Wednesday, 24 August 2011

off to sunnier climes

Tomorrow we leave for a week in Turkey (I'm not worried about announcing that my house will be empty because my mum is house sitting :-) )  I can not wait to sit in the sun for a week and read my books.

So in preperation for being away for a week and missing a couple of the across the sea QAL I did this today:

I only did this one to check my background colour was what I wanted.  As you can see I completely changed my mind about the colour.... and I didn;t buy any either.  I had a brainstorm and remembered a quilt I havn't finished and this was the backing.  So, once I was happy with the colour I went on to do this:

All my crosses are there with their background all cut out, so I will be ready to go as soon as I get back.
I also noticed that we needed to do a scant 1/4" seam.  I researched this and there were varying definitions.  I used the one where the material is just lined up with the feed dogs on the machine and this has worked perfectly on the square.
I will be taking my hexies away with me, although not sure how much I will get done as I am not allowed to sew by the pool (teenagers rules apparantley!!)
Looking forward to seeing what everyone has got up to when I get back, especially with the QAL

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Busy, busy, busy

I had a bit of a spurt on some WIP's this afternoon:

finally got the top of this quilt done.  I absolutely love it.  The colours look amazing against the black (altho the picture doesn't show it up very well)

I made this with Amy Butler Bliss fabric.  Jenny bought me a charm pack for mothers day and I bought another two and hey presto:

They really are the most gorgeous colours and the black shows them off really well.

I also finished sewing these into rows:

I first saw this design 10 years ago, when I visited my brother and his family in America.  I knew straight away I would make it one day.

These were all made with scrap fabrics

And each mug has been blanket stiched onto the fabric

I also had a lucky find with the brown fabric as I think it looks like steaming hot tea!

I think I will use plain fabric to put in between the rows and the sashing: need to delve into my old sheet pile and see what I have. 

And then I have two quilts that can be hand quilted on those impending autumn/winter nights!  (a bit like today really!!)

Monday, 22 August 2011

Trying to keep up

   I am going away for a week, on Thursday.  I was worried about falling behind on the 
Across the sea QAL, so I decided to crack on

I would love to be able to take pictures that showed the actual colours in fabric

I had originally only intended to do the baby size quilt, but as my crosses grew I decided I had no need for a baby quilt and I wanted this one big, so I kept on cutting. 

I have now cut out all the material, for the front only.  I havn't started on the background fabric, mainly because I am still undecided on that.  I also havn't done the extra bits for the back of the quilt or the scrappy border: these I will do another time (!)

I have had a manic day of tidying - mainly my consevatory which is my sewing room.  I got all my fabrics out at the beginning of the hols and did not put any away: until today.  It is now very very neat.  I need a sit down now and a nice glass of something!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

A finish

Seems like a while since I have finished a quilt.  Anyway, this one is a joint effort.  Beccy sewed the squares a while ago and I have finished it off

freshly out of the washing machine

This was also my first attempt at FMQ - it took a LOT of patience, but it was worth it, Beccy loves it.

We are all shattered today.  Last night was the Southend carnival.  It is an illuminated parade that set off at 7.45 pm

It was a long day as we were down at the hairdressers at 9am!  we had the queens tea at 4pm and then an open top bus took the courts through Southend to the start of the carnival - how much did they love that!!

The parade finished around 10ish and we got home about 12.30!!  I have never seen somany people.  I thought there were a lot last weekend, but it was nothing compared to last night!

So today is a day of doing not a lot.  i have homemade tomato soup for lunch, made with home grown tomatoes and an afternoon of leisurely sewing ahead of me!

Friday, 19 August 2011

limited choices

having told myself very firmly that I am not allowed to buy anymore fabric for a while, I then signed up for the across the sea modern quilt along.

So now I am restricted to the fabric that I have.  This isn't a problem, as I have fat quarters waiting to be used and along with some other scraps I think I will have enough.

My dilemma is background fabric.  do I go with the white (a kingsive duvet cover from the charity shop)

Do I go with the old double sheet: a kind of light rust colour-not normally my colour, but you never know

Or go with the old curtain, a light purple

Hmmm, these pics were taken with my phone and the purple looks the same as the white!

I am thinking that the white is too pale, so its between the rust and the purple.  I feel that I should go with the rust as it is a colour I would not normally use.  I will try and get a feel over the weekend.
I will be behind on this quilt along before it even starts as we are off on holiday towards the end next week! And I still need to sort through some of my scraps to decide what other fabrics to use.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


This afternoon I have been FMQ'ing - and tearing my hair out, using colourful language, throwing a strop........ but I think I am getting there.

