Saturday 27 January 2018

Here comes the weekend

One huge bonus of having friends over on a Friday night is that the house is all clean and tidy for the weekend.  We totally blitzed the housework when I got back from work at lunchtime so we have no chores to do all weekend - yay!  Our friends were originally coming over for drinks but a wave of laziness swept over me and I asked them if they would prefer to come over earlier and we'd get a takeaway instead.

No hesitation whatsoever - I guess they didn't fancy cooking either.  We are spoilt for choice with good takeaways here - we're not the only ones - one of our local restaurants is always posting Instagram pictures of when Rod Stewart goes in there.  So I suppose him and Penny don't always feel like cooking on a Friday night either.  Celebrities are no different from us ordinary folk!

The random quilt is taking shape

Since this photo was taken I've actually sewn the 5 squares for each row together so today I'm planning to sew the rows together and then I can decide on fabrics for the edging, backing and binding.  I sense a little time spent browsing fabric websites over the next day or two.

We'll be browsing travel websites too, as last night we planned a long weekend away with our friends - after a bottle or two of wine, we've decided on Bologna in Italy.  Watch this space!  Time for my husband to put his Italian lessons into practice.

I need to do some meal planning for the next few days - we have no visitors at all this weekend so we can have what we want - I'm planning on trying a dessert recipe that a workmate gave me for Raspberry and Almond Torte - it was delicious when she made it, I'm hoping I can match her high standards ... remind me again, was it me who said she had to eat more healthily in the New Year?  Oops!

Saturday 20 January 2018

Random thoughts

But actually, it would seem that I'm not so good at 'random' as I thought.  

I've been given the incentive to get the creative mojo back as the Art department at the school in which I work have introduced a Thursday afternoon 'Arty Party' for staff after the students have gone home at 3.40pm.  You can go along and do anything creative that you want, use their equipment and make things.  Anything you want.  So I've got to grips with my 'Tipsy Tumbler' quilt and used my time to square up the few blocks that I'd made.

This afternoon I threaded up my sewing machine and got to work making some more blocks so that I could start laying out the rows. 

In a random pattern.  Random.  Should be easy - right?  No pattern to follow, just lay them down.  

So why do I want to find a way of having one of each base colour in each row.  A straight one in the middle of one pointing to the left and one to the right.  It's taking everything I've got to not worry if I have two of the same colour next to each other.  (That's not going to happen, I know that for sure). I didn't realise that I was so bothered about things being equal.  But it's a good way to spend a dreary afternoon, I think it's going to be a very quick dog walk today, not that she cares if it's raining or not!

We have no plans for tonight which is kind of nice.  I feel like just cooking a nice meal, opening a bottle of wine and seeing if there's a film we can watch on the tv.  We went to the cinema on Thursday and saw 'Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri'.  I'd read great reviews about it but it wasn't as great as I was expecting - it reminded me of 'Fargo'.  I think I'd set my expectations too high!  However, we did see the trailer for the new Tom Hanks film with Meryl Streep - The Post and both agreed that we'd like to see that next time.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Relaxing can be very exhausting!

There's been a bit of a delay in writing a post but we've just returned from a long weekend relaxing in the middle of Woburn Forest.  It wasn't our first visit to a Centre Parcs resort but it had been a while since we last went - about 17 years I think!  It has also been a while since we had a family holiday, last time we had two teenagers with us, now those teenagers are both married.  It was absolutely wonderful to spend four days with them and their 'other halves' not to mention our grandson and the dog.

I think it's a good sign that we all came home exhausted - there were lots of walks

 Some of us got messy in the craft den

There was swimming for some, relaxing rides in a rubber ring going round the lazy river for others, and the braver ones amongst us went down the wild water rapids - best done at night apparently when the ride takes you out of the pool area into the cold open air and then bursting back inside again.  I offered to babysit while they did that one!

