Friday, 20 February 2015

10 Things: Week 7

Wow week 7 already? Where is 2015 flying off to? Nearer to spring and better weather I hope!

1. Read Still reading that Val McDermid on my Kindle. Although I have started another in-the-bath-book: Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry. Last year or possibly the year before (as time does fly) a friend in book group was off to India and picked A Fine Balance as her book group choice. I remember the stunned faces of some members of the book group when she showed everyone a copy because it's the size of a doorstop with titchy writing and looked like it might be the sort of book that took the average reader a few years to read. As it turned out it was the best book of that years book group choices. A book that stayed with me long after I'd finished it. A book where I felt I knew the characters and wanted to stay friends with them long after the final words had been finished. When I saw a copy of Family Matters by the same author at a book crossing get together, I had to give it ago and it's shaping up to be a good read too. One of the best things about book group is reading books by authors I'd never heard of or considered reading.

Reading


2. Made: I made the supertote and blogged about it here. It's my second full sized version.

3. Watched: The Bourne Legacy. It was Saturday night I was faffing about on the laptop with the film on in the back ground. I don't think I did the other Bourne films after the first one as they were too hard to follow for a multi-tasker like me. Anyway, I'd pretty much missed a whole chunk of the film before it caught my attention and from then on I was hooked. I think  Jeremy Renner's  character jumping out of a cupboard and saving the day (the first of many times that I saw.) might have just helped.

4. Worn: I got a rain hat in the Seasalt sale. Actually I got some trousers too. They've not been worn yet. My Mum said I look like an old lady in the rain hat and snickers every time I put it on. I love me a hat though. Any excuse. The trousers were a bargain. I've not bought from Seasalt before as I had browsed a couple of times online and anything I liked seemed expensive.  The sale prices make purchases more palatable. If I was better at selfies I'd don the hat and let you make up your own mind about my old lady status. Maybe I'll just do a post with me in every hat I own.

5. Eaten - Shrove Tuesday I made pancakes. Not my best effort. I was tired and hungry.


Cooking Pancakes

6. Visited/Seen: Last Saturday Mum and I made our first trip of the year to Waterperry Gardens, where the snowdrops are out in full force.

Waterperry Gardens - Snowdrop Weekend

Waterperry Gardens - Snowdrop Weekend

Waterperry Gardens - Snowdrop Weekend

Waterperry Gardens - Snowdrop Weekend


7. Recommended: I have to recommend getting outside and if you can find a nice park, garden or similar so much the better. I'm not a fan of winter. I am a fan of the bit of winter where you start to see signs of spring. They do me good. Make me feel better and really lift my spirits.

8. Stash: In 2.5 yards Out 2.5 yards

9. Birds: No more birds on my year list. To be fair I haven't been out anywhere bird watching and as Chief pointed out it's amazing my list has so many from pretty much just the garden.  Chief did buy me a bird identification book that he thought was really good as it has photographs of the birds in different stages/positions. I was reading up about Dunnocks. The book says they have 'red hot sex lives' taking multiple partners. Who knew those shy little birds that flit about under my bird feeders have red hot sex lives?! It just goes to show it's right when they say it's the shy ones you have to watch.

10. And finally: It's strange times. I don't even know how to articulate this at the moment. Suffice to say bereavements are hard. I'm trying to keep up beat and focus on the positives. Chief is on his way down as I type. Sometimes a girl could just use a hug.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Easily Distracted

I bought fabric this week. One of the cuts was 3/4 yard cut of Emma's Garden - Garden Bouquet in Violet by Patty Sloniger.   I am fairly sure (as I'm not buying fabric 'just because' and because 3/4 yard cut is a strange amount for me to buy) that when I purchased it online earlier in the week I had a very specific project in mind for it. By the time it had arrived I had absolutely no idea what that project was. Instead I took one look at it and thought Super Tote!


Supertote!

Friday I started cutting out the bag parts - pairing the Garden Bouquet fabric with some bright pink Essex linen that I also bought earlier this year with a specific project in mind and then promptly forgot what that was. Hmmm are we beginning to see a pattern here? Is it my age? All the while I was cutting I kept thinking: Shouldn't I really be getting on with that quilt for the camper van; so that if we hit the road next time Chief's down I can snuggle under it? Of course I did what any sensible quilter would do to assuage her guilt. I left the pieces scattered around the living room floor for a whole day and didn't touch them (or get on with any quilt making.)

