Monday, 29 March 2010

Magic Monday

...because I am on Easter break from school and although I finished work last Wednesday, the holiday feeling has only hit me this morning because that is when I would normally be at work. Thursday Friday and the weekend just felt like normal days off. So I plan to do more of my family tree research - have reached an impasse on one line of enquiry but have several more to follow. So addictive and enjoyable and so lovely to have the time to really get into it each day. I also have the intention of finishing the quilt block from the Nearly Insane quilt that has the most pieces in it - got three quarters the way through last year and got really sick of it, planned to finish it the next day and life got in the way. It got endlessly postponed and I need to eat the frog. I'm sure you have come across the expression, meaning get the thing that you don't want to do but need to do DONE so you can enjoy the rest of your day. I also plan to do a daily 'nibble' at wardrobe and storage clearing and sorting - a drawer a day.

Here's a task that has been put off because of the extended cold weather - Logan's spring haircut. I don't have a photo of him at his hairiest but if I tell you he had an Elizabethan collar/ruff of bristly fur around his neck, maybe you will get the picture. Here he is shorn:
And here he is just after I brought him back from the groomer - he had a small cramping attack while he was there - maybe the stress, we don't know - and so I need to go the vet and get him checked for epilepsy. He has had one or two attacks in the past but they have been very rare. Anyway, he was exhausted, so we tucked him up. Spoilt? Him? Ha!Logan has always loved quilting as much as I do.

It's good to have so many tasks and hobbies to distract me from thinking about my eldest daughter's first day in her new job (first ever job). I know she will have been a bit sleepless last night and I shall be thinking about her on and off all day and hoping she has a great start. The three day visit from daughters and boyfriends was lovely and I was so happy that when they returned she had this job waiting for her instead of more hunting and applications. I'm trying to send good thoughts her way today.

Well, my list of frogs needs doing before I get to the princes today, so I'm off to make some curried parsnip soup for lunch for Stuart and me, then get started.

Friday, 19 March 2010

16 degrees C

Yes, 16! After I got all excited about Spring in the last post, we had more snow, so I have been keeping quiet since. However, the crocuses are out, the daffodils are almost here and it is sunny and warm - perhaps I can talk again.

We have recently had some wonderful news. Our eldest daughter has been unable to find a job since she graduated - the economic situation is so difficult in England that law firms have been deferring graduates with training contracts for a year until the companies can afford to take them on. Naturally, the number of available training contracts is also very limited. So despite having a good law degree and a postgraduate legal practice diploma, our daughter was having a hard time. But last week she had a very good interview (which she enjoyed!) and this week she was offered a paralegal position with a good law firm, good starting salary, regular reviews and private health care included. Of course, this means a lot to us because we don't need to support her anymore but much more important is the way it has made her feel - that her years of study were worthwhile, that she is of value to a company. I have been going around all week with a very silly grin on my face - the day she phoned me with the news I drove to work and couldn't remember a single traffic light on the journey... The timing was perfect because both my daughters and their boyfriends are coming to Germany on Monday for a few days and now we really have something to celebrate together.

Quilting has been progressing slowly because I am having a problem with my left thumb - I've done some reading and I think it looks like repetitive strain and probably my gripping the fabric is the cause. I am now trying to relax my thumb when quilting and also having more regular breaks to relax wrists and move around. I am still doing the applique swags around the crescent and star quilt, still quilting the split nine-patch (just got the border to do now), still trying to do some Nearly Insane and have now started a cream quilted cover for the seat cushions on one of our leather sofas which have cracked and don't look very nice. I thought I could machine quilt this in an afternoon and started out with high hopes but I used a very thick batting and could not get all the fabric to go through the machine while I was quilting the lines - there was just too much of it for my ordinary sewing machine. A thin batting would have been okay but I didn't want to start all over again. Anyway, half of it is now hand-quilted in straight lines 4 inches apart and I'm sure the other half will be done in a few days. Consequently, I haven't finished anything for months and am feeling a bit stuck. So at the quilting group yesterday, I tried a Japanese method for putting a diamond in the middle of four squares - the diamond comes out folded and a bit puffy. It was an interesting technique and lovely to do something short and sweet and different. I haven't put a photo up because the fabrics were not nice - I was just using a few charm squares given me by a quilt shop - but I liked the method and the magic moment when you turn it over and the diamond pops out.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Sparkling Day!

Bad storms in Europe over the weekend but we didn't get much rain, just severe winds. Lots of branches down and some trees. It was a bit risky taking Logan for his walks as we have a lot of old trees where we live. But this morning was sunny and sparkling where the frost was melting in the sun. I took Logan to the river (two minutes away) and everything looked wonderful. Above is our view across the river.As you can see, the cycle path that goes all along the river is unusable because the water is so high just now - not our rain but from somewhere further up.Stuart and I just love this magnolia tree and we always track its progress from now (buds visible) until its glorious full flowering.
My two-minute walk to the river is through the United Nations gardens and here I found one of the casualties of the weekend winds. It is clearly not healthy inside and so must have been very vulnerable.
And here are clouds of snowdrops, which are making everyone happy.