Friday 30 December 2011

Festive Greetings!

I've not been hiding, just having PC and internet problems..... pretty much sorted out now, though, so a belated HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a slightly early HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I thought that a quick round up of my pre-Christmas crafting might be in order, so here goes:
These 'message bots' were made for some crafting friends - I even managed to make two in 'Christmas colours' so that they have an excuse to pack them away until next year if they want to.
This pouch was made for another crafting friend from some batik that I'd stitched into last month.  I'm pretty certain that it didn't look nearly this garish in real life.....
 This is a cushion cover that I made as a 'commission' (my friend will make a charity donation in 'payment') for a very small girl - and I'm quite pleased with using the pastels again instead of the brights on white.  The details don't really show, but the overall meander quilting is in a very pale pink thread (Valdini, I think) that looks lovely on it.
And finally, this was a bead encrusted tiara that I made for myself - although I have to say that I have no idea when I'd wear such an item, or why I'd want to wear something that really just high-lights how grey my hair is now!  I daresay that it will be claimed by one of my DD's in the near future whereupon I will be honour bound to make a second for the other DD!

So, not a crafty item shown that wasn't completed before Christmas, and the prospects of anything else appearing  in the very near future seem slight, as I've been too tired to pick up a needle except when helping small people with some of their crafting projects.  Perhaps my next 'show and tell' will be of their items, once they've been retrieved from around the house!

Happy Christmas crafting, Happy New Year crafting - I wish you health, happiness and sufficient prosperity and time to maximise your creative potential in 2012!

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

I managed to finish this hanging before Christmas!  I even managed to finish it before we sold Christmas trees for the school, bought our own (yes, of course from the sale!), brought it home and decorated it. 

You might have expected a photo of our real tree too, but that might detract from the beautiful simplicity of this one! 

The idea is based on a 'Don't Look Now' pattern called 'White Christmas' (if you live in West London you can buy it from Creative Quilting at Hampton Court).  Mine is much, much simpler - but knowing that I didn't want to cut out lots of snowflake shapes (scissors aren't always my friend and I didn't want a sore shoulder / arm as a result of the desire to make a tree like this) so I asked Ani Catt to cut some for me on her die cutter machine.  Then all I had to do was determine a suitable sized triangle, iron the snowflakes on, and quilt it.  Despite having an argument with the thread I was using for some of the time (once I'd changed thread I didn't have any more problems) it was really fast and fun to make up.  Perfect in our kitchen instead of the quilts usually displayed there.

That was the only sewing that I managed this week.  Apart from a few more origami wreaths (such fun to make and so fast!) my busy fingers have been busier writing Christmas cards than anything else.  Oh, and buying myself a new camera rather than leaving it to chance or Santa - a lovely red Olympus VG-130, which is even lighter than my old camera.....

I hope that you are finding plenty of time for crafting in the run up to Christmas.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Christmas Creative Upcycling

Once I'd got over the prospect of ripping pages out of a book (a 1950's cookery book that wasn't going to be sold or used anywhere, so far as I could see) my gal pals and I (me? sorry, grammar not my strong point and if I've just upset people who know about these things I can only apologise) put Constance Spry to use and made some lovely Christmas decorations.  it was either that or run out to buy a melon to try her melon salad recipe (make a melon basket.  Cut the melon flesh into 1" cubes and dress with french dressing mixed with curry powder and let down with a little cream.  Hmmm.  Perhaps tastes have changed in 60 years, or perhaps it never sounded that good.  Who can tell?)

Origami wreaths tutorial here from  'Domesticali'), humbug shaped present holders (tutorial here from 'Sew Many Ways') and decoupage MDF heart tags  you can guess involved glue and ripped paper!

All easy projects (or easy once you've stolen the loo roll inners from the children who were saving them to make crackers.....) so we found time to make some beaded stars too. 

My biggest problem with this post is that my camera appears to have been dropped once too often and can't focus properly, so these photos have all be taken on my phone.  I'm not sure that Santa reads my blog, though, so I might just have to treat myself to a new (and robust) camera.

In the meantime, anyone who would like to buy a Christmas tree this weekend and is in the Twickenham area should come down to St Marys CE School on Sunday morning where my DH is running the school Christmas Tree Sale.  My DD's will be there for some of it (sporting specially purchases 'Elf hats') and I'm planning to take a cash box and a chair and play cashier.  We all hope to see you there!

