Tuesday 31 May 2016

Knitting and nattering

I went off in glorious sunshine this afternoon to Llandeilo for a couple of hours in the new wool shop. There were 8 of us plus the owner and a member of staff, we also had a rep in with wool samples and free knitting patterns.
Lots of tea was drunk, quite a few biscuits were munched. There was knitting, crochet and cross stitch going on and a fair amount of chatting. All in all a good afternoon, I will be going back, perhaps not every week. In the winter I will take the longer route via Ammanford as I am certain that the mountain roads will be just a tad awful.

This morning I had the beds stripped and the linen washed and blowing in the garden by 9, it is all folded and either put away or awaiting a trip over the ironing board.

I am going outside to put some plants into the ground and pot on the aubergines and peppers, plus a couple of house plants, 50p from Tesco and just needed a little tlc.

Ben has had his walk and his dinner, done his silly 5 minutes round the carpet and thrown himself into his bed.

I will be drinking tea shortly and then off outside.

                      TTFN                                                   Pam

Monday 30 May 2016

A Birthday Number SIX

Yesterday was Junior's 6th birthday, over the past few months he has changed from a little boy into a real little man. 
His school work has come on in leaps and bounds, he consistently comes top of class in Welsh and maths. He is very proficient in all physical activities and shows great promise in gymnastics. His general behaviour has improved dramatically now that he has this outlet for his super charged energy levels. 
The fact that there is a large trampoline, swing set and slide in the garden helps with that also. I love my visits but know that if it is fine I will be bouncing, sliding and "push me Nanny" at the swings. If I can not face it I wear a skirt, then the bouncing does not happen.
Unusually for a boy Junior is very clothes concious, he adores new things and birthday and Christmas means new clothes from me. He is an awkward fit as although quite tall he is as skinny as a rake, due to all that energy. Tesco clothes are a decent fit for him, and the prices are very reasonable, and they often have a sale rail which of course I riffle through on every visit.
There was no big party this year, the cost of hiring a hall and the hassle of transporting food (safely) made James and Cerys think outside the box. 
They arranged the same treat that I used to do for my son. A handful of friends, a movie at the cinema ( in Cardigan) then back to the house for games and a tea. It went down very well, parents popped in and out, the noise levels reached epic heights and the funometer went off the scale.

I took the little boy quilt for Leo and a beaded headband and girlie perfume for Kaitlyn. At one point she climbed onto my lap and whispered that she would like My Little Ponies for her birthday in August. No problem there, I will also be on the lookout for some dressing up things. Feather Boas, fancy hats, floaty scarves, strings of beads and so on. Along with her cousin Faith she loves to dress up and they cobble together some really BoHo outfits. 

All in all I had a good day, it is only spoilt by the hour and a half drive home. It does not matter which way I go that is the average time  B U T  I chose the distance deliberately, near enough to make regular visits possible and far enough that I am not a convenient baby sitter/parking place. I saw my younger sister do this to our parents and in the end it breeds resentment and arguments.

Today Fran goes back so I will potter in the garden for a little while and then once her train has gone I aim to have a little visit to The Works. I have started sewing strips together for a postage stamp quilt, this will not be tiny squares but rectangles cut at 2 1/2" by 5". I have cut  yardage of a white on white for half the squares. The remainder are cut from the fat quarters and some yardage, at the same time I cut 3" strips for a wall hanging. That will come later and I will share. 
For now I am off outside.

                             TTFN                                        Pam

Saturday 28 May 2016

It's Raining, It's Pouring.

Nobody here is snoring. That's because of the thunder and lightning.

I don't give a fig though, Fran and I set off late morning and had a stroll round Lampeter, and yes I did buy more fabric. A panel (I will share that later) and some fat quarters.

These are for a little project that I have in mind.

On the way back we stopped in Llandeilo and just felt obliged to have an ice cream, Honeycomb for Fran and Fruits of the Forest for me.
Then we went for a walk round and found a new wool shop, filled with yarny lusciousness. I did not buy anything but had a chat with the owners. They told me that on Tuesday afternoons there is a knit and natter from 2 till 4.
Then to cap it they are having a delivery of sock yarn, free patterns and will be having someone to help with virgin sock makers.

