Monday, 30 January 2012

Quilts and Questions....

Hello my lovely ladies!! I hope you have had a nice weekend?

Before I tell you about mine, I'll start with the questions - iPad or laptop? 

My laptop (or laptopamabob as   Aleksandr the meerkat calls them - I laugh every time he says it!!) has been playing me up the last couple of days and I fear it is on it's last legs. 

I really fancy an iPad but want to make sure I don't make the wrong decision (and we Librans are not good at decisions at all!!)

I use my laptop for general surfing, shopping online, eBay, blogging and reading blogs, watching Netflix and sometimes BBC/ITV players. 

Those of you with iPads, can you do all that on it? I have an iPhone (Which I love and which I can do all that on) so I am assuming an iPad is a bigger version?

My Sis got an iPad for Christmas and she says she is not that impressed, and that several of the websites she has to go on for uni will not run. 

Mr G is wanting me to try and check as best I can that I'll be able to do all I want to on it before I sell everything on eBay that isn't nailed down to raise cash for one!!

Also, I do a lot of surfing at night laid on the sofa, is an iPad a pain if you are reclined?!! I rest my laptop on a cushion on my (not inconsiderable) tummy and the keyboard is at the perfect angle for typing and I don't have to hold the screen as I guess I will with an iPad?

Incidentally, that's why I have been a bit absent from commenting on your blogs, I am reading on my iPhone (which is a pain to add comments on as is so small) and when I can wrestle Mr G's laptopamabob off him for 5 minutes (and thus don't have time before he wants it back!!)

Now for the weekend, my Mum accompanied me on a coach trip run by my quilting group to Ardingly Spring Quilt Show. I had a few pennies saved so was looking forward to admiring all the quilts and getting a few bargains.

The quilts were amazing, but a whole different animal to what I think of when I think of a quilt, these were quilting combined with machine & hand embroidery, applique, beading and all manner of other textile art.

Here are a few of my faves (iPhone pics so apologies for quality):

Aren't they gorgeous? I'd love to have a go at doing a wallhanging like the foxgloves and the robin, which were made of tiny bits of fabric freeform machine embroidered onto the quilt. It was like painting with fabric.

There were lots of trade stands and I got a couple of bits including some lovely FQ's:

A bobbin saver because I am fed up of them being tangled in a jam jar, this donut thingy is made of rubber so holds them all nice and tightly and you can see at a glance what you have:

And a pattern for this bag, which is hand pieced, so something I can do in the evening in front of the telly:

Yesterday,  we went to stock up on paint and stopped by The Chesapeake Mill to have a look around, it is a beautiful old building on the river stuffed to the rafters with vintage, secondhand and shabby chic goodies - I bought some vintage thread and gorgeous wooden reels (which I have forgotten to photograph so will have to show you another time).

The afternoon was spent sulking in our bedroom because Mr G and I had one of our yearly huge rows - the cats are eating out of a cereal bowl because I threw their proper cat bowl in the general direction of Mr G before I flounced off to cry. 

Naturally, it's all forgotten now. We never go to bed on a row - why do that when you can stay up and fight?!!.... ;0p


S x

Thursday, 26 January 2012

What Did You See On The School Run Today?

We had an invasion!!:


(Mind, you'll be OK if you stay upstairs!!)


S x

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My First Quilt - Ta Dah!!

Hello, my dears - have you had a good weekend? 

We did nothing much at all so I don't have a whole lot to report but my first quilt is finished!!:

I'm much happier with the red now I have the binding on....

It's a "stack & whack" quilt made up of nine blocks.

Wendy, who runs the quilt group, kindly made me a label on her fancy pants (love that phrase Ashley!!) sewing machine....

I even managed to mitre my corners....

So it took me three weeks from start to finish but a lot of that was hanging about waiting for my next class for help. I'm all fired up to make more now!! 

I want to do the boys a patriotic quilt each; a teal & pink one for our lounge; my Mum wants one; one made from 1930's style fabrics; a Dresden plate, etc, etc!!

Yesterday, I finished my first proper fairisle knitting project:

Milo, refusing to look at the camera (never work with animals or children!!)

 "I'm not looking at you..."

"No way...."

"Oh, go on then...."

It makes him look as though he is wearing it under protest, but Milo loves a jumper - he's not got a lot of hair on his undercarriage and feels the cold.

The snowflakes were a right pain and I had to frog them about ten times, I shan't be doing another any time soon - despite Mr G's requests for a Christmas jumper!!

Speaking of Mr G, we have nearly come to blows this weekend because my friend has some GORGEOUS chihuahua puppies and He Won't Let Me Have One >:0(

I mean, how could you resist?:

Nine times out of ten I get my own way, but every so often Mr G puts his foot down over something and this is one of those things....


S x

PS Sharon - I hope you're reading, between my phone & laptop your email has disappeared so I don't have your address, please resend it honey!!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Giveaway Winner, Flowers, Fabrics and Randomness....