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Supernova - at last!

Back in March, Lee of Freshly Pieced started a quilt-along for a quilt called 'Supernova'.  I liked the idea, I wanted to make it, but right from the start I was struggling to keep up (DD1 has a birthday in March, that's my excuse!).  Still, I completed the quilt top in June (just a bit later than the quilt-along finished), pieced a backing (as I was trying to work from stash) and spray basted it.  I wanted to work quickly as I intended to give it to my sister and BiL who were visiting in July.  However, DD2 has a birthday in June...... never mind, I planned to finish the quilt for August when I was visiting my sister.  Hmmm.  That didn't happen either.

About a fortnight ago I realised that we'd be meeting up again - so it was all systems go on the quilting front.  I have to be honest, it's not my finest attempt.  At 62" square it felt pretty big to manouver about, and, to be honest, I feel a bit out of practice for 'proper' quilting.  Still.  I freehanded feathers out towards each of the four corners, and than filled in the remaining space with a largish stipple.  Then the scrappy binding was made and applied, the label printed and sewn on.  Phew!  Managed it in the nick of time!

Even better, my sister and BiL were both suprised and pleased (or they are lying well) to have it!  Always a good result.

So, no sewing to show this week, although I have plans for a wall hanging before Christmas if I can manage it!

Thursday 24 November 2011

A Week of Small Sewing and Super Service!

It's been another week of mainly small projects: sewing on DD1's collectors badge to her Brownie sash, taking up four pairs of school trousers.....but also enjoying making these items!

This first card was made for Avril as part of the BQL postcard swap.  She'd asked for beach / people / boats.  I failed on the boats, but was happy with this - a water colour picture put through a colour filter, printed onto a non-woven fabric, then stitched with outlines and fillers enough to enhance the scene.  I'd thought that I'd be using my (current favourite) perle threads, but they would have been too heavy, so I used ordinary weight sewing threads instead - there are six different threads used that all have colour variation along them.

This second card is another BQL PC swap card - this time with a flower theme.  I used paper that already included flower petals and stitched around them.  I think that if my brain had been sufficiently engaged I would have chosen a looser zig-zag edging than usual, as I'm a bit worried that so many holes perforating the edge might cause the paper to lift away whilst in transit.  I added two sides of machine pattern (where I just about had room) to try and prevent postal damage, but another time I might remember to put a layer of something sheer over the whole thing, or iron the paper onto lightweight interfacing.

My other little sewing was this little message bot.  Jodie Carleton (RicRac) put a tutorial and pattern up for free on her blog.  Isn't it great? 

Yes, I do realise that my message bot is currently missing a message, but I only made this last night, and getting down my message tags would cause clattering and probably wake up at least one of my DD's, so my best chance of finishing this blog post is to just keep quiet until I want them to wake up in about twenty minutes!

That concludes the small sewing, so what's the super service that I've had this week?

First of all the lovely Keira from Kikis Craft Corner emailed me to point out a slight error in the thread order that she'd sent out to me.  I hadn't noticed it (ahem, is that the sign of someone who was ordering more threads than she could use at the moment?  possibly!) - but as well as putting the order right, she sent me a lovely packet of Clover embroidery needles!  Thank you Keira!  I can also tell you that the threads  - hand dyed in South Africa - are absolutely lovely, and Keira's online service very fast.  I know that I'll be shopping with her again.

The second super service was again someone who processes orders quickly and well - and this time sorted out an error of mine.  I send my blunt (used) rotary cutter blades to Lawrence of Sheba Blades (and Rio Designs).  His prices for sharpening are very reasonable and, again, I always get very quick service.  This time, though, I sent the blades and the money but.......actually I'd sent three blades, and only the money for two.  The charming Lawrence sent me all three blades back, with a note waiving the payment for the third.  What a gent!  I shall, of course, be making good my error, but I'm really pleased to have the blades back so quickly still rather than a protracted exchange!  Thank you Lawrence!
Just a month to Christmas Eve - I hope that you are managing some pre-Christmas crafting  - and also enjoying good service from your craft providers too!

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Chick chick chick chicken....

..... don't lay a little egg for tea!  I wouldn't really fancy a stuffing and fabric egg!

