31 May 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Yep, back from a lovely week in Portugal with my sister.  Very relaxing, chilling by the pool, a bit of sights seeing and shopping, a bit of crocheting.   Will post a few photies soon, but a lot of weeding to do in the garden first.  
In the meantime, I'm having a bit of a problem with leaving comments.   I've been  doing a quick catch up on the blogs I follow, and wanted to leave comments, but when I  go COMMENT AS  and select google account, it takes me to blogger, then I sign in and it returns me to the comment screen.  I click post comment and instead of publishing it as normal, it takes me back to the blogger sign in.  And so on ad infinitum.

Does anyone:
a)  know what I'm talking about
b)  know if there's a problem
c)  know a solution

Help, all you techies out there!

Update 1/6
Thanks for the info - looks like I'm going to have to wait for it to be mended.   May have to do some work instead!

21 May 2011

To do list

Oh dear, the blog has been rather neglected for a while - hope it's not going the way of all the other diaries I've started and failed to finish.  My excuses reasons are as follows:

1.  Busy week last week, customer visit
2.  Friends visiting from UK Sat - Tues
3.  I've been going for phsio on my back for the last two weeks and having been pummelled for half an hour, I then have to do lots of excercises and make a real effort to sit up straight (I'm a sloucher I'm afraid),  by the end of the day and feel as if I've been run over by a bus
4.  Had a tooth filled yesterday which throbbed all night.

So, I have been blogging now for nearly 4 months now.  Maybe time for a little introspection. At first I wanted to be bright, witty, interesting, join in with everything and  have lots of followers.  Yeah OK, so let's forget that -  NOT POSSIBLE.    I think that now I've sort of found my comfort zone.   I've stopped worrying how many new followers I am getting, and what people think of me.!    That's not what it's about is it?   I have quite a few followers who comment regularly, which I really enjoy, and I am enjoying writing.  OK, it's not War and Peace, but it's giving me a great deal of pleasure to read back over what I've been doing.    So all in all, it's good fun and in the words of a friend of ours over here "tomorrow, we continue"
One of the things that I love about blogs are the to do lists that you all have - daily, weekly, monthly, I am so impressed with how much you get done.   I am a list maker, but I end up feeling a failure because of all the things I haven't done.  However, just this once I'm going make a list of what to do next week,  knowing full well I will achieve it

 1.  Go to my sisters in Portugal for the week

There you go, that's it!  She's lived out there for about 3 years now and this will be the first visit.  I don't think she has much of an internet connection (you have to sit out in the camper van on the drive!) so I'm not taking a computer.   I'm leaving Gordie at home with the animals.  He has already got his week planned which includes lots of dog walks, plenty of curries, and a night down the pub to watch the Champions league final.   I think that means we'll both have a good week.

So bye for a week, I'm off to pack now.  I'll leave you with a picture, because every post needs a picture.

The veggie patch this evening - wonder how much it will have grown by next Sunday?

16 May 2011

African flowers

This is a little crochet project I started a while ago and have just come back to.  It's called African Flowers - I'm not sure of the origin of the pattern but there is a flickr group here.   I like to have something easy to pick up for the last hour of the day, which I don't have to spend half and hour working out where I was and remembering the pattern.  I have a box of wool from which I randomly pick colours.  I don't usually do anything this bright or uncoordinated by I'm loving this.   Not sure what it will be - probably a blanket but at 2 or 3 a night, it's going to be a while before I get to show you the finished article!

Why not pop over to the flickr group.   There are some beautiful colour combinations and I think the instructions are there somewhere.

14 May 2011

Crochet top

Quite a while ago, I blogged about this cardigan which I had just frogged because it was too small.    This is the summer shrug that I made with the wool.  I was a little concerned that it looked a bit like a dishcloth, but now it's finished and blocked, it looks a little better, and is nice and easy to wear.


I swear that these photographs have distorted the size of my bum and arms,  and exaggerated the double chins. 

But back to the shrug, I'm afraid the sleeves are all wrong.  There were only two size instructions, and although I made the small/medium, when I came to the sleeves, the hole I had to leave just didn't seem big enough for my arms.  So I made the arms for the large size, which is fine at the top.  But the bottom of the sleeve is so big it flaps in the breeze and make my arms look really chubby.   Which they're not.  Well they are, but not as bad as this makes them look.   I'm not sure what to do with it.  I'm thinking they would look a bit better if they were longer, so I might try again but reducing the number of stiches as it comes off my shoulder into the sleeve proper.  Hey that sounds quite professional.   No idea how I'm going to do it though!   Maybe just rip it back and have capped sleeves.    Anyone got any ideas?

I have had a few hours with Valerie, my new machine, and we are getting along famously.     It's so much easier to keep a straight line and a 1/4 inch seam, although there are still disasters.   She can't be held responsible for me sewing the wrong pieces together can she?Will update you with what we are making when I have a little more time (and I have some photos).

I did have a marathon planting session in the garden this morning before the rain arrived.   30  tomato plants and 17 peppers.  Yes, way too many for the two of us, but I always grow spares in case some don't germinate.  And they always do, then I can't throw them away.   If I plant too many tomatoes, then I have to plant too many peppers too, then I have the right proportions for the tomato sauce for the freezer!

Just off to the airport to pick up some friends who are staying with us for a few days.   Will try to sneak a few hours when everyone else is snoozing in bed in the morning.  

Take care

11 May 2011

My new best friend, Valerie

At last, she's here, my new best friend, named Valerie (the Valkyrie) with the help of Agnieszka at a quilt maybe.

At first she was a little shy, reluctant to come out of her box.   But once I got her out and put her in her new home, she soon relaxed.

