31 January 2013

Really Random Thursday

Here's a selection of totally random tings that have happened to me this week.

  • One of our cats, George has a waste paper bin fetish


Not normally too much of problem, just a few tissues.  But not so much fun when I've been        trimming scraps!

  • I hate having  my photo taken, because I always think I look like some toothy, grinning, blinking idiot.  But I have to say I love this photo of me, and have added it to my side bar.



It was totally un-posed, when Gordon was playing with his new lens. It's the first decent photo of me I've seen in years, wrinkles and all.

  • The temporary filling I had in my tooth at the beginning of January has broken and an old filling in the same tooth has come out completely.  I'm off to the dentist again tomorrow.  I go that often I have my own parking space!

  • Saturday night was minus 13 degrees C.  Today was +17 on our patio.

  • Last summer was our first year with a pool.  I was in denial about the heating costs, but having received the bill today, I was pleasantly surprised that it is very slightly lower than the previous year.   So to anyone visiting this summer, it's ok, the pool heating will be on!
  • What did you Google today?   I googled S.E.P.A. and found out that it stands for Single Euro Payments Area and apparently simplifies and speeds up payments within the Euro Zone.  Something good has come out of the EU then.  Actually that's not fair - living in the Czech Republic, my life is so much simpler because of the EU,  in many, many ways.
Linking up with



Live A Colorful Life

26 January 2013

Happily, yummily finshed



At last my Happy Yummy quilt for my new great niece is completed, and ready for it's journey off to a new life in Oz.

I used Happy Mochi Yum Yum fabric and this pattern By Jessica Kelly from the Moda Bake Shop,



and added a little postage stamp border.


I took advantage of the nice sunny day, but boy was it cold.  -6 with a wind that was cutting through me.



Can you see Ted relaxing after a hard photo shoot?





I got the backing fabric from my local shop

Ted wanted to be in on the action


As did George!
I've wanted to use this Happy Mochi Yum Yum fabric for ages, and this was a perfect quilt for it I think.  Some of the fabrics are large prints, and the larger blocks gave them room to shine.   I'm very happy with this one.  I hope Elana and her mum and dad will be.

And what's more,  it's my first finish for the 2013 FAL.


she can quilt

And now I'm off to do some more of those *********curves for the Mod Pod quilt!











23 January 2013

Displacement activity

The dining room is finished thank goodness.  It's not the colour I wanted but I actually quite like it and it works with the chairs and curtains (and the mod pod quilt on the design board), so all's well



We are off looking for new lights today.  You know when you buy something in a rush, and you never quite work out why, because it's horrible.  Well we did that with the lights in the dining room, and now we want something more modern, that we actually like!

So I have my sewing room back, and I could have got on with those curves on the Mod Pod.  Did I?  No, I started something new!

About a year ago, I agreed to make my friend Rose a quilt.  She chose this one from the Jelly Roll Quilt book by Pam and Nicky Lintott



Not really a quilt I would choose to make, but I couldn't dissuade her.  I've been gathering blue fabrics for the past 12 months, and finally got around to starting it.

There's been a lot of chain stitching


and I have 110 of theses



and a lot of pressing!


There is just over half here and now I've run out of Kona snow, so all I can do is sew a few strips together.  Although I thought it would be a boring quilt to make, it's come together quickly so far, and I've listened to half of a book whilst doing it!  And it's been very good for straightening up, and speeding up my straight line sewing!

Just so that you know I haven't abandoned Mod Pod, I have cut some more squares to make the outer curve, and shall be cutting and sewing some more over the weekend.  I may even finish my 11 blocks with a bit of luck.

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday as usual.

19 January 2013

Bee blocks

I don' know if it's the weather or not, but all the bee-ers in the Sitch Tease Bee have suddenly woken up after Christmas and there are e-mails flying about showing finished blocks.  As this is a secret bee, we don't get to show them off in public until the quilt tops have been finished and send off to the recipients, so all we can do is show sneaky previews.  My first new years finish was a strip for Danny, and she asked for anything!  Yes, anything.  She gave us free reign to do what we wanted , just as long as it was bright!





And it's bright.  It didn't quite turn out like I planned though.  I calculated I needed 5 x 12inch blocks to do the strip, and it wasn't until I measured it at the end that I reailised I needed 6. Duh!

