Monday, 17 November 2014

A Grand Time

We have just returned from a very long awaited holiday, spent in Florida with Sister3 and her hubby.
 I was supposed to be working on the Saturday, home, then down to Gatwick on the train for an overnight stay and flight on Sunday morning. BUT...... Friday night brought the mother of all Migraines - you really don't want to know the details - but Mr T called my VERY good friend L quite early Saturday morning (early for L anyway) to ask of she could open up at work and hopefully I would be in a bit later.  L kindly held the fort (my hero). Three prescription pills (normally only need one) and I was still out for the count. 

Thank goodness we hadn't booked the Saturday flight!  By tea time, I felt considerably slightly somewhat better, so armed with nappy sacks (just in case) and every type of medication I could ram into my bag, we headed off to the station and to the hotel. 

I could elaborate further, but it wasn't pretty. BUT we caught the flight and arrived in fairly good order.

Brother in Law is very organised and had a calendar filled with things that he had planned. Put paid to that! We had a fairly quiet day on Monday and then I felt back to normal. 
Let the holiday commence

We headed off to kennedyspacecenter on Tuesday. We have visited before, quite a few years ago when the children were 10 (ish) , but we knew that there was a new exhibit, Atlantis and as we had previously actually seen Atlantis launch, we wanted to see more. 
 Now, you may now that I am a bit of a quilter, and as we looked at the ACTUAL shuttle, Mr T and I looked at each other  and then again at the shuttle,

Honest to God, those panels are made from the same sort of fabric that they make Fireman's uniforms and the protective gear that racing drivers wear. Three layers stitched with what looks like (but most certainly isn't) Perle thread.

 We chatted to a charming gentleman, who had worked on the Atlantis missions and he showed us a sample of this 3/4" thick piece of history. Using this fabric enabled them to contour the shape, and they are able to replace worn parts, rather that the whole panel. 
This is the flight that we saw launch
 If that was the only thing we did this holiday, it was worth the trip in itself.

There were dozens of these "buzzards" flying around. They are actually Turkey Vultures. Reminded us of those three in the Jungle Book film.
What d'ya wanna do?
 Wednesday was Guy Fawkes night.  Sister 3 had invited their neighbours round for a bit of a do - We had made a Guy, and one of the neighbours had Googled and had also made one. They even painted their faces to look like the Guy!

I was so worried that the dry trees would catch light, but B.I.L has a thing about fire and everything went very well, with marshmallows heated in the flames, and food consumed when the flames died down 
We spent some time cycling around their distinct, which is beautiful. Full of trees, with the spooky Spanish moss dripping from the branches

Lots of lakes, with so many birds, turtles, and of course, alligators

And if you cycle a certain route, 

you end up here
where it would be rude not to participate in a certain food category!

I can do the maple syrup or molasses, but I do draw the line to adding bacon to the mixture

And as we made our way though the park - I bumped into one of my customers!! How small is our world!

 I did pop into a couple of quilt shops - just to browse -

 This one is HUGE and they were so accommodating
 and maybe one or two purchases made.

The weather was glorious, sunshine but not too hot and not at all humid, which suits me so much better.  Evening meals were taken sitting watching the sunsets.
 this pic made me laugh, looks like he has brought his own torches!

 A bit of a hiccup when we visited Magic Kingdom.
 We hadn't even got into the park, when I realised that I had lost my very nice new camera!!!
I ran around for a bit trying to retrace my steps, and asking the "cast members" at the lost and found. But no camera. Filled in the form and left the phone number if the said camera was handed in. No phone call the next day, so I had to accept that it had gone.


But we did meet one of the neighbours
 O M G!!! Fancy having this beauty living down the garden!!!

After nephews arrived a few days before we were due to leave ( the sailor and the one from "up north"), we had great fun on the beach, watching the Pelicans fly past, and swimming in the Atlantic  It was great to see them all together.

 And after packing up on Sunday morning, I thought just one more call to Lost Property. Just in case. AND .......
They had had my very nice new camera handed in!!!! How lucky is that!!!
God Bless America!!  
It is now back in my hands and I promise to be more careful with it in future!

 Lots going on now both at home and and work but I will tell you more about that later.......

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Picture Says It All

Its been a busy few days. Nothing much to show on the sewing front. Trying to get ahead of myself at work so I can trot of to warmer climes with a clear conscience.

I have nearly finished the knitted shawl/scarf/shrug thing. It is so much longer the the pattern states, but I have tried it on the recipient, and it needs to be just one more pattern repeat and the few rows of moss stitch border. We decided that we would not add the buttons. Miss Mrs S would rather use a very nice shawl pin to secure it in place.

