Sunday, 21 December 2014

"And the Bead Goes On and on..." 14-20 December and December days - 21

2014 - Week 51 Daily Beads

no.348


no.349


no.350


no.351


no.352


no.353


no.354

Saturday, 20 December 2014

December days - 20

This morning a few of us from our church had our annual 'Mince Pies at the shops'. Just greeting people, saying hello and inviting them to come sing carols with us Sunday evening at our Candlelight Carol service.

Not so many children shopping with parents this time, but the balloons were still popular. Here Jackie and Eric are trying to work out a system to keep the balloons from tanging in the wind.
My husband manned the helium tanks, so well done to him tying the balloons in the cold. (The little nozzles for making it easy didn't seem to fit the balloons we had and they were loosing air too quickly. So we had to rely on hand tying.)

We have experienced some different types of weather over the years...Very Cold, Very Rainy, and so on. Today was Very Windy which seemed to hurry people along a bit more.

But we moved around to the Christmas music my husband set up and kept warm. Plus we were offered a wonderful cup of tea or coffee by the workers in the newsagents behind us.

These photos were taken on the sly, so I didn't manage to capture the little tree, plates of biscuits and mince pies.

Friday, 19 December 2014

December days - 19

And the pumpkin pies...

baking



and baked!


Now, where is the cream?

Someone asked about all the pumpkin baking...
Over the past years I have been in England it has not been easy to get pumpkin - except at Halloween, and then they are rather weak. Not much colour or flavour. Once in a while I would find tinned pumpkin at Waitrose. As you might know, tinned pumpkin is very thick. So, I would mix a tin in with the cooked down pumpkin to come up with good texture and flavour.

Actually, I still have a tin of pumpkin I found one year, but never used it because it was ‘precious’! Finally I realised it was easier to get Butternut squash, so I have usually got one or two to bake for Christmas. But now that my husband has an allotment, we get quite a few large pumpkins. Last year we had around nine. But I hadn’t got into the habit of using it much because of all the ‘precious’ years. And then he brought home as many again this year! So the last few weeks I have been experimenting with ideas for soup and other pumpkin things (which were too extravagant before) so I could use up the frozen pumpkin from last year.

The tinned pumpkin still has a sell by date for sometime next year. So, maybe when the busy season is over, I will do a search for some challenging or exotic idea of pumpkin and use it for that! For now, I will stick to the familiar and nostalgic along with a warming winter stew/soup now and then.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

December days - 18

Yesterday was a Pumpkin day in the Christmas baking to-do list.
I baked down 2 of the big pumpkins and a squash on Monday.

I had also peeled them, so today I whizzed them up in the food processor. The squash was made up savoury (butter, salt and pepper) for dinner. Remainder of the squash is in the blue bowl.


1 pound went into another 3 pumpkin breads which will either be gifts or go in the freezer with the one from the other day.

1 pound went into a batch of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cakes. (meant to be cookies, but putting it into cup cake papers to bake is a lot easier.)

3 freezer bags with 1 pound of pureed pumpkin each were put in the freezer for future baking days.

and 2 pounds went into a big bowl of double batch of pumpkin pie mixture.

By that time my legs and feet were protesting mightily, so I will do the pies today. Should make at least 4. They are easy to freeze or take to share with friends.

Not sure when, but I will cook down the other 3 pumpkins one of these days, too.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

December days - 17 and the final ALAW Burnt Letters

Second ALAW set for 2014 v-z
At last caught up with the Burnt Letters.

And the Burnt Letters up close...






info about the technique and concept here and here.

And now to do the presentation is left. I do have an idea of sorts.

But for now, here are all the Burnt Letters together.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

December days - 16 and all of the 2014 Journal Quilts

Here is the whole set of 12 Journal Quilts for 2014


Added to these...
This is the original set which made up part of the collective Contemporary Quilt entry "Rule Britannia" for the Celebrating Diversity in Europe exhibition at the British Quilt Museum.
These 6 pieces have already been gifted to my son. As I mentioned previously, their size was 20x20cm which is very close to 8x8in - the size of this year's journal quilts.

So, wherever The Certain Young Man settles, he won't have to worry about the walls! I tried to make work which could be hung individually or in groupings.

Who knows, I might find an opportunity to make 2 more (for which I already have ideas!) and then the set can be complete at 20. But that will have to wait for a long while!

