Sunday, 27 May 2007

Croatian Coast

Phil had some business meetings and a congress at Opitija, on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. As it was 'half term break' for the boys from school, we decided to join him.
After an uneventful hour flight to Munich, and an hour flight to Zagreb, we were collected by one of Phil's work colleagues for the 2 hour drive to the coast. It was a long trip, and Alexander got a bit car sick... luckily he doesn't just throw up, he starts with a full bodied yell, gives you about 10 seconds, then delivers...

Having no chance to stop I grabbed a plastic bag and saved the car and it occupants from wearing spew for an hour of travel. However, I was also left holding the bag of sick for about 45 minutes, until we could pull off the freeway! The things you do for your children!

The hotel was lovely, and we had 2 rooms with adjoining doors.

Great coastline, you can see we had a lot of cloudy days. it was still very warm, but great that we were not going to get sunburnt.

Our hotel is the pink one on the coastline with the grey concrete arched pillars, which was the terrace area. This photo was taken on our second day, with really stormy weather. Not many people swimming this morning!

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Storms in Berlin

The past 2 days we have had great warm days. Then by about 5pm, the dark grey clouds loom over and bang, thunder, lightening and hail for 1/2 hour, then it vanishes. In an hour, all the paths have dried up, and you wouldn't even know we had had rain! The rhodadendrums (spelling??) copped a beating though, and there isn't much left of them!

Quilting Projects

These are the Quilts I am working on at the moment.

2 batik disappearing nine patches. I am hoping to get the borders and backing done this week, and with any luck pin the 3 layers together to quilt next week. (The pink one still needs the blocks to be sewn into a top...but that won't take long!)

The fabric for another Suduko quilt, I am hoping to iron and get all the strips cut ready to sew for next week.

Knitting Projects

I have been doing a bit of knitting, and these are the projects I am working on.

Hairy Hats, pattern from website below.
These are for my mum, who is going through chemo treatment. The wool is very soft, and I hope they will keep her head I took these to Croatia, and knitted them beside the pool and on the beach!

Left Over wool from the felt bag I am making (and extra wool, I am going to make a knitting needle holder that I saw in an English Knitting Magazie, called Knit Today. I get to throw this in the washing machine as well, ans felt it up. It is about 200 sttiches wide, and I just have to keep knitting rows. It is a big project, because the wool will shrink more in length than width. But it is a good project, because I don't have to think too much about it when I am knitting

Some of the wool I bought from the Isle of Skye. This will be a shawl/scarf. Knitted on 15mm needles, 30 stitches wide, it knits up quickly, but the size 15 needles are bulky to use, but fun.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Mahjong anyone?

Today some of the Mum's from school met at Chantal's for a "learn Mahjong" morning!

Until today, I had no idea what Mahjong was, and what you used etc!

Chantal was terrific at explaining the tiles, the rules and how to play, and after 2 games, 4 of us were able to play a basic game by ourselves!

I am hooked, and I am hoping some of the other mums are hooked to, so we can do this more often!

photo borrowed from (because I forgot my camera!)

Thursday, 24 May 2007

St Nick after 13 hours

I am not going to post on this more than once a month (well, not promising anything), but I wanted to post a photo of where I am up to after 13 hours!

I am keeping track of how long this piece will take me, because it is the biggest piece I have ever attempted.
If you scroll down to the 13th May post, you can see the entire picture. This is the top left hand corner, the doll on the shelf, and part of the castle next to it.

doing too many things at once... what I am really good at!
Today it failed me! On Saturday evening, I got all the gridding done on the St Nick fabric, and wanted to stitch the edges of the fabric to stop them from fraying. I used a long stitch on my machine..."4". It is easy to pull out later.

Today I sewed up the next part of a quilt, 140 pieces, and realised that my stitch length was still at "4", and not "2", which is what I normally use for quilting.

I hate it when I make a mistake....especially when I make the same mistake 70 I have been restitching them all!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Quilt # 7 complete

Another UFO complete. This one I started last May/June....and put it away because it was so heavy to quilt. Finally last week I did a few rows at a time before my back began to ache. Then the binding took awhile to stitch on....This quilt is extra long (I just cut heaps of pieces, and kept sewing until they were all used. (Phil had to stand on a chair to hold it up)
This is a Tumbler Block quilt, made with a 22.5 ruler. (The same as Sonia's quilt). I pulled out all the purple strips in the stash, and divided them into lights and darks.
Here is a close easy pattern to follow, because it is just one shape!

Friday, 18 May 2007

Sonia's 4th Quilt.

My friend Sonia has been busy last week making this Tumbler block quilt! She has done a really great job of it...wouldn't you agree! This is the photo before the binding is done.

Even her 14 year old son is highly impressed!

Felted Bag

From an issue of Inspirations (Issue 53), I thought I would try to make a felted bag.
A really easy pattern to follow on circular needles. I found this felt wool from Idee in Wilmersdorf. It knitted up really quickly...then I left it sitting there for a couple of weeks before I was brave enough to throw it in the washing machine.

Today I washed it, and this is how it turned out. Now I just have to wait for it to dry, and I can make a lining for it. I have some bamboo handles to finish it off, and a couple of magnetic clips to keep it shut. I think I will add a couple of pockets into the lining for my mobile etc. At the moment, it is a bit fluffy, so I will use a razor to shave off a bit of the excess!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Sneak Preview of current quilt

Here is the disappearing Nine Patch design I am working on at the moment. I am trying to use up all the batiks that I have collected over the years.
I found this pattern on another quilters blog.