I had a little play - threading and doing some basic stitches, but due to work commitments, I've hardly had any time to sit down for more than 5 minutes.   I need a quiet hour to concentrate and get to know her a little better.  

The collection went smoothly yesterday, which please me enourmously.   This may seen strange to you, but to drive to a strange town, find the shop, have a lesson in czech, and make it home without incident is a major achievement.  I did do 15 circuits of the town of Znojmo because the GPS insisted I go down a one way street every time I came back around, so I abandonded the car and walked in the end!   The lady who owns the shop, and gave me my lessons was really nice, and I think I understood everything.  I have her e-mail address just in case.    And the icing on the cake is that she takes quilting workshops which she has invited me to, when the new year starts in September.   I may just get to make some Czech quilting friends.

Anyway, now that I've got my new friend, I'm going to be busy over the next 3 weeks, so I'm not going to get much time for sewing,  but I'm sure I can grab some quiet moments first thing in the morning before anyone else is awake!  Sorry if I was a bit of a nerd, getting excited over a new sewing machine, but actually it is a BIG DEAL!  Thanks for all you support.

08 May 2011

Garden diary 8th May

The quiltova family, including husband, dogs and cats have spent just about the whole weekend in the garden, which for us, is just how it should be.   With a  late start due to ground-works, we are about on top of the spring jobs now.

The new wall is planted up, and the old one re-planted, only a few other bits to go in to it

Sorry it's in the shade

The fence is finished complete with gate

The veg plot is coming along

We have spuds, onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, trunips, beetroot, parnsip, brocoli, French Beans, Broad Beans and sweet corn, plus quite a few annuals for cutting.  Still to go in tommies, peppers, courgettes squash, leeks and sweet potatoes
 and cucumber.

And a new area of grass has been prepare and seeded. 

You can see an electric fence around it to deter dogs and cats who could destroy all our hard work inside 10 minutes.

And finally a few flowers.  This is the first year we have had plants, and flowers in Spring, so I am more excited about them than usual.  And I've grown them all myself from seed.  And the photos aren't half bad either!

There are plenty of other jobs to do, but the rush is off now, they can all be done through summer at our leisure. Watering does take time, but hopefully the brains of the outfit can set me up a system of fixed hoses and taps which will save me time, and energy hauling long hoses around.  Oh of course then the weeding starts.    No peace for the wicked as my mum used to say!

Hope you've all had a good weekend


07 May 2011

Valtice Wine Market

I live in a small town called Valtice in Southern Moravia.  There are only about 3500 inhabitants and in winter it's pretty quiet.  But in summer it's quite a tourist trap.  It is part of the Lednicko-Valticke UNESCO world heritage site and also a centre of wine making. We also get a lot of cyclists, which combine the wine with the world heritage sites very nicely without breaking any drink driving laws.   Many of the locals have there own vineyards and wine cellars (more of that another day), but the first weekend in May is always for the professionals.  It takes places in the Spanish Riding Stables, part of the chateau

Valtice Chateau

The Spanish Riding Stables
and spills over into the chateau grounds and the main square

Looking down onto the square and the town hall

Over the past week, the judges have been tasting wines from all over the czech republic, and announced this years winners yesterday morning.   Then the public can come and taste all the wines over Friday and Saturday.  You buy a glass and some tokens, then you go round buying the different wines with your tokens.   The good ones cost 4 or 5 tokens and go early, leaving the cheaper wines that cost one or two tokens.    We're not actually doing the wine tasting this year, but wandered down last night to soak up the atmosphere and take a few photos.   The area was buzzing last night, and there were quite a few people with very wobbly legs

Czech drunks (and there are a lot of them) are not much of a problem.  They're not aggressive like English drunks, they all want to be your best friend, which is OK unless I'm out walking the dogs on my own!

And finally this is where you'll find us most Friday nights throughout summer

In the garden of the Rychta restaurant in town.  It starts our weekend wind-down!    Have a good weekend everyone.

PS update on sewing machine.  We're on again for Tuesday. 

03 May 2011

Bum bum bum bum!!!!

Had a phone call this morning from the lady at the sewing machine shop, apologising profusely that she is ill and can't do the lesson today.   Bum!   I'm devastated ... well not devastated, but very dissappointed, bordering on deflated.   She will have to wait for the antibiotics to work, then call me to rearrange.  Bum!

Thanks to all of you for being excited with me - we'll just have to postpone the party.

02 May 2011

19 hours and counting

Oh yes, I am most certainly VERY excited.   Tomorrow afternoon at 3.30 pm I am off to collect my new sewing machine.   I have been a very good, patient girl, pretending it doesn't really matter,  but   IT DOES!!!   I will have a lesson on how to use it, then  tomorrow night I shall be sewing.    I have told my husband he is cooking and then he can watch as much rubbish telly as he likes, because he won't see anything of me!

On to other things, we had a super week with our friends from England.  We had lots of nice food and drink (too much of both actually), a great bike ride, a few nice walks, and lots of relaxing and laughing.   Liz and Brian have their frequent visitor card, in fact they house/dog/cat sat when we were on holiday two years ago, and they're back again in September.   Many of our friends are mega stressed in their every day lives back int he UK, and it's great to  invite them over and see them relax.  I'm not a natural hostess - I worry that not much happens here, and our visitors will be bored, but I have come to realise that's why they like coming, apart from our company of course! 

Here's a couple of photos

Typical czech - potentially really beautiful, but just not finished yet.  Come back in 2015

If you look really hard, you can see a stork in that nest

Well I'm off now, but next time you hear from me, I will be the proud owner of a new sewing machine.  Of course she will have to have a name (Assuming it's a she - they all are aren't they?)   Do you name your sewing machine?