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. 



  1. Hi Suzanne-the answer to the centre of the Dresden is that you applique the centre circle on to the blades. As always, Jenny at Missouri star has a video that shows clearly what to do. The tricky part is getting an accurate circle of card befor you start and remember to leave a quilters' quarter seam allowance. It's going to look lovely and your wee girl and her teddy in bed is fabulous! Catriona

    1. Hi Catriona, yes, I've watched Jenny several times and she makes it look so easy. My problem is controlling the circle on the machine. It keeps shooting off in a straight line. BUT I seem to have found the answer. I stumbled across another video that shows you how to get a circle by wrapping the card template and material up in tinfoil then ironing it. Have to say it's worked pretty and I've decided I will hand sew it to the quilt. Hope you are keeping well. xx

    2. I've been doing hand sewn patchwork hexies with both my craft groups and after a bit of moaning everyone said how much they had enjoyed it. I should have said that I would always hand applique because I'm one of those strange creatures who enioys hand stitching! Catriona

    3. I'm glad you've said that about hand sewing because I wasn't sure whether hand applique would look OK but it's all I'm going to be able to do. I think I'll go for a blanket stitch mainly because apart from back stitch (is it even called that ?) it's pretty much the only one I can do. I even struggle a bit with chain stitch! xx

  2. That quilt is absolutely adorable. Love the Dresden one too which is something I would like to have a go at when I get back into the swing of things.
    Bless Sienna.....isn't she growing? She's a gorgeous little scrumplet.
    Well done Thomas on the rowing machine. I went on one once....yes just
    How awful to read about the stabbing and especially when you think that these are just kids at the end of the day. What ever has made them think that this kind of violence is acceptable? And why do they go out armed with knives anyway? We live in a very scary world.
    So looking forward to your 12 Days oof Christmas blog.

    1. Thank you Sheila. You should definitely have a go at the dresden it's really simple to do for such an effective outcome. Smaller ones would make good flowers as well.

      I have no idea what people are thinking these days whereby people think nothing of turning up to to college with a knife obviously intent on using it. The boy was 17 years old, has been found and arrested and been charged with attempted murder. I was just so thankful it wasn't worse because we've all read about this sort of thing happening haven't we.

      I'm quite looking forward to the 12 days of blogging myself. Watch this, I bet I don't do anything newsworthy at all now haha. xx

  3. Beautiful quilting projects. You have been busy. It looks like you're all having fun preparing the Christmas cake. What a lot of fun!

    1. Hello Sharon and thank you :) Both quilts were fun to do and I really enjoyed the hand sewing - it made a lovely change.

      You'd think the older they got the less mess would be made but that doesn't seem to be the case. There is a lot of giddiness as well and Thomas becomes very animated with arms flying everywhere which is why the mixed spices ended up all over the floor. It wouldn't be the same if we didn't have to get the dustpan and brush out in the first 5 minutes though. xx

  4. oh I'm annoyed with myself. I'd written a long comment but managed to close it before I published!

    You've had a great week,and I love your quilt. the teddy and girl turned out perfectly.

    Sienna and her carrot supervision is so sweet! Love all your family fun with the cake making. All part of the lovely build up to Christmas. Just gorgeous.

    Glad all was ok with college, but what a horrible, scary thing to happen.

    Pleased you are doing daily blogging in December. I'm calling mine Blogmas this year, but don't usually. Normally I call it my Blogging Challenge to write everyday, purely so I have a record of our Christmas each year!


    1. Now that is annoying. I did the same thing myself last week when I was replying to somebody. Frustrating to say the least.

      Now that I can see the girl and teddy turned out OK I can look back and think I enjoyed doing them. They took ages though. A lot longer than I thought they would but it was nice to keep picking them up in between doing other things.

      Sienna loved being up there on the counter watching me. I don't think it'll be long before I'm wedging her in a highchair. I think Amy was in one at 6 months, padded out with towels and blankets. It meant we could eat our meal in relative peace because she could see us.

      I'm very much looking forward to you Blogmas posts. I've decided to do the 12 days so I can have a record of the run up to it as well, but I'm betting now I've said that I don't do anything remotely Christmassy and will have nothing to report. xx

  5. p.s am loving Amy's Burberry-esque scarf! x

  6. That quilt with the little girl and her teddy is adorable! As someone else said, the center of the Dresden plate is an appliqued circle.

    Love the picture of Sienna helping you peel the carrots and the tradition of the family getting together to make the Christmas cake! Your other cakes look yummy, too.

    That's a bit scary that there was a stabbing at Amy's college, but, like you said, at least it wasn't a rampage.

    Hope you have a lovely week ahead.

    1. Thank you Bless. I just need to back them now but I'll leave that until the New Year. The problem I'm having is sewing a circle on the machine - it's a very basic model and there is no speed control etc. and it keeps shooting off into a straight line. But I've found a good way of doing it using tinfoil and then I'll just hand sew it on.

