Monday, 30 December 2019

Planning for 2020

It's that time of year again, I didn't plan anything last year and due to circumstances I didn't complete anything of what I planned for 2018 either, but the thing about planning is, you can always make new plans, and start again.  There is no time like the present so here goes:

First, here are a couple of the quilts I did manage to finish this year.

Oh I so love this one I made for my grandsons first Christmas, I found it in my stash and I think I bought it in Walmart Florida in 2000. I am particularly happy with the quilting which, while far from perfect, I so enjoyed doing and I played with new quilting designs.

Ok well, yes, it's another panel I found in my stash, but my baby grandson didn't mind and it's a floor quilt.

1 Blogging
Monthly Blog Post
Since my health problems about eighteen months ago I have been pretty absent from the blogging world, both posting and reading. It's funny but the more I stayed away the harder it has been to return. You wouldn't believe the number of posts I wrote in my head, but only a very few ever made it here, and even then some I deleted rather than posted. So, why do I want to return? When I blog my quilting flow improves and this year, although I started sewing again, I haven't actually done much, and what I have was more basic stuff. I feel cut off, I miss everyone, it seems I'm out of the habit of reading blogs like I used to, and after I read them I rarely leave a comment, sorry. This year I aim to read and comment more and post at least once a month, if I can't get back into the flow by next New Year I will probably give up the pretence........sad

2 Quilting
This is to be the year of the UFO
It was meant to be 2018, then 2019, I got one done in 2018 and one in 2019, which I started in 2018 so it actually didn't make a hole in the pile.  So, what will I finish? The first thing has to be a wedding quilt, before their second anniversary. The back, the autograph panel, is finished and after a recent conversation with the bride I know exactly what they want for the front so this week I am planning out exactly what fabrics I need. I have lots of leftover HST's from the back too and I will make a lap quilt for them to use them all up. After that it's take your pick. I have a gypsy wife top to layer and quilt, and a Postcards From Sweden with half the top done, they will be first I think. OH, I haven't finished the Coming Home quilt I started this year, I really want to finish this too, I certainly don't want that to become another UFO.

This is the back of the wedding quilt, I'm thinking about using the silver grey background for a narrow border, then maybe a scrappy narrow border, then another grey, then piano keys again in the centre colours, please feel free to give any opinions.

Gypsy wife, I haven't even trimmed the bottom yet, and I'm sure I bought the backing fabric........

3 Personal
Improving my health and wellbeing, I want my life back.
I am so much better now. I started 2018 in reasonable health, then halfway through the year I developed a severe form of sciatica, at the worst I couldn't weight bear or walk, I have never experienced such pain before, and hope I never do again, from one who has had three children and had two major surgeries, one planned, one emergency. I had a respiratory arrest due to medication and suffered severe side effects including dementia symptoms to another pain killing medication. On top of all this they didn't work. It was when all the medication was withdrawn the pain started to improve. In the second part of 2018 I lived in a nightmare world which kept coming back to haunt me for such a long time afterwards and it's only now I feel that it's probably over.
I have lost so much of my confidence, even this blog post is a big deal for me, this year I will work to get it back.
In 2020 I plan to start walking my dogs again, I can't continue to live with the fear of falling and injuring my back. I used to walk three miles a day and I want to build up to that again.
I did start pilates last year, I loved it, but it was too soon and I had to stop, so I want to start again and develop a routine.
In all the happenings I did loose weight and dropped two dress sizes, so my goal is to continue maintaining.

And that's it, well, apart from I am planning a visit to Bruni at some point, my daughter is there for three years and although I'm so nervous of travelling all that way on my own I'm going for it.

That's it, I feel that I have barred my soul. I'm going a step further and linking up to Yvonne's Planning Party, my first link up since I don't know when, I only hope I remember how to do it!

With smiles from
Kate x

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

I Need HELP!!!

This is me complaining, well, nothing new there then! What has happened to Blogger when I was away? I am having sooooo many problems and I just can't sort them out.

