Thursday, 27 October 2011

Have you voted... the Japanese Scrap Bag Challenge at Pings and Needles?  Archie has!  Would you like to see?!

I've really enjoyed following the challenge on Flickr and through some of the blogs but when it came to voting I was stumped...who to vote for?  How to choose from all the fabulous things they made?  So I decided that when it came to tricky decisions there was only one thing to do...

What's that you say?  A tricky decision?  I'm the dog you need!

So Archie carefully looked at all the entries.  In the interests of fairness I didn't say anything about any of them as I didn't want to sway his decision.  He looked at them all but so you don't get bored I'll just show you looking at his favourite four....(I feel a bit bad that Archie's vote isn't going to be secret and I really hope that no one gets upset that they didn't get chosen by him but the photos are so appealing that I just had to share them!)

Yes they're nice but no, I wouldn't look good wearing one of those...I'm a dog not a suitcase!

To carry my biscuits in?  That's a good idea - would I be able to eat them when I wanted?

I don't care how fabulous they are, you won't get me wearing those...not on your nelly...

A game that turns into a jigsaw?   Now that's a clever idea!

Once Archie had chosen his favourite four it was time for him to chose first place so I shut him in the front room while I assembled his ballot station...

I'm sorry for the two that didn't make it to the final judging round but Archie had final say so please address any complaints to him!

...and then he was allowed in.  At this point I thought he was only allowed one vote but when I went to register his vote I realised he was allowed to choose three.  Although I only have a photo of his first vote I can remember the next two he chose so no one will miss out on a vote from Archie!

So I go to my favourite one first?  And you'll get the photo as proof?

I really like this one...really, really like it, look how much my tail is wagging!

I know you said I have to consider all of them but this one is still my favourite, I think it should win!


Steady...Are you sure you've got the camera ready?


So there you go, Archie's favourite project in the Japanese Scrap Bag Challenge at Pings and Needles was....

 Sarah, Hadley and Ali - I hope you don't mind me using your photos in the mosaic, if you do please let me know!

Sarah with the tic tac toe game that is also a jigsaw

closely followed by...

Hadley with the tags to identify her children's belongings

followed by...

Ali with the booties 

Archie would like to congratulate all three of you on a job well done and he's flicking his ears and wagging his tail as a salute to your skills!

Good luck to all the entrants in the challenge - it was so hard to choose a favourite.  Thank you, Archie, for doing the honours!  You did a terrific job!

Before I go I also want to remind you that the marvellous Lynne has posted the fourth post in her Christmas Gifts for Quilters series and trust me, you really don't want to miss your chance to win this week's giveaway!  Click on the button to take you to the post and giveaway - good luck!!

Christmas Gifts for Quilters

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Some lovely presents and a bit of a catch up!


I do hope you're all well and enjoying life?  I'm still wiped out but I'm sure I'll bounce back soon so don't worry about me, I'll be fine!  In the meantime I'm doing lots of sleeping, a bit of stitching and not a lot of housework and Archie is mainly sleeping and keeping a beady eye on 'his' pavement!

On Monday I had a lovely afternoon in Whitby with two friends - lots of chatting, some gorgeous scones (fruit) and cake (lemon and poppy seed - delicious!) and a teeny tiny bit of shopping.  We went to a lovely little craft shop crammed with goodies and had a whale of a time choosing ribbons and thread and I bought somehow came home with a FQ as well.  Want to see?!

£2 for 6 reels of cotton thread!
I'm planning to use the Tilda stripe for the back of my crochet cushion and as it's slightly wider than usual I should have enough left to make a hexy or three...

Monday was also turned out to be a present day.  Before I went out I got a lovely parcel in the post containing this...

...which I can't wait to try.  Then later on one of the lovely friends I went to Whitby with gave me a thank you present (very naughty!)...

The chocolate buttons are almost too nice to eat!!

...yes, the chocolate is still all there, I haven't even opened the lid yet - aren't I restrained?!  And how great will that lovely yellow fabric look in my hexies?  I needed some more yellow and now I have some!!  There was also a voucher for a nail salon and I'm currently debating which treatment to have, I'm leaning towards some paraffin wax treatments as I have patches of stubbornly dry skin on my hands which even constant moisturising doesn't solve and I've been told it can help with aches and pains so it may even help with the tendonitis which would be a bonus!

Thank you ladies, I really appreciate having such wonderful friends!

