Monday, 30 August 2010

It’s out of the box!

Well, I finally got around to unwrapping the sewing machine. I had mentally promised myself a few hours to get started on the quilting, well patchwork at the moment but quilting ultimately.



Last week when I was off work I found an amazing YouTube channel here which offers tutorials for quilting – they make it look so simple!

I’ve also bought several books which I hope will inspire me – they make it look simple too!


I’ve never been a great one for needlework and sewing machines so I was a little cautious when I started. Trying to remember all the things my Mum tried to teach me. I’m a bit pragmatic when it comes to learning things, so I tend to fiddle around before I read the instruction booklets! I managed to load the lower bobbin and thread the machine in readiness and then I set about deciding what I was going to start with. I had a ‘charm pack’ which I bought in the US when I was on holiday, these are packs of around 40 five inch squares, just ready for you to make a start in whatever way you want to. I decided to try and be clever and start with a ‘pin wheel’ pattern, on reflection that may have been a little ambitious. I chose the four squares that I was least attracted to and started my new hobby!


I was very impressed that I managed to stitch straight lines at a quarter of an inch all the way round – that’s an improvement as I can’t generally sew in a straight line! I was feeling quite proud of myself until the time came to use the rotary cutter against the edge of the ruler. The first cut was disastrous. Somehow I managed to move the cutter away from the ruler – I have no idea how it happened but I know I will be a lot more careful with it now!

So here are my first attempts – spot the one that I cut wrong! I don’t think I did too bad for a first attempt, the points of the pin wheels are almost spot on, I think I’ll perhaps sew some strips and squares to get some practice in!


I’ve just come back to the laptop to find I hadn’t finished this post so here is another ta-dah moment! I’ve spent this afternoon sewing as well, this time I started with fat quarters and cut the fabric into strips to make a nine patch square. I’m still not happy with the way I’m finishing – I don’t know if it’s because I’m slipping with the sewing and not keeping straight – I think it probably is that if I’m honest! Anyway, as my mother used to say practice makes perfect – onwards and upwards!

Here’s today’s efforts – John decided to help with the initial cutting ‘cos he thought that was where I was going wrong – it would seem not though!


I think my key word has to be patience now – this is, after all, completely new to me and I mustn’t beat myself up over it!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Rainbow Blue


Those of you that know me will not be the slightest bit surprised that for the colour blue I choose my beloved football (soccer) team Ipswich Town. On Saturday afternoons throughout the football season (August through to May) you’ll not get much sense from me as I will generally be focusing on either getting to the game if we’re at home or listening to to the radio if we are away. I will be found listening to (and maybe joining in with) the yells of ‘Come on You Blues’, singing along to our own version of ‘Singing the Blues’ and generally getting caught up with the excitement.

If I’m at home with the radio on, I will be watching for Tweets with the hash tag #COYB (come on you blues!!) or #ITFC (Ipswich Town Football Club) as there are many loyal fans Tweeting from the away grounds, some may say I’m ‘sad’ others that I’m mad but I love the anxiety and torment of the uncertainty!!

Sadly last season was a torment for the most part as we failed to win a game for months, mainly conceding an equalising goal in the dying seconds of extra time, thankfully we rallied to towards the end of the season. However this season we are storming! Two away league wins, one home draw and two away cup wins – we are invincible!! Well, you have to have hope don’t you!!

Have a look at the other blue posts this week – oh, and if you’re feeling generous please give me a clue what I can write for indigo next week!!!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

What I did over my Summer Vacation

This week Mrs Matlock has taken us all back to that first day of term when we had to write about our summer holidays (for some reason I always hated that). This can be fact or fiction and has to be written in the first person. I’m going to continue Dotty’s story so the following is a work of fiction.

I sit in the car watching from a distance wondering what I’m doing here. On vacation, my two weeks away from work and I’m here with Dotty who is work. I’m risking a lot here for her, bit I think she appreciates that. I can see it in her eyes when she thinks I’m not looking. She needs a new counsellor – I can look after her in other ways now. I become aware of movement in the mirror. She’s in pieces again, I rush from the car and scoop her in my arms, holding her as tight as possible.

Phew – bang on 100 words (after a fair bit if editing!)

If you’ve not followed Dotty’s story till now here are the back links (written in no particular chronological order) if you’d like to catch up – I have a feeling one is missing but I can’t find it for the life of me!!

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight

Saturday, 21 August 2010

About time too…

It’s been a long time. So long I can’t even remember the last time. The last time I wrote just general lifey things. No reason. Plenty of excuses – such as I have nothing to say!

