Thursday, April 7, 2011

This Blog Had Moved!

Hello all,

After a couple of good years on Blogspot I have defected to Wordpress. It's functionality is better for my needs these days (and I think it looks cleaner and nicer!!). I have moved all these posts too, so it's all in one place and I don't have to flick between two blogs to find anything I had previously posted!

You can now find my blog at:

Please come and join me there. You can follow my ramblings, my progress in growing tomatoes and all the things I sew. Hopefully!

And you have a link to my blog on yours (there are at least 3 people that I know of) do please update your link to my new blog.



Monday, January 17, 2011

A short list

Things that bug me about the gym at the moment:

1. All the new people crowding out the gym. Where were you before Christmas, eh? And were will you be in a few weeks?? Why clutter the place up now?

2. Why does it always seem hard? Surely if I've been doing some walk / run sessions for nearly four weeks I should be doing more running in that ratio by now without it feeling impossible?

3. The spinning class. I'm not doing it (I'm not stupid, that looks HARD), but the music is too loud and thus the instructor has to shout really loudly to make himself heard. Which makes it hard for me to hear the music through my headphones and thus harder to run.

4. The lift not working when I get home. Ok so being on the second floor it's lazy of me to take the lift, but I'm working out pretty hard and have a twenty minute walk home, give me a break!

And especially for this week:

5. Having to cook my own dinner when I get in from the gym as Flaneur is away all week.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas 2010

Just some images of Christmas 2010 to share. My camera skills are still not brilliant with this camera, but I'm getting there and hope to improve greatly in 2011 (if I can ever find a course to help me!)

This was a Christmas where I made all my gifts (except for those for my brothers and a few things for Flâneur).

My mum got a doorstop (as requested):

Dad got an apron in brown and white linen, with his initials appliqued on the front and very long straps (so he can tie it round his middle at the front), but I forgot to take a picture of it. Oops!

For my sister I made a case for her portable DVD player. Going to great lengths of deception to get the dimensions from her (I asked what sort she had so I could recommend it to a friend, heh heh heh...):

I got the fabric in Purl Soho in New York when we were there in April and thought it would be better than the boring black case she had for it. More cheerful!

I have three nieces who are 1, 4 and 7 who enjoy helping out in the kitchen, especially with baking, so (after consultation with mum and their mum) they got little matching aprons, made out of fabric I bought yonks ago to make them something with! At last it came in handy... They're double sided (because I find that easier than hemming), and each had their initials embroidered on them so they know whose is whose:

I also made a wee gift for Flâneur's mum, who happens to quite like Tablet...

Hmmm... sugary. And so much of it!! But I was reliably informed that it went down rather well.

Other gifts that I made that I managed not to photograph included a book cover and i-pad case for Flâneur himself. Although seeing as they reside in our flat I will take pictures of them at some point. Particularly the i-pad case which I was particularly pleased with. It might warrant a whole post all to itself.... ;o)

As well as presents I also made a Christmas garland of little birdies, based on a pattern I had found in Scandinavian Needlecraft by Clare Youngs. Rather than the white felt she makes it with, I decided to go with what I had, a rich burgundy and dark grey:

Each birdie is embroidered, and it was a great way to spend my snow days from work in December!!

Flâneur also did some making this Christmas, mostly of the food variety, including some yummy scrummy gingerbread men. We don't have a traditional cutter for gingerbread men, however we do have cutters for German stop / go men (you know, from pedestrian traffic lights!), which he brought me back from trip to Germany a few years ago. They made very cute and a bit different gingerbread men...

(Not sure he's going to be so happy with that second picture...)

We had a lovely time at Christmas itself, eating too much, drinking too much and generally enjoying the time off. There was still a little snow near my parents' which made for a lovely walk on Boxing Day...

And so that is it for another year and 2011 is already upon us. I hope anyone who still reads this had a lovely Christmas and is looking forward to a fabulous New Year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow? What snow?

Winter has well and truly set in. Which for us in Manchester seems to mean freezing cold temperatures rather than anything else. So much so the canal next to our flat has frozen over (which is pretty cool). Across the country, however, I keep hearing tales of snow, snow, and more snow, but to look out our windows, you'd never know.

I've been quite jealous, to be honest. I love the snow. All cold and pretty (and not as wet as rain!) I know most of our friends are pretty fed up with it now, but it sounds like there has been epic snow up in Edinburgh / Glasgow. Typical! The year I move away, Edinburgh gets the best snow in over 10 years (roughly how long I lived there). Booo! Reason number three hundred and five to move back (if more reasons were needed). Although, knowing my luck, the year we move back will be the year of crazy snow in Manchester!!

Ok, so we have had the odd flurry and I was filled with hope on trudging to the dentist on Wednesday in a snow shower, but it just hasn't really been anything worth mentioning at all. I was unable to get to work (in Sheffield) last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and I just kept wondering why... Well, until I got in yesterday that is and saw that there were still several inches everywhere. Very greedy of them to have hogged it all... ;o)

Not that Manchester is anymore attractive in the snow...

