Thursday, August 30, 2007


Whilst on my blogging break I was busy doing all sorts of things. I made quite a few quilts, including a lovely old fashioned looking one for my niece in dusky pinks greens and cream.

I have also nearly finished my entry for the Scottish National Quilt Championship, which is in 4 weeks. I decided to set myself a challenge and do a self portrait, and here is the result. (Click image if you want to see it bigger)

It is made from over 4000 circles of chocolate brown wool appliqued onto cream calico, and quilted with turquoise thread. It's about 70cm wide and 120cm long. I regretted starting making this after completing about 4 rows of circles because it took so long to cut them out and position them all. I persevered for weeks because I knew it would be worth it in the end. The only thing I would do differently would be to piece together an interesting background instead of using plain cream, but maybe that's something to think of next time. (I can't believe I'm even considering starting another project like this - I'm bonkers) Here's a detail:

All that's left to do it sew on the binding (the edge piece that neatens it up) and attach a sleeve on the back so it can be hung in the exhibition.

I have entered 2 quilts, both of which have been accepted and will be displayed in the competition exhibition at the Royal Highland Showground on Sep 29 -30th.

This is the first quilt competition I have ever done. I sure have come a long way from here.

(P.S. a few people have asked me how I made this quilt. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

re-discovering ebay

Recently I have rediscovered the joys of ebaying, and in particular selling my junk.

Because we are moving in a couple of weeks we thought we'd try to off-load some of our clutter, and Nick has bravely sacrificed a huge pile of his old computer games for the cause. We are going to have a poke in the loft tonight to see what else we can find. Randomly, I know we have a bunch of old swords up there that the last owner left wedged between the rafters, so that will be an interesting item to auction.

How much is a sword anyway? Are you allowed to send them through the post? Will my hand-me-down swords be fed back as A+++++++++? Could life get more exciting? The answers to these questions will soon be revealed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

share the frustration

When I was born I was lucky enough to be given some shares by my Grandfather. They have sat around for 30 years, kept secret from my financially disastrous first husband, and regularly paid out pitiful dividends of about £79 a year.

Now that we are buying our family home we decided to go 'all in' and cash in our savings to try and reduce the mortgage. 'Don't worry,' I said to Nick, 'We can sell my shares to pay for the solicitors fees, removal men and stamp duty'.

At this point we had 6 weeks to liquidise the cash. Plenty of time I thought.

The first week was swallowed by trying to locate the whereabouts of the share certificates, and learn how to go about selling on the stock market - a world totally alien to me.

The second week had me on the phone to trying to sell. I was told: 'We can't sell these shares for you because they are registered in your name but at your accountants address - your sale would fail under money laundering laws because it is for more than £9000. We will send you a form to fill in to change the address.'

The third week passed as I filled in the forms and then returned them, was told I hadn't signed in the correct box, filled in and sent off more forms.

The forth week passed as their very slow system found it really difficult to type in my new address. It takes 5 days apparently, even though the woman could see all my details on the computer.

This week I have finally managed to sell one of my investment holdings (la-di-daa listen to me) but the other one still has my accountant's address, so they can't sell it. Even though the stock I have sold went through today, they won't send out the cheque until the 11th of sept, which means it won't arrive until the day we move.

I really don't know when I will receive the money from the other holding, which is annoying because that's the biggest amount.

So basically my advice is, if you are trying to sell shares allow at least 9 weeks of your life to affect the transaction, and try to keep your patience.

Bubble car bonanza

Nick: (pointing as tiny green bubble car zooms past) ooh look, a bubble car, you don't see many of those!

2 mins later

Nick: cool, another bubble car... (cute blue and white bubble car passes) what are the chances!

1 min later - 20 bubble cars in convoy drive past.

Nick: Think I spoke too soon.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blogging break

I’ve been having a blogging break. I had been posting fairly regularly for ages and what with one thing and another I felt I deserved a holiday. In the meantime we have been super busy so now there is tons to report.

The main item of news is that we have bought a new house. It all happened rather quickly. We had been half heartedly looking for a while, but we still didn’t know exactly what we wanted. Did we want to stay in the same area as we are now? Did we want to move to Glasgow? Did we want to move to the country? Would I be prepared to get a new job to move nearer to Nick’s work? Should we stay in our house and buy a flat in the city for Nick to live in the week?

All these ideas would result in such change in lifestyle we found it really hard to find an answer that suited all our requirements.

For ages we were sure we didn’t want to leave the town we currently live in. I work here, it’s a really nice place, but it means Nick travels for 3 hours a day to get to work. Nick was getting more and more exhausted, working long days and feeling he was sinking. As an experiment we rented a small flat for a month right next to his office so he could stay there 3 nights a week. It was handy, and cut his journey times to 7 mins each way but Nick found that he only stayed there for 2 nights a week, and when we calculated the cost of the flat it didn’t really make financial sense. Also we found that living apart for the week was not really how we wanted our marriage to work. It works for some people I know, but I love being with Nick and go a bit crazy on my own, so from a selfish point of view I wanted him around!

So after handing back the keys to the flat we were back to square one. On the off chance one Thursday night we arranged to see 4 houses in a town called Kirkintilloch, about 20min drive from Glasgow. Well, what do you know! We found our dream house!

Naturally it was way over our budget, but it seemed perfect, and suited all out requirements. After frantic calls to our mortgage lenders, cashing in all our savings, and a quick salary re-negotiation for Nick we decided that, even though we are going to be eating beans for the next 10 years, we would go for it!

I have to admit that it seems a very grown-up house for me to own. It’s got a sitting room and a posh lounge that is for use when important people come round for tea. It’s got a laundry room and a garage and a greenhouse and space for the chickens. It’s got a fabulously overbearing Victorian dining room and 3 bedrooms, one of which has a cute arched window. It’s got a gorgeous front garden that I’ll have to keep nice so I don’t let the street down. Here are some snaps from the estate agents website.

Everyone who has ever been house hunting will know the feeling you get when you walk into a house. You know one way or the other within seconds. With this house I knew even before the lady had answered the door that I loved it.

We put our house on the market the next day and had 14 viewings in 4 days. We could have sold it on the first day, but we decided to hold out to get the best price we could. We were suddenly very grateful we did all that work to it 2 years ago. We went to sealed bids after 5 days and sold the house for way over what were expecting, which has made our new house a bit less of a stretch.

Here are some snaps of our current house. I think somewhere in the archives of this blog are pictures of what it was like when we moved in. (Pretty gross)

We are moving on the 14 September, 3 weeks tomorrow, and frankly I can’t wait.

Another bit of news that I know Jane R will not be surprised to hear – I have learned a new craft recently. I was trying to think of a way to use all the beautiful egg shells laid by my hens, so decided to try and decorate them using polymer clay (Fimo) After a couple of broken shells I mastered the art and have created some really pretty eggs. I also taught myself to make millefiore canes, which is great fun.

Naturally I went totally over the top and have made loads which I don’t know what to do with now. As a thank you for your loyalty to getting to the end of this post and still logging onto my blog despite the recent lack of posts, I am giving away some eggs. If you would like me send you one then e-mail me ( and I’ll pop one in the post to you.

How’s that for a nice summer treat?
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