Sunday, 27 July 2014

Tidying the garden - who knew what I might find!?!

Can't believe my luck!  Bethany and me I me were cutting down the branches of my over-hanging trees, so that Jo Public could actually use the footpath behind my garden without fear of loosing their heads, and what did we find!

Firstly, this tree:

I know, I know.  How hard is it to loose a tree...

But, what's this?  Limes?

So, we consulted Dr Google and, guess what?

It's an conker (Horse Chestnut) tree!!!

I've lived here for 24 years and this is the first time this tree has had anything weird on it (except for the boys, when they were younger) but had they known about this, it wouldn't just have been cherry pips they threw over the fence at poor unsuspecting passers-by.  Could have been a serious problem.........

It's not all good news though.  My 'bumper' harvest of runner beans:  all 4 pods, was a huge disappointment.  Not because of the paucity number, but the un-eatable-ness (surely there's a proper word for this?).  They were woody and chewy, completely inedible (ah, there's the word).  Turns out, they were borlotti beans and should have been dried.  Well, there's always next year to exercise my black green thumb! 

But, that's not all.  We found this nest with 2 pigeon eggs in it.  I know we're not supposed to encourage pigeons, but...........

Fat Quarterly Retreat - well, most of it!

I had the most amazing time at my first Fat Quarterly Retreat. It was just so much more than I had expected:  truely lovely people, fantastic tutors,workshops - what more could anyone want......! Oh yes, a goodie bag!!!

My Friday class was the Mail Organiser, that gave  everyone here a good laugh - organised?  Really?  This is as far as I got but I think I really got to grips with foundation piecing and if my trusty old Bernina really is terminal, I now know that I want a Janome XL601.  It made me jump a few times (electric-trickery and all that new fangled stuff) but once I got used to it, well....... want one, want one, want one!  It was so quiet....

 These are everyone else's.  How did I manage to not put mine on the table?  Ah well, underneath is my stab at foundation piecing.  I think I really have got to grips with it now, at last.  Although, apparently, I haven't got to grips with Picasa!

Apparently, this is the Australian version....?

Saturday morning was my most important reason for going to FQR - screen printing with Karen Lewis.  It not only lived up to expectation but far exceeded it - I just loved this workshop!  Literally, 5 minutes from dithering to printing.

Saturday afternoon was the most amazing hand-piecing and applique workshop.  I've always done a lot of hand sewing but have managed to avoid applique, thinking it far too fiddly for my shovel hands!  I just so loved it though and will certainly do a lot more.   Jen is a really generous and encouraging teacher: 'it's that easy'  and it sooooo was.  She gave everyone a finger pincushion (that I'm sure will be never used and kept in pristine condition on it's card!) and a copy of her Green Tea and Green Beans quilt. 
This is my effort that leads a bit of pressing, although Jen told us that she never presses her blocks until the whole quilt is finished.  Don't think I can wait  until then to 'encourage' mine to lay flat!  This is as far as I got, but Jen explained hand-piecing so well and now I know that matching edges greatly improves stitching accurately on the marked lines, with only the occasional flipping over and checking.  Now I know what to do with that tiny (add a 1/4")brass wheel I've had for years!

If that wasn't enough, we then had the Strip Swap!  
from PippaP
from Nessy - eccentrically green
from Corrine - Blue Haired Manxie

from Roseanne - Roseanneduk

Followed by the Sample Swap.  These are the bears I had to swap:

These are the ones I was lucky enough to receive:
Coasters for my special ornaments made by Sonia of
Beautiful drawstring bag made by Di of
Really useful zippered bag made by Trudi of

Sadly, I didn't get to the Retreat on Sunday: my new kidney had to recover from the shock of buying all that Oakshot fabric the night before!  I'm so pleased that Sue (Libertyjsy) was kind enough to send me the raffle prize I was lucky enough to win - another Jen Kingwell pattern, the Circle Game - yippee!!  Although I missed out on the Oakshot fabric and Fractured Quilt workshop (sob..), Sue also sent me a copy of the instructions for the Fabulously Fast Quilt workshop. So, if you ever get to read this Sue, thank you!

I just can't wait for next year now and to meeting all those lovely ladies when I'm feeling a bit more on form.  Roll on 2015!!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Disorganised...? Who....? Me....?

