Thursday, January 31, 2008

Project Day countdown 3

First things first, I need a moan. I had to go to Gatwick airport today to speak at a conference. 10 am flight in 4 pm flight out. Easy. Yeah, would have been were it not for the 45mph winds we flew through for the whole hour. I will spare you the details save to say that I can confirm that those little paper bags they give you in the seat pockets are fit for purpose. Yeuch!

But the BA staff were great - saw I was ill, heard I had to come back today and rang from the aircraft to get me a more stable seat ( nearest the nose is best). I got the whole front row with legroom all to myself even though officially it was not beng used that flight ( something to do with needing all the weight at the back of the plane). Plus the captain on the return leg got me a personal wind report from his computer before we set off! The return flight was of course very smooth, the winds having dropped dramatically, and I by then had bought drugs ( of the legal variety!) so I was absolutley fine and I felt quite a fraud!

So anyway - here is WiP 2:

This 'frothy quilt' is almost done. Designed at a class with Kaffe Fasset at Festival of Quilts in August all it needs is the last three borders on and quilting. The trouble is that the other borders don't fit. How can that be? I cut all the triangles from squares the same measurement. One fits, three don't.

I figure there are the following options for this one:

(a) the lazy one. Take off the border, finish it without them. But what a waste of fabric!

(b) fix the borders and add them. But I can't work out how to do that. I am sure it involves a very simple mathematical calculation. But it beats me. I keep taking it out looking at it and putting it back.

(c) buy material for straight borders. But I am reluctant to throw more money after bad. I don't even particularly like the quilt but my cleaner does so she can have it.
Bear in mind the great Kaffe himself has touched this one with his own hands!

Thank you for all your suggestions re yesterdays quilt. My current view is that I will finish it as is and if I absolutely hate the back I will maybe put a false back on it secured with a few in the ditch lines. Thank you for all your encouragement

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Project day countdown 2

Ok, here is the start of my work in (not very much) progress show in preparation for my day with Jennifer.
This is probably my oldest work in progress, draped over my design board. Started and pieced very quickly just before Christmas - 2006 that was! Speedy top because the blocks are stupidly large. I started to quilt it that same weekend, early on in my machine quilting career. You can tell it was early on because it is thread basted something I never do now. The front is fine but the back has these little lines around all the curves. (Hard to photograph!)It has been abandoned in disgust since - hence the creases as it has been bundled up.

I have since found that my friend Lesley also has a Janome Memory Craft and was getting the same effect on spirals. Anyone with a Janome have a solution?

So what do I do with this?

(a) ignore flaws, finish and give away? (But why would anyone else want something that's not good enought for me?)

(b) unpick the bad curves and finish ( but I am likely to get the same result)

(c) unpick and start again with a new quilting pattern

(d) Creep out of the house in the dead of night and shove it in a neighbours bin.

Good site

I thought I'd blog play whilst eating breakfast and I stumbled on this. What a great idea. And you can see some of the results here. But now I have to go to work and I want to play along - even if I am two months late! Pout.

PS Sorry to those who tried earlier and found the link didn't work. I managed to put in tww http.// bits by mistake. Well it was still early. Should now be working!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Project day countdown 8

I have realised that I have to start doubling up because I have run out of countdown days, the big transatlantic support Project day with Jennifer being tomorrow (9th). We will be blogging our progress before during and after if you want to come and play along with comments. I start around noon GMT, Jennifer at 7am EST.

So two big projects to show you today:

This is the only work in progress with a deadline. It has been entered for the Trentham Gardens show in the special category of water. Note how there isn't any?! Or not much anyway. Peverse, that's me!

It has got occasional attention but I am suffering a crisis of confidence with it. The design calls for two more tryptichs like this and this one as you can see still needs the cracked earth finishing and is lacking the african women with water pots in the centre. Then they all have to be joined with some block or other as yet unknown. This fabric has to be used. Do you think the miniscule bits in the receding lakes I have done counts as enough? It must be done by the end of March. Ho hum. I could always ditch the Flood and Fountain panels. Or pull out and lose my £5 entry fee. Or make it, but just enter it somewhere else later. Much, much later. Or shall I pull myself together and get on with it?