So what have I been up to? Well, the holiday is now a very distant memory and I’m well and truly back in the work thing – that’s another excuse, it’s been busy at work! I’ve been crocheting – another excuse, needed to get things finished! And I’m longing, yes longing to start the quilting that I mentioned in the holiday post – all will be revealed, hopefully, very soon!

A few weeks ago I left you with the promise of more about the Rod Stewart concert and I will be true to my word! We have seen Rod three times in the last five years and he never fails to please! This time we went to the O2 arena to see him, staying overnight at the nearest Travel Lodge – please do not take this as a recommendation for a night away, if you can afford it I strongly recommend paying the extra for a place that’s slightly more luxurious! We had seen this particular hotel from the road several times as we’d passed, it’s not a particularly attractive building – very block-like in construction and the inside didn’t surprise us, however the staff were very friendly and the breakfast was very good. Probably best to skim over the accommodation for the night.

Anyway, on to the O2 via the Docklands Light Railway which was very efficient. We arrived, we thought, in plenty of time for a meal before the show. Unfortunately the rest of the world also had the same thought and every restaurant had a queue a mile long. A friend at work had recommended the Thai restaurant and amazingly it had the shortest queue – but only because they were taking bookings for an hours time! We gave our name and went inside for a drink, sat ourselves at a table and were joined by another couple who asked if we minded if they ate – of course we didn’t and, as luck would have it, we managed to order food as well without having to wait for the hour!  After a delicious meal we took our seats for the concert. We had good seats, via the front of the arena and just one level up about three blocks away from the stage. Whilst we’d been waiting I was being uber-cool and Facebooking, Tweeting etc only to have some very disparaging remarks made about Rod from some of my closest friends. Let me tell you right now they were wrong – he may be 65 but boy he can still rock an entire arena. He sang all of his old classics plus some Motown and he only swore once! I think the best bit though was at the end when he thanked us all for turning out in such difficult financial times and said that we’d made the effort to get Grannies to babysit! I think he needs a reality check – most of the audience were Grannies!

So that was Rod – hopefully he’ll do more tours and we’ll get to go again. What else has been happening? Mmmm not a lot really, oh – I bought a sewing machine. As I write it sits in it’s box unopened because I haven't had the chance to start to use it yet. I had planned to spend all day yesterday ‘playing’ and making a start but I’ve not been well all week so that didn’t happen. I have though bought several books and viewed some fabulous You Tube video tutorials on quilting. I’m waiting for some very important equipment to be delivered now – cutting mat, cutter and ruler – and believe me I will be using them very soon. I am inspired. I can quilt. I think…

I mentioned crochet above and I have been very active in that department (‘cos it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort- just need to stay awake!) and I can now reveal my latest projects – ta dah!


 008009   010 011 012

My friend at work (who doesn’t read this so if you know her please don’t tell her!) is going to be a grandma in December (she does know that part) so I thought I’d make something for the baby but because I don’t know what the baby will be I thought I’d make one in each colour. The pattern was based on this here but I used a 4-ply cotton and a 3.5 mm hook which made tiny motifs so I had to modify it to make a reasonable size – I have to say I’m quite pleased with the results.

I’ve now started to use this lovely cotton yarn that I bought on holiday. The idea was a Cath Kidston-esque afghan but I’m not so sure it’s looking that way! I decided to be a little different with this one and am making big squares using every colour in every square but in a different order and only using the sage green around the edges – I bought three balls of sage but that won’t be enough to edge the whole thing :( I tried to order more online at Hobby Lobby but they don’t do international online orders so I’ll need to phone them instead!


Well, that’s about it I think. I’ve had an enforced week off work due to illness this week – started off with a gastric thing and then on Wednesday my back pinged as I was about to sit down – hence I can’t sort the sewing machine out yet! My lovely FDIL kindly drove me to the Chiropractor on Thursday afternoon and I have another appointment for Monday – hopefully by then the pain will have subsided.

Phew, this is long – if you’ve made it to the end thanks for staying with me, if you haven’t well you don’t know what you’ve missed!!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Rainbow Green



Still on Summer School time over at Jenny’s and we reach the colour green in our rainbow series.

When I was a child living just to the north of London, a shopping treat was a trip to the nearest big town which was Watford. We didn’t have a car back in the sixties and seventies so we always took a bus – or to be more accurate a couple of buses. The reason for taking a couple of buses was because I got travel sick, but only on green buses! And the bus to Watford was green so invariably what would happen is we would get half way, I’d begin to turn green in keeping with the livery of the bus and have to get off for fresh air and wait for the next bus to come along! The link between green transport and travel sickness stayed with me for many a year and I always took green to be unlucky for me, for that reason.


