Friday, 30 May 2008

Temporarily Signing Out !

Just a short post today to 'sign out' for the next couple of weeks and also to say that I know of at least one packet on its way to me,but should there be any more ( such as my swap quilts !) please don't worry as arrangements are in place for all our post to be held at the sorting office until we return, so it will be perfectly safe !! As where we live is quite rural and the post boxes not too robust, we always take this precaution if away from any lengthy period. It goes without saying that anything that has arrived will be acknowledge straight away on my return.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

And Then There Were Two !

Now that I am ' sans stockings', and just about able to pour myself into a pair of jeans (!!) I have managed to get to see Megs a few times and take a photo of the second foal that was born last week. This one is a colt (as you can see!), so one of each !! In France registered horses have to be named according to the letter of the alphabet for that particular year. This year it is 'U' , not an easy one, so they have been named Ulysses and Une Fee de Hidou for the filly. Roughly (not literally) translated she is 'A Hidou Fairy' (but it sounds much prettier in French !!)Clever way of the using the required letter to introduce the name of the stud, don't you think ?


Now I knew , and probably you did too , that I would not be able to resist trying the Quilt-a-Long with the new fabric, so - here are 4 blocks from yesterday. I made blocks 1-3 and then jumped to Block 9 as it seemed to be the easiest one and by 9 pm I was looking for easy. The photo doesn't do justice to the colours unfortunately. One of the penalties for living in an old house with walls 3 foot thick is that the lighting is dreadful!! When the sun shines (!!!!) I can take photos outside again !

My very good cyber friend, Jeannie in Florida, offered me some of her 'scraps' to help out my meagre stash for the Chunky Churdashes blocks (being a fairly new quilter its not even a stash really, more of a big bundle by most standards!!) Now - I am not too proud to jump at a chance like that, in fact I was very grateful and looked forward to receiving a small packet of offcuts !! A parcel arrived yesterday full of YARDS of fabric in huge pieces, this is just some of it

Thank you so very much, Jeannie, you're a star!!!

Don't know if I'll have a chance to Blog again before our 5am start on Saturday and not even sure when I will get connected again, but I hope to talk to you again around 18 June when I get back home Now though, I am off to shorten some trousers for DH (!!) not the kind of sewing I like - and then make some sort of a start on the packing or we won't be going at all !!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

They're Off!!!

Well, they are off, the dreaded stockings that have been keeping my legs very warm and generally made me feel miserable for the last 3 weeks, have been relegated to the drawer for the moment, and, shall I tell you something strange -I miss them !!!! I think I now know what a child feels like when they have to give up their security blanket - not really that happy (LOL!!) but - I am sure the feeling will pass by the end of the day and it is certainly great to be able to wiggle my toes when I feel like it !!! I am not quite sure if the miraculous feeling of wellbeing that I was expecting to happen overnight has taken place yet, but I live in hope!!!

Not much else to report today, the garden is looking very dismal after a horrendous thunderstorm Sunday night. All the lupins have been smashed down , a branch down on the cherry tree, the climbing rose hanging off the trellis which we retied yesterday so hopefully that will recover and most of the flower beds are so waterlogged I don't know what's going to happen there!! We actually got off lightly as Josselin , a very pretty town about 6 miles away, was deluged with hailstones, up to 4 inches lying on the streets, which had to be cleared with a JCB !!!! What is going on with our weather ?????

I was talking to my lovely elderly Breton neighbour, Madeleine, yesterday and, as is usual at the moment, the weather just about dominated the conversation. I said that I had found the winter difficult this year as it had been so wet & grey and seemed so very long - to which she replied "well, yes, of course its long , it not finished yet !!!" Ah well!! There you have it - truth or what !!!

Done a little bit of sewing the last couple of days, and as I wanted something less demanding that the civil war blocks or the medallion quilt, I decided to carry on with some Chunky Churdash blocks from the Quiltville site. These are a few of those done so far, a great scrappy quilt and so quick and easy too!

