Monday, 27 December 2010

Well, that was Christmas, that was!

I finished the last post wondering what it was going to be like waking up childless on Christmas morning and I can tell you it was … OK! I still woke up early and sat around waiting for John to wake up but I have to confess the excitement levels weren’t quite the same. We’d already decided that we would wait until the boys & FDIL arrived before we’d even touch any presents and that was just fine!

Previously we’d have had breakfast about 10.30 after we’d prised Son2 from his bed (he doesn’t do mornings) but this year we had a lovely cooked breakfast at 9 o’clock and were all cleared away, veggies prepared by 10! I had a feeling that Son1 and FDIL would be early arrivals so thought it would be a good idea not to be wearing pyjamas when they arrived! They let me down and didn’t arrive until 12.30 – Son2 was actually the first to arrive which was very surprising!

We had a huge mountain of pressies under the tree – it must have looked like we favoured Son2 but a mental calculation of the financials meant they came out equal – thank heavens for a certain large store that has regular discounted days!

I had some lovely gifts, notably copies of Jane Brockurst & Kaffe Fassett inspirational quilt books, some lovely flannelette fat quarters which I think I will turn into a very simple square quilt with a thickish wadding in time for next winter. I also got a lovely cake stand, something I’ve wanted for a while and, as has become traditional, a years supply of Dove shower cream!!

As this is the first year we’ve had visitors for so long I can’t remember, I thought I’d make a real effort with the table and stuff. This is where I show you a picture – only it isn’t because in the excitement I forgot to take one! But trust me it was lovely – red & gold was the theme, with my table runner at the centre of attention. Flatteringly (I think) FDIL thought I’d bought it!! Dinner was consumed with delight – not a lot of anything left anyway so that’s a good sign.

Son2 had man-flu and was not at all well, FDIL had been out the night before(!) and Son1 had just finished nights so they all slept through the afternoon – not wanting to be left out John joined them, again this is where I show you a photo – not. I was wedged on the sofa and couldn’t get up without disturbing the sleeping beauties, I did try to capture something with the web cam but failed on that too!

Our visitors departed around 5.30 leaving John & I like Darby & Joan for the evening to watch Christmas TV and eat the remains of the food. I just loved The One Ronnie – especially this is sketch

Great update on an old favourite

Yesterday John was going to football with Son2 (I’d kindly given him my ticket – too blooming cold for me hehe) but it got cancelled about 90 minutes before kick-off, instead Son2 went home and John and I went looking for some cheap furniture for our (now) spare room so that all the people queuing up to come and stay will have somewhere to put stuff, we succeeded in getting a couple of bedside chests and a chest of drawers…mm, seems a shame to have them empty, perhaps I’ll decant some of my stuff…

So now it’s Monday. What’ll I do? There’s only so much sorting and tidying a girl can do – oh, go on then I’ll get the machine out if you insist!!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Post


As I woke up at stupid o’clock this morning I thought I’d use my time wisely and have a quick update of the Ramblings!

The madness from last week has so far continued with lots of things to do and little time to do them in! Monday has been our only ‘normal’ evening this week – by normal I mean getting home about 5.30, plonking myself down on the sofa, rising only to cook dinner and go to bed! Yes, I confess that that is my ‘normal’ evening pattern, I’d like to say it’s because I’m slowing down and don’t have the energy anymore but, if I’m truly honest, that had been the case for many years now – maybe I’m due to enter an energetic phase in my life (but then again, maybe not!).

Tuesday evening took me off for the Christmas meal with work colleagues. We went to a ‘Hollywood Nights’ themed evening at our county showground which was very nice – they even had a carousel ride (yours truly, being the coward that I am, did not venture on) just outside the function room – they were very brave souls who ventured on,  let me tell you, because it was absolutely freeeeeeezing outside. It was lovely to see everybody in their finery shivering and shaking as they got off – amazing how many women sat side saddle because their skimpy clothing wouldn’t permit them to hoist themselves across the saddle! John came with me because we had a last minute cancellation and it seemed a shame to waste the ticket – at least that meant he had a Christmas do this year! I have to report that I stupidly drank a tad too much and felt really awful all day on Wednesday – plus the alcohol managed to make me relax enough to have a boogie on the dance floor resulting in my back aching like crazy as well! I need to remember that I just can’t do that anymore – at least it’s only once a year!

I meandered through Wednesday in my zombie-like state looking forward to the evening with Son1 and FDIL coming round for pizza takeaway and to ice the Christmas cakes. I supervised this year in the hope that perhaps next year I can pass the job over to FDIL entirely! When I say ‘ice’ the cakes, what I really mean is to open the packs of ready rolled almond paste and fondant icing and lay them neatly across the cakes – the days are long gone when I’d make my own fondant! There is a skill required though in smoothing the fondant in to place, removing pleats and creases that happen as you plonk it on the cake and she did a very good job! They just need finishing off now with the cut out snowflakes that we’ll add from the trimmings of the fondant.

I was so glad to see the end of Wednesday and took to my bed really early in an attempt to regain my feeling of well being!

The sausage rolls I made on Sunday found themselves the centre of attention at work yesterday lunchtime which means that I need more for home – I also need more for work because they were so popular people want them today as well! We have a mini tradition of eating all day on Christmas Eve at work, being the loving person that I am I let most people go home early and stay behind myself to cover what needs to be done so this means we start eating about 11 o’clock if not sooner! So last night I made another 24 sausage rolls which I am about to put in the oven and take to work (back now – egg glazed and in the oven (the sausage rolls not me!!)).

I was thinking last night as I rolled out the pastry at 8 o’clock that only at Christmas would I ever do such a thing! I mean, most evenings I struggle to decide which easy dinner we’ll have – minimal effort is my general theme – and here I am after a day at work and a trip to Sainsburys, up to my elbows in flour – I must be mad!