Now, I know that all the tutorials out there say don't start on a big quilt....well, I had a biggish quilt to do, but only strips of it

I think for a first attempt its ok

This is the back, the red looks great against the yellow

This is a string quilt that Beccy made with a load of scraps when I was doing mine.  She worked like a woman possesed on the sewing machine, and then once all her blocks were done it got left!

Remember all the frustating bits? This is all of my unpicking from today :-)

this is a large ice cream tub - there are about 2 reels of thread in here!

I had times when the tension went completely wrong, for no apparant reason, resulting in lots of unpicking and my thread kept snapping.  But the more I did it the more I realised why theses mistakes were happening.  I just walked away and then came back again later.  My back and my neck are killing me - call this a fun, relaxing hobby!
I havn't finished yet, still about half to go, but I have run out of thread!

Back to work tomorrow and friday, but only for 4 hours each day, I can cope with that: and then another two weeks off!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


So, I caught up a bit with my hexalong yesterday.  cut out some more fabric and then sewed these two together:

These are my completed blocks, not sewn together yet. 

And here is my embroidery that I started an age ago and have picked up again, as its great to sit outside in the sun and sew (yes, we have had a few sunny days recently)

It needs an iron!

and a close up:

It is designed to use lots of different embroidery stiches, so it has been a learning curve, but one I am enjoying.  There is still a lot of work to be done though!

I have been reading Susans blog : seeing all the things she has signed up for.  What with going back to work in a few weeks and studying for my exams, I can't commit myself to swaps as I wouldn;t want to let anyone down, but she has tempted me to the Across the sea quilt along.  I have told myself that I need to cut back on the fabric I buy and to use what I have and this project could work in that department.  So I shall be signing up.

We have been to lakeside today - the girls 'needed' to visit Primark to get a few bits and bobs for our hols.  Everywhere had sales on - Debenhams in particular were great, so we have all come home happy and spent half of what we thought we would: always a good day out.  Normally I can;t stand shopping at Lakeside, but obviously the trick is to shop on a Tuesday, there was hardly anyone there!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

where did the week go!

Its  been a week since I last blogged.  I have tried to keep up with other blogs but last week I was rather tied up - all because of this little fellow:

This is Daniel, who is now 6 months old!  He is the smiliest, happiest little person I know.  I went in to london to pick him and his mum, Alison (my cousin) up last monday.  We drove through Hackney about 2 hours ahead of all the looting and chaos: very lucky.

Alison was so generous with Daniel, we had unlimited cuddles and play: he was never on his own!  The girls fell in love with him too and their were 'disscussions' concerning whose turn it was to do what! 

 I made this for him while he was here ( his dad loves it!)  I also made him a scrunchy toy: basically a crisp packet between two pieces of material - he loved it!

We took them back to London on Thursday - and I cried my eyes out!  I didn't want either of them to leave and had a mini breakdown at Alisons.  Then I had a 90 min drive home, still all teary!

I just wanted to go to bed when I got back but it was flower club, so off I went. And I won a display in the raffle!  Unfortunately, I had walked down, so could only pick a small display:

This was actually two displays and i chose the smaller of the two, to make it easier to carry home!

I have sewn a few more of these:

I have also cut out what I need for another 6 bags, so that should keep me busy.  I also made a couple more chickens.

Yesterday we had the Clacton carnival.  It started at 6pm and was about a 2mile procession: the crowds were amazing.  Clacton is a seaside resort so I imagine there were lots of visitors.  There were people on their balconies waving, in their gardens, sitting on the green, on the pier - just loads of people.

The girls had to hitch a ride - again - on another court float. (long story!!) but they had such a great time.  The weather was fantastic.  I can't remember the last time we went to Clacton.  Its a classic seaside resort: pier, arcades etc, but its also very smart.  We got home about 10.30.  Next weekend we have Southends carnival, which is another evening one and I am told is huge, so looking forward to that. 

 I have got myself immersed in to FMQ today.  I watched some tutorials on you tube : my fav being the one where the lady say you should relax and then pours herself a large glass of red wine: my kind of sewing :-)  So, after much practising this is what I came up with:

I really enjoyed doing this: it's not great and I need lots of practise, but I am pleased for a first try. 

I have also started quilting Beccys string quilt, will show that when its done, and also picked up some embroidery that I started a while back.  And obviously, I have also been working on my next module, which I have now completed, so just need lots of revision!