Firstly, I can't comment on other blogs, I couldn't even leave a comment on my own blog would you believe? Now I can leave a comment on SOME blogs, but not others. Some give me an option of Name/URL, Anonymous, or Google Account, some I just get Google Account, and even if I choose Name/URL I'm now a no reply blogger.  I have spent HOURS over the last couple of weeks trying to rectify it, I signed in and signed out, cleared all my history and cache, to no avail. I google it and get lots of older posts, but nothing current.   I have checked, double checked, and triple checked my settings and I can't see anything untoward.

Does anyone know if this is an Apple thing? It's all I can think of now.  I just don't know what else to try :-(   If anyone out there knows how to fix this PLEASE let me know, I'm at my wits end with this, it's taking over my life!

I have been doing a little sewing since my last post, well, I trimmed what seemed like a million half square triangles which were bonus ones from Chris and Sarah's wedding autograph blocks (no I haven't done any more on the quilt, they have recently had their first anniversary and they are STILL waiting (blush blush).

Anyhow, I have plans for all these HST, would you believe I have over a hundred of them? 109 to be exact, the leftover autograph blocks seemed to have disappeared you see and I had to make a few more, and so ended up with extra HSTs. I had one trimming issue so I lost one, and now I now need to make a few more so I can turn them into a decent size quilt, with some plain blocks thrown in. It's not my pattern, but when I start putting it together I will show you everything and give you the link.  The blocks are a bit of an odd size I admit, 4 1/4 inches unfinished, but the way I looked at it some were not big enough to trim to 4 1/2 and I didn't want to waste all those 1/4 inches!

I also finished the appliqué for the Coming Home quilt I showed you last time.

Oooops! As you can see I stitched the side on upside down, so out came my unpicker, after I had looked at it for a few days that is!

This is better.  Now the centre is finished I can get on with the first border.

Yes, there are twenty four of these and guess what? They are all paper pieced, and you know how I feel about paper piecing! Actually Sarah Fielke supplied very detailed instructions and demonstrated on a video how to make them, she made it look so easy even giving the sizes to cut, so all I had to do was follow her instructions.  I am so happy with these, I'm even thinking of making the vintage dresses pattern which I bought when having an overconfident 'I can do this' moment. You will have to wait until next time to find out what I will do with them though.

Sadly that's all the sewing I got done, apart from a few other bits that is, but I'm not sure if they will all match in so the jury is out on that one.

That's all for today, I'm going to do some more googling, although google eyed is how I would describe myself just now.

Until next time,
With smiles from,
Kate x

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Hello, Hello, Hello!!!

Yes I know I've been gone for ages, but I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened, like most things in life.

I have been doing some sewing although admittedly not a lot, but I am doing a block of the month and I did a couple of other bits too.  Want to see what I've been up to?

Okay, the BOM I'm doing is the Sarah Fielke Coming Home Quilt, I expect you have been seeing pics from others who are doing it.  I was unsure of the fabrics to use for this one, I really wanted to use up some of what I had and as my brights phase has started to pass I chose to make this in more muted tones, Moda Grunge, as I already had a fair few.

 This is the first month. Actually it was my second attempt, I made one and didn't like it, or rather it didn't come out at the right size, I changed to another machine, a new to me one, and I just wasn't getting the seam allowance right.

This is after month two, I'm happy with my colour choices up to that point and had plans to warm it up a bit.  What do you think?  Yes it is completely different to what I was doing the last couple of years but a change is as good as a rest and it will go nicely in the bedroom it's intended for.

This is month three, not quite finished but only two leaves to finish the appliqué and then the corners can go on.

I admit I'm behind, I haven't even started month four and month five is due at the end of May, so I'm about a month behind.

I also made a couple of little changing mats for my beautiful little grandson, a DrEAMi moment brought on by circumstances.

I made this one using fabric I already had leftover from granddaughters floor quilt.  It isn't bound in this pic but I think I used the blue from the second border.