So, as I sit here 6.10 AM on Christmas Eve, I’m thinking that, apart from cooking tomorrow, I’m all done. A full day at work beckons but I’m optimistic that it will be a fairly quiet day – strangely people don’t seem to want to come to hospital on Christmas Eve – can’t think why! I quite like this time of year work wise because it gives me a chance to tidy up, sort out the stuff that’s been neglected and to clear the decks for the New Year – and plus most colleagues seem to be less stressed as well which makes a nice change!

Tomorrow the boys and FDIL will be coming for dinner – it will be the first Christmas morning that we’ve woken up without a child in the house for 23 years – how weird will that be? I’ll let you know…


Merry Christmas everybody and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Can you tell what it is yet??

Naughty Nicola posted this on Sunday as a teaser for me! Those of you that have visited her blog already will know just how talented she is with fabrics – I think she has a real knack of putting colours and patterns together but she denies this!! Yesterday she revealed the whole thing to me and here it is in all its glory.


The light isn’t very good and doesn’t show the lovely colours at their best but I hope you get the idea!


It’s a one off and absolutely gorgeous – thanks Nicky and thanks for the inspiration, 2011 may be a very colourful year!!

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Mad Week!

What a week! Time just flew last week with one thing and another which left me with very little time to think about anything! Son2 spent the first night in his new home on Sunday after a day spent ferrying bits and pieces around. I’ll confess to feeling a tad wobbly on Monday and Tuesday but that feeling soon passed. Of course I miss him but, as with Son1 when he moved out, not in the way I thought I would!

I had yet another birthday on Wednesday, they just keep on coming, and the boys both came round for dinner – that in itself was a weird experience – quite tiring! Now that neither have a bedroom to disappear to after dinner we had to entertain them! Yes we all sat around talking as if we had real visitors! When they went I sank into my chair as if I’d been entertaining all day! I had some lovely presents as well – a Radley umbrella, two quilting books, a crochet/knitting book, a lovely bundle of fat quarters in a batik fabric – very pretty – and some lovely quilt label fabric. Unusually no smellies or chocolates!

Oh nearly forgot to tell you – I bought a new food processor! A couple of weeks ago I saw a man at the checkout in Sainsbury’s with a huge box containing a processor. At the time I nudged John and said ‘oooh look at that – think I might treat myself next time I come in!’ I sneaked a peak and saw that it was £99 which I thought was OK as I’d got quite a lot of loyalty points that would help reduce the cost. Anyway, I went in the other evening to find that it was now reduced to £79!! With £67.50 in points I got an absolute bargain! I don’t feel too bad about my treat as my old mixer was 27 years old – John bought it for me on our first Christmas together, it’s certainly earnt its retirement!

Day off on Friday saw me meeting up with Janet in town. We had planned to be a little more daring and go out to a local village but as we had snow the previous evening we decided not to risk country roads and played safe instead. I also finally bought John’s Christmas present – the way I was going he would have had an IOU on Saturday morning!!

On Friday evening we went out for our traditional birthday family meal (Son1 & moi!), sadly Son2 had a prior commitment and couldn’t join us so it was just John, Son1, FDIL & I. We went to Zizis  - I had the tastiest duck I can ever remember having, it was divine and the meat just fell off of the bone.

Haircut Saturday – I’ve gone a bit shorter than usual! I hope when I wash it I can make it look as good as my hairdresser did! Oh and a near disaaaaaster! The shower wouldn’t work on Saturday morning – plenty of pump type noise but no water – John went in to the loft to find that the lagging hadn’t been replaced by the engineer a couple of weeks ago. The pipes were frozen in our well insulated loft! I had the bright idea of leaving the loft open for a while to let some heat waft up and by mid afternoon they had thawed – happily without bursting. What a mess that would have made! (edited – hair came out OK this morning!!)

Being the very kind and loving mother that I am, I offered my ticket for football to Son2 on Saturday – and to the sceptics amongst you, no it wasn’t because a) they’ve been playing very badly lately or b) the weather forecast was not too good! Well, it turned out I missed probably the best match of the season so far! Played in a blizzard and with the ground staff coming out at half time and just into the second half to clear the lines we actually won 3-0 – can you believe it? I watched on the TV and it looked a fantastic game – I’m just glad I was in the warm watching it!

Nearly finished – don’t give up reading now, you’ve come so far! Sunday arrived with a really chilly 9 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 centigrade) and, as the Sunday before Christmas is usually my baking day, I set about making sausage rolls and mince pies – using the new food processor for the latter and a really easy quick flaky pastry a la Delia Smith for the former. John graciously informed me that they were the best sausage rolls I’ve ever made – not bad after 27 years of baking for him!!!

It was Son1’s birthday yesterday – he was 23, how did that happen?? He and FDIL came for dinner along with Son2 and his laundry (!) we had a lovely roast dinner – good practice for doing it all again on Christmas day!

So that was my last week – sorry it’s so long – and here’s my Christmas tree, sadly the most decoration the Ramblings will see this year!!

Merry Christmas to you all and I hope you have a happy and prosperous New Year!


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A moving tale

Today I just want to send those of you who don’t already know Posh Totty over to her blog to read the most moving post you’re likely to see for a while – beware it’ll be a Kleenex moment! The post is here and recounts the recent experiences of Posh and her Little Man as he goes through his third open heart surgery procedure.

That is all – nothing more today!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Soon be Christmas…

(If you read me through a reader I have made some changes – you’re just getting a snippet now and will see more by clicking on the post title!!)

…yes, I know it happens on the same date each year but Christmas never fails to creep up and surprise me! I still have to buy something for John – what do you by the man who has everything and wants for nothing? (I know you’re reading this!!) Anyhow – I still have two weeks right? Yeah, right – make that a few days!

We’ll be putting our decorations up this weekend. It will be the first time for a number of over 20 years that it will be done without the help of either son, but we are facing a new stage in our life now as Son 2 moves out to share with friends this weekend. Within the space of a year we will become true emptynesters – to be honest I always thought that the boys would be with us for ever with the current financial climate but I have been proved wrong. I’m pleased that they have both grown up to be independent young men, able to make their way in the world.