Just as an aside, when Di named this bee, Strip Tease was a possible name, but we thought that that might cause us a few problems.  Quite rightly as it happened.   I have the name Strip Tease in my brain, and the file in outlook containing all my mails with photos of the strips that have been made, is called Strip Tease.  Try explaining that one to the young technician (well, I guess he was young, they all are aren't they?) who was trying to resolve my e-mail problem the other day!  If he could only see my red face! And once you start trying to explain, it all seems to get worse!.

The other bee blocks I have finished are for Nicole in the Sew Euro-bee-an Bee.  She wanted the x and + blocks and sent some lovely fabrics out.  These are my two blocks






I really like the second one, where I used the colour for the X instead of the +.  This was a nice block to make and I believe it is the subject of the latest scrappytripalong.

There no sewing going on here at the moment as we're decorating my sewing room the dining room.

Yesterday morning



The paint is much more green in real life, and I'll swear it's not the same as it was on the colour card!
Choosing colours to paint the house is generally traumatic as Gordon and I have totally different tastes. He likes Bright and I like more muted. I see soothing, he sees dull.  He sees happy and I see headache.  Combine that with the fact that mixing paint colours is fairly new here and unless we go to the big city, choice is fairly limited.  Hence our colours are nearly always a compromise, and this is sooooo NOT the colour I wanted!   But I'm warming to it and  as long as it looks OK with the chairs, it stays.  If it looks awful with the curtains I can always change them (one day).  It wasn't expensive fabric.

Off to paint a second coat - we should be finished by tonight.  Have a nice day!

16 January 2013

WIP Wednesday

Just to let you know I'm going for Super Hero status here!   Having got the Happy Yummy quilt off the machine, and having  procrastinated long enough, I finally got the Mod Pod quilt out on Monday night.  I laid out 3 blocks on towels so that I could roll them up and they wouldn't take up much space

Spot the diliberate error - I did but too late




Then I tackled all the curves all at once.  FirstI used Leanne's no pin, hold it up in the air method with pretty poor results.  So the second I tried sewing from each end into the middle.  This was a little better, but long winded.  The third one, I sewed without pins, but just sewing a few stitches at a time, then edging round a bit, sewing a few more, edging round.  It was a bit slow, but I got the best results this way.  Maybe, just maybe, I've cracked those curves! (please, I hope the gremlins aren't listing).  So in 24 hours I managed another 3 blocks, 75% more than I have in the last 8 months!!!

Here's the progress so far



Unfortunately, I have had to pack up my sewing room/ dining room as we are giving it a quick lick of paint over the weekend.  So we're back on hold again, but at least I've only got another 4 blocks to make for the queen size.   Hopefully it won't take me another 8 months to do those!

I'm linking up with Lee's WIP wednesday over here, if you'd like to see what other people are up to

14 January 2013

Happy Yummy Sunday

It was a snowy day yesterday (and again today) so I turned down a walk today and got stuck into my Happy Yummy quilt.  It's only small so I was able to baste, quilt and attach the binding all in one day.  I even remembered to take a few photos!

On my new design wall

Top pieced

On the machine
Finished in about 2 hours

I used a wandering loopy stitch which some would say was rather appropriate!

Ready for the hand stitching
The pink binding is way more of a shocking pink than it looks here, but it was the best I could get.  I went to a local shop for the backing and the binding, because on the internet, I just couldn't tell what would go with it. I am pleased to see that the quality of their fabrics is much improved in the two years since I started quilting.  Prices are going up accordingly, but even so it's still only around 4 pounds a metre.  Still not the same quality and design as the american fabrics, but if you can find something you like, it's great for binding and backing.  I don't trust the colour fastness though, after my debacle with this red binding, so it's all pre-washed.

This is my first post on my new laptop, which is very similar to the old one, but it's a czech keyboard (so no pound signs and things are in slightly different places) and it's got new Windows and Office on it, so that's all different. It will take a time to get used to it, and set all my links up.  But it is fast, the touchpad works properly, and so far it hasn't switched itself off!  However (there's always a however) my e-mails aren't working at the moment. I hope we can sort that later today, but for the time being, if you've sent me a mail, I can't read it yet.

11 January 2013

Favourite Things Friday

It's back - Favourite Things Friday over at Quiting in my Pyjamas!  I'm so pleased - I really like reading everyones Favourite Things, and, from time to time I quite enjoy writing a blog that doesn't necessarily focus on sewing.  Shay 's favourite thing this week is a new food mixer! Which, I have to say, looks splendid.