But before I rattle on further I have to do a show and tell.

Yesterday morning the postie brought me a parcel, a surprise.

I opened it up to find these,

A glorious crochet wall hanging mounted on a hoop.

Even the hanger was exquisite

It came with a card ( now who forgot to take a picture) with a flock of butterflies .
And a crochet book, just in time for my next wreath, ( I have the polystyrene form)., and a tin of truffles.

This parcel of delights came from Sooze, of  Her indoors, Him outdoors.

Thank you so much Sooze, I love them all. I have a few of the "20 to make" books but not this one.

Back to fabric, I have 3 patterns floating, nay flying round my head. I have started cutting for the first one, the pattern is drawn up for the second and I have fabric on order (half price from Hobbycraft) for the third.

I have started to gather my fabrics together,

Fat quarters from Lady sew and sew, they are very cheap if you take pot luck.

More of those and still more to decide upon.

Some yardage from stash , and still more to come.

The rain has stopped and the sun is shining.
Ben and I are off outside while we can.

                                     TTFN                           Pam

Thursday 26 May 2016

Green is the colour

Mostly , although there are slashes of colour here and there.
I have been in the garden for most of the day, I just slipped out this morning to fetch some manure. 
Said smelly stuff will hopefully get me a good harvest of squashes, both summer and winter, as they are very greedy plants.

The lemon and fig trees are in their summer home, just in front is the end of a raised bed with spring greens and garlic. The solar unit for some of my fairy lights is in the corner.

A wild corner, a bit untidy but it will stay.

Just like this bluebell growing from a gap in the step, I can step over it with no probs. I have been doing so for 2 years now.

The view from that step, a pot of climbing peas, behind you can see the canes for more peas and just glimpse the green frame for beans. right at the top are my early potatoes all in buckets and growing bags.

There is a little clump of flowering plants just behind that tub, cuttings from a neighbour.


There are 3 red and 3 white flowered strawberries in this trough, it is being moved to a new home later.


This bed has 5 of the rhubarb plants that I grew from seed, the other end has more strawberries. Every bit of  ground is put to work, there are some lettuce  and Purple sprouting broccoli plants to be transplanted in here and a scattering of radishes.

In the gaps between the beds I have small tubs of Nantes carrots, there are 8 of these in various stages of growth in the garden.

More carrots, 2 baby blueberries and a self seeded fox glove, I will let it flower and then decide if it stays or goes. There is a clump of flowers and weeds just to the right that needs some attention.

One of the compost corners, slightly screened by the cherry.

This a work in progress area, lots of plants that need either potting on or getting into the ground, a few pots of potatoes and some seedlings.

A peep into one of the greenhouses.

This gooseberry is one of 2 small plants that I brought with me, there are a few fruits on it and it has a companion in the shape of a foxglove. This autumn it will be going into the ground.

Just outside the kitchen door I have toughs of summer bulbs, they will be out in the garden soon. There are also a few plants for the top of my little wall.

That is enough for now, I have drunk my tea and am back off outside.

                         TTFN                                                Pam.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Just because it amuses me.

A couple of days ago Carol from Spring Cottage set  10 questions for anyone who cared to answer.

1) Are you a summer or winter person?
Summer for the garden and Winter for the sewing, knitting, crochet
2) Do you like to take holidays and if so here or abroad?
Yes, I have been abroad many times but intend to explore Wales now.
3) Was you ever a girl guide or boy scout?
I was a Brownie then a Guide. 
But I really wanted to be a Sea Scout.
4) have you kept in touch with any of your school friends?
No, I kept up with College friends for a while but life took over.
5) If no-one was looking, and you was in your wellies, would you jump in puddles?
I jump in puddles.
Usually I have to because Ben walks round them.
6) Ever met a famous person and who was it?
A few over the years. 
The most memorable was a biggy.
I met the cast of the musical My Fair Lady in Birmingham. Stanley Holloway was very nice, he had time to chat and tell jokes.
Julie Andrews just looked down her nose as she swept through us.
7) Favourite musical film, series or show?
Singing in the Rain.
8) The challenging thing you have made and most proud of
The first quilt that I made for Francesca, it was 4" Half Square Triangles and I hand quilted it.
9) What do you think of dogs wearing clothes? (other than a coat in winter)
No, No and thrice No.
10) From Laura - Spotty or stripy socks?