I also decided to join Amanda Jean's first Quilt-a-Long and the fabrics arrived today ready to start - sometime !!!

I opted to tag onto the first ,not the second quilt as I am not a great fan of 'stars' for some reason. If I am tempted to 'try' a block or two for this top that will mean that I have 6 quilts in various stages of completion (!) I must be mad !!!!

Lastly, a couple of aditional fabrics for the CDW & LL blocks - I haven't forgotten about them, just put them on the back burner until I get home from the UK!!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Not A Good Week!!

Nearly a week since I posted last, and it really has not been a good week at all ! The doctor arrived eventually on Tuesday to find me rolling in agony from what I now know to have been an infection in one of my legs !! Part of the problem was also panic on my part as my one thought about this angry red swelling was a thrombosis in the making so it was a great relief told be told that it was something else, painful as it was!!! Now after 5 days of anitbiotics, anti-inflammatories and what I am sure were treble strength painkillers (no brain working !!), I feel just about back to normal and I got the all clear on Friday to make my trip to the UK !!!

The other part of the treatment was that my walking was reduced to 1 km a day which actually was quite difficult to do , the foot of my bed raised up on blocks and a 10 minutes 'feet up' rest in every hour during the day - not easy!!!!

No sewing or photos today unfortunately, but.....every cloud has a silver lining and today my good news is that there is just 48 hours to go and then I will have 'naked legs' again !!!!!!!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

One Step Forward & Two Steps Back.....

.....Nobody gets too far like that - so say the lyrics of the song by the Dessert Rose Band , and it was also the very first C&W Line Dance routine I learnt !! (Did I mention I am a C&W freak as well as a line dancer and have been for years !!) I remember feeling very frustrated at that time because I could not get my feet to go where they should be going and my co-ordination was well off course, or so it seemed!! I have to admit to feeling a bit like that right now, frustration mainly, slow co-ordination sometimes and it certainly seems that for each step I take forward , I fall back two !! I just don't seem to be picking up at all, even the good days have disappeared. I am managing to get my (enforced) walking done and have got up to 4 miles at the moment, but other than that I have no energy and certainly have more discomfort now in my legs than ever and I am sure it is nothing to do with the exercise and now on top of everything I had developed cronic back pain!! I don't even want to go into my sewing room and that's a very bad sign !! My GP is coming to see me this afternoon for a check up, so maybe he will have some words of wisdom or at least some explanations for me. I am one of these people who need to know 'why?' and now I need to know what is going on with my body !!!!

The few warm, sunny days we had last week have really woken up the garden - we have the first lupins

Roses on their way up the front of the house
(think they need a spray though by the look of the leaves!!!)

and Clematis trying to cover
the old plum tree

On my one and only visit to see Megan since I left hospital, I managed to snap this

Only 16 hours old here - isn't she just gorgeous!!! Now 4 days old, DH tells me that she is already racing around the paddock followed closely by an anxious Mum!! I am really surprised at this, as knowing the mare's temperament, I didn't think she would be such a good parent !!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

All Sorts of Everything !

Its been a funny few days - I thought I was on the up, but Thursday and Friday I was back to feeling really low and tearful again so obviously I must still have some anaesthetic lurking around me ! Having said that, I do feel a lot better again today and even managed my first long walk this morning - 4 kms ,which isn't too bad I think for 10 days post-op & complete with stockings !!

I keep forgetting to mention the birthday, possibly because most of it passed in a haze (!) , but I had a great selection of cards from family & friends, a dozen yellow roses (my favourites!!) from DH plus an IOU to spend on fabrics when I am in the UK - as if I need encouragement !!! This funky chicken from Harrison & Phoebe , two of our little horrors (Ooops - I mean grandchildren!!)

Isn't it great ! I have a thing about chickens and this one sits just nicely on the shelf at the side on my sewing machine. A 'posh' pincushion from DD, Sian

This lovely little fabric paper quilt and charm pack , Thanks Annette !!