Maybe more will come, the country again become gridlocked, my trains cancelled so I have to 'work from home', (which was great!). No signs at present, so for now I can only keep my fingers crossed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod

Thursday, September 30, 2010

An update on the weightloss/exercise

I know I said I was bored of the diet and I wouldn’t talk about it for a while, but I think that was mostly because it wasn’t going so well. I seemed to plateau for a week or two, around that annoying stone marker and it was a bit depressing. These last couple of weeks, however, have been better. I’m not sure why. I don’t think I’m eating any differently and I don’t think I’m exercising any more (in fact I know I’m not), so I’m not sure what’s happened there. I have changed my exercise regime in the gym a bit. As any long term reader will know I don’t enjoy running. Or to put it more honestly, I hate that bit when running when you can’t really do it and it’s far too hard work to even run for five minutes. I don’t mind it so much when I’ve built up from that and can “comfortably” run for longer – that’s achievement – but I hate the back at zero stage. So after a week or so of doing some speed splits (2 mins walking at 6.5 km/h, 2 mins running at 10 km/h) and then a couple of weeks of really not wanting to be at the gym at all, I decided to ditch the running and use my time on the treadmill to walk uphill, fast, instead. I set the programme to ‘Rolling Hills’ and the speed to 6.5 km/h and off I trot. I’m quite enjoying it as it’s still a sweaty work out (I aint no mountain goat), but I’m not having to run. Hoping to see some benefit too if Flâneur and I ever get out into those hills I pass every day on my way to work...

I’ve also started using the bike more, to do a bit of different exercise, and I’m quite enjoying the rolling hill programme on that too. It’s sore on the arse, and I have a tendency to slip a bit off the seat every now and again, but it’s good to be doing something a bit different and not letting the gym routine get stale. That’s what I tell myself anyway!!

On the weight loss front, I’m pretty pleased as I have now lost (drum roll please) just over half a stone, since starting on this latest kick. Ok, so over the course of however many weeks it’s been (quickly checks back in the blog, oh, 8 weeks – eek!) that’s not so much, but it’s a good steady loss and it is loss and I’m now down to X-2 stone 10 lb, which is nearly what I was just after Christmas. I must be doing something not quite right though as according to the food diary I’m supposed to have lost double that. I must be going off the rails somewhere…. Still, I’ll take a half stone loss at this point over no loss!!

Some of my friends are coming down to visit for my birthday this weekend, so I had better be careful not to put those pounds back on. We have a habit of eating a lot when we get together… hmmm… wish me luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A little bit behind...

I'm running a little behind with the quilt along. I had meant to sew up my pieces this weekend, but a short notice visit from my parents on Friday night/Saturday morning, shopping and a bit of a hangover on Saturday afternoon and a job to apply for on Sunday and it just didn't happen. Sunday was definitely supposed to be the sewing day, but it took me about 5 hours to sort out the personal statement and a new version of my CV for the job application that had to be done by today, that I just didn't have the energy or time in the end... *

What I did manage to do, however, was work out the arrangement of the quilt top. I used our bed as I'm not sure how clean the floor is and I didn't want to totally disrupt Flâneur who was trying to write some lectures, and started roughly in the middle, as it seemed to be the easiest way... I tried to do it in a considered way, trying to make sure that none of the edge fabrics repeated in any rows or columns, but in the end held a pile of squares in my hand and stood thinking, 'Right. Where will this one go...'

This is the final layout I ended up with:

I didn't quite manage to get all the squares in the picture as our bedroom isn't big enough for me to stand far enough back!! But you get the general idea...

When I see it like that I'm rather pleased with it. Up close some of it does mess with your eyes a bit, but I must say it's turning out pretty well for my first go at a quilt that isn't just made up of ordinary squares!

*I don't want to say too much about the job I applied for, other than it's a permanent one, which would trump the temporary one I have at the moment. Fingers crossed eh?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quilt Along update

Having cut out all of the pieces last week, this week's task in the Fat Quarterly Quilt-Along was to piece it. With 80 blocks to sew, not small feat! I had meant to do a little each evening, but after a trip to the gym on Monday evening left me knackered I was slow to start... I then got a cold at the end of the week, which saw me taking two days of work, so no chance for sewing then either. Boo hoo... I had matched up all the fabrics into their blocks at the start of the week, deciding on a random approach. Well contrived random (as Flâneur put it), as I went to great lengths to make sure that a border fabric wasn't used as the centre fabric for any of the borders made of those fabrics. Hmm.. convoluted. Basically I tried to make sure that over all the 80 blocks I never got the same pairing of fabrics. Tricky, but I managed it!

I think this took me most of Monday or Tuesday evening to do! It was tricky trying to make sure the fabrics went well together whilst not repeating the pairing - and some I'm still not entirely convinced work... No doubt it will look better when it's all finished.

I was feeling better yesterday so I decided to take that as a signal that I should start the sewing. I was still pretty tired after the cold (they tend to hit me with major lethargy regardless of how severe the cold actually is), so only managed to sew 28 of the blocks. Which is pretty good going really. As the next stage starts tomorrow, however, and I didn't want to get behind, it did leave me with the hefty task of sewing up the other 52 blocks today! Phew! Still, the weather was typically Mancunian (rain, rain and oh, more rain) so I had no intention of leaving the flat anyway. So I chained myself to the machine and set myself a sewing. And this was the outcome:

A neat little pile of 80 pieced blocks. I'm pretty pleased with them, especially having never tried this style of patchwork before. Here's a picture of a selection of them:

I think you'll agree that some look better than others, and that some really do mess with the eyesight:

The two top left and one bottom left are among my favourites and some of the ones that I think work particularly well. The other three, well, let's just say they'll take some getting used to! I think the whole thing should look pretty good when I'm finished though. Fingers crossed!