Sunday, 27 April 2014

Genevieve and a Peg Bag Ta-Dah!

With my next quilt making workshop looming, I decided that I had better get to grips with my sewing machine in an effort not to look even more of a complete idiot in front of 'the upholsterers'. I worked out that the last time it had been used was 5 years ago, when E needed a Romeo costume for her Year 6 play. Blood, sweat, tears and gin were much in evidence at the time and I have a sneaky recollection that it was actually R who ended up doing the trickier bits when it all got a bit much!

Rescued from the loft and 5 years of cobweb removal later, I decided that I needed a bonding session with my machine. Having shocked the ladies at the workshop with my inability to remember the make, I now know that it is in fact a Toyota. Dottie Angel advises giving your machine a name to show how much it is loved, so, after one of my favourite films, SHE is now known as Genevieve. For those who haven't seen the film, it's a 1953 British comedy about the London to Brighton veteran car rally (Genevieve being the car) and I love everything about it, even the cheesy impromptu trumpet playing bit! Anyway, to make amends to Genevieve for her 5 year exile, I bought her a snazzy little blue bag to keep her warm and protect her from marauding rabbits. Another reason being that there was no way I was going to allow 'the upholsterers' to see her sad, stained little nylon cover!

Stupidly, I forgot to take photos of Genevieve and her new coat but I will remedy this at a later date. Hoping that I was somewhat forgiven for my slovenly, sewing machine neglecting ways, I decided to embark on a little project. Nothing too difficult, just something to ease my way back into sewing mode, so at least I can make her go when we tackle the next bit of the quilt. After much thought, I decided on a new peg bag. My old one, a much loved Mothers' Day present made by L many moons ago, has finally given up the ghost and that, together with Bunny Mummy's timely tutorial, made the decision easy. Well, there were tension issues on both sides and I'm sure that Bunny Mummy didn't take 2 entire days to complete her bag but Genevieve and I took our time and even though the result is a little lumpy in places, I'm rather proud of my new bag.

Here are a few photos:

On the bed (both bag and quilt cover looking as though they need a good iron).

Hanging on a wardrobe door, trying to avoid wearing it for a photo:

Deciding that wearing it was necessary to show it in its full glory and, in order to avoid the 'you want me to take a photo of you wearing the peg bag?' conversation, attempting a selfie whilst standing on the bed.

A close up to show off the natty owl ribbon decoration:

A little more bonding with Genevieve is perhaps needed before I can confidently face 'the upholsterers' - apparently, I need to be able to change her foot to a clear one for easier zigzagging and I might treat her to a new needle. Having, obviously, lost the manual, You Tube will be needed before I can attempt either operation but, with another week and a half to go before the workshop, Genevieve and I are confident we can do it. Many thanks to Bunny Mummy for her easy to follow tutorial - if I can follow it, anyone can.

Toodle Pip for now.  x

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter Food Festival

Easter Sunday was a slightly dismal affair around here. Following on from a rather glorious week weather wise, we awoke to grey skies and threatening rain. Actually, R was being a bit smug - he'd spent Good Friday spreading weed/ moss remover on the lawn and you are supposed to leave it for a couple of days and then pray that it rains, otherwise it kills all the grass too. 

Breakfast was quickly consumed and then the girls, accompanied by a carried rabbit (Hamish wasn't allowed to run about owing to said horrible lawn stuff), ventured outside to do the annual Easter egg hunt. Most of the eggs were found - a few are normally discovered and consumed by the local wildlife, so it's a rare year when we have the full complement. E had braces fitted a few weeks ago and chocolate is supposed to be a RARE treat, so I was secretly hoping that the ducks would gobble a few more!

 Then we came inside to cuddle our very own Easter bunny.

Our timing was impeccable; the Lawn God smiled, the heavens opened and we had our first thunder storm of the year. I love storms - my Mum was always terrified and hid, Harry Potter like, in the cupboard under the stairs. She said they reminded her of her childhood in the Blitz. To prevent me inheriting her fear, my Dad would make me a hot drink and we would watch the lightening together out of my bedroom window. Perhaps that's why I like them so much - that sense of cosy. Anyway, back to Easter Sunday, I settled down for a bit of this:

A bit more work was done on the 'Manly Blankie' ...

.... and L finished off her 'Pictures in Stitch' project of The Little Prince. I love it - especially his fabulous hair:

My 'new thing' for this week was to attend our local food festival. We have one every year but things always seem to conspire to stop me going. The same was almost true this year - the posters advertized it as being 'this weekend', so I walked into town on Saturday only to be told it was taking place on Easter Sun/Mon. Fortunately, E had a haircut booked for the Monday, so I dropped her off and then went for a little wander.

If I'm honest, I was a tad disappointed. Lots of the stalls were the sort of thing that we have on a normal market day and the rest were selling quite pricey food or 'can't live without' kitchen gadgets. I decided that I could live without, collected my newly coiffured E and we went home to pick some of this for crumble (rhumble?).

I took lots of photos of various plants springing into life in the garden but I really want to learn how to put together one of those spiffy mosaic shots that I see a lot of in Blogland. Maybe learning to do that will be my new thing for next week. Until then.....

Toodle Pip. x

Monday, 14 April 2014

The 'Fifty Quilt'.