There was also 4 yards of fabric from Stephanie , 2 shrubs from Lesley, some chocolates and more flowers from other friends here in Brittany that I haven't managed to take photos of yet. As we are going over to the UK at the end of the month, all my other gifts are waiting for me & I have a feeling that there is going to be a 'surprise' get together to hand them over at some stage !!!!

On the sewing scene , I have 2 CWD blocks finished and another half done, so will wait to post them all together. I have also managed to get the sashing on my Pioneer Sampler quilt, although it's in 2 pieces at the moment as I want to try and quilt it in sections as per Marti Mitchell.

And now a little teaser -these are some of the fabrics for my ALQS swap , again WAY out of my comfort zone, but what the heck!!!
Final note is that I did eventually get through to Quilting Treasures by email and received an acknowledgement saying they were investigating the query - so I guess I just sit and wait now !!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Quilting Quandary - Update !!

Just wanted to say that I have gone back through the whole pattern again checking measurements and have drafted the offending border onto paper, cut everything out, marked all the seam allowances and stitched it together, and it is again too short.I still had thoughts that it was my error, but there is no 'slippage' using paper and the seams are dead on !!

The good news is that the rest of the pattern seems sound and I will give it another try in a few days after I have adjusted the offending pieces - right now though I am off to bed with a thumping headache !!!

Quilting Quandary !

I posted a while back that I had bought the fabric to have a stab at making this , and at the moment about all I am good for is a little sewing, so I decided I would make a start and just try a couple of rounds (as one does !!! ) The centre didn't take too much brain power, and I ended up with a reasonably accurate 12 1/2 inch square!

The trouble has started on border 2, diamond in a square , I cut out all the pieces needed and put together one border and , don't ask me why, measured it up against the centre block - Ooops!!! it doesn't fit!!! (Do not ask why Blogger has turned the photo!!!)

What on earth have I done wrong, even I can't possibly loose 1/2" in 12 - can I??? Read the pattern thoroughly again, measured all my remaining squares and triangles again, measured my finished squares again and , except for a cat's whisker of a difference on 2 of the finished 'diamonds' - everything was correct. I then went back to the pattern with my calculator and worked out what the length of the finished side would be using their measurements and the answer I came up with was ........ 11 7/8 inches NOT the required 12 1/2 !!

This next photo shows the block with the 'cut' triangle just placed at the end - Am I right in thinking that this pattern has an error in it, ie , no seam allowance on the end quarter square triangles ?
So, the quandary is, do I carry on with something I have doubts about or just forget the quilt altogether and use the fabric for something else ?? I was really taken with this pattern,and I know I can rectify this particular problem, but I certainly do not want to have to spend my time having to proove every measurement on every round- which is what I will do now that I've lost confidence - life's too short for that !!!! For the moment I have walked away from it completely and put it out of sight !!!

The really frustrating part of the story is that I have tried to contact Quilting Treasures by email to ask for their help and they are rejecting my mails as I cannot enter a recognised US mail address on their web site!!

On a happier note - I was visiting Anne' s Blog when I spied a lovely little mini quilt (scroll down a little) so I thought I would had a go at making a similar one. I am not really a red person, so I did this instead, and, guess what - no pattern !!!!

The 9 patch blocks are 1 1/2 inches finished, and the quiltie is approx 12 x 10 inches, and no particular reason for making it, just wanted to try ! I am going over to the UK at the end of the month for 3 weeks , and this will be going with me so I can try a little hand quilting on it (did I say hand quilting !!)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Hot! Hot!! Hot!!!

Summer has arrived with a bang here in Brittany - don't know what happened to Spring, but since I've been back home the temperatures have been soaring , up to 34 degrees yesterday and heading in the same direction today!! Not that I am complaining, it is just so lovely to have some sunshine at last!!

Its been a funny few days I have to admit - I know its some 20+ years since I last had surgery and that healing takes longer as you get older (!!) but I have no memory of feeling so tearful all the time and so very, very tired. The last 2 days have been better, so maybe the anaesthetics have cleared my body now or maybe its because I can loose the PJ trousers at last and get into some real clothes !!!! Once the daily wrestling with the 'stockings' is over, I 'm managing to get some short walks in before it gets too hot, so at least I am getting out of doors!!