Sorry this is such a long rambling post.  I will try and keep up this week!  We are going to Lakeside on Tuesday (HATE that place!) and working two half days in the office, so not that busy!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Chickens and a bag

Another busy day for me, starting out with re-sealing the bath.  Horrid job, which meant that I had to take the old sealant off first.  It had got mouldy around the shower and tap end which is why I wan't to get rid of it.  boy, it was hard work getting the old stuff off!
Then sorted out my kitchen, did some gardening and a little bit of work on the new module.
Then, I got down to my sewing :-)

I read on  Judiths blog about her charity bee, which is a fantastic idea.  It got me thinking that I hadn't done anything recently with the material that the hospice ladies had given me.  Its all curtain samples, so not the think stuff we are used to and therefore I am limited in what to do with it.  After staring long and hard at it I came up with this:


Everybody needs a bag, so hopefully it will sell.  I plan to make more, as it was so easy.  I kind of copied a bag that I already have, that I use all the time and am pleased with how it worked out

Then I remembered this tutorial that I saw a while ago:  chicken pin cushionsMy sister in law makes these and had made me one a while ago, so I worked from hers and the tutorial to make these:


I stuffed them with toy stuffing loosely and then added some rice at the bottom for weight.  I use the one Ellen gave me to hold my pages down in my books when I am working at the kitchen table.

And then lastly this:

This is lovely sort of satiny material, but horrid to work with as it frays really easy.  I have been toying with the idea of making some little lap quilts with the satiny stuff, maybe for use in the hospice rather than to sell.  Thinking about that one.... Hopefully these will all sell well, and make money for the hospice. 
So,  a productive day. Tonight I will be having a bath (carefully as the sealant needs 24 hrs to dry!) and then I have Revolutionary Road to watch. 

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Catching up

I am finally catching up on the mystery quilt.  I made the next two blocks:

I also made some amendments: remember this block

well, it was bugging me because it wasnt in keeping with the other blocks, so it has become this:

which I like way much better.  I also tweaked another block - i think it was the two blocks that had no white in them, and they just didn't look right.  i forgot to take a before picture of it, but its the bottom right hand corner block, I have swapped the outside corners to white, from yellow and I like that one much better as well.

I havnt tried the plaiting yet, I will do it but i want to see what fabric I have left - not sure if we have any more blocks to do (I Hope so!)  I have sewn two of the blocks together - in the right hand bottom corner.  The random bit of orange on there is what I will use as my fill in material, but again I want to see what blocks there are left to do.

And this was lunch

A vanilla slice, my fave ;-).  It's only 2.30 so I have time for more sewing, but first I need to squeeze in a bit of house work.  And it appears old habits are hard to break: I was downstairs at the kitchen table at 6.45 this morning, working on my next module!! (boy do i need that holiday in Turkey!)

Friday, 5 August 2011

Rubbish exam!

Thank you for all your good lucks.  Unfortunatley the exam was absolutely awful and on top of the fact that I always bottle at exams, I will be amazed if I passed.
There are so many accounting standards to learn that you can only really learn the popular ones, the ones that appear in ALL the past exam papers : but oh no, not today, it was all the random ones, the ones that are barely mentioned in the books and that have NEVER appeared on an exam paper in the last 10 yeaRS.  I did a lot of waffling and an awful lot of the course was not even covered. So, I am dissapointed, especially when I know I worked hard (I know I may yet be amazed and pass but i don't think so).
Still, I can retake it (one lady there today was on her 3rd retake!!) and I will carry on with all the other modules. BUT.... not this weekend.  This weekend I am going to sew :-)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

This time tomorrow.....

....... it will all be over.  I am so fed up with revision!  On top of that I keep reading that this is the hardest exam and most people do about 2 re-takes :-(  Please don't let that be me.   I got to the point where I was just going round in circles and making silly errors and then confusing myself, so gave up at about 3pm today.

I have no sewing to show, so here is the first square from my log cabin knitting:

The picture makes the colours look like dishwater, they are in fact cream, deep purple and a deep pink and in real life actually look lovely.  I finished this square last weekend.  Only another 19 to go: actually they knit up really quickly so its not so bad.

This time tomorrow, my revision will be over.  The results take 6 weeks, and during that time I will start on the next module (aagh!) but this weekend is all about catching up on the sewing, so hopefully I will have lots of pics to show.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Giveaway at Fairyface Designs

Sarah, over at  Fairyface designs is having a giveaway.  You could be in for a chance to win one of these:

I don't know about you, but I keep on entering giveaways to win one of these: you never know when you might get lucky!  And even if you don't, then at least you have discovered another great blog!