Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas Everybody

Just to prove I haven't been sitting around not doing anything, here's just a few of the things I've finished in the last couple of week.  A book cover (one of several, but the others are surprises, sshhh)

Some cushions - there's a story attached to these.  My friend, and watercolour teacher Christine painted the silk, quite some time ago, and asked me if I'd make them into cushions.  She said "There's no rush" and I took her at her word, because it's taken me about 4 years to get around to doing them.  How can it POSSIBLY take that long to make a few cushions?  Well, I took a while choosing the fabric to make them with, then I put that aside for a while.  When I realised I still hadn't made them, I couldn't find the fabric.  Then, during one of my mammoth sort outs - I found the fabric - so it was all game on.  Except that, during the intervening period, I'd mislaid the silk paintings.  (Does any of this sound familiar).  Anyway, recently I was searching my sewing room for something else and during the course of that, I chanced upon the silk paintings.  Hurrah!  Then, the painting group (which I haven't been to for a couple of years, partly because of my City and Guilds course, and partly embarrassment at not having made the cushions) had their Christmas dinner,  to which I was invited, and so I made up my mind to make them and take them with me.  Chris seemed really pleased with them, once she got over her initially amazement that they were actually finished.

Then,  there's a cake stand
and some Christmas hearts
and something for Julia, using some fabric she'd admired on our trip to Holt, and which I secretly bought later and made into a 'pinny'.
There's a few other things too, but they are surprise presents, so you can't see those yet. 
I must admit, the snow has helped - being stuck indoors for a few days gave me time to do some stitching.
I also - first time for years - put up a few festive decorations, just to prove I'm not really 'bah humbug'. 
Not a real tree - I don't have the space, just a few bits of yew tree trimmed from my garden and stuck in a vase, with a few lights and baubles bunged on.  (Not very Homes and Gardens, I know)
Adorned with a beautiful beaded snowflake, a present from Carolyn 
My photos aren't brilliant - not sure if it's the poor light, or if I've inadvertently done something with the settings on my camera, but you get the general idea.
That's all for now, except to say .....

Sunday, 19 December 2010

She's a Saint Not a Celebrity

I had a call on Friday night, saying that as it was snowing and icy in London, Saturday's match at Leyton Orient was postponed, which meant I could have the day off.  (I can't tell you how delighted I was - I had so many things that needed doing and I just love an unexpected day at home.) In the morning, I thought maybe they'd been a bit premature, because the view from my kitchen window looked like this at sunrise - and it seemed like it was going to be a nice day.
But the weather forecasters had obviously got it right, because just a few hours, and about three inches of snow later,  it looked like this ...
so they obviously DID make the right decision.  Anyway, it meant that I could spend the day sewing, pretty much as I have done today too, so I've got more things finished that I thought I would and for once, EVERYTHING on my 'to do' list is done!
I felt a bit sorry for the birds this morning, particularly the robin and the blue tit that were pecking away at the fat balls which must have been frozen solid, so I brought them in and warmed them up with my hairdryer.  No, you fools, not the birds - the fat balls.   I thought if they were a bit softer it wouldn't be so tough on their little beaks.  I also re-filled the nut feeder for the third time this week., and I'm beginning to suspect I'm the only person in the Home Counties who's putting food out for the birds, given the rate they get through them.  Turning into a proper little Mother Teresa aren't I?
My own personal nomination for sainthood goes this week to Gina who not only gave me a jar of  her homemade Clementine Curd when I met up with her on Wednesday, but also carried it around for the rest of the day because it was too big to fit in my handbag!  
I just treated myself to some of it on hot toast, as a reward for venturing outside to clean the snow off my car  in preparation for work tomorrow, until my hands ached with the cold,  and I am able to say that it is absolutely delicious.  Gina's written on the little label that it needs to be eaten by 13th January - I don't think she needs to have any worries on that score.
Incidentally, we met up to visit the Barbican Gallery to see the exhibition Future Beauty - 30 Years of Japanese Fashion which was fascinating - Gina has done a really good post about it here.

