Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Last nights Postage Stamp Quilt sewing, and 6 years ago today.

Last night I managed to sew some of my Postage Stamp Quilt Strips. I stitched together 27 pairs of strips. I will continue to sew the 21"wide strips together into pairs then have a session making up the 17 strip strip sets.
Not all the fabric I had was 21" wide, so I will have to do shorter strip sets, how fiddly that will be. Might not get round to it tonight, but possibly tomorrow evening.

Yesterdays blog started me reminiscing.

6 years ago, we were in Tokyo. We had a breakfast of bits purchased in a grocery shop, including Egg Mayonnaise and Crisps!
We got a taxi to the Station and got the Train to Hakone, then a bus to Miyanoshita. We were at the back of the bus, with luggage, and no idea of where to get off. No one spoke English, so we must have been very amusing when we spotted the hotel and jumped up and rocketed down the bus to get off one stop along. We had chosen to stay in the Fujiya Hotel.
The Fujiya Hotel is very grand, but we were early so we left our bags and went for a wander. We found a small restaurant and had Spaghetti, cheese sandwiches and ice cream. I told you we were vegetarian and we had decided that we'd just manage, we wouldn't die if we ended up with strange things for our meals, the language was a barrier. Inside Japan Tours had given us a booklet which contained the phrases "I am vegetarian" and "I don't eat meat or fish". We would show this booklet to all places we went to, it would be studied and we'd eat what ever they suggested.
Our room in the Hotel was in the modern extension, built in 1960 for the 1964 Olympics. it was very roomy, ideal for a lively 5 year old.
We rested in the afternoon, jet lag still affecting us, whilst Joseph watched TV, listened to the walkman or read.
In the evening we went out to a Tempura restaurant.

The Hotel had a private and 2 Public Onsens. We hired the private onsen for about an hour. Onsen etiquette is strict. You must wash before you enter the bath. You sit on a little stool facing the wall and use the bowls filling up with water from the taps in the wall. You wash with the soap and shampoo , and rinse it all off before entering the bath. The bath was big, and hot hot hot. Joseph, being 5, wasn't supposed to go in the bath but he was more than happy to play with the bowls of water, though I think we had to tell him to stop running round on the wet floor a few times.
Andrew and I were still jet lagged and were walking up 3 - 4 am. Thankfully Joseph wasn't jet lagged at all. We planned what to do the following day.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Country fun

My 3 boys, having fun.Cloudy skies
Country bumpkins making their own entertainment on a cattle grid.

Low sun

The bees on a warmer day a few weeks ago. I can't believe how good a photo it is of the bee that's looking at the camera!


I have signed up for another swap - Ann J who sent me her / my winter quilt told me about it.
It works differently to the other 2 swaps I've done before. You make a quilt - send in photos, Kate the hostess posts all the photos up on her site and you say which quilts you like. She then tries to organise who sends to who. So if anyone else wants to join in please click on the button to the right - the more the merrier.

Blog hopping.

I've been blog hopping.
Firstly I look at my blog list on the right to see what my blogging friends have been up to. I say my blogging friends - some of the ladies have so many followers that I am just one of many, I look at their blog but I'm sure they don't visit mine!
Anyway I was looking at Carols blog Carol found me in the first instance, I should imagine as I had signed up for the Fall Mini quilt swap and she was checking out anyone from the UK. She has a weekly plan for her blogging and Monday is "Blog of the week"
Here is this weeks - a look. Truly wonderful flower photos.
Then I start looking at the blogs that Georgianna likes to visit - "Places of Beauty and Inspiration"
Off I went to
- beautiful mood photos.

Where do I end up? -

It bought back such wonderful memories of our trip. We went to Japan 6 years ago. Joseph had his 6th birthday out there. It was a wonderful holiday - 2 weeks travelling around central Japan - Tokyo - Hakone - Nara - Kyoto - Takayama - Nagoya. 2 planes, 13 trains , 11 buses and 15 taxis.
We pulled together an itinery of where we wanted to go and Inside Japan tours made all the arrangements. They put together a mixture of traditional Japanese Ryokans and modern hotels. They provided us with booklets about the culture and restaurants, and booked the Rail pass for us. It was a marvellous holiday - culturally very different but we all felt totally safe. The Japanese loved our little blonde boy.
In fact I can tell you exactly what we did this day 6 years ago. It was a day in Tokyo. We slept in and had a breakfast of rolls and various odd unknown bits that we had bought the day before. Then we went shopping and we had lunch in a Tempura restaurant. We were all vegetarian and on the whole we managed quite well. In the evening although it was raining I dragged my family to the Government building where you can view Tokyo from the 45th floor. Everyone we met were so helpful, I could bore you with various tales of how people went out of their way to help.... but you are spared.
We would love to go back again, but in the meantime I will just have to look at hellosandwich.
Oh now I am restless...