There was crazy golf

 More long walks with twinkly lights decorating the trees that lined the path back to the lodge

Football games to be watched on the big screen while playing pool in the Sports Bar (happy men in the party - my husband and son are Tottenham Hotspur supporters and my son in law supports Liverpool and both teams won over the weekend) and ten pin bowling to be played.

All in all a fabulously successful weekend, but we're going to need a few days to get over it!

Friday 5 January 2018

Quick project

I've been itching to get back into sewing since Christmas and today was my first chance to dust off the sewing machine, cut up some fabric and make something.

But first I had to do a half day at work and then come home and dismantle Christmas!  It's always a bit sad to un-decorate the tree and pack everything up but it is kind of nice to give the carpet a good vacuum where the tree has been, put the furniture back where it belongs and dust up all the glitter that's fallen off cards and decorations.

I'm still waiting for the tumbler template to arrive for me to get going on my quilt but I came across a pattern for a quick tote bag here and I decided to give it a go.  It really did live up to it's description of being quick to make and here's the proof

I'm pleased with how it turned out and I think I will have a go at making it in a larger size.  Now we have to pay to be given a plastic bag in the shops I seem to be starting a collection of re-usable bags - although I am prone to leaving them either at home or in the car!  But this one is a perfect size for when you just have a few things and is easily made from a fat quarter of fabric.  If you have an hour to spare and a bit of fabric - why not give it a go too!

Our Art faculty at the school where I work is starting a new after school project too, an 'Arty Party' for staff to go and spend an hour after school finishes on a Thursday.  Any kind of creative project can be worked on and I think I'm going to join in when it starts.  Last time I did anything like that was when they did book binding lessons and it was really good fun.  I am sure I will be able to find something to take with me to work on!

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Starting off with good intentions

2017 was one heck of a year for us.  So much going on, and so many distractions.  If things go to plan, 2018 is going to see some changes.  I'm going to be 60 in March 😳 and I've said all along that I plan to give up work this year.  Clearly I need to decide when to actually go! I've worked at the school since 2001 and it will be very strange to leave but I honestly feel the time is right.  I only work part time so it will be less of a shock to the system than it would be if I worked 5 days a week.  Everyone keeps saying to me 'so when are you going to resign?' and I've been unable to actually choose a time.  But the weird thing is that I woke on New Year's Eve with a clear thought in my mind.  Something somewhere in the universe was telling me that I should go in May.  I can't explain how it was, but I woke up knowing that May half term is when I will leave.  Now I have that thought in my mind, I feel strangely confident that it's the right decision.  

So how will I fill my time?  I don't want to find myself just frittering my days away, I need some structure to my week and I am worried that I will miss learning new things and meeting new people.  Obviously we will continue to look after Leo one day a week but I want to get back into doing more creative things.

My son and daughter in law bought me a set of patchwork charm squares and a book on quilting for Christmas and that has spurred me into action! 

I thought it would be nice to make a quilt where the charm squares they bought me are the major focus and have found a fun quilt called 'Tipsy Tumblers' on the Missouri Quilt company channel on Youtube.  So I've ordered myself some background fabric and a tumbler template and can't wait to get the sewing machine out again.

The other thing that I fancy trying, and this is something I have never done before, is some kind of ceramic painting or pottery.  Again, the universe seemed to be reading my mind and when browsing Facebook the other day a sponsored advert came up for a local pottery class.  It's as if it were meant to be!

My next project is to find a location for a long weekend away with some friends to celebrate the BIG birthday.  We used to go away with them for a few days every year, quite often to a Christmas market somewhere in Europe but got out of the habit a couple of years ago.  They'll be on holiday for my actual birthday so we're going to postpone our celebration with them.  Two locations are currently on the consideration list - 1. Ghent in Belgium.  Which is easy to get to as we can get the Eurostar to Brussels and then an onward train to Ghent. and 2. Bologna in Italy.  Again, easy to get to as Stansted Airport is about 10 minutes drive from us and a couple of budget airlines fly to Bologna.  Two very different places, I wonder which one we'll choose - Belgian chocolate and beer versus pasta and prosecco ...