There you are, all done.
I walked the dogs early today, it is glorious and I wanted to get stuck into the garden.
I have been doing the final potting on of tomatoes and I have to tell you that I have UTP's in the greenhouse. They are some really healthy tomato plants with no labels. I have been through my seed packets and found nothing other than the ones that are labelled.
I am going to pot 4 up and treat 2 as vine and 2 as bush, it will be interesting to see what happens.

I am off to Swansea later, just for a couple of hours and I will be very near a Homebase so will have a little look round.
Apart from that there is no news. I did not sew a stitch in my quilt binding last night, I was tired so just did some surfing and a little bit of telly watching. In bed at 10, asleep by 5 past and slept right through till 6. Wonderful.
Francesca is coming for the weekend, we will be going to Lampeter I think. Depending on what train she has to catch back (and the weather)  we may go off exploring on Sunday.

Right, I have drunk my tea and have time for  another hour outside before getting ready for Swansea.

                      TTFN                                                                               Pam

Monday 23 May 2016

Just a quickie

I have had several full nights sleep but that came to an abrupt end last night. I tossed and turned, wriggled and squirmed till around 1:30 and threw the towel in. I got up, looked at the ironing, no, not enough. Picked up and put down a few books, the sam e with knitting and crochet. Considered the cross stitch kit and decided it was not the time for such shenanigins.
So, I got busy with the baby quilt blocks, yes it did mean ironing and no I did not empty the basket.

Not quite a TAH DAH, I still have the binding to stitch down on the back.

I do like this block but will be playing with it, I want to try a 9 patch in the bottom right corner and a pin wheel block above it.

The backing is a remnant of a Michael Miller fabric that I picked up for £1.99 a few years ago. I just knew that it would find a place one day.

I may have to make a girlie one next as I have quite a stash of pink fabrics, along with some Savannah Bop. Also several years old and a bargain buy.

I have walked the dogs once today, after the rain cleared and am about to do so again. In between I walked down to the local shop by the road and back via the footpath. Just to get some exercise after yesterday, I am keeping an average of 3 miles a day.

I cleaned A's oven this morning, after an overnight soaking with a cleaning solution. I had to reapply some to a few bits and will get the job finished after the walk. It is certainly not my favourite job and I wipe mine out after every use.
I will be giving A's oven a whizz over every week from now on.

I am off now, Ben is giving me That Look.

                       TTFN                                                Pam

Sunday 22 May 2016

For Pat Chester

Pat left a comment asking for direction for the block that I tried out.

I have had a lovely day playing with fabric, I pulled pinks, blues, yellows and even Christmas fabrics. Then in a light bulb moment I remembered my children's fabric.

I cut a stack of 2 1/2" squares in random colours and some 1 1/2" strips of white on white.

Decided that these chirpy (?) owls would make a bright corner.

Then pulled this print to calm the owl print, or maybe to emphasise it.

I wanted to make 9 blocks so counted 36 small squares and chain sewed half of them to 1 1/2 " strips, pressed and trimmed, then sewed another square on the opposite side.

Pressed again and then sewed 2 blocks either side of another strip, chain piecing half of them as before. 

I trimmed each block to 5" wide and sewed an Owl square to the top of each, then added another 1 1/2" strip on the left edge. I want the Owls to be in the top right corner of each finished block.

Then it was a simple job to cut my main fabric into 11" by 6" strips and add on the side. 

Here are the 9 blocks stacked up, showing the assorted prints in the corners. All I have to do is cut sashing strips and a border, I have the backing fabric picked out and will do a little more later.

You could base this block on any size small square, I used candy size as I had a small stack of charms that I wanted to use. I quite fancy making another using 3 1/2" squares with 2 1/2" sashing strips and sizing up the other blocks accordingly. The  top right and left blocks do not have to be a single fabric. I am thinking of using a pinwheel in the top right and a strip set on the left side.