      The stabbing is terrible isn't it. And all over a girl! I just don't get the mentality of people these days. Thankfully I didn't know anything about it until it was all over otherwise I'd have been in a real state. Very frightening for the students who didn't know what was actually going on. Amy has been in college today and everything seems to be back to normal thankfully.

      Hope you are keeping well and you have managed to cross more things off your list :) xx

  7. Both quilts are lovely - colour choices bob on Mrs! I did LOL at your Thomas quip about the rowing machine doing nothing for his legs!!
    It's really scary the grown up world where there are all sorts of people going crazy. I wonder what the boywho has been arrested for attempted murder's mum feels?
    Hope the poor victims are alright. Isn't it always the case of seeing these things on the news and never close to home...until it is.

    As for the SATS thing - don't get me started. ( Drags soap box out, climbs up and gets started ANYWAY )
    Schools are so results driven because of the fear of ofsted it winds me up.
    We just had a mini ofstead inspection because of our crap results last year, there by implying we are a crap school. Not so. The children had to hit the magic 100. SIX of our y6 were children with additional needs.
    One of those made 84. That was MASSIVE. Considering where they'd been a few years previous. But no, Ofsted said FAIL.
    I say
    To ofsted.
    ( climbs down off soap box and puts it away )
    I'm looking forward to the daily blogs xx

    1. I knew you'd absolutely get how I felt about the stabbing incident Rachel. Yes, 3 phone calls to parents that morning. One that has changed their lives forever as they now have a 17 year old son charged with attempted murder, 2 to say what every parent dreads, although thankfully the boys are on the road to recovery. College have been very good. We've had 3 letters already about the incident with the latest one going through all the security measures they are now going to implement. It's all a bit surreal but it seems to be the way we are going these days.

      Oooh budge over and make room for my soapbox! Yes this 100 mark seems to be the new thing doesn't it. Anything below and you are classed as below average (they made no attempt to frilly that up at the meeting), anything above and you are deemed above average. It was also pointed out there are no allowances made for students who have additional needs, the example being given that anybody with dyslexia for instance will probably just automatically fail the reading/spelling.

      It must be so demoralising for teaching staff these days. To see a child make fantastic progress yet still fail because they can't quite hit that magic mark. I know there has to be a cut off point for marking but is it really necessary to make results such a priority in primary schools and therefore categorise schools - I don't think so.

      I know some schools are completely driven by results and obviously Thomas' school wants to do well, but I can genuinely say, because of the way Thomas is, they're also spot on with pastoral care and the well-being of the children.

      It's not so much OFSTED I disagree with, teachers do need to be accountable, and I don't believe for one moment good ones have any objection to that, it's just these bloody SATS and results that gets on my nerves.

      Right, off my soapbox now.... until the next time :) xx

  8. I'm having a later than usual bloggy catch up. I can't get to grips with the new Blogger layout on my phone.
    The quilts are so beautiful Suzanne. I am in awe of your talent. The little girl and teddy are so sweet.
    Your way of making Christmas cake with everyone involved is lovely. Such a great tradition for you all. Long may it continue, although maybe in future you and your mum should be sat down with a drink while Amy and Thomas tidy up.
    The incident at Amy's college must have been worrying for you all. It can be a scary world at times.
    I can't believe we're into December on Thursday. I must put the advent stockings up tomorrow. I'm hoping to last out until next weekend before putting up the tree as well. Lily likes to rearrange the decorations! X

    1. Oh don't get me started on phones Jules. I can just about make a call, text and post a picture on instagram but only because Mark set it up for me. I still have trouble if somebody leaves me a voice mail and I don't do email or anything else people see as the 'norm'.

      I really enjoyed doing the quilts, especially the hand sewing, only because it turned out OK haha. I think you're right about that drink and tidying up, maybe a new tradition will be implemented next year.

      The stabbing was awful. I don't know what I'd have done if she'd rung while it was happening. I had Sienna that day as well so would have been really stuck. Matthew heard about it on the radio and rang Mark straight away - you can't help thinking the worst.

      I've made a definite decision to leave the tree until next weekend but the advent calendars will be coming out and I've also bought an Elf this year that should make for some interesting blogging :)

      I bet Lily will be really excited this year. Smiling at her re-arranging the decorations. I don't think I've had a decent looking tree since Amy was about 3. I have to keep telling my OCD side "it's for the children"! Have a lovely week. xx

  9. You're very crafty! Your makes are lovely. I'm currently knitting a jumper which I know I'll never wear. Hope the cake turned out well. Know what you mean about catering for a range of tastes. Here, there's one vegetarian, one vegan and one somewhere in between. Makes for a lot of washing up!

    1. I have my moments Liz :) The reason I've not made things in the past is because I don't really want the end product which is why sewing and knitting for charity is perfect for me.

      Yes, as well as the food aspect of different preferences there's also timing issues and as you say extra washing up. Families! No wonder I'd be happy to live off crackers and cheese. xx

  10. Love the quilt it's so cute. Cakes look delicious, I haven't baked anything for a while, it looks such fun everyone making the Christmas cake xx