Monthly Archives: January 2017

Pom Diddly Pom!

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To remind myself not to take life too seriously now that my Planner gives me no excuse for forgetting ANYTHING, I thought it would be appropriate to make some pompom page markers so I know what day it is;)

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I went off on a bit of a tangent one morning when I sorted out a box of quilt magazines, cataloguing and photographing them in case I ever get around to listing them on Ebay. This led to reorganising another box which contained all of the publications in which my quilts have appeared. It was uplifting to look back at all sorts of projects and it made me realise that I want to produce more work that can go into print in future.

I had to take BlueCat to the Vet, rather worried by a hard lump that had appeared on her undercarriage. She was not impressed to be bundled into a cat carrier. The vet was incredulous as he explained that she simply had an unusually protruding piece of cartilage on her ribcage that must have changed shape. I was too relieved to feel silly but I did feel obliged to purchase a 6 month supply of wormer to make the visit worthwhile.

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When I had finally caught up with all of my self imposed tasks, including a few useful ones, I started on a customer quilt that took 3 days of background and SID. It was not full-blown heirloom quilting but it was fairly intricate with lots of stops and starts. The on-point squares were too big to go all the way around using the ruler base without rolling the quilt on so they had to be done in 2 halves.

Theoretically I have 6 days to quilt in the next 2 weeks including 2 simple customer quilts and 2 DIY clients and my Planner goal for February says that I should be making a start on monstrous “BzB” which has been waiting for 4+ years. Alternatively, it might be wiser to plan more quilt classes and make samples. If only the Planner would implement a ban on deviation and work avoidance!

I need an extra week in January!

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Freya and I arrived back in Scotland late on Monday night form our amazing trip to St Petersburg then I had a DIY quilt customer here on Tuesday so that left me just one day to catch up and unpack before my 2 days in school. I keep having the guilty feeling that I have not achieved anything in January 2017, apart from a superficial tidy-up in the workshop and a terrific 3-day trip to Russia;)

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I rashly decided to clear out a couple of boxes of quilt magazines that have not been opened in several years. If I can be bothered I will try Ebay, otherwise will have to give them away or just recycle them to make space as I can’t keep putting stuff into my workshop without taking some other stuff out!

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I got a bee in my bonnet about making a bag for the vintage Elna Lotus sewing machine as I was worried that it could get rust spots on its metal case from the cold air on days when my workshop is not heated. I quilted a linen fabric with Bosal interfacing which is spongy and helps bags stand upright. I did not have enough quilted fabric to make shoulder straps but decided that I only needed small handles anyway. There were no pockets but I came a bit unstuck when I had to put in the zip panel as it meant that the opening was not wide enough for the sewing machine. I had to take the zip panel apart and use a longer zip that overhangs at each end to overcome that issue.

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I have made lots of notes thinking that I could probably come up with either a generic sewing machine bag or a handy shopper tote pattern. There are already many of these online but many seem to have vague instructions. There is probably no point in writing a whole book on alternative pockets/zips because this has already been done but I would like to come up with a bag that could be made as a gift that has a neat finish and is practical.

My new desk planner now has dates and I have written up a wall calendar so there should be no excuse for forgetting appointments or not tackling admin tasks in a timely fashion in the coming months…;)

Magnificent St Petersburg

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I am not usually lost for words but my trip to St Petersburg, Russia with Freya was so amazing that it is almost impossible to describe it. There was simply so much to see and do to stop and write a travel journal at the end of each day in which we walked for miles on snowy pavements, marvelling at spectacular architecture and absorbing all of the history from Peter the Great to the demise of the Romanovs and the Siege of Leningrad.

The scale of imperial wealth was so vast that it seemed inevitable that a revolution should eventually take place. There were enormous palaces on every street. At the time of “War and Peace” it would certainly have been a place to see and be seen. We could imagine the swaggering cavalry officers parading across the Winter Palace Square.

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Three days were not nearly enough to experience all of the incredible sights and museums. We found the people welcoming and the city was buzzing with families still on their Christmas holidays. We chose to eat Russian food – the Soviet style canteen was an interesting experience but we made up for it the next evening by sampling vodka and caviar! I was embarrassed that I only knew about 4 words in Russian but at least I could make out some of the cyrillic words and Freya could understand a lot of what was said.

I think the city would be crowded with tourists in summer so we probably chose a good time of year to visit. It was around -2 degrees but did not feel as cold as a damp day in Scotland. We were well wrapped up and all of the buildings were extremely well heated. Out little apartment in an old courtyard just 200 yards from the Winter Palace was so cosy that we had to sleep with the window open even though it was snowing. I would love to revisit St Petersburg in the future – it was truly an awe-inspiring experience!

Restoring Order

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I always have to start the New Year with a big tidy up. No matter how much stuff I think I may have got rid of on Ebay, more stuff seems to arrive to take its place. My workshop becomes Santa’s grotto before Christmas then it doubles up as a cold food store over the holidays so there were many cardboard boxes to squash, invoices to file and much glitter to vacuum. I will re-fold all of my fabric stash in due course but at least I have managed to stop the IKEA basket-drawers from collapsing further for the time being.

My tidying extended to completing my tax return, writing school lesson plans, and tackling the music room cupboard that was bursting with bits of drum-kit, kazoos and random cables. I need to get rid of some instruments that the kids have outgrown and have failed to sell!

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I have ordered a fancy new planner which I hope will make me become a Super-Organiser. I write everything down in two A5 spiral notebooks but I have a nasty habit of using post-it notes that don’t always make it into the “Mother-Notebook”. I have tried a Filofax Planner in the past but it was too small so I the A5 size should work better. I just hope I don’t waste more time organising my new planner than I might actually gain in being more organised;)