I must admit I prefer the back of the quilt where I used up the scraps, you can see the quilting better on this pic.

I found this fabric in a local shop, it's an older fabric I think but very current due to the release of the new Dumbo film.  I tried to be clever and do something different with the quilting in the corners but you wouldn't believe how much time it took me to sew in all the thread ends, you can see them all in the corners, I hadn't stitched them in when the pic was taken. I did the binding in the blue too but again I don't have a finished pic.

Another lovely back, well I think it's lovely anyway, I just rooted through my scraps and used up what toned in with what I had as I didn't have enough left overs.

But you haven't met my new grandson have you?

This is Asher Michael, born slightly early on March 4th, to the surprise of his parents, especially his Mummy who still hadn't stopped working at that point.  This is our little man at ten weeks.  I bet you smiled when you saw the pic, it's the kind of infectious smile babies have that you just HAVE to respond to isn't it?

I have another new arrival which was my birthday present from my husband recently.

Meet my latest and yet to be named Singer Featherweight, a scroll face millennium commissioned October 1948.  Isn't she beautiful? She is in wonderful condition for a lady of her age and will be the last in my small collection.

Oh, I don't think I told you about the other two! I did tell you about Maggie in my last post, she is a 1952 black Singer Featherweight with a striated plate, she was my first, well I got a white one next, Bella, named after my paternal grandmother, she too is in wonderful condition and rated 9 out of 10 and no I haven't a pic to show you.  If you look at the pic you can see the third machine I got, a second white.  This was a bargain buy, although I didn't realise she had no case and not much in the way of accessories when I bought her from that well known auction site.  However, she has such a strong motor and just a few minor problems with her paintwork, all I had to do was have her main cable and foot cable rewired, change her belt, and give her a new LED bulb. Her name is Hinky Dink named after my mother, no that's NOT my mothers name, my mothers name is Doreen but she doesn't like it, neither does my sister as my Dad went out and registered my sister and gave her my mothers name instead of the name my mother had chose, which was Judith.  My mother was not a happy bunny I can tell you.  I digress, when I was a child and me or one of my brothers or sisters were say messy and dishevelled Mam used to say "look at you, you're like hinky dink what do you think".  She still says it yet to the latest generation, her great grandchildren.  So Hinky Dink it is.  Now I just have to wait until the inspiration hits me for little no name.

I did have another investment in my sewing,

A wool pressing mat. I had been looking at these for ages but I just couldn't justify the high prices asked, do you know what I mean?  I read other people say they liked them but shillie shallied about the cost.  However, they were supposed to be great for appliqué and because I had signed up for the BOM which has a fair bit of appliqué in I eventually bit the bullet and bought the 13 1/2 inch version.  I have to be honest and say I have no regrets, yes it is wonderful at pressing appliqué, but what I really like it for is when I make half square triangles, or any seam pressing really. You know how pressing can distort a seam, especially on a bias? Well there have been no distortions pressing on this mat, my seams are so much better.  You know when you stitch long strips together and they bow? Although I haven't tried it yet I'm thinking it probably won't happen pressing on this, or not as much anyway, I must try it and see.
They come in lots of different sizes, I chose this size as most blocks I make are 12 1/2 inches or less but I know they come in 4 1/2, 8 1/2 and I think 12 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches.  I think there is a bigger one too but I'm not sure. for This one was more than I wanted to pay, but if I one day decided to have one for our holiday home I would probably buy the 8 1/2 inch one as that would cover most things even if I had to keep moving it to press it all, AND it is only half the price of the one I already have.

You know I feel so much better now I have finally made the effort to post, Janice at Colour, Creating and Quilting and Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts of my Quilting Life have been encouraging me to come back for a while, thank you girls, even though no one will probably remember me!!!

I will leave you with one more pic,

Barmoor Castle taken last weekend.  Just around the corner is one of the three ponds where the ducks, geese and waterfowl eggs are already hatching and I wonder how many signets the swans will have this year.  The castle is somewhat derelict but still beautiful and a wonderful setting for a romantic walk with my husband, if he had a romantic bone in his body that is, but a girl can dream.