And continuing my good fortune I won Tina's giveaway to celebrate 100 followers - thank you, Tina, I'm going to spend the next week or so hovering by my letterbox!!  Tina's gorgeous wedding ring quilt was recently featured on Kate Spain's blog - how fabulous is that?!!

I did say I'd been doing a little bit of sewing and it really is a little bit, I've stitched the first four blocks for my Pillow Fight cushion.  I'm quite pleased with how they look and they're a perfect hand piecing project for an evening.  What do you think?

Four down, twelve to go!
I've almost finished prepping the pieces for the remaining blocks and I'm going to spend some time this evening arranging them as I'm trying to make all the blocks different...for those of you who are as sharp-eyed as Laura@Needles, Pins and Baking Tins and are also wondering if the blocks are small or the seam allowance is large - the blocks are 3" (finished)!  I love these little blocks so much I'm considering making a version for myself using the scraps left from Going In Circles with black centres and outer triangles...but I'm not 'allowed' to think any further about it until I've ticked at least two items off my Winter Stitching list!

That's about it from me today but before I go I want to share a couple of photos of Archie who is currently curled up in his bed and is gently snoring...why is that appealing and cute in a dog and annoying in a man?!!

This is how he looked when he realised I was going to Whitby and wasn't taking him with me...

It's not fair...left alone again and not a biscuit in sight...

And I think this must be the doggy equivalent of licking the bowl after baking...

...hours of fun chasing those biscuit crumbs!

It's almost time to vote for your favourite make in the Japanese scrap bag challenge run by Sarah@Pings and Needles so go over and have a look at the fabulous things that have been made - prepare to be amazed!  If you come back in a day or two you'll be able see Archie deciding who to vote for...

Have a great day - Archie would say thank you for all your lovely comments about him but he's still fast asleep so I'll say it on his behalf!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

My winter stitching plans

I know, I'm posting twice in twenty four hours...unheard of!  (And it's probably never going to happen again!)

After reading some of the summer sewing round up posts and hearing that Sarah@Fairyface Designs was planning a winter version I decided it might be just the thing for me - I love lists as they always make me feel organised and stop ideas whizzing round in my head.  I'm afraid that some of my plans are a little woolly as I usually find Christmas exhausting and as I'm going through a bit of a bad patch at the moment I have no idea how much stitching I'll be able to do.  (For those of you who are new to my blog...I have ME/CFS and am unable to work due to the condition - sewing keeps me sane (ish) but I can't do as much as I would like due to my low energy levels, etc.)

FairyFace Designs

So, here's my slightly woolly and fuzzy winter stitching list (in no particular order!):

1&2.  Add backs (cord?  Velvet?) to my knitted and crocheted squares to turn them into cushion covers

Must remember to block it first!

3(Not sure this counts but I'm adding it anyway!)  Finish sorting my scraps so that this...

 turns into this...

4.  Make my BQS Pillow Fight cushion for my secret partner (deadline = 21st November)
5.  Make a cushion for a friend (deadline = as close to 21st November as possible!)
6.  Finish the Twelve Days of Christmas red work garland for my mam (deadline = Christmas day!)
7Start the blue and white snowball and nine patch quilt that my mam wants me to make for their spare room  (Dad doesn't get a choice!) for which she's collected these fabrics

Rebecca, if you're reading this I know you're laughing at my neatly drawn plan!
8.  Decide what size to make my Christmas quilt and firm up the design (embroidery or raw edge applique is the debate currently going on in my head!) PLUS create some (all?!) designs for the (multiple) embroidered panels.  The quilt has been inspired by these

The pegs I use to display my Christmas cards
and I've collected mysteriously acquired these fabrics for it

9.  Make some more hexies - maybe another four dozen, which will almost take me to the halfway point.  (Not all of them have to be pieced as I need some whole hexies to balance out the completely scrappy look!)

There...nine items on the list, doesn't seem too bad, especially compared to some people!  And only three that have a definite deadline - I do hope I can accomplish more than that, I'll let you know in the round up post, due sometime in mid March I think.

And it wouldn't be an ATWD post without a few photos of the man dog himself.  We went to the vet this morning so he could have some blood taken (he's getting scared of going now, poor thing) so they could check his kidneys and liver, etc. and he looked so cute with his yellow smiley face bandage that I wanted to share some photos with his fans!

Look into my want to give me a biscuit... know you want to give me a biscuit...
...if I'm not getting the biscuit then you're not getting another photo of my bandage
Look, poorly leg...that definitely deserves a biscuit!
If you're still reading and haven't fallen asleep then well done!