Moving on before I appear maudlin (‘cos I’m not – I’m really pleased for him, of course I’ll miss him but I will get used to it!), I’ve written before about my obsession with how people find their way to the Ramblings. I find it absolutely fascinating reading the searches that lead people to me but the top line of the picture below just absolute amazed me – I’ve tried it and have absolutely no idea how the search term bought them to me!!


It’s not come out very clear but the words are ‘fer a repasser prix canadien’ which I think translates to roughly ‘prices of irons in Canada’ – I can't remember ever using the phrase! In fact I know I haven't – isn’t t’internet wonderful! So, if you’ve arrived on this post and have no idea how you got here – welcome, nice to have you visit and please leave me a comment just for the hell of it!!

Better get a wriggle on now – lots to do to makes sure help Son 2 with his move!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Excuses, excuses…

I know – I left you all tantalised at the thought of the lovely new sewing machine and then just left you hanging in limbo!

I’ll tell you why. I got the lurgy last weekend. I was full of good intentions, I’d take some pics as I unwrapped it. I’d take some picks as I was setting it up. And I would take some pics of the finished results. I failed. Miserably. And indeed I was miserable Sad smile.

It started with a cough, just a tickle, on Friday evening – just as I got home from work. It became a very irritating tickle through the evening and by Saturday morning had become a 40+ smokers cough with a sore throat in to the bargain. But I carried on. Up early, I went to Sainsburys so that I could have the day free to sew and fiddle. When I got back I set the machine up – not inclined to take pics – cut some fabric and rubbed my hands in glee at the thought of a sewing day. But then I needed a sleep – poor me.

When I woke up the inclination to sew was gone, I was feeling shivery, then warm so laid on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon. And then we had a power cut. No flicker, no dimming lights just a full blown instant cut into darkness – I had tea lights lit so we had something to guide us towards the torch under the kitchen sink. Son2 went into hyper excited mode – hard to believe a 20 year old can get so excited over something like that! He was most worried about going out for the evening with his friends for a curry – fortunately the restaurant was open! The power was off for two hours which seemed like forever – an hour and a half in I had the bright idea of playing I-tunes to give us some entertainment!

Sunday was another bleurgh day, it was local derby day for football with Ipswich playing away at Norwich, our sworn enemy. The match was live on TV so I pootled around in the morning and settled down to watch the match at lunchtime, an early goal set the scene for the match and I slept through most of it. We lost 4-1. I missed nothing and still felt awful.

Got up for work on Monday, still coughing but OK until I suddenly felt a rush of ice through my body quickly followed by heat – I threw myself back into bed where I stayed for most of the day. And then the snow came. And on Tuesday more snow came. I was glad to be indoors.

I soldiered back to work on Wednesday, coughing and sliding as I went – man it was cold out there, but dry. Grey skies prevailed most of the day and the wind whipped up with such ferocity it was cutting right through us.

More snow fell on Wednesday night and all day Thursday which has made conditions treacherous – Son1 had to pick up FDIL from Cambridge in the afternoon which worried me, bizarrely once he left Ipswich there was hardly any snow at all!

So we reach Friday. I had a sew day! On a snow day! I finally got around to using the machine to some effect – it is an absolute gem – well worth the extortionate sum that I paid for it. I think we will have many happy hours together – providing I can get the darn tension right. I don’t know what it is with me and tension but I always seem to have a problem, no matter what machine I use!

So without further ado, here is the reveal you’ve all been so eagerly waiting for – I do hope you’re not disappointed!


What a beautiful carry case! Which reveals a …



…very beautiful sewing machine!



Sadly I don’t have magnificent views to share with you from my window so you’ll have to make do with this!


These beautiful icicles are on my neighbours workshop – brrrr

Sunday, 21 November 2010

My first Christmas bit!

Finally finished my latest quilty project – apart from the actual quilting that is!

I used an idea in this book which had been made by my friend Nicola and tweaked it a little. I’m quite pleased with how it’s come out but I still have issues with the finer touches, mustn’t beat myself up though as it still is really early days!

This will adorn my dining room table over the Christmas period, I don’t think it’s too twee and I have been careful to use patterns that don’t clash with anything else!

Brewery Tap Dinner 001


Brewery Tap Dinner 002


Brewery Tap Dinner 003

In other news…I’ve only gone and ordered myself a new sewing machine! I can’t quite believe it myself but I now know that I can’t achieve all that I want to with the one I bought just a couple of months ago. Big gulps now – hope I can use it when it arrives!!

Friday, 19 November 2010

A holiday update!

At last I hear you all say – well I hope that’s what I hear!!

This must be one of the longest times I’ve gone without blogging which has felt a little strange. We’ve been home from the holiday for about a week now and with one thing and another I just haven’t got around to writing anything.

So, let’s get going shall we, no more dilly dallying. We had a lovely early morning flight from Stansted on the Friday morning which seemed like a good idea at the time, you know, more time in resort and all that. However that meant checking in by 5.15 AM. John & I cheated and spent the night before at an airport hotel although we still had to be up just after 3.30 to make sure we were all ready to catch the shuttle bus at 4.30!

One thing that amazes is me is how easy it is to actually meet up with people in a busy place! We were due to meet our friends at 4.45 and had agreed to phone them to arrange a rendezvous – the conversation went something like this ‘Hi, we’re by the letter H’ ‘I know I can see you’!  Even at that time of the morning we’d managed to be so close without any real coordination, I looked round to see Linda waving through the glass door (no, not literally I mean I could see her through the door!)

A four hour flight took us to sunny Tenerife in the Canary Islands and a short coach trip from the airport took us to the beautiful Bahia Princess hotel in Costa Adeje. John and I went to the resort about three years ago and stayed at the sister hotel to the Bahia which is just behind it. We preferred the Bahia as it was much smaller and less busy.

