Sunday, 27 November 2016

November - Week 4

At the risk of becoming repetitive there has been more quilting going on here this week along with some hand sewing. A little girl...
... and a teddy bear.
Both ended up 'in bed' on this quilt top. I came across the design on the 'net and thought it was too adorable not to have a go at making. The quilt itself was easy to do, the girl and teddy took me out of my comfort zone, but I think they turned out OK.
I also have another quilting skill under my belt - a dresden. This is one of those designs that looks really effective without being too hard to do. I'm having a problem finishing it off though. I need a circle for the centre and after several attempts I'm not sure I can pull it off, so if any experienced quilters have an easy way of doing one please let me know. I was going to iron it before I took a photo but Sienna woke up so I didn't have time.
There was just one session of physio this week. Thomas spent a full hour in the gym and took a special liking to the rowing machine. It doesn't actually do anything for his leg but he wanted a go and the physiotherapist is very obliging.
Sienna stayed with us Thursday evening. Sophie had a training day at work and even though she's on maternity leave she wanted to take part. I think the pull was adult conversation and drinks with colleagues at the end of the day. We've also been booked in to babysit New Year's Eve which is fine by us as we don't go out. Here she is in her chair helping me to peel carrots. She loves being high up so she can see what's going on. 
I've done a little bit of baking this week. A simple Victoria sandwich always goes down a treat. 
As does a chocolate cake. I only make half cakes these days as one slice each seems to be enough for us. It's just a 4oz mixture baked in one tin and cut in half. 
And this is one of those 'simple' meals we have at Number 38 where everybody has a variation on it. Good old sausage and mash. Mark has to have onions. Amy doesn't like them. I don't eat sausages so it's soup for me. And Thomas, as everybody knows, loves sausages but only with chips or waffles. Why keep things simple when they can be complicated!
I'd run out of reading material so picked up a couple of books in Bury. The Jenny Colgan one is the third in a series and is a really easy, loose ends tied up neatly, feel good read. 
And this is for Thomas for Christmas. He loves facts and figures and it's full of interesting snippets about animals and why they do the things they do. 
Mark and Amy are off to London on Tuesday. She's wanted to go with him for ages but the days have never been right for her. This time it's fallen in her favour. 
There was a Year 6 SATS meeting at school this week. They do really with their results and are obviously keen to keep this up because all Year 6 pupils were sent home with these revision books on Friday. Personally I think too much emphasis is put on primary school exams but Thomas seems to be taking it all in his stride. In fairness to the school the Year 6 teachers and the Headteacher put in a lot of effort in their own time and as from next week will be holding classes before and after school for anybody who wants to attend for that extra boost. 
Mum came round yesterday for our annual Christmas Cake making event. I've been using a Mary Berry recipe for a few years now and it's lovely, especially when it's had a good dose of whiskey added to it. 
I love this tradition even though it can get a bit messy. We'd only been at the table 5 minutes and there was flour and mixed spices all over the place.
The grand finale is when everybody stirs in their portion of fruit and makes a wish. As soon as that's done Amy and Thomas wander off leaving me and Mum to tidy up.
Something happened on Thursday that made me a bit goosebumpy regarding Amy. A student at her college stabbed two other students in the chest and back in an argument about a girl! For the safety of all the students college went into lockdown and when they were finally allowed home they were told not to return until Monday. In a way I'm relieved it was an argument rather than somebody just going on a rampage. When Amy rang she was on her way home so it was all over and done with, otherwsie I'd have been sat here panicking about what was actually happening. 

Anyway, moving on to something a little more light-hearted. Next time I blog it will be 3rd December! We usually put our tree up next weekend but I think I'm going to hold out for another week this year. 

I'm also psyching myself up to do a daily 12 Days of Christmas blog but my 12 Days will start on 14th and finish on 25th. I like to look back and see what we got up to in the run up to the big event so a bit of daily blogging will take place this month.

And that's it for this week. Thank you for dropping by, I love having visitors and I shall see you all in December. 


Sunday, 20 November 2016

November - Week 3

It was an early start at Number 38 on Monday and Thursday as Thomas had to be in the gym for 8.30am which meant we were up a lot earlier than usual. He was certainly put through his paces and had a good session on the walking machine, the treadmill and a mini trampoline. Have to admit my heart was in my mouth when that was brought out. Thomas does not have a good relationship with trampolines.
Think this was his favourite piece of equipment though.
Back home he ate his breakfast, changed into his uniform and I dropped him off at school.  Then it was home again to start my cleaning rota. Amy doesn't go into college until lunchtime so she's started to help me which is a big bonus timewise.