Part of my sewing this week was leading my quilting group in a 'Christmas Chicken' making session - very simple to make, and everyone seemed pleased with the idea.  There may be a chicken kit giveaway in the not too distant future....

I've had two other projects this week.  One was to make pyjamas (and, it turned out, a skirt) for one of DD2's teddy bears - a useful distraction whilst her big sister was out playing with a friend.

My other project was to make up the foundation pieced blocks that I'd designed - one based on a bit of railway and platform, the other on a section of baling machine.

Curved piecing for foundation blocks?  I always knew that it was going to be tricky, but these curves were almost too severe given that the blocks are only 9" square.....

What I was 'supposed' to be doing was making notes on shape, of course, but I'd almost always rather be sewing!

Hope that you are having fun too.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Are you bored yet?

 Yes, more buttons - just about the only sewing that I've done this week, unless you can count sewing a button onto a shirt..... and no, not one of these, just the shirt button that had fallen off.

Although I've been a bit worn out recently, I have managed to design a couple of blocks for my C&G course (what would I do without Quilt Pro to get my straight lines straight for me?  It's lovely to be able to make a very rough sketch and then translate into a block that I can easily edit / re size / recolour using Quilt Pro!).

Perhaps I'll actually get around to making them next week.
Just for fun, here is a little part of our home firework display.  DH was in charge of the entertainment, the hens were locked away (and didn't squawk, so didn't seem upset about the flashes and bangs so close their bedroom), and the DD's and I enjoyed the spectacle wrapped in camp blankets on the patio.  All good old fashioned fun, although without a bonfire or a guy.......

Monday 31 October 2011

Still Button Crazy!

 This has been another week of buttons.  Trying to get to grips with cutwork (this one called 'fire pit').  I haven't finished this one yet, so it's still stretched out flat.
 This is another french knot and web stitch one, called 'pink pools' - this one still out flat as well.
More cutwork - this one just called 'lacy'.  I'm not sure that I like this style enough to try it again, and there are several errors that I'd correct if I was going to......
 This finished button has stuffed bits and scrim and french knots and bullion stitches....and I haven't got the colour right in the photo or you'd be able to see that it's a lovely bright turquoise!
 Button making was put aside on Saturday so that I could take part in the Jan Hassard's 'Interwoven log cabin' workshop with about 15 other members of my quilting group.  We worked hard making twisted log cabins (some clockwise, some anti-clockwise) - some (like Benta!) worked faster than others (me) and completed or nearly completed lots of blocks.  I managed six twirling one way and half completed six twirling the other.......
As we each completed our first six blocks we pinned them to the project board to get an idea of how the pattern would work once we'd completed our blocks.  My blocks are the oversized blue and white ones (my 1/4" seam was *very* scant on the Featherweight).  It was a fun, but tiring day. Thirty-six blocks are all that we need to make a wall hanging size quilt.  I like the idea of making them right now, but the 'things to do list' seems to be a bit full at the moment!

Why not visit Benta's blog to see when she thinks she might finish hers?

Meanwhile, I'm hoping to catch up on my button course this week and make a split cutwork button, a toggle, a Dorset button, a Singleton button, a half and half button and finally a ball button.  That's all I need to do to complete the course so that I'd have make at least one example of each type.

Monday 17 October 2011

Button Crazy!

I've done some more work on the buttons that I'd started last week, and started a few more too - I've gone button crazy!

 This is what 'button 1' turned into once I'd added more bullion stitches and french knots in variegated threads.
 Out of order - this is button number three and my least favourite so far.  I need to try the lacy edge stitch again, this time with the instructions in front of me, instead of trying to remember them whilst waiting in a coffee shop for the girls to finish their activities!
 This is what 'button 2' turned into - lots of french knots again, and I've called it 'mossy pools'.
 Another french knot fiesta - Sea Spray.
And one that looks like maggots growing.  Good practice, but not a thing of beauty, more scientific interest!

I think that my next button adventures might include beads or tiny other buttons (although a button decorated with buttons is approaching Simon's reason for not ever planting onion setts - planting an onion to grow an onion just feels wrong, and I'm not sure that buttons decorating buttons, pretty though they may be, might just feel a bit wrong to me!).