So this Friday, My Favourite Thing is actually this Friday.  A number of reasons

Reason no 1.  Friday is the new weekend.  This year both Gordon and I are working reduced hours and this Friday is our first day off together.  There will be more, but this one is the only first one!

Reason no 2.  We went for a lovely walk with the dogs for almost 2 hours this morning.  The walk started in the snow, and finished in the sunshine.   I think Liska loves the snow.


And she certainly loves the boss



Reason no 3.  My new computer arrived today.  Woo hoo!.  My old Dell Inspiron has served me well for almost 7 years but is showing it's age.  It's slow, the touch pad doesn't work properly, the battery is shot and occassionally it just sticks it's electronic thumb up it's electronic a**e and won't work!  It's had new. go-faster stripes fitted and I've spent a fair bit over the last two years keeping it going but it's time to send it to a well earned retirement. But it's been brilliant, and when it came to choosing a new one, I had to stick with Dell. So meet my new Dell Inspiron



Look, there's not a single mark on that screen!


I'm not allowed to even turn it on because it's Gordon's job to set it all up for me, and he's not doing that until tomorrow.  So this could be my old Dell's last post - literally and figuratively.

Reason no 4.   Steak, Mushrooms and home made oven chips for tea (or dinner if you're posh).  We went shopping the the Cash & Carry today and they have great meat and fish counters.  We bought a lovely piece of salmon which has been cut up and frozen, and some steak for dinner.  Those of you who live in America will not appreciate how easily you can buy good steak.  It's not so available here, and the stuff in the supermarkets is only good for souling your shoes.  But Makro have lovely steak, and we treated ourselves to a piece each.  Guess which is mine?



Gordon actually didn't think he would be able to eat all of his, but I never doubted him for a moment!

I've had a lovely Friday, and hope you did too, whatever your favourite thing is!

07 January 2013

Q1 FAL 2013

she can quilt


The start of a new years prompts us all to look a bit more closely at our lives - what we do, how we do it, what makes us happy, what we are dissatisfied with.  I am no excption, and whilst I'm not one to make resolutions, for me it's a good opportunity to make a few changes.   In recent years I tend to stress out way more than I ever used to , so I do whatever I can to avoid these situations.  I found I was getting stressed out by my sewing and blogging because I was trying to do too much.  Committing to too many QALs, swaps, doing things because I saw other people doing them, and maybe if I do, then more people will follow my blog/ read and comment/ be my firend.  It did cause more than a few "heated discussions" in the Quiltova household, let me tell you!  My husband is very tolerant of my sewing , but not when he sees me getting wound up about it.

So it stops now.  I will sew, join QALs, bees and swaps, if I they are really what I want to do.  I continue to  read the blogs that make me smile a lot, and comment when I have something interesting and witty to say!  I will stop trying to be something I feel I should be, and concentrate on being what I am.  I will be prioritising and planning, mindful of all the other things I want to do.  Some of you may feel that this is taking the spontineaity out of sewing, but it's how I cope.  Hopefully I will be so calm and serene by the the FQR in July, you may not recognise me!

So with my new serene head on my calm shoulders, I am only going to commit to 2 finishes this quarter.  I have bee blocks to do, a quilt to sew up for Helen for our Stitch Tease Bee, and I'm going to be AWOL for some of the quarter too, so this is what I think I can realistically finish.

I have to finish my Happy Yummy quilt and get it off in the post to Oz. I don't think there will be too much of a problem with this one


 

And I want to finish my Mod Pod quilt.  I love the pattern so much but truthfully, I don't like doing the curves.  So I want to get this out of the way, and spend the rest of my days avoiding them. 



 

 Lets see if I can achieve these finishes in a warm, golden glow, not all stressy and spikey!
















05 January 2013

Happy Yummy

Saturday morning, Gordon is still snoozing and I'm up writing a post.  Life is back to normal after Christmas.  Much as I like Christmas, I love to get the house back to normal - tree out, deckies down, cards away etc. etc.    It won't last long though, because during these winter month we usually get the paintbrush out.  Unfortunately the dining room (more importantly my sewing room) is going to get the treatment this year, which means I've got to get out of there for a while.   Never mind, we are usually very quick decorators!

Life is also much happier since Thursday's trip to my dentist who has now sorted out my tooth once and for all (I hope!)