I hope you're all having a good week?

First of all I have the results of my little Blogiversary giveaway - I used the random number generator thingy and it came up with 11, which means Sharon has won. Now I don't have any contact details for her so I am hoping she'll check back soon and drop me a line.

My spring bulbs from Lidl have burst into bloom this week.


Hyacinths (not scented though):

And I couldn't resist taking pics of this pretty little orchid:

A while ago we rescued it and two of it's companions from the discount trolley at B&Q where they looked very sorry for themselves, they were £2.50 for the three of them and so far they've all flowered.

My stepdad got me a little footstool to refurbish but I haven't had chance yet as everyone has taken a shine to it:

You see that mucky looking line on the floor? That's from rug tape, the type that stops your rugs from sliding about. The rug has now gone but we can't get the blasted tape off the floor - so far we have tried white spirit, nail varnish remover and two types of sticky stuff remover. If anyone has any ideas how to get rid if it they will be gratefully received?!!

I finished another tea trolley for Fugly-To-Fabulous yesterday:

See, more glue on the floor? I usually Photoshop it off!!

I went to my quilting group on Friday and Wendy helped me make my quilt sandwich (quilt top, wadding and backing) and over the weekend I hand tacked it. I am now ready to quilt it!! Hope fully I'll have it completed to show you next week.

In the meantime, I ordered some fabric to make quilts for our boys:

Their room has a Union Jack theme so we went patriotic with the fabric!! I now have to choose patterns....

W is off school with a cold and so I am going to curl up on the sofa with him and watch "Flight Of The Navigator"....


S x

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Big Case Of The Wanties....

On Wednesday last week my lovely friend Ashley & baby Rose from Country Rose came to visit. We had a lovely afternoon knitting and nattering.

Ashley brought her new baby with her, a fancy new DSLR camera the same as the one I want (Canon EOS 550D) and she let me have a play with it so I took a number of random pics to test it out.

Cups of tea to test the focus (I took one with the focus on the far cup and then one with the focus on the near cup):

Look, you can even see the steam!!

And the detail & colour of these orchids is beautiful....

You can see every one of Chico's feathers (BTW this bird *hates* me):

And Bear's beautiful aqua eyes:

Our current camera (just a point & shoot) is awful, we've had about 4 Fuji's and this one is the worst of the lot.

I had been hankering after a DSLR for a while and after playing with Ashley's I have a serious case of the wanties - fortunately Mr G is now sold as well (after taking Ashley's into the garage to photograph his motorbike!!) so hopefully in a few weeks time we will have one of our own.

Fingers crossed!!

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend....


S x

PS There's still time to enter my little giveaway....

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Friends, Flowers and Fairy-lights....

I have a few things to witter on about today. At the weekend I made some little "lampshades" for a string of plain fairy-lights:

I was inspired by seeing them on Pinterest (I can't find them now however!! You can find a similar tutorial here though). 

The tutorials I found were using paper/plastic cups covered with paper or fabric but I thought the cups were a little too big so I used little plastic shot "glasses" which I found in Poundland. I covered them with paper (I used wallpaper and some scrapbooking papers I had).

To stick the paper to the little cups I used PVA  glue which was rubbish, the hot glue gun would've been better, although maybe it would've melted the cups. Anyway, you really need something that adheres instantly, perhaps double-sided tape would be good?

BTW I know butterflies like this are terribly un-PC but my Dad bought them for my Mum when I was a little girl and so they have sentimental value....

As I only had a pack of 40 shot glasses I did the shades on every other bulb but because the shot size is much smaller than a normal paper cup I think they would look good on every bulb (some of the larger cups make the string look crowded IMO).

Last Friday we attended our first auction (well except for a car auction where Mr G bought a duff car that refused to start the moment we handed the money over and Doncaster Bloodstock Sales where we were moments away from accidentally bidding several thousand pounds on a racehorse, that is!!) - it was held in a church hall and was full of every stereotyped wide-boy and wheeler dealer (Del Boy style) you could think of but at the same time was rather fun.

We won two vintage suitcases and a wooden tea-trolley for a grand total of £12.

One of the suitcases is fabulously battered and has the odd vintage sticker:

We didn't realise the blue one came with the brown and I think it's a perfect candidate for covering in fabric - which I saw on a blog recently and now Can't Find Either!! How v. annoying. 

Edited to add: still can'r find the original one but there is a tutorial here for covering a suitcase with fabric and it looks fabby!!

The lady in question had used vintage fabric and Mod Podge (which after using both it and cheap ol' PVA glue I still can't tell the difference) and vintage fabric to cover and line her suitcase.

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon with Ashley and Rose from Country Rose and I was chuffed to bits not only to see them but because she bought me not only a gorgeous Cath Kidston pencil case and a peg bag (both of which I really needed) but also these beautiful blooms:

Aren't they lovely? They make me smile every time I look at them....

