Thursday, 31 December 2009

Christmas and New Year

There is not much sewing going on around here, only a little by hand, so nothing really to show. I thought I would let you see some of my Christmas decorations, that I have made over the years. I usually put up a lot of wall hangings, but for some reason, I did not do that this year. I only put up the one shown above, which is my husband's favourite.

I have also included two pictures of us enjoying Christmas with our daft dog, Penny. I have on my hat, which I made for the Women's Institute Christmas hat competition. I got second prize.

We had our own turkey this year. We raised seven, and we will be having another for New Year.

I do hope you have a wonderful New Year and that all your dreams are fulfilled.

Thankful Thoughts

Turkey with streaky bacon roasted on top tastes wonderful!!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas (when it comes)

I got both trees up last night, one in the lounge and a smaller one in the conservatory. I adjusted the colour of the above picture and the next two below, but they don't look right. I decided this year to leave the tinsel off the tree. I usually smother it with tinsel, but then you cannot see the decorations. I have some decorations going back to wartime, and I have made a lot of them myself, as well. My favourite one is an old Santa in the front of the tree, near the red bell. Seemingly during the war (I wasn't born yet!) there were no decorations to be had. My Mum got the Santa out of a Kellogg's cornflake box and painted him red. He always goes on the front of the tree, and my sister and I used to fight, to put him on it. The tree looks very pretty and makes the room look as if Christmas is coming.

I found these two beaded necklaces, which were almost completed, so I finished them quickly in case I needed an extra present for someone. If I don't use them I will have two new necklaces. The top baggie is knitted, the bottom one is a brick stitch amulet. I decided I did not want a fringe on the bottom one. The colours are much nicer in real life.

Thankful Thoughts
I am so thankful I am not living on Mainland Scotland just now. They have had so much snow. They have had the worst weather conditions for the last twenty years. All transport has been disrupted. Roads and airports have been closed, and yesterday the Automobile Association was dealing with 1200 breakdowns per hour! We had a light fall of snow a few days ago, as you can see below - just like icing sugar on the grass, and the next picture shows what is left! It has been very icy, which is really unusual, but beautiful.

This was yesterday's sunrise -

and the bay today-

I do hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that Santa is good to you all! You deserve it!
Till next time!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

A Christmas Card for you!

I know, I know, I haven't blogged for nearly a month, but suddenly Christmas appeared on the horizon, and I started running from one activity to another, and did not accomplish much. To add to the complications, the building work is still on-going. The lounge had to be cleared, as the old fireplace was going, so I have had excess furniture in all the other rooms. We were getting a shed built and a porch added to the back of the house, so that mud and dirt would not be trailed through the house, as most people use the back door. The work has been gong on for months. The new fireplace is almost done, with only a wooden surround to be fitted round the hearth, the shed is complete, but needs to be modified, as it is letting in water and the porch is ongoing. Soon everything will be back in place, hopefully.

My machine has been red hot recently. I always make my own Christmas cards, and have done for as long as I can remember. I started out early, this year, with great intentions. I bought some designs from Emblibrary, and thought this would be a good way to learn how to use my embroidery module for my Bernina Artista 630E. The designs were fabulous, and I am delighted with the results. I learned how to resize, use multiple copies and change the positions of the design in the hoop (see below)

These are only some of the angels I made -
I also make my headers and inserts

The insert reads -

This little lacy angel

Brings you lots of Christmas cheer

And hopes you will have joyous times,

Throughout the coming year.

She’s made of thread and lots of love

That’s sent to you from me,

And next year, if you take her off,

She’ll hang upon your tree.

And this is what the card looks like -

I had great fun, but as usual, needed a lot more cards than I thought. It really is nice to hear from friends far away, and I always look forward to seeing or hearing what they have been up to. I also made Christmas stockings for the girls - but that is another story!
So ... I want to send this Christmas angel to all my bloggy friends. I don't have your addresses, but all my (and my husband's) best wishes are sent to you, for all the enjoyment you have given me throughout the year. Thank you so much!! (Please read on!)

