Some of them are just because I can't stop making them.
And it's not that I don't have anything else to do... ha ha ha (insert hysterical laughter here)...
There's the 5th rugby game in 8 days, plus hockey tournaments, and football matches, the 2 concerts to attend, the parties (not mine, I'd like to point out) to drive people to and from, the school fayre, the presents to wrap and ahem purchase or finish... the food to prepare...
I could go on, but I'm scaring myself.
I'll go hide in my room and make another pincushion... it seems the most sensible thing to do.
This weekend I finally quilted one of the two finished quilt tops that have been haunting me for a while. You must know the feeling... that little voice at the back of your mind that whispers 'quilt meeeee.... quilt meee... don't start something else QUILT MEEEEE...'
Ok, sometimes it's more of a scream, right?
And in fairness it's often the projects we procrastinate for ages that in the end give us the most satisfaction when finished AND they never take as long as we think they'd do. Weird. Or not.
Made using scraps, little by little, without an initial plan, without worrying about straight seams or wonkiness. Embrace your wonkiness. Wonkiness is good. Trust me.
Quilted with straight(ish) lines, dense. But not too dense.
The reverse is a vintage sheet. Total contrast and I like that. Nobody will see it and it's my private joke.
For the first time I've attached facing to the quilt instead of binding because I'd like to hang it somewhere someday.. I used this brilliant tutorial by Silly Boo Dilly.
And there you have it. Another quilt for the pile. Feels good.
One more to go... but it'll have to wait at the back of my mind for a little longer... things to do and people to see...
Two in a row... I ought to get a lottery ticket this weekend.
It's not a new book, it came out in 2006 and with all probability you've already read it twice, wrote an essay about it and bought the t-shirt.
but for me it was a serendipitous purchase in a charity shop.
Seriously, one of those books that will find you cooking and reading at the same time or sneaking a few pages here and there during the day. And you will NOT expect the ending. But in a good way. I think. I didn't anyway.
And you know what they say about clouds having a silver lining? Well, it's true. Today is very VERY cloudy, and windy, and cold, and drizzly. BUT the rugby match has been cancelled (by the other school, our boys are 'ard' they laugh at bad weather) so I don't have to stand on a windy/cold/drizzly sideline for an hour.
Yes, yes, I know... it's what put 'great' in Great Britain... but still... it's ghastly out there, let me tell you.
Yesterday of course, when there were no matches the weather was like this:
Well, not much else to report today... I have beds to make and a delivery to wait for... very exciting.
It is the worthy winner of this year Booker Price and it's amazing.
Reductively described as a love story is so so much more. (And I love a good love story...give me a love story anytime..). It's about human nature. The good, the bad, the evil. War, hate, forgiveness, resilience, deceit, heroism and the everyday. And the heroism in the everyday.
It's all in there.
You will look at people (and history perhaps) in a different light.
It turned out that No 2's plane was very late and by the time we drove home in rush hour traffic we were two hours late.
No 1 did well in supervising No 3 and feeding him but within five minutes of entering the house:
- No 1 confessed he messed up some TV recording for Mr M (who, I'd like to add was in Madrid at a football game...)
- No 2 opened his suitcase in the middle of the corridor and started pulling out ridiculous amounts of chocolate
- No 3 burst into tears confessing he hadn't down his homework because he'd forgotten the sheet at school
- AND the dog went bonkers in the garden at a hedgehog.
I hid in the toilette and seriously contemplated sneaking out from the window and getting back into my car. Except... the downstairs toilet doesn't have a window.
Anyway, it took a while, but we sorted the recording and the homework and the suitcase got closed and taken upstairs and the dog brought inside.
THIS MORNING however the stars hadn't re-aligned themselves any better:
- The hedgehog hadn't moved since last night so I donned goalie gloves and put it in a bowl in the sink. Called animal welfare. Not much use. We named it "Reginald" or "Prudence"... it's hard to say if a hedgehog is a girl or a boy.
- No 3 frantically did his Latin homework before school, then got picked up by somebody's grandmother (I hope) whilst No 1 sleepily supervised his exit and me and No 2 went to the osteopath.
- Unfortunately we kind of witnessed a head on collision on the way and stopped to call an ambulance which took ages.
- We were late to the osteo and a little bit shaken.
- Called the vet. Not much use either.
- Called the wildlife rescue centre. Told me to bring it in.
- We then went into town to buy school shoes. Always a barrel of laughter. Not.