A busy busy week.

Last Tuesday I had been at work about an hour when my husband rang to say he had had an accident whilst driving the youngest to school and had "written off" the car. They were OK, Liam survived with no injuries, Andrew only has bruising on his leg and arm, and on his chest - obviously from the seat-belt.

So that's a second lesson Liam learnt - the first being not to put stuff in your mouth that you don't want to swallow, the second being the importance of a seat belt and the booster seat. Because no matter how many times you till them to sit up with the seat belt on properly they always seem to want to lean sideways or forwards to pick up something they've dropped!.

We are very fortunate that they have no real injuries and no other car was involved. We live in a rural area and Andrew needs to drive Liam to and from school, a broken bone would be really inconvenient, and I won't even contemplate the worst. Obviously I went home on the Tuesday to see to him - I had to take Andrew to the local hospital to get him checked out.

He went out in the evening to a meeting - he has been chair of a local group and it was the AGM and he was keen to go to relinquish his position. He has done it for 2 years, he has contributed new ideas, and he managed to get a grant for nearly 10k for the village hall, an application that took considerable effort, and frustratingly a lot of chasing other people. I will say no more, other than he is happy not to be doing it any more. Now if this was a diary, not a blog, I would have written a lot more, my pen would be scratching holes in the paper!

Following the crash Andrew went through the range of emotions. He has had the laughing, the "it's great to be alive", the "I'm so lucky", the guilt, the fear, even a bit of the "wake ups" - the "what am I doing with my life?". He has had several sleepless nights, but is catching up now.
We are also fortunate that we had a bonus from work, it went in the bank account one day and out the next on a car that we found. So that's another weight off our minds - we hate car-hunting. We found a Saab 93 in the 3rd car dealership we went to - my last car was a Saab 93 and we loved it - so he is fortunate to have found a car he can be passionate about.

I took Friday off as we needed to finish shopping for Liams Birthday. He was 7 on Monday, and it was my birthday the day before.
I had a lazy morning sitting in bed ( breakfast in bed) reading my new Quilting books. I had visited a quilt shop the previous week, and I had looked on Amazon and come up with a list of a few books I wanted. Andrew bought me 5 - 2 of which I am disappointed with and will send back.
The 2 disappointments -
Rule-Breaking Quilts (Paperback) by Kathryn Schmidt
Modern Quilt Workshop (Paperback) by Bill Kerr (Author), Weeks Ringle.

Both are books that have nothing really new for me, the Denise Schmidt particularly disappointed me.

The 3 books I love are -
Material Obsession Two (Paperback) by Kathy Doughty & Sarah Fielke- I loved no 1 and no 2 is just as inspirational.
Applique Outside the Lines: With Piece O' Cake Designs (Paperback) by Becky Goldsmith , I haven't done much Applique and want to do big free pieces. It was Maria from Marias patch who bought this book to my attention.
Crocheting on the Edge: Ribs and Bobbles* Ruffles* Flora* Fringes* Points and Scallops (Hardcover) by Nicky Epstein. A lovely lovely book and it's easy to crochet in the evenings or on the move. I'd like to make some scarves. I've got one on the go at the moment- I'll see if I can post up a photo soon.

Mum gave me some money, so I think that might go on fabric, at some point.

I've cut the most of the plains for the Postage stamp quilt. I need to put my machine in the sewing / spare room so I can get started sewing. I'm way behind everyone else. I would like to say that I did some sewing on my birthday, but by the time we had gone out to eat, and visit 78 Derngate, Northampton - a house remodelled by Charles Rennie Mackintosh - I was tired and had a snooze.