This Kaffe Fasset kit was bought for me for Christmas 2006. Cutting out the diamonds took just forever. Then I was going well but very slowly - lining the patches up is tricky - and oooops! I went wrong. If you look carefuly you will see the patches get out of order.

I could leave it - in theory, but it will annoy me. So I'll have to unpick, slowly re-sew and then get out all these patches from under the dining room chairs where they have been stored for months in fear that if I get the piles out of order I will have no chance!
This will be my project for tomorow because it is my least favourite and therefore I feel the most supportive for Jennifer as she gathers up stamina to tidy up her crafting mess. I am really (REALLY!) hoping that its one of those jobs you put off forever because its just tedious but then when you come to do it - surprise!- you love it! Hmmm. Check in to tomorrow to see.

Project day countdown 7

This is the one I probably want to work on during my day on Saturday (9th) with Jennifer but maybe that would not be in the spirit of the day as this is the work in progress I am most actively working on. I know it doesn't look like much progress since I showed the top but there are a huge number of templates all cut out and labelled. I am using machine blanket stitch with a 30 weight embroidery thread

See the light green lilly leaves and the two pointy green leaves above them? Well that little blue patch above it got all puckered. I think I left a wrinkle when I fused the larger leaves to the right. I think a little butterfly or insect might have to land about there!

The jungle applique extends right up both sides and includes a big giraffe head. I am very excited about getting to quilt in all the leaf veins and lizard scales and the like. Or actually probably machine embroider before quilting which will be a first! Maybe this can be my treat for working on something less enticing that needs finishing?

Project day countdown

Jennifer and I are working towards sharing a project progress day on 9th Feb. Sadly I am not able to go to New England to see her but equipped with broadband we have a Plan. She will start at what I consider the ungodly hour of 7am ( her choice!) and that means I can start at the same time but at 12 noon. We will have a little mail chat then set to for an hour. Then more email chat over lunch, set to, a little coffee break... etc.

This started because I volunteed some time ago to nag her to finish a project because she was feeling in need of encouragement (See her post here) I do believe that I have been a good and dutiful nagger without slipping into Abu Graib type behaviour. However, she confesses - she has not done the quilt because she can't find the fabrics in the mess that is her craft room! So I volunteered to 'virtually ' come over and help out.

So, in the countdown to our day she is posting photos of her mess. She wishes to motivate herself with public humilation so I encourage you to follow her blog and leave comments of abject horror. (Although I think it would also be good if some of you could reassure her that as we appear to be able to still see her desk top things are really not beyond redemption. After all we all need encouragement from time to time.)

Anyway, if she is posting her photos then I have to reciprocate. That day happens to be the start of a week off work for me when I shall have opportunity to - dare I say the word?- finish (gasp!) some projects. Of course I cannot work on them all on Feb 9th so I shall be posting over the next few days some photos of my shelved work and why it is shelved. When you have seen them I shall welcome your comments about what to do with them and which to choose to work on on the 9th.

We shall both then blog on the outcome of our day. As my lap top will be on if you care to comment on the blog on the day we shall get the messages in real time and will appreciate the encouragement.

First photos of WiPs start tomorrow. For today I cheated - the photos above are of my "TV / scrap quilt" project which I am genuinely piecing by hand a little every TV programme so technically is a WiP but is not a Feb 9th contender.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Some days....

Some days no actual quilting gets done. Today that is due to the Virgin Rail website and how long it can take to buy a ticket... I am going to spare you the story becuase I have wasted enough time. Suffice to say it involves Module overload errors, a web page that tells me they can't sell me a ticket for next week because there is no time for next day delivery and there is no fast collection machine at Runcorn, (there is!) and call centre staff in India who speak fantastic English - far better than my Hindi. Or I assume they do given they got the job - the lady I spoke to had such a heavy accent I could not understand anything. Literally. Not a word.
Other nights - nicer nights, quilting does not get done becuase my husband takes me to Nabis. Nabis is our closest restaurant. Its location is not inspiring - it being in the forecourt of a filling station ( ex Little Chef building you see).
But the inside is all gentlemans club with leather sofas and upmarket Indian coffee tables and its chickpea puris are yum yum good.
As is the lahori rice, nan and sag paneer tikka chicken(not pictured as they say in the food mags) and the chiken tikka with korma sauce...
And they have the cutest elephant ornaments.....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Dad the photographer

Once the supermarket shop was done this morning I had all day to quilt. So, my intent was to show you lot of photos of my progress. However, as Dennis was out at an afternoon rugby match, I thought I'd take advantage of a quiet lounge to sit down with a novel for half an hour. A few minutes later I was awoken by Dennis,
"Do you want half a pizza and chips?"
I struggled awake, slightly cranky at his attitude to healthy cooking. "Oh come on, we have a fridge full of fresh veg. We were going to do lasagne."
His voice took on a slightly hungry, pleading tone, "But its twenty past eight."