- I then drove Reginald?Prudence? to the centre where they confirmed it was indeed injured and promised to look after it.
- It wasn't even 11am by this point.
Is it wine o'clock yet? Please take the bag of mini marshmallow away from me!
Anyway, I turned one of my many eggcups into a pincushion:
Just because I felt like it.
And now if you'll excuse me... I still haven't made any of the beds!!
Indigo pouches WITH a zipper. Oh yes, because I'm not scared of zippers anymore... bring it on zippers I'm not afraid of you... Except when I forget to unzip you before stitching around the bag... or when I sew you on the wrong side of the teeth... a part from that I've conquered you, I eat you for breakfast ... zippers!
Actually I had French stick with Nutella and a cup of vanilla Assam tea. Very nice indeed. (Not a whole French baguette... just a smallish piece. Ish...)
If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll remember mum and I had a mad indigo dyeing sesh in Tuscany last summer. At the end of the day I threw some scrunched up and roughly tied dark linen leftovers into it. Of course they turned out as my favourite pieces, serendipity and all that...
On Saturday, I turned them into small pouches.
And I love them.
And I don't even need pouches.
Still. Indigo and linen. What's not to love.
Now I'd love to do some more... but it's cold and wet outside and raining hard and not the best day for an indigo vat.
Oh and I need to drive to Heathrow to pick up the prodigal son... better not forget that!
No 3 has reluctantly gone back to school today. He must be the worst morning person EVER. I'm almost scared of waking him up sometimes!
Anyway, one down and two to go. A few more days yet. No 1 is still in bed (teenagers!!) and No 2 is still in Italy.
I'm sitting at the kitchen table listening to the washing machine and the dishwasher. Exciting. Not.
We've had a fabulous half term so I can't complain. The weather played ball, it was slow and relaxed. I'd say the best ever.
(I'm wearing boots passed down from No 2, sigh... I'm wearing my children cast offs!)
I've even started some secred Santa presents... oh yes... although I'm liking it so much I might end up keeping it... sigh...
I finished my first ever weaving project. THAT was so much fun... hey maybe I should make a wall hanging thingy for everyone! Maybe not. I can just imagine the face of my father in law... "oh how interesting... what it is?"
It's not perfect by any means, but I wanted to learn as many techniques as possible and my mind is buzzing with the possibilities. Also it's been hanging in the kitchen and nobody is complaining, and trust me... it's a tough audience around here!
On a completely different note....
Do you fancy learning to crochet some cozy fingerless mittens? like these ones?
If so come and join me in Chipping Norton on Weds 19th November, 10am to 1pm at "The Fibreworks", I'll be running a workshop and can't wait. It'll be so much fun and I promise you.... you'll be crocheting a pair of mittens for everybody for Christmas!
In the spirit of 'use it or lose it', I've been digging through my shelves for more things to do... and you know... it works. If I was made of stronger stuff I'd make some sort of pledge of not buying anything till I use all the I have up... but I won't. Because I'm weak. Have you ever read that book by that journalist that for a year just bought the absolute necessities... which was basically food and toilette paper, probably petrol too... no books, no clothes, no cinema, no dinner out... I think she cancelled her TV licence as well... Just the basic. I never got to read it and now I wonder what her conclusions were... A part from having saved tons of money... was she happier? what did she learn? Have you read it? How did she rope her husband in it? Mine wouldn't survive without Sky Sports or rugby matches to name but a few..
On a mildly related thing Penny is having a 'disconnected' week. No tv, no internet, no nothing. I'm curious to see how it's going. She's made of sterner stuff than I am.
Moving swiftly on, have you ever heard of Sonia Philip? And her patterns? I had already made a tunic last spring/summer but this time I wanted to try the Dress No 2 because it has sleeves and you know... winter... cold... sleeves are good.
The pattern instructions come as a very well explained bookelt, and the pattern itself is extremely simple and easy to customize.
For once I thought I'd make a muslin... shocking!... using this very cheap fabric bought in Italy last summer and I'm glad I did. I'm a UK size 10 (US 6 I think) and the small was actually quite big, so had to go down one size.
The whole thing came together very quickly (probably quicker because I omitted the pockets and used some ready made bias binding I've had for ages.).
The result? A very wearable muslin... in fact I'm wearing it right now!
The photo isn't brilliant, you try wrestling No 1 from his computer game for more than 14 seconds. It's impossible. So this is it I'm afraid. Creases and monster hand included.