This picture is the closest I could get to the actual bus which was number 306, it was back in the day when the bus had no doors and both a conductor and a driver, I used to love the ticket machine that the conductor used!

Ironically when the time came for me to buy a car, my very first car was a Mark 2 Ford Cortina which was – green! The day I collected it I was driving it home and managed to take the wheel arches out by skimming along the side of a removal lorry and on the same day, when I went to fill it with petrol, I managed to flood the boot because the fuel tank had been modified and the tube that went from the filler cap to the tank had become disconnected! I’ve had a Google for a picture but haven’t been successful! After that the irony continued as the next two cars that I had registered in my name were also green – I had more luck with those and no accidents

Sunday, 15 August 2010


This post is bought to you courtesy of the friend that I call Julie…. 

A new sign in the Bank  reads:
'Please note that this Bank is installing new Drive-through cash machines enabling customers to withdraw cash without leaving their vehicles. 
Customers using this new facility are requested to use the procedures outlined below when accessing their accounts. 
After months of careful research, MALE & FEMALE Procedures have been developed. Please follow the Appropriate steps for your gender.'
1. Drive up to the cash machine.
2. LOWER your car window.
3. Insert card into machine and enter PIN.
4. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw. 
5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.
6. Raise window. 
7. Drive off. 
************************* ******
(Unfortunately, most of this  is the Truth!!)
1. Drive up to cash machine.
2. Reverse and back up the required amount to align car window with the machine. 
3. Put hand brake on, put the window down. 
4. Find handbag, remove all contents on to passenger seat to locate card. 
5. Tell person on mobile phone you will call them back and hang up. 
6. Attempt to insert card into machine.
7. Open car door to allow easier access to machine due to its excessive distance from the car.
8. Insert card.
9. Re-insert card the right way.
10. Dig through handbag to find diary with your PIN written on the inside back page.
11. Enter PIN .
12. Press cancel and re-enter correct PIN. 
13. Enter amount of cash required.
14. Check makeup in rear view mirror.
15. Retrieve cash and receipt. 
16. Empty handbag again to locate purse and place cash inside.
17. Write debit amount in cheque book and place receipt in back of it. 
18. Re-check makeup.
19. Drive forward 2 feet.
20. Reverse back to cash machine.
21. Retrieve card. 
22. Re-empty hand bag, locate card holder, and place card into the slot provided! 
23. Give dirty look to irate male driver waiting behind you. 
24. Restart stalled engine and pull off.
25. Redial person on mobile phone. 
26. Drive for 2 to 3 miles.
27. Release Hand Brake. 

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Rainbow Yellow



I’m not fond of the colour yellow when it comes to clothing. In fact I’d go so far as to say that I would generally avoid wearing it at all. Except for the time when I worked in a team that wore yellow polo shirts. Not lemon. Bright canary yellow. Yup. The kind of yellow that does not flatter any skin tone.

The thing was, we had a choice of absolutely any colour under the sun but for some reason most of the team opted for yellow. Unfortunately, some members of the team were not particularly adept at their job and the team quickly became known as ‘the Yellow Perils’. Let me tell you I could not wait to ditch that uniform!!

Have a look at what everybody else has come up with this week over at Jenny’s!

PS – I haven’t forgotten about telling you about Rod Stewart, truth is I’ve mislaid a bit of the blogging mojo – hopefully it will be back soon!

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Saturday Centus time again. 100 words or less not including the prompt (as usual in bold) – just as well I’m not writing a novel, it would take for ever!!

I shouldn’t have made this journey. Rules say don’t get involved with the clients but Dotty is, well, different. She has a certain something about her, a fragility that belies an inner strength. I’ve let her go to talk to her father on her own. I understand why she had to come today but couldn’t let her come alone. I’ve parked up a few houses away from where she now stands waiting for the door to open. I’m deliberately parked facing away but can see her even through the writing on the door mirror objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear. She’s OK, I’m here for her.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Rainbow Orange



Short and sweet – literally! Here in the UK we have sweets called ‘Smarties’ I guess to compare them with anything stateside or elsewhere you would have to choose ‘M&Ms’.

Now, when my children were small I discovered that I loved the taste of orange Smarties, looking back I don’t think they tasted of orange but there was just something about them that made them different from the other colours. I confess that I used to tell the boys that the orange ones were bad for them and they couldn’t have them. Shame on me, hey? Did you ever do anything similar or am I the worst mother on the planet? Do tell!

Have a quick look to see what everybody else has come up with this week over at Mrs Matlock’s summer school!