The week passed in a blur of sitting beside the pool, mainly in the shade, reading and people watching and not a lot else. We wanted a chill out break so deliberately avoided the usual coach trips around the island. We did however book on a free ‘promotional’ trip. We knew it would be a sales opportunity but  figured we just needed to say ‘no’ to any sales pitch and enjoy the free coach trip! The promotion was for a ‘sleep system’ which was actually very tempting, so tempting that John decided that we should by one of the mattresses as it would solve all of our aches and pains! There were people on the trip who, yep you’ve guessed it, already owned the product and absolutely swore by it, saying it had relieved their aches and pains and improved their quality of life no end. Now – am I a cynic? Do I think that these dear old souls had been ‘planted’ on the trip? They were very convincing is all I can say. The good thing is there was a two week ‘cooling off’ period which meant we could cancel the order when we got home. After a spot of ‘Googling’ we decided to cancel the order, we were a little concerned to find a very small print clause of having to pay 30% in the event of cancellation. My heckles rose on that one because it wasn’t even hinted at in the presentation – thankfully when we phoned to cancel there was no request to pay, which was just as well because we have no intention of doing so anyway!

And here is what I’m sure you’ve all being dying to see – the photographs Smile , there’s not many just a few to give you a taste!


Guess what Son2 had planned while we were away?



Of course John had to do a couple of Geo Caches – this one involved a leisurely stroll along the beach and then a climb down a shingly slope, needless to say I stayed on terra ferme  and zoomed in for the photo!


Isn’t this a beautiful sight? There are 52 steps from the pool area to the top, yep 52. No matter how you say it whatever language you use they were tortuous! I confess I only managed them once and found alternative ways of getting up and down – they were relentless! Made of marble, no ‘half way’ respite they were evil!



I let John go off to play by himself and trusted him with the camera – I think this picture was taken from Los Christianos on his Geo Caching jolly.


And just to confirm those steps – there were definitely 52 of them, even in daylight!

I think that’s enough for now, I’ll update with other stuff soon – it’s been a very strange week this week for a variety of reasons and I’m really glad to have a day off today!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Another week, another parcel!!

Well another week has just whizzed by! Busy at work resulting in tired at home Sad smile!

No big crafty reveals this week, I haven’t even touched the crochet since last Sunday evening, when I unpicked my previous attempt and started a ripple instead – bizarrely that wouldn’t work for me either – perhaps that’s why I haven’t picked it up since!

I’ve actually had a busy few days at home as well, thinking back. Son 1 and FDIL came for dinner on Thursday evening – this is going to sound really awful – and I cooked a real dinner! Even Son 2 comments that when they come round we eat properly! By a real dinner I mean a chicken casserole which isn’t really difficult and I don’t know why I don’t do stuff like that more often. I think most nights when I get in I just want to sit and veg out and tend to throw a meal together which just goes into the oven!

On Friday, the friend that I call Julie sent me a text early in the morning  to say that she and her daughter, my lovely goddaughter Smile were coming to Ipswich shopping and would we be around, so they popped into see us – originally just for a cup of tea but when I said we were going to get fish & chips, lovely goddaughter’s eyes lit up so they stayed for dinner as well, I know how to treat my guests (more of that to follow)! Son 2 arrived home and declined my choice of culinary delight and, as he had a very late night, promptly fell asleep on the sofa still wearing his suit! He woke up to have some toast – his choice – change his clothes and went back to sleep! I shooed him off of the sofa about 8 o’clock and he went to bed – in his clothes – where he stayed until Saturday morning!

Saturday morning saw us drinking tea at 4 o’clock! We were both wide awake but still tired and I do find that a cup of tea helps to go back to sleep – which it did, the next thing I knew was the doorbell ringing at 7.30! I scrambled out of bed to find the postman with a parcel, which I had arranged to be redelivered – just didn’t expect it quite so early! I’ll tell you about the parcel a little later – just to keep you reading!!

I needed to go to Quilter’s Haven to get the backing and binding for the current project and John decided he’d come too – I told him I’d only be about an hour but still he wanted to come! Back home and off to town for lunch before football and I know you’ll all be pleased to hear that we won 2-0 which always makes me feel better, I get so heavy hearted when it’s not going well!

And then in the evening, more guests for dinner! This time Linda & John to discuss our upcoming holiday arrangements and today’s meal of choice – a Chinese takeaway!! Followed by indigestion at 3 o’clock (which would have been 4 o’clock yesterday) more tea and back to sleep until about 7.30 which in reality isn’t too bad!

Best part of the day so far has to be Son 2 getting up for work without putting his clock back! We waited until he’d got in the shower to tell him, bad parents that we are!!

Anyway, back to the postman. He bought this month’s secret blog swap which this month was sent by Miss Cherry Red with many apologies as she had been let down in her original purchase and was consequently late in sending, without further ado here is the content of the parcel – I think you’ll agree well worth waiting for!



A lovely sewing box which, when opened, revealed



Not only all this lovely yarn but also…



A really cute little kit to make bags!

And that’s about it for now – we’re off on holiday on Friday, leaving Son 2 in charge of himself and the house, I don’t care what he gets up to while I’m away – as long as it’s clean and tidy when I get home!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

When to retire…..

As soon as this happens........ retire with dignity.......



 I’m not there quite yet!!

Sunday, 24 October 2010


I’ve had some lovely deliveries this week! Whilst I was blog hopping last Sunday evening I came across this site which has some lovely fabrics! Well, I looked at it for at least 15 minutes before I decided that I really did need some more fabric for my stash, I ummmed and aahed for a while before settling on my fabric bundle of choice, placed my order and quickly moved off before I found anything else I wanted!

True to their word on Tuesday the postman delivered an unassuming black package to my door


Which, when I opened it revealed a beautifully wrapped package

002 It got a bit dog eared because I kept unwrapping it before I took the photo!

Which contained this lovely stuff…

231010 fabrics

Which smells just beautiful – I love the smell of new cotton fabrics! It’s a bundle of ten ‘fat quarters’ which I will make into something – just not sure what at the moment!

And then, on Thursday, the same postman bought me this….


which I will be turning into a baby afghan blanket with some mint & white which I had already bought. Sadly the pattern that I wanted to use just won’t work for me, I’ve unpicked it twice now but still can’t make it work so I’ll give up and revert to a ripple instead!

