28 September 2016


Had I been born 5 years earlier I would have been retired by now, but I have to wait until I'm 66, another 5 and a bit years away, to get my state pension. I can get my Local Government pension now, but it would be reduced and isn't a lot anyway.  So at present I keep working four days a week, but at least I'm fit and healthy enough to work, so I'm lucky in that respect. David took voluntary redundancy at the end of last year,  it was the right thing to do, but it doesn't stop the frustrations that come with one working and one not.  I have the money to spend on craft stuff but not the time and snatch the time I have to create, be it knitting, crochet or sewing but things do pile up somewhat.

Above is some crochet, a corner to corner thingy, which I saw in Crochet Now and had to try.  I've also started knitting a Hitchhiker scarf with hand dyed yarn from Katherine of Crafternoon Treats.

Today is my day off and David volunteers at Swanage Railway so he was out today, so baking was the order of the day.  Coming home on the bus from work yesterday and idly looking at Facebook on my phone I saw a recipe for tea bread; hadn't made that in ages, I had to bake.

I started with some bread, I've not made bread in years, the dried yeast was old, but put it in some water and there were some bubbles so it would do.  It didn't really so I've got a couple of solid looking loaves, and I'll have to buy some new sachets of dried yeast and try not to let that get out of date!

A few weeks ago, just before our holiday, our oven died and we left it until our return and it has since been fixed and is working again. Having to use the combination microwave to cook some of our meals we then discovered the things that could be cooked including baking scones and had a go at fruit ones.  This time I made some cherry ones which cooks rather brilliantly.  I've since used the microwave to blind bake a pastry case for a quiche that we'll have for dinner tomorrow which it also does well.

Above are cherry scones and a couple of flat loaves of bread.

The aforementioned tea bread was also made and baked and I've also made a chilli, that's tonight's dinner. It's not baking but that's what was planned.

There is still time for some sewing and on Monday evening I've managed to make a couple of pouches. Some that I made a few months ago went down well at a craft sale at Cherry Tree Nurseries in Bournemouth so I've taken to making more of these when I can.

Marking and layering four Dresden Plate blocks

Back on Sunday (when I usually get to sew) I made a start on my journal quilt, which is to be finished off.
It should be turned 90 degrees, but never mind.

So I think if I was retired there'd be plenty to keep me busy. Just got to wait a few more years to get there.

19 September 2016

The Splendid Sampler 12

Two thirds of September gone, so I think it's about time to catch up with the Splendid Sampler blocks. On Sunday block 63 was announced, so nearly two thirds through the 100 blocks.  

So recently I've had a couple of sewing sessions to complete some of the blocks to keep up with things.  I realise there is no race to get these done but if I let things slip they won't get done. 
This is block 58 - Homeward Bound by Kelli Liddle. The flying geese panel is a one piece foundation pieced unit. With the busy print the triangles look as though there is one continuous piece of fabric and goes well with the coloured geese.

Block 61 - Traveler by Pat Sloan. Looks a bit like Susannah block, which I've made several times, being the closest I can get to my own name, Suzan.  I used some of the original white/red fabric from those I started off with. An easy block to make.

This is a sideways look at the next block Block 59 - Circle of Friendship by Michele Muska. This was a Dresden plate for which I used scraps. I have a Dresden plate ruler which and the size used matched the size of the paper template so it was easier to use the ruler instead.  Instead of strips of fabric to make the background I used this stripy ruler fabric, so much easier to have a solid background.

Block 62 - Hen and Chicks, I made this an all blue block. This was designed by Heidi Keisand and the block size and instructions were really clear.  I Googled chickens and blue to discover there are breeds of 'blue' chickens and some breeds lay blue eggs, so not such a daft idea to use blue fabrics.

Move back to older blocks I made this one, Coneflower (Block 52, by Pat Sloan). This is a fusible applique block, which I finished with machine buttonhole stitch.

And lastly another foundation pieced block, no.54, Shell designed by Jane Davidson. This was more complex and did involved some 'un-sewing' as I placed fabric in the wrong place or accidentally cut a piece off that I shouldn't have done! In spite of that I'm quite pleased how that's turned out.
Phew! That was 6 blocks! The latest, block 63 is in progress, likewise the embroidery blocks are too, they'll get done one day.  

14 September 2016

Back from Holiday

This will be a long post, so grab a cup of tea (or other drink of choice)!

If you followed me on Instagram (@suewilduk) I have been posting a few pics of my holiday cruise to the Norwegian fjords last week.  David and I booked this a couple of months ago on the same ship, Arcadia, that we went on last year for our mini cruise. It's convenient that it sails from Southampton, just an hour's drive from home and the Ocean Terminal is very efficient in its organisation, which saves going to an airport and the hassles involved there.