Back in December I was searching for some fabric to make a quilt for my soon to be great niece or nephew.  In the end, I decided on some fabric that I've loved for ages and never bought, Happy Mochi Yum Yum.  I chose it because I thought it was a fairly neutral boy/girl fabric, but when it arrived it was definitely very girly.  So I had to wait to see what arrived.   Just before Christmas, I became a great aunt again - my nephew Simon and his wife Rose, who live in Sydney, had a little girl called Elana Rose.  So guess what I've been doing.


I've called it my Happy Yummy quilt, because I always get the name of this fabric mixed up!  I love my new design wall by the way.  It is so helpful to be able to step back at any stage and see how you are doing.   I'm following the Jungle Path Quilt pattern by SewcraftyJess.  The sashing between the blocks is done, and now I've just got to decide how to do the borders.  Of course, as normal, I have no fabric yet for the binding and the back.  I did have some nice flannel that I bought ages ago in the sale for just such and occasion, but can I find it anywhere?  No.

And just so as you don't think I've been idling, I have done a couple of blocks towards the penultimate strip for our Stitch Tease Bee.  I've been doing some paper pieceing, which always takes longer than I think it will, but I'm very pleased with the results. Which of course I can't show you because it's a secret bee! 

Have a happy weekend everyone.  We're off to see the Hobbit tonight - look at us eh?  Saturday night out!

02 January 2013

Oh what a finish

I spent New Year's Eve in front of the fire, nursing the hole in my tooth ( which is much better now, and thank you all for your good wishes!) but managed to achieve my last finish of 212. And what a finish.

Do you remember back in spring, I asked The Question That No-one Ever Asks.    Why do people knit socks?  Helen is a very accomplished sock knitter - one of her posts sparked the question, and I got a very comprehensive answer. So instead of just poo pooing sock knitting I gave it a try. You may remember these photos of sock no. 1








Sock No 1 was finished in May, and since then I have been an infrequent sock knitter.  But I have plodded on, getting quite a bit done over Christmas.  And finally, when others were out partying on New Years Eve, at approximately 10:55 pm, I finished sock number 2.

Almost there

Spiderman watching on with interest.  He's probably thinking they would match his outfit!



And both of them together
By now we had moved on to Reservoir Dogs - I really really hate this film!
So Helen, I made it.  I'm not sure whether or not I have ticked all the boxes of why you knit socks

Here’s your reasons …
  • 1.They are comfort food for your feet. I never pull on a pair of delicious bright, smooshy, soft, cosy socks and don’t think aaaaaah. - I've not had time to confirm or deny this yet.  Certainly from a brief wearing of them, they are very comfortable and they don't droop down like I thought they would
  • 2. Every time I look at a newly and nicely turned heel I have a sense of achievement – a ‘wow aren’t you clever’ pat on the back.  -It was certainly one of those "Oh look!" when it all drops into place.
  • 3. Socks are small and can be whipped up in next to no time. - Well it took me the best part of 8 months, but I did get distracted halfway through with  EPP!   Under normal circumstance, I would agree with this one!
  • 4 Socks can be as outrageous as you like and it’s okay!  This is hugely liberating! - Totally agree with this one. 
  • 5. Because they are small, socks are easy on the wallet and before long sock knitters accumulate a multicoloured yarn stash - Not going there, I can tell you that right now!
  • 5. Socks are immensely portable and can be popped into your handbag – totally agree.  Great for holidays too.
  • 6. Handknitted socks make the perfect gift for half the population. The other half see them as the gift from hell, so it’s important you know who you are dealing with.- Any friends or family reading this can drop me a line to let me know which camp you are in, just in case I'm tempted to give them as gifts!
  • 7. Amazing as it may seem, there are endless variations of socks out there – you need never get bored knitting socks.  I am already looking for the next pattern!
  • 8. Of course handknit socks are a bit of a lifestyle item – they work for me because I work from home, live in the country, own an AGA and would raise chickens if I could. They are probably not your thing if you wear stilettos to a smart office every day and lots of skirts. - I think I fit into this category too!
  • 9. Once you have worn a fabulous pair of hand-knit socks I defy you to ever go back to your old ways! - Too soon to tell.  As I currently have just the one pair, I think I will have to fall back on M& S!
To sum up, I have enjoyed my sock knitting, and will certainly do some more.  Why? Well, I think my main monivation is  number 7, there are so many different patterns out there, and someone has to knit them!  Thanks Helen, for opening up a whole new world to me!