I fear that I am turning into a real craft-aholic as all I seem to write about these days is what I’m making! When I look back over the years I can’t help but feel  I’ve wasted so much time just staring at the TV screen – I need to make amends now. One thing I have noticed about myself is that I’m more patient, which surprises even me, with sewing now. If the seam isn’t straight I will unpick whereas back in the day I would have said ‘that’s the best I can do’! Last week I mentioned the log cabin pattern quilt that I had made with Nicky and I can now reveal it in it’s almost completeness – almost because I haven’t quilted it yet. Last night I tried to had quilt it but the back was an absolute mess, this morning I started to machine quilt it but that too was a mess. I have decided that the machine I bought just isn’t up to much other than stitching the fabrics together – it doesn’t really cut it for the quilting.

So, without further ado here it is…

First log cabinIt’s only 15 inches square and was intended for a ‘Blanket of Love’ we even had some sunshine  this morning!

First log cabin1

This was my first attempt at binding the seam – I didn’t do too bad!


First log cabin close up

Close up of one of the squares

I think I mentioned that I’d agreed to help Nicky with a blog when I wrote last week, well I don’t have to now because her sister designed her a website and a blog as a birthday present – isn’t that a lovely idea? Please have a look here at the amazing things she makes, not just quilts but bags as well. She’d love to have you visit – you can tell her I sent you!

Just in case anybody is worried that I haven’t had a holiday for a few months, we are going away to Tenerife next week with our good friends Linda & John. Just for a week, recharge the batteries before the winter really sets in – then when we get back it will be time to think about Christmas, how time flies!

Better go now, been sitting at the sewing machine most of the day working on the next project – using Christmas fabric no less, I will share when it’s finished!

Thanks for reading….

Monday, 18 October 2010

Aww – somebody missed me!

You see dear readers, when I fall outside of my fairly regular blogging pattern people start to wonder why! OK – one person wondered why – you can’t blame a gal for trying to make it sound more than it is can you?

So I’m late this week (or last week), I have no real reason, yet again, for failing to post news of scintillating life other than I couldn’t be bothered! Yes – that’s right, just couldn’t be bothered.

Last week was very busy at work, I spent Tuesday & Wednesday on a training course – all about working smarter, improving processes, adding value – hey, wake up – I haven’t finished yet! Now while all this may seem yawningly boring we did actually have quite a few laughs, not least when we played ‘Two truths and a lie’, we had to write on a post-it just that – two truths and a lie about ourselves, the results were hilarious. Mine were 1)By night I am a hooker(!), 2) I have a season ticket at Ipswich Town & 3) When I was a teenager I screamed at an Osmond’s concert! Most of you will have no trouble working out which is the lie – if you can’t I’ll tell you at the end!

After Wednesday’s training I went back to the office only to find that a huge amount of work was required by 9.45 on Thursday – and I mean a huge amount, gathering reports and other evidence for a Very Important Meeting with a Very Important Regulatory Body – by 5.45 I’d decided I had no more to contribute but instead went in early on Thursday to do a pile of photocopying, let me tell you there is no end to my talents!

I had the day off on Friday and had arranged to go to Nicky’s house for a day of quilting lessons which she had offered in exchange for help creating a blog! I have to say that I was the sole beneficiary of the exchange as we never got round to the blog! I’ve left Nicky thinking of an original name for her blog which will feature her amazing quilting exploits – don’t blush Nicky – she is amazing and you should see the bags that she makes! When the blog is up and running I’ll add a link for you all!

I’m not going to post a picture of my creation until I’ve finished it, but I can now make the log cabin pattern, ooh get me!

The day flew by and when her husband arrived home I was amazed to find that it was 5 o’clock! Time for me to wend my way home through unfamiliar roads – I’m glad it wasn’t too dark!

Saturday morning saw me making a lavender cushion for this month’s secret Blog Swap – nothing like leaving it until the last minute! This is going to wing it’s way to Germany – I hope it makes it safely!


These fabrics were in a ‘scrap’ bag – ideal for small projects like this!


I love the Michaelmas daisy print – takes me back to my childhood garden!

Apart from that I have not had a creative moment – not even picked up a hook (in fact not picked up a hook since last Wednesday). Football was awful – we lost 1-2, Saturday evening TV was OK, Sunday morning I took FDIL to the Vintage Market at the Waterfront which was nice although there was less craft stalls than usual which was a shame and Sunday afternoon passed by in a flurry of ironing type activity – you know, really exciting stuff.

And that’s about it – I need to make more of an effort this week especially as I have two parcels to look forward to – more later!

Oh – and which was the lie? Number 3 of course – I was 49 when I screamed at an Osmond concert!! What’s that? Hooker? You didn’t think? Surely not? No!!!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Hooky stuff

Bonkers busy week at work, been feeling completely shattered but, strangely, in a good way! I’ve been asked to help another department out of a bit of a sticky situation whilst still keeping my own stuff going as well, but it’s OK at the moment – probably a touch of adrenalin rush!

After revealing my ‘Blanket of Love’ last week I knuckled down to finish the blanket that I’d agreed to make for Julie – she’d seen the pink & blue baby afghans I’d already made and asked for the pink one if I didn’t need it. To be on the safe side I made another just for her! This one is a little different because I used UK double knitting (I think it’s 8-ply elsewhere but don’t hold me to that!) and a larger hook – then when I was almost finished realised that I had done too many rows of pink between each white row – should have been three but me being all clever didn’t bother too look at the pattern properly! So, to use a good old Suffolk description, it’s come out huuuwuuuggg (can’t spell check that!!) but it’s pronounced just the way it’s written, with soft ‘Gs’ at the end!!


It’s a bit difficult to square it up because of the weight!


I joined the centre blocks as I made them which I think has given a neater finish!

I’ll leave it to Julie to decide which one she wants as I know she will have to post it overseas!