I've removed the bandage now and can *just* see a tiny needle mark - no bald patch or anything!  Brave Archie!  The vet has just phoned and all his tests bar one absolutely fine.  One of his liver enzymes is slightly raised but nothing that's unusual in a dog his age (11.5 years) so we just have to go back in six months for another test.  He can stay on the Metacam (anti-inflammatory) for as long as he needs to (reading between the lines I think it will be forever) and he's allowed to slowly build up to a thirty minute lead walk.  When he can cope with that he can come off the lead for five minutes at a time and that can then slowly build up.  If I'm sure he's under control and not going to be jogging then I'm allowed to let him off the lead so he can sniff and mark his favourite trees - yeah!  I'm also allowed to move his medication to an evening so that he no longer has to have half his tea for breakfast (and so he won't think he's being starved, he's not daft, he knows when he's being fobbed off with a carrot!) and I can have a slower start to the day which I desperately need at the moment!  Good news all round!

I'm linking up with Sarah's Winter Stitching List post, click on the button at the top of this post to see what she (and many others!) have planned for the coming months.

Thanks for popping in (sorry you had to stay longer than you expected!!) - hope you're having a wonderful day!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Move along, nothing much to see here...

Unfortunately it's true - there has been a pitiful amount of sewing going on in ATWD Land - lots of sleeping but very little sewing!  I've had a series of exceptionally tired days where I can do little but either sleep or desperately wait for it to be time for Archie's afternoon walk...which is followed by tea and then, hurray!, bedtime!!

I have been able to do a little bit of sewing and I managed to make some blocks for Judith's and Karen's charity bees

Disappearing nine patch blocks for Judith
Feel free to admire my neighbour's security light!!

Square in a square blocks for Karen - beginning to wish I'd made the centre squares larger...
I wasn't happy with how two of the blocks turned out (1/8th too small) so I added a frame

And whilst I was making them I discovered that an unpicker is indeed sharp enough to pierce flesh - my arm, to be precise!  Don't ask, I have no idea how it ended up there!

I also did a job that's been long overdue...I cleaned and oiled my sewing machine!  I'm not sure how long I've had the machine (possibly18 months) but I wasn't really sure how to clean and oil it (yes, I tried the instruction book but I still wasn't sure!) so I eventually remembered to ask an expert - thanks, Beryl!  Now I know what to do and I'd advise all of you to have a go as my machine is a lot quieter since I lavished some TLC on it!

Look at that fluff...oh, the shame!  I've been very good at cleaning inside the bobbin case, etc., but this was the first time I'd ever removed the stitch plate!

No wonder it's running better now!

I've also been doing a spot of crochet (very addictive!)

which is going to be turned into a cushion cover, just need to find something for the back and I fancy a bit of velvet or cord.  The colours are slightly washed out here - there is much more aqua in the yarn than the photo shows.  The yarn is a 50% Suri Alpaca/50% Merino yarn that I bought at Saltburn Farmer's Market a few months ago from the Willo Alpacas stall.  I have to be careful with yarn as it often makes me itch - I seem to be particularly bad with lambswool but this is beautifully soft and not at all itchy...perfect for a snuggly cushion!

Speaking of cushions...I've chosen my fabrics for my Pillow Fight cushion.

Yes, I know lots of you don't like batiks but I think they'll look great with the design I've chosen - the subtle colour changes are just what's me, it'll work!  (And if not I've got a backup plan...)

Archie seems to be the same - it's very hard to tell how he is as there isn't an outward sign, no limp, etc., so it's a matter of waiting.  We're going back to the vet tomorrow (Thursday) so Archie can have some blood taken (the first time that's happened to him) and if his kidneys are fine then the vet is going to consider keeping him on the anti-inflammatory indefinitely.  I'm hoping that he says that Archie is allowed off the lead for short periods as he's really missing his favourite sniffing spots at the back of the trees.  He also got rolled over by an over enthusiastic puppy* on Monday which was worrying but he doesn't seem to have any after effects but I suppose I'll find out for definite tomorrow morning...

* In the interests of maintaining Archie's reputation I should point out that the puppy was a 60lb Mastiff puppy rather than a little scrap of a thing!

When it's sunny (and sometimes when it's not!) Archie loves to spend the morning in the conservatory and then he moves to the front room in the afternoon as the sun moves round to the front of the house.  This morning he was more than a little miffed to find something blocking out his sun

Can't this thing be moved?!
And this afternoon he couldn't quite work out why the sun wasn't in its usual position at the bottom of the stairs so he went looking for it...