So, no photos of my work but I will show you some photos - a selection of the first ones my Dad took with the digital camera we bought him for Christmas, all taken on a walk in the Lake District near their B&B on 11th January.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quilt titles

Yesterday I was listening to Annie Smith podcasts (I'm still getting through back issues and dread the day I am up to date and have to wait for the next one) In an interview with her Mark Lipinksi said two things I really liked.

First - the reason he thinks its Ok to buy fabric to make quilts that will never get made? Because we are not buying quilts we are buying the dream of that quilt. Well exactly. Plus he says just looking at the fabric makes him happy. Exactly too. In fact I get added value for my stash because I dry my hair in the room I store it in. Sometimes I pull out the baskets and just have it around me as I blow dry ( if you look at it in the mirror as well there is twice as much of it!) and each piece of fabric has now appeared in several dream quilts before it gets put away again.

Second - he relaxes by designing quilts on his laptop as he watchs TV and designs far more than he makes. But the bit I liked was that he names his quilts after what is going on in his life or on the news he is watching.

So, adopting that idea, the designs for embellished boiled wool jackets I was scribbling on scraps of paper during scraps of time as I spent my day at Southport County Court are called:

* "I wish I had bought that bacon butty for breakfast."
* "You seriously expect me to believe that?"
* "Judgment for the claimant."
* "Remind me not to eat salt and vinegar crisps with a mouth ulcer."
* "What do you mean, is it OK for instructing solicitors to deliver 600 pages of medical reords to my house for me to read before 10am tomorrow?"

Guess how I am spending the rest of my evening?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rebellious round robins etc

It is fair to say that I am a smart woman. I have three degrees and two professional qualifications. But there are days when things are simply beyond my comprehension. Not only is the cheese still missing but on Saturday I started to put the applique on my Jungle quilt. I showed it to Mum and noticed that I had done it upside down. Easy done - the center blocks can go either way but, to accommodate the applique border design, the left hand border is wider than the right. Ooops!

The applique is bonded so the solution tonight was to take off the borders and swap them over. So I took the left hand border and put it on the right side. And it was about 1/2 inch too long. Knowing my sewing I assumed that somehow I had made the quilt wonky. Except I took the right hand border and put it on the left and it fit perfectly. How can that be? I don't understand.

However, I suspect my quilting buddy Lesley may well do. It is not often you meet someone with the same tastes and attitides as you. Although there are differences to our lives we have much in common including a devil may care attutide to seam allowances and quilting accuracy.

Whilst at Festival of Quilts Lesley saw her first Round robin quilts and we agreed after seeing all six from the same group that neat medallions could get quite predictable. So we started a challenge - our own scrap, round robin that could grow in any direction we liked. However we liked. As random and improvisational as we liked.

This was what I got back in our swap this week. Dennis took one look at this corner and said "Even I know thats not right!" But you see it is. Because the whole point of our collaborations is that we enable each other to have fun and gift each other acceptance. Besides all I need do is unpick, insert a strip on the bottom and reattach her strip. As wonkily as I like.
Finally - the weekends shopping haul. It includes
(a) copious amounts of boiled wool for jacket making. It seems everyone in my Penrith class has made one and I was resisting until I was told that the fabric was running out when I felt the need to grab the last of the black and some of the green. (enought for two long coats and a short jacket)
(b) £2 each new quilting books found in a charity shop
(c) bolt of white for dyeing and 2 m pieces of fabric from Natwich sale plus cheap curved ruler.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I can never predict which blog entries will get the most comments - but I certainly did not expect that much interest in my desk! So, to clarify things that have cropped up. ( You might want to read the comments on my last post before you read this)
First, no I don't sew at this desk. I use the dining room which has been prevoiusly photographed . This is work only - save for the bottom drawer of the cabinet which has lots of plastic folders containing back quilting magaizine articles.
Then, to answer Diane's question about books ( I suggest non-lawyers take a little snooze here) I have written:

1. Domestic Violence Picking up the Pieces (A self help book also published in Mexico and the Czech Republic - How can I get help?)