I swear it must have been a man who thought up elastic support stockings though - no woman would have put herself through the daily frustration trying to put them (anyone got any tips on how to pull up {very tight} stockings lying down ??????) let alone wear such items of torture !!!!

Thanks to everyone who's left messages on the Blog - I will answer them all in time if I haven't already done so !!!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Gee, it's great to be back home.....

Any more Simon & Garfunkel fans out there!!

Aren't we a strange breed, always glad to get to hospital when things are against us and then the first thing we want to know is 'when can I go home?'.

Made it back last evening, battered & bruised and rather tired, but at least I get to spend my birthday at home, even if it is trussed up like a Christmas turkey in my lovely "sexy" support stockings (UGH!!) Not too unpleasant a stay I must say , the staff were very nice and helpful , the food dreadful (as always - who likes hospital food anywhere!!) . I' d been saving the last Harry Potter book ,The Deathly Hallows, until now and it certainly caused a lot of interest. The appeal of these books is amazing, but I never thought that I'd be having an unofficial French lesson discussing Harry Potter with such lovely company, it certainly shortened my days but I am not sure that the other patients were happy about the amount of time being spent in my room by the Potter fans amongst the nursing staff!!!

Well, the secret is out - my Miniature Booty mini has arrived at its new home, and thankfully Kate is pleased with it, so I guess it's OK to share it with everyone now

It turned out just over 15 inches square in the end, the colours are really out of my comfort zone, but this wasn't about what I like, rather trying to make something that would please my partner. I must admit has been a bit of a worry as this was a first for me, but I did enjoy the experience and feel a bit happier about making the next one!

Birthday treats today include my first shower for days (!) and....... I get to go to bed tonight without my delighful stockings - how lucky is that !!!!!!

Saturday, 3 May 2008


Here I am - turning up like the proverbial bad penny after saying no more posts for a week or so!!

Just thought that maybe I didn't explain my 'enforced break' properly - I am off to hospital at the crack of dawn tomorrow for surgery Monday on some very nasty varicose veins! Not a big deal, but as this is the second attempt to deal with the problem, slightly more complicated than usual ( like I need to know that being such a coward!!) . At the moment I don't know how long I will have to stay, except that it will be longer than is normal for this procedure. I have ever intention to start 'nagging' to come home as soon as possible as its my birthday on Thursday and would like to spend at least a few hours of it at home -Ah Well !!! Will just have to wait and see !!!!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Well, my bags are packed....

My bags may be packed, but I am certainly not ready to go !!! Being the coward that I am, I am not looking forward to this enforced break, but off I will go just the same !!! No more sewing or Bloggging for at least a week - what on earth am I going to do with myself ?????

I did manage to get my quilt for the Minature Booty Swap away in the post today, so at least that's off my mind, just need to sort out the next swap now and am already feeling very inadequate after seeing the first two quilts posted on the ALQS web site -go have a look, they are both lovely and I would certainly be happy to receive either one of them!! Actually as this is my first swap of this kind, I will be delighted with any quilt I receive!
Going back to the Giverny trip, I forgot to mention that the other attraction in the villiage is this.
As well as the superb artwork being exhibited (this was just one exhibition)
the gardens were also worth a second look - full of tulips of every shade and size

And even a mini lily pond - complete with fish!!

What was really nice to see though was a group of young French school children sitting around the gardens finger painting their own masterpieces !!

Lastly, just a couple of CWD blocks, again all from the Love Letters book. I know I have made more CWD blocks than LL and I am trying to even up the numbers. The aim is to join Kathie & Patti in ending up with 2 twin size quilts instead of one big one and am going to try for one from each book so...... I think one of my next jobs needs to be separating and cataloguing everything so I know just where I am at !!!!

Top : Prisoner of War & Another Prison
Btm : Squad Drills

Well, signing off time I'm afraid, at least for the next week, so see you all then !!!