Today I thought I'd best do some housework and picking up those bag pieces from the living room floor and turning them into a bag counts as housework, No?


Supertote!
I actually put the pleats in how they should be.
(I didn't in the first one I made. 

The plan for this Super Tote is to use for work once the weather improves. It might actually encourage the weather to perk up a bit as it does rather zing on these miserable February days. I'm also thinking I could pack quite a bit into it for a trip in Gertie.  And when Chief said I couldn't fill her with my girlie Sh** he surely didn't mean for me not to bring a pretty bag or two with my essentials in it...like the quilt if I ever get to make it.


Supertote!

I did a pretty good job of pattern matching the back pieces. Which (in the interest of full disclosure) was a happy accident. I didn't put the zip in as I knew I hadn't a zip anywhere near the right size. I'm sort of regretting not putting a magnetic snap in to close the bag instead. But I completely forgot to do this. I may add a trigger clip on strip of fabric inside as that's useful for keys. It'll be easy enough to add one later as I didn't have one at time of making. It's lined in some random kona grey fabric I found (bought to make Christmas place mats and not used.) I put one of the gathered pockets in but neglected to take any internal bag photographs. I may have plenty of fabric in my stash, I am learning that few of the larger cuts play nicely together in projects like this.

The Supertote pattern is by Anna of Noodlehead fame. Click through to find out more details and buy.





Friday, 13 February 2015

10 Things: Week 6

1. Read - Animal Farm by George Orwell. I had thought I'd read this before although couldn't be sure if it was a version aimed at children; I thought no harm in giving it ago again. It's a slim volume and was perfect to read over a couple of leisurely bubble baths. Really the amount of baths v. showers I have these days it's a wonder I've not shrunk.

2. Made - I haven't made a single thing. Although there has been a fair amount of plotting concerning the quilt for me to use in the camper van. I was sold on tumblers and then I saw the Amsterdam Quilt pattern and I'm wondering if I could adapt that. Although could Chief cope with flowers in the van?! I have also just this afternoon decided to make another Super Tote so I've started cutting out pieces.

3.Watched - Another week of watching very little of note on TV. Although my little Father Brown addiction continues. It's perfect for watching or having on in the back ground as I wind down from work.

4. Worn - I have relegated my baker boy cap of choice to the back of the cupboard after as slight (but very painful) head hitting incident in the camper van. The peak of the cap obscured my view enough for me to give my head a good crack on the cab when climbing in from the back of the van. I told Chief I needed a woolly hat instead. (I was dreaming of those pretty hand knitted beanies that crop up on in IG in the feeds of all those wonderful knitters.) Chief on the other hand took of his black military beanie and handed me that. I may now advertise a defunct regiment, but I can't fault it for warmth.

5. Eaten - Saturday I had a belated birthday lunch at The Greyhound.  It was yummy. Chief and I have been there three times and it's always yummy. I was too busy eating to photograph my food. I did get a shot of this blue and white china that Chiefs cup of tea was served in. We were messing with camera settings whilst we waited for our food to arrive.


The Greyhound, Besselsleigh 

The Greyhound, Besselsleigh


6. Visited/Seen - I have at last ventured somewhere! Chief got down in his new camper van (Gertie) and we headed off to Farmoor. It was cold and grey and we saw very little bird life and the decision to head straight to The Greyhound was an easy one. After lunch we headed to Otmoor. When we returned to the van it was blocked in by several abandoned cars in the car park. At weekends the car park can get very full with so many people flocking (excuse the pun!) to see the starling murmuration. Still with Gertie so well equipped waiting wasn't a drama: gas heating, freshly made hot chocolate and a quick lay down watching the rugby.


Otmoor, Oxfordshire
Otmoor: It's looking quite bleak this time of year.

Otmoor, Oxfordshire

Having a hot chocolate in Gertie
Hot choc time in 'Gertie'


7. Recommended - It has to be camper vans. I still have some reservations re security etc. But I'm completely sold on 'Gertie' and can't wait for our first trip away!

8. Stash - Out 0  In 0

9. Birds - The list is now at 45 thanks to the Otmoor and Farmoor trips. Ironic considering we didn't see that many birds! I was so happy that when we turned up at Otmoor the first birds we saw were bullfinches. Sadly not the right light or location for photographs.

