Sunday, 3 January 2016

Last day of holiday

...then back to work tomorrow.  Today I got up at 7:30am on the theory that it will make getting up at 6:25am less horrible tomorrow but I don't think that a week of lie-ins will be overcome that easily.

Through dedication and perseverance, we have managed to eat up all the holiday food and sweets.We got through most of the turkey before its expiry date, and cracked open the gift Prosecco for New Year's Eve in front of the telly. We've watched the entire Hobbit trilogy which was one of my Christmas presents - I liked it a lot better watching it for the second time and consecutively, than I did seeing it in the cinema.

Yesterday DH dropped me at the new year's sale at the Colemans Craft Warehouse in Rushden. It was a decent sale, 30% off most things and quite a few bits marked down to 50% off. Also there was a pop-up sale next door of MDF blanks - I think it was these people - at very reasonable prices. I haven't really done anything with MDF blanks before but they were so cheap that I bought a caddy for my cutting rulers on my cutting station; a tray to corral my scissors, rotary cutter etc; a pencil holder; a couple of blank plaque shapes and two caskets which may be gifts.  A bit of painting with acrylic paint ensued, decorating with Mod Podge and papers, and the old hot glue gun came out, and I'm quite pleased with the results. It was fun to try something new.

Pen holder decorated with some gift wrap from Venice

Desk caddy decorated with gift wrap on outside, and 
the inner tray lined with some card printed in button motifs

Ruler caddy with fabric applied using Mod Podge, then
various charms, buttons, ribbons and thread spools from my stash
applied with hot glue or Quick Grab.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the first meeting for 2016 of the gardening club, where there was an astonishingly poor speaker. He attempted to present to a crowd of over 80 people using A4 laminated pictures which he held up or tried to pass around, and kept waving at A4 laminated papers he had taped on the wall with the names of trees which couldn't be read even from the front row. As he also spent the first 2/3rds of his topic waffling off-topic, not surprisingly he completely lost the crowd's attention and by 50 minutes in everyone was just chatting to their neighbour and looking at their watch waiting for tea break.  I hope the organisers give him some feedback about coming into the 21st century and at a minimum getting some slides together, if not a laptop and projector. Luckily I had brought my knitting with me thinking that I might do a few rows before the talk started, so I was able to knit the whole time on my Basket Check Sock: knitting the heel flap, turning the heel and starting on the gusset.

Over the last few days of holiday, I finished piecing the stars for my Let it Snow Quilt and also cut out and pieced the tree blocks. The trees aren't part of the published pattern so I had to wing it a bit and draft my own block. I used a 22.5 degree angle ruler to cut the background wedges, and drew a template to cut out the trees. I like how it is all looking cheerful and scrappy.

For Kathy, wherever you are

A while back I came across two American-style cross stitch canvases in a vintage shop and bought them for a few pounds.  They were dirty and quite stained around the edges of the canvas from some previous framing, and not particularly well done. But there was a lot of work in them and I liked the folk art quality of the pictures.  One is signed 'Kathy, 1985' and the second 'Kathy, 1986'. I expect when Kathy stitched them she didn't imagine they would end up unloved in a bric-a-brac shop. 

A few weeks ago I took the measurements to a secondhand centre and chose two matching frames that were about the right size. Unfortunately they didn't have mats and I decided not to try cutting my own although I have that a few times a long time ago. I cleaned up the frames and the glass, and gave the cross-stitch a wash. Sadly the red thread in the house picture ran terribly and that picture dried with pink tidemarks all over.  After a bit of Googling, I bought some colour catchers and started soaking the picture with a colour catcher, changing the water and the colour catcher every few days.  After several days of soaking and stirring, most of the marks had either gone or faded to the point where they aren't immediately noticeable. The red roof meanwhile faded to a pinky-terracotta colour but at least the picture was saved.

I stretched each canvas over a bit of cotton sheeting on top of the backing board of the picture frame, and put the frames back together.  And now I have two nice Americana pictures in my sewing room. I suspect Kathy may have gone to the great craft room in the sky but perhaps she would be pleased to see them displayed again.

Dollshouse stuff

I've started cleaning up and renovating a 1/24th scale thatched cottage but haven't taken any pictures yet.  I mentioned in my last post that I got some lovely miniatures from my friend Anita, and here is a pic of them.

Can you believe those tiny teddy-bear buttons? The hangers have beautiful
crochet lace covers.

Anita was also having a bit of a stash clear out for the new year, and has passed over to me several goodies for my stash, which arrived in the post this week.  I particularly like the hand-stitched chair seat covers worked by her late mother - I hope to use these on some dining chairs possibly in the McKinley kit house if I ever get round to building it.  Thanks Anita!


I was upstairs working a bit more on my second bobbin lace star which is set up in my knitting room. It's looking dicy whether it will ever make it onto this year's Christmas tree (which is still up). My stash is guilting me out - I really must try to knit more from stash and stop getting seduced by projects in magazines /on Ravelry which always seem to require buying more yarn.  On that basis, I picked up some bulky Jaeger Natural Fleece and I've been playing about trying to come up with a warm windproof hat. I got halfway on a hat from Ann Budd's book of patterns for a plain hat with a turned up hem, but not only was it coming out too tight, it looked lumpy and mishapen in this thick yarn. So I've pulled that out and will try something else, perhaps a ribbed turned up hem.  I'm partway through the second sleeve of my Rowan Summer Tweed Cardigan but am feeling guilty about several other UFOs lying around the living room, including the Que Sera Cardigan, the GAA Afghan, the Now in a Minute Shawl, and the Latvian mittens.  There are a few more hibernating UFOs upstairs including the Sampler Sweater and the Winterland mittens, and a lacy scarf that I need to pull out. Some of these are stalled because they are going wrong: don't fit, don't look good, are too hard, ran out of yarn. Others got derailed when I was seduced by a shiny new thing or had to meet the deadline of a new baby or an upcoming holiday.

How do you deal with your UFO guilt?  Do you have a new year's plan for tackling them?

Happy new year!


Anita Mills said...

Love the pencil holder!

swooze said...

Happy New Year. Sounds like you are getting a lot done. I think the way I'm going to tackle UFOs is to follow a challenge I'm in that requires I finish one each quarter at least or pay a FQ penalty.

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