Day 3. Still incredibly sunny and warm for the time of year. The perfect day for the sky deck of The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe... (The tallest being Moscow tower in... Wait for it... Moscow!)
Can you see the see the red ceramic poppies around the Tower of London? Amazing from up there too.
Then of course we had to spend hours on the HMS Belfast... But when you're the mother of boys you get used to such matters.
No 3 is tired of me taking photos... as you can see from his extremely happy expression.
I took my revenge by dragging him around Oxford street in a vain search for brown boots of my liking afterwards.
Till dark. Hahahahahaha.....
And this is us three on our way to a delicious cheeseburger (in Byron).
Day 4, the last day and the weather matched our mood. We took refuge in the Hunterian Museum... It is situated in the house of the Royal College of Surgeons... And yes it's basically a gruesome, I mean interesting, collection of all sorts of things in jars. Pieces of things... Halves of things... Cut open things... And not just 'things' either. Do you catch my drift?
The video of brain surgery in all its clarity and details was a particular highlight.
There was however this delightful painting and I defied the ban on photography to show it you
A soldier recovering from a war injury, sewing a patchwork blanket... A hymn to the healing power of sewing.
And now we're back home. The dog is happy to see us and we're feeling refreshed and recharged... We're good.
When you're used to have three boys around you and suddenly there is only one... It feels very strange. I keep thinking I've forgotten something, that there is something missing or wrong.
No 1 is on a 'Battlefields of WWI' tour with school. (Uncomfortable beds, terrible food but interesting sights)
No 2 is in Italy being spoiled rotten by my parents.
And so Mr M and I have taken No 3 to the big smoke and I have to say that he's adapting rather well to being an only child. (Incidentally I wanted to be an only child when I was little and couldn't understand what my friends who were could possibly moan about. When I finally realised that wouldn't have been possible I decided I wanted to attend boarding school in Switzerland ... Who knows why. Needless to say neither of those wishes came true).
Yesterday we strolled to Trafalgar Square, down Whitehall, passed Downing Street to visit The Churchill War Rooms (super interesting).
Today the weather was amazing... We jumped on one of those open top buses like real tourists and travelled all around the city all the way to The Tower of London.
I look around me in my little room (I pretentiously call it studio... But it's a little long room) and it's crammed full of stuff. Fabric, yarn, books and notions. Two sewing machines. Bits and bobs.
Too much stuff.
Too many unfulfilled plans and ideas... Too many things kept 'just in case' and 'one day I will'
So, use it or lose it.
Take this absolutely gorgeous piece of Nani Iro linen... I have a vague feeling that Mr M bought it during a trip to New York way back then, before Purl moved to their current location. It languished abandoned and bereft on my shelf all these years, squashed between a vintage sheet and a 'one day I'll make a Tova out of this' something or other.
Too small for a quilt, the pattern design to large for zippered pouches. I have a ton and a half of tote bags and although I toyed with the idea of a knitting needles roll, I like my needles in a big jar...
So it ended up a table runner, random checks quilting and a gorgeous Amy Butler 'love' on the back. All from the stash.
All in a day's work, whilst no 3 enjoyed his Fifa15 and Lilli the ferocious dog barked at squirrels. (Our neighbours love us, NOT).
First of all thank you for all the kind words about my last quilt. Much appreciated. And I hope you'll be checking out the blog tour... I will!
Second, my computer is poorly and I'm blogging from the iPad because I get withdrawal symptoms if I don't... And that' not pretty at all. This also means things might get a little weird as Blogsy and I are still getting to know each other... After all this years... Totally my fault, because I can't stand watching instructions videos... I don't mind reading instructions... But videos? No thank you. I'm allergic.
Thirdly, I have a finished knitting project to show you...
It's a pattern from Mrs Moon (www.mrsmoon.co.uk), knitted using two skein of their luscious yarn 'plump'. The pattern of the snood is their own too, it calls for size 12mm needles, but I used size 8mm and I still managed to make it on the loose side. It's ok, it loopes quite perfectly twice around my neck and I wouldn't change a thing.
Now of course the weather has gone warm again so the official rugby match sideline testing will have to wait... But I'm not complaining!
A few weeks ago I was super lucky enough to be sent a gorgeous stack of Oakshott fat 1/8s by Lynne at Lily's quilt. She was organising a blog tour to promote this fantastic new range called 'Autumn'.
I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do with them.
So I began. Earnestly.
But it's never as easy as that, is it? There's always a story behind everything... and trouble. Most of the time there's trouble too....