This week I have been attempting a new item on my Fifty List - quilting. I love quilts and my sewing skills are legendary; unfortunately, not for the right reasons - in Junior School, I was the one who sewed the apron she was making to her skirt and was forced to stand at the front of the class as an example of how not to do it!
Matters haven't really improved over the years. I do possess a sewing machine (bought as an optimistic Christmas present one year) but if I tell you that for my quilting course I had to retrieve it from the loft and brush 5 years of cobwebs off it, you'll get the idea.

Anyway, I signed up for a beginner's sampler course held at a local farm. One Wednesday a month for 5 months, they teach you the basic techniques and, with HOMEWORK, at the end of the course we should end up with something that looks like this:

To be honest, I told the 2 ladies running the course that if mine is even remotely as good as this, they can use me as advertising - if this woman can do it anyone can! Even my youngest, when shown the above photo, said that it wasn't going to happen.

There are 2 other women doing the same course - both experienced sewers (I'm talking upholstery here!) and they seemed rather shocked when I couldn't name my make of sewing machine! I felt rather intimidated to start but everyone was really friendly and the lunch (served in the most beautiful farmhouse kitchen) was delicious so I'm quite looking forward to next month's class. This time we practised the embroidery - there are 10 examples on the quilt. I was very aware that I was by far the slowest but we get to finish them off for homework before the next session and I am gradually working my way through them. Here are some of the ones I've done so far:

I can't work out if he's playing with the ball or spraying the bush!

Here I am working on the next one - despite appearances, I haven't sewn it to my skirt!

I bought the fabric and thread for next month's class when we'll learn applique:

On Saturday, L and I attended another free Library Fest workshop. This time it was a 'Pictures in Stitch' workshop run by local artist Wendy Lloyd. Children's drawings could be transferred to fabric, just like the ones above. L decided to do one of 'The Little Prince':

It was really quite tricky - especially his hair and the different parts of his coat. She hasn't finished it yet but I'll take a photo when it's done. I decided to immortalize E's pet rabbit:

The one on the right is appliqued (good practice for next month!) and I might separate the 2 pictures and use one in my quilt. The workshop lasted for 3 hours, so we had a picnic by the canal when we came out. Veggie spring rolls - yum!

The girls did some baking - mega butterfly muffins!

And decorated our Easter Tree with eggs collected and made over the years:

On Sunday L went to visit J for a few days. We dropped her off at the station and then popped into a quilt exhibition at a local school. There were over 3 hundred quilts and I took a few pictures of my favourites:

I would have stayed longer but E was a bit restless and eventually played the 'I really want to do some GCSE revision' card! What mother could ignore that one?

The rest of Sunday was spent doing a spot of gardening and a sneaky bit of hooky by the river.

There were lots of these!

Hope you are enjoying the Easter break and glorious weather. Toodle pip for now. x

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

On my camera this week

Hello Lovely Bloggers. We are now into our second week of the Easter holidays (slightly marred by GCSE revision) and I suddenly realized that I had lots of photos building up on my camera which probably didn't merit a post on their own but which I would want to remember anyway.  So, I thought I would copy an idea that I've seen quite a lot in Blogland and do an 'On my camera this week' post.

So, here are a few things on my camera this week ..........

A girls' day out in town with my Darling L. Time for much needed haircuts, a trip to the library and a sneaky visit to La Tasca.
Bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar - so simple and yet so yummy.

A selection of tapas for the main course. My favourite was the breaded aubergine.

And no visit to La Tasca would be complete without a Sangria!

A quick look around TK Maxx revealed these 2 beauties. The chicken mug is now known as 'Harriet's Mug' after our very own Lavender Pekin.

Seedlings in the greenhouse. Mostly veggies but a few sunflowers too. 

Mothers' Day. A washi tape card:

A pot of tulips:

Some yummy chocolates:

And .............ingredients for a mojito and a pina colada! Until quite recently I had never tried a cocktail, so to remedy this the girls bought me a cocktail book and a few basics for Christmas and then added to it for Mothers' Day. I was very happy!


Working on the 'Manly Blanket' whilst waiting in the school car park for E.

Breakfasts are normally rushed toast and cereal affairs during term time, so during the holidays it's nice to have a few treats.

.....and latkes.

Yesterday, I went to meet my friend, S, at Clifton in Bristol. She lives in Exeter, so it was a nice half way point. We walked for miles as it was cold but beautifully sunny and a lovely day was had by all.

We started off with coffee and a toasted teacake in the museum cafe.

Then had a potter round all the cutesy little shops in Clifton. All that was missing was a yarn shop (or if there is one, we didn't find it!) I wanted to copy Tiny Tin Bird's idea of buying a ball of yarn on a day trip out to incorporate the memory of the day into a project. Maybe next time.

We had a fantastic lunch at the Thali Cafe:

I had a Northern Thali - clockwise from the top: rice, dahl, pumpkin curry, salad, spinach and paneer curry and raita. Absolutely delicious. 

Then another walk across the suspension bridge and up to the observatory before a pot of tea and a macadamia and peanut blondie. I forgot to take a photo of this but, you'll have to take my word for it, it was scrumptious! A day to remember - only slightly marred by having to crawl through the city centre in the rush hour traffic on my way back to the M4!

That's all for now. I'll pop back later in the week to update you on the next 'new thing' on my 50 list - quilting!

Toodle pip. x