10. And Finally - I'm hoping to cram a lot into this weekend so there may be more sewing blog posts on the horizon!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Birds of a Feather Quilt

Finally I can reveal some pictures of the quilt I made Chief for Christmas.


Birds of a Feather Quilt
Lesser Spotted Chief holding his quilt

I hadn't even attempted to get pictures previously due to the awful winter light and nobody to hold the quilt for me. I told Chief I'd need to get pictures before he left with it and the weather was kind to us. The concept of a photo shoot for a quilt perplexed Chief rather and when we took it out to the garden he first held it folded in two. I asked him to turn it round so I could take pictures of the other side of the fold. He obliged but missed the point about me wanting a picture of the whole quilt. In the end he did hold it out as in the top picture, but the wind caught it and I knew he'd not faff about for long. His major concern was it not touching any part of the wet ground. Despite me telling him it was ok to wash it. 

Birds of a Feather Quilt

Birds of a Feather Quilt

Anyway, some quilt details. I followed these dimensions for the St Louis 16 patch.  It's the second quilt I've made following this pattern. Although this one is twice the size as the first, as Chief specified he'd like a quilt that would cover him head to toe, as he thought he'd use it in a camper van should he ever realise his dream of getting one. 

All the fabric is from stash - sort of. I deliberately picked bird themed fabrics. I had quite a few of these in my stash but when Chief requested a larger quilt it was clear I'd have to use the birdie fabrics I'd  just bought to replace some of the fabrics I've used in this quilt. In most cases I had a nice section left over after cutting, which I've put to one side to use in a scrappy trip I'd like to make. I felt a lot better about using some of my hoarded stash knowing I'd have a little bit of fabric to put in a big quilt for me. 

This quilt was actually a great stash buster. Each block uses a fat quarters worth of fabric so with with 24 blocks I busted 24 fat quarters. I used 3/4 yard of Kona peacock to bind it. I picked Kona Peacock because it was a colour named after a bird. After buying some lovely birdie fabric for the back I'd no where near enough and it was going to be ridiculously expensive to buy enough. Instead I used an old flat sheet that had been my brothers. Chief likes blue and there was a lot of blue on the front so it worked a treat. 

I can't tell you exactly how big this worked out as I didn't measure it. I quilted it diagonally through each block in both directions using a pale grey aurifil. 

Chief loves his quilt although now he isn't sure he wants to leave it in Gertie - his new camper van, as he's worried someone will steal it away! 

Thanks for all the suggestions about what quilt I should make for camper van adventures. I'm leaning towards tumblers at the moment. Apologies for not answering comments on the last post yet. Chief actually made it down for the weekend and only went back at lunch time. I'm sold on Gertie too. But that's a whole other blog post!


Friday, 6 February 2015

10 Things: Week 5

1. Read: Despite not finishing the book I started last week (it's on the kindle and I like to have a paperback to read in the bath.) I have finished another book. Again recommended to me by a bookcrossing friend. It's called: Knowing Me by Valerie Blumenthal.  Who is a local-to-me author and that's what made my friend pick up the book in the first place. I have to say I'd probably never have read this book without the recommendation. It had a pretty bland cover and uninspiring back cover blurb. But actually I found once I picked it up I was keen to have more baths so I could get on with reading it. It's about Gnat an almost-fourteen-year-old who finds herself in an adolescent home after an incident that has estranged her from her mother. The story is told largely through Gnats therapy sessions and the therapy sessions of her mother and what unfolds is a poignantly touching story about the difficulties of mother/daughter relationships. I think it would make a great book group choice as despite being a slim volume there is plenty to talk about.

2. Made: After a very unmotivated Saturday I got stitching on Sunday and finished the headboard cover.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out. It's quite a snug fit as I didn't want extra fabric flapping about, so I really hope it never shrinks in the wash. It was great to use up low volume charms I'd been hoarding and also be able to recycle and old sheet and some horrid poly batting in order to make this.


Headboard Cover

3. Watched: Not much TV watching this week. But have spent a fair amount of time looking out the window watching snow fall and then watch it turn to sleet. I'll be glad when spring is here!

4. Worn; I haven't actually worn it yet. But I did get this skirt in Boden's sale. With discounts it was a fraction of it's original price and is embroidered.

New skirt!