I wasn't expecting the material I'd ordered for the quilt until later in the week so was really happy when it arrived in the post Monday lunchtime.
I spent some time in the afternoon and evening cutting 72 half hexagons and sewing them to black strips.
I expected to be working on this for at least a couple of weeks but it's amazing how simple it is to do and how quickly it comes together and by Wednesday it was pretty much finished. On the MSQC tutorial a solid colour border was added so I just need to decide on a colour and it's done. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of making this quilt and can't quite believe I've actually done it.
This week I finally managed a trip to The Range. They have lots of lovely things on display but there was nothing I really needed. I'd gone specifically to see if I could find a tablecloth and napkins and although I didn't have any luck I did buy this table runner for £1.99 which I'll cut and make into 4 napkins.
I also picked up this cute little reindeer for Amy's tree decoration - an annual tradition that's been going since her first Christmas. 
We've had another clear out, this time it was some of Mark's things. His photography hobby has been taken over by boating, so rather than let the equipment gather dust any longer, he's selling it. No doubt he'll fill the space created with something else. 
I'm also trying to keep on top of my money. I start off with good intentions every month but lose my way pretty quickly so I'm making an extra effort this time and so far I seem to be doing OK. The Tesco voucher was a nice surprise. We only buy petrol and a few top up bits every now and then but I think a few points have come from things we've needed for the van.
Number 10, our regular haunt for coffee when we're in Bury. 
      Image result for number 10 coffee shop bury
There was plenty of material left over to make another quilt or two so I've started another one. Considering I'm supposed to have put the crochet and sewing away until after Christmas there's a surprising amount of it going on!
The weather has been wet, windy and cold this week and we even woke up to a smattering of snow Friday morning. Typically on the coldest day of the year Thomas was wearing PJ's to school for Children in Need. Life would be so much easier in the mornings if PJ's were the norm. No buttons, no ties and no zips to faff around with. 
This weekend we've been away in the van. Mark set it all up on Thursday so we were able to pick Thomas up from school Friday and set off straight away. It was a bit nippy when we arrived but within an hour we were sat down and tucking into homemade pasties.
We went to another site this time, still over on the Fylde coast but at the windmill end. 
The weather was cold but mostly dry and we ventured out Saturday for a walk. We wanted to go on the pier but they'd cordoned it off because it was slippy so we got no further than the cafe where it was hot drinks for me and Mark and a gingerbread man for Thomas. 
No matter how cold it was, Thomas still preferred to go without a coat even though he had it with him. 
I also managed a bit of shopping without the boys and chose Amy a couple of bath bombs for Christmas. 
It might have been cold outside but we were toasty warm in the van and I spent a lovely Saturday afternoon adding to the crochet squares for the blanket. 
Back home and reality sets in pretty quickly with bedding to be washed, ironing to be done and packed lunches to make. But I'm not complaining. Those couple of days we manage to get away can set me up for weeks so it's all good. 

Hope you've all had a good week and are staying warm. 

Thanks for dropping by, it's always lovely to hear from you. 


Sunday, 13 November 2016

November - Week 2

The big event this week was on Tuesday when at 10.02am precisely Thomas turned 11. The birthday boy had a very low key day after the excitement of the limo and paintballing. He got a Pokemon book and DVD from Amy and a new gun from us but apart from that he couldn't think of any presents he wanted so was given money instead which he was very happy with.  
I also made another birthday cake. It's not unusual for Amy and Thomas to have 2 cakes, one for if they have a party and one for their official birthday, because everybody has to have cake on their birthday don't they. This one is based on a game called Minecraft which Thomas plays.
Unfortunately, life continues even on birthdays and he had a physio session in the afternoon but he didn't seem too bothered as it meant he came out of school just after lunch. The physio wants to see him on a treadmill so he's hitting the gym tomorrow. When he heard this Thomas said to the physio "Great, I've got a favourite machine in the gym". "What's that" said the physio. "The snack machine" replied Thomas. I've heard that joke loads of times but the physio obviously hadn't because he fell about laughing. 
I've been working my way through the kitchen this week. One or two cupboards a day on top of my usual routine hasn't taken up too much time and I'm pleased to say I've managed to get through all of them. Everything out, shelves wiped down, bits and bobs put where they should be, you know the sort of thing. Not a job I enjoy doing but I always feel very satisfied when it's done. 
The crochet has made a re-appearance in the evenings. I'm making simple granny squares for a blanket. They take no thinking about and are easy enough to pick up and put down when I have some spare time. 
I've also made a start on another quilt. It's a pattern from the Missouri Quilt Company called sashed window and uses half hexagons. 
I'll be making 12 blocks in total and I've put these together to give you an idea of the design. I'm waiting for some material to be delivered and then the colours will be better matched. I don't find this bit of quilting too hard, what I do find difficult is the joining and lining up of the blocks so that they look OK. 
Other highlights of the week at Number 38:

I was feeling cold in Bury so found myself naturally gravitating towards hats, socks and scarves. 
Avon Calling with new perfume and salted caramel and almond shower gel. 
Christmas bits are slowly but surely creeping into the house. The big cracker is for a Christmas Eve game.
After eating a McD's treat of chicken nuggets, Thomas came in, dramatically flopped on the chair and declared he couldn't move.
Having another go at growing a hyacinth. Hope this one doesn't turn out like the last one. 
Mark's project of the week was changing all our light bulbs to LED's because he's fed with Amy and Thomas leaving all the lights on. Apparently they can leave these on all year for pennies if they so wish. Peace has finally descended on Number 38 again.
I spent a productive hour in the garden cutting back some ivy on the back fence. It was cold but I enjoyed being out in the fresh air. I even finished the job off properly and went to the tip.
And another sleepover. Sienna now happily sits in her chair watching what we're all doing. She especially loves the dogs.
She's Grandpa's favourite treat partner as well. He gets to eat the chocolate and she gets to play with the wrappers. It's a match made in heaven. She's not for sharing her milk with him though. 
And that's it really. As usual, nothing out of the ordinary has really happened but I would like to say there has been WONDERFUL news this week on a couple of blogs I read that has made me especially happy for the people concerned. It's also reinforced that every day is precious and should be enjoyed as best you can, even if for the most they are repetitive.

Hope you've all enjoyed your week.