With smiles from
Kate x

Friday, 21 December 2018

Merry Christmas

It's been so long but I wanted to give you an update on where I am just now, and what I've been doing.

I have finally started sewing again, although I started and had to stop and now I've started again.  I have been doing other stuff though, cross stitch, knitting, and I have news too, a new baby, actually two, hehe!

This is the cross stitch, actually I made two identical cards.  Admittedly they are small, but on 18 count navy blue and using nineteen colours and a blending filament it's a pattern I can't whip up in a day.   I worked it out it takes me about 30 - 40 hours depending on the light to make each card.  I've had the pattern for about 20 years, I bought a magazine especially for it, this one is called Christmas Mass.  There is a matching one which is Christmas Morning.  I don't make many of these, usually no more than one a year, but as Chris and Sarah, and Tina and Stuart, had been married this year I wanted to make each couple a special card.  The first one I ever made was for my parents and Mam still puts it out every year.

I started to do some knitting too, I can knit, as long as it isn't a particularly complicated pattern, and it's a small item, like BABY knits.

Remember Chris and Sarah, my son and his bride who were married in May?  Oh yes, their first child is due in March 2019, their excitement is mirrored throughout both families.

My favourite matinee coat pattern.  This pattern must be near on fifty years old, my auntie knit it for my daughter, in fact all my children had a coat of this pattern.  I loved it so much that in the end Auntie Bertha gave it to me.

Another favourite, I think this pattern belonged to my mother, it's a very traditional pattern, feather and fan.

This cardigan is tiny, and it's a 17inch, the second size.  The colour on the pic is wrong though, it's a lovely shade of pale blue.  Why blue?  They couldn't wait to find out, it's a boy.

I'm busy knitting another cardigan now, white with a little blue, show you next time.

I have news of another baby too.

Meet Maggie, a 1952 Singer Featherweight 221.  I have wanted one for AGES, but I hadn't come across any, so, after looking sporadically over a couple of years I took the plunge and bought her from eBay.  The seller was wonderful, he gave a very detailed description and she was very well packed with the spool pin removed for transportation.  I have all the original feet and she has had the foot controller and main machine rewired, she has also been PAT tested (an electrical safety check).  Maggie is after my maternal grandmother as sewing comes from her line of the family.

I have done some sewing, I still have to finish the two wedding quilts so I can start on a floor quilt for my new grandson.  My midwife daughter told me not to make anything for the cot, in the UK the recommendations are to use cellular blankets only, the ones with all the holes in the fabric.  If baby was to pull them over his head the holes enable him still to breath, a quilt would block out all the air.  So, the only cot size quilt I will be making will be for the floor.

I have made a little progress on Tina's wedding quilt.

I added the setting triangles and the borders, this is with the first border.  It's the first time I have ever put blocks on point but it was quite easy.

I layered it on my big table instead of on the floor which I used to doI love the Kwik Klip for fastening pins, it takes a fraction of the time and no sore fingers.  If you haven't heard of them or used one before and pin baste there are YouTube videos, I can honestly say it is one of the best notions I have ever bought.  I put the pins in first then go back and fasten them all at once.
The plan is for organic wavy line quilting, so it doesn't distract from the signature blocks on the back.  I did start it but it is still a bit much for me and I had to stop.

This has been such a year, a daughter and a son married, a new baby on the way, we bought a holiday home AND,

My husbands second book was published this month, a month before schedule.  Like the cover?  The illustration is by a renowned artist Toby Ward who is a family friend.  There are black and white drawings at the start of each chapter too, lovely.   This is nothing like Gary's first book, an academic book on teaching mindfulness published by Willey, this is more of a novel and such a lovely and humorous read.  It's the story of two springer spaniels who are interested to find out why their owner meditates, and to enter spaniel folklore.  They are assisted in their quest by The Bookshelf who I think is my favourite character.  It's got some lovely quotes and poems, 

This is one of my favourites. 