2. Domestic Violence and the Church ( Half law half theology. How can the church help when its members suffer domestic violence?)

3. Family Law Key Facts. (How can I pass my law exam with as little revsion as possible?)

4. I co-authored Family Breakdown in Low Income Families (How can you sort finances out when a couple split up when they don't really have anything except debt!)

5. Family Law Key Cases ( How can I pass my law exams with as litle revision as possible and get a better grade than if I only cribbed from Family law Key Facts.)

Oh and frequently that desk is not that tidy at all!

Then, to Calander Pages' questions. Barristers here wear wigs and gowns and tabs. But the wig is kept in this box under the desk. Sorry about the camera shake.The gowns are only worn in serious civil cases, criminal cases and only in family when we are trying to send someone to prison for beaching an order - hence why mine rarely gets used. Today I shall be working in my civilian dress - black suit basically.

This is what I would look like if I got robed when I got there.

For obvious reasons I do not drive to work dressed like this. Although I once did drive all the way home from North Wales dressed as a medieval princess, but that is another story entirely. There are mutterings about doing away with the fancy dress for baristers altogthether in civil cases.

Finally, cheese is still missing, am going to check jewellery now.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Grand theft cheese / my desk

OK. Own up. I know it was someone.
This morning there was a packet of cottage cheese unopened in the fridge. Now it is not there. Dennis was the only one in the house today. He won't have eaten it because he doesn't like it. He denies throwing it out. And I believe him. (Because I went out in the rain and checked the bin!) So, if you have eaten it could you let me know. It's OK. Sometimes you get a craving and you've just got to have someone else's cheap packet of supermarket own brand cheese. I understand. I will not prosecute. But it would be good to know I am not going mad.

Now, Calender Pages tagged me for a picture of my desk. I am delighted to respond because for once it is not a complete tip. I did not tidy a single thing for these photos!

We use our third bedroom as a study so it's hard to photo because there's not much distance. This is from the door

These boxes I got for Chrsitmas. I am sure my friend meant me to store quilt things in them (Les, in my defence the others are in my sewing room except the little one which is packed with threads for our class on Saturday!) but the three biggest from the set now have (a) family work (b) civil work (c) personal paperwork in them. This system does work well to keep things sorted and tidy but I worry that it is also out of sight and therefore out of mind. I am the kind of person who has no problem with stuff on the floor because then I know where it is. Until I suddenly get fed up with mess then out of the blue it drives me mad. Which is how it all ended up in these boxes.

The quilt on the chair is made out of scraps of Afican fabrics. The photo on the sill is of a boy called Mapholobo from South Africa, one of five children we sponsor. The filing cabinet was a reject from the Police years ago - it was going in a skip because it doesn't have an anti-tilt mechanism on it so Dad took it for us. Apparently it is OK if we get killed when it falls on us.I should maybe explain that Dad is not a thief. He is an ex-copper and it was his cabinet and he had permission! He also made the desks for us. The purple and red books on the second shelf up are multiple copies of the last 2 law boks I wrote

This one is taken from where the printer is and shows my barrister's gown and the two blank walls which one day will house wallhangings I make just for me!The space is there, the time is not.

I now tag Diane to show her desk becuase she too is a lawyer and quilter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wet feet or....

... why I never got to the quilt shop today.

The tale starts on Saturday. Dennis used my car (whilst I was at the quilt shop and hairdressers in Penrith) to take Dad to the rugby. Afterwards Dad decided to check my car. Its his way of showing love. Dennis picked me up and I immediatley said, "This car smells of petrol. Has someone spilt something?" I was told no, but Dad had just filled me up with screenwash, which I could probably smell, and that he had checked the oil and it was OK but would need topping up soon. Dad tod me the same thing when I got back using the words, 'You'll be alright for oil for a while."