We looked after little Miss O at the weekend. She is truly the easiest baby that I have ever known. Always happy. Always smiling. Just the most content child.

BUT  - we have zoomed through the crawling stage. She follows you around like a zippy little puppy grabbing your legs to pull herself upright. 
We had to develop Ninja skills.
We are not used to this.

We were sent this pic tonight. She does take after her Mummy!!!

All packed up and ready to go see our other family

at the weekend, for a long looked forward to break.  Break out the sunscreen Sister 3 - we are on the way!!!

Monday, 20 October 2014

It's Been a Funny Old Week

 Starting last Tuesday, when Sister 2 (I have three sisters ) posted this photo on-line.

 (One of) My lovely nephews ( Not the 40 year old, or the sailor or the one "up t'north")  going through Airport Security on his latest adventure. C and his lovely girlfriend F are off to South America to explore! We saw him a few days before he left, and he was so excited, and so was I , for him. Plans had been made. Instagram accounts signed up to, so we are able to follow his exploits (intermittently), but when I saw this pic, I had an overwhelming sense of sadness that I just cant explain.
We don't see the one in the north very often, but we can if we want to. We don't see the sailor very often, but we know when he will be with us again. C has gone on a one way ticket. He will stay as long as he wants too or until his funds run out. And that is good. He should be free to please himself, and I wouldn't want to deny him this adventure, but I still felt sad. Maybe its the hormones. Maybe I am a little bit jealous. But I have gotten over it. By the second day, he had posted a pic of himself dancing in the streets with some locals, so he has arrived and made himself at home. 

Later in the week I made this cake using hints and tips from this blogger . She often posts about her cooking and this looked particularly tasty. I was expecting a couple of visitors over the weekend so I thought that I would try it out on them.  It is a Cinnamon Roll Cake and really easy to make.
 It is large. The visitors re-arranged, so I took most of it into work so that I did not have to eat it myself.

And instead of guests, we went of to the lovely Milton Keynes (not my favourite place) to meet up with family for lunch, and to pass over Birthday cards and a gift for SIL for his birthday tomorrow. He had had his main present before they went off to Mauritius on a slightly delayed honeymoon. I have never seen anyone so pleased to receive a broom handle Remote Pole for a newly acquired camera. It was well used and MANY photographs have been taken.

Off to my Local Quilt Group today, to take part in a workshop " Stunning Stitches" . We began with a piece of batik fabric, couched some threads onto it. Then we used the fancy stitches on the machine to run alongside the couching. Add a bit of quilting and Hey Presto! A very decorative piece of fabric that I will be making a book cover with, and it will be a gift for a friend.

 Some more stitching to finish off but we had a really good day. No pressure. Just sitting sewing and chatting (as always) and something pretty to look at to show for it.

I fear the THE BAG will not be completed for the upcoming holiday ( which I feel more and more in need of!!) . I do have a couple of weeks, but little Miss is staying with us again this weekend, and a video has just been viewed. She who was happy to lay on the floor or sit and play with her toys IS CRAWLING, so I must clear all the "stuff" that we crafters like to have around us. Knitting in one corner, sewing in another.

Not that I feel the need to child proof my home. She must learn what she can and cannot have or touch, but I do think that my son will not be happy if she is returned with injuries from kitting needles or pins or any of the other implements that I have at hand.

This could take a while.......

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Tad Tardy....

 Is how I feel regarding my finishing things these past couple of weeks. Life and Work sometimes just gets in the way

I did , however, finish THE football shirt quilt. It was a bit of a beast to sew. Those fabrics have a mind of their own. But it is done, and delivered to the soon to be 40 year old nephew ( well to his lovely wife) for opening on the day.

She was pleased, so that is something.  I DO HOPE that she has prepared him for the destruction and reconstruction of these treasured items ........
23 years worth of supporting that team!

 After my visit to Yarndale and the construction of my Carpet Yarn basket (which I am so proud of) my friend J and I have embarked on a project for the ladies that meet at the LQS. Well to be truthful J has set them a task - I am just muscling in.

Anyway, we ordered some Axminster Yarn and are now decanting it into 50 gramm balls for the ladies to use.  J & C took some of the cones and I have brought the rest home to do the same. There were a few more cones than originally decided upon, but that was because I filled out the order form and couldn't resist adding some of my favourites to it!

The yarn is quite coarse but makes a very sturdy item.  So of the ones that I brought home,  6 colours have been re wound.   I cannot take credit for this. I set Mr T onto it as he has much more patience (and time!!) and lets face it - it kept him awake during the football last evening!

