Well, it's been quite a week. As busy as ever at work and at home, and the warm weather has been back and even though I'm sure we're all pffing again at its intensity at times, it's nice to see it back. The garden welcomed the rain, but I'm not sure any of us were really ready to give up our summer.
As well as all that I've found time to read a book, it's been a while, and I didn't realise how much I'd missed getting stuck into a good book until I was stuck into a good book. It was The Secret Wife by Gill Paul and while a work of fiction it was based around real events in the lead up to the Romanov's execution and focuses on the love affair between grand duchess Tatiana and an officer called Dmitri Malama, and goes beyond what we know is the end of the tragic story. I desperately wanted this fiction to be true, and had to break off at one point to double check my history facts. Even so, it's a compelling read and probably not what you're expecting, and what I liked just as much as getting stuck into a good book was the "Historical Afterword" section included by the author, giving details of the idea for the story and her subsequent research. I liked that, although like most good books, I wasn't ready for the story to end.
I've spent the weekend on my own while MOH has been in Budapest on a stag weekend, and while it's been quiet I've had a whale of a time. It's not all been anti-social though as there was an impromptu visit to the pub after work Friday evening, where I learnt that cucumber is a good addition to a Hendricks gin and tonic, and my brother stopped in yesterday on his way back home, so that was a nice surprise too. And of course if I'd wanted to have been out and about then I would have organised that.
But it's been nice to spend time pottering, although sadly still without the new pots, it seems they've been delayed again and I'm looking again at the ones I discarded in my initial search as the company are also quoting their T&Cs at me, which never really says good customer service does it?
I've picked up my crochet again and while it's been a little warm to have a blanket on my lap, I've now got it joined as a single piece, most of the ends are sewn in and I'm starting on a simple border. I'm not sure if it's big enough really, but having tried it on a double bed, wrapped around me as if I were using it on a cold evening in the garden (that one took some imagination) and as a blanket on the sofa and it seems to work, so I think I'm deeming that to be big enough. I've plenty more projects you see that I'm keen to get started with and while I already have the square a week project on the go (and the squares seemed to have dried up for that) I didn't really want to start another.
As I'm adding the border I'm wondering which I should start next. It's between the Vintage Hearts blanket and the starry shawl, which I bought the wool for while in Yorkshire recently. I've still some time to decide.
I'd also promised myself that I'd pick up my scrappy quilt again, or rather the cutting out for my scrappy quilt. I'd lost heart with it, but recently read Bonnie Hunter's Scrap User's System where she recommends setting a timer and cutting more than you think you'll need for your quilt and storing the extra together in widths of 1.5", 2" and 2.5" - it's called a scrap user system, as the idea is you use the scraps, rather than store them. As she's the queen of scraps - I got her new book "Addicted to scraps" for my birthday, I reckon she knows what she's talking about.
And so off I went, setting myself up using the dining table - which was obviously much more productive than scrabbling about on the floor - cutting the materials I'd chosen at the start of the year with much enthusiasm into 2.5" strips. I started cutting the strips earlier in the year too, but found that where I was using old clothes they weren't as easy to cut as proper material and so I was soon bored. I'd since ironed all the material and that helped, and after my hour was up on the timer I'd made such progress that I wanted to carry on and get the last five cut.
I also have three shoeboxes for each of the widths above for any smaller pieces that were left over. And more importantly, anything that's under 1.5" I've thrown away, whereas before I'd hung onto them just in case. There's still more cutting to do, as I need 30 squares of each of the thirty-three patterns and there's the plain background to cut too - I'm using an old duvet cover for that so I'm hoping that will be much easier than cutting from a shirt, as it's at least square to start with.
I've also learnt from mum yesterday evening that there's a 2.5" ruler, which sounds like sewing magic to me - so the plan is to take these strips with me when I head up there and come home with squares, and scraps. It has been a crafty kind of weekend and it's been nice to dedicate some time to that - I really should do it more, and maybe I will, especially when I can actually start sewing the quilt!
I had quite a find this week and rescued these two street maps from an office clear out - the larger of the two is the size of a telephone directory, and as heavy. I've no immediate plans for them, but I just knew they couldn't be thrown out as I'm sure I'll have a use for them at some point. Maybe on cards, or perhaps as some bows or gift tags...
I should have done more in the garden, but I'm struggling to do much outside when its warm. I'm definitely making the most of our revamped conservatory - tomorrow I'll share the last of the building works posts - and it's been so nice to open up the whole back of the house this year. I found some shade in the garden over the weekend too to spend some time on the sun lounger with an Aperol Spritzer close by, but out of the corner of my eye I spotted something strange. Wondering what it was (see below) I got closer to investigate, prodded it with a stick (it's rock hard), was none the wiser and have put it on MOH's list of things to deal with, along with the hose that needs fixing as it came away from the reel, so I've been watering the garden with a watering can - a good arm work out if there was ever one!
This seems to have come down from the sycamore tree, and I presume is some kind of fungus that's dried out given all the sun. It's peculiar though.
This weekend I've also been reflecting on sound. On Saturday, after a busy week I was happy with no additional sound, the radio wasn't on and nor was the TV, it was just the traffic, the sirens and more pleasingly the birds and wildlife in the garden. Sunday though I was ready for some additional sound and the BBC Radio iPlayer has come into its own. It interested me how the two days were different, one more recovering from the week, the other ready to explore the world again - do you have days where you just want silence (or as close as)?
I've also been browsing for our October holiday, neither of us are really sure where we want to go - Lisbon and Copenhagen have both been mooted, and while they're both on my list I'm not sure they're for this holiday. So I've taken a different approach and changed the search criteria, rather than starting with the destination I'm starting with the dates we want to travel and seeing what villas I can find free with flights on the same day. I think I've found a couple of possibles, and probably not what I'd have chosen without this approach, but we'll see...