So we drove 100 miles back. Then to the hospital yesterday to deliver the African Quilt ( Receipient loved it and sat stroking it all through visiting! Woman in the bed opposite said I should open a shop.). Then today I set off for a court in Stockport, one I have never been to before. As I set off I smell the 'screenwash' and think, hmmm a smelly brand - not the one I use normally!

A litte further on a message pops up on my sat nav to the effect of; Oil warning! Stop driving now or your car will blow up. Of course I am now on the fast lane in the motorway at a part with no easily accessible hardshoulder and tons of lorries all around me. The message vanishes. I take the next slip road ( for UK readers or those with a map fetish, from M6 south onto M56 East) and the message comes up again. So I pull onto the hardshoulder and get out in the pouring rain and check the oil. There isn't any.

I ring Dad. He thinks I must have a leak if it has all gone so quickly. I ring the RAC breakdown who tip out in 20 mins flat ( but not before I have got my feet wet and cold), take one look under my bonnet and say, "Where is your oil cap?" they explain that either there is somthing seriously wrong with the engine that it has blown the cap off and let the oil all bubble up and out, or it has been unscrewed and not put on properly. Well, I didn't even know I had an oil cap. (Now, don't look at me like that - you think that mechanic knows how to do trapunto?) So guess who I rang again. Dad denies touching it - and why would he if he thought my oil was OK? So now I am worried about the engine.

I get towed all the way home, having rung the court to tell them to get another part time Judge in becuase I ain't getting to Stockport anytime fast. We go to a Nissan dealership who of course haven't got a cap in so I have to book the car in for tomorrow. However, the owner sees me, recognises me from the days when I used to go to his Rotary club and offers to take a cap off a car in the showroom and fix it today. Best case, it needs a steam wash (because that 'screen wash' smell has been hot oil splatterng all over the engine and bonnet lid) and new oil, worst case, an engine rebuild. Am I sure the cap was on tight? Hmmm.

I ring Dad to tell him I am safe and to update him. He says ( and I quote, "I definately didn't touch the cap. Unless my memory is wrong and it's not what it used to be. I definately didn't unscrew it. I'm pretty sure." Uhuh. Now I can't say I disbelieve him, but.......!

I get off the phone to find that the garage man can't get into the car. Keys don't work. Well they did this morning! Turns out having the lights on the car while it was towed has flattened the battery. They get into the car in a way I didn't see, but I am sure has landed many delinquents in juvenile detention before now.

Dennis came up, we went for coffee and took the opportunity to go to a retail park and get some shower attachment thingies we've needed for months, so that was a plus point. Back at the garage they say the engine seems to be running fine, to keep an eye on it and that will be £75 please. Phew. Not thousands for a new engine then.

So, sadly my plans to nip to a quilts shop called Patchfinders in Stockport - a new shop to me- at lunchtime did not materialise. I am a days' wages down and my feet, several hours later are still freezing cold from standing in wet grass on the M56 bank. Mind you waiting, wet and bored gives you time to think - the motorway split at that point and I did think that the irregular chevrons on the road division could be foundation pieced quite effectively, perhaps into a fabric hand-dyed to replicate the beautiful colours in the puddle of oil forming on the hard shoulder.....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Was Eve a quilter?

Here I am on my sick sofa, under a quilt (of course) and not really watching All About Eve while I read blogs. I am betting that the Biblical Eve was not a quilter:

(a) she'd have been far more tempted by fabric than fruit
(b) even after the fall she would have been wearing somthing more pieced than a fig leaf
(c) she'd have appreciated the abilty to spend her time quilting too much to behave in a way which lead ultimatley to that quilting time being lost by the monthly pain, aches and sickness I am wallowing in at the moment. (It's that kind of sickness that can be temporarily be relieved by a strong cup of ginger tea which affords windows of opportunity to finish off the Jaffa cakes and start on the Thornton Viennese truffles.)
Anyway, despite my current self-indulgent sloth, this week has been quite quilty:
Tuesday: Down Under Quilts arrived. As did this fabric from my batik club at Hannah's room...

So did a large order of threads I'd placed with Barnyarns.
This stuff I got for £24 and pence being a taster pack of one of all the types of superiors threads they sell.