Whilst the man was doing my tasks, I finished another pattern repeat on this project. Only two more repeats to go but the finished item should measure 25cm wide by 85cm long . Mine is 25cm wide but is already 105 cm long!?!!!  (maybe that pattern is wrong?). I am holding fire until Thursday when I can try it on a model who is a similar size to the recipient and I may just call it a day.

It's not a scarf it's a sort of shawl/collar/shrug type thing. It is Alpaca, Silk and Cashmere and it was not cheap, so I want it to be used AND look good. Anyway, a try on session will settle the problem and then I can continue with the crochet thing, oh and make little Miss O a couple of cardi's for the winter months.
Might take those away with me ( 19 days to go!!!)
I have purchased a wooden crochet hook to take on the aircraft with me. Wonder if that will happen!

The sample that encouraged me to make this !The Stand at the NEC where it was purchased
Am off now to finish a couple of Angels for the Piecemakers exhibit at the Angel Festival in November, and to start THE bag that I want to take away with me.

 You may think that I don't get much done, but I have had this little treasure for the last 4 days and she is SUCH a time-waster!

but so cute!
And it looks like she is going to be trouble soon!!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A Cracking Good Yarn!

 And a fabulous weekend was had, starting with a visit to Yarndale.
This is only the second year that this event has been held. The venue is the Auction Mart (cattle market) in Skipton. The building is transformed from a plain utility building into a riot of colour.

 Lucy (the infamous) from Attic 24 has requested for crocheted Mandalas to be sent in from anyone who wished to do so, to decorate this barn. 1182 people did so, including C (who did one for me too - I hadn't cracked the crochet thing then)

 Lucy had crocheted extra large Mandalas and strung them around a child's Hoola Hoop

 Some purchases were made ...

 and some designs were admired

 Just love this blanket
 and this one

 And more colour. The stall holders were very generous with their time and knowledge. These were all and spun and dyed yarns made from mostly "cottage" style industry. Some alpaca fibres and there were quite a few rabbits giving up their fluff for the angora yarns.

 A novel way of displaying your goodies. I have one of these printers drawers - maybe.......

There were areas where you could just sit and knit or crochet and chat among like minded folk
 And the attic 24 corner

 And photos taken for a friend who could not be there
J posing with the art
 And I just fell in love with these planters, but couldn't make up my mind which colour to buy.

 An area filled with last years bunting
 And some of the Egg Cosy Challenge exhibits, which were sold off for charity
 If it stood still long enough, it got "Yarn Bombed"

 A map to add your home town on. Visitors from abroad too - A huge contingent from Ireland.
 Everywhere you went, something had been "got"
 After the show, we ventured into Skipton to go to Coopers where Lucy & Tracy have their studio. Tracy makes some lovely mice and hares to sell and blogs here

Lucy's chair (for a special fan)

 We were allowed to use these to have our refreshments. The coffee shop was PACKED!!
Jo with the yarn stash

S was having fun too

 The whole place was full of colourful inspiration.

 And (trumpet roll) the mini workshop that I participated in resulted in this (I think) lovely crochet basket . It is made with three strands of Carpet Yarn so is quite rigid.
So proud!!
Whilst I was there Mr T and Mr D had a game of golf. So Win Win there.
a walk round the village
 We were invited back to S home to have dinner with the family including two of the most delightful young teenagers  that you would ever wish to meet.
A great day.

The next day we ventured over the Yorkshire Dales down some REALLY narrow roads and over to County Durham to meet with friends.  We ate at The Otter & Fish  - well worth a visit if you are ever in the area. A great meal, as always and just enough room to squeeze in a desert ( Key Lime Cocktail) - Yummy!

Sunday night was spent just north of Newcastle, and Monday morning off up to Northumberland to visit another friend who used to live close by.

More food - Lunch at Barter Books which is a treasure chest full of readables situated in the old railway station in Alnwick.

 After farewells in Alnwick, we headed down the coast with a quick pit stop and a paddle (brrrr) in Alnmouth

 View from across the estuary

 And another night just south of Newcastle. More food, this time at a rather good Italian restaurant which was recommended by someone at the Washington services on the A1.
" Go over the foot bridge through the car park and you will find a hole in the fence. Through the gap, and turn right about 50 yards "
( is this a northern joke??)
So off we went. Finding the hole in the fence was no problem and we had a great meal, with a couple of drinks I was a bit worried about finding the gap in the fence on the way back - but should not have been bothered - it was well worth the adventure.

743 mile round trip (with a few detours) . I have had a great weekend.

32 days to the next trip!!!!  Getting excited!!