5. Eaten: I have of course eaten this week but nothing of note. And despite trying to be a bit more healthy in my choices since Christmas I have eaten a few of these.  Opps

Life

6: Visited/Seen: Snow! Yes, these parts had the first snow to lay since 2013. I don't recall ever going that long without snow and Tuesday morning we woke up to find everywhere covered in the white stuff. I walked to work as it was quicker than trying to drive and more snow was a possibility. It also gave me the chance to take some photos.

Holton in the Snow

Unbelievably a few hours later it had pretty much melted. Leaving little sign we'd had any. 

7. Recommended: Dunelm for bed linen. Of course having made the head board cover I then had to treat myself to some more bed linen. The bedlinen you can just see in the picture above with the new head board cover came from Next about 10 years ago and having been unable to find two different sets I liked I bought two the same and have been using them pretty much ever since! I bought myself a new set last year but decided to wait until I could find another completely different one.  Having really like this birdie set I got from Dunelm, I had been checking in from time to time to see if I could find another one I liked. Unfortunately the only one I'd see was a silver/grey animal print one that could only be collected from store and as I don't live near a store I had to think again.

Update

Then I saw Dunelm advertise they had new bedding in and so I got this one:

New bed linen just arrived.  Got a different set last year and it's made me realise how much I dislike the old set (2 the same) I've had for nearly 10 years.

It's white, grey and yellow and both sides have a very patchworky pattern on it. I'm not normally a yellow person. This screamed spring freshness to me and I thought it would be neutral enough to work with any quilt I cared to add to it too. And the best thing about Dunelm bedding? This double set cost a £16.99 and many double sets only cost £19.99 so certainly value for money.

8. Stash: In: 0 Out: 1 fat quarter.
9. Birds: Bird list has not increased. Chiefs is over 60 and rising. 
10. And Finally: I've decided I need an easy to make single sized quilt for me to take in the camper. Chief will have the quilt I've made him for Christmas and despite him telling me I can't fill it with "girly Sh**" I do feel the opportunity to make myself a quilt is too good to pass up. I don't want to do another 16 patch or scrappy trip so am open to and would welcome your suggestions. 

Friday, 30 January 2015

10 Things: Week 4

It seems the only blogging I'm managing at the moment are these 10 things posts!  At least I'm keeping this up though.

1. Read: I've charged the kindle up and am reading the first in the 'Wire in the Blood' series of books by Val McDermid. Several people have recommended these thrillers to me and I did watch the TV series. I'm starting off with The Mermaids Singing.  I've only read a chapter so can't really tell you much about how I'm finding it.

2. Made: I haven't done any stitching since last week. I've had a bit of a cold and life has just got in the way. But I want to get back to that head board cover and I have some plans for some sitting-on-the-sofa projects.

3. Watched: I've not watched much TV this week. Well not all the way through. But later on I intend watching The Muskateers, which is on series two and every bit as swashbuckling as you'd expect.

4. Worn: So I've been doing this for four weeks now and not managed to come up with anything. I may have to change this category or get my act together.

5. Eaten: Birthday cake. I bought one in Asda just before my birthday then we didn't eat it. My niece came around after school and we did the cake/candles/happy birthday singing.


Continuing the celebrations 


6. Visited/seen: Again I need to get out and about. Although this week I did go to a funeral and the wake. It wasn't photo worthy though.

7. Recommended: Blurb Books for self publishing. I know I've gone on about this before, but I've just got my 2014 Blurb book published. I sent it for printing on Sunday and it arrived today. That was using standard delivery. No mean feat considering it was shipped from Europe.  Mum said earlier that when I'm an old lady I can sit under a quilt and read my year books and remember the 'good old days'. She knows me so well.


I <3 Blurb books! 

8. Stash: In: a lovely pile of Leanne Fanny scraps. I'd not seen her fabrics in the flesh before. They are even more beautiful that the instagram pictures would lead you to believe. I was probably tempted by them because of the birdie print poking out of some of the packs. Ironically I didn't get one in my pack. I can see I'll be buying more of her fabrics if the chance arises. Out: 0 - yes must try harder to dent that stash!

Hand printed. 
The colours and designs are so bright and vibrant. They remind me of India and hot 
temperatures.