(bad phone photo... sorry...)
I cut and sewed, cut and sewed... then I decided to trim all the blocks to the same size...
and then I re-arranged them on the wall.. and then I was so in love with the whole thing I sent a work in progress photo to Michael at Oakshott.
Cue: music from "The Shark"... daaaah dum! daaah dum! dum dum dum dum.... SCREEEAAAAMMM!
Ten minutes later I got an extremely diplomatic email from Lynne (they should send her in the Middle East to sort things out) asking me, very politely if I'd ever seen this quilt FROM THE OAKSHOTT WEBSITE!!! (the capitals and exclamation mark are mine...that's how I read it in my head).
It was designed by none other than Helen Howes. And it's available as a kit.
Who felt like a really REALLY silly girl then?
Who should have done her research?
Who wanted to dig a really big hole and never ever come out?
ME. ME. ME.
Geesh, I might as well have written to Ferrari and said, I know, I have a very brilliant idea, why don't you build a very very fast car and paint it bright red? Or to Mary Berry and suggesting a nice, traditional Victoria sponge. Or emailed Simon Cowell proposing to him a TV programme to discover the next pop artist...
What a donut.
So anyway, I apologise, I grovelled. I withdrewed from the blog tour. (aaaah the shame).
But I carried on with my original idea of the quilt, because the fabric is glorious and perfectly Autumnal and I still loved it and I still want everybody to know that.
So here's my quilt. Sans border but in its full glory hanging from my red brick wall.
So, to recap:
- it pays to do your research.
- it is possible for two people to come out with similar ideas
- Lynne and Michael are very very nice people
AND the blog tour will begin next Tuesday, be sure to check it out!
21st October, Sonia at www.fabricandflowersuk.blogspot. co.uk
22nd October, Rossie at http://r0ssie.blogspot.co.uk/
24th October, Mary at www.fairlymerry.blogspot.com
28th October, Allisson at allison-sews.blogspot.com
29th October, Nicholas at www.quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress. com
30th October, Kati at www.fromthebluechair.com,
31st October, Wynn at www.zakkaArt.typepad.com
And now I'm going to bake some chocolate chip blondies... because it's waaaay to early for G&T.
I'm sitting at the kitchen table by the phone... i know that in approximately 17 minutes No 1 and No 2 will call to be picked up from the bus stop. I don't blame them. It's been raining non-stop since this morning; a real Autumn rain, heavy, drenching, cold.
No 3 is playing Fifa something or other with a friend who by the sound of it doesn't know that to pass you have to 'PRESS A!!!!!
The dog is lying depressed by the back door... she refused to go for a walk earlier. THAT how bad the weather is...
Did you have a nice weekend? We had a busy one: shoe shopping with No 2 (always an intense experience), a little quilting (only the border is missing than I can do a big reveal), a 15th anniversary party,
a rugby tournament, two hockey tournaments. And to top it all a very interesting 'talk' by Greyson Perry (part of the Cheltenham Literary Festival) on how to do 'Art' with a capital A. I wasn't too impressed on how snobbish he was about 'craft'... but the whole craft v art debate is too big for such a wet afternoon.
(There was also homework and a whole loads of laundy, but I don't feel like keeping it real today)
I've been listening to the new Tim McGraw album non stop today. It's brilliant. Vintage McGraw if you know what I mean. Will he ever tour England?
Tim? If you're reading this (ha ha ha) please come. Me and No 3's art teacher will be in the front row.
And I caught up with Downton Abbey whilst doing the ironing this morning... who will Mary marry then? Let's have a vote!
Have you heard about Zoella? About her blog? Her 6,000.000 (yes, that is 6 millions) youtube subscribers??
If you have teenage daughters you probably have, if you have boys you might have missed her and be more familiar with her boyfriend Alfie.
Anyway, like I said I hadn't... not untill Mr M started working with her to produce a fantastic range. (Which you can find here and here by the way). And now I have to confess I've caught the boys watching her videos too although why would No 2 want to know how to apply a new Autumnal make up... it's beyond my comprehension.
BUT then... there was a launch party. And I love parties. Especially when the parties are full of balloons
and cute tiny tiny meringues.. (and pastel coloured marshmallows too!)
Here's Zoe herself being hugged by No 1
My handsome boy was my date for the evening, (Mr M was in work mode)... but to be honest, he's was always off chatting to people (girls) and ignoring me. (Not cool apparently).