So have I just spent the week making buttons?  Pretty much.  A couple of blocks (one machine sewn, one hand sewn) for my C&G course, and that's it.  On the other hand I have managed some sketching, some tidying of the craft room, and lots of extra sleep, so it hasn't all been bad!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Hand quilting and embroidering

Hurrah!  I've managed to complete a hand quilted square with quite dense background quilting, without needing to pleat it or worry about flaring or other distortion as I've finished it!  Perhaps this means that I'm either getting better at marking the cloth or better at keeping the tension even when I'm sewing (still without a frame....).  This is about 11" square, and I have no idea how I will use it or what I will use it for.  Perhaps it will make a good cover for a scrapbook at some point in the future.  I'll let it 'mature' in the cupboard until I decide.

Having finished this, I wanted to choose some more hand stitching to do - I like to have something to do with my hands whilst I'm being a 'ballet mum' and sat waiting, and sometimes I like to stitch in the evenings too when I have enough energy.

I came across a course to hand embroider buttons, run by Karen Ruane, and decided to spend my birthday money on the course and a few more threads and self-cover buttons.

This is my first attempt (still in the mini hoop) using french knots and bullion stitches.  Not a finished piece but I'm not sure what to do with it.  The middle part looked too like a creepy crawly, so I added the other french knots around it....but I think that they've taken something away from the total rather than added to it.  I either need to add more light knots or just put this aside as a learning piece, I think!

This is my first attempt at web stitch.  The top three are quite full, the lower ones are less full. and show the structure better.  Obviously this is in it's early stages.  I think that I'll pull out some of my hand dyed variegated threads now that I know that I can form the stitches!
Apart from this I've just made a couple of patchwork strips as part of my quilting groups ongoing 'sew a row' challenge.  All will be revealed when it's put together in about 6 months time!

Hope that you are going to be happy creating something this week!
(oh, and make sure you listen properly when the radio is on.  I've just mishead "wintering in the Southern Hemisphere" as "windsurfing in the Southern Hemisphere", which I did think was an odd occupation for a cuckoo......lovely mind-picture, though!)

Friday 7 October 2011

Camp blanket fun

This is DD2's camp blanket.  No, she isn't old enough to join Brownies yet.  Yes, she did get to take DD1 to a Brownie camp fire last week where she saw how camp blankets could be used.  Yes, I had already bought the Laurel Burch panel and the fleece for backing it, and DD2 was able to choose sufficient fabric for the badge panels on either end from my stash.....  I'm pleased to report that she's jolly happy with it!  (There is an element of indulging her slightly this week too, as she is missing her big sister who is off on a school residential week - the longest they've been away from each other since DD2 was born).

My other sewing was of the domestic variety again.  Oven gloves.  A long and fruitless search for the right shape and texture oven glove is over - I've used a combination of Insul-bright and cotton wadding and a FQ of Kaffe Fasset to make my own.  What the photo doesn't show, of course, is that I was making them whilst feeling a bit under the weather, and although I knew that I had to reverse two shapes, as I changed the way that I was making them part way through I got a bit muddled, so each glove has a bright side and a white side both in and out..... oh well, kitchen utility items don't have to be perfect, do they?!

I enjoyed Jan Hassard's talk at my quilting group on Monday.  She brought along an astonishing number of quilts from around the world - very interesting and very inspiring.  She also showed a few of her own - including the interwoven log cabin one that we'll be attempting a simpler version of later this month at a workshop that she's giving.

My last photo - which I should really have cropped just to show the ATC (artist trading card) is to try and show the amazing micro quilting by Tracey Pereira.  If you ever come to visit ask to see it, as it is amazing - look at how detailed it is,both quilted and hand coloured -  and it's just 3 1/2" x 2 1/2".  In fact, if you make it as far as my craft room you won't need to ask as it's going to become a permanent feature to remind me what to aim for in quilting!  I was very lucky, as this was just one of many lovely ATCs and fabric postcards that I received on my birthday - being part of a couple of birthday swaps is lovely!

Right, time to go off and make a start on today's 'To Do' list!

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Birthday Bonanza!

It's been a funny week.  Not much sewing with the machine (apart from making a fitted rip-stop nylon case for a large (1.6 metres long, by 40cm sort of wide) L shaped piece of foam.  It looks neat, will help prevent injury (we hope) if the girls land on the edge of the decking near the swing and is not in place because I am trying to quilt the garden by stealth (although that is an excellent idea - like yarn bombing but more private!).