This is a line of Masterpiece by Alex Anderson, a line of The Bottom Line by Libby Lehman with one King Tut and some 30 weight embroidery threads for machine applique plans.
Wednesday: I was sent to Birmingham ( 2.5 hours by car. train and foot to the court and the same back) all to do an application to adjourn a matter.(Which predictably I lost - as was always going to be the case!). I applied my judicially trained mind to the question of whether, once finished I should go another 1/2 hr south to the quilt shop. I performed the usual balancing exercise in the application of my discretion:

Factors against:
1. This is the shop whose mail order policies I very much disapprove.
2. I just got a load of fabric and threads yesterday!
3. It will take two hours of extra travel and browsing time I could spend playing with the threads I just got.
4. I am saving up for the Nantwich sale next week.
5. I will be in a quilt shop anyway in three more days.

Factors for:
1. It's a quilt shop.

Decided against it. Went in to do the case before one of the rudest Judges I have even met - I came out scarlet and sweaty with the sheer cheek of having to say several times; "If I could be allowed to finish my sentence Sir" to find the heavens had opened and also found that my feet had started to hurt badly. (There was a reason, which I had forgotton, why I hadn't worn thsoe shoes for ages). I reappraised the evidence - Oh well, now I deserved a little treat!

Whilst it is nice to be in any fabric store and whilst this is a well stocked one, there has always been something about it that let me cold on previous visits. This time the penny dropped - it was more than the fact that the staff - whilst not unfriendly or unhelpful when you approach them - are not chatty or warm. Nor is it just the lack of offer of a cup of tea which I get at some shops I visit. It is the fact that there are no quilts in the shop! All the space is used for goods for sale and it is well fitted out - but no quilts!!!

By the time I got back on the train with my (modest haul) of spay baste, marking chalk, sale thread, wash away thread and glue stick ( all stuff I don't excpect to find at Nantwich) my feet were so on fire. A sweet but very bent-over-a stick old man had to ask me if I was OK walking!

Thursday: New Zealand Quilter and British Patchwork and Quilting arrived

Friday: I did get to play a little with the new threads on a 'play' quilt top. Oh and ordered 5 quilt books on line - mostly ones I had seen at the shop but decided to buy on amazon marketplace.

Saturday: Our local rugby team Liverpool St.Helens (LSH) were playing Penrith and my husband and his friend decided to go up with my Dad who now lives up there. So I went up too and collected the blocks my Mum has been embroidering for me to start off a quilt based on sacred texts. These are they all over her conservatory rug.....

I then went to Just Sew to use the cutting table to cut the sashing strips, where I found that the vey expensive silk we chose is fraying all over the place. I spent ages painting the edges with fray check but am wondering if I may be better ironing on interfacing?

Now, this has taken me over 2 hours to write (off and on) given my lack of energy so you will excuse me if I go back to sleep now...

Friday, January 11, 2008


First - sorry for the lack of blog. I had a lovely long time off work, go back and -slam! you'd think I was the only barrister in the country! I will try a nice photo related piece tomorrow because there has been some quilting activity- in short bursts ,which I am afraid I chose over the blog.

For now can I please ask you all a question, becuase I am confused. I have been quilting a little piece with a 60wt cotton thread in bobbin (Soft Touch by YLI) and on top as well. The cream thread on top was fine. The black on top was fine. The red looped like mad on the back. (All three are Soft Touch, all had the same bobbin thread). I re-threaded the machine with the red still in the needle. Same problem. I cleaned the machine, re-threaded, same problem. I went back to the cream. No problem. Put the red in. Loops everywhere! I changed to a Coats polyester in red - no problem. So what was going on there?!

Friday, January 04, 2008

There are some days when I spend a little too long on the Internet...

This was good to know and explains why I can never quite get that quilt to look as good as the ones I admire...

You Are 71% Creative

You are beyond creative. You are a true artist - even if it's not in the conventional sense of the word.
You love creating for its own sake, and you find yourself quite inspired at times.

This I could have told you but I thought I'd better check in case I was delusional..

You Are Not Stupid

You got 10/10 questions right!
While acing this quiz doesn't prove you're a genius, you're at least pretty darn smart.

This I thought was a stupid quiz but the answer is dead on...(Sorry!)...

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"Goodbye. I am leaving because I am bored."

I am reassured by this one- I thought the percentage would have been higher....

You Are 64% Control Freak

You are a pretty major control freak, though you may not know it.
While your confidence is inspiring, your bossy ways tend to scare people off.