So what next? I’ve got to have something lap sized to do in the evenings, all those years I spent just plonked in front of the TV now seem such a waste now that I’ve rediscovered the life of a hooker! I thought I ought to use up the odds & ends of yarn in my stash so this week have been making random 6 inch squares from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks I’ve only used block number 117 ‘Granny in the Middle’ so far and tried to keep to the colour order but I don’t think I’ll have enough scraps to maintain that. I think the whole idea of the book is to mix and match anyway so I’ll give it a go!

003 A bit blurred but you get the idea!

Oh yes, almost forgot that the hoarder in me surfaced again last weekend and I did actually order more of the Kool Kotton I used in the baby afghan, this time in Mint Green which I thought would be a little different – I was actually quite surprised when I got home to find the package last night!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Season of mists and mellow whatever…

Well, the seasons have changed yet again and with the autumn comes the rain – especially for the last few days.

No rants this week – I promise! Quite a quiet week really, work hasn’t been spectacular – just more of the same no awful situations to deal with no fights fought – just as it should be really!

I had my day off on Friday and debated whether to go into town early or lay in bed for longer – town won because the forecast was for heavy rain and, although I won’t melt or shrink if I get wet, there’s nothing worse than walking around Ipswich in the rain – it’s one of those towns where everything is spread out, oh to have a lovely shopping centre!

I saw some boots a few weeks ago and thought I’d treat myself – just a pair of flat brown ankle boots (can’t have heels these days ‘cos of my poor old feet :() and of course they didn't have my size which is just typical, so I ordered a pair which will be in next week! I bought a new winter coat and a pair of trousers for work in case you’re worried that I went home empty handed!

I was home late morning, nice and dry, and decided it was time to start my next quilting challenge. Did I tell you about the blankets of love? I think I might have done, anyway, my friend at work *waves in case she’s reading this* has been showing me for the past three years her wonderful quilting handiwork and one of the things she makes are quilts for women who lose babies during pregnancy as a keepsake. I originally intended just to buy some material as a donation – which I did when I was in the US in the summer. Anyway – I’m rambling again. I decided that I would have a go myself so spent Friday afternoon hunched over the machine and cutting board. I’ve decided that it’s my cutting precision (or lack of) that lets me down and I end up trimming and trimming until the material is even, sorry – rambling – so, I ended up on Friday afternoon with a not too bad effort of a pale pink quilt top made from the pineapple technique and with Facebook support. But guess what – I had no backing fabric! I only had to go again to Quilters Haven on Saturday morning, yes I know, poor me! Now this is where the title of this post comes into the equation. As I drove to Wickham Market I was taken by the colours of the trees and the slight mist rolling off of the fields following Fridays heavy rain falls, it was truly beautiful!

So, here it is, my first blanket of love – again by no means perfect – which I hope will help somebody cope better with a sad situation – you can find more information here, if you’re interested.

First Blanket of Love It’s a very pale pink!

A little bit of love

I dusted of my embroidery skills as well!

So what’s next? Perhaps a blue one the same (but without the wonky bits!) perhaps something else – we’ll have to wait and see!

And here’s the poem – thought I’d introduce a bit of culture!! I expect a lot of you like me only know the first few words…

To Autumn – John Keats


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, - While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A right old Ramble!

I hope you’re not expecting something exciting this week ‘cos you’ll be disappointed! This is going to be one of those posts where you all think ‘why has she bothered?’

So why have I bothered? Well, from time to time its good to have a little down time, where things go on, life goes by and nothing in particular happens. I’m probably going to wander off on several tangents as this progresses – please bear with me if you can.

You may remember a few months ago that I wrote about Son2 looking to spend some time in the US but was having visa problems. Well, he persisted in his efforts, spending many hours on on-line forums and many pounds in sterling to pursue his dream. He spoke to a solicitor for advice (a pre-agreed fee for an hour long telephone call – not cheap) and she told him all that he already knew – the key was to prove he had links here and that he had to come back. She also told him that he was far more likely to get through if he went to the US Embassy in Belfast (Northern Ireland) as they had less applicants and therefore more would go through. So a couple of weeks ago he duly booked flights for himself & John (moral support) and a hotel, because the appointment was too early in the morning to catch the first flight, and set off to Belfast. He had a much more positive experience this time and was actually afforded the courtesy of being listened to, which didn’t happen  in London, but the outcome was still the same. Now don’t get me wrong, those of you that are regular readers and know me personally know that we love the US and its people and ideals but I don’t know what more they expect of a 20 year old man (gosh it makes me feel old to call him a man) other than to prove that he has a home and a job to come back to. It seems that what is being sought is evidence that he owns his own property and will come back to live in it!! He’s 20, earns a pittance, we’re in a recession – get real! He can’t afford his own property! He wanted to go now before he’s got the financial commitments that his own property will bring. The eagle eyed among you will notice that change of tense there from ‘wants’ to ‘wanted’. He’s given up on his dream and is knuckling down now to earn the money to buy his own property – at some time!

Sorry that was a bit of a rant – ooh I think I feel another! Those of you who regularly blog hop as I do may have noticed a huge increase in the number of posts that are starting with ‘This is a sponsored post’ and they go on to detail how they’ve had a lovely day out courtesy of A, played with toys courtesy of B, received a magical face cream from the lovely people at C, etc etc. I thought the whole purpose of blogging (I may be wrong) was to share your lives, interests etc in a non-commercial way with other like minded people – and yes before any of you tell me, I hosted a giveaway not long ago which I guess was a sponsored post but, my dear readers, one of you was the lucky winner. I benefited not a jot other than to receive a few more comments on the Ramblings! So you’re probably wondering why I’m ranting and thinking I’m jealous of all these lucky people, do you really think so? Could that be the reason. Surely not. I mean, what would I want with toys or a family day out? OK if a luxury hotel offered me the chance for a few nights away in a relaxing location perhaps I would take it…Oh dear, maybe I’m more shallow than I think I am!

I almost forgot to share this month’s Secret Blog Swap with you! Last Saturday morning the postie bought me this package (look very carefully at the wrapping – yep ingenious use of wall paper.)