Thankful Thoughts

As well as thanking you for all the great blogs, and the ideas I get from the blogs, I want to keep up the thankful thoughts. Who could not be thankful, waking up to a sight like this? This is the bay in front of my house, a few days ago. It was just after 9am, the sun had just risen (remember we have very short days just now) and the bay was empty. The picture is a little blurry, but you can just see someone on a tractor. Glorious, isn't it?
Till next time.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Thanksgiving and Being Thankful

I was contacted by SewCalGal to let me know about another Giveaway, which looks absolutely wonderful. Go here to see the rules. She is dong this for Thanksgiving and it got me thinking. We do not have Thanksgiving here in Scotland, and I think it is a great pity that we do not. We (I) have so many things, for which to be thankful, and we (I) take so many things for granted. So, at the end of my posts, I am going to put a little thank you, for something that I see or that has happened recently. You can ignore it, if you want, but it is just my way of paying back and to say I am grateful. So today ...

Thankful Thought - There are an awful lot of things I am really thankful for today, but the one uppermost is that all the teddies for the Mercy Ships are finished (said with a BIG grin ). I have heard from the Mercy Ships, and the boxes should have arrived in Holland and from there they will go onto Togo, to be distributed to the patients. I also want to thank all the people in the island who made this possible. A grand job!! Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!
Till next time.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

UFO and Another Giveaway

My Bernina sewing machine embroidery module is working its socks off at the moment. No pictures yet, but I will take some soon, to show you what I am making. I pulled out a couple of UFOs to finish off, recently. I have a lot of these Shoofly blocks lying about. I used to teach Patchwork for Beginners, when I lived on Mainland Scotland. This was one of the first blocks I used, to show how to sew shapes together. I sewed on a border and stipple quilted the block. I am more used to very close stipple/vermicelli quilting, but I made it much further apart this time, to see what it looked like. I like it. I am going to make it into a cushion, but will have to wait till Monday or Tuesday to finish it, as I want to put some cording round the edge. I might be lucky and get some in Kirkwall, when I go over on Monday.

One of my favourite blogs is Nebraska Views. Lynn is such a talented lady, and she passes on what she knows in a great blog. Recently she blogged about the sites Quilter Blogs and Quilting Bloggers. I went across to these sites and spent ages looking at loads of wonderful blogs. I joined both sites, and the hits on my site have increased significantly. They are great sites and I thoroughly recommend them. Thanks, Lynn.

Have a look at Bejeweledquilts. This is the last week for the Inch Worm fabric giveaway. It is fabulous! Fabric to make the jars for the quilt below, and there is still time to win the quilt as well. It would look so nice in my hall! I want it! (See below)

Must go and have a cup of tea.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

100 Books Challenge

Click on the above picture to find out about the newest reading challenge for 2010. I read about this in Colletta's Kitchen Sink blog. You have to read 100 books in a year. That should be no problem! My nose is never out a book, and I am the first to admit - 'I read anything!!' I am not into books, where I have to think long and deep. I want to read something quickly, and I will definitely not remember it next week. Short term memory only!!

Not much sewing going on just now. Too many outside attractions. I was asked to judge the teddy bear contest in the school on Friday. I have pictures, but you are not supposed to show pictures of children, unless you have the parents' permission. I would have to go round all the islanders for that, as every child in the school brought in their favourite soft toy. It was for 'Children in Need'. We have a huge charity event throughout the whole of Britain, supported by all the well-known celebrities, to raise money for the benefit of children. The BBC (television) ran a programme on Friday night which lasted for seven hours, showing all the things that were happening, where the money from the previous year had been used and asking for more donations. Local events take place, the crazier the better, and usually every school has some form of event to do with 'Pudsey Bear', the character of the charity. Our school had a assembly, organised by the senior pupils, and there were a lot of fun competitions with prizes. The assembly culminated with each child lining up with their bear/soft toy. One of the senior pupils dressed up as Pudsey, so she and I had to choose the biggest bear, the smallest bear and the best dressed bear. It was great fun!! This year, so far, over £20,000,000 has been raised nationally.

Yesterday, we were asked to help out at the church sale, so Raymond and I were on the bookstall. Again, great fun and, of course, I had to help the funds by buying some more books!!
Must go. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Quilt Top

This is what I have been working on last week. I used the white jelly roll and the ***jelly roll and also added some of my stash to brighten it up a bit and add a bit of variety to the colours. I am pleased with this. I did not want the borders to be as rigid as the centre of the quilt, so I played about with the sizes. I had fun, and I like it. It is a simple design, but it was quick to do (remember I am a slow worker) and I am not worrying any more about how I was going to use up the *** jelly roll. I do not think I will not get it sandwiched before Christmas, as I have a lot of other things to make (last minute as usual), but at least I will not be dreading taking it out, to work on it. Big grins all round tonight, and I did twenty-four lengths at swimming (small lengths, but at least I did some!) The bread machines are programmed, so I am off to bed.
Night all!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sewing, Dancing and Hoping!