I am duly sorry if you have been scared.

And when I realised I had progressed to this one I surmised you would all be rolling your eyes and thinking that this was not the most quilty blog posts ever.

Your Superpower Should Be Mind Reading

You are brilliant, insightful, and intuitive.
You understand people better than they would like to be understood.
Highly sensitive, you are good at putting together seemingly irrelevant details.
You figure out what's going on before anyone knows that anything is going on!

Why you would be a good superhero: You don't care what people think, and you'd do whatever needed to be done

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Feeling even more isolated than you do now

If you too are insomiac and want to waste time you can do a whole myriad of tests at Blogthings

PS I decided not to post the buttons telling you that I would flunk 8th grade history ( well come on it was US history!), that I was strawberry ice cream ( the one flavour I hate!) or that I should grow up to be a doctor - the reasoning was bang on mind you in terms of how I think and the type of job I like - they just forgot to ask the question about whether I was squeamish. I prefered the alternative of detective because that's what my Dad was. Now, is there a test called, "What time you should have stopped doing these quizes."?

A day's work

A family friend went out to visit her son who is living in Tanzania for Chrstmas. Sadly she became ill and had to fly home. She is now in hospital with a 25cm cyst on her ovary, protruding into her bladder. She is awaiting a pretty serious operation next week. So I decided that she needed a convalescence quilt. Only last week I was thinking that I should make a little stock of 'comfort' quilts ready to gift as occasions require but of course had not yet got around to it so had to start from ( almost) scratch.
Instinct said - African fabrics! - but then I wondered if a quilt reminding her of the place she fell ill was a good idea! I checked with Mum who knows her better than I do and she reassured me. So today - between 10am and 7pm I made this top- but I cheated because the panel was already made!. I did actually put another border on but changed my mind and took it off again!

The photo is not the best I am afraid. However, the quilt proves three things:

(a) UFO is a bad term. This cente panel was hanging around for ages but was just right for this. I have decided that I will rechristen my UFO's as 'stashed gift stock'.
(b) I can stash bust with the best - no fabric bought at all for this one.
(c) the title of my blog is a good one - once started I didn't come up for air - except to answer the door to my sister who helpfuly heated up her own soup for lunch then went to sleep on my sofa under a quilt for a couple of hours - such a good visitor!
I tried a new basting approach - spray basting vertically on my design board -worked a treat.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Checkin' stuff out

Officially I am still on holiday until Tuesday. Unofficially my clerks ignore the word AWAY in the diary unless the words IN INDIONESIA or (HOSPITAL - EBOLA FEVER) or WITH THE FAERIES appear after it. And so I was that on today's days holiday I went to the Liverpool County court to represent a client who didn't turn up. Oh and while I was there the clerks rang to say that there was a brand new case kicking off ( Baby born on Boxing Day to parents who had been highly abusive to a previous child) and could I possibly just hang on and explain to the parents why this child was going from hospital straight to foster care...?

So, back at home, while I had my suit on, I thought I might as well get in my study and get on with some admin tasks that have to be done when I go back to work anyway, such as clearing out my cluttered in boxes. The way this task is to be done is to read everything back about 20 days and keep only what is really needed for reference and then junk everything before it. If I don't remember it is, there how can I need it?

The way I actually did it was to start at the folder for my personal emails ( well you have to work up to work ones don't you) which of course includes an e-mail for every comment on my blog. And a frightening number of shopping confirmations - I destroyed that evidence without hestitation. But the comments - well it would be rude to not check out each and every blog that they came from wouldn't it?

It has taken me 2 hrs 18 misn to delete 182 messages!

However, in so doing I found this. It takes quite a lot to make me cry with laughter ( I'm more an internal giggle and outward wry smile girl) but this did it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Years Lists

You know how that surfing goes. I check in with the oh-so thoughtful Jennifer who leads me to her chicken obsessed friend Natalie who takes me to meet Marrisa who throws down the challenge - list 10 accomplishments you are proud of and let her know so she can collate a list of lists on her blog.