When I opened it there were all these lovely chick lit books – my very favourite type ‘cos I don’t have to concentrate too hard as I’m reading them!


I did warn you about wandering around as I wrote this! So it’s Sunday today, my crafty creative day. But no crafty stuff until I’ve done the other more mundane stuff like the ironing! I have a plan for the next quilting project but also need to finish my first ‘commissioned’ crochet piece which is for the friend that I call Julie – almost finished J, will be ready for you in a couple of weeks when we meet up to see John Barrowman!

I’m off now – need to get my muddled mind in some sort of order. If I get the offer from that luxury hotel (or Tiffany’s or any other posh label) be sure I’ll come back to you with my tail between my legs and my head hung in shame! Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Now where was I?

Oh that’s right – I’d finished the top of the quilt! I proudly took it into work on Monday last week knowing that I had one or two people who, despite having a laugh at my expense the previous week, were actually quite interested in what I’d done. There was just the one detractor who simply doesn’t like things like this! She nobly looked in the opposite direction whilst I showed off my handiwork and no offence was taken!

Friday was my day off and I met up with Janet to visit Wickham Market for coffee, a natter and a quick trip to spend my voucher form Quilters Haven! I needed to get the batting and backing fabric for the quilt and couldn’t resist the opportunity to buy a couple of fat quarter bundles while I was there – baby blues and baby pinks.

After the excitement I was exhausted and made my way home for a sneaky snooze! Son2 was off out for the evening so I’d taken the opportunity to buy some fish for dinner as it would only be me & John – until Son1 sent a text asking if we fancied company for dinner! Er OK, not enough fish for four and he wouldn’t eat it anyway so I offered a takeaway, the reply surprised me ‘We’re shopping so we’ll bring dinner with us’! Result – that’s the sort of visitors I like! And it was a healthy-ish meal of chicken in sauce, baked potatoes, beans and baby corn!

Saturday loomed fine and dry and football beckoned for the afternoon, rumour had it that the game was a sellout so we nipped to town early to make sure we could park, just had to while away the extra couple of hours shopping and eating! Turned out not to be a sellout after all but I got myself some lovely tops for work for the winter! Oh – and we won! Ipswich Town are now second in the league – let’s hope we can sustain it!

You can tell the seasons are changing because X Factor is back on our screens (sort of American Idol but different) we’re coming to the end of the auditions which give us all, more often than not, a real good laugh on a Saturday night. Twitter was alive with comments begging the ‘singers’ to stop and wondering who ever had told them they could sing!

Which brings me to Sunday, my new found day of creativity! After being a good wife & mother and having finished the ironing I set about plucking up the courage (yes I know that sounds feeble) to make the three pieces of the quilt become one. I asked John to help with the cutting of the batting and the backing – I was too much of a wimp to to do it myself! I called upon my trusty ‘Quilting for Dummies’ book and opted for an ‘envelope’ method to finish it off – again I was too cowardly to try a bias edging!

So here it is, after a couple of hours hunched over the machine and a few curses on the way as the batting decided to stretch over the top of the quilt and I managed to stitch over the masking tape I’d used to pick out the diagonal stitching lines (yes – I know I could use tailors chalk and I will next time!), the finished article. Am I pleased with it? Hell, yes! Will I do more? You bet!

Finished Lost Charm1

Looking slightly crumpled in the late afternoon sunshine

Lost Charm2 

The backing is greener than it looks on here

Thanks for the lovely comments on here and on Facebook – I really appreciate it!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Lost Charm

Thought I really ought to have a little update – I’ve been getting so carried away with being Mrs Needlewoman that I’ve neglected the Ramblings again lately!

Last time I wrote, I told you about the quilt walk, showed you my cushion and mentioned the voucher that I’d won. Well the voucher was for a stonking £20 which I thought was pretty darn fine considering I’d had such a fab time winning it! I carefully placed it in the kitchen cupboard, ready for the next trip to Quilters Haven.

In the meantime I decided to take the bull by the horns and make a start on my first real project. If you remember I mentioned that I had a pack of ‘charms’, 40 five inch squares already cut and ready to go. I’d used four that I wasn’t over keen on, to experiment a few weeks ago which, do the maths, meant I had 36 left. John needed to be sure that was right so, last Saturday afternoon he made me count them again. Yep – 36. I moved from the sofa to the dining room table (all of five yards) and laid the charms out in blocks of four – and one block of three. Somehow, in that extremely short journey I had mislaid a charm. Of course I was sure I’d had 36 – why would you doubt me? Yeah – I know I’m getting on a bit but my ability to count remains intact! We looked everywhere, under the sofa, under the table, checked it hadn’t become attached to another charm. No luck. I searched through the stash for something that was remotely suitable and unhappily settled for a neutral looking fabric.

So, moving on with trepidation I started joining the charms together – I had an idea in mind of what I wanted and didn’t actually follow a pattern. John very kindly (not in an interfering sort of way you understand) decided that I really needed a guide to follow for a quarter of an inch as my foot was in fact three-eighths of an inch which was why things had not worked so well last time. With masking tape in place it was so much easier and, puffing my chest with pride, I managed to do a pretty fine job of squaring them up – if I went wrong I disciplined myself to unpick and start again!

So 36 squares became nine and needed a little extra to make them become one! Over to the precision of John and a jelly roll (40 odd two-and-a-half inch meter long strips) and hey presto we have strip edging – two short sides and two long to avoid the need for mitres on the corner (took the cowards way there).

Time for food so I retreated to the kitchen and guess what I found – yep, the lost charm! It was sitting on top of a (fortunately clean) dish cloth! I vaguely remembered John had wiped the table when we started and he’d obviously picked the charm up at the same time! I was so pleased to be able to unpick several seams to put it into it’s rightful place! The other fabric just didn’t cut it!

It was about 7pm now and I really couldn’t sit for any longer as I was starting to ache – yet I didn’t want to stop! Reluctantly I packed up for the night and took up with the hook instead!