I have actually been sewing this week. We were in Kirkwall on Monday for the dentist, and I was supposed to go over again on Thursday for a Christmas shopping trip. The weather turned nasty and I wimped out. I am all right on the ferry with winds up to 40mph, but the forecast said there was going to be gusts up to 58mph, and my stomach lurched at the thought of it! Just as well I didn't go. There was torrential rain for most of the day, as well as high winds, so I stayed at home, baked in the morning and sewed in the afternoon. You've already read about the *** jellyroll, but I had just under half of it left and a full white one, and my friends will tell you I don't like getting beat. Stubborn is not the word for it. I had a think and started cutting. Above are three pieces of leftover fabric. I might show you tomorrow how far I have progressed.
This has been a strange week for weather. One day we have glorious sun and the next torrential rain. We had the Harvest Home Dinner Dance on Friday night, and from the beginning of the week the forecasters were predicting gales and flooding. for most of the UK. On Friday there were 120 flood warnings out for England and Wales alone. The Harvest Home is to celebrate a successful harvest. We had roast beef, clapshot (potatoes and turnip mashed together) mixed veg, beetroot and gravy, then pancake with a gorgeous caramel sauce and cream, tea/coffee, shortbread, a chocolate and a double of your choice (whisky, rum, vodka etc) all for $10 each. Then we had the dance. The original band cancelled, as they were worried they would not get back home for a few days, if the storm was a bad as expected. The band was made up of people who had not really played together before, but what a night. We stayed right to the end (2am) and had a great time. One of my friends, who was down in England, phoned to say their neighbour's car floated away. We have had high winds, but nothing like what was expected.

There are a few great Giveaways just now. Look at this new business and Giveaway -

The niece of fellow blogger Barb from Bejeweled Quilts by Barb has opened a new, on-line store. Click the picture to follow the link to the goodies. Barb is also giving a Giveaway, and what a Giveaway, to celebrate the new store opening! Go here.

Best of luck (but I want them!).


Thursday, 12 November 2009

Bonfire Night

I am a bit late in posting this, but I thought some of you might be interested. On Saturday night the island was invited to a bonfire and a fireworks display, to celebrate Guy Fawkes. To anybody who does not know why we have a bonfire with a Guy on top of it , go here.

The bonfire was built on Cata Sands, a well known beauty spot on the island, and which is the next bay along from us. The fire department built it in the bay, so that when the tide came in, the water would douse any lingering embers, and no children would be tempted to try and relight the fire, when all the adults had gone. The first picture is of the bonfire being lit by the firemen. It was huge, as everyone had been saving wood for weeks. You can see the reflection of the fire in some of the water, which had not drained from the bay. Everybody wore their wellies!
The firemen had difficulty lighting the front of the fire, (they are more more used to putting them out!), so the back of the bonfire was blazing away merrily, as you can see in this picture.
There was free soup and sandwiches for everyone, and more than £400 of fireworks, which, for a small community, was a lot. They were really pretty, but difficult to photograph! It was not too cold and everybody enjoyed themselves thoroughly! Thanks for all the hard work that went into organising this.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Raffle quilt

Go here to see and read about the above quilt. You can have the chance of winning this quilt, and also the chance of helping Jess get to Africa. Go on! It only takes a click to go and see what this is all about!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Yummy Material

On the way home from Penicuik, my husband made a one hundred and twenty five mile diverion in horrendous weather to take me to my favourite craft shop. Letham Crafts in Angus. The rain was torrential. It was so bad, the water was flowing off the fields, like streams, across the road. We kept on being diverted onto other roads, so it took us a long time, and, when we got there, I only had an hour before the shop closed. Letham Crafts is an Aladdin's cave for craftworkers. It is amazing! Years ago, when I started teaching hand patchwork in Angus, I asked the owner to get in some patchwork material. It was a long way to go, but I knew I would be able to get co-ordinatng materials, and that I would be able to SEE them. I like buying things off the Net, but I was really disappointed with the jelly rolls, so I wanted material I could see and touch this time. I was not disappointed. But what am I going to make with them? Any suggestions?