Now this post is getting very long, so I think I will keep the tale of how Ashley let me play with her new baby for tomorrow....

hugs to all,

S x

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

My First Blogiversary!! (Little Giveaway)....

Today is one year to the day that I started blogging!! 

I was inspired to start my own blog after finding lots of wonderful blogs that I like to read.

I had never really read a blog before until I mentioned on the online horse community forum I  frequented how I loved CK and shabby chic - someone sent me a link to Posy  and it was then that I realised that there were other people out there that love CK, crochet and vintage as much as me who knew?!!

In this first year, after a bit of a shaky start when I felt as though I was talking to myself I have gradually gathered over 200 followers - I am grateful to each and every person who reads and am constantly amazed that anyone is interested in my little life.

I have made friends; taken part in some lovely swaps; learned loads from other blogs and my Bloddies (Cuckoo's word - blog + buddies = Bloddies); won and hosted giveaways; been asked to feature in a home magazine (I declined!!); and generally found a whole new way to engage with people.

So, to celebrate I am offering one of my little crochet votives as a little giveaway:

To enter you need to be a follower and leave a comment below - I will use the random number generator thingy to pick a winner next Tues 17th Jan.

In other news, I love, love, love spring flowers so was delighted to see these whilst shopping in Lidl last week and I couldn't resist especially as they were 4 for a fiver:

I chose pink and blue hyacinths, crocuses and narcissus. Lidl is worth a look for seasonal houseplants as they often have good deals and special offers like these. 

It seems to trick me into thinking spring is nearer than it actually is have these in the house, I loathe the post-Christmas period and can't wait for spring proper.

I was supposed to start my Alpha Course (or as Mr G calls it "God Squad") today and after several encouraging comments and a couple of emails from people who had done it I was rather looking forward to it, however today the curate called to say that every single other person had dropped out.

She has offered to do the course material one on one over 5 weeks (instead of the usual 10) in her home so I am weighing up whether to do that or see if I can find an alternative full Alpha course. 

The problem being I have been wanting to do it for years and have never found a course before that started soon and that was during the day - most of the courses are at night and I just know even if I manage to attend a couple I'll not stay the course if I have to go out in the evening (I like to curl up, stay in and put my nightie on after dinner!!)

Anyway, Mr G has lunch ready (I love that man!!) so I better dash....


S x

PS don't forget to comment below for the giveaway!!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

My First Quilt....

Hello my lovelies, I hope you are all having a nice weekend?

I am sat surrounded by the smell of slow-roasted pork shoulder, it's rubbed with a paste of coriander, fennel seeds, peppercorns, lemon and garlic and smells seriously gorgeous!!

On Friday I attended my first session of the quilting group I mentioned in my previous post. Any apprehension I had about attending on my own had been eased by the lovely welcoming emails I had had all week from Wendy, one of the founders of the group.

A warm welcome greeted me from all the ladies and they delighted in telling me I was the youngest and therefore "the baby" of the group. As someone who is approaching 40 this year, it was music to my ears!!

Wendy showed me the instructions for the quilt I was to do as my first, a simple one made from nine FQ's of fabric- I chose an assortment of Tanya Whelan fabrics with a little CK thrown in, in shades of pink, blue, red and white.

The ladies showed me how to cut accurately and I chatted, cut, drank tea, cut, ate cake, cut and made new acquaintances (hopefully soon friends).

I finished cutting my FQ's when I got home and soon had this:

Yesterday, each row was sewn up and then sewn together to make a block and when I had done them all I arranged them out on the bed to see how I wanted the completed quilt to look. As I did this I realised I somehow had 10 blocks not 9 - which meant I must have started with ten FQ's - I mean I *know* I am bad at maths but I can usually manage to count to 9!!

So, the leftover one was put to one side and I sewed up the blocks:

What looks like plain red actually has white pin spots & the "plain" white has tiny flowers....

Typically for me I am not loving the colours :0/ - I don't think I should have used the red -which looked nice when they were folded FQ's but not so much now. 

Although, looking back at the quilt I used as an example on my previous post the colours are similar:

It now needs a border (I'm going to do a 4 1/2" border in plain white) and then I have to make a "quilt sandwich" with the backing and wadding before pinning, tacking (yuck) and then machine quilting. Wendy has kindly detailed everything I have to do for that to keep it all flat and so on, but I think I am going to be a chicken and wait until the next meeting on Friday.

Next Sunday (15th) there is a Quilters & Fabrics January Sale at Farnham Maltings at which (I am told) you can get some bargains so Mr G is going to take me up there. Then at the end of the month Mum and I are going to pop along to Ardingly Spring Quilt Festival where there will be lots of fabulous quilts to admire as well as trade stands.

In other news, there maybe a little bit of change coming here to shabby chic HQ as well, will tell all when/if I know more later....


S x