Our outgoing sailing in the North Sea was really warm, sunny and calm, in contrast to our first stop in Bergen, which was really wet and miserable, which you can see in the photos below.

Our next stop was Olden, a small village at the head of a fjord surrounded by mountains with glaciers. Our ship was joined by another smaller ship.  We were in awe at how vast the fjords are and how big the mountains are too. Seeing some vehicles on a road at the bottom of a mountain they looked just like micro machines!  

We went on a boat trip on the lake formed by melted glaciers, which still atop the mountains. The lake is a jade green formed by the sediment picked up by the glaciers as they melted. The water so flat that the ripples made by the boat as seen in the middle pic in the bottom row. We arrived during the early morning so could not appreciate how big the fjords are until sailing out in the evening when tributaries of the fjord joined on our sailing out towards the sea.

Our next stop was in Flam, where there is a scenic railway that climbs high into the mountains and joins with the main line that runs between Bergen and Oslo.  There are groups of tourists from different countries that descend on this little town in just to go on this railway and the scenery is spectacular, which made a stop at a waterfall to be entertained by a singer singing a Nordic song, which seemed a bit odd. Having got to the end of the line at Myrdal we saw a freight train on the main line.  There was just about 10 minutes at the station before doing the return journey back to Flam.

The town itself had a lot of touristy shops which were really busy, given that there were two cruise ships visiting and several coaches of people. There was also a small beach by the fjord and as the weather was lovely, warm and sunny it was good to sit and relax for a while.

Boarding the ship in the late afternoon it was time to go onto our last stop, Stavanger. Again we could see the marvellous views as we sailed towards the larger fjord, Sognefjord, which was massive. There are fantastic views from the Crow's Nest bar where we enjoyed a drink or two.
I also kept busy during the cruise as on our first day at sea there was a craft session. I didn't think knitting needles were allowed so took some crochet instead.  One of the crafts available was knitting prem baby hats, which the crew give to hospitals when visiting some ports.  So armed with needles, wool and basic pattern, I knitted one. After the craft session I knitted another, then during the cruise there were four! I only took a photo of two of them, though.
In Stavanger the ship was joined by another similar sized ship called Aida Sol, which arrived after the Arcadia docked.  We were booked on another excursion, this time to visit the Pulpit Rock in the Lysefjord. This was quite a long boat trip from Stavanger port through one fjord to get to Lysefjord. Some fantastically high bridges to take roads that then disappeared into the mountains.  The weather was sunny again and there were several photo opportunities, do another collage coming up...
In the third pic was the Petroleum museum, as Stavangar port's main function is to maintain and service oil rigs in the North Sea. But there are some other attractions in the town, including the quirky Norwegian Canning Museum, a few trolls dotted about. So one last collage of our photos around the town. Also a couple of old sailing boats one from Lerwick another from Colchester.

A holiday week always ends up being shorter than a working one! So it was back on board and the ship did not hang about getting out of port, just 10 minutes from our latest boarding time, bound for Southampton on Sunday morning. What a lovely sight that was too being back home!
This was while reversing next to the docks at Ocean Terminal at 6 in the morning! When the ship docked it was amazing seeing the little forklift trucks whizzing around below the ship unloading and reloading. It's a really well organised system that allows for a quick turnaround as the Arcadia's next cruise was going out that afternoon bound for New York.

So that's a little (?) glimpse of our holiday and I may follow up with another post soon. Thanks for taking the time and drink of choice for reading this long post!

03 September 2016

Building up stash - again

I'm like everyone else, I don't actually need fabric, but it doesn't stop me buying more. Sounds familiar?  I didn't go to the Festival of Quilts last month, but there have been local sales which have been purchasing opportunities.

Earlier last month Bournemouth department store Beales has a haberdashery department which will be closing down.  They sold fabric and yarn from Rowan and Patons.  I bought metres of the green and large flower fabric and fat quarter packs of the yellow/turquoise fabrics.

Then I bought a couple of red/white fabrics half metres when visiting the Happy Patcher's exhibition, followed last week with a sale at Paulines Patchworks in Dorchester where I bought a fat quarter pack of Downton Abbey fabrics and also this lovely Frivols tin which were reduced. On the right following the red/white fabrics are some quarters from another Bourne Quilter trying to reduce her stash, some interesting marble fabrics.

That looks lovely. Even without the fabric, instructions and bits inside the tin looks funky.

 To add to the stash I have subscribed to Bramble Patches quilty box, which I hoped would have come today, but the postman has been and gone, so that package will come while I am away on holiday unfortunately. Something to look forward to when I get back.