To keep my energy levels up I considered chocolate but instead made a quick batch of peanut butter and jelly cookies. OH MY WORD, they are very very moreish, I tasted one and decided that I liked them too much.

The truth is that I seemed to like them Four much, either that or some evaporated.

Now I am off to get dinner on the plates, roast pork, roast sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnips and carrots. I will have some peas as a token green veg and a dollop or three of apple sauce.

                     TTFN                                            Pam

PS. It seems that another two cookies have run away.

Friday 20 May 2016

A Finish and a new idea.

I managed 2 hours in the garden, weeding, planting beans and tying in the climbing peas. Then the heavens opened and I was forced indoors. 
Those *&>@** peas had been happily climbing up their canes, then the wind on Wednesday night sent them scurrying into a scrum. There were stems and tendrils tangled together, it was like a scene from a very naughty movie (not that I have watched one, but I can imagine)
I made sure to tie the beans to their supports, one session bent double with handfuls of string and wrestling with bloody minded plants is enough.
Of course there was housework to be done, I did clear the kitchen and clean all the tops down. Then on my way through the dining/craft room I succumbed to the siren call of the Janome.


The chair throw for A is finished.

The reason for such a turn of speed is in the binding. I trimmed the back to an inch wider all round than the top and pressed it in half then folded that it over to the front and stitched it down. Straight line in the ditch quilting was also a fast option.

I recently saw a new to me Quilt as you Go tutorial, the writer was saying that you should make all the blocks, sewing the pieces directly on to the fleece squares, then trim them to size, sew together and press the seams open.

Then she recommended cleaning the bobbin race.

I could not believe what I was reading, after sewing through a whole quilt worth of fleece there would have been a ton of fluff in the race.
I clean mine at every bobbin change, I use a cotton bud (new one each time then a fine brush and then a scrap of soft cloth.

On my last change yesterday I snapped this.

I also brush the bobbin holder and the underside of the top cover plate. To quilt a complete top and then sew the squares together with the wadding exposed you would get much more fluff. multiply that by 4 bobbins and I would not expect there to be room for the bobbin to move.
Off the soap box and back to sewing.
I have a few quilty patterns whirling round my head, but reading an old post on pieceful a few days ago I saw a new block. I did not give it any undo attention but my subconscious mind obviously grabbed it and held on tight.

I cleared away the detritus from my sewing session and pulled a charm, 4 candy squares and a fat quarter. There were some strips of Kona Snow already cut so I made this. The outer strips are from the fabric that I had for sashing the chair throw.
A 14 1/2" block, I see these as a quilt joined with a narrow strip in a ditsy pattern. It appealed so much that I just might have put an order in to Lady Sew and Sew. From the clearance section of course.
Oh dear, it may be a quilty Christmas again this year.
Then to cap it all I did a catch up read on some blogs last night and Red Pepper Quilts had a glorious postage stamp quilt but with rectangles rather than squares. A light bulb flashed in my brain and I dug out the bricks that I bought last year in Newcastle Emlyn, then I looked at my box of charms that have been put away to be cut down. Then I remembered some fabric that I have on order and Oh Dear, another quilt is on the way.

There will be no sewing today, I have a new tumble drier coming. I bought one a while ago and it was one of hundreds, if not thousands that had been fitted with a faulty part. There was a high risk of it bursting into flames and we were advised not to use it unattended, and a repair program was put in place. 
However for some reason, probably the enormous task, I was given the option of A, waiting till they got round to me for the repair.
B, paying a small sum for a new vented drier or C, paying a slightly larger sum for a new condenser drier.
After consideration, and a fair bit of price comparison, I plumped for option C. I used the drier constantly for 4 months over the winter and it got quite a bit of use during the "summer". So a new one had great appeal.
This gives me greater flexibility as to where the creature will live, my present one is in the bathroom. I may well move the small chest freezer from the utility and stick the drier in there. right next to the washing machine. The first thing that I will do though is check to see if there is enough headroom to stack it on the washing machine.
Now I am off to get Ben out of bed and ready for his walk.

         TTFN                                                            Pam

Thursday 19 May 2016

Who Stole Wednesday?