9. Birds: The list is up to 26! and that's without going out birdwatching. I'm happy with that.

10. And finally: Um whilst on sick leave Chief has bought a camper style van. I've seen pictures on flickr because I made him post some.  The snow up north and his continued ill health means he's unlikely to make it down this weekend as hoped.  It's a VW T4 and has a small kitchen, shower/toilet and even a little TV. I'm not sure I'd have given up my car to have this instead, but it's been Chiefs dream for a while. It could be fun. As long as we can still have nice hotel breaks and eat out at nice places (He's stocked up on pot noodle!) Anyway, I'll need to make a quilt now because Chief has one and I don't and of course I'll need a new one just for trips out in the van won't I?


Friday, 23 January 2015

Week 3: Ten Things

1. Read: I'm reading another book that has crossed my path thanks to Bookcrossing. It's a great book for reading in the bath. It's the story of a couple who after a night out find that one of them is accused of the murder of a nightclub owner. As they've both taken drugs neither can remember much about the night. It's told from three character view points: the female half of the couple, another female character (I won't reveal why I think she's important to the plot.) and the detective who makes the arrest.

Latest read 

2. Made: I sorted through all the low volume charms I've received as part of charm swaps or swaps with friends. I was really brave and decided to just get on and use them and not think I'd save this one or that one for some other project. They were sewn into 9 patches then randomly cut into four and re sewn to create new more improvised blocks. I deliberately wanted something that was liberated and didn't require 100% accuracy. That may shock the quilt police, but I didn't worry about cutting accurately, matching seams or using pins. I just sliced and sewed. 110 odd charms later I'd made a panel large enough to cover the head board. I then basted it with some polyester wadding.  (Yucky! bought for another project many years ago before I knew that cotton was the only way to go - however expensive!) The other project lay unfinished and was too ugly to consider finishing; so I unbasted it and decided to also repurpose the sheet I'd used as backing. I've started quilting it in wonky straight lines. Randomly placed of course. Everything about this is a make-it-up-as-you-go break-all-the-rules kind of make. It's felt incredibly liberating. The plan is to bind both edges and then fold in half and sew together to create a slip cover that can go over the head board. It can be removed and washed as necessary or replaced easily. I'm hoping the calming low volume colours not only compliment any bed linen I use, but aid a restful nights sleep.

I do need to get some decent pictures of this project!

3. Watched:  I tried to watch Wolf Hall which has been dramatised and is being shown on BBC 2. I've not read the Hilary Mantel books and have no interest in doing so. I was curious about the drama though. Whilst I'm sure it's quality drama it has only managed to reinforce my opinion that the books would so not be my kind of thing. Please don't ask me to tell you what happened in episode one. I haven't a clue. I remember seeing Damien Lewis as Henry VIII. I could have made that up though.

4. Worn does having a new bag for my birthday fit into this category? I ask because I had the most lovely and longed for Orla Kiely bag.

New bag!

5. Eaten & 6. Seen/Visited; For my birthday my family took me out to a recently reopened local(ish) pub. The Fox and Goat. It does your classic pub fair and the pub has been modernised to retain character, but feel modern and up to date. I had a yummy burger and my niece who had Confit of Duck on a bed of Garlic mash with red cabbage said it was better than a similar dish she'd had at a rival esteemed restaurant. I rarely go out with the family for my birthday because it's too difficult to get everyone together mid week. So this was a lovely surprise.

7. Recommended: Well if you're in the locality of the Fox and Goat I may well recommend you go there. Other than that I recommend good birthdays full of lovely swag like this:

Birthday Swag!

8. Stash: In 0 Out: Over 110 5" charm squares, more cotton sheeting and leftover batting.
9. Birds: My list is over 20 now. Chiefs is probably about 1000. Certainly way more than 20!
10. And Finally: This has been the best week of the year so far. Not full of the stress I've come to expect in the last few weeks so I'm hoping that this continues. Sadly Chief is still stuck up north signed off work and not feeling great. No idea when I'll see him. It looks like for once I'll be having Christmas after my birthday!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Week 2: Ten Things

So here I am for a second week!

1. Read: Alys, Always by Harriet Lane.  A book in a package of Christmas goodies from a friend I made through Bookcrossing.


First book started in 2015

If you enjoyed Notes on Scandal by Zoe Heller, then I think you may well enjoy this.

2. Made: I managed to finish another cushion! Everything was shopped from stash and it was great to see those hexies I won in Sarah's give away finally stitched together and into a completed cushion cover. I am hoping to do a proper blog post about this cushion and the one I made last week.

