Sunday, 11 September 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching.

It great that it's time for slow Sunday stitching as yesterday I quite wore myself out with speedy Saturday quilting. I knew if I got a wriggle on I could more or less finish the quilting on the 9 patch quilt. I had some work to do for work so I paced myself by doing 2 hours of work followed by 1 hour of sewing. This way I don't feel bad doing things for work on a day off. Yesterday was wet here in London so I wasn't missing out on time to be enjoying the outdoors. By the end of yesterday the quilting was almost completed but that left the final bits and sewing in the ends to be done today. Not an exciting bit of hand stitching or even one people notice once the quilt is finished but it is very satisfying. I know some people just clip the ends off but I just can't bring myself to do that. 

I shall be finishing the quilting once I've finished this post. I can already tell you that next weekend will see me hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. I know I could do this on the machine but I enjoy the job and it doesn't take that long, especially with a good film on the TV. I do have to decide what to bind it with before then.

During the week I received a little package in the post that was most exciting. I know in other countries and particularly in America you can get subscription boxes for fabric and notions but I couldn't find one here. Buying from America isn't really an options as you can end up paying a lot of money in taxes. So when I came across a new service just starting in the UK by The Bramble Patch I signed up. The box is only small as they planned it to fit through the average letter box and this is reflected in the price. 

Inside the contents are protected by tissue. This will go into our brownie craft box as tissue paper is really useful.

It was an odd feeling opening the box as I was excited but worried whether I would like the contents.

I shouldn't have worried as as the contents is fine. The charm pack is really pretty and I have a plan for this. The FQ is a very useful colour and the measuring gauge has already been put to use. As you can see there is also some thread and a pattern, oh and Scamp's paw. He was being a little possessive. I'm happy with this months box and so long as it doesn't turn out to be very 'samey' (is there such a word) I will continue to be happy. It's also an odd coincidence that the pattern is for a cutting mat bag, as I had been thinking about making one since my cutting mat goes to Guides with me when we are making quilts or doing any sewing.

If I have time tonight or tomorrow I'm going to sort out my stash. I don't have much yardage but I do have a good supply of fat quarters and a couple of charm packs. I have a new project in mind but need to check what I have before I go to the shop.

I'm linking this post with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching.

Today I planned to finish my marking but I decided to award myself a couple of hours sewing before I got started. I had fun quilting some more of the 9 patch quilt. This quilt is for Lucy but when she popped in to see me she asked who I was making it for. She was very pleased when I reminded her it was going to be hers. She's been so busy between her new job and her MSc that she'd forgotten all about it. I didn't get much sewing done as we sat and chatted but there's always tomorrow.

For my Slow Sunday stitching I grabbed my camp blanket and settled down to sew on some more badges whilst watching TV this evening. Today the weather has been very overcast here in London and as evening wore on it started to rain and the temperature dropped dramatically. It was rather nice sitting with the camp blanket over my knees as I stitching the badges on.

This blanket has been around for quite a while and has done a fair amount of travelling. The farthest it's gone is to Switzerland. I've taken it to Switzerland each time we've gone with our Guide unit, so in 2001, 2006, 1010 and 2013. Our next trip is in August next year and I'm trying to get all my badges sewn on before then. I love collecting the badges for the events and camps we go on but I never seem to get round to stitching them on the blanket. I think I have between 2 and 3 hundred that need to be sewn on! I also know I've got some duplicate badges and I have to keep checking I haven't sewn any duplicates on. As I'm stitching the badges on it brings back the memories of the camps and the fun we have had. This is a fun activity to do with Lucy as she has been on most of the camps with me, both as a youth member and now as an adult leader.

For now the stitching needs to go away and I need to prepare my things for the morning as I want to get into work early. I'm linking this post with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching linky party


Saturday, 3 September 2016

September Plans

September rather crept up on me. one minute I was enjoying holiday time and then it's suddenly September and time for a new group of students to start. At this rate it will be Christmas before I know it. As I'm getting rather behind with my quilting projects I need to make some plans to stay on track. I need to be incredibly organised this year as I am basically working full time from October and that doesn't leave a lot of time for sewing.  With this in mind I decided I needed to boost my sewing in September while I have a chance, so I am setting myself several goals.

1. Finish quilting the 9 patch scrappy quilt.

Today I have been quilting the blocks and I am now over halfway. That will still leave the sashing to do and the binding but one way or another this quilt is being finished this month.

This is my one monthly goal and the one that must be finished if at all possible.

2. Quilt Buddy's quilt. 

I have the backing and the wadding so I need to put it all together. At the very least I want to make up the quilt sandwich ready to start the quilting next month.

3. It's a dog's life quilt

Again this quilt is all stitched and ready to be prepared for quilting. I would like to get it all prepared so I can quilt it during November. Between now and then I need to decide how I want to quilt it.

4. Cross stitch the Celtic Knot bookmark

This is only a small piece and I should be able to finish it, especially as I have several train journeys in my future. I will probably use this as a Christmas gift but I haven't finally made up my mind as I love Celtic Cross patterns and I need a new bookmark!