The original concept of the Nine Patch method I have used here can be found in books by Nancy Brenan Daniel or Karin Hellaby. Take your pick!

Mothers Day gift

I enjoyed a lovely breakfast in bed of pancakes with lemon and sugar.

My gift was a new cross stitch chart from Heaven and Earth. St Nick in his Study. This is an enormous chart, and will keep my occupied for quite some time. I just did the Maths.....163,800 stitches. Also some new rotating frames to hold it (I didn't have a frame large enough to hold the fabric)
I have started to grid the fabric for this one, I am not risking running out of fabric!

Jan, Feb, March

Here are the pieces I have been working on. I finished the February last week.
I got the box out to get all the March pieces prepared, to find I had already stitched all of them (sometime last year). So that was a nice surprise! :)

Here are the pieces so far. The top three are Lizzie Kate designs.

The next 2 designs are from Rainbow Gallery, and at the bottom is the Bent Creek design.

Next is April.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Quilt # 6 complete

Here is the completed Mystery quilt that Solvi organised for us!
Thanks Solvi!

Birthdays, bikes and sunny spring days

Today I took the boys out on our bikes - whilst the weather is so fantastic, we are sure going to make the most of it!

Cameron was invited to a birthday party in Dahlemdorf - a small farm in the old American quarter of Berlin. So Alexander, Cameron and I set off this morning and rode down there, through the forests and along the bike paths. I slightly underestimated how far it actually was, and Cameron got to his party a little late!

We locked Cameron's bike up at the farm, and Alexander and I rode back to Alan and Sonia's. Alexander played some Playstation (without having to compete with Cameron for a turn!) whilst Alan and I sat on his terrace in the sunshine and had a chat and a few cups of coffee.

Alexander and I then headed down the road to MacDonalds for his lunch, then we rode back to collect Cameron. From there we rode back through the forests towards home.

Berliners love the forests, the sunshine and their dogs. However, they take their dogs into the forests to enjoy the sunshine but don't control their dogs! Today Alexander had 2 crashes because people did not have their dogs under control. In the biggest crash, a lady stirred up her two dogs so they were wrestling, and then decided that she didn't want them wrestling right on top of her - so she pushed them out onto the path that we were riding on - right in front of Alexander on his bike! He had no chance of avoiding them, and crashed into the very big dogs and fell off.

The owner 'sensed' my displeasure (probably would not need to be a psychic at this point....) and grabbed her dogs and raced off - didn't even check if Alexander was OK!

We had many 'close shaves' as well - because no dog was on a leash, and with so many of them about (literally hundreds) all racing about trying to sniff each other's butts and to crap everywhere, it was going to be difficult, even on the wide forest roads made for bikes and walking!

Alexander was OK, just a few scrapes. He picked himself up and we continued our journey home. The boys are great on their bikes, and covering 15-20 kms is really no problem for them now.

Whilst the weather is so nice, we will take every opportunity that we can!

Quilt #5 complete

While Phil took the kids on the bikes today, it gave me 5 hours to get some quilting done. I managed to finish this pinwheel quilt. The original quilt pattern is the Wicked Easy one that I have used before (see the Japanese quilt and bright coloured quilt I did in February 2007 for the link)

This one I added in the small orange triangles to create the pinwheels.

and this is what happens when you get someone cheeky to help you take photos of your quilts.....hmmmmm!

Lizzie Kate 3rd February finish

These are taking only 2 nights to complete....Ok, so they are really probably 3 nights of work, but then I have not been going to bed before midnight!
Next 2 are Rainbow Creek Designs, and then 1 Bent Creek design

Friday, 4 May 2007

Lizzie Kate February and Quilting

Here is the next Lizzie Kate February design complete. (Sorry, no time to unwind the top part of the frame to show you both, scroll down to previous posting to see a picture of this one)

During the day I am trying to quilt this mystery quilt. ( I just need more time at home)

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Zoo trip with Year 2

Helping out with class excursions can be fun. I had a great group, and I didn't lose one child!! :)

We saw Knut again, and he has really grown in 2 weeks. He loves playing in the dirt with his keepers, and boy he was really dirty today, and in need of a bath! We got some good views of Knut as we had the kids, and we were able to go in the special kids area! (and the crowds were not as long as the previous time!)
Sonia got an awesome photo of Knut, and I will try and borrow a copy of hers!

After lunch and to burn off some energy in the playground, it was off to the petting area. There were lots of baby goats, and they are so cute! Cameron has a really soft spot for kids!

Lizzie Kate and other stitching

Now that the angels are finished, and I am waiting for the next project to arrive in the mail, I have pulled out some Lizzie Kate, Bent Creek and Rainbow Gallery designs to stitch up.
These are great as they don't take too long to stitch up. I have 6 different designs for each you can do the Maths for how many I have to stitch! On average they take 2-5 evenings to stitch.

January...stitching complete

top half

bottom half

The beginning of the February piece

I am going to finish them off the same way I have with the angels. On the hanging sleeve, I will stitch some velcro, so I can change the hanger for each month (instead of having to buy 12 hangers). Maybe by next year, I will actually be able to hang them up each month! (we will see)

Once the next big project arrives, I will try and stitch on these 1-2 nights per week.