I decided to make something really simple with the jelly roll, as I did not like it, and did not want to spend a lot of time on it. I used just over half of it, to make twenty 10.5 inch squares (the picture shows half of the squares). They look dull and uninteresting. I thought I might cut the squares into four triangles and sew them together with a solid, but as I do not have enough in my stash, the blocks will have to go into the UFO pile, until I go off island again. Grrr!! I could have got it at Letham! Never mind. There is a patchwork shop, supposedly somewhere near Inverness. Another diversion, perhaps!!
Till next time.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Transport Museum

Yesterday I said we had been off the island for a week. We went down to my daughter's and saw my granddaughters. We also went three times to see my father-in-law, who has Alzheimers.

Anytime visitors go to Glasgow, they go to see the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the Transport Museum. The Art Gallery had been closed for a couple of years, for renovation, so we wanted to see what they had done. Unfortunately there was a launching of a ship on the Clyde that day, and the museum was being used for the official council reception for the dignitaries. You can see some of them queuing to get in to the goodies! We were quite disappointed, but across the road is the Transport Museum, which is really interesting. My father-in-law was quite high up in Albion Motors, and a lot of the old cars manufactured by them are now in this museum. You can see some of the exhibits below. Yet again we were a bit unlucky. Glasgow Council are going to build a purpose-built museum of transport, so a lot of the exhibits, which we remembered, were not on display, and will not be seen again until the new museum is built. But just look at that little red mini! My husband and I did our courting in a car like that! Sigh!!
Till next time.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Battle of Culloden

I have been off the island for a week, so have had no sewing done (except for a little embroidery on my granddaughter's school shirts!) I thought I had better post something, or you would think I was neglecting you - :-D

This is a small wall-hanging of the events that led up to the Battle of Culloden. I am not going to give you a history lesson on it (go here if you want to know about it), but I have always empathised with it, because the battle was fought on my birthday - 16th April, and I thought the reprisals were an outrage! It was the last battle fought on Scottish soil. I do not feel comfortable on the battlefield, just outside Inverness, and it is sad that no birdsong is heard there.
The wallhanging shows-
Top Right - The Raising of the Standard at Glenfinnan
Bottom Right - The Raising of the Clans
Bottom Left - The Battle of Culloden
Centre - Charles Edward Stuart
Top Left - The bereft Highlander left onshore, watching Charlie sail away, never to come back again. (Will ye no come back again?) Parts of the block are 3D.
I entered a block depicting the bereft Highlander into a Quilters' Newsletter Magazine competition many moons ago, and was one of the winners. My block was in part of the winners' quilt.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Jelly Roll and Santa

This is one of the jelly rolls that I bought a while ago. I kept on mulling over what design to use and was actually quite anxious about opening it up and actually cutting it!
I was quite disappointed when I did open it up. The colours are just not me. The pinks are not my pink, and I do not like the blue materials. But this is good. It will get me out my comfort zone and make me work with materials, which are not quite me.
I intend to make something very quickly. It will certainly not be a masterpiece, and it will definitely not be as nice as I thought it would be.
But it will make me use materials I would never have thought to put together, and perhaps it will turn out better than I think. I hope so!! (Sigh!) I intend to start it in a week's time.

On a happier note, I found one of my favourite books of all time, unpacking a box last week (yes, I still have lots of boxes to unpack, after moving here two years ago!) -'Twas The Night Before Christmas'. I was given this book by my Mother for Christmas 1954, and to prove how much I loved it, scroll down to the next picture.
This is the centre page of the book, and the 3D tissue ball has no tears in it after 55 years.!
Till next time.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Ta Ta Teddies!!

Yipee!! At last!! The teddies and the bags are finished!!! I packed up the last of the bags and these are the boxes, labeled and ready to go to the Mercy Ships headquarters in England. From there they will be sent on to the Mercy Ships in Africa. Lena is in Malawi, at the moment, on a school exchange. She should have taken the teddies with her.

We have had awful weather for the last few days, with high wind, rain and quite cold too. The weather changes really quickly here, so, just to cheer me up, I took this picture of the bay just beginning to fill, in between showers.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Birthday Bag

Yesterday I posted about a bag I had made for a friend for her birthday, and then realised I had forgotten to show the picture. I took the pattern from a calico bag, which my sister sent to me. I use it for carrying all my spinning equipment from house to house, and, as my friend is also a spinner, I thought I would make her a similar bag. It was also a good excuse to try out the embroidery module on my machine. She seemed pleased with it.