5. Catch up with the RSC 2016

This year I'm making granny square blocks and at the moment I'm a couple of months behind on the colours. 

I think that's enough to be going on with after all I've got to be realistic. If I should finish the bookmark I'll switch in the Christmas tree cross stitch or the millennium sampler.

I'm linking this post with Heidi at Red Letter Quilts for her One Monthly Goal link party.

Here in London it's raining so I going back to my quilting. I've already taken Scamp for his walk and I have no need to stop for a little while. 


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

WIP Wednesday

Today is my first day back at work after my holiday. Well that's not entirely true as I have actually worked 3 days during my holiday but then I knew the next day was back to holiday and so it didn't cause me any stress. Now it's back to the weekly grind. Don't get me wrong I love my job but I also love having a little more time to do the things I enjoy. By the end of my working day I hadn't really got very far. I had so many emails to deal with and some were quite complicated and took some sorting with. There was a ridiculous number of meetings to be put in the diary and of course the meetings require a lot of preparation. I haven't gone through all the emails yet. The day wasn't all hard work as my colleague came in with her 10 week old baby, so I had a lovely cuddle.

Isn't he a little cutie? This is the baby I made the last baby quilt for.

It's not just about starting back at work, we also start Rainbows, Brownies and Guides for the new term next week so this evening Lucy and I cleaned out our equipment cupboard and made a list of items we need to buy. We then went across the road to the pub and enjoyed a very tasty vegetarian burger and chips whilst we finalised the term's programme. 

By the time we got home it was almost 8.30 so I quickly set up my machine and managed to quilt another four of the blocks from the 9 patch quilt.

The quilting is very simple with straight lines being used to produce diamonds. The sashing will be quilted separately. I think I should be able to finish the quilting this weekend. There are 49 blocks in all and I think I've quilted half of them now.

Having done a lot of walking throughout August I found my number of steps is very low today so shortly I'm going to take the dog for a late walk and hopefully John will come too since it's nearly dark. Scamp will enjoy it as the evening is finally cooling down. I also found I didn't drink anywhere near enough over the day. So keeping up the walking and water intake are two issues I need to sort out on the days I'm working. I guess there are just too many things to remember. Tomorrow I'm interviewing in Ascot  and I'm travelling by train so I'm looking forward to the journey as I'm trying to catch up with some reading. I've actually managed to finish two books during August which helps towards one of my goals for the year which was to read at least a book a month. 


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Photo catch up

I thought I'd share the remaining photos from Berlin. Our short break there was fun but at times quite harrowing due to all the history. After our walk through the Tiergarten we crossed the road to the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe or the Holocaust  Memorial as it is known. This is an interesting experience. It consists of 2,711 concrete slabs all the same width and depth but varying in height laid out in a grid pattern. From the edge as you look across it some of the slabs seem slightly higher but to get the full effect of this memorial you have to walk through it.

As you start to walk through you realise the ground dips up and down or undulates. As you move through the memorial the concrete slabs get taller.

and they end up towering above you.

 We found the memorial very unsettling and after walking round it we decided to find lunch. After lunch we headed to check point Charlie. I love the MacDonald's in the background. 

After that we decided to walk back to our hotel so we could have a rest. We walked to Museum Island and then along the river. Over the day we covered 17 miles and so we were both exhausted.

On the Saturday 13th August we decided to walk to the Berlin Wall memorial. From 1952 onward the borders between West and East Germany had gradually been sealed.On the 13th August 1961 the erection of barbed wire to seal off West Berlin began and over the coming days the wall was constructed to prevent migration to the west. The fortifications were regularly strengthened over the years but it finally fell on the 9th November 1989. 

As part of the memorial there is a display of the names and where available photographs of people killed whilst trying to escape to the west over the wall.

As it was the 55th anniversary of the wall going up there were families visiting the memorial

We spent a lot of time walking around the memorial. It was very thought provoking.

We enjoyed our trip to Berlin and plan on visiting again in the future. I want to visit the Bauhaus Archive, art galleries and museums. It was hot for our trip so it would have been a shame to be indoors but a visit in the winter would need indoor activities.

On the stitching front I did a little more on my Celtic knot cross stitch. It's growing a little at a time. 

The pattern will show up much better once the back stitching is done, but there's a lot of cross stitching to be done before I can back stitch.

For now I need to get to sleep as I need to be up early tomorrow. With early mornings retirement is starting to look like a great option! 


Monday, 29 August 2016

I'm busy doing something

I know the line of the song is, "I'm busy doing nothing" but I don't seem to have stopped these last three weeks. I always thought a holiday was supposed to be restful but this one has flown by in a whirl of activity as I tried to catch up with everything and still have time to visit friends and some walking.  I still need to blog the 2nd half of my Berlin photos and play catch up with my sewing and lots more before I go back to work on Wednesday. 

Lets just start with a little slow Sunday stitching. Although I haven't joined the linky party for a few weeks I've been enjoying some slow stitching on the Sundays. It makes you slow down and enjoy life away from the fast lane.