PS Does anyone know of a UK stockist of 'WonderFil' threads?  I bought some WonderFil metallic threads at the Chilford Quilt Festival, and it's absolutely brilliant.  I've used a whole reel, and it didn't break or shred once!  I've searched on the internet, and emailed the company but they couldn't tell me of any UK stockists - but there must be one, because I bought the threads from them. 

She's A Saint Not A Celebrity - The Foxboro Hot Tubs

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Winner Takes It All!

Being a bit of a cheapskate, I was only intending to award one prize, but the lady who made the closest guess, wasn't able to leave a comment on the blog and sent me an email instead, so I thought you might think it was a fix and that there wasn't a prize at all! So, taking that into account, and the fact that there is only a mile or two between the guesses in 2nd and 3rd place, and the fact that it is the season of goodwill (Bah, Humbug) I have decided to award not one, not two, but THREE prizes.
Ok don't get too excited, it'll only be something I've thrown together, but be grateful for small mercies, they have been produced in my sewing room, and not in my kitchen. 
And the winner is.... or in fact, the winners are ...

In third place is Nellie's Niceties - 23.7 miles
In 2nd place is Love Stitching Red - 21.7 miles
and in 1st place is Pat, who sent me the email guessing at Leyton Orient - 15.6 miles

The photo was taken from the window of my office in West Hendon, looking out over the North Circular at about 6.30 one morning a few weeks ago. But then how could you possibly know that?
If you email me your addresses girls, I'll post your prizes off this week.  

Winner Takes It All - ABBA

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Competition Ain't Nothin'

........... if no-one enters!
Come on, don't be shy - have a guess at the photo competition at the bottom of my last post - or I'll think you've all gone away.

Competition Ain't Nothin' - Carl Carlton
(I wonder if there's some way I could put a link so you could listen to my musical references??)

Friday, 3 December 2010


I've not been very good at this blogging business recently have I?  It's taken longer than I expected to settle back to real life since my trip - not that I'm fed up or anything, far from it - I've just remained in a relaxed holiday state of mind, and can't seem to rush about doing much.  I'd love to tell you that I've finished all my Christmas shopping, written all my cards, made my Christmas puddings and iced the cake, but it would be untrue, and as for the last two - I just know that most of you would accuse me of being a bare-faced liar.  I have made a few Christmas cards, and quite a lot of lists, but that's as far as it's gone.  
Anyway, this extended holiday blog has gone on for quite long enough, so this will be the final one. (I can almost hear your collective sighs of relief.  It's rather picture-heavy so bare with me. 
Sydney was brilliant - the highlight of the trip for me - we had a guided tour of the Opera House
We walked across the bridge
(not over the top I hasten to add, but you get just as good a view from the stone towers,

We went up the Sky Tower
took a ferry trip to Manly Beach, 
 and had a bus ride to Bondi Beach
Then it was off on the train to Melbourne (yes the train - it takes 12 hours but none of that messing about at airports, you get to see the scenery AND you can walk about.  I'd recommend it.)
We had a trip on the Murray river 
Apparently it's the most flooded it's been since my parents went about 15 years ago - looks like we should be used as 'Drought-Busters'
In Melbourne itself we went up more tall buildings
Explored the shops - I loved this one
and this caught my eye - my initials are GAL (the rest of the word GALLERY went round the corner)
and admired the graffitti. 
Oh, and lay on the floor of a Museum to take a photo of the fantastic stained glass ceiling

Then we fly off to Bali for the last few days of our trip - it was very very hot, and very beautiful - this was the view from our balcony
and this was the walk to breakfast
and this is the view from our breakfast table
As we were only there for three days, I'm afraid to say that we barely left the hotel grounds, but  I'd definitely like to go back there for a longer visit and explore the island.
Anyway, now the holiday posts have finally come to an end, here's the giveaway competition I promised - you just have to say where you think this beautiful sunrise photo was taken.  The person who makes the closest guess wins - something pretty and heart-shaped.
Sydney - by 'Puddle of Mudd'