The dedication is to his mother.

Oh I could go on and on, all I will say is, a lot of the incidences and adventures the narrator and Half-Sister get up to are based on real life happenings in the life of me and my two half sister springer spaniels, spanielised of course!

Oh, I meant to tell you, I had a lot more problems after my last post back in August, it seems a lot of them were caused by side effects to the strong painkillers I was on.  Let's put it this way, I know what it's like to experience dementia.  I didn't know how old I was or who my husband was at one point and I was so frightened.  I was taken off the worst offender and guess what?  It made no difference to my pain levels, but I did get awful withdrawals, I thought I was going to die and was frightened to fall asleep in case my heart stopped beating.  But I could think again and made the decision to stop the morphine too.  It made little difference, painkillers don't work on me.  I then read a piece of research which said after a year there was no difference in condition between those who had surgery and those who had painkillers.  I was so afraid of medication at this point I didn't want anything injected into my spine, or an anaesthetic, so I cancelled the nerve block and surgery.  
I still have pain but I'm coping with it and it is slowly improving.  I can walk for about half a mile and drive about four miles to the supermarket.  This is huge progress for me, I'm taking responsibility for my own health, I have lost weight and I'm looking to do a course in pilates to strengthen my core, and to make sure this never happens again.  

So, here's to a wonderful 2019 to you all, I have a feeling it's going to be a great year.

With smiles from
Kate x

Monday, 13 August 2018

Goodbye..............For Now

It's been a while, again.   Unfortunately my condition I told you about on my last post has worsened, I can't sew at all and it's unlikely that I will be able to for some time.   The good news is that it is a mechanical problem so it's not life threatening or anything like that.

The bad news is I'm in quite a lot of pain, it's better than it was but that's due to several different types of pain meds which now allow me to walk a few yards and in the last week I managed to use the stairs.    Oh the bliss of sleeping in a bed instead of a sofa, and being able to take a shower instead of washing a piece at a time, I'm just thankful I have a downstairs loo with a handbasin, imagine the problems if I didn't!

Apart from not blogging I haven't been reading blogs either.  Sorry about that, it's just that with the pain meds a fog tends to descend within my brain and I can't think straight, actually I can't talk properly either as I slur my words, no not like I usually do after a glass or two of my favourite red wine I'll have you know!  I have to do what I can when I can.

The good news is I saw a consultant last week and he thinks he knows what's causing the problem although it needs to be confirmed which may take a while due to waiting lists.  Once it is I'm assuming I go on to another waiting list for spinal surgery.  That's the part I'm not looking forward to.  My doctor tells me there is still a chance it will right itself on it's own so fingers crossed.

My only regret is that I had to drop out of the Christmas in July hop, but Sarah says I can participate next year.

But I have to tell you about the wonderful girls in Bee Inspired, the quilting Bee I have the honour to be a member of.   When I told them about not being able to sew they made a list of all the remaining months and all volunteered to make angel blocks for me, and the ones who didn't manage to bag a month are in a list in case anyone has to drop out.  Now that's friendship for you.  Sorry, I can't add a link but you can find it on a lot of my old posts.

I have to go now as I feel the fog descending and I can't think straight.  I will be back sometime but I don't know when so please don't delete me from your email or Bloglovin list.

I did want to tell you something else but I can't remember, sorry.

Here are some pics of some of the things I have made I really like, only you will have to search for the post because I don't think I can find them.  The ones which are my own have a free tutorial with them, like the Christmas cushions.

I'm not sharing this post at all, it will go out only to those of you who like my posts enough to subscribe, and those of you who get them via other sources, in particular via Life After Money, with special thanks to Mean Queen aka, Ilona, who added my blog to her special list of favourites.

Until then,
With love and smiles from,
Kate x

No I haven't forgot the pics although I nearly did hehe!

The End...........for now...............