Monday, 15 December 2014

December days - 15

More on the fence saga

Remember this bit I posted on Saturday about the back corner of the fence?
"If you looked at the back fence from the other side, it looked 9 feet high.
If you looked from this side, it looked less than 3 feet high!
... Holly hasn't exactly taken notice, but if she did,
she would probably be over in a flash after a cat or something.
As her 'mother' said, she gets the red mist and every thing sensible is gone.
If she went over it would be like jumping over the ramparts
side of a castle wall!"

Well, on Saturday we heard the magpies calling out. Even Holly knows that is a clue there is a cat after the song birds. I looked out from the kitchen window to see a white cat after the robins. I 'swish-sh-shed' at it from the window. But the cat wasn't convinced that it wasn't welcome, after all there was no gate.
Meanwhile, Holly with the red mist wanted out. NOT a good idea. I put her out of the kitchen and went out to chase the cat off.

And here is what happened on the inside...

'Sorry!'

Good thing I can sew!

This is what the fence looks like so far from the back.
And the bones of the new corner.
No, the fence men didn't come back on Saturday. Hopefully today.
---No fence men today. Perhaps too sunny? I can't work out what causes them to show up and what doesn't.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

"And the Bead Goes On and on..." 7-13 December and December days - 14

2014 - Week 50 Daily Beads

no.341

size 15 beads, so I used two for each stitch

no.342


no.343


no.344


no.345


no.346


no.347

Saturday, 13 December 2014

December days - 13 Something on Saturday

Talking about someone else's work for a change.

Next door is getting a 'new' garden. Patio, fences and so on. (Our back garden is neighbour to their back garden.) Because our houses are on a slope, their garden is about 6 feet lower than ours. Also, their gate is attached to the shared fence. Who ever did our garden originally seems to have piled rubble up to level the garden and then dumped earth on top of it. So that corner was a bit strange. Basically builder's rubble with breeze blocks or something over it.
If you looked at the back fence from the other side, it looked 9 feet high. If you looked from this side, it looked less than 3 feet high! Pepper used to put her paws up and look over. She had the wits not to jump. Holly hasn't exactly taken notice, but if she did, she would probably be over in a flash after a cat or something. As her 'mother' said, she gets the red mist and every thing sensible is gone. If she went over it would be like jumping over the ramparts side of a castle wall!

Anyway, Because that back corner had to be reworked if the neighbours were ever going to get a fence that stayed up, it seemed good to get our fence done, too. I think the original gate was mostly nails by now anyway! Whether it latched or not depended on the weather and the position of that section of fence.

So, here are a few photos I have been getting.
This first one is one I took in the spring which shows the gate and the not quite joined on fence.

Here the fence is going
See where the black container is on this side of next door's window? That is the compost container or 'the Dalek' as we call it! That is the corner that is basically rubble. They had to undercut the bank a bit to get their digger machine into next door's garden. I keep thinking that the Dalek is going to tip over and dump rotten vegetation and a load of worms down their necks!

- and the fence gone.

Starting to go up - the right side of the shed behind our 'orchard', already up.
I didn't think to get a photo of the new gate which is currently laying on the ground on this side of the bird feeder. (foreground of photo)

By this time it was getting dark and the photos weren't coming out so well from my bedroom window. and they soon went home after that.

The new fence posts are of concrete or something, so they won't rot off at the ground level. This was hard work! They had to jackhammer the old posts out and then dig holes for the new ones. But I was glad to see a spirit level out there! I did take them a cuppa and some biscuits.

Also, the formerly strange section of fence will now be a sensible height from this side. Hopefully no worries of the dog jumping over to her death.

I think they mean to come finish our part today, so I will try to get a few more photos and update. They wanted to get all the fences (ours and next door's) done before they finished their patio because the patio needs time to rest and settle in. If they tramped over it with all their heavy things, it would ruin it.

It will be interesting to see what it looks like when all the climbing plants go back up onto the new fence.

Friday, 12 December 2014

December days - 12 and finished 'Goal!'

I was able to complete the football for the December journal quilt. This is the last one of the year...and...I still have over 1/2 a month left. It does feel good to be finished with time to spare!

I figured the best title would be 'Goal!'

I am really glad how the techniques worked as I hoped. and then to finish the quilting in the green section, I echo quilted which adds a feel of movement and force (as in physics).

If you want to see the other British Sports I depicted for these pieces, you can go to this link.

I am already thinking of what theme or technique to focus on for next year's journal quilts with the Contemporary Quilt group. I have a few ideas, but it will depend on what size they choose.