I can hardly breathe I so excited to be going to my first retreat tomorrow.  I'm going to the Fat Quarter Retreat in London and just can't wait.  I'm not at all worried about going there on my own and I wouldn't even have known about it if I hadn't joined the Siblings Together Bee 2.  So, I am very grateful to those kind ladies who never once complained about my poor piecing or lateness!  I've not yet met a quilter I didn't like - shame that couldn't all say the same thing!  I also made a complete hash of adding my blog to their blog - I did it twice.  Sort of.  And, I'm still not sure I've done it right....ah, well!

This is my Sibling Together Bee 2 Quilt and that's the first thing on my list to finish.  I seem to remember thinking last Monday that I should, perhaps, start quilting it?  My usually trusty old Bernina just went into a complete sulk for not giving her notice in triplicate several weeks earlier, so I had to quilt it by hand.....!  Arggghhhhhhh.............  

As you can see, my son is now hideously deformed as I had to sell his right leg in order to buy more fabric. 

As I was binding it today I noticed 6 un-quilted squares but.....I don't have time to stitch them today:  I still haven't prepared the linings for the Mail Organiser workshop tomorrow.  

I'm also taking the  Screen Printing and Sweet Tea and Green Beans (I know this is the wrong title for the workshop but you will understand the name change once I mess it up completely!) on Saturday and the Fractured Quilt workshop on Sunday.

I still haven't cut all my strips for the strip swap.  Or, packed up all my sewing stuff and fabrics for tomorrow.  Or sorted out what I will be wearing (can't believe it will be in the '30's - I will explode.  I hate the sun, heat and all that hideous Summer stuff!  Roll on Winter and grey coloured slush!  We might get a thunderstorm though, so that will make up for a lot!

These are my 'body farm' bears that I am taking to the swap.  They are neither use nor decoration, as my mother used to say, so quite appropriate from me.  Get out your violins now....!

Yey!!!  Retreat tomorrow!
Off now to print name badges for my bears......ooooh nooooo!   Haven't made my name badge yet either.  Perhaps I should just write pilchard on my forehead instead.....

Good job it's not like me to leave things until the last minute..........

Saturday, 12 July 2014

I'm famous! and fat (sigh....)

Here I am in my local paper.   I was so happy to be included in the event and so enjoyed the day, chatting to people and helping to sign up many to the NHS Organ Donation Register. huge I am!

So I have been racking my brains to remember all the advice I have been given in the past to help me loose weight and here's what I remember:-
  • Plan ahead 
  • Make gallons of veggie soup 
  • Plan each day's meals beginning with 5 portions of veggies and 2     portions of fruit
  • Look up portion sizes and measure everything for the first couple of days and then once a week so portion sizes don't sneakily increase 'it's not the portion size that increased, it must have been the spoons..honest'
  • Have around 400kcal/meal but, sadly, only 3 meals a day.  Can people really survive on that?
  • If you're still really starving later in the evening God, yes I am... have a bowl of packet porridge but put it off for half an hour, when the time's up try to put it off a little longer.
  • If a meal is missed, it's gone can't have double for the next meal...
  • Drink plenty during the day apparently, not alcohol.  Strange?
  • Try to keep busy or distracted during your 'stuffing your face with abandon' time not allowed to keep busy by cooking chips or the like
  • Clean teeth when wanting to eat extra but I've just got used to the mixture of toothpaste and cheese..
  • Don't buy unhealthy food or food that you know will start a binge.  It's not good for you or your family  and you can't pretend it's for the children/friends/pets/passing burglars..

  • Aim to walk 10,000 steps a day but not to the sweetie shop Increase the number of paces until this number is achieved do not attach pedometer to dog..
  • Try to make your belly button touch your spine to ensure correct walking posture
  • Lengthen your stride to ensure hips are engaged all of them..
But, always treat yourself with love and respect.  

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Look away if you might be offended.....!

Usually, I'm quite a fuddy-duddy patchworker but just occasionally, something really sparks something...I saw Annabel Rainbow's quilt previously  (and was quite shocked that her pieces were frowned on by some with a lot of tutting and head-shaking) at the NEC.  I soon started stalking following her online and started reading a magazine that she started with her friend Linda Kemshall.  This is a free online magazine and I think it's just the bees' knees. Have a good wander around this ISSUU site, too.  I couldn't quite believe how many free, high quality magazines are on this site about all matter of subjects.

This is the second issue of the magazine, the first issue can be found here.
 And, Annabel Rainbow is the lady who's work I love.  Please don't be offended and, apologies if you are but I just think her work is honest about how our bodies truly are and these are only a small part of her work!

She has also written a free e-book about her method of working.  Of course, I have downloaded but not yet read it!