It's not ideal but it'll do, I suppose...

...but nasty Helen wouldn't let him stay there (worried about whether it's putting a strain on his back - another thing to ask the vet!) so he was reduced to this...

It's just not fair...I wanted more than my head in the sun...

...but I'll take what I can get and it's bliss!

Hope everyone is well and enjoying the cold snap?!  Happy stitching!

P.S.  Lynne's newest (&wonderful!) Christmas Gifts for Quilters post is up and this time you could win a fabulous pattern from the ever so talented and lovely Kerry who has just published her first paper piecing pattern (it's soooo cute!).  Click on the button to go to the post and good luck in the giveaway!  If you don't win why not buy the pattern and make yourself a Christmas gift?!

Christmas Gifts for Quilters

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I'm still here!

Just thought I'd pop in and let you all know that I'm still here!

Now, before I forget, the second Christmas Gifts for Quilters post is up and Lynne is focusing on Aurifil.  I only have one reel of Aurifil (40wt - wonderful for quilting) and I'd love to own more!  Click the button to take you to the post - there's a wonderful giveaway going on over there!

Christmas Gifts for Quilters

Another thing I mustn't forget is to show you what turned up last week.  Well, it tried to turn up but I wasn't in and the postie wouldn't squash it to death to get it in the letter box so it had to hang around at the depot for a day or so while I wondered what this mysterious parcel could be - in the end I decided it was going to be another washing powder measure or something equally mundane!  It must have been my lucky week as my name was pulled out of the hat for one of the September giveaways at Popular Patchwork and I won this...

...a big pile of dinosaur fabric!!
I'm going to use the bottom two fabrics to make 12" (finished) blocks for Karen's Kind Stitches - she's collecting blocks to make into non-wadded quilts for children at a shelter in Thailand and the others will probably wait for a baby boy to arrive...

My Brit Quilt Swap Pillow Fight partner assignment arrived yesterday (excited!) and I've done a little far I've had a few ideas.  Well, one idea with a few permutations!  (And I've learnt my first lesson - sketch ideas in pen not pencil as pencil doesn't like being photographed!)

Apologies for the small writing and diagrams, it's easier to read here

Now obviously I want to try and make something wonderful for my partner but I'm a little unsure about whether this is the right sort of thing.  I've uploaded it to the group pool so hopefully she'll reply (don't think I'm giving anything away by letting you know my partner's a she!) and I can go from there.  I'm think I'll just have to throw around some ideas and hope that one takes her fancy...if not I'll have another ponder!  Once I've chosen a design I'm going to narrow down the colours (I find it much easier to work this way round) and then I may be able to get cutting and stitching!!

I'm still really tired (thanks for all of your supportive messages - I really appreciate them!) so haven't done much except sleep (and sleep in - I slept through my not-very-early alarm three days running!) and sit on the settee drinking cups of tea.  Oh, and try to catch up with my blog reading - I was about six days behind but I think I'm caught up now! - but over the past few weeks I've been stitching the odd (some might say very odd!) Drunkard's Path block together (see here and here for previous posts) and I thought I'd share a few of my favourites

I really do love them, especially that turquoise!

I think that despite the different colour ways these are going to work well together...

I think I have another six blocks to stitch and then I'll be ready to ponder the sizes of the grey and turquoise borders.  I still haven't got any grey as the website I was going to order from doesn't have any at the moment but I'm not in any rush - I want this to be my stand-by project for those days when I'm not able to think and stitch...and I have plenty of those!

Archie is enjoying his slightly longer walks and seems to be coping well with them.  He's a bit miffed that he's not allowed to go further and he's slowly getting used to being on a lead for the entire walk rather than just the first 30 seconds...this morning he didn't get wrapped round a single tree or lamppost which is quite an achievement for a dog (and owner!) that has spent the last ten years not having to think about such things.  He has happily re-marked his territory and is now only weeing on every third or fourth blade of grass  which has sped things up considerably!  (No kidding, he stopped every foot or so for the first couple of days!)  He has spent all day today in his bed in the kitchen - he has a cosy corner (on the list when I got a new kitchen?  A space for Archie's bed!) and looks most comfortable

I think he's counting his feet to check they're all still there!

Of course, I rarely manage to get a second chance at a photo of him from a different angle

Do you mind, I'm trying to sleep...

Doesn't he look cosy in his not-so-little corner with two duvets?!  It's no wonder he doesn't want to be disturbed!

Hope everyone is well and having wonderful sewing days?  It's just the weather to be inside with some gorgeous fabric!

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