I did manage a little hand sewing.  Unusually for me these days it was counted cross stitch - here are three unfinished items (!).  I had a plan for my girl friends to make needle cases in an evening of crafting and chatting.  They made lovely ones and I failed completely to photograph any of them.  Sorry - they were super and should have been shared!

They also turned the evening into an extended birthday celebration for me - the lovely things brought along cake (with candles), flowers and a lovely gift.  I am VERY lucky to have such wonderful friends who are so kind and generous.

I also had other brilliant birthday presents - these are handmade ones (the super bag by Benta, all sorts of fabric flowers and other bits by Avril, and the splendid lavender bag hand sewn by Alex, my niece, which is fab).  I also got a splendid range of books from my family members - quilts and coverlets at the Beamish Museum, books on drawing and painting, novels....... I was really spoiled!

I hardly know what to do next, with so many ideas!  I do know that I'll be going along to hear Jan Hassard talk at my quilting group on Monday evening, though.  If you can make it to near Kew Gardens on Monday evening, why don't you join me?

Monday 19 September 2011

Poppets and Puppets!

Benta gave the girls glove puppet kits.  They loved making them over the weekend, and I loved the quiet stitching that started on a visit to Nanny and Grandpa's and how carefully they worked on them.  Well done girls, and thank you, Benta!

I'm looking forward to a week of daily puppet shows and getting completely up to date with my scrapbooking (I'm up to April this year, so it's going well - I've filled three albums since last week and ordered another two so that I won't run out of space!).  I'm also hoping to manage a little stitching, after all, ballet classes start again this week, so I'll have some time then, so long as the girl not prancing is also occupied!

Tuesday 13 September 2011

A Good Monday!

Sewing?  After I said I was going to be scrapbooking instead?  Moi?  Well, OK, but only a 30 minute project from the Molly Makes magazine.  A simple wallet.  Fun (and quick!) to make.
Next time I make one I'd probably add a little coin purse to make it even more useful, but I can see my girls liking one each for their library cards and so on (and, in time, their Oyster card!).

So apart from this, why was Monday good?  Well, I the lovely Benta came to tea, and then we went off to meet other quilty friends at Richmond and Kew Quilters to hear Sara Impey speak and admire her spectacular quilts.  Quite the best quilt talk I've been to, and brilliant quilts using text, often set into grids.  Her love of language sang through, and her attention to detail - both layout and workmanship - were outstanding.  I came home not quite knowing whether to sell the sewing machine, fabric and thread and give up there and then, or whether to start trying to incorporate some of her techniques into what I do!

I am trying not to take the 'give up sewing forever' approach, as my good news (if you don't want to read a boast, look away now) is that I passed Module 1 of my C&G course.  Perhaps not amazing news to anyone else, but something that wasn't quite as frightening as I thought it might be to do, and which passing might encourage me to take the next step with it.  With distance learning (or at least, if you choose the right course) there is a lot of flexibility about how / when you complete modules, which would suit me and my variable energy levels well. It also means that I don't have to waste precious energy travelling to a class and interacting with other students (sounds terrible, doesn't it?  I'm not by nature anti-social, just have to be careful how I use the small reserves that I have) - I can just sit at home and digest course notes and get on with what is required.

This was my final design for the 'line' assignment - no textiles included, and lots that I'd change if I was making it again!

So, onwards and upwards, but first time to get on with that scrapbooking!

Hope you are having an equally good start to your week.

Thursday 8 September 2011

A New Term!

No, not back to school for me (although I'm thinking that I might need a quick lesson on how to get Blogger back to how it was - it's gone all big and I don't know why), but for my DDs, so I'm hoping to have more sewing and crafting time again.  I think that I need a major time 'spend' on scrapbooking.  It has been pointed out to me (by the aforementioned DDs) that I am a long way behind, and that I should catch up.  I agree.  I should catch up, and I think that means staying away from machine sewing for a while so that I can do that.  Obviously small hand sewing projects (in front of the TV in the evenings when my hands are up to it) won't be affected!