This week I've started stitching a bookmark I found in my stocking Christmas 2015. I was trawling through my embroidery box and found it  near the bottom, moaning to itself about not seeing the light of day. It's very pretty and shouldn't take long to stitch so I pulled it out. This is the photo I took on Christmas day. I love Celtic knot patterns.

The kit came with everything I needed including a needle and the threads were cut to a good length for stitching. All I needed to do was read the instructions, sort the threads into their colours and split the thread I was using into 3 strands. Including the preparation my progress from an hour on Sunday evening looks like this.

Not a lot but I was watching Silent Witness. I'm not sure why there's a red tinge to the cross stitch fabric. Cameras can be a little annoying at times when they slightly alter the colours.I also bought some yardage at an amazing 50p a metre (I think that's about 0.65 USD.)  Not fabulous colours but the fabric has a great feel to it and I just love a bargain. I already have a purpose for the red and the blue. 

Now I need to get a wriggle on and pop to the shop as I'd forgotten that being a bank holiday here in England the supermarkets will close early. I usually shop on a Monday evening with Lucy and there isn't a lot in the house to eat!


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Berlin in the sunshine.

The end of last week we went to Berlin for a couple of days. I hadn't been on a plane for a while and the air going was a bit 'lumpy' but otherwise it was a good flight. We flew from Heathrow which for us is great as it's on the underground.which is easy from where we live and with our over 60's oyster card doesn't cost us anything. We took a taxi to our hotel but from then on we walked everywhere. The transport system is very good in Berlin but we wanted to kick start our diet by seriously upping our exercise and you get to see so much  more on foot. The hotel was in the outskirts of the city in what was west Berlin pre 1990.

We arrived late afternoon and so once checked in we headed out to explore. Being a Brit I found it a little confusing at first to have the cars driving on the wrong side of the road. However once we'd crossed a few roads I remembered to look the right way! Walking down to the city centre we passed an amazing mixture of old and new with a lot of colour.

We walked past the headquarters of the  Federal Intelligence Service of Germany. It is an enormous complex, seeming to go on for ever. The first employees moved in when it was opened in 2014 but there is still work going on. This is just part of the building

There was a lot of building work going on all over the city.  We tracked down a delightful Italian restaurant for dinner.. We sat outside as it was very warm and enjoyed listening to the comments from the 4 young Australian men who sat at the table next to us. They were on a 4 week trip to Europe  and were spending a few days in Berlin. The other couple eating outside were from America.  As we walked back to our hotel I spotted this wall.

I wasn't too keen on the giant cockroach.

The next day, our only full day in Berlin we headed out to the city centre armed with a map and a list of places that Lucy thought we might like to visit. We knew we couldn't do the list as we planned on walking and the only way to see everything Lucy had identified would have meant catching the U-bahn. So we worked out a route that would cover the main bits. Our first stop was the Brandenburg Gate. As we waked the route we saw pieces of the Berlin wall. These are pieces that get moved around the city

It was very crowded around the gate which is situated one block south from the Reichstag building that houses the German parliament (Bundestag). Following the reunification of Germany in 1990  Berlin became the capital of the Federal German Republic and the parliament voted to move from Bonn to Berlin. The move took until 1999 to complete.

There were slightly less people on the other side of the gate so I got a picture of John to prove he had been there.

From here we set off to walk through the Tiergarten which is a beautiful city park. Looking away from the gate the park is on both sides of this road that leads down to the victory column which commemorates the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian wars in 1864

We turned right into the park and immediately came upon this memorial.

The memorial was opened in 2012. Many of the slabs around the pool had the names of the death camps on them. It was a very peaceful memorial but chilling none the less.

The park was beautiful and it was lovely to be under the trees and out of the direct sun. There were a lot of berries on the Elder trees. Great for wine making.

Well hidden pools with ducks and statues.

I couldn't get a good picture of the Victory column. You can go up the column and look out over Berlin. We decided to leave this until we next visit. I thought I had the camera on a slant when I took this but looking at the column it was a little squiffy. (OK not as much as my picture).

We walked back into the city through the Tiergarten on the opposite side of the road. There were several tranquil lakes,

There was a rose garden, but not  many roses, although lots of other plants. I was very taken with this stag. There was a matching stag on the opposite side of the flower bed. It was at this point I saw a red squirrel zip by and disappear into the undergrowth and then up a tree. He was too quick for me to get a picture.


Just before we exited the Tiergarten we came across the Global Stone Project. There are 10 stone groups. 5 have been placed on the 5 continents and the remaining 5 groups of stones are in the Tiergarten in Berlin. On 21st June when the sun hits the stones they are connected and people are asked to join this connection to promote global peace. John enjoyed looking at the 5 groups - well 4 groups and 1 lone stone.

There are still more photos to come but I need to go to bed. Trying to keep up my walking, get household chores done and some sewing has exhausted me so I need to sleep. I'll share more with you tomorrow and tell you how I'm getting on with my sewing.