I have 3 days at work then it is Easter. It is my eldest 12th birthday on Easter Saturday.
Please feel some pity for me with all these cakes and chocolate eggs!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

I think I've swallowed something I shouldn't have..

said my 6 year old with tears streaming down his face.

"What have you swallowed ?"I asked,
"I can't remember" was the reply, ( really means "I don't want to tell you because you'll tell me off"). I sent him off to wash down whatever it was with a drink of water.
Well the daft chipmunk has swallowed "BluTack". Not alot, just a small bit.
So I sat him on my lap and told him he'd be fine, and all that would happen is that it would take a few days but would be pooed out like a bit of sweetcorn.
He was obviously scared that he'd die!
"Have you ever swallowed BluTack?"
"No Liam, I haven't"
"Do you know anyone who has swallowed BluTack"
"No Liam, I don't, but you'll be fine"

Is he one of "those" kids I wonder - trips to the hospital with things stuck up his nose. We went to the Think Tank in Birmingham a few weeks back and there was a hands on session where the kids got to handle various things, one of the things that was handed round was a turtle shell. The girl running the session told them to look inside it - I was worried that Liam would stick it on his head but she was wise enough to tell them before she handed it round that it wouldn't fit!
Think of Mr Bean with the turkey on his head.

His big brother has gone of on a school trip for the week so it's just the 3 of us until Friday afternoon. Liam is enjoying having us to himself.

On Saturday I went to one of my sewing groups and made some progress on the 4 patch I've got on the go. Had to do a bit of un-picking but I am going in the right direction now. The photo is my usual poor standard - bad lighting in a cramped room! I'll try to do better when i'm off on Friday.
The plan is for irregular blocks, edge them in cream next, then more of the acid green, with enough space to let them all "breathe".
I really enjoy going to that group, I've known them for a while now and I've had comfort from them in tough times.

I was very happy on Saturday as another friend said she would go to see Melody Gardot with me in April. I love her songs.
Last week I gave another 2 Morsbags away. This one to a Harley rider, and a pig fabric one to a pig fan.

Oh, and I've ordered plain fabric for my postage stamp quilt. The samples finally arrived and I made a quick decision. So I'll be able to start that soon.

All day, every day...

I have had a bit of a clear out today - very satisfying. There is still a load to do mind you, but it feels good to have shifted a bit more.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


I am a bit behind with my Kirigami calendar. I have had a few sessions of cutting a number of sheets, and I've nearly caught up. Here is the sheet to cut,
Here it is folded up,

And here is my cut work. Another that would work well for applique,One from February!
Here is one I cut out in Silk Organza, and bonded to another piece of Silk.Quite what I'll do now I don't know!

As it was Mothers day we invited my Mum and Step-dad and my husbands mother over for tea. Here is Liam deep in conversation with Granddad. He has on a Batman hood and cape, he has pushed back the hood and I love how his hair sticks out through one of the holes.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Another not so productive day!

How annoying it is.

I took the day off as I have a few days to use up before the end of March. I had the delight of taking the little one to school, and picking him up, and in the 6 hours inbetween I had to do a few errands. But I settled down to watch some TV I had missed - I can see it on the internet on the BBC i-player. In theory. We live in a rural location, though we are only 4 miles / 15 minutes from a town. But our internet speed is soooooooooo slowwwwwww. I have told my husband to phone the provider and complain. I was trying to watch a programme but it kept saying "insufficient bandwidth". I gave up. So I was fiddling with that whilst I was sewing, and sad to say it, unpicking. So the blocks are not finished.
I have so much stuff in this little spare bedroom I have to pile things on the bed whilst I sew. So having enjoyed the clear floor space today I thought I would have to put these boxes of stuff away. In order to do that I have taken a few things out of the wardrobe and stuffed them in my husbands wardrobe!! Ha ha. He has too many clothes in there, I had to rearrange a few in order to fit the things in. I have a pile of jigsaws in my wardrobe - they may have to go under our bed. I feel in the mood for a BIG chuck out.
At some point I will have to look at my needle position. I have a fairly new machine, with a quarter inch foot, but I can assure you it does not do a quarter inch seam. I did the Fall mini Quilt using strips 1 1/4 inch cut - so in theory 3/4 inch sewn. But they are all less that that. It's not a problem for some things, but I would be best off sorting it out. Preferably before I start the Postage stamp Quilt.
It is now a week and a half since I requested samples from Doughtys. I rang last Friday so see if they had received my email, which they had, and I was told it would be a few days before they would get round to cutting them. So surely any day now....

