorraine who's relaxed manner immediately put me at ease.  Sitting on a chair having a complete stranger massage my shoulders and neck with scented oils was a new experience for me.  It took me a good few moments to get over my uneasiness but I soon drifted into a trance-like state and began to enjoy the experience. 

Although I was relaxed, my mind was whirling with thoughts such as, 'I wonder if anyone has ever dropped off to sleep and fallen off the chair' and 'Will Lorraine be offended that I am not relaxed enough if I scratch my nose?' and 'If I open my eyes, can she see me in the mirror on the wall opposite?' I didn't do any of those things because, although I could think it, I couldn't actually do it  - or anything in fact, until it was over. 

Immediately I stood up I could tell that the tension had gone from my shoulders and for the rest of the evening I felt lighter than usual (not in weight - in spirit)!  I will definitely be going back again and I think I'll benefit more next time because I'll know what to expect.

Bye for now
Teresa x