In the meantime, I can now show you this

a book cover made for Alex from the scraps of the fabrics left over after block trimming from her camp blanket.  I couldn't show it before as it was one of her birthday presents,and I didn't want to spoil the surprise.  Many thanks to SweetiePie50 who I think made something similar and showed it....although I can't find the post that I was looking for. I do know that she made a lovely bag using fabric strips recently!

I've also done some more work on my C&G module and have produced this non-textile piece.  So many things that I'd change if I was doing again!

Finally, in case you can make it to South West London next Monday evening, Sara Impey will be giving a talk called " Quilts, Texture and Talk" . Starts at 7.30pm, in St Winefride's Church, Kew. Visitors £6
Why not start your autumn with this? I'm really looking forward to it.

Sunday 4 September 2011

Brilliant Camp Blanket!

Isn't this fabulous?  Alex (one of my lovely nieces) came over to borrow my sewing machine this week to finish her camp blanket which she'd started earlier in the summer.  A selection of FQ's, and a little extra from my stash to add panels for her Guide badges to be sewn onto.  Super patchwork backed by fleece to make a cosy blanket that will keep her warm on camp fire nights.  Well done Alex, you have made something both beautiful and functional!

No need to show my sewing (and to be honest, sewing name labels into school uniforms and minor repairs to clothing isn't really creative - and I've only done a little more than this this week)......

Sunday 28 August 2011

Grape Success!

Is this it?  What's this got to do with grapes?  well, actually, nothing - but it is the only piece of sewing (yes, a 4" x 6" post card for a birthday swap) that I've finished in the last fortnight, and I've hardly made progress on anything else either.  The DD's have been keeping me on my toes and too tired / time poor to manage anything else!

However, I did find time (about an hour) on Friday after we'd realised that we would be going to the Kew Horticultural Show on Saturday to make this necklace - and was quite pleased to win Third Prize.  (I forgot to take a photo of it properly 'staged' - it obviously got man-handled a little during judging and disarrayed.

I also got a Third Prize for this cushion, once I'd secured DD2's agreement to loan it to me for the show, as it was her birthday present.
Apart from that, DD2 got two Highly Commendeds, and DD1 got a Highly Commended and a Second Prize (and I understand that it's quite satisfying to beat Mummy......even if in a different class) however, our family star of the show this year was DH, who won a rosette for his First Prize winning outside grapes!

He also got a Highly Commended for his Chillies.  As my big sister pointed out, so long as he keeps growing things that are either above the hens heads or not to their taste, he should do well.  This follows the summer where he planned to enter carrots and two types of shallots, only to have a hen escape from the run whilst we were on holiday and grub up all of them, somewhat before their time!

Congratulations on a great win, DH!

Sunday 14 August 2011

Blink and you'd miss it!

The cyclists came to town!  or at least, they passed through Twickenham, fleetingly, on a trial run for the London 2012 route....  Roads closed, neighbours out to watch, a parade of police motorcycles (and Yes! we got a couple to wave back to us!), cars with judges, guests, spares, before the peloton streamed past.  Such fleeting excitement baffled my camera skills, clearly!  Still, it was fun and all over by 9.30am for us, so plenty of the day left to get on with!

I've not managed quite as much personal crafting time as I'd have really liked this week.  However, I did produce this

so that the packet of variegated embroidery silks I bought will no longer slide out and bump me on the head when I open the cupboard (all I need to do now is to sort them into number order and 'file' them in my threads drawers.  I store fabric by colour, but embroidery silks by number catalogue number - unless they are 'non-Anchor threads', when they have a separate drawer and are stored by colour!  I wish my machine threads so were so well organised!).  All wound whilst supervising / being present for a DD's crafting session, so that was good!

I also finished this little quiltlet for the BQL skinny challenge.  Hand sewn in the middle and not much quilting, to be honest....

And I made a brooch, experimenting with Friendly Plastic (softens in hot water or with a heat gun).  I saw the idea for impressing wooden blocks into it and made this brooch one morning.  I think that the girls would like to have a go at this too..... and I could see it being a fun thing for a 'girls night in' crafting evening too.

Oh, and I finished the binding on the baby quilt that I'd mostly made on holiday, and a couple of blocks for my C&G course, so I suppose that I've made more progress than I thought!  Hand sewing is quite handy for taking to the playground or when we all get so tired that the TV goes on and we watch back-to-back kids science and art programs....

I hope that you are managing to achieve more than you think you are too!