Unless of course I am on their "black list" should they have one - about 6 years ago I had cause to email them about poor service!

Last Sunday Liam and I went to see the Lambs. It was about 4pm and the late sun threw long shadows over the Ridge and Furrow.

This was a very brave little lamb -we went into the field and it came right up to us and trod on my boot!

And this is Itchy in the box where we usually keep packets of Crisps. It is on the shelves in the Utility room. Cosy.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Winter Mini Quilt DHL'd to the States.

There - it's going to the states. That's not too much of a give away as most of the Swap participants are across the pond!
I need to wait until I know the recipient has received the Quilt before I put a link to her blog on my side bar.
Hopefully tomorrow, or Saturday.
I am missing it already - I could make one for myself but I will need to buy some more blue for the sky. I did enjoy the hand sewing of the birds.

I have to draw up and applique a Barbers shop for another group I belong to. And of course I will have my Postage Stamp Quilt on the go when I have bought a Plain.
In the mean time I may dig out the Batik I started on the January Friday night Sew-In and see how I can develope it.

The weekend is approaching.
We will have a few bits of shopping to do as my eldest is going on a school trip and a few things are needed.
We might also fit in a trip to the Cinema. My DH wants to take the 11 year old to see Avatar, so I guess I need to see what I can take the 6 year old to see.
Unfortunately Liams idea of seeing a film is based on a bag of sweets or popcorn, and then he fidgets once they are all eaten. It drives me mad!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Forgot my handbag today. Would have to be a day when I need fuel wouldn't it?. Drove along working out how much I would have to borrow off a friend ( fortunately we have just been paid so most peoples bank accounts are looking good, and we have a cash point on site).
Consequently I go to the Chiropractor without my purse. She told me not to do much sitting - difficult, no, impossible at work. Also impossible to sit with ice pack at work. No Ice pack to hand. Also no money to buy one.
Managed to have a bump when reversing out of the car park. And that's with a reversing sensor!
Drove to work hoping there would be a space in the car park and that I wouldn't have to drive to the overflow car park and get the bus in. Lucky me, got one of the last spaces on site.
Miserable by the time I got into work. Went and wittered on to some friends who promptly hugged me and took me to the cash point and withdrew money to lend me. Phew.
They are only small little annoyances, but sometimes an accumulation of them seem to be enough to tip the balance in my brain from ( I think) easy going to totally pathetic!
Settle down to work and the boss asks how I'm doing with a certain job. It's one I've been trying to do for a while and haven't finished. How annoying, I hate "not delivering" and I feel bad.
The job in question is a biggy, not something I can suddenly finish. For one thing I need his input as he wants me to do it a certain way which he is familiar with and I am not. And even when I understand how to do it it will take a quite a bit of completing.
But I cannot even begin to think about it yet. I have another big job on that needs doing, and if I do it wrong ( like I did last time!), .....well I hate to think. So I need to switch my brain into super efficient mode and check check double check like crazy.

Mini Quilt finished.
Birds "feathered" and hanging sleeve on the back. I have just washed it to remove yellow chalk lines and will take to show and tell tomorrow. I will also take the 2 mini-Quilts that I received - the Fall one from Ann J and the Winter one from Berit.
I have enjoyed doing the swap. It has encouraged me to do something new, and I designed it myself though I found the BlueTit on the Internet - I think it was on Panache Piecing. And I have some new friends.
I have requested a few swatches of plain fabrics from Doughtys of Hereford so I can choose one for my Postage Stamp Quilt. I have cut all the printed strips that I will need.

Very tired tonight so I will turf the boy cat off my bed and try to get an early night. But first I need to put the bread ingredients into the bread machine, and round up tomorrows clothes.
I am too tired to do any Piano practice, even though I have a lesson tomorrow, but I'm a grown up now so she can't tell me off or slap my fingers with a ruler. Finally here is a picture of girl cat Scratchy, she was just meowing, but she looks evil here.