Well this is all very in the spirit of New Years Introspection which I love so much - that feeling of a fresh start and a time to regroup and focus. However, my initial recation on trying to compile a list was that actually I hadn't really acomplished anything. I scoured some of the links on Marrissa's site ( oh go and find them yourself, I can't be bothered to do more links!) to find examples of suitable achievements and that made me worse. I certainly have not given birth vaginally ( or indeed any other way) to a large headed child. ( I once had to go outside of a book shop and put my head between my knees because I looked for too long at a book on pregnancy). And it might well be that I can make boo-boos go away by kissing them - I don't know,I've never tried....

My first list seemed very career orientated. Which seemed very selfish. I haven't done anything world changing. I haven't brought a chid into the world ( I have no desire to - see selfish, above). In fact I am a waste of space really... then I got a grip and thought - well hey, look at all these blogs I read. They are about (excuse me here) ordinary people going about ordinary lives but making art and beautiful quilts and making me laugh about the small things in their life. And these people who are doing nothing remarkable in world political terms draw me back for more day in and day out because together with their little (and in some case rather big) acts of creativity and sharing they made a community to which I love to belong. A community which has welcomed me into its fold ( look - you are all reading me!) and which makes me feel normal, inspired, talented and accepted.

So here, is a revised list of my 10 acomplishments. Some are carreer related because -heck!- I am a career woman and proud of it but some are things that my career has enabled me to do financially and most are small things. Then, there is my fantasy list of accomplishments!

10 real accomplishments

1. Finally on my third attempt, after missing out twice by 1% I got a distinction in a degree! ( An MA in Creative Writing) Lots of whoops and feelings that I could finally let go after that envolope arrived in the post!

2. When appointed I was one of the country's youngest ever part time Judges

3. I can stand up in a conference room of 400 lawyers and make them all laugh and I can take a group of scared trainee solicitors and train them so that they are confident and enthused - and make them laugh while I do it.

4. I taught my nephew to tie his own shoelaces. ( I also taught him to slide down the stairs on an inflatable lilo which got him into trouble when he tried it at his Gran's house but forgot the all important cushions. Still, he remembers the fun with fondness!

5. With my husband I sponsor five children around the world to make sure that they have good health care and education. I hope it also helps their parents have time to kiss boo-boos away for them. (They are Rony in Guatemala, Miriam in Mali, Babita in Nepal, Mapholobo in South Africa and Carmen in Bolivia)

6. I made a quilt for my parents' anniversary that was so beautiful my mother cried.

7. I am a travel agent extradordinaire ( Just today I found us the oldest - and it seem to me cutest- houseboat in Amsterdam to rent for a while in the summer.)

8. I can fix my parents' failing technology over the phone. (Mum: the Printer won't work. Me: What's wrong with it? Mum: I dont know that's why I rang you. Me:What is it doing? Mum: Nothing. That's the problem. Oh, There's a flashing light. Me: Look it up in the manual and tell me what that light is for. Long pause. Mum: Manual? Me: (Sigh) Hang on while I download one...)

9. I am mortgage and debt free ( and have a stash!).

10. I am not a woman driver. I can read a map but I don't usually need to because I can drive on instinct and when I get there I can parallel park in a tight spot in one single move. I happily drove over the Atlas mountains (twice) despite my husband being rather concerned when the hotel concierge told him not to take that road it being 'the most dangerous road in Africa' (Tosh by the way!!)

10 fantasy accomplishments. (Some are pure fantasy, some, well, deep inside there is a teensy weensie hope - can you tell which is which?)

1. I pioneered a life changing surgical technique.

2. I met Nelson Mandela.

3. I published a novel.

4. I met Bill Clinton ( and I can tell you for free that you will never ever know if there was a black dress involved. I am a woman of class!)

5. I used all my family lawyer's negotiating skills to bring peace to Israel and Palestine.

6. I. won a quilt show. Heck, I won Houston. I made the most amazing memory quilt out of a little black dress.

7. I travelled overland through Africa distributing Aids medication to outlying villages.

8. I emigrated to South Africa -to the Cape, where I set up a quilting shop with a cafe and yoga studio attached and free classes with kits for women in the townships to start businesses.

9. I bought a big barn and converted it into a huge studio with a minstrels galery for my books and hand sewing sofa at one end and a wet area for dying at the other.

10. Nelson Mandela bragged to Bill Clinton about meeting me.

Thank you to you all for reading me. I hope you all have a very good 2008.