Sunday morning saw me back at the table, intending just to join the rest of the edges as we were off out for the day – but I couldn’t stop! I ended up finishing the top (just as well I didn’t have the battening and backing!!) so that I could take it to show off to my friend!

So here it is – photo taken in quilters time honoured way hanging from the washing line!

The Lost Charm

So here you have it ‘The Lost Charm’

I think I’ll leave the rest for later – I like to leave you wanting more!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Do you remember?

This week Jenny has given us an evocative prompt which, given the date, can only really be linked to one event – do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? When events changed the modern world forever? When time almost stood still? They say that there are certain events in history that will stay with you forever – Kennedy’s assassination is one of them. The events of 9/11/01 another. Please visit Jenny to see what other people remember.

The prompt is in bold.

John had phoned me at work to see if I’d seen the internet news. I hadn’t. He told me what had happened. This was late afternoon in the UK and I was due to finish work soon. As I walked home I remember wondering what had happened. As I got home the second plane hit the building. I stood frozen in front of the flickering images on my TV and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My abiding memory is the horrific footage of people fleeing the huge debris ball that rolled down a New York side street.

We visited ground zero in 2003, the atmosphere was surreal – and very moving.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Not quite a silk purse from a pigs ear!

I’ve had a great day today. Day off and all alone so, after waking early, I set about finishing the, ahem, ‘creation’ that I started last weekend. Although I knew it wasn’t anywhere near perfection I’d decided to finish it off anyway. I started the day with nine squares – none of which were actually square! I trimmed them the best I could and joined them together to make one big square – which still wasn’t actually square! I had it in mind to trim all of the sides with a contrasting fabric and then to finish it off with wadding and backing so I could quilt it. When I added the border it took on the appearance of something resembling a square and I started to feel optimistic. And then I had a eureka moment – I’ll turn it into a cushion! I have a lovely cushion that I bought from a craft fair a few months ago so I 'deconstructed’ it to see how it had been made and worked out how to back it with an envelope-style backing! I already had some calico that I had bought more in hope than anything else which would come in handy.

I had other things to do as well as sewing so I went off to the chiropractor, then dropped a couple of pairs of Son2’s old shoes into a shoe bank, nipped into the little Tesco and headed off to Dunelm for the cushion pad – fortunately I realised I hadn’t a clue what size I needed so called into home first! I needed a 20 inch cushion and hadn’t measured it in metric – of course they measured in metric but a helpful assistant helped my befuddled brain to work it out!

I also decided that I needed a ‘stash storage unit’ (SSU) and had an image of stacking boxes – I was delighted to find exactly what I wanted!

Off I went home all excited wanting to make up the cushion and to fill the SSU with yarn and fabric. I am easily pleased it seems! I now have a feeling of achievement as something that looked completely useless at 9 o’clock this morning now looks quite good and it will be useful as I need a cushion when I’m sewing because the dining room table isn’t really the best place to sit but the cushion will help!

001 Ta-dah – the Wonky Cushion, hopefully as I get better I’ll look back at this and smile!


I still have more yarn than fabric but I fully expect to so more crochet than sewing as I’ll do that in the evenings – sewing will be a weekend job!

And then (yes I know I shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘and’) I had a phone call form Quilters Haven to say I’d won a prize in the Quilt Walk from Saturday – I never win anything so I am really chuffed about that, I didn’t like to ask what it was but I think it’s probably a voucher, I’ll let you know when it arrives!

So that was my day, with the addition of washing and cooking a winter-type dinner, I’m exhausted! The weather has been great for most of the day but is just turning with the expected rain and strong winds – I hope this doesn’t signal the end of summer!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Getting better!

After posting last week about my quilting attempts, I persuaded John to come with me to Quilters Haven with a promise that I would do a couple of geo caches with him (he’s easily bribed!). The shop is in a small village, Wickham Market, just a little way from home – in fact so much closer than I thought it was that I’m wondering why I’ve never been there before! Anyhow, it turns out that there was to be a ‘Quilt Walk’ yesterday which pleased me as it would give me a chance to see other people’s efforts. We pulled into the village and soon saw a derelict piece of land surrounded by ugly wire fencing which had some of the most gorgeous quilts pegged to it – I thought that was a really novel idea!There was an elderly lady looking after the quilts and I confessed to being a true novice and in turn she confessed to not being a quilter at all – had tried it a few years ago but couldn’t take to it!
We wandered around the different locations that housed the various quilts and stood looking in awe at the handiwork involved. However, I am pleased to say that nearly every quilt had something that wasn’t quite right about it – a wonky seam, a triangle that had lost a tip, fabric not quite cut on the square – that made me feel sooo much better about my early efforts!
As a fundraiser for village facilities there was a competition which led you to almost every shop in the village to look for the quilts that were inside and answer very simple questions about each one, this was a very good idea and everybody in the village seemed pleased to be taking part.
By the time we actually got into the shop, John was so fired up with the belief that he could quilt we ended up spending a flipping fortune! I needed a longer ruler as I found out to my cost last week, however I also ‘needed’ all the fabric pictured below! I am please to say that I now have a fabric stash to add to my yarn stash! As the friend that I call Julie said, a girl’s got to have a stash!
007 The fabric in the blue banding was ‘free’ because we spent so much! It matched some in a bag of scraps that I bought as well which is a bonus!
The owner of the shop has written several books and took the time to show John and I how to make her famous ‘pineapple’ and here is our first attempt! John and I have just spent the afternoon making this square – he cut and measured and I sewed, he can’t quite bring himself to use the machine yet! It got better as we went on – the middle looks very wonky but that’s what makes it unique – by the time we’ve made, I don’t know, another 20 they should all look pretty good!
This was actually a very easy square to make – as I have discovered all quilts have a name this one will of course be called ‘Come on you blues’!!
I’ll leave you with a few of the quilts on display (they were even in the church which was a great place to show them off) I didn’t take many photos in the end because I was too overwhelmed by the quilts!
001 003 004 005 006
Oh nearly forgot – John found two geo caches as well!!!