Hexie cushion 

3. Watched: Series 2 of BroadChurch  I hadn't seen all of series one as despite starting watching it I was then out quite a lot on the nights it was on and never got around to catching up with watching it online. Once I'd missed several episodes I sort of gave up. It had such cracking reviews that I knew I had to see what series 2 was going to be like. Two episodes in and Mum and I are hooked.

4. Worn: Oh dear miserable fail to have anything interesting to report. I will file this into the category of 'must try harder' and then one week I hope to amaze you with lots?!

5. Eaten: I have to say I'm the sort of person that struggles with my appetite if I'm under repeated stress. These last few weeks have certainly been stressful. I've lost weight. I'm seeing that as a bonus. Faced with this lovely creme brulee even that couldn't tempt me to eat all of it.


Dessert

6. Seen/Visited: The weather has been pretty rubbish and whilst I have done more than just go to and from work. I've not done anything remotely worthy of putting in this section of ten things. Again: Must-Try-Harder.

7. Recommended: Cheap Asda flowers. My local supermarket is an Asda and that's the place I most often buy flowers when I treat myself. For £3.00 (sometimes a few pennies less.) you can get lovely bunches of flowers such as these bright red tulips. 7 days after I bought these as tight buds, they're still going strong. And at £3 who can't afford the occasional bunch?


red and green

8. Stash: In  1.5 yards     Out: 3/4 yard (Plus more wadding and sheeting scraps.) OK so I bought fabric. It was only because I won the choice of three bag patterns last week in the FAL give away and whilst I haven't technically got my prize yet, I know which bag I want to make first and I needed some fabric suitable as a bag lining. In my defence it was on sale big time. I regret not going even madder in the sale and buying enough to back quilts and the like!

9. Birds: The gales have blown my Mum's bird feeding station over twice smashing some of it the second time so I've not been attracting any new birds to the garden.  I've only managed to add house sparrows onto my bird list this week. Unsurprisingly Chief's list is now over 60.

10. And Finally: Chief is still off work poorly. We've not had our Christmas. And can you believe I've been a very good girl and not even peeked at one present that's waiting for me to open from him. (He brought them down before Christmas so they'd be here ready when he did get down.) I need a medal for will power. Unless it's for not buying fabric. Then I have little will power once the pretties call!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Week 1: Ten Things

As promised here is my first (of what I hope will be many) weekly posts of 10 things that have gone on in my world this week.

1. Read: Moon Island by Rosie Thomas. This was a recommendation from a bookcrossing friend. I didn't hesitate as the last Rosie Thomas book I read: The Kashmir Shawl; I really enjoyed. I haven't quite finished it as it's my read-in-the-bath book at the moment.

2. Made: I finished Chiefs 'Birds of a Feather' Quilt which is one of his Christmas presents. I can't get better pictures because I want him to see it before the rest of the world and right now the weather is not suitable for quilt pictures anyway.

Birds of a Feather 
Chiefs Quilt. I can show you this much as he's seen this!


It's always satisfying to get a WIP finished.  This cushion deserves a blog post of it's own. I can't resist showing you a picture now though. It's based on the wafers EPP templates by Nellies Niceties.

Wafers Cushion finished!


I also made one of these drawstring bags by following the excellent tutorial on this blog. I see many more of these in my future. I think they'd make lovely presents if filled with a few treats.  This one is destined to hold my DSLR when I only want to take a handbag and a small lens on the camera and therefore don't want a full on camera bag.  As a result I used some thin fusible fleece to line the main body part and it's made it nice and cushioned whilst not making it bulky.

Draw-string bag


3. Watched: I loved Esio Trot starring Dustin Hoffman and Dame Judy Dench. How did I not know this Roald Dahl story already? I thought I'd read most of his books and I'd even read Crockywock the Crocodile to him in a school assembly when he came to open my primary school!

4. Worn: Clothes! Yes, I bet you're all relieved about that. Seeing as I haven't taken any pictures or really thought this item through on my ten things list, I'll leave it at that and promise to try and do better next time.

5. Eaten: I am still working my way through chocolates I had for Christmas. I think I may be eating them until June. Not these. I've eaten all of these already!

Don't mind if I do

6. Seen/visited: Some weeks I'll probably have loads to tell you in this section (I hope).  With this horrible weather I'm in hibernation mode unless it's essential.