I woke up yesterday quite convinced that it was Sunday, probably due to my trip out. When I was working those things were reserved for Saturdays.
It was around mid morning before I twigged my mistake, never mind, I had prepped dinner by then so Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding it was.
The day started wet and windy but soon turned to sun shine. I walked the dogs (I take Archie and Dolly) once in the drizzle and twice in the sun, they do not mind what it is like.
The remainder of my time was getting this nearer to the finishing post.

It is a basic 9 patch of pink, blue, green and lilac low volume with the od splash of bolder shades. The sashing is the pale blue from Calico Kate and the border is a bold multi coloured polka dot. Not my choice but A picked it, this is another chair throw. The backing is a blue with a large floral print, I will share when the sewing is done.
Today I will mainly be in the garden and greenhouse, the soil was too wet yesterday afternoon, there is plenty to keep my occupied.
It is bright and sunny, my doors and windows are flung wide open and the air is quite warm already.
I have decided that July will be a no sewing month, I really want to give cross stitch and embroidery a fair amount of time. I keep oohing over the wonderful work that I see on blog posts and then whining that I am jealous. It is time to "pee or get off the potty".
I have a block laid out for another quilt and a top waiting for a border, once those are sorted I hope to make another 9 patch quilt by the end of June. If it does not happen then it will go on the back burner while I get busy with Aida fabric and floss.
Yesterday Mum, from her simply living blog, set a list of 10 questions. I thought that it would be fun to answer them, perhaps we could get a Round Robin going here.

Mum's list.

1. What is your favourite meal?

What ever is on my plate.

2. Do you have a party piece? If so, what can you do?

No,  I am usually  having too much fun to "perform"

3. Do you sing in tune or out of tune?

Oh dear, in the words of Billy, I sound like a goose farting in the fog.

4. What was your 'best bit' today?

As the day is young I have to say Waking Up.

5. What was your last 'good turn'?

Walking my friends dogs yesterday.

6. Are you social or anti-social?

Social, I love meeting people and can chatter for Europe.

7. What is your most annoying habit?

Going off at a tangent when talking.

8. What is your least favourite food?

Anything with Okra.
( we won't mention Oysters)

9. Dieting or not dieting? (I had to put that one in.)

Should be but not.

10. Name one form of relaxation that you enjoy.

Crochet mainly but any form of hand work.

Any one who fancies joining in the list is on Mum's post ready to be copied and pasted.

Now I am off to collect A's dogs and go for a walk.

                         TTFN                                            Pam

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Off the Wagon, big time.

I told you the other day that I have a birthday on the horizon, today I was given an early gift. Part birthday and part a thank you gift.

I went to Lampeter  to visit this glorious place, a veritable  Mecca for anyone who sews.

In the door and look left,

then right.

Take a few steps and peep through a doorway.

Down a corridor and look in here,

then here.

Glance up some stairs,

Look higher.

Ooh a room full of Batiks.

Yes, I was in Calico Kate. It was mesmerising, there are many more rooms and I will take photos on my next visit.

I was in a whirl, what to choose, where to look. Brights, bolds, muted, dark, so many choices so many colours.

I did get back to Earth and made my choices.

A step outside my comfort zone were 4 x metre lengths of greens. I do use green at times so these  will help to pad my meagre collection out nicely.

4 fat quarters, yellow and orange, instant sun shine. (another touch of green)

2 charm packs, for fun, on a metre of a blue/grey solid. This is to get me away from the white that I normally use. I wanted this for the sashing on a 9 patch quilt top, the blocks are made but I could not settle on the sashing colour, this is an almost perfect colour match to the real thing and I will be cutting it this week. Now I have to decide on corner stones.

So much for no new fabric till the stash was used, although this was a gift. I did order some from the Fabric Guild yesterday at such low prices, when it arrives I will share. I did not so much fall off the wagon as take a flying leap over the side.

I left Cwmgors in bright sun shine but came back through rain and drizzle, this has now stopped so Ben will have a quick walk before I get dinner ready.
The sky is getting brighter by the minute and I need some fresh air and exercise, rather than drooling over my new fabric.

                     TTFN                                                  Pam