7. Recommended: Sophie Court Designs  Last year my Mum bought me a robin necklace by Sophie and this year we  both fell in love with the reversible stags head necklace and luckily Mum managed to buy the last one at the Christmas Craft fair at Waterperry Gardens to give me for Christmas.

My stags head Christmas present

I follow Sophie Court Designs on Facebook and there was a sale. I had to buy this birdie necklace. It's reversible so you get double value from this jewellery; which is made from paper and acrylic.  It's also nice to support local to me artists.

Purple Side of my new necklacePretty birdie

8. Stash: I want to keep a check on in coming and out going fabric this year and do as much 'stash' shopping as I can. I have had some lovely fabric arrive of late, but I'm not counting it as it was bought or won in 2014. The plan is if I can save my pennies I will be able to pay for a bed sized quilt to be professionally quilted. It's long been an ambition of mine. Of course I have to make the quilt too!

So, fabric in: 0 Fabric; Out: 1.5 yards (plus some left over scraps of batting and sheeting.)

9. Birds: Chiefs year list is already over 50 and he's mainly been bird watching via his car as he's not well enough to be out for long or walk too far. My list is at 17. Not so shabby given that's pretty much only the birds I can identify through my front window.

10. And finally This has been a week of ups and downs. I had a horrible stressy start to the week and lets just say stuff happening on Friday made everything better. I won something in the Finish-A-Long. Amazing. I'd forgotten I'd actually made something and it was only one thing on a very long list of WIP's I'd listed out!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year!

It seems I've lost a month. My blogging mojo has completely gone. I'm hoping I'll find my voice in 2015 although maybe I need to change the format of my blog to feel at one with it again. Mainly I've been hanging out on Flickr (yes I'm still persevering with the format everyone else seems to hate.) and Instagram.

I hope that in 2015 I'll get back into sewing properly and will have lots more projects to show you. I'm yet to finish Chief's Christmas quilt. I stopped rushing at it when I discovered that Chief would be unable to spend Christmas with me as I'd hoped. Just over a week before Christmas Chief was diagnosed with a chest infection. Despite the antibiotics this turned to pneumonia (with tonsillitis for added fun!?). He's been lucky to stay out of hospital. He's still on antibiotics now. I have no idea when I'll be able to see him as he was taken ill up in Middlesbrough - hundreds of miles away from me.  We will have Christmas again when we finally do get together. I am just thankful it hasn't been any worse. His brother had his own health drama's and the outcome has been far more serious.

Cushion top piecing done
I hope to turn this into a cushion cover very soon.

2014 wasn't an altogether bad year for me. Although I do feel I lost touch with the sewing community.  I went for large chunks of time when I didn't really do much making and it seems so much harder to connect these days with the flickr groups to rally us. I know swaps go on over on IG but I've never managed to get my head around these so far. Or maybe I've just not been tempted by a swap for another mini quilt. Maybe I need a swap for some other small sewn item?

Anyway, I did manage to record 110 different birds via the bird track app on my phone. No small thing given I'm not a dedicated bird watcher and live in a county that has limited habitats with which to spot a variety of birds.

Gannets at Bempton Cliffs 
I loved seeing the gannets at Bempton Cliffs

I also found that as 2014 came to an end I had read 39 books!  I'm also signed up to go to the world bookcrossing convention in spring. It just happens to be in my home city of Oxford.

Relax
Really looking forward to discovering more great reads in 2015

I'm also loving continuing my journey with my camera.  I didn't miss a day of my project 365 over on flickr and the 2014 memory book has shaped up to a staggering 188 pages. Previous books barely have touched a 100 pages!

I <3 Blurb books!
Looking forward to getting 2014 Blurb book published.

I'm thinking at the very least I'd try and pop in at least weekly to the blog to update you with 10 things. A list of things I've done that week. You know places been, books read and things made.

I'm not signing up to a fabric fast this year as last year I signed up in January for a 6 month fast and  I did it but regretted several fabric designs I missed out on through being good. (I'm thinking of those blythe confetti dots and some Liberty Hello Kitty.) I do want to focus on using up my stash before buying so I'll try and keep a tally on what goes in and out. I have fabric on order from 2014 purchases. I'm hoping to not just buy in 2015